In Newswhistle’s weekly question-and-answer series, Clara Morgan speaks with some of the world’s top influencers and finds out more about their lives and careers.
This week, Clara speaks with pastry chef and business owner, Susan Allan Block, who recently launched her New York-based company, Vendome Pastry, which specializes in hand-crafted, gourmet tarts.
After 25 years of working in investment banking, sales and real estate in New York, Susan Allan Block followed her life-long dream to become a pastry chef. After working at the famed “Le Cirque” restaurant in New York, she moved to Paris to study classic French pastry techniques. She has also worked for Potel e Chabot, one of the oldest and largest catering companies in France, and L’Espadon, the Ritz Hotel’s Two Michelin Starred restaurant.
Susan is married to media mogul Allan James Block, the principal of Block Communications Inc., which owns the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette and the Toledo Blade. She resides in Toledo with her family.
For more information, visit: www.vendomepastry.com/
1. If you could meet anyone in the world, who do you want to meet? And why?
Dalai Lama – his messages of peace and Buddhist philosophies resonate with me.
2. Who influences your personal style?
For me it’s more “what” influences my personal style, and that would be world travel. I’m inspired by what I see on the street and then go home and make it my own.
3. Proudest career moment?
Starting Vendome Pastry just before Thanksgiving and watching it take off more quickly than I could have ever imagined.
4. If you were not a pastry chef/business owner, what would you want to be?
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Owning my own Vendome Pastry production facility with several locations in Toledo and perhaps outside of OH as well as shipping all over the U.S.
6. Any advice for others entering your profession?
Be prepared to work very hard – working in a kitchen is physical labor! Travel, intern or apprentice in a foreign country, eat, taste and immerse yourself in your craft.
7. Best international dining experience you’ve ever had?
My husband Allan and I didn’t miss a seasonal menu at Restaurant Le Meurice in Paris for four years while we were dating, when Yannick Alleno was still the head chef. We loved his “chicken prepared four ways, for two, with truffles” – I miss it……
8. Favorite vacation spot and hotel?
The Sirenuse Hotel, Positano. It’s so chic and relaxing. We love everything about it!
9. Three items that can always be found in your handbag?
iPhone, lipstick, and Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve because my hands go to battle in the kitchen every day.
10. What song can you listen to on repeat?
Kid Rock, “All Summer Long” – it makes me want to dance!
Image Courtesy of Marline / Shutterstock.com