Question: I love food and love to make my own gifts, how can I combine the two?
Chef Susie: Any gift of food is a great idea. When you give a prepared or baked dish I recommend including care cards like cooking, warming or freezing instructions. For baked goods, give them in a Calphalon piece they’ll use again. And every time they do, they will think of the gift you made.
Question: I have a full calendar this holiday season, what can I make to bring to parties that is both easy and crowd-pleasing?
Chef Susie: In a word, cupcakes! Cupcakes are so much fun and are ready to go. Depending on how you decorate them, they can be festive, seasonal, even sophisticated. Plus, they appeal to everyone from little kids to adults.
Question: How can I continue to improve my culinary skills at home?
Chef Susie: Practice, practice, practice. As with anything, before it becomes second nature or boring routine there is a stage of repetition. For example, if you want to sharpen your knife skills, make things like vegetable soups, stir-frys, or pesto where the cut is not important but the repetition of cutting is. Once you have mastered certain skills, you have more time for creativity.
Question: What is a thoughtful culinary gift?
Chef Susie: Consider their lifestyle and skill level. If they are a more advanced cook, I recommend the Katana Series 8 Piece Cutlery Set. Busy lifestyle? A beautiful piece of nonstick cookware is always a good bet. Try the Calphalon Unison Nonstick 8 Qt. Stock Pot with Sear Nonstick. It has great style and can be put in the dishwasher too!
Susie Reading, Calphalon Culinary Center, Toronto
After completing her culinary degree and a 3-year classical apprenticeship at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Susie Reading moved through the ranks as First Cook, Chef de Partie, Junior Sous Chef, and then Sous Chef.
While at the Royal York Hotel, she began catering private functions in 1998. Susie then took on a role at George Brown College's School of Hospitality, as well as instructing at various cooking schools in Toronto. In 2003, she became a part-time Chef Instructor at The Calphalon Culinary Center and in September 2004, she joined The Calphalon Culinary Center as a full-time Executive Chef.