Name: Sue Reddel
Occupation: Co-Founder, Food Travelist
Where were you born?: Chicago, Illinois
Where do you live?: Chicago, Illinois
Sue Reddel is Co-Founder and editor of Food Travelist, connecting food travelers around the world with relevant brands, destinations and experiences. Sue is an accomplished photographer and seasoned traveler logging as much as 150,000 miles in a 6-month period, who gladly shares her expertise in reducing travel hassles and optimizing every travel dollar spent.
Sue earned her Certified Culinary Travel Professional (CCTP) status through the World Food Travel Association and co-wrote the chapter on Food & Drink as Communication in the culinary tourism industry handbook Have Fork Will Travel. She created #foodtravelchat on Twitter to extend the global culinary tourism dialogue in social media and exchanges stories, photos and experiences with many enthusiasts around the world every week.
How would you describe your travel style?
Comfortable and curious. I like enjoyable upscale amenities as well as local experiences. A fantastic massage on the beach in a private cabana and an incredible meal prepared by locals at a little hideaway café both appeal to me. Experiences and tastes of the culture I’m exploring are the best.
What’s your earliest travel memory?
Traveling with my Grandmother in downtown Chicago on the CTA bus. I was raised in the suburbs, and my Gram lived on the south side of Chicago in Bridgeport. To me the city was so big, bustling and full of possibilities. We’d get on the bus and head downtown. It was only a 30 minute ride but we’d go see a movie, like the Sound of Music, enjoy our snacks; Orange Julius, popcorn and Twizzlers, visit a different world and return home in the evening. It was wonderful.
When researching travel destinations, how important are food/drink choices and experiences to your overall decision-making process?
Top of the list. We’re always looking for new cuisines to explore.
Culinary traveler or food explorer? Which do you find more relatable?
I’m a Food Travelist. I love fine dining but I’m also quite comfortable in a diner or hole-in-the-wall and everything in between. Experiencing all the local flavors is the most important part of the adventure.
If we ask your best friends if you’re a foodie, what would they say?
They’d say I’m an eater. I truly enjoy eating and having social experiences and connections around food. I don’t like the connotation of “foodie” it sounds arrogant.
What’s in your carry-on? Any essential food or kitchen tools you won’t leave home without?
Everything I need. I rarely check bags. Snacks, both sweet and savory, typically dried fruit, turkey jerky and pretzels. I always have a corkscrew and a flashlight.
What’s the most unusual food you’ve eaten?
Horse sausage, horse filet and horse milk in Kazakhstan. It wasn’t a personal favorite.
If we handed you a ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Tahiti. I haven’t been and want to experience Paul Gauguin’s Tahiti. I’ve been to Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, France. I love art and always make time to visit local museums, both small & large.
What’s the best culinary travel experience you’ve ever had?
A wonderful birthday celebration on a barge cruise through Burgundy. I’m in love with France and this canal cruise was simply perfect. The food, wine and daily history and wine and cheese lessons we received really gave us a complete picture of Burgundy. It was delicious!
Any great travel tips to share?
Always bring a snack.
Drink lots of water.
Bring your expando pants, preferably black.
Don’t forget to laugh and have fun.
Favorite Culinary Destination: If I had to choose one it would be Paris. Barcelona is a close second.
Favorite Cuisine: Italian
Favorite Restaurant: Impossible to pick one. My hometown favorite is Piccolo Sogno.
Favorite Street Food: Hot soft pretzels
Favorite Food Market: Spice Market in Istanbul
Favorite Gourmet Shop: Gene’s Sausage Shop in Chicago’s Lincoln Square
Favorite Winery: Moët Chandon in Champagne
Favorite Brewery: Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee. Love their sense of humor.
Favorite Cooking Class: Ateliers & Saveurs in Quebec City
Favorite Food/Tasting Tour: Nevis – so many wonderful spots to explore and eat. From beach lunches with fresh lobster, plantation pig roasts to five-star fine dining they have it all.
Favorite Culinary Tour Operator: Walks of New York, especially Mario Batali Greenwich Village Food Tour. It was tasty and we learned so much about the Greenwich Village history and food scene.
Favorite Travel App: Chefs Feed
Favorite Food: Cheeseburgers. I’ve eaten them all over the world and never get tired of them.
Twitter: @foodtravelist or @shreddel
Want to visit Sue’s favorite culinary destination, Paris? Book a room at the Hotel le Petit Paris. This upscale contemporary boutique hotel offers guests a gorgeously serene setting in their private garden. The location is where the appeal is at this Parisian hot spot, just a stone’s throw away from the St. Germain de Prés area in the Latin Quarter.
Laura Goyer, CCTP
Digital Content Creator
Laura is a world traveler and culinary travel professional on a mission to help busy prime-time women find the best local food when they travel.