Suzanne Barr is one of North America’s most respected chefs with a signature flair for Afro Caribbean comfort food. She recognized the significance of food from an early age, growing up in a household with two novice chefs where preparing every meal was an opportunity to bond as a family, learn about cultural roots, tell stories and express love. This instilled a lifelong passion to value the significant role food plays in nourishing not just the body, but the soul. Her food is a reflection of her roots and is ever-evolving as she travels the world refining her culinary and personal education. Suzanne’s food philosophy is to create highly nutritious, flavourful and comforting food with ingredients that are accessible and all in an elevated way to make the ordinary, surprisingly extraordinary.

Her impressive past culinary repertoire includes: Head Chef/Owner at True True Diner in Toronto, owner of Saturday Dinette; inaugural chef-in-residence at the Gladstone Hotel; a residency at Sand and Pearl Oyster Bar in Prince Edward County; starring role as one of the chefs in the acclaimed documentary film, The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution; and as a resident judge on Food Network Canada’s series, Wall of Chefs.

Suzanne regularly advocates for food security, people of colour, mental wellness, equal pay for equal work, LGBTQ communities, nutrition literacy and food source sustainability.

She is also active in the community as a board member for Not 9 to 5 (a not for profit organization empowering the hospitality, food and beverage industry through mental health education and support), won Social Advocate of the Year Award in 2021 from Restaurants Canada, and her memoir, My Ackee Tree: A Chef’s Memoir of Finding Home in the Kitchen is out now.

“As an artist/chef/author I have asked myself multiple times why do I do this work? It’s for the love of it all, right? I have been in my head asking myself these questions, Am I good enough? Is my food tasty? Do I deserve these accolades and praises? I speak to the places of self-doubt, trauma, and fear that have left an imprint on my physical self and my brain.

We must remember to tap into the support in an effort to guide us through these moments when our mind is allowing self-doubt to challenge the waters. Our strength and truth become visible when we use word + sound + power to remember that we are going to be alright and that our fears and doubt will always be there but it’s how we respond and react. How truly powerful our brain and mind can be to overcome and celebrate expansive dreaming and visualization.”