Chef’s Corner – Allen Susser

Chef Allen Susser
With more than 40 years of experience in the food and restaurant industry, award-winning Chef Allen Susser is a master of flavor. Infused in every dish he creates, is his passion for blending food with feeling to create memorable and delicious experiences. Chef Susser graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. After graduating, he gained valuable experience working at the Le Bristol Hotel in Paris and New York City’s Le Cirque Restaurant before finally landing in South Florida, where he founded the esteemed Chef Allen’s Restaurant. For more than 25 years, Chef Susser served as executive chef of the establishment, which was highly regarded as one of the top restaurants in the country.

Chef Susser’s philosophy is that every food occasion should have meaning, so with the Super Bowl coming up he’s teamed up with the “orange experts” at Tropicana to develop recipes and ideas that allow partygoers to truly experience the joys of coming together over food and football.

Who is your biggest culinary influence?
Unquestionably, Julia Child. Knowing her personally was a blessing. She had passion and enjoyed discovering food as if every bite was her first. She inspired me to think more about the ingredients that I use in my cooking.

If you had to pick one food item to best describe yourself, what would it be and why?
An orange because they’re bright, colorful and full of character. Oranges always make me smile, and I love using citrus in my cooking.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
I would have loved to be a fisherman.

What’s the one condiment you can’t live without?
I am a big fan of Citrus Salsa. It’s a great contrast of sweet, fruity, tart and herbaceous flavors.

Why do you think sports and food are so closely connected?
Food is a connector. It is at the center of any gathering and like football, it brings people together. Whether you’re enjoying a tailgate or watching the game from home, both are an experience that give friends and family the opportunity to come together, cheer on favorite teams, engage in friendly rivalries – and of course eat and drink.

You have a philosophy that every food occasion should have meaning. What’s the food meaning we should take away for the Super Bowl?
It’s about truly experiencing the joys of coming together over football and food. I always think guests should be emotionally connected to the food they eat, and game day foods are no different. Serve straightforward and scrumptious dishes that people will love, but don’t take too much time to prepare, so you can join in on the fun. I actually teamed up with Tropicana this year to develop recipes that offer a twist on traditional favorites and will allow guests to have fun enjoying different types of foods.

What’s the one dish we should prepare at our Super Bowl parties this year to impress our guests?
I call South Florida home, so I love using citrus (even wrote a book on it), especially orange juice, in my cooking. In fact, I call it my ‘secret weapon’ because it adds a zest and flavor that can complement almost any other set of ingredients. Like I mentioned above, I’ve teamed up with Tropicana to come up with some fun recipes. One of my favorites is the Orange Smoked Salmon and Vegetable Dip*. It’s a flavorful, savory spread with a tangy kick, perfect for a game day appetizer.

What’s your all-time favorite tailgate fare?
That one is easy – Tangy Chipotle-Citrus BBQ Pork Belly Sliders at Blue Collar in Miami.

Burgers or hot dogs?
Burgers, for sure! Along with all of the great toppings, cheeses, salsa and slaw to dress them.

What’s the best local dish to eat during football season in Miami?
Stone crabs with mustard sauce. My favorite place for Stone crabs is Joe’s on Miami Beach.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Miami right now?
Mignonette is at the top of my list for 2016. Its menu features simple, delicious and big flavors. Every dish is full of fresh ingredients, and they’re all served in the most comfortable, hospitable environment.

What is your favorite thing about living in Miami?
There are so many things I love about Miami, but at the end of the day, it’s the diversity of the food that is so reflective of the mosaic of its residents.

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Orange Smoked Salmon & Vegetable Dip with Bagel Chips (serves 4)
Ingredients

  • ¼ Cup Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice
  • ½ Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ Teaspoon Cumin
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Peppercorns
  • ¼ Cup Diced Smoked Salmon
  • ¼ Cup Diced Red Peppers
  • ¼ Cup Diced Celery
  • ¼ Cup Diced Scallions
  • 2 cups Crispy Bagel Chips

Preparation

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the orange juice, sour cream, yogurt, cumin, salt and pepper until smooth.
  • Stir in all of the smoked salmon, peppers, celery and scallions.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for one hour to allow each of the ingredients to add their individual flavors to the entire dip.
  • Stir again to blend all of the flavors.
  • Serve chilled along with a basket of chips.

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