Suzanne Goin has been a woman with a culinary mission since she was in high school. She began her culinary career at the legendary Ma Maison in her native Los Angeles. By the time she graduated from Brown University, she had worked at LA’s L’Orangerie, Al Forno in Providence, and the Roux Brothers’ Le Mazarin in London. This isn’t your average college grad resume, to be sure.
After graduation, she landed a position at Chez Panisse, working under Alice Waters, who became her mentor. Two years later, she followed her dream of working in France at Didier Oudill’s two-star Pain Adour et Fantastie, Alain Passard’s three-star L’Arpège, and Patisserie Christian Pottier.
Goin worked in Boston for two years under chefs Jody Adams and Todd English. In her first head chef position, Goin was named “Best Creative Chef” by Boston Magazine. In 1996, she returned to Los Angeles and quickly rose to executive chef at Campanile.
In 1998, she partnered with Caroline Styne to open Lucques. The following year Goin was named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs. More accolades followed as Gourmet magazine named Lucques one of America’s Best Restaurants, and in 2002, the Los Angeles Times awarded Lucques three stars.
In December 2002, Goin and Styne opened their second restaurant, A.O.C., where the concept of small plates and fifty wines by the glass was born out of their shared passion for going out and sampling a variety of appetizers and intriguing wines. The Los Angeles Times gave A.O.C. three stars and the restaurant received rave reviews in numerous publications.
Goin and her husband, fellow chef David Lentz, opened a casual seafood restaurant THE HUNGRY CAT in 2005. Two years later, they opened a second location in Santa Barbara. Goin and Styne’s newest restaurant, Tavern, is their most ambitious project yet. Opened in May 2009, it offers a fine dining restaurant open all day along with The Larder, which has gourmet prepared foods and packaged goods.
Goin was honored by the James Beard Foundation in 2006 as Best Chef: California and her cookbook Sunday Suppers at Lucques won Best Cookbook from a Professional Viewpoint. In 2008 and 2009 she was nominated for the national Outstanding Chef Award.