Paul Sussman, Chef

The art of grilling is in Paul’s DNA. His earliest grilling memories are of asados, the carnivorous feasts traditional in South America, thrown by his mother’s Chilean family during his childhood in Lexington, Massachusetts. Paul graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in Psychology, but a lifelong love of food led him to a job cooking at The Fishmonger’s Café in Woods Hole, Cape Cod. After a few years of grill-free line work, the grilling gene proved strong and Paul left the Cape, following smoke signals to open flames at restaurants from Key West to Anchorage, including two years manning the charcoal grill and wood-fired brick oven at acclaimed Providence restaurant Al Forno.

In 1991, he struck out on his own, opening Daddy-O’s in Inman Square, Cambridge. The menu at Daddy-O’s highlighted regional American fare influenced by his family’s Jewish and South American traditions along with other cultures’ cuisines. After a successful nine-year run, Paul and his partner sold the restaurant, allowing him to open the well-received but short-lived Macondo Latin Grill in 2001. There he focused on serving flame-cooked food reflecting his South American heritage. After Macondo closed, Paul spent four years preparing regional New England cuisine as executive chef of popular Brookline restaurant The Fireplace before being recruited to open the kitchen at Z Square Cambridge in Harvard Square.

Throughout his career, Paul has remained committed to quality, a love of lively flavors and a desire to offer socially and environmentally conscious food at reasonable prices. At Back Deck, he stays true to this mission, bringing the fun of the backyard grill to a downtown destination where there is something cooking over the hardwood charcoal for everyone.

Paul has contributed his culinary expertise to publications including Cooks Illustrated and Edible Boston. He is dedicated to community service and is a long-time culinary educator. Paul is a board member of Operation Frontline Boston, an active participant in Share Our Strength’s community outreach program and a charter member of Chefs Collaborative, a national nonprofit network of chefs committed to local foods and fostering a sustainable food supply.

When he isn’t grilling up a storm on Beck Deck’s three grills (Paul calls them Monty, Big Red, and Nelly) you can find him at home in Cambridge cooking double-cut pork chops for his wife Jane and their two children on a much-loved Char Broil Double-Door Smoker and Grill.