As the daughter of “food-obsessed Francophile parents,” it’s little surprise that Suzanne Goin became a chef; even less surprising is that her specialty is French cuisine, and it’s no surprise at all that she’s used her considerable talents in the kitchen to earn herself a place on this list. After graduating from Brown University, Suzanne worked in famous kitchens around the world, including at Ma Maison, L’Orangerie, Al Forno, Olives, Chez Panisse, and Arpège in Paris. At Campanile in Los Angeles, Suzanne worked as executive chef, laying the foundation for what has been a stellar career so far.
In 1998, Suzanne opened Lucques in Los Angeles, and the fact that it’s been open for nearly 20 years should be an indicator of how well-received the restaurant was. Following up on the success of Lucques, Suzanne opened a.o.c. in 2002, The Hungry Cat in 2005, Tavern in 2009, The Larder at Maple Drive in 2011, and The Larder at Burton Way in 2013.
Suzanne has also received recognition for her individual efforts from the James Beard Foundation. She has received awards for “Best Cookbook from a Professional Viewpoint” and “Best Chef: California” in 2005, and in 2016, she earned the “Outstanding Chef of the Year” award.
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Specialties & Resources
Suzanne’s culinary style lends itself mainly to French cuisine, but her experience at Al Forno and Olive have also given her a strong background in Italian cooking as well. At Lucques, the menu is French cuisine with a blend of both Italian cooking and the local Mexican culinary style. Offerings include ricotta gnocchi with cherry tomatoes, chanterelles, spinach and carrot puree; corn soup with crème fraiche, cilantro and lime; fruit salad with arugula, sherry, crushed marcona almonds and mint cream; chopped chicken fattoush salad with feta, cucumber, purslane, pita, mint and sumac; grilled cheese with mahon, chorizo, caramelized shallots and arugula salad; salmon with little gems, avocado, succotash salsa and opal basil, and steak frites with arugula salad, béarnaise, and house-made fries.
At The Hungry Cat, the focus is more on the bounty of the sea and fresh produce. Menu items include raw bar options; “The Hungry Cat” platter with oysters, clams, marinated mussels, peel & eat shrimp, snow crab legs, lobster and golden trout roe; caviar, steamed mussels with black garlic cream sauce, heirloom tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, pork belly and grilled bread; chorizo & clams with butter beans, sofrito, Tuscan kale, aioli and toast; Dungeness crab toast on grilled ciabatta with avocado, burrata, celery leaves and paprika; and crab & shrimp cocktail with heirloom tomato gazpacho, fresno chili, hot cucumber, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno and fried masa chips.