MARY SUE MILIKEN AND SUSAN FENIGER Radio/TV Hosts/Cookbook Authors
1995: "Too Hot Tamales" is launched on The Food Network.
Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are two of America's most beloved chefs. Classically trained at culinary schools in the U.S., the girls met in 1978 at Le Perroquet in Chicago, where they were the first women to break into the all-male kitchen. Their paths then lead separately in the same direction - to France, where Feniger worked at l'Oasis on the Riviera and Milliken at Restaurant d'Olympe in Paris. They realized even then that they would work together some day.
Upon their reunion in Los Angeles in 1981, the two opened the tiny City Cafe on Melrose Avenue. They quickly outgrew the little cafe and moved the restaurant to a more spacious site on La Brea, where CITY restaurant (1985-1994) changed the culinary landscape of Los Angeles forever. CITY'S eclectic cuisine, seasoned by the chefs' travels to Thailand, India, Mexico, and other exotic locales, delighted the palates of Los Angeles restaurant goers and food critics alike. Inspired by a love of the bold flavors and strong statements, the partners continued to make their mark with the home cooking of cuisines from all over the world. In 1985 they opened Border Grill, serving the authentic foods and flavors of Mexico. In 1998, they opened Ciudad in downtown Los Angeles, presenting the bold and seductive foods of the rest of the Latin world, from Havana to Rio and Buenos Aires, across the Atlantic to Lisbon and Barcelona. In June of this year, they opened a Border Grill at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
In 1993 they were two of only sixteen chefs invited to cook with the legendary Julia Child in her PBS series "Cooking with Master Chefs." In 1995, the duo began their three-year run as hosts of "Good Food," an hour-long weekly radio show on KCRW, the 2nd largest National Public Radio station in the country. Later that year, their first television series, "Too Hot Tamales," was launched on the Food Network. "Tamales World Tour" began the following year.
They have authored four cookbooks, including City Cuisine (Wm. Morrow & Co., 1989), which was nominated for best cookbook by Cooks Magazine; Mesa Mexicana (Wm. Morrow. 1994), and Cooking with Too Hot Tamales (Wm. Morrow, 1997), which offers recipe highlights, tricks, tips, and photos from their TV show.
Milliken and Feniger are active members of many culinary associations, including a founding role in Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, which fosters the careers of women in restaurants; Chefs Collaborative 2000, which advocates the use of sustainably grown products in the food service industry; and Share Our Strength, which addresses hunger. They contribute real leadership and time to numerous charities, notably the Scleroderma Research Foundation, for which they have spearheaded a dinner/comedy event for the last decade, repeatedly attracting comic legends like Robin Williams, Lily Tomlin, and Ellen DeGeneres.
The chefs returned to the airwaves with "Talk of The Table," a monthly hour-long radio show on KPCC, the Pasadena-based NPR station, and "Hot Dish," a minute-long feature of food tips heard three times a day on KFWB-AM in Los Angeles. They are also frequent guests at food events around the world, as well as on food radio and television shows around the country. They have recently appeared on Oprah, The Roseanne Show, Maury Povich, The Today Show, CNN, and The Christopher Lowll Show, while Border Grill was the subject of "Dining in Style" for E!'s new Sty/e channel. They have also recently been featured in People, TV Guide, Bon Appetit, USA Weekend, and House & Garden magazines, as well as being the cover story for Family Life.