Professional Portfolio

Susan here...

Food and cooking has been my life for over 15 years, and what a ride it has been! It wasn't a calling I discovered until coming fresh out of school, working for an entirely different industry. I graduated from University with a double major in Environment Resource Management and Urban Planning. Having worked in real estate administration while putting myself through school, I decided to take it a step further by going to college to obtain my real property assessment diploma. Landing a job administering for a Federal default real estate and mortgage office was a dream for graduates, but it lacked lustre for me. Where I really excelled was organizing department luncheons and events, and I always gravitated to good food in general... So, I told myself, why not take a cooking class and see.... Needless to say, I fell in love and the rest just snowballed from there. 

From managing a restaurant, organizing food events and catering to R&D product development and recipe development for small and corporate organizations to writing food for magazines, food-styling, working behind the scenes of a cooking show, even a few gigs on-camera-- I had the thrill of experiencing the vast realm of culinary possibilities. I was always ready to see where the next food adventure takes me.

After having children, I became a culinary consultant and since 2014, an avid food blogger (here's a walkthrough my day), a voluntary Food Revolution Canada and Toronto Super Ambassador, and teaching kids how to cook by using their five senses to enjoy food. As well as a real food and food education advocate, my passion is to inspire people to cook from scratch and to learn about different cultures through trying new foods. 

As of February 2018, I have taken on the role of Culinary Consultant for TDSB Welcoming Communities For Youth and Kids. This division is dedicated to ease the transition of both newcomer adults, and youth & kids to Canada, and to foster a sense of belonging through various programs-- and what better way than to connect and unite over food with culinary classes? I will be supporting the newcomers' culinary program (lunch or after school) in 15 schools (and growing), facilitating cooking classes with parents & kids, and promoting the great work by our facilitator hosts and students on social media & through blogging. For more and to see the students in action, check out my post.

At Real Food For Real Kids (RFRK), my role as a part-time Lunch Club Coach is to encourage school kids to try new foods in their catered lunch while inspiring them with food education along the way. As a freelance recipe developer and food writer, I am hired by companies to create recipes for product promotion and write food articles with recipes such as for Huffington Post CanadaA global cookbook-- Taste of the Place in which I have contributed heritage Chinese recipes is going to print (Feb 2018)-- my very first cookbook collaboration! 

I also like to help individuals and families to meet their eating and cooking goals. It could be anything from learning cooking basics, family weekly meal planning, how to cook for picky eaters, trying new foods, learning to make a specific dish or cooking with kids. We can shop and cook together in the comfort of your home and have a meal prepared by the end of the session to be enjoyed. Inspiring the confidence to cook great meals in one's own element with lots of practical as-you-go tips along the way is what I'm looking to bring.

In addition, I am also interested in giving food & beverage companies a culinary perspective with their products and services; offering culinary tips, menu planning ideas to schools and communities; teaching kids of all ages to cook and partnering with relevant businesses on my blog: Susan's Savour-It! Contact me and we can discuss further.

My Professional Specialties are: 

Recipe Development and Recipe Testing
Conducting Sensory Evaluations and Taste Tests
Data Research, Collection, Analysis and Recommendations
Print Media-- Food Writing and Blogging 
Concept and Content Development
Proofreading and Copy Editing 
Chinese, Canadian and French Canadian Consumer Insights
Culinary and Menu Consultation
Catering and Event Planning
Career Mentoring and Coaching

The following are some examples:

Take a walkthrough my day as a food blogger and I'll show you what's involved in being one:

In my last corporate role at Kraft's Test Kitchens for six years, I created hundreds of recipes and food content for Kraft’s quarterly What's Cooking magazines, and Quebec's version- qu'est-ce qui mijote?, and brand marketing advertorials. Creating everyday recipes and ideas for the time, skill and idea-challenged that resonated especially with working mothers was satisfying. Developing with everyday ingredients was a big change from my previous experience working with fine gourmet products (and also now in a real-life kitchen environment over a make-shift lab and production plant); I Iiked the challenge of turning restaurant-inspired dishes into everyday family recipes with great appetite appeal using accessible ingredients and simple steps.

Kung Pao Chix recipe I developed that Susur Lee endorsed during his
project collaboration with Kraft. He added pineapples for his own spin.
My Roasted Pork Loin with Pear Salsa recipe makes
the cover page of Quebec's What's Cooking magazine!

Food Showings-- showcasing seasonal recipes for upcoming What's Cooking Magazines.

As a resource for brand marketers, I provided consultation to the Grocery, Beverage and Desserts divisions to guide them on food trends while conducting product and recipe tastings, and competitive benchmarking that led to new or improved product innovations and line extensions.

As a North American member of the FoodCast platform, I presented product and flavour trends.

Providing recipes and tips for Kraft's Media Guide for Salad and Dressing Pairing booklet.

Guest-Starring on Daytime York Region with a Festive entertaining spot on Dec. 2007.

My most memorable time was working on the Quebec magazine and on-set on their cooking show- qu'est-ce qui mijote?- #1 cooking show in Quebec (2004 to 2008) by directing their on-camera talent with tips, healthy living guidelines and food-styling.

With qu'est-ce qui mijote? host Martin Champoux 

I loved freelancing for Asian Gourmet Magazine to share my passion for cooking Asian cuisine and to explore new ones. For one year, I was a Recipe Developer and Editor, and Food Stylist for food content covering two to three stories about 15 to 20 pages in each publication. Food ideas were executed from start to finish: brainstormed concepts, created recipes, wrote story romance copies, assisted in propping, food-styled recipes, proof-read recipes, and provided guidance on final page lay-outs. Chefs Martin Yan, Susur Lee and Jonathan Poon from Chantecler and Bar Fancy also made regular contributions to the now discontinued publication.

My dumplings 101 story made front cover for Summer 2008's issue.

Asian Gourmet's Spring 2008 issue- Japanese Spring Brunch
Asian Gourmet's Winter 2007 issue- Fabulous Party Foods

Behind-the-scenes prop, food-styling and photography for grilled corn and dumplings at my place!

For four years as the Senior Product Developer for McCain Foods Charcuterie Le Tour Eiffel-- former Summersweet Fine Foods, I developed product formulations for retail and food service across Canada and in the US. These include President Choice, Cara Foods, Famous Players, Mac's Milk, Costco, Sobeys and Sam's Club ranging from meat and vegetable pâtes, seafood dips and mousses, to sandwiches, filled wraps and crab cakes. It was fabulous working with gourmet ingredients and turning table top recipes into mass produced entertainment foods in the manufacturing plant. Here, I won at Summersweet Fine Foods the Canadian Grand Prix Award 2002 for developing a series of omelets for the Soups/Entrée Category also served on Air Canada flights.

Keen on showing the extended applications of dips and pâtes, I developed and food-styled numerous recipes for various media publications, marketing material, product packages and demos at trade shows.

Dips used as filling in pastas, pâtes for Beef Wellington, and fruit tortas as dessert spreads.

I had a knack for coordinating booth displays at various North American food conferences.

Fruit and vegetable carving and display food-styling was my specialty at company exhibits and sales presentations.

Guest-starring on Breakfast Television in June 2003.

Showcasing how to assemble pâtes in the production plant and simple recipes to make with seafood dips.

Working at large-scale food events, catering and cooking demos were always fun!

Catering and Event Planning for a backyard wedding.

From Left Clockwise: @ Toronto Olympic Bid Gala for 2008-- Roy Thompson Hall serving over 300 people,
Catering special events for the CEO of CIBC, Demo and Dine dinner events in Richmond Hill Culinary Centre.

.... And at the very beginning of my food career, as a Food Editor for an independent national Toronto women's magazine Bloom Magazine for two years.... the title Susan's Savour-It was born as my monthly restaurant review column in my Taste of Life section, and has come full circle now as my blog. Life is good-- and I'm going to Savour It!

One of my very first restaurant reviews for Bloom Magazine back in 2001.

For a complete look at my professional experiences see my LinkedIn profile.

To contact me, send an email to

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  1. I worked with Susan in the Kraft Test Kitchens and loved her creativity and energy. An asset to any project she's worjking on!

    1. I loved working with you too Cathy Ireland! Hope to cross paths with you in our food ventures and beyond!

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