About the Author

susan-ely-author-holidazedThe grandchild of Italian immigrants and North Carolina tobacco sharecroppers, Susan describes herself as being half polenta and red wine and half grits and sweet tea; cooking and sharing life around the dining table is the only time she feels truly connected.

Susan has been stirring the pot and scraping the batter out of the bowl ever since she could reach the stove.

Largely self-taught (there was no Food TV in the sixties) and with three children to cook for, she learned early on how to take advantage of a sale on whole chickens: cut them up yourself, make chicken stock out of the backs and necks, bone the breasts for a company meal, grill the legs and thighs and save the wings until you have enough for a party.

Her professional culinary experience includes operating “The Dainty Morsel,” a home-based bakery specializing in European-style desserts, managing a New York-style deli, recipe development, and setting up and running a Gourmet to Go retail establishment for Very Vera, a nationally recognized caterer and mail-order supplier of authentic Southern confections.

In 2005, Susan kicked off her chef clogs for good and decided to pursue her love of writing rather than spend all day over a hot stove. Two years later she was a finalist for the Apicius Scholarship, an award given by The Symposium for Professional Food Writers at The Greenbrier.

Susan has written about food and hospitality for lifestyle and business magazines in the Raleigh and Pinehurst area and volunteered as a chef for Operation Frontline, where she taught healthy cooking classes for disadvantaged teens. As a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries, she travels throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, encouraging women to “Leave the Safety and Security of their Shells.”

Her blog, The Shared Table, http://thesharedtable.com is a platform for sharing her passion for hospitality in both the practical and spiritual.

Susan recently transformed her unused formal living room into an oversized “dining hall,” where she hosts communal dining events at her ten-foot long farm table.

Feel free to contact Susan any time.