Star-a-Day: Suzanne Lossia

Get to know Suzanne Lossia, a finalist competing on Food Network Star, Season 13.

Photo by: Eddy Chen

Eddy Chen

It was just last week that we here at Star Talk broke the news about the upcoming season of Food Network Star, which kicks off on Sunday, June 4 at 9|8c. Among a crop of talented hopefuls judge-mentors extraordinaire Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will search for that one contender who has the coveted combo of culinary chops and on-camera charm. Each of the 12 finalists comes to the Star stage with unique personalities and kitchen experiences, and in the coming days, we'll introduce you to all of them. Today we'd like you to meet Suzanne Lossia.

Suzanne, 42, is a first-generation Chaldean-American born and raised in Detroit. Growing up the only girl among four children, Suzanne participated in all the family cooking starting at the age of 10. This single mother of two loves to entertain and bring friends together for all occasions with her Middle Eastern dishes. Suzanne is an author, operates a charity and was previously a winner on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen.

Describe your culinary POV in one sentence.

Suzanne Lossia: Turning Middle Eastern into American flare, turning it into an American way of looking at it, because when you go into Middle Eastern, you don’t even really know what that is, but I have a way of twisting it so you know what it looks like when you’re eating it.

What would you most like to learn from Bobby and Giada, be it something in the kitchen or on camera?

SL: I make big portions — we’re Middle Eastern, so we cook like every weekend’s Thanksgiving in our house — so I would say turning my bigger portions into smaller, elegant, classy [dishes].

What do you think is the most-valuable thing you could teach a Food Network viewer?

SL: People want to eat Middle Eastern food, and, let me tell you, I cook like a grandma. I am the heart of Middle Eastern [cuisine]. ... Anybody can take hummus out of a bucket and put it on your plate. I’m the real deal. I can teach viewers it’s not that hard to make these dishes. It’s very easy, and, actually, it’s not even expensive to make it.

Win or lose, what do you want to take away from this experience?

SL: I just want to show that no matter what you face in life, everybody deserves a second chance. ... For me to be here, it’s a second chapter. It’s surreal; it’s really beyond surreal.

What does the term "Food Network Star" represent to you?

SL: Food Network means I’m going to teach everybody —  an audience —  my culinary point of my Middle Eastern traditions, three generations down. ... If I can give that to the world, that is everything to me.

What's your greatest strength in the kitchen?

SL: Three generations down, Middle Eastern cuisine. My grandmother, my mother and me. I think my traditions, I’m old-school, I come from old-school, my family’s old-school. My whole life I’ve been cooking. Food is everything to us.

What is the strangest thing we'd find in your refrigerator right now?

SL: I had a head of a pork. ... My friends said: “Come on over. Let’s make a pig.” I’m like, “What?” So, I sat there, I marinated this thing, and I go: “Give me the head. My kids would freak.” My kids took after me —  they cook big time —  but for them to see a pig in the refrigerator freaked them out.

What do you consider to be your signature dish?

SL: My baked whole chicken with my seasonings and my saffron basmati rice with my ground filet with sauteed almond and raisins.

What dish or ingredient will you simply not eat?
SL: Eel.
What's your favorite guilty pleasure food?

SL: Baklava. I love baklava, and I make it from scratch. I don’t add as much butter and stuff like that.

What's one dish you have to have at your last supper?

SL: I have 100. We love grape leaves. ... The Middle Eastern roast. Big, fat lamb roast.

What do you want to say about yourself to fans watching at home?

SL: I live my life through faith and believing in myself, and it brought me here, so to me, no matter what you go through in life, I want everybody to believe in what their passion is, believe in yourself and believe in what your passion is, and never give up. Don’t ever stop believing.

What's the first dish aspiring cooks should master?

SL: I will give them an easy dish to master. I would probably say start off with chicken kebab or beef kebab or shrimp kebab or just regular basmati rice any kind of rice. Cut up chicken pieces and then you can go from there. It’s not that hard to prepare these dishes.

Mark your calendar for the premiere of Food Network Star on Sunday, June 4 at 9|8c.

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