About Swoon My Spoon

Welcome to Swoon My Spoon. I’m Susan Loren-Taylor, a former software techie and culinary school graduate living in the Pacific Northwest. I’m passionate about every aspect of the sensory splendor involved in conceiving, preparing, serving, enjoying, and discussing food. As a child I spent many happy weekend afternoons baking with my mom (a wonderful cook!). I received my first cookbook – Betty Crocker’s New Boys and Girls Cook Book – at age 8.

Although I’ve always loved food, my life changed when I spent a week in the south of France cooking in Julia Child’s former home (her cat slept in my room), where she wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking with Simone Beck (yes, the book from the movie “Julie & Julia”). This was my epiphany moment that set me on a quest for culinary experiences that would consistently make me and my guests swoon with pleasure.

I quit my day job as an Instructional Design Consultant for Microsoft and rented an apartment in NYC where I took my first amateur course, Artisanal Bread Baking, at the French Culinary Institute (FCI). Hungry for more, I completed La Technique I & II, Food Writing, and Food and Wine Pairing. After consuming the amateur curriculum, I enrolled in the professional classic culinary arts program, graduating in 2006.

Culinary school honed my ability to apply classic French technique. It gave me a solid grounding in the science that makes the art possible. Good technique makes it much easier to prepare almost any dish. I learned to appreciate the individual components of a dish and to treat each one as a star attraction, making the compilation a harmonious and transcendent taste experience.

Cafe garden tableSince graduating from the FCI, I’ve done food and prop styling on projects led by restaurant and TV chefs, Tyler Florence and Michael Chiarello (Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello for Food Network), and worked on production for Epicurious.com and PBS (Chef Story).

Although Julia remains my supreme inspiration, I’ve learned a tremendous amount from David Lebovitz, Dorie Greenspan, and the “Chef In the Hat,” Thierry Rautureau. David and Dorie both get right to the essence of what’s important to help cooks be more successful. Thierry, a dear friend and James Beard award-winning chef, has inspired me to make food refined and beautiful, but still accessible. I especially admire the warm family-like atmosphere he creates for his staff and customers at Rover’s and Luc, his restaurants in Seattle.

Beyond the sensual pleasure, the real magic of food is bringing people together. Food is a catalyst for friendship and love. I love to cook with friends and create a great meal that becomes more than the sum of its parts. As we dine we talk about the food we are enjoying, about previous wonderful meals, or the wonders we will create next.

Thank you for stopping by Swoon My Spoon. Subscribe by e-mail to never miss a blog post, and follow me on  Twitter and Pinterest. Contact me at susan {at} swoonmyspoon [dot] com