Cool Friends: Sue Chan    

Portrait by Matthew Glueckert
June 16, 2023

Meet Sue, the powerhouse and food industry veteran behind media agency: Care of Chan. Before Care of Chan, Sue was the Brand Director of Momofuku during the “golden era of restaurants,” where she opened restaurants in NYC, Sydney, and Toronto and last year, she was the Director of Programming for The New York Times Food Festival in 2022.

After opening beloved restaurants, launching purposeful products, and throwing extraordinary parties, the intention has always been the same: bringing people closer over a great meal. We chatted with Sue to hear more about - a resource for all things convivial, providing a fresh perspective on event planning with purpose.

What led you to your start in the food industry?

When I was a senior at Barnard College, I took a cooking class at New School. Since I graduated at the top of the class, my instructor set me up with an externship (aka an internship in the kitchen) at The Spotted Pig – this was right after The Pig had won a Michelin Star, so it was one of the hottest restaurants in town. Needless to say, I was not meant to work in a professional kitchen but I fell in love with restaurant life.

Do you have a favorite party/event you've planned?

Oh gosh, that’s like having a favorite kid. I think my favorite parties are ones that are in unexpected, intimate spaces with good food and nostalgic entertainment, like the Biz Markie (RIP) DJing the “Uncut Gems” Premiere Afterparty at Katz’s Deli, Ghostface Killah rapping at the White Castle Bushwick for the launch of the Impossible Slider, or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performing at Brendon Babenzien’s J.Crew collection launch party at the newly opened Jean’s. I also love when we get to host events in iconic homes like the Eames House, Schindler’s MAK Center, and the Stahl House.

What was the inspiration behind Care of Chan's pivot?

Humans are pack animals – we need others to be safe and feel safe. Now that we’re fully in the digital age, we’re mostly working from home or from faraway places, AI is on the precipice of taking over our lives, and religiosity is at an all time low, finding community IRL is becoming harder and harder. I’ve always loved bringing people together because it brings me joy and I see how it brings others joy as well. Our new site aims to give people resources and inspiration for their own gathering so that they too can find joy and happiness on their own.

What’s your favorite part about the New York creative community?

I’ll make a comment on the New York creative food community. Having spent time in other major cities with big food cultures, there’s something about New York’s food community that’s unmatched – one, there’s actually a community; chefs, owners, bar folks who are all friends; who support each other with advice and staff.  It’s a hard enough industry so it’s amazing to watch how they all help each other out. After all, the world is a big place; there are enough customers and clients for all of us. Two, because it’s New York City and the competition is tougher, you see how one chef’s style or success will inspire not only the future generations but also their contemporaries. There’s something really beautiful about that natural competition that occurs in a place like New York City, because it helps the entire industry move forward and evolve to new heights.

What’s your favorite place in NYC?

Museum Mile along Central Park. I was an art history minor in college and my mind is still blown away by how many incredible art institutions exist in New York, right next to one of the country’s most beautiful parks.    

What’s inspiring you right now?

Design in LA – Now that food culture has permeated America, design is primed to be the next thing that our country becomes obsessed with. I think the industry just needs a few rockstars to get up on stage and take over the mic and become the spokespeople to usher in this new era. Because there’s more space and room for design and LA already has a rich architectural culture, I think the movement will be spawned in LA.

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@careofchan on Instagram

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Made in Brooklyn, NY