Following is am excerpt for Susie’s former commercial web site.
Susan May Lea grew up in Sydney and developed a love of food from her mum. ‘Susie’ has taught Home Economics and Food Technology for years in TAFE and schools. She has also trained in commercial cookery. Susie’s passion is home style cooking that is more aligned with the wonderful aromas and delicious foods found in Grandma’s kitchen, which is all about flavour that is developed from long and slow cooking, with the best ingredients. There are no preservatives or additives – only quality food ingredients.
Her passion and enthusiasm for cooking started at a young age when she was encouraged to help her mum bake for the family. In her early teens she entered lots of cooking competitions and was amazed at the fact that she was awarded 1st prize for her cakes and scones. Her most memorable event was when she was twelve years old and won a chocolate cake competition which was judged by Miss Barbara Lynch, Head Home Economist at Sydney County Council.
This success led to her embarking on study in Home Economics and then teacher training. She has had a rewarding career in State and Public education where she taught Home Economics and Food Technology both in Australia and overseas. She was also Head Teacher of Home Economics in three TAFE Colleges, two in Sydney and the other in country NSW. She has taught subjects such as International Gourmet, Basic and Advanced Cooking Skills, Cordon Bleu Cookery, French Regional Cookery, Italian, Chinese, South East Asian Cookery, Nutrition, Recipe Development and the list goes on. She spent many years training students to enter the field of Food Technology in industry.
Her overseas teacher exchange year included retraining redundant steel workers in Sheffield, Yorkshire. This was during the 1984 Arthur Scargill Coalminers strike. These students retrained in commercial cookery so that they could then re-enter the workforce. This was during the Maggie Thatcher era. The daughters of these coalminers were also students in her Home Economics classes. She took these students to visit Good Housekeeping in London and the Cordon Bleu Cookery School.
One of the highlights of her career was having afternoon tea with Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowden at Lancaster House St James London. She was invited along with other teachers who were teaching in Great Britain at that time. This was organised through the League for the Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers.
In her early career she also had the opportunity to travel with the School of Home Science on the ‘Gourmet Europe Tour’. This is where she met Simone Beck in Provence – co author with Julia Child and Louisette Bertholle for the book ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’. Simone Beck’s character features in the film ‘Julie and Julia’.
Her love of cooking and sharing this with others has culminated in the opening of her Cooking School initially in Winmalee in the Blue Mountains and later in Milton, on the South coast of NSW.