About Susan Spungen
Susan Spungen – cook, food stylist, recipe developer, editor and author – epitomizes the modern cook. What ties these roles together, besides an immersion in the world of food, is her distinctive mix of simplicity and high-definition style. Moving from background to forefront in the food world, Spungen has helped redefine the way American cooks approach the home kitchen.
Spungen began her cooking career at the Commissary, a legend in its time in Philadelphia. The restaurant’s repertoire of globe-trotting dishes were a gastronomic revelation for the 17-year-old, and she found herself falling in love with food.
From co-workers at the Commissary, and subsequent restaurant jobs, she absorbed restaurant lore, techniques, recipes and the wisdom of classical training. Her culinary talents were validated when, in 1990, renowned restaurateur Pino Luongo, preparing to open Coco Pazzo, insisted she join his team as Pastry Chef. Confirmation of his instinct for talent and Spungen’s abilities came shortly after, when the Upper East Side Tuscan restaurant received three stars from The New York Times.
In 1991, Spungen joined a fledgling magazine, Martha Stewart Living, as founding food editor and was charged with creating a test kitchen and food department. In the beginning, she did everything: conceived, developed and tested recipes, styled the recipes for photo shoots, then explained the total concept to readers. The position was a perfect pairing of Spungen’s love of food and clear artistic vision. Her artistic eye and penchant for quiet elegance became the defining factor in the much-emulated, bright, clean look of the Martha Stewart brand.
As the company grew, Spungen amassed a team that created all food content across all platforms at MSLO. Spungen co-authored the award-winning bestseller Martha Stewart’s Hors D’Oeuvres Handbook and helped launch the first Martha Stewart all- food title Everyday Food. She appeared regularly on Martha Stewart Living TV and helped create a line of kitchenware for K-Mart. Her bi-monthly column, “Easy Entertaining”, appeared in Martha Stewart Living through 2004 and was filled with practical tips on how to entertain and impress without stress.
Spungen’s 2005 cookbook, RECIPES: A Collection for the Modern Cook, won an IACP Award in 2006 for Best General Cookbook.
Recently, Spungen has been keeping very busy in the film world, as food becomes an increasingly popular and important subject in Hollywood. Susan’s first foray into feature films was as the Culinary Consultant and Food Stylist on the popular Julie & Julia, where she did everything from consult with director Nora Ephron about what food should appear in the film, to training Amy Adams and Meryl Streep how to cook onscreen, to making it all look delicious. Since then, she has been the Food Stylist on the hit movies It’s Complicated, starring Meryl Streep and directed by Nancy Meyers and Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts and directed by Ryan Murphy of Glee fame. She just completed work as food stylist on Jason Reitman’s new film, Labor Day, due out in fall of 2013, where she was charged with the responsibility of creating “The Greatest Pie-making Scene in Cinema History”, and trained actors Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet how to make pie onscreen.
Spungen is in demand as a contributor to cookbooks and magazines. She contributes both her food styling and recipe creation skills to a variety of magazines including Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, O the Oprah Magazine, and More Magazine where she is a Contributing Food Editor. She has also appeared on national morning shows such as Today, CBS this Morning, and Fox & Friends. She has also appeared on Foodography, on the Cooking Channel. A sought after guest and contributor, Spungen’s emphasis is on cooking as an art form, a communal pleasure, and an immensely satisfying personal achievement.