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My Ackee Tree


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About the Author

SUZANNE BARR is one of Canada's most respected chefs with a flair for fresh comfort food and a passion for local community, food security, and advocacy for BIPOC and LGBTQ2+ communities. She was the owner of the popular restaurant Saturday Dinette, head chef of True True Diner, and is the founder of the Dinettes Program, which trains young, marginalized women in the kitchen. Suzanne lives in Toronto with her husband and son.


Praise for My Ackee Tree:

"Suzanne Barr is not only a brilliant chef but she's also a talented, honest storyteller. In My Ackee Tree she shares her amazing story, her love of food, music, family, adventure, and her journey to become a chef, wife, and mother. Her generous heart and soul is poured out on every page with such passion, emotion, humour, strength, and resilience. My Ackee Tree is inspiring and heartwarming-and such a gift."
-Chef Lynn Crawford, bestselling author of Farm to Chef and Hearth & Home

"Any good cook knows that layering one's seasonings is necessary to make a great dish, but in My Ackee Tree, Suzanne Barr shows how layers also make a life rich, full, and complex. Through the recounted conversations, meals, and recipes that thread together her upbringing, Suzanne brings food to life, and life to food. Communicating an inspiring and quintessentially Black experience of finding oneself on life's winding, rocky, joyful, not-so-straightforward road, her stories will ignite scent memories for anyone with roots in the Caribbean, and her recipes, when you cook them, will foster a love of that same world, no matter where you're from."
-David Zilber, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Noma Guide to Fermentation

"Part love letter, part coming of age tale, Suzanne Barr's stories in My Ackee Tree build a tapestry of will and hope. Driven by love for her mother, Barr is able to fulfill a promise to herself: she cares for her dying mother and discovers the gift of her native food. This is her personal homecoming. It nurtures her soul and spirit, and it's where she discovers her passion to be a chef. Bravo!"
-Alexander Smalls, author of Meals, Music, and Muses and Between Harlem and Heaven

"I loved Suzanne's memoir. It is a delightful mix of family, food, and love. It seems cliche to say it, but I really wish I could be one of her regulars, enjoying her signature dish of Big Chick Thighs and feeling the magic she and her husband Johnnie transmit to their diners."
-Kristina Gill, food editor and co-author of Tasting Rome

"To a fellow chef, Suzanne has always been an inspiration. Learning more about her story, and all her triumphs and all her trials, only inspires me more. Thoughtfully written and with delicious recipes, it's a must-read."
-Amanda Cohen, co-author of Dirt Candy

"I was instantly taken by Suzanne's good nature and her authenticity. Her cooking is all about robust flavours with a personal twist, but it's always solidly rooted in her family background. We've only had a small taste of what Suzanne is capable of in the kitchen and I look forward to watching that evolution."
-Mark McEwan, author of Great Food at Home and Mark McEwan Rustic Italian

"The strength and power of women in kitchens not only rests in our dedication to our craft, but in our stories and in our deep connections with our past and each other. Suzanne Barr has given us a beautiful glimpse into this strength, where we learn about how she built an inspiring career on the foundation of family and community. She is one of the most important voices in food today, not only because of what sets her apart, but because of how-through her skill and dedication, her sincere care and rich heart-she pulls us all together."
-Lisa Donovan, author of Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger

"[Suzanne Barr] recounts her experiences in the culinary world as a Black woman, battling stereotypes and challenging the status quo. With honesty and vulnerability, she shares her story of finding ways to keep the things she loves."

"Barr takes us along for a journey through the meals, recipes, and conversations of her upbringing and her path in becoming a chef, wife, and mother. Through all the twists and turns-from the ackee tree of her childhood home to NYC, Toronto, and beyond-it's full of soul, heart, humor, strength, and food inspired by Caribbean roots. Her passion for cooking permeates each chapter, and her zest for life is contagious."

"[My Ackee Tree] offer[s] up a series of captivating tales about [Barr's] journey as a chef along with a collection of recipes from throughout her life."
-Eat North

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