James Beard Award recipient, Chef Allen Susser, owner of the acclaimed Chef Allen's has asked Chefs across the world to join him in his effort to gather relief funds to help the victims of the Tsunami and Hurricane in Japan.
He is no stranger to helping in times of dire need. Back in 1992, Chef Allen hosted a Hurricane Andrew relief effort. This was his first disaster relief: organizing a chef effort that raised money for food and water for the victims of the hurricane that struck Miami. Again after hurricane Katrina he followed up on several initiatives to help the people of New Orleans and in particular the 9th ward - which was worst hit. This past year Susser helped with efforts to raise money for the victims of the earthquake that devastated Haiti.
A longtime chairman of Taste of the Nation/Share Our Strength, Susser has helped raise millions for South Florida's needy and plans to bring his charitable efforts to an new level with the Culinary Messengers.
Susser rose to prominence in 1986, when he opened his eponymous Aventura restaurant showcasing fresh, regional ingredients and helped put South Florida on the culinary map. Last year, in harmony with the times, he modified the landmark restaurant's concept; creating Chef Allen's Seafood Grill, a more accessible, local-friendly restaurant and continued to garner rave reviews. In 2008, he was named consulting chef for Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia and for Chef Allen's To Go at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport.
Allen Susser's personal culinary viewpoint was established in 1986, when he opened his groundbreaking Miami restaurant, Chef Allen's. The New York Times called Allen and his palm tree cuisine, the "Ponce De Leon of New Florida cooking." The restaurant became a major dining destination, attracting food and wine aficionados from all over the world. Along the way, he has garnered numerous awards.
In 1991, Food & Wine magazine named Allen "One of the 10 Best New Chefs in America." He was a recipient of the coveted James Beard Award as Best Chef in the Southeast, in 1994. In 1997 and again in 1999, Chef Allen's received a "Top Table" award from Gourmet magazine. Chef Allen's has been the recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, from 1989 - 2008; and from 2002-2006, the restaurant was rated #1 for cuisine in Miami in Zagat's. From 1992-2008, the restaurant received the prestigious Four Diamond Award of Excellence from AAA. Chef Allen has been featured in Bon Appetit, the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and Food Arts, among many others. Allen has been a frequent guest on NBC Today, the CBS Early Show, PBS and the Food Network.
A top chef for more than two decades, he's also known as a chef with a charitable mission, unending energy and a big heart. In 2004, Chef Allen received the FIU President's Award for community service. From 1987 to the present, Chef Allen has been chairman of Share Our Strength/Taste of the Nation (SOS/TON); in 2006, the organization named him "Chef of the Year." In 2009 he was named Humanitarian of the year. He's also an active board member of the Feeding South Florida, which helps the SOS/TON distribute food to fight childhood hunger.
Active in many culinary organizations that educate the community and hold the industry to the highest of standards, Allen is a member of the Advisory Board of the James Beard Foundation, and a member of the national and local boards of the American Institute of Food & Wine.
He served as President of the Miami chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and is a member of the Florida Commissioner's Seafood and Aquaculture Committee. He's been the spokesperson for the National Mango Board for the past six years, and previously served as chef consultant for American Airlines, KitchenAid, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Celebrity Cruises, McCormick Spice, and Sunkist.
A food enthusiast since his childhood in Manhattan, Susser began his culinary journey by earning degrees from New York City Tech, Florida International University and Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. He worked at the Bristol Hotel in Paris, the original Le Cirque in New York as well as Turnberry Isle Resort in Aventura.
A talented writer, he is the author of New World Cuisine and Cookery (Doubleday, 1995), The Great Citrus Book (Ten Speed Press, 1997) and The Great Mango Book, (Ten Speed Press, 2001). He publishes a monthly e-newsletter Savvy at www.chefallens.com