Let's Bench Spotlight: Adeena Sussman

Let's Bench Spotlight Series

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Adeena Sussman divides her time between Tel Aviv and New York and is writing an Israeli cookbook to be published by Avery Books in 2019. She is also the author of Tahini, and co-author of ten cookbooks including the New York Times #1 best-selling Cravings by Chrissy Teigen and its upcoming sequel.

How long have you been working as a food author/blogger?

I have been working in the food world for almost twenty years! I have worked for a food magazine - both as an editor and writer, a cooking instructor, a brand ambassador, a food product developer, a caterer, a food stylist, and a personal chef. I think that I have tried everything! Not all of it was for me but I am so glad I dipped my toe in every pool before finding my comfort zone as a cookbook author and co-author.

Before my culinary career, I was a TV programmer at Channel 2 back when one of its franchisees, Tel Ad, was based in the Jerusalem Theater! I used to have a joke that I got to shop for TV shows and and watch TV for a living!


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Spring Salad with Herbs and Cabbage



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Courtesy


What inspired you to enter the culinary world as a writer?

I view food as a great way to break down cultural barriers and educate myself about other cultures. I have always been a passionate home cook and I feel so lucky that I was able to do what I love for a career. I don't take any of it for granted! In Israel, where there are so many ethnic and religious groups living in close quarters, I love breaking bread with people who might have previously been strangers and making new friends over a meal.

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Chicken with Stone Fruit


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Pickled Lemon


What is the best part about working in your industry?

The best part of my job is having the ability to be creative every day; to feed other people (my favorite thing in the world!); to travel and explore through the lens of food. I also love collaborating, and by taking on new cookbook co-authorships every year I meet amazing new people and learn from them and their unique perspectives.


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Challah


What is something that people might not know about the day-to-day duties of a food author?

A lot of my work is about keeping my ego in check, staying in a place of learning, curiosity, and humility, and seeing things through the eyes of others. Also, knowing that even though there may be tons of food in the fridge there isn't necessarily something ready for dinner! Also, not everything I eat is exotic. I like food routines in the morning so I pretty much have roasted tomatoes, scrambled eggs, chives, feta, and coffee every day. Boring? Maybe. But it allows me to keep my mind clear so I may focus on writing, which I am best at before 10 AM.


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Fabulous Flavors of Chanukah Cooking Demo with Adeena Sussman at Zabar's


What is unique about being a food author and blogger in Israel?

There is huge excitement and interest in Israeli food right now so it is fun to be part of something people are passionate and curious about. I love feeling like an ambassador for this little place and its multifaceted food world. People here are so open, I get invited into people's homes to learn their dishes and to me, that is the greatest privilege and extension of hospitality there is. Also, the readily available access to incredible fresh seasonal produce never gets old...


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Courtesy


Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about what you do?

I have co-authored several New York Times best-selling cookbooks, including Cravings by Chrissy Teigen and The Sprinkles Baking Book with Candace Nelson. My first solo cookbook, Sababa: Fresh Israeli Cooking, comes out next spring and I am PUMPED!!!


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Adeena in her Tel Aviv kitchen