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Dinner With: Chef Susana Querejazu — Banana Bread for the Austin Soul

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Executive Pastry Chef Susana Querejazu shares a banana bread recipe with roots to her Austin childhood.

austin-woman-dinner-with-susana-querejazu
Chef Susana by Moyo Oyelola

By Chef Susana Querejazu

Susana Querejazu is the executive pastry chef of Lutie’s Restaurant and the Commodore Perry Estate in Austin. Querejazu shares an Austin origin with her husband, Executive Chef Bradley Nicholson, and boasts more than a decade of professional pastry experience. Querejazu worked in local restaurants like Enoteca Vespaio, Vespaio Ristorante, Uchi and Uchiko before taking on the role of executive pastry chef at Odd Duck and Barley Swine. And later as pastry sous chef at Quince Restaurant and three-Michelin-starred Saison in San Francisco.

In addition to her expertise in plated desserts, breads, baking and viennoiserie, Querejazu served as assistant sommelier at The Riddler in San Francisco. She was named an Eater Young Gun in 2016 and was nominated for a 2016 CultureMap Tastemaker Award for Pastry Chef of the Year. Like Chef Nicholson, Chef Querejazu was also a recipient of the Ment’or BKB Grant program for 2016-17, where she staged at Le Meurice in the birthplace of patisserie: Paris, France.

Homecoming

After time spent at acclaimed restaurants around the world, Querejazu and Nicholson returned to Austin in November 2019. “We always knew we were going to settle down back in Austin,” said Querejazu. “We used to live in Hyde Park and would pass by the estate often. We’d heard about the hotel and restaurant opportunity through a friend while visiting Austin from San Francisco, nearly two years ago. It was serendipitous to return to the place where Bradley and I both began our careers and finally set down roots.

“The menu at Lutie’s is an homage to our love for local ingredients and flavors through preparation rooted in understated simplicity. We wanted to feature flavors that are recognizable and invoke memories, while also pushing our own creative boundaries. Lutie’s is a reflection of our experiences as chefs. From traveling and cooking in some of the best kitchens in the world to honoring the familiar flavors and products of the place we now call home.”

Could you please introduce us to the dish?

This is my banana bread recipe inspired by a version that connects me to my childhood growing up in Austin. While the desserts at Lutie’s tend to be more seasonal to reflect the restaurant’s ingredient-forward approach, I added this banana bread as a staple to the Commodore Perry Estate dining menu, topping it with honeycomb, chantilly cream and bee pollen for a touch of added elegance.

When did you first learn to make this dish?

My love for banana bread started very early. Eating it out of the oven with butter and a touch of salt. It is one of the easiest things to whip up in a bowl with a whisk or spatula. It is also even better the day after you make it.

What makes this dish special for you?

I think I loved it because it was one of the only things my mom baked really well, and it was only on special occasions like Christmas or Thanksgiving mornings.

Is there a certain ingredient that makes your version different than other versions?

I love the texture of nuts in the recipe, but it’s easier to take them out of the version served at the hotel so that more people are able to enjoy it. If you love nuts, try throwing in a cup of toasted Texas pecans in your batter before baking.

Chef Susana Querejazu’s Banana Bread

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Banana bread photo courtesy of Commodore Perry Estate, Auberge Resorts Collection

Ingredients

1 egg
250 grams brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
83 grams vegetable oil
3 bananas, crushed
287 grams all-purpose flour
4 grams baking soda
50 grams whole milk
1 cup Texas pecans, toasted (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°, then grease a standard-size loaf pan
  2. Whisk egg, sugar and vanilla together until combined.
  3. Stream in vegetable oil until emulsified, then fold in bananas
  4. Fold in dry ingredients and alternate with milk until well combined.
  5. As an optional step, fold in pecans.
  6. Pour into the pan.
  7. Bake for approximately 1 hour until golden brown.

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