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Celebrating Canada's Diversity

Q&A with Canadian Celebrity Chef Susur Lee

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Photo credits to Transparent Kitchen
Susur Lee

Susur Lee

Canadian Celebrity Chef


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As an immigrant to Canada owning a successful restaurant, what does it mean for you to embrace your heritage and experiences, creating an Asian-French fusion menu in your restaurant?  

Everything I know is from my heritage and past experiences. I grew up surrounded by different Asian cuisines and ingredients. Then in my early career, I was trained in a French kitchen. I owe all my success to these factors, which made me realize how important it is to embrace where you came from. Once you understand that, you can use it to create something unique and special to you. 

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What benefits do diversity and inclusion bring to the culinary industry? 

Diversity and inclusion give you a wider reach in bringing people together. Being inclusive is such a strength, allowing you to share experiences and grow a community. Food is such a great means of communication and connection. 

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Have you seen a progressive change in the culinary industry throughout your career? 

Change in the culinary industry is happening all the time because there is always room for improvement. Also, striving to create new ways to give guests a memorable experience is a major factor in causing growth and development. 

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How important is multiculturalism in Canada to you? 

I feel so lucky to be in Canada, where multiculturalism is highly embraced and valued. I share the same importance for multiculturalism because anywhere I go, I feel like I am at home. 

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Has the multiculturalism in Canada inspired creativity in your cooking? 

Multiculturalism brings so much open-mindedness to Canadians, especially when it comes to food. This brings so much inspiration to take risks and be daring in my cooking because I know that Canadians are open to trying new things. 

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Before coming to Canada, what were your impressions of the country, and how has that changed over time? 

Before coming to Canada, I thought North America was one large country. I had no geographical context at the time. However, learning more about Canada as a country and meeting people with varied backgrounds from all over the world, has brought me so much acceptance and understanding. 

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How has Canada’s diversity influenced you outside of the restaurant? 

It has had the largest influence on my social life. It is a great feeling to meet new people and become friends with everyone from around the world. I love hearing stories about my friends’ upbringing, family traditions, and the food they ate growing up. There is so much to learn about everyone’s unique experiences; it fascinates me.  

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If you could give your younger self advice before coming to Canada, what would it be?

Ensure you get a warm coat before landing (especially in the winter).

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Is there anything you would like to tell Canadians regarding embracing their cultures? 

Embracing your culture is so important for overall happiness. Luckily, Canada is such an inclusive country that you can find bits and pieces of different cultures everywhere. Hopefully, you can find a community that makes you feel at home and then help you integrate further into city life. 

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