As a child, raven-haired Suzanne Lossia cherished every moment in the kitchen with her grandmother, who taught her the magic of Middle Eastern cooking. She developed a deep passion for the craft and says it became her everything, becoming a chef and caterer.
Growing up in the tight-knit Chaldean community of West Bloomfield, the kitchen was an acceptable place for a young woman to be, according to Lossia, who has broken the mold and reversed the traditional roles, with the Birmingham resident initially creating culture shock by leaving an unhealthy arranged marriage and breaking free of societal expectations.
A struggling single mother, Lossia instilled the strong spiritual foundation she had in her two sons, and though she had a deep respect and love for her family and their business, decided to go it alone.
She was an outcast for a while. Shunned from the church; looked down upon by her community and family. But her faith – and enormous talent, coupled with a warm yet contagiously positive personality – moved mountains.
“When you ask God to open a door, he opens a garage,” shares Loissa with enthusiasm.
Being penniless didn’t stop her. Being alone and having nothing but her sheer will to survive and provide for her sons gave her the sheer determination to share her gift with the world and succeed in a way she never imagined possible.
“Food is everything, food is life,” says Lossia. “I never imagined I was going to be on Food Network – but when you ask God to open the door, let me tell you he just opens the garage.”
After winning “Cutthroat Kitchen,” she got a casting call that changed her life.
“I received a casting call and after two emails, they wanted to do a Skype interview,” she shares. She flew out to NYC and within the week, the network sent her a contract.
When she arrived on set for season 13 of Food Network Star, Lossia admits it was daunting at first.
She found herself surrounded by the creme de la creme of the culinary world. She says she refused to be intimidated. “You don’t need a culinary title – I didn’t have the money to go to school … honey, anyone who knows me knows I can cook,” she shares.
Though she was the fourth to be sent home, she says she left with her head held high and treasured the experience.
“They don’t have a Middle Eastern cooking show yet,” she points out. “They just haven’t found the right girl for it and I’m the right girl.”
Lossia shares that her specialty dish is her saffron yellow rice with ground filet and sauteed almonds. Soon, you’ll be able to taste it, along with many other dishes in her new Oakland County restaurant.
She’s also authored a book, titled, “Arranged.” In it, She fearlessly shares the truth about marrying a stranger and then having the courage to leave.
Loissa has also started a foundation for other women facing similar situations who may be too afraid to leave, hoping to provide funds and inspiration for single women.
The inspiration in her life continues to be cooking.
“It’s been my therapy; it’s been my passion,” she shares. “It just makes me happy when people taste my cooking and their eyes bulge out. I know I am a strong person with a big personality. God gives people talents and I guess this is mine.”
Photo: Laurie Tennent