Neukoelln's 'Feast,' Turning A Passion Into A Career Before Suzy Fracassa moved to Berlin, the American chef says she didn't cook very often. But faced with what she calls a "slacker mentality" in the Berlin restaurant scene, Fracassa decided to open her own private dining club in Neukoelln.

Neukoelln's 'Feast,' Turning A Passion Into A Career

"Feast" Dining Club

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Fortuna's Table Catering and Fortuna's Feast is located on Weserstr. 58. 12045 Berlin. Deschner hide caption

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"Feast" is the name of a private dining club located on a quiet street in Neukoelln.

The club is a former storefront turned into a simple, but elegant eatery by American Suzy Fracassa.

“I am really attached to the name "Feast," Fracassa says.

"It means a lot in just one word, about eating, celebrating and cooking - the whole bit."

“Feast” is Fracassa's playground; she tries out new recipes, mixing different cuisines - pretty much the way her Italian grandmother cooked.

"Talking about fusion food. Italian cooking plus the...hills of the Ohio River, where she was raised as a little girl. Those two cuisines came together and it's definitely influenced my family, that’s for sure."

Pigs Feet

"My grandmother loved pigs feet, chickens feet and all those things. When I speak to Italians here, it's the same. There is a lot of peasant orientated food. They are liking the same pigs feet, just on the other side of the world, maybe basted into a little different sauce," Fracassa says.

Green bean salad at "Feast" in Neukoelln. Suzy Fracassa hide caption

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Suzy Fracassa

Pigs feet is not something Suzy Fracassa eats, although the 43 year-old is into traditional cooking, which she calls "good hillbilly food," but with a dash of delicacy.

For her private dinner events at "Feast" in Neukoelln, she prepares dishes like ham and sweet potatoes with fried eggs, jalapeno cheddar burgers, gazpacho, and bittersweet chocolate waffles with strawberry sauce.

It's simple, well-prepared American food with all its different flavors and influences.

Food that, Fracassa feels, is rarely served in Berlin.

"I lived in New York City before, but when I came here I realized there is this huge gap in the food industry. There is just that pervading mediocrity in this section of the food industry here."

"There are some great ideas, but we came to the conclusion it could be the slacker mentality eventually brings things down again, because to make good food on a consistent basis takes hard work, discipline and a long run," Fracassa says.

Fracassa never really cooked in the United States, but when she moved to Berlin in the late 1990's, she turned her passion for food into a professional job.

For a couple of years she co-owned a restaurant in Prenzlauer Berg. Then in 2003, the self-taught cook started the catering service "Fortuna's Table," which is now her main job.

A pasta dish from Fracassa's "Feast." Suzy Fracassa hide caption

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Suzy Fracassa

"Feast" is her place for experimentation and a more open approach to cooking. It opens every Friday as a private dinning club, by reservation only. It's also available for private gatherings and celebrations.

Occasionally she invites guest cooks to prepare a menu for the evening.

Most of the time it's Suzy Fracassa's stage.

"To have a platform, to always touch the heart of why I am cooking in the first place and that's how I enjoy myself immensely when I am cooking, when I am in that zone," Fracassa says.