Nine on the Line

Susan Fulton is co-owner of Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery/Bistro and vice president of the group for locally-owned restaurants, Tucson Originals. She comes from a family with a passion for food and always fantasized about owning her own restaurant. The road to owning a bakery/bistro was not straightforward, with a career path that included studying anthropology, working in the business/accounting field and taking time off to live on a small sailboat in Mexico. Although she enjoys the business end of Gourmet Girls, Susan can always be found in the kitchen with a tasting spoon at the ready and loves to create new flavors and dishes for the dining room and bakery. The restaurant is currently undergoing a soon-to-be-completed expansion which will increase the dining area, provide room for private parties and meetings and enlarge the bakery. Watch for the Friday and Saturday dinner hours to be increased, and Tucson's only gluten-free happy hour.

C.J. Hamm,

What was the first dish you had that changed your perspective on food?

There was no one "aha" moment that started my relationship with food. I come from a family where our traditions and daily existence were completely intertwined with what we were eating, what we had eaten, and what we might eat next! The enjoyment and creativity associated with food has been in my blood since I can remember.

What are you eating these days?

I am loving eating fresh, simply prepared dishes with lots of flavor and textures. Last night I had a baked acorn squash filled with a sausage stuffing (gluten free, of course!) Crispy on top, soft and buttery inside. So easy, so delicious!

What was the first dish you remember cooking?

I still have fond memories of my very first Easy Bake oven and those adorable little pans that came with it. Naturally, the first thing I would cook would be desserts since I never met one I didn't like!

What concept, ingredient or food trend does everyone seem to love, but you just can't stomach?

I just don't like sorbet. It reminds of popsicles which I never really liked either. They are too icy and need some cream in them.

What chef, with us or passed on, would you most like to cook or eat dinner with?

I would love to cook with Alice Waters from Chez Panisse. I was living in Berkeley when she was just getting started and admired her then. She is truly an original proponent for eating fresh and local food.

What city, other than Tucson, is your favorite place to eat?

I have had some great meals in downtown Minneapolis, particularly memorable tapas.

Speaking in junk food terms, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Anything with Fritos®, I am addicted to them and cannot be allowed near a bag.

Top three Tucson restaurants?

I haven't had time to eat out much lately, but I still enjoy dining at Agustin, Renee's Organic Oven and Claire's Café (technically in Catalina)

With a figurative electric chair in your immediate future, what is your last meal?

I would like a medium rare filet, fresh asparagus drizzled with hollandaise, fried potatoes with rosemary, cracked black pepper and sea salt. For dessert, my grandmother's signature creation, baked meringue topped with lemon curd and melting vanilla ice cream. Whether I arrive in heaven or hell, there will be a smile on my face.