The Flatiron Room

Chef Susan Burdian, the executive chef at The Flatiron Room, is a native New Yorker and a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute. Over the past decade, she has cooked all over the New York metro area, learning and absorbing the nuances of diverse cuisines such as Southeast Asian, rustic, farm-to-table, Mexican barbecue and even Filipino. She pretty much knows it all. Simultaneously, as a trained vegan/vegetarian chef, Burdian prides herself on creating and offering on all her menus, vegan dishes that would satisfy any meat-eater.

Cooking at The Flatiron Room

Chef Burdian took the role as Executive Chef at The Flatiron Room in 2012, and has created a menu to compliment the impressive collection of over 1000 whiskeys from around the world. She is winning over whiskey enthusiasts and foodies alike with dishes like sticky-sweet slow-braised short ribs with mixed berry BBQ sauce, a smokey, sweet & spicy Mac & Cheese that has garnered it’s own cult following.

How would you describe your style of cooking?

My style is very New York because it’s so eclectic.

Tell me about your experiences as an Executive Chef in New York.

My first gig in was at a small place in Astoria. In 2010, I opened Zuzies, which was a bit of an upscale casual comfort food type of pop-up kitchen. It was a chance for me to practice, throw some idea out for the public, and see their response. I had a great time.

And since 2010, I’ve been here at the Flatiron Room. I can’t believe it’s already been 3 years. It’s still exciting. I designed the menu, the kitchen, everything. It was a labor of love. And responses have been great.

If you could choose to dine with anyone who would it be?

Other than my beautiful family & friends.. I’ve actually got a list of people who I’d love to cook for, so to dine with would be some next-level-sh*t, haha. At the top of that list would be Gloria Steinem, Mohammed Ali, Oprah. From the culinary world; Jean George Vongerichten, Barbara Lynch, Michelle Bernstein, Jose Andres, Marcus Samuelsson, Julieta Ballesteros, Zak Pelaccio, Edward Lee, Stephanie Izard, and without a doubt, Anthony Bourdain.

I started a blog on my website dedicated to cooking for people who inspire me. The first & only current entry is about an artist I have admired for the last decade, Raul Midon. I started out just trying to find out what his favorite food was, and by some twist of fate actually got to meet the man, and cook for him, and befriend him & his wife. The paella on this menu is actually inspired by him!

What did you like to eat most as a kid?

I come from a large family of 7 kids, and my mother cooked family almost every night. She had a varied repertoire, but without question my favorite dinner was always her gravy & meatballs, which she learned from my grandmother. When I left for college and found myself desperate for good home cooking, that was the first thing I learned to make. She gave me the recipe over the phone, and it probably took me a year to get it right, but oh my god did I find comfort & happiness in that dish. Of course, nobody makes gravy & meatballs better than your Italian mom, right? That is true for me to this day.

At the moment, what is your favorite ingredient to work with?

Last year was all about Nduja, a spicy, spreadable Italian pork sausage. This year I’ve done a complete 180 and am crazy about Sea Beans! Sea Beans are a dramatic looking succulent sometimes referred to as Glasswarts. Salty, crunchy, and sexy, I love em! They are making their first appearance on my menu this Spring.

If you had not gone the culinary route, what would you have done?

I had another career before this as an event producer and club promoter. I did that for 17 years, and was pretty good at it. Most of the time I even enjoyed it ;). But I was always dreaming of being a chef/restaurateur along the way. And now that I’m making some headway in this career I have so much I want to experience, accomplish, manifest. Every once in a while though, I think about being a teacher, history or political science. Maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to have a 3rd career in this life.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

If forced to choose, I’d like to eat a bowl of Thai Pad Kee Mao (drunken noodles) every day for the rest of my life.. spicy & satisfying!

For more information on The Flatiron Room check out their website

 

 

 

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About The Author

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Healthy Eater

Southern girl at heart, minus the fried food. Fresh on the NY food scene, hungry for a healthy way to live in this food capital.