March 25, 2019—Susan James recently joined Kendal at Hanover as the community’s Executive Chef. James has more than 20 years of experience working in both small and large kitchens with a variety of cuisines. She was most recently the Assistant Chef and Engine Room Manager at Maple Street Catering and Engine Room in White River Junction, Vermont, where she helped develop and execute menus for various large events across New Hampshire and Vermont.
“My passion is creating healthy and flavorful meals that appeal to all the senses, and I am excited that there is a talented team at Kendal that shares this passion,” James said. “We are very fortunate to have so many different opportunities here to enhance our residents’ quality of life through cuisine.”
James grew up on Cape Cod and her grandfather, mother and father were also chefs. She attended the New England Culinary Arts Institute in Essex, Vermont, and has held positions as cheesemaker, sous chef, head baker and manager of a value-added meat program. She worked at some of the finest dining establishments in their respective regions, including Shelburne Farms in Vermont, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Hanover Inn, Norwich Inn and King Arthur Flour.
“We are very pleased to have Susan with us, and she has already made an impact,” said Beth Vettori, Executive Director. “Her leadership and unique extensive culinary experience will serve our Community well.”
James currently resides in Strafford, Vermont, with her two sons, Harrison, 8, and Joseph, 4, and she is active with her sons in Spartan Racing, hiking and fishing.
Below is James’ recipe for an Egyptian nut and spice version of Dukkah. She has used this recipe in several dishes prepared at Kendal at Hanover. When asked to prepare a meal during her interview for the Executive Chef position, she wowed the panel by using this spice blend.
Susan James’ Recipe for Dukkah
Dukkah is an aromatic Middle Eastern spice blend that is extremely versatile. It is smoky and savory with a complex richness. It can be used as a spice rub on meats and seafood and on vegetables, pasta and rice.
Traditional Egyptian Dukkah Nut and Spice Blend
- ¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted
- 3 Tbs. sesame seeds, toasted
- 3 Tbs. coriander seeds, toasted
- 2 Tbs. pistachios, toasted
- 2 Tbs. cashews, toasted
- 1 Tbs. cumin seeds, toasted
- ½ Tbs. fennel seeds, toasted
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. dried mint (optional)
- ¼ tsp. sugar (optional)
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
In a food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until a coarse spice mix forms. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.