Max and Eli Sussman grew up in Huntington Woods, Michigan, where they learned to cook at an early age by helping their parents. The brothers' kitchen skills served them well as they grew up and fielded questions from friends, such as, "How do I make a grilled cheese?"
Currently, Max is the chef de cuisine at Roberta's in Brooklyn, New York, and Eli works as a line cook at Mile End Delicatessen in Brooklyn. Both have received recognition for their culinary talents: Max was one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 food and wine stars and a 2012 James Beard nominee for Rising Star Chef, while in 2012 Eli was named one of Zagat's 30 Under 30 and one of Eater.com's top-50 food professionals. Max was previously the chef de cuisine at Eve in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and worked under Chef April Bloomfield at the Breslin in New York City.
Max and Eli are out to prove that impressive restaurant fare is easy to master at home with a little experimentation. With their latest cookbook, This Is a Cookbook, the Sussmans want to help everyone become comfortable enough to cook new dishes and develop new skills—or just simply cook, period. After all, as they say, "Everyone likes to be fed."
Q: Who or what inspired you to start cooking? How did you get started?
A: Eli: Max and I have always been in the kitchen. We were very involved with family dinners and got hooked on cooking when we worked at a childhood summer camp. We cooked everything from scratch each night, with no frozen foods. It was exciting – it opened my eyes to unique, awesome possibilities.
Q: What advice do you have for people who are just starting out in the kitchen? How can you make it accessible?
A: Max: Don't be afraid to make mistakes and try things differently. Always be ready to throw out the recipe and improvise, that's how the greatest discoveries are made.