Suzanne Tracht, chef and owner of the critically-acclaimed Jar Restaurant, was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She began cooking professionally at the age of 19, when she left college for an apprenticeship under Siegbert Wendler, legendary chef at the four-star Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa. After three years she moved to Southern California to work in the kitchen of the prestigious Hotel Bel-Air and later served as sous-chef at Noa Noa. In 1992, she became chef de cuisine at Nancy Silverton and Mark Peel’s Campanile. Four years later, she embarked on her first solo venture at executive chef at the Cal-Asian restaurant, Jozu. In its debut year, Jozu ranked number two for “L.A.’s Best New Restaurants” in Los Angeles magazine’s restaurant issue.
In 2001, she opened her modern chophouse, Jar, with her longtime chef de cuisine Preech Narkthong. Quickly, Tracht and Narkthong built a reputation for cooking cozily familiar American retro food – pot roast, steaks, pork chops, braised lamb shanks — with a modern twist. The following year she was named one of Food and Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs. Since then she has made numerous national appearances on the Today Show, Food Network and Extra. Tracht was inducted into the Fine Dining Hall of Fame by Restaurant News in May 2007. She participated in Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women Summit in 2003, 2005, and 2009. Tracht was honored at the 2009 Women in Food James Beard Foundation Awards gala in New York, was a featured chef at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, and is the featured host chef for Argentina444, a culinary expedition highlighting top chefs and wineries of Argentina. To this day, fans of “Top Chef Masters” remember Tracht’s inventively winning dish of Fried Shallot Rings with Microgreen Salad and Dr. Pepper Aioli created for a challenge that required cheftestants to create an amuse-bouche using ingredients found in a vending machine.
Jar still regularly wins praise from the press, from inclusion in Pulitzer Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold’s “Best 101 LA Restaurants” to Eater LA’s “The Best Lobster Dishes To Eat in LA Right Now.” In her review of the restaurant, Los Angeles Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila wrote, “Tracht’s attention to detail sets Jar apart. It’s not only good, it’s absolutely reliable. How rare is that?” Brad Johnson of Angeleno Magazine wrote, “I can’t think of anyone who makes a better pot roast than Tracht.” (On The Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate,” Chef Rocco DiSpirito seconded Johnson’s opinion by selecting Tracht’s pot roast as his all-time favorite.) In his review of Jar, Los Angeles Magazine’s Patrick Kuh remarked that Tracht might have “the most finely tuned and modern sensibility of any cook working in L.A.” and that she has “a French sense of proportion, and Italian appreciation of minimal intervention, and a Japanese awareness of modulation.” For years Jar has been among Los Angeles Magazine’s top 75 restaurants named in the magazine.
In light of the success that cooking has brought her, Tracht believes in giving back to her community. In 2009 Tracht donated to SOVA, a community food and resources program of Jewish Family Service of LA, her $10,000 prize from her stint on Bravo’s show Top Chef Masters. She continues her work with SOVA and other important causes, like the Cedars-Sinai Women’s Heart Center, Inner-city Arts, and Saban Clinic.
Suzanne has two children, Max and Ida.