Food and Dining Writer, FLORIDA TODAY

The Space Coast’s food expert, Suzy Fleming Leonard, dishes on her favorite food, why she loves her work and more.

Q: What do you like best about being a journalist?
A: “Everyone has an amazing story to tell, and I love getting to be the one who does that. This job is different every day. Whether I’m eating at a fabulous local restaurant, learning how to make a new dish or walking around Epcot with the park’s executive chef, it’s never dull.”

Q: How did you meet your husband?
A: “I met my husband, Steve, at Murdock’s in Cocoa Village. I was having dinner; he was standing at the bar with friends listening to the band.
It took him several days to call me after that night. I thought he wasn’t interested. I’m glad I was wrong! He’s a wonderful husband and a good dad to our 9-year-old standard poodle, Earl.”

Q: Where did you grow up?
A: “I was born in South Alabama, and grew up in Oakdale, Louisiana. Between the Southern cooking and the Louisiana cooking, I grew up around a lot of really good food.”

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: “It’s difficult for me to pick a favorite food. Thin crust pizza. Decadent chocolate. Gumbo made with a rich, dark roux. Crispy fried chicken. Ice cold watermelon. Hmmm, I just noticed there are no vegetables on this list.”

Q: What do you like to do to unwind and recharge?
A: “I’ve recently fallen in love with stand-up paddle- boarding. It’s so relaxing to be out on the Indian River, saying hello to the manatees and dolphins.”

Q: Many people might envy your job, tell me what’s difficult about it?
A: “I’m not going to lie. Most of the time, my job really is as awesome as it seems. I think the most difficult part is not gaining weight. I’m not someone who can take a bite then stop. If something is delicious, I’m going to eat the whole thing. But I’m not complaining. I exercise a lot.”