Born and bred in Austin, Odd Duck’s pastry chef, Susana Querejazu has seen the city’s restaurant scene grow at a rapid pace. Amidst this change, there is no place she would rather be. “It’s a great time to be a cook in Austin,” Querejazu says.
Odd Duck has received much national acclaim with Querejazu’s dessert expertise helping. In 2014 it was named a Bon Appetit Top 50 Restaurants in the U.S., Eater National’s Restaurant of the Year and shortly thereafter, Querejazu was named one of Zagat’s 30 Under 30 in 2015.
Querejazu’s hometown love fits right in at Odd Duck, a restaurant known for its commitment to using local ingredients. “Since I’ve started at Odd Duck I’ve had more time to spend with some of the farmers we work with,” says Querejazu. “The respect and knowledge that they have for their product makes me work harder to show off how great it is.” Querejazu is able to find inspiration in these local ingredients everyday. “When creating a new dish, I first consider what local fruits, vegetables, and cheeses are in season and go from there,” she says. Querejazu also enjoys re-visiting favorites from her childhood, such as ice cream sandwiches and banana pudding, adding a modern slant.
The daughter of a Bolivian father and Texan mother, Querejazu’s parents met when they both attended the University of Texas at Austin. Their daughter, however, decided to attend the Texas Culinary Academy, after she realized her passion for food went beyond loving to eat.
After graduating with a degree in culinary arts, Querejazu landed a job at Vespaio, a long time Austin gem serving Italian cuisine and desserts, where she got her backbone in classic pastries. After three years, she left to join Amity Bakery, Vespaio’s opening pastry chef Barrie Cullinan’s small, artisanal bakery. After seven months of focusing on bread, Querejazu missed plated, composed desserts and left to work at Tyson Cole’s Uchi. The next two years were spent alternating between Uchiko, Uchi’s sister restaurant, and Uchi where Querejazu worked under acclaimed pastry chefs Phillip Speer and Andrew Lewis. Here, Querejazu learned modern techniques and really honed her craft.
When she’s not at Odd Duck, Querejazu enjoys reading and recipe testing. “I’m always doing something to expand my craft,” says Querejazu. She frequently collaborates with the bartenders at Odd Duck and loves traveling, pizza, wine and spending time with her boyfriend and their dog Yoshimi.