Monday, May 14, 2012

In the Chef s Corner with Suzanne Stack, Executive Chef at Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine

Editor's note: Over the next few weeks we are going to tell the stories of the chefs and restaurants participating in the Finger Lakes Wine Country Restaurant Week Challenge, June 18-24. Some of the chefs have had surprising entry points into the culinary scene in the Finger Lakes. For others, their paths were more planned, more part of a master plan. For all however, the common theme is their passion and commitment to the food movement in the Finger Lakes. Help us celebrate their commitment to sourcing 100% local ingredients and wines during this special week and may Restaurant Week become Restaurant Year.

In the Chef’s Corner with Suzanne Stack
Executive Chef at Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine

Written by Rochelle Bilow

Suzanne and Bob Stack
Before opening Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine on the east side of Seneca Lake, Suzanne Stack had all but conquered the culinary world. Having worked in catering and teaching both college and adult culinary classes, she knew food inside-out. She resided in New Jersey for 25 years with her husband, Bob, where she had carved out a successful career in professional catering. She also worked with Macy’s to make their chef demonstrations run smoothly, eventually giving some of her own.

Ten years ago this August, the couple rented a house in the Finger Lakes to relax and recharge after a busy season. It was then they stumbled across a beautiful old house for sale on Seneca. “When I walked into that main room I began to cry,” Stack says. “And I just knew.” They purchased the property three months later and, eight months later, Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine took the Finger Lakes Culinary world by storm.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” Stack says with a laugh, referring to the frustrating yet rewarding world of restaurant ownership. “Bob and I learned how to operate a restaurant together - and we’re still learning.” Local and visiting diners may disagree, however - eating at Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine makes one feel pretty confident that the pair knows already exactly what they’re doing.

Open seasonally - the restaurant closes in the winter months - “Suzanne” is a restaurant for special nights and impeccable food. The menu hints at classic French technique while making use of the region’s bountiful produce, dairy and meat. Diners can sip Finger Lakes wines with their meal, choosing from over 90 selections. An optional wine pairing will be offered during the Restaurant Week challenge, as well.

“The 100% local challenge is actually quite easy,” Stack says, “because we have so many farmers in our backyard. It’s great to do farm-to-table and be sustainable.”

Having learned to cook from her mother, Stack knows a thing or two about what makes good food great: “It is so important to eat well,” she says. “It makes you feel truly nourished.”


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