Susanna Foo was born in Inner Mongolia and spent her early childhood in the Shanxi province of Northern China. Her father was a general in Chiang Kai-sheks army who fought against Mao Tse-tung. Susanna and her family escaped to Taiwan where she finished her childhood growing up in Taipei.
Coming to America:
Susanna came to the United States in 1967 to earn her Master of Arts degree in Library Science at the University of Pittsburgh. In 1979, Susanna moved to Philadelphia with her Chinese-born husband, E-Hsin, to join his familys restaurant business. Soon after, she opened the familys second restaurant, Hu-Nan of Philadelphia.
Susanna first acquired her love of food from her father. Her father had attended a boarding school in the 1920s and indulged in some of the best foods. He often told Susanna his fond memories of exquisite local lamb and duck dishes and elaborate imperial-style cuisine. Susannas childhood kitchen was one of fresh produce and meats her mother would acquire from the local shops and farmers.
Susanna learned Hunan-style cooking from her mother-in-law, Wan-Chow Foo, and Chinese Northern-style pasta from her cousin, Chao Su. Susanna met her mentor and teacher, the late Jacob Rosenthal, founder of the Culinary Institute of America, while she was at Hu-Nan. Rosenthal taught Susanna French-style cooking and encouraged her to take a course at the CIA.
In 1987, Susanna and E-Hsin opened their own restaurant, Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine, in Philadelphia. Susanna and her restaurant have earned national acclaim for her fusion of Chinese and French cooking. Susanna uses ingredients from all over the world and always likes to use the freshest available. Susanna Foo also has a new restaurant, Suilan, in the Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel & Casino.
Chef Susanna Foo has written two cookbooks:
- Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine: The Fabulous Flavors & Innovative Recipes of North America's Finest Chinese Cook (Houghton Mifflin Company 1995)
- Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration : New Approaches to Chinese Cuisine (Houghton Mifflin Company 2005)