7 Questions with the Bikini Chef Susan Irby
7 Questions is a series of interviews with the culinary movers and shakers you want or ought to know better.
Susan Irby is the personification of the term cheflebrity. She has her own radio show, she’s done TV and she’s published several cookbooks including the soon-to-be-released Substitute Yourself Skinny with Susan Irby The Bikini Chef. She has cooked with the likes of Todd English and Robert Irvine and for the likes of Patrick Swayze, Baby Face Edmonds and Katey Segal.
Susan was kind enough to answer 7 Questions:
1. How old were you when you first started to cook?
SI: Does birth count? As early as I can remember I was helping my mom in the kitchen in Georgia. She really taught me all the basics of cooking and nutrition.
2. When did you decide that you wanted to make food your career?
SI: In 1999, I experienced a huge disappointment in the corporate world. I knew my career was going nowhere in that arena. It was then I self-published my first cookbook, Cooking With Susan, Southern Family Favorites. That moment changed my life forever.
3. Which chefs have influenced you the most?
SI: Besides my mother, Chef Francesco Berardinelli whom I worked for in Florence, Italy and Master Chef Marc Meneau whom I had the pleasure of working in his kitchen for several days in France at L’Esperance. Los Angeles based Chef Celestino Drago of Drago Ristorante has also been a great mentor to me, and Chef Azmin Ghahreman of Sapphire, Laguna Beach.
4. If you hadn’t followed this career path, what other career could you see yourself in?
SI: I always wanted to be a reporter for CNN.
5. What’s the highlight of your career so far?
SI: My new book, Substitute Yourself Skinny with Susan Irby The Bikini Chef. The recipes are deliciously bikini and I am very proud of the book and the photography. It comes out in May. I hope you get a copy.
6. Can you explain the Bikini Lifestyle?
SI: In addition to being the title of my radio show, a bikini lifestyle is about incorporating flavorful healthy foods, fitness, and balancing all in a busy, often stressful, lifestyle. Everybody can be bikini… it’s all about balance.
7. What’s next for Susan Irby?
SI: That’s a good question. I feel passionate about teaching kids how to eat nutritious foods that taste good. I have for over 10 years. The newly publicized “obesity epidemic” is not new to me. I’d like to publish a cookbook that kids can relate to which helps overweight kids get excited about eating healthy and improving their overall health. Teaching is a passion for me, so I’d like to expand my radio show to further educate families on how to enjoy life while learning that being bikini can be fun and the food can taste good, even delicious!