When Los Angeles based celebrity chefs, television personalities, cookbook authors and philanthropists Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger learned that they were receiving the 2018 Julia Child Award, they were thrilled. A distinguished panel from the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts awarded these two chefs. They are not only the first women to receive this honor, but also the first chef team to be acknowledged by this prestigious non-profit organization.
The Foundation will be presenting their award on November 1, 2018 in association with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History at a gala event held in Washington, D.C. It coincides with the kick off the Museum’s annual Smithsonian Food History Weekend.
Both Mary Sue and Susan are worthy of this award for their influence in the way America cooks, eats and drinks today. As an iconic team for more than 35 years, they created a modern Mexican culinary concept with their Border Grill restaurants, trucks and catering division. Their restaurants are located in Downtown Los Angeles, LAX, The Huntington Library, and Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Border Grill serve street food-inspired regional Mexican cuisine with a commitment to sustainability and the best quality ingredients. In June 2018, Feniger and Milliken debuted a fast casual eatery, BBQ Mexicana, at Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
Feniger also launched her own solo ventures—Blue Window with Kajsa Alger at The Huntington Library in 2016 and to-go concept Grab & Global by Susan Feniger at both LAX and San Jose International Airports in 2018.
After both these chefs graduated from culinary schools, they worked together in an all-male kitchen at Chicago’s Le Perroquet. In the early 1980s, they opened their first restaurant City Café introducing innovative dishes from around the world with a French flair.
Besides winning this year’s Julia Child Award, they are also James Beard Award winners and have appeared on nearly 400 episodes of the The Food Network “Too Hot Tamales” and “Tamales World Tour” series.
Susan Feniger is an active member of the community, and currently sits on the boards of the Scleroderma Research Foundation, L.A. LGBT Center, and L.A. Tourism & Convention Board. She and Mary Sue work closely with Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and Share Our Strength.
In honor of their new award, both Susan and Mary Sue are offering a special Julia Child Prix Fixe Menu during lunch and dinner through November 1, 2018. This menu is available at both the Border Grill Downtown Los Angeles and Border Grill Mandalay Bay.
Sitting inside Border Grill for lunch recently I enjoyed the first course of a Salade Nicoise with sliced seared tuna, green beans, purple Peruvian potatoes, anchovies, egg, tomato and tiny olives.
A special Bicicleta cocktail is featured on the menu made with white wine, campari and jamaica. When a cocktail is purchases, the proceeds are donated to Mary Sue’s Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry ride.
During lunch at the Border Grill DTLA, they are serving a duck leg confit sope with greens, bean salad and queso fresco. Sopes are a corn mesa cake similar to a small tostada, yet with a thicker base.
During dinner this sope is also served with a seared duck breast on a bed of summer succotash. It’s a delicious duck duo.
The last course is a flaming crepes Julia, that is similar to crepes Suzette. It’s topped with a buttery citrus dulce de leche and whipped vanilla crema.
To learn more about Border Grill’s menu, go to http://www.bordergrill.com.