BA degree – National Taiwan University
MA degree – Library Science, University of Pittsburgh
Culinary degree – The Culinary Institute of America
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Spouse: E-Hsin Foo (1942-2010)
Official Website: http:// www. Susannafoo.com
Cooking: French/Modern Chinese Cuisine
Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine (closed 2010)
Suilan, Borgata Casino, Atlantic City
Suga (closed 2019)
Retired, Consulting, Cooking Class, Fundraising, Donation
ALS Association, Philadelphia Chapter
Culinary Literacy Center, Free Library of Philadelphia
Asian-American Women Coalition, Philadelphia
Opened her restaurant, Susanna Foo
a fusion of Chinese and French Cuisines
1512 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA
Susanna's restaurant was inducted
in to the Fine Dining Hall of Fame in
Nation’s Restaurant News
This restaurant was named
"Best New Restaurant of the Year"
by Esquire Magazine.
Susanna won 1 of 6 American
Chefs by Robert Mondavi, Culinary
Award of Excellence
In 1989, Food & Wine magazine
named Susanna Foo the Best
New Chef in America
in 2003, she opened a new restaurant
named Suilan in Borgata hotel and casino
in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Best Chinese Cook in the
Country by Eating
Named one of the best 10
new restaurant by
City of Philadelphia
Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration Cook Book,
won best Asian cuisine book by
Gourmand International Cookbook award
Best Chinese Chef in America,
Eating Well Magazine
Five Star Diamond Award, as one of the
Finest Chef’s Worldwide by American
Academy of Hospitality Science
Published Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine
Cookbook and won Best International
Cookbook by James Beard Foundation.
Won Silver Spoon award
by Food Art Magazine
Susanna named Best Chef
Mid-Atlantic Region by
James Bread Foundation
Susanna was named one
of the best Chinese chefs
in America by USA Today
Award Winning Cookbooks
Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine Cookbook, 1996 - won Best International Cookbook by James Beard Foundation.
Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration Cookbook, 2006 - won best Asian Cuisine Book by Gourmand International Cookbook award
Since 1979 Susanna Foo has been redefining Chinese cuisine. She doesn’t believe that authenticity and improvisation are incompatible, and she doesn’t wish to be hemmed in by national or regional boundaries. Armed with a deep understanding and knowledge of both regional Chinese cooking traditions and the techniques of other international cuisines, she has changed the paradigm of Chinese food through the melding of the best and fresh ingredients with modern and traditional cooking techniques.
Susanna was born in Inner Mongolia, China. Her family moved to Shanxi province when she was still a young child. Her father Yang Chi Su was a Lieutenant General in the Republic of China Marine Corps. At age 5 she and her family moved to Taiwan where she grew up. While attending the National Taiwan University and studying for a bachelor’s degree in European history, she met her future husband E-Hsin Foo. Together they moved to the United States. He studied for his Ph.D. at Carnegie-Mellon University in Metallurgical and Material Science. In the meantime, Susanna got her master’s degree in Library Science at the University of Pittsburg. They married in 1966.
During Susanna’s time in Taiwan, she learned Shanxi home cooking from her grandmother and her cousin. Her mother-in-law taught her Hunan cooking. She also took several cooking classes with Fu Pei May in Taiwan prior to traveling to the United States. These early culinary experiences would form the basis of her future culinary adventures.
E-Hsin and Susanna moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1979 to help his family run the Center City branch of HuNan, a neighborhood Chinese restaurant. Prior to this, Susanna had never worked in a professional kitchen. It was at Hunan that Susanna met one of the most influential people in her life, Jacob Rosenthal Founder of the Culinary Institute of America. He dined regularly at the restaurant and saw untapped potential in Susanna. He arranged for her to dine at many best restaurants in New York City, and later in Paris. He also recommended that she study at the Culinary Institute of America where she learned the French techniques that would later adapt to Chinese cuisine. She would later dedicate her first cookbook to Rosenthal, saying that he changed her life.
In 1987, she opened the eponymous Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine, serving a fusion of Chinese and French cuisine. It named the best new restaurant of the year by Esquire Magazine, and Food & Wine magazine named her the best new chef in 1989.
In 1995, her first book was published, entitled Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine: The Fabulous Flavors and Innovative Recipes of North America’s Finest Chinese Cook. This won her a James Bread Foundation Award for a best international cookbook, and she won a second James Bread Foundation Award in 1997 for the Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region.
She opened a new restaurant, named Suilan, in the Borgata, a hotel and casino complex, in Atlantic City in 2003. A second book followed in 2005, Susanna Foo: Fresh Inspiration. She won the best Asian Cuisine book by Gourmand International Cookbook Award.
In 2009, she made the decision to sell Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine after her husband had fallen ill. E-Hsin Foo died a year later. Susanna had another restaurant, Susanna Foo Gourmet Kitchen in Radnor, Pennsylvania which was closer to her home and which she ran until it closed in 2015.
At the age of 72, Foo came out of retirement in 2016 to open a new restaurant, SUGA, with her son Gabriel. He had wanted to open a restaurant, and Foo felt that she was not yet finished with demonstrating modern Chinese cuisine. Some of the dishes were an evolution from those served in her previous restaurant, while others were inspired by her frequent trips to China. In August 2019 her other son, James Foo died from ALS. She decided to retire and donate her time to consulting, teaching cooking, and fundraising for the fight against ALS and for The Free Library of Philadelphia.