In 1983 Susan left Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada to co-found Alias Research Inc., a world leader in the development of computer graphics software products used by creative professionals in the entertainment and industrial design industries.
When Susan left Alias in search of a different lifestyle, she spent several years traveling in Europe and studying cooking, pastry, and artisan bread baking. She attended the Cordon Bleu and Ecole Lenôtre in Paris, the San Francisco Baking Institute, the Ecole Française de Boulangerie d’Aurillac in the Auvergne region of France and the Boscolo Etoile Academy in Italy.
In 2001, Susan and her husband, Michael, purchased La Petraia in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany in Italy. The couple spent fifteen years restoring the Petraia to its origins as a sustainable, mixed working farm. One of the highest farms in the Classico region, Petraia occupies 165 acres and includes vineyards, chestnut orchards, lavender fields, olive and fruit trees, an apiary and an Etruscan archeological site called Piazza di Siena. Petraia was run according to strict organic and biodynamic principles. The couple also operated a luxury agriturismo, which included four guest rooms, a restaurant and cooking school. Petraia was the inspiration for Susan’s two award winning cookbooks, PIANO, PIANO, PIENO: Authentic Food from a Tuscan Farm and DINAMICA: La Petraia Cucina Sistemica at KM 0.
Susan currently resides in Switzerland where she continues to write about food and sustainable foodways.