Born in 2005, the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts (originally operating under the name Swannanoa School of Culinary Arts) is the brainchild of North Carolina native and 20-year French resident Susi Gott Séguret. It is an occasion for chefs to meet and share stories, friendship and expertise in a convivial setting, both with students and with each other.
The SSCA employs a panoply of professional chefs and beverage experts to present an overview of the pleasures and necessities of conscious food gathering, preparation, and sharing with family, friends and community.
We endorse the Slow Food philosophy “Good, Clean, and Fair”, meaning that food must first taste wonderful, second be produced in such a way that it is respectful of the environment, and third be marketed in a way that is fair to citizens of the world.
Our students are a slice of life itself, ranging from teen-agers who are discovering the joys of the culinary world, to octogenarians who have been cooking for a lifetime. Both professional and recreational needs are met, with chefs adapting to the levels of each session's attendees.
Susi Gott Séguret has been intimately involved with food and flavor since, as a toddler she first felt the burn of a radish, just pulled from the soil, still speckled with black earth, and washed it down with a gulp of fresh spring water that flowed out from under a moonshine still. This intrigue grew during early years of organically farming all the ingredients that graced the family plate, from honey to duck eggs to pig’s tongue to home-brewed beer.
When, in the late 80’s, she moved from the sorghum fields of Appalachia to the wheat fields of France, following a musical venture, there were other tastes to assimilate along with several hundred cheeses to meet first hand, not to mention an arsenal of wines.
Following two decades of spreading Appalachian music and tastes around Europe, Susi returned to her North Carolina roots, spearheading the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts in Asheville. Sessions have now spread to Ithaca, Sonoma and Paris as well, and incorporate local chefs, local ingredients, and local brews in each destination.
Susi holds a diploma in Gastronomy from the Cordon Bleu and the Université de Reims, a degree in Environmental Studies from Warren Wilson College, and is a Certified Culinary Professional through the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals), where she currently serves as Vice Chair for the Food Writers, Editors & Publishers section. She is also a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators.
In addition to IACP activities, Susi has served on the board of Slow Food Asheville, co-chairing the Education & Outreach Committee, has been a speaker at the Organic Grower’s School in Asheville and at the Appalachian Regional Commission’s meeting on Sustainable Agriculture and Local Food Assets, and has served as both judge and Chef Referee for the WNC Chefs Challenges, a series of 15 Iron Chef-style showdowns in Western North Carolina, as well as judge for the Greenbriar Resort’s Cast Iron Cook-Off and for Fire on the Rock Competition Dining. She is an accomplished fiddler, songwriter and dancer, having recorded widely and performed around much of the globe, fostering international relations while collecting notes and recipes from varied lands.
Editor of ten cookbooks and contributor to several compilations, including Room in the Bowl (a collection of gumbo notes), Susi writes the monthly wine picks for WNC Magazine, restaurant reviews for the Asheville Citizen-Times, and has published numerous articles about truffles (the underground variety as opposed to the chocolate variety). Her thesis, A Question of Taste was developed under the tutelage of France’s Father of Molecular Gastronomy, Hervé This, whom she subsequently brought to the States to open up one of her seasonal culinary sessions.
Passionate about elements of taste and style, and how they extend from our palate into our daily lives, Susi strives to blend music, food, words and images into a tapestry for the senses, which she shares generously with all who cross her path.