Chefs on Mother’s Day

Chefs, Meet

Chefs on Mother's Day

In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked some of our favorite chefs about their favorite ways to celebrate the holiday, with both their kids and their own mothers. Read on to hear what they had to say about their family traditions, most memorable childhood meals, and the most important kitchen lessons they’ve learned from Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!



Suzanne Goin is the chef and owner of Lucques, A.O.C., TavernThe Larder at Maple Drive, and Lucques/A.O.C. Catering in Los Angeles.


How do you celebrate Mother’s Day? 

Honestly, I’m often working on Mother’s Day because it’s a very busy restaurant day, but my sister and I always do something with my mom either that weekend or sometimes the Sunday before or after. We usually cook a big brunch, sit outside and have all the grandkids running around. When I was little, Jessica (my sister and now our catering director) and I used to write a long menu and decorate the breakfast room table in a attempt to transform it into a “restaurant.” My mom would always order what she knew we had on hand while my dad would order the most difficult most random thing we had put on the menu just to test us or teach us a lesson!


Suzanne Goin

What’s your favorite thing to cook with your mom? With your kids?

Ever since I became a professional cook my mom has worked hard to make sure I never bear the brunt of all the family cooking, especially on holidays. So it’s funny, we don’t really cook together: she makes me bagels with melted cheddar in the middle of crazy afternoons at her house with all the kids — and she will always make me breakfast! She is a great cook. Actually, she cooked for me quite a bit when I was pregnant with my twins and ordered off my feet!


My favorite thing to cook with my kids is salad. They love prepping all the veggies, and my daughter Alex makes the dressing. They are really into using knives (for better or for worse!) and take great pride in having made something for the family to eat.


What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your mom in the kitchen?

The time actually cooking in the kitchen is some of the best family time you will ever have. I really cherish those memories, and they made me who I am today.


Max & Eli Sussman



Max and Eli Sussman are the authors of This Is a Cookbook: Recipes for Real Life. Max is the chef de cuisine at Roberta’s in Brooklyn, New York, and Eli works as a line cook at Mile End Delicatessen in Brooklyn.


How do you celebrate Mother’s Day? Any traditions?

We always go to our aunt and uncle’s house. They live on a lake, and we hang out and grill. We pray it’s not raining (as it often does in Michigan) and all the cousins go swimming or just play around in the backyard.


What was your favorite childhood meal?

For Friday night dinner our mom often made London Broil. I love red meat, and not only was it good the night of, but it made a crazy good steak sandwich the next day.


What’s your favorite thing to cook with your mom?

It was a family tradition to make gefilte fish for Passover (as you can see from the picture above). It always made the house smell like fish, but as we look back it was a great tradition that my mom and her sisters still carry on with each year.


What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from your mom in the kitchen?

From watching her cook, we know that our mom likes to listen to music pretty loud, sing along even louder, and really have a fun time. It was never really a chore for her to cook. Our mom is an artist, so maybe she saw it as another creative outlet to make something out of a group of separate ingredients.


To bring a cohesive dinner together out of a bunch of unrelated items is what makes cooking so interesting and different every time. We have very distinct memories of turning the corner into the kitchen and seeing our mom cooking away, jamming out to K.D. Lang and Annie Lennox. So cooking was always fun in our house — always about hanging out in the kitchen and just letting loose.


Traci des Jardins


Traci des Jardins


Traci des Jardins is the chef and owner of Jardinière and Mijita Cocina Mexicana in San Francisco. She is also the chef and partner at Public House and Manzanita.


How do you celebrate Mother’s Day? 

I often spend Mother’s Day with my own mother — I usually make a nice meal for the family to share.


What was your favorite childhood meal?

My dad’s barbecue chicken.


What’s your favorite thing to cook with your son?

Carnitas tacos.


What’s the most important lesson you’ve tried to teach him in the kitchen?

To start with good ingredients.


The Cooks' Atelier



Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini are the founders of The Cook’s Atelier, a boutique cooking school in Beaune, Burgundy. Marjorie is the chef, and Kendall is the wine authority.


How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day has always been special, but it is especially sweet now that Kendall has her own little one, Luc. We usually enjoy a nice lunch as a family and there is always plenty chilled champagne!


What was your favorite childhood meal?

Marjorie:  Fried chicken made in my grandmother’s cast-iron skillet and for dessert, peach pie. We still have the skillet and use it in our cooking classes.


Kendall: A casual summer lunch with Niçoise salad. It’s still my favorite today!


What’s your favorite thing to cook together?

We love to make confiture in our vintage French copper confiture pan. We have raspberries and strawberries in our garden at Kendall’s house, and in the height of the season we usually are making jam at least once a week.


What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from each other in the kitchen?

Marjorie: Since we cook together almost every day, I’ve really learned to enjoy the way that we work together as a team. We’ve always enjoyed being in the kitchen together, but since we founded The Cook’s Atelier it has been especially rewarding.


Kendall: For me, I’ve learned from my mom to enjoy the process of cooking and the importance of keeping it simple and letting the ingredients speak for themselves. As a mother of a young family, it it is important to me for all of us to sit down every night to enjoy dinner together.


Bryan Voltaggio



Bryan Voltaggio is the chef and founder of VOLT restaurant in Frederick, Maryland. He was also a finalist on the sixth season of Bravo TV’s Top Chef.


How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

I usually work on Mother’s Day, so we will try to celebrate another day of the week. I try to bring home flowers for my wife and always tell my mom how much I love her.


What was your favorite childhood meal?

My favorite childhood meal was Mom’s homemade spaghetti. I just couldn’t wait to eat it and I would dunk bread in it. I also loved her Shake n’ Bake pork chops and mac and cheese, and any one of her many casseroles.


What’s your favorite thing to cook with your mom?

We don’t get the chance to cook together all that much, as my mother lives in Florida, but when we are together for the holidays I love cooking the big dinners with her.


What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your mom in the kitchen?

Clean as you go.


Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton


Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton are the cooks behind the Canal House, a workshop devoted to good ideas and good work in the world of food. Every day they cook, write and photograph in their New Jersey studio alongside a historic canal for their cookbook series Canal House Cooking.


Breakfast in bed is a longstanding Mother’s Day tradition for both of us. We made breakfasts for our mothers and our daughters have made them for us. It always involves a bed tray or bed table, usually a vase of flowers picked from the spring garden, and a pretty little breakfast set just for such an occasion. Depending on the age of the young cooks, the menus have included fried eggs prepared in an Easy-Bake Oven, burnt crispy on the edges and raw in the center, to perfectly prepared eggs benedict. But the best part seems to always be when everyone piles onto the bed— it’s the happiest Mother’s Day present of all.


2 comments about “Chefs on Mother’s Day

  1. The Kitchen: Heart of the Home | seeking life

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