The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Chef Suzi Curtis: Upstate NY Diner Owner Turned Delta Upsilon Campus Chef

Printed with permission of Suzi Curtis

Suzi Curtis has served as the chef of Delta Upsilon (DU) at Colgate University for the past four years, but her path to this point in her profession has been an interesting one. Curtis has had a long career in the food industry and has learned through experience how to effectively operate a large kitchen and feed many people quickly.

“I have worked in [the] front of the house of restaurants my whole life, waiting tables and tending [bars] all through college,” Curtis said. 

An Upstate New York native, Curtis has lived nearby for most of her life and enjoys what the region has to offer. 

“I like the rural mesh of it. I am very close to anything I could need, but I’ve also got five acres of land and chickens,” Curtis said.

After finishing college, she decided to return to the restaurant industry, working for a family-owned restaurant. She then used the knowledge acquired from her years of experience to open her own diner, where she did all of the cooking. Suzi’s Place was located in Bouckville, N.Y., and was just a ten-minute drive from campus. During her time owning the restaurant, she became more acquainted with the students of Colgate University. 

Curtis recalled 2020, when students were encouraged to stay on campus during spring break to limit exposure to COVID-19.

“We were jam-packed at the diner that entire week — there were just Colgate kids wall to wall,” Curtis said.

The last week that Curtis’ diner was open was the last week students were on campus before getting sent home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After students returned to campus, Curtis began working in Delta Upsilon. Her first few months on the job looked very different than they do today, with every meal needing to be packaged for each individual, as opposed to the larger batches of food she makes today. After working in so many different positions in the food service industry, her current position has many perks that she enjoys.

“I like being here and the flexibility that [my job] allows me in my life,” Curtis said.

She emphasized that working as a chef at DU allows her to spend more time with her family compared to when she was running an entire diner.

“We have two kids, so being able to get to their games and different events for them is important,” Curtis said. “If they’re sick and I’ve got to be with my kids, I can. It’s not like a restaurant that I own or being the only waitress at a restaurant that has to be there.”

Her love of cooking has been evident throughout her career. When asked about any special dishes she enjoys making, Curtis described the process of making braciole, an Italian-inspired dish. 

“It’s a steak that you pound out thin, and then you make a filling with all kinds of fresh herbs, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese,” Curtis said. “Then you put that in the steak and roll it up. And then you slow cook it in red sauce.”

Outside of the kitchen, Curtis enjoys working out, with hot yoga being a particular favorite. She has both a sauna and cold plunge at her house that she and her family frequently use. Curtis also enjoys travel and her visits to Savannah, Ga., as well as the West Coast or Florida to escape the bitter cold of Upstate New York.

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