The Bikini Chef

Cookbook author’s plan for healthy living is spread through a website, radio and soon, television

The Bikini Chef

Susan Irby

Photo by: SPECIAL

Things may have changed since Susan Irby (ABJ ’88) graduated, but her bikini body definitely has not. Irby has translated her love for cooking and healthy living into The Bikini Chef brand, which encompasses healthy living through an “everything in moderation” mentality.

Irby grew up with a foundation for cooking which she attributes to her mother, who was a culinary arts and nutrition major at the University of Alabama.

“I always had a passion for cooking, but never thought I would make a living doing that.” Irby says.

After graduating from UGA, she spent two years in Athens working in advertising sales for The Athens Banner-Herald and WRFC Radio. Irby says she loved those years because she got to know Athens as a community, which went beyond experiencing it as a college town.

Since her family was no longer living in Georgia, Irby decided to move to Los Angeles.

“I was driving around Athens’ perimeter one day and said ‘You know what—I think I’ll move to L.A.,’” Irby jokes.

Once in Los Angeles Irby went back into sales management for ABF Freight System, but started attending writing seminars and followed people’s advice to do what she knows. Because of her journalism background and knack for cooking, she decided to write a cookbook.

Irby self-published her first book, Cooking with Susan: Southern Family Favorites, in 2000. She even wrote her own press releases and organized her book tour.

She started bringing samples of recipes to book signings and readers wanted to know how she stayed slim. Irby talked about her healthy lifestyle, which included a lot of fish and vegetables.

While doing publicity for her first book, Irby told a reporter she liked to cook because it reminded her of water skiing all day at her parents’ house in Lake Martin, Ala.

“We’d be starving and cook and eat in our bikinis. I guess you could call it Bikini Cooking. From then on, readers and fans who heard the story began calling me The Bikini Chef,” she says.

She wrote six more books including Substitute Yourself Skinny, The Giant $7 A Meal Cookbook and Boost Your Metabolism. Irby’s eighth book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide Quinoa Cookbook, is scheduled for release this summer.

In addition to her cookbooks, The Bikini Chef also hosts Bikini Lifestyles on 790 KABC radio in Los Angeles. She advises listeners to focus on fresh foods and ingredients by gradually incorporating them into their diet.

In the works is Bikini Lifestyles TV, which is the same format as her radio show—wine, dine and workout. She encourages people to not focus on weight as much as inches, so everyone can be bikini body ready.

Learn more about The Bikini Chef at