I HEART WORK
Cookbook author Suzanne Husseini tells The Lifestyle Editor why she loves to work
Who: Suzanne Husseini
Work: TV cook and food writer
Describe your work in 5 words?
Passion, love, teach, share, peace and can I have one more…..understanding!
Why do you love what you do?
Being able to share my love of food and skills and particularly Arabic and Middle Eastern cuisine – to be able to shine a light on it, to give it focus and celebrate it. I want to show it to the world and by doing it at home, you understand what it is, it nourishes your body and soul.
Who or what inspires you?
My mother is my number one inspiration. Because of her love of food and cooking that made me fall in love with the process. I also continue to be inspired by seasonal, fresh and beautiful produce and flavours. My mother always said cook with your eyes and your heart.
What is the best advice you have received?
Never stop believing in your cause or passion. I knew at a young age I wanted to spread the word of good food. You must never give up on your passion – never stop believing it. I never give up…..I am relentless!
What can’t you work without?
Music, I love all kinds, jazz, classical and Arabic, especially Fairouz, I love her voice. I play music from when I wake up until I go to bed. I also can’t work without a good, sharp knife and a pestle and mortar for grinding up spices and rubs.
What has been your best decision in your career so far?
My best decision has been to sit down and write a book. I felt like I had it in me for so long, I just needed to grow as a person. My friends always encouraged me to write it and it has been a challenging experience that has taken about two years to complete.
What advice would you give to aspiring wannabees?
If cooking is your passion then go for it…you will be acknowledged in some way, shape or form – and feel such a sense of joy at the end of it.
What do you have coming up next for your work?
I am going to work on another cookbook and I am also in the process of working on a TV show, which is very exciting.
If you could do another job what would you like to do and why?
I would teach. It is something which gives me joy and I love to pass on knowledge and my passion for food.
If you had an extra hour each day what would you do with it?
I would love to have the time to read more. I love autobiographies.
What do you have in your fridge?
I always have fresh lemons and limes, pomegranates, herbs, fruit and vegetables. I also toast pine nuts and almonds so that they are ready to use and always have garlic ready chopped-a great time saver.
What are your memories of food as a child?
My mother’s lentil soup on a rainy day.
What is your favourite family supper?
They love my roast chicken with fruit, rice and nuts which I serve with salad and yoghurt.
Do you ever get invited to friend’s homes for dinner?
Not very often – they say they feel stressed cooking for me, which I hate them to feel, so I tend to ask them to me.
What would be your last supper?
A nice piece of grilled sea bass with tabbouleh salad, with lemon and fresh herbs. My favourite drink is sparkling water with elderflower.
Any culinary dislikes?
I would not eat something if it didn’t look good or smell good. I am not a fan of mutton.
Relaxed or formal dinner?
I definitely prefer relaxed dining!
What is your favourite English food?
I had a wonderful bread and butter pudding at a friend’s house recently - which was delicious.
Suzanne’s new book Modern Flavours of Arabia, published by Hardie Grant £14.99 is available at all good bookshops and online here.
Thank you Suzanne for talking to The Lifestyle Editor