Alumna Suzanne Mokhtar
Alumna Suzanne Mokhtar graduated from Le Cordon Bleu London with a Grand Diplôme® in 2013. She has gone on to work as a recipe developer, culinary consultant, teacher, F&B developer, and is the owner and founder of a unique catering service, à la Suzanne Catering Company, and cookery school, à la Suzanne Culinary School.
Suzanne started cooking young, learning from her Syrian mother and grandmother, which sparked a passion in her. She decided to turn her passion into a career by enrolling at Le Cordon Bleu after first completing her studies at the Culinary Training Centre in her native Egypt.
After completing her Grand Diplôme®, Suzanne became a brand ambassador for the authentic pasta brand Barilla, joining the Barilla Academy in Parma, Italy, has several years’ experience as a chef presenter on television, and now runs her own catering company and culinary school.
What drove you to study the Culinary Arts?
"From when I was a little girl I read a lot about food, experimented in my family’s kitchen and always had the passion to learn everything about the culinary arts that I can get my hands on. It has always been my dream to study the culinary arts, so the moment I graduated from university I knew it was the right time to pursue the culinary career that I was always looking up for.
I was raised in a family where food was the highlight of any gathering and not just a routine. My whole family cooks and get into kitchen as a lifestyle. As being raised with Levantine roots my mom and grandma were real mentors to me and the Levantine cuisine is so rich and interesting. My dad has played a very important role in supporting me to learn by always providing me with up to date culinary books and pushed my limits by trusting and believing in me.
Back then I realized that I had it all; passion, talent, will and consistency. I really wanted to have all the knowledge and education that would lead me to a professional chef career, so I was keen to raise my culinary knowledge and get my degree in the culinary world, this was my dream that I put to a target that I worked for."
Why did you choose to go to Le Cordon Bleu London?
"Throughout my university years I was looking for the best culinary school out there. I didn’t know someone personally who studied at Le Cordon Bleu at the time, but the school’s reputation was over everything, and being in several countries made things so much easier. I had the chance to study at Le Cordon Bleu in the great city of London and it was all worth it."
How did the knowledge gained from the Grand Diplôme® help your career?
"I gained a lot, not only knowledge but also confidence, organization and discipline as well. These three essentials changed my life in the kitchen, I became so much more organized in terms of ideas and inspiration that turned to practical life. I managed to gain knowledge in the fields of both Cuisine and Pastry by studying the Grand Diplôme®, and by gaining this knowledge I managed to work in diﬀerent fields in the culinary world as an instructor which needs a massive amount of knowledge, as a consultant chef in which creating diﬀerent unique and outside the box recipes needed much knowledge in order to stand out in a competitive career. I also worked as a TV chef, learning all the skills and getting all the knowledge made my camera appearance and standing so easy and confident. I’ve been able to work professionally and the fact that I’m shooting episodes and movies showing people skills and recipes live turned out to be one of my favourite things."
What would you say is your most valuable learning experience so far?
"Becoming a certified Le Cordon Bleu trained chef still holds a special place in my heart, that I am always proud to mention. The part of my career I think is the most valuable aside from studying and gaining knowledge at Le Cordon Bleu London is through consultancy, as I meet restaurant owners with diﬀerent ideas. I’m always challenged to provide unique experience for their customers. Being in diﬀerent kitchens and creating new concepts every time is a special learning experience. I learned to live with a challenge, and I learned from people’s success stories as well as their failures."
Was it always your goal to become a chef?
"Yes, I never imagined being anything else but a professional chef who would always want to make people fall in love with food, the art of cooking and baking. It has always been my dream to pass my knowledge and culinary experience over and be an inspiration to anyone who wishes to pursue the chef career but have doubts and worries on how and where to start."
What are the best and most challenging aspects of starting your own business?
"Starting your own business is always full of challenges, excitement and risks. You always look up to achieve the ultimate success in everything. You need to face diﬀerent challenges to be out there and shine as well as taking some calculated risks in order to provide your business with a proper position in the market so it’s never easy but always exciting."
What would you say the best thing is about being a chef?
"Being a chef is a job that requires constant learning, creativity and physical activity, so it works on both parts of the brain which is why I love this job. You need to be an optimistic active person to succeed out there, it’s always a challenging, satisfying job. You get to succeed in your career while at the same time making everyone around you happy and satisfied by your creations and innovative recipes."
What advice would you give someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
"I would always advise them to start by reading, exploring and gaining knowledge as much as they can. Once you have the knowledge and talent it’s easy to build up your skills and develop a professional career. I always recommend studying culinary arts as when you have knowledge, learned professional skills and techniques, it will provide you with more confidence in the kitchen and lead you to creating new creative recipes as well as providing you with work stamina."
What does Le cordon bleu represent for you in one word or sentence?
"Where it has all started professionally."
What does your average day look like?
"My days are diﬀerent due to my diﬀerent scope of work but all fall into the same rhythm as I work in diﬀerent culinary fields. I’m always living a new experience daily. I have days where I would wake up putting my creativity on top and start creating recipes and menus for restaurant businesses or planning an innovative catering menu, other days I wake up with a big motivation for planning a unique outstanding experience for my students to provide them with as much knowledge and skills as I can."
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
"To keep hold of diﬀerent scopes of work as a professional and being a full-time mother and wife at the same time."
What inspires you every day?
"My daily inspiration comes from my endless thinking about creating, learning and developing new recipes. Every day is diﬀerent, I look forward to learning something new that would add to my career whether it’s knowledge or it’s a new business to develop or it can be new recipes to share with the people who appreciate my work."
What part of your role are you most passionate about?
"Researching and creating new concepts in the culinary field."
Finally what are your plans for the future or any final words?
"I have been passionate about this career since I was a young girl. I’ve been researching, learning and practicing for a good period of time that makes me believe that I still have a lot more to accomplish. Creating and opening a restaurant that reveals my journey and allows me to share my experiences with people is sure to be my future plan but before this all takes place, I’m so passionate to share my knowledge that I have learned over the years through teaching, consultancy and entertainment demonstrations on my blog."
Inspired by Suzanne's journey? Find out more about our Grande Diplôme®, or visit our programmes page to view the full list of courses available to start your culinary journey today.