In 2008 Food Network executives spotted a trend when Dallas, Texas native Lisa Garza appeared on the highest ranked show in the channel’s history, “The Next Food Network Star” Season Four.
Before long, producers began giving more camera-time to Lisa and her “skill and expertise” earned her the position of last woman standing. The “Diva of Dallas” attracted viewers in the thousands with her intensity in the kitchen, raw emotions, artistry, couture fashion and undeniable intrigue. In fact, after several episodes on air, “The Next Food Network Star” reached new heights in the Summer of 2008, as audiences discovered this remarkable young woman with culinary knowledge beyond her years who dared to challenge America not to “dummy down food”.
Summers on her Grandparents’ Pella, Iowa farm land immersed her in the surrounding Dutch Craftsman Culture. Tables were set with Delft china and family heirloom Dutch lace. Pella was like a gourmet food fairy tale filled with a real milk man, a butcher and a baker, pure maple that flowed from faucet heads in tree trunks, streams of fresh fish, fields of wild game and morel mushrooms. She learned the art of whole foods living, canning and preserving, nothing refined, nothing processed. From seed to harvest, harvest to the table, this was her culinary academy She evolved from consumer of meals to creator, when she began her study of French Technique with the Great Julia Child for hours a day on PBS at the early age of 8. Inspired to action she would gather ingredients from the surrounding gardens and prepare the beautiful bounty of farm fresh ingredients for her family.
Her childhood connection to the earth awakened generations of agrarian genetics. From the moment her tender hand planted its first seed she dedicated her heart to serving others and becoming a nutritional healer, Dallas’ own, “Organic Goddess.”“…charming, skilled, masterful, expert… confidently beaming with radiance and warmth.”
- Food Network VP of Programming, Bob Tuschman
Opportunity knocked again in 1999 when Lisa and Gilbert helped open SUZE, a sophisticated restaurant with a cozy, neighborhood feel in Northwest Dallas, serving a creative blend of new American, classic Mediterranean and Asian fusion dishes. At 24, she now co-owned and operated a nationally acclaimed boutique style restaurant. Her stylish edge and attention to detail quickly escalated her to celebrity chef status as luxury event coordinator to the fashion elite with a client list including top designers such as Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Vogue and Valentino. SUZE quickly made its mark, earning Dallas Morning News and D Magazine recognition as one of the best new restaurants in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. But the accolades wouldn’t stop; in 2002 the restaurant was featured on the cover of Bon Appetit after being named in the magazine’s “Best Neighborhood Restaurant” issue. SUZE has been featured as one of “America’s Top Restaurants” by the Zagat’s Guide every year since 2004.