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Around the Kitchen in 3 Questions: Chef Susan Feniger

Around the Kitchen in 3 Questions: Chef Susan Feniger

The Daily Meal caught up with chef Susan Feniger to learn about how her travels have influenced her work. Feniger is the co-chef and owner of the critically acclaimed Border Grill Restaurants and Truck (it made was number 39 on this year’s 101 Best Food Trucks list). Along with Mary Sue Milliken (who we’ve also spoken to), she has starred on Food Network’s Too Hot Tamales and Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.

The Daily Meal: What has been your most inspirational food experience while traveling?
Susan Feniger: Everywhere I travel is amazingly inspirational, so that's a very challenging question, but one particular moment in Kerala, India. I spent the day on this small island with a guy we (my friend Alan and myself) met. He took us on his boat to his friend’s home: a small pink house on this island where we spent the whole day.

We started out picking sweet potato leaves, then his neighbor climbed up a tree, picked a coconut while at the same time draining juice from a thick leaf on the palm. He put the juice into a plastic jug that he brought down from the tree along with the coconut. He plugged the plastic jug up for later. I learned how to crack the coconut on this sharp piece of metal in the yard, and then drain that water out into a mug. Then, on another piece of metal (next to a gorgeous parrot), I grated all the coconut for a curry we were going to make.

We went back out to the river where we got a ton of these little tiny mussels for a late-afternoon snack that we sort of dry fried and with a mixture of spicy seasonings and salt. We then ate late afternoon with the yummiest of chai. We made our curry from tapioca root, sweet potato leaves, coconut, so fabulous! The day went on and we were only going to stay for tea in the morning, but ended up leaving about 8 p.m. on the amazing river, filled with food all day long.

TDM: What’s your favorite kitchen souvenir from your travels?
SF: A few things: my potato bhujia maker, my cast-iron talli, and all my stainless steel plates.

TDM: If you could eat your way through one country, which one would it be and why?
SF: Hmmm, too hard to say one. India is definitely one. Well, what I've found even after all these years traveling through India is I'm always totally blown away by the food and how it varies, city to city. I’m also blown away by the warmth of the people. The colors, the visuals, the food on the street make it feel like a very exotic and different world. It's truly a cuisine that continues to fascinate me, even after all these years.

Other contenders would have to include Vietnam, China, Mexico, and Portugal.

Meet Chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, owners of Border Grill

Restaurant month continues with a special Q&A from two famous chefs, authors, and TV personalities. Chefs Susan Feniger (seen below with our Kitchen Kids at Border Grill) and Mary Sue Milliken share their favorite foods growing up, what excites them about working in a restaurant, tips on what to order next time you visit Border Grill and more in this delicious Q&A!

On becoming a chef:

Q. Did you always want to be a chef?

Chef Susan: You know what, I don’t know if I always wanted to be a chef, but from the time I was a young kid I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my mom, licking the paddles from making fudge. I certainly loved hanging with her in the kitchen. I was actually studying economics and business in college, and I had finished my requirements. For my last year I convinced my advisor to let me do an independent study at the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

Chef Mary Sue: Yes! I realized I love food and working with my hands when I was about 12, tried working in a donut shop and pizza parlor in high school and at 16, met a professional chef who suggested I go to professional chef training. So I finished high school early and started chef school when I was 17.

Q. What were your favorite foods to cook and eat as a kid?

Chef Susan: As a kid I loved frozen green beans, cooked up with butter and salt. I loved helping my mom make fried chicken, too! What I loved most was when she would fry the skin separately as a little snack!

Chef Mary Sue: I loved cooking everything. I remember cooking a 6 course dinner for my aunt and uncle's 25th wedding anniversary when I was 13. The dessert was flaming cherries jubilee.

Q. What inspired you to become a chef?

Chef Susan: Honestly I think my mom was a big inspiration because she was a great cook. But my first job in high school was at Smith’s Cafeteria, and there was a woman who ran the kitchen who was like a drill sergeant! But I really loved the camaraderie of it all.

Q. What was your first job in the restaurant industry? How did you move up?

Chef Mary Sue: I worked at Dawn Donut shop when I was 14. I rode my bike to the shop at 4 am every morning and filled donuts, sugared and iced them, then changed into my dress to serve them to morning commuters. Then I'd ride my bike to school by 8am (every morning mon-fri).

On working in a restaurant:

Q. What is the most exciting thing about working in a restaurant?

Chef Mary Sue: You never know when you might get slammed with a rush of diners and you need to be ready for anything. It's exciting to finish a hard shift when you were able to keep up the quality and pace.

Q. What's your favorite restaurant tip to try at home?

Chef Susan: Sharpening your knife! Or making a hollandaise.

Q. What are important qualities for your team to have?

Chef Mary Sue: Everybody watches everybody else's back: teamwork! Open communication and pleasant attitudes.

Q. What is the key to success in your restaurant?

Chef Mary Sue: We are careful to hire the right people who fit in with our commitment to great food and great service.

About Border Grill:

Q. What’s one thing you’d really like us to share about Border Grill?

Chef Susan: Border Grill is somewhere you can go by yourself or with a big party. It’s warm and comfortable, and the food is delish! Keep your eye open on our website for cooking classes that Mary Sue and I do about four times a year!

Chef Mary Sue: Border Grill cares about our customers and about our planet- our menu is constantly evolving and we use only sustainable seafood, hormone and antibiotic free meats, organic rice and beans!

Q. What's are some of your favorite menu items at Border Grill?

Chef Susan: I love the Peruvian Ceviche and the Rajas Tacos!

Chef Mary Sue: I love our plant based, meatless Mondays specials like heirloom bean tostada & potato rajas chile relleno.

Q. What advice would you share with aspiring young chefs?

Chef Susan: Although you have to work really hard and long hours, the great thing is that you get to wear a uniform all the time (haha!) and create a second family where you’re not solitary but constantly interacting with and meeting new people.

Chef Mary Sue: Get into your kitchen and start playing around! Then find a restaurant where you can intern to see if you really like the job.

Raddish is a cooking club for kids! Created with a mission of bringing families together in the kitchen and at the table, our monthly thematic cooking kits take the guesswork out of cooking with kids while creating delicious kitchen memories along the way. Raddish is designed by a team of educators and chefs who believe the kitchen classroom is the tastiest place to learn. Join our membership today!

Chefs do the cooking for `Tortilla Soup' film

There's no doubt that the food is a major player in "Tortilla Soup," the film opening Friday in Chicago. Spicy, sensual, colorful, it's heaped on platters, sizzled in skillets, diced into bowls.

And it's not just any food--it's the food of those Too Hot Tamales, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, owners of Border Grill and Ciudad restaurants in the Los Angeles area.

"The producers wanted the food to be the star of the movie," Milliken said.

But behind the scenes, Milliken and Feniger were the stars: When it comes to Mexican cookery, they're the go-to chefs in Los Angeles.

And though the two are justifiably famous for their culinary skills, their focus has always been on flavor, not looks.

"Latin and Mexican foods are very earthy, very rustic by nature," Milliken said. "So presentation has never been a huge thing for us. We felt a little intimidated by knowing all the film's dishes would have to be beautiful, and we thought about hiring a food stylist. But that didn't work out and we ended up doing the styling ourselves, with the help of our staff."

"Tortilla Soup," an updated version of the Chinese film, "Eat Drink Man Woman," tells the story of a widower (Hector Elizondo), a retired master chef who has lost his senses of taste and smell, and his three daughters (Jacqueline Obradors, Tamar Mello, Elizabeth Pena). There is also a lusty divorcee (Raquel Welch) with designs on Elizondo. Many of the scenes take place in kitchens or around the family's dining room table. There are conflicts, romances, humor, heartbreak and wonderful scenes of cooking.

And because there were so many images of chopping, dicing, molding, rolling, skewering, basting, grilling and whatever, Milliken and Feninger had to spend days instructing Elizondo and Obradors how to look like the pros they portrayed.

"We had to teach Hector how to look and act like a chef, how to smell things, touch things, grab things and cut things like a chef," Milliken said.

The two Tamales got so into the details that in one scene they have Elizondo cutting a leaf off a banana tree and then shredding it with a sharp knife to make a brush. The brush was then used to paint a bright orange achiote sauce on a red snapper before it was grilled. Milliken and Feninger had seen a fisherman from Merida, Mexico, do exactly the same thing. They were so intrigued they asked him for the recipe.

Though the movie highlights the beauty of cooking, the reality for Milliken and Feninger was anything but. They worked 12 to 14 hours a day in an outdoor tent on the set in Encino, Calif.

"We had to do things over and over again," she said. "The avocados would turn brown things would wilt. It was very challenging." But ultimately, very fulfilling.

"I was worried at first that what we were trying to achieve hadn't really come through," Milliken said. "But the last few times I've seen the movie, I thought, `You know, that food looks really good.' "

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Here is the recipe used for the movie, "Tortilla Soup," from Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.

10 Roma (plum) tomatoes, cored, quartered

1 large yellow onion, diced

Sea salt, freshly ground pepper

1 dried chipotle chili, stemmed, seeded, optional

1 small bunch (1/2 cup) cilantro leaves

1 avocado, peeled, seeded, roughly chopped

Tortilla chips for serving

1. Puree tomatoes and garlic in a blender until smooth. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over low heat. Add the onion, and salt and pepper to taste cook, stirring frequently, until pale brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree cook 10 minutes longer stirring frequently.

2. Add chicken broth add chipotle chili. Heat to a boil reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes. Stir in the tortilla chips cook 10 minutes longer, until the chips soften. Remove and discard chili.

3. Serve hot, topped with cilantro, avocado and sour cream. Serve with lime wedges and tortilla chips.

Nutrition information per serving:

500 calories, 54% of calories from fat, 31 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 8 mg cholesterol, 48 g carbohydrates, 11 g protein, 925 mg sodium, 7 g fiber

Julia Child: Cooking With Master Chefs: Susan Feniger And Mary Sue Milliken

Above: Chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill.

In COOKING WITH MASTER CHEFS, Julia Child visits sixteen nationally acclaimed master chefs in their own kitchens. Each chef demonstrates distinct techniques, regional recipes, and culinary tips which guide home cooks through their favorite recipes.

Expertly preparing each dish and teaching with passion along the way, the master chefs offer the viewer a unique and inspirational learning experience.

"Susan Feniger And Mary Sue Milliken" - Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken are the chefs of LA's famed Border Grill. From Mary Sue's home kitchen, they prepare an eclectic selection of dishes, including Thai melon salad, spinach and eggplant curry and curried popcorn.

About Border Grill - Downtown Los Angeles: Enjoy upscale, modern Mexican food in a vibrant setting at Border Grill, the hip, urban cantina from chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, of Bravo's "Top Chef Masters" and Food Network's "Too Hot Tamales."

Presenting the bold foods and flavors of Mexico, Border Grill has established a new standard for gourmet Mexican fare. With a menu of complex authentic dishes based on the home cooking of Oaxaca and the Yucatan, Border Grill takes Mexican food to a whole new level! You can also visit Border Grill in Santa Monica and Las Vegas.

Border Grill Downtown Los Angeles is on Facebook, and you can follow @BorderGrill on Twitter.

Julia Child: Cooking With Master Chefs: Susan Feniger And Mary Sue Milliken

Julia Child explores Thai and Indian flavors with chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill.

Julia Child Remixed: Keep On Cooking: PBS Digital Studios

In celebration of her 100th birthday, Julia Child Remixed by John D. Boswell, aka melodysheep, for PBS Digital Studios. Visit to join in the celebration, with additional videos, recipes and more. You can leave your own tribute to The French Chef by cooking a Julia recipe and sharing it on Facebook and Twitter with #CookForJulia. Special thanks to the Julia Child Foundation ( for their support. The French Chef episodes used courtesy of WBGH/Boston. For more, go to

PBS Remembers: Julia Child

Watch PBS Remembers on PBS. See more from PBS Food.

"Julia Child's legacy to America is felt nowhere more strongly than at PBS," said Pat Mitchell, former President and CEO of PBS. "When it all began on WGBH, Boston's public television station, in 1962, no one had ever done a cooking show on television. But Julia set a standard for far more than a genre that has grown exponentially ever since. She made sophisticated cooking techniques accessible while promoting the art of cooking to men and women alike. She was a funny, witty and debonair character who charmed all who knew her - even if just by her television appearances. We're honored to have had her as part of the PBS family and we will cherish her memory."


San Diego news when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

Sex, Love & Food w/ Celebrity Chefs Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger

Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have been at the forefront of the Los Angeles dining scene since the early-1980s. Between them, they own four restaurants, a food truck, a grab-and-go kiosk and a catering business.

The two have been featured on Food Network's Too Hot Tamales and Chef Hunter and Bravo's Top Chef Masters. Their influence is so strong that even I work at at one of their restaurants. Through this job, I came to know these two formidable women and hear about their fascinating and intertwining stories.

Feniger, a lesbian, was married for several years to a man: Josh Schweitzer, now Milliken's husband. Confused? So was I, until I sat down to listen to them share their sex and love lives with me at Border Grill Downtown L.A.

LA Weekly: Susan, is it weird that Mary Sue is now married to your ex-husband?

Susan Feniger: No, I was the one that pushed to introduce them. When Mary Sue and I first met, I kept saying to her, “You have to meet my ex-husband Josh. You're going to love him. I know you are going to fall in love with him.”

Mary Sue Milliken: What do you call that? Isn't there a Yiddish word for matchmaker?

Feniger: [Paused to think].

Milliken: Yentl? No, that's not it. Oh well, we are getting too old [laughs].

Feniger: I told Mary Sue, “You will like him, you should meet him. You should be with him.” Josh and I had split up, and I was with women at that point.

Mary Sue, has this part of your past affected your relationship with your husband?

Milliken: No, I don't think so. By the time I met him, they had already been split up for five years. We fell in love in a heartbeat. He moved in three weeks after I met him in 1984. It will be 28 years this April.

Feniger: I was in the delivery room for the birth of both of their kids, taking pictures.

Millken: Yeah, a few too many pictures. She captured pictures of things nobody ever wanted to know happened.

Susan, how long did your marriage last?

Feniger: Josh and I were high school sweethearts. We both went off to college separately, and then we got back together and ended up living together. We got married as a Father's Day present to my father by a Justice of the Peace. It lasted for about eight or nine years.

Why did you decide to split?

Feniger: I got intrigued by being with women. I wanted to explore that.

Milliken: It seemed like a better thing to do outside of the marriage. Although I think Josh would have been fine.

Feniger: As soon as I made that decision, we split up.

How did Josh take it?

Feniger: You know, we had a great friendship for many years. I've known him since fifth grade. No matter how friendly it can be, it was never an easy thing to take.

Mary Sue, what was it like meeting Josh for the first time?

Milliken: I had lots of boy trouble. Susan would always say, “God, you have to quit dating all these loser assholes.” It didn't seem like anything that could ever happen. Susan and I were going to open up a bigger restaurant CITY, after having City Café for four years. Susan lured Josh out to California to design it. But he didn't say, “Oh, I'm coming.”

Feniger: He just showed up.

Milliken: We were both at City Café, and the waiter came up to Susan and said, “There is a guy asking for you at the bar.” We both thought, “Who?” And then Susan said, “That's Josh!”

Has it ever been awkward with all three of you together?

Milliken: No. In fact, back in 1984, we closed the restaurant for Easter and all went to the desert. That was when a few sparks flew between Josh and me.

Feniger: Well yeah, there were four lesbians and then Mary Sue and Josh. So it was like well, you get to pick your choice.

Milliken: It was sort of clear we were attracted to each other. We didn't do anything about it that night, but he invited me to take a shower with him. I was like, “Huh? Do I smell bad?” He was like, “What is wrong with her?” And so, of course, we ended up married to each other.

Mary Sue, I heard you weren't a big fan of weddings. What was your wedding with Josh like?

Milliken: I hate weddings. I've been catering weddings all my life, and my first job was in a bakery. It's so much stress. People get wigged out and make such a big deal about it.

Feniger: They got married here two months after Cuidad opened. Our old accountant got his Internet license and married them at the hightop at the bar.

Milliken: I told the waiter to get Susan and bring her out because I wanted her to sign something. She came out from the kitchen and asked, “What is this?” And I said, “You are witnessing our marriage.” Then Josh and I walked over to MoMA and said our vows to each other next to a Richard Serra sculpture.

When did you realize you were gay, Susan?

Feniger: About 34 years ago. It was never something that crossed my mind. There was a woman at one of the restaurants I was working at I was interested in. Many of the male servers were gay, and we would all go out and party after work and I got curious and wanted to explore. But I've been with my partner Liz [Lachman] now for 17 years. She's gorgeous and smart.

Have you two ever slept with each other?

Feniger: No, although many have thought it.

Milliken: Some publication wrote “Mary Sue is pretending to have a husband” [laughs].

What is the sexiest food you've ever cooked?

Feniger: I never think of food as being sexy. It's the environment or atmosphere for me, the situation around the food. The music, the candles, the darkness create the sexual feeling.

Millken: I don't find eating that sexy. I would rather just split a dozen oysters and a bottle of champagne. That would be enough for dinner.

Feniger: I would rather be in a hot tub listening to music.

Milliken: Yeah, work up an appetite.

Do you think food should be a part of bedroom fun?

Feniger: Like putting whipped cream all over you? I don't get it. I smell like food all the time. But taking baths with cocktails is sensual and fun.

Milliken: Josh and I cook together a lot. Josh will suck something off my finger for an extra few seconds. It would be up his alley. But yes, we are constantly covered in food.

Feniger: If I come home smelling like garlic or onions, Liz will tell me to go take a shower!

Susan, has being gay ever affected the goals you have set for yourself in the restaurant business?

Feniger: There was a time in the beginning of my career, even though I was out with my staff or the public, where I wouldn't talk about it in a publication like the Times. It just wasn't cool to be completely out. There was a period when I was aware of it. Even now in some cities in America, other countries or small towns, I am more aware of it. Obviously, we still have issues all over the world. Now? I am open and out and proud. I make a strong statement about it. I am on the Board for the Gay and Lesbian Center. But there was a time I was less willing and felt it could have had a negative effect on our business.

Do you think L.A. is accepting of gay people?

Feniger: There is an acceptance level that's much greater than many parts of the country, for sure. Is L.A. accepting? Yes, to a great extent. There is a very powerful industry here that sort of runs this city in many ways. It's pretty open, but there are incidents that happen here in West Hollywood.

Are you excited by the prospect of gay marriage in California?

Feniger: I'm embarrassed that this state has not accepted gay marriage. We should be at the forefront for everything. The fact that we are not with gay marriage is just so incredible to me. I like tradition, but everyone should have the right to get married.

Is there a food that would be representative of your sexual style?

Milliken: First I would have to figure out what my sexual style is. And that's hard enough in itself, and then to pair that to food? [Laughs].

If you were to take someone out on a romantic date, to which L.A. restaurant would you take him/her (beside Border Grill or Street)?

Feniger: I'm not sure I would go to a restaurant.

Milliken: Probably a Japanese restaurant. We would go for a romantic evening for sushi or yakitori. Probably at K-ZO or Nanban-Kan.

Feniger: I like to go out and listen to jazz, have some drinks and walk to the beach with some cheese and crackers.

What is the worst sexual experience you ever had?

Millken: Worst? Oh, there is so many! I think my worst would be in France with this crazy guy.

Feniger: I think mine was in France, too.

Milliken: Oh, those French. I was visiting Susan when I was 20 years old in Marseilles, France, and this guy was driving me around going about 200 kilometers per hour or something. I think I tried to run away at the gas station. I don't remember all the details. And I am trying to remember what the sex was like. I do know I came home on a bus.

Would you rather go your entire life without being able to love, or without being able to cook?

Milliken: Without being able to cook. Are you kidding? I would rather starve. And I love food! I think that would be a pretty bad handicap not being able to love.

Feniger: If you couldn't love then how would you even love cooking? It would be such an incomplete life.

In your opinion, who is the sexiest chef in the world?

Milliken: I used to think Frédy Girardet was when I first met him. I ate at his restaurant in Switzerland when I was 20 years old. I remember thinking, “I will never be able to cook as good as him.” He sat down with me and drank a bottle of wine. He was funny, smart and so cute.

Feniger: Angelina Jolie. I think she cooks. I don't know about the sexiest chefs, but I also think Lady Gaga would be up there. I like her vibe and she's amazingly talented.

Susan Feniger

On the streets of Thailand, where the temperature sometimes soars over 100°, there's nothing more refreshing than a plastic bag of Thai tea! Since most of the tea shops don't have seating, the Thai people take their sweetened iced tea "to go" in a plastic bag with a straw sticking out of it. The flavors of these teas were the inspiration for this dessert. The thing that makes this dish so special is the lime in the caramel, which adds an unusual tang to the sweetness. Another bonus is the crunch and spice of the cashews that are sprinkled over the top of the pudding, adding a wonderful surprise.

Average user rating 4 / 4 Reviews 4 Percentage of reviewers who will make this recipe again 75 %

Burmese _Gin Thoke_ Melon Salad

If it's melon season, you have to make this. In Burma (Myanmar), gin thoke, meaning "ginger mix," is a blend of crispy fried garlic, sesame seeds, and ginger, and is eaten as a sweet digestive snack after meals. Although not native to the region, melons are a refreshing and delicious complement to this dressing, together making a perfect summertime side dish. The ginger is key to this salad. Ideally, the gingerroot should be so young that the skin is almost transparent and the roots are tipped with pink.

Average user rating 0 / 4 Reviews 2 Percentage of reviewers who will make this recipe again 100 %

Curried Sweet Potato Pancakes

On one of my first trips to India, at a bus stop in Poona, there was a street stand where the vendor was roasting potatoes over charcoal, chopping them, and tossing them with curry spices and crispy onions. He served the mixture wrapped in a piece of newspaper. It was amazing, and it inspired this dish. There are so many curry spice mixtures from around the world. This recipe employs one of the most common. You can use either yams or sweet potatoes in this recipe.

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Lime Caramel

Candied Cashews

Habanero-Orange Salsa

Sweet oranges help tame the heat of the habanero in this zippy salsa, which would also be delicious alongside grilled pork loin.

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Cucumber-Cabbage Salad with Tamarind Dressing

This salad is great with grilled chicken thighs, lamb chops, or leg of lamb.

Average user rating 2.5 / 4 Reviews 7 Percentage of reviewers who will make this recipe again 20 %

Tequila Tamarindo

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Spice-Crusted Strip Steaks with Tamarind Sauce

Tamarind gives this seared steak a flavor that's smoky yet bright.

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Tamarind-Glazed Black Cod with Habanero-Orange Salsa

If black cod isn't available, a firm white fish, such as halibut or barramundi, would also work well.

Average user rating 3.5 / 4 Reviews 2 Percentage of reviewers who will make this recipe again 50 % View “ Tamarind-Glazed Black Cod with Habanero-Orange Salsa ” recipe

Vietnamese Yogurt

In Vietnam, yogurt is known by a couple of different names: <eme>sua chua (sour milk) and da ua, pronounced "ya-orh," which is actually a transliteration of yaourt, reflecting the dish's origins during French colonization. Semantics aside, this just may be the silkiest yogurt you’ll ever taste, with a delightful balance of sweetness—which comes from condensed milk, a staple of the Vietnamese pantry—and tanginess. At Street, Feniger and Alger make and culture their own yogurt, but this recipe produces similar results and is much quicker.</eme>

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Slow-Cooked Tomato and Herb White Beans

These soupy beans resonate with the deep notes of tomato, garlic, and thyme. Meant to be served with the country hash , they would also go well with pork chops or grilled sausages.

Average user rating 3.5 / 4 Reviews 13 Percentage of reviewers who will make this recipe again 89 %

Braised Beef Brisket

Every cook should have a good brisket recipe at the ready, and this one's a doozy. Braised with lots of browned onions, carrots, and celery in a mix of chicken broth and crushed tomatoes, the beef exits the oven full-flavored and fork-tender, ready to be shredded for the country hash or sliced and served with mashed potatoes for a homey dinner (though it's even better if you can wait a day). By all means, freeze the leftover braising liquid it's wonderful as a sauce for fettuccine or as the base for a vegetable barley soup.

Average user rating 3.5 / 4 Reviews 41 Percentage of reviewers who will make this recipe again 89 %

Salted Mint Lassi

Yogurt drinks are popular throughout India—some are flavored with sugar or fruit, while others, like this one, are more savory. "I give sample tastes of this all the time at the restaurant," says Susan Feniger, "and people are shocked by how refreshing it is."

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Country Hash

Not everything Feniger serves at her restaurant is typical street food, and here's a delicious case in point. The intriguing combination of shredded brisket, diced root vegetables, and apples is based on a recipe that Feniger's grandmother Sylvia Morgan often made for family meals in Toledo, Ohio. Roasted poblano chiles, a nod to the chef’s days at Santa Monica's Border Grill, add a spark of heat, and a fried egg makes it enormously satisfying.

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Parsley, Celery Leaf, and Jicama Salad

A rich meal calls for a crisp salad, in shades of green and white, to cleanse your palate. Radish sprouts add a peppery bite to the crunchy jicama and flat leaves of parsley and celery.

Average user rating 3.5 / 4 Reviews 4 Percentage of reviewers who will make this recipe again 75 %

Tamarind Ginger Cooler

Both ginger plants and tamarind trees grow in tropical spots around the world, including India, Asia, and Latin America, where the two seasonings are regularly used in marinades, sauces, and drinks. So it was only natural for Feniger to take some of the spicy ginger syrup she had developed for the Canton Ginger Kick and mix it with tart tamarind. The result is very fresh and very quaffable. Feniger says that when they make it at Street, they often save the tamarind pulp that's left in the sieve and add more water that tamarind liquid will be thinner than the first batch, but it will still have enough of its signature fruity sharpness for another round.

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Cantaloupe Aqua Fresca with Beet Swirl

Sold at Mexican street stands in large, clear barrels—the better to show off their festive colors—agua frescas, or "fresh waters," can be made with all kinds of fruits and herbs, the riper the better. Here, Feniger tops a traditional cantaloupe cooler with a decorative swirl of vivid beet purée. Roasting the beet heightens its sweetness and intensifies its color.

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Ginger Syrup

Consider making extra of this spicy syrup—it's delicious stirred into tea, added to smoothies, or drizzled over ice cream.

Average user rating 4 / 4 Reviews 12 Percentage of reviewers who will make this recipe again 100 %

Susan Feniger

Susan Feniger is well known to Angeleno’s as one half of the popular "Too Hot Tamales" along with her longtime business partner Mary Sue Milliken. Almost 30 years ago, the two chefs opened CITY restaurant, becoming an instant success story. Next came Border Grill in Santa Monica, California and Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, and then the Latin themed Ciudad in downtown Los Angeles and the Border Grill Truck. With the opening of Susan Feniger’s STREET in Hollywood in 2009, the celebrated chef launched her first solo venture. Feniger’s dream of creating a unique restaurant inspired by the authentic flavors of street food was fulfilled, creating a spontaneous love story enjoyed by foodies and the media alike. A veteran of 396 episodes of "Too Hot Tamales" and "Tamales World Tour" series, Feniger also co-authored five cookbooks with Milliken--City Cuisine, Mesa Mexicana, Cantina, Cooking with Too Hot Tamales, and Mexican Cooking for Dummies. She has been on the board of the Scleroderma Research Foundation for 17 years, spearheading a mission to find a cure for scleroderma, a life-threatening and degenerative illness, by funding and facilitating the most promising, highest quality research, as well as placing the disease and the need for a cure in the public eye. Feniger also serves on the board of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.

Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone

Curtis Stone ( is an internationally known chef, TV host, entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author. His philosophy to cook as Mother Nature intended inspires Curtis to keep his recipes simple, using local, seasonal and organic ingredients and allowing the food to speak for itself. Curtis is recognized around the globe for his ability to help home cooks find confidence in the kitchen with delicious, doable recipes and easy cooking techniques.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Curtis first found his passion for food whilst watching his grandmother make her legendary fudge and his mother roast her perfect pork crackling. He quickly learnt to appreciate the beauty of creating -- and eating -- homemade food and cherished the way it brought people together. That early lesson would ultimately become Curtis' ethos and the foundation of his culinary career.

After finishing culinary school, he took a job cooking at the Savoy Hotel in Melbourne before heading to London, where he honed his skills under legendary three-star Michelin genius, Marco Pierre White, at Café Royal, Mirabelle. and the highly revered Quo Vadis.

Curtis opened a multi-functional culinary headquarters in Beverly Hills in January 2014, featuring a test kitchen and his dream, little restaurant, Maude (

While living in London, Curtis appeared in several UK cooking shows before catching the eye of television producers in Australia. At the age of 27, he became the star of a new cooking series called Surfing the Menu. It was an international hit that led to his first American show, TLC’s Take Home Chef in 2006 -- the same year the blondhaired, blue-eyed young gun was named one of People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive. Curtis broke into US primetime network television with appearances on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, America's Next Great Restaurant and The Biggest Loser. In 2012, Curtis co-hosted Bravo’s Around the World in 80 Plates and reprised his role as host of the network's popular culinary competition Top Chef Masters, which returned for a fifth season in 2013. In addition to this, Curtis is host of the new edition of the Top Chef franchise, Top Chef Duels, scheduled to air this summer. As a frequent guest since ABC’s The Chew's launch in September 2011, Curtis officially joined the ensemble cast as a regular guest co-host in November 2013.

As the author of five cookbooks, Curtis has shared his culinary know-how with readers around the globe. Surfing the Menu and Surfing the Menu Again (ABC Books 2004, 2005), penned with his friend and fellow Aussie chef Ben O’Donoghue, were followed by Cooking with Curtis (Pavilion 2005), a solo effort that celebrated seasonal fare and brought his chef's expertise down-to-earth for the home cook. Setting out to prove that good food doesn't need to be fussy, Curtis then released Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Recipes to Put You in My Favorite Mood (Clarkson Potter 2009).

Curtis launched his fifth cookbook, a New York Times best-seller: What's For Dinner?: Recipes for a Busy Life in April 2013 (Ballantine). His sixth cookbook is set for release in April 2015. Curtis also contributes to a variety of food and lifestyle magazines. He is a food columnist for the wildly popular O Magazine, contributing on a bimonthly basis. His debut column was published in the October 2013 issue.

Curtis developed Kitchen Solutions, a line of sleek and functional cookware, in 2007 after spending thousands of hours with home cooks in their own kitchens. The goal is to bring confidence to the kitchen with tools that help make cooking inspired and effortless. The first chef to debut an eponymous product line at Williams-Sonoma, Curtis has expanded the range to include close to 250 items, which in addition to Williams-Sonoma are available at HSN, Bloomingdales, Dillard's, Chef's Catalog, Belk and fine specialty retailers throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Singapore and Belgium.

Curtis' restaurant Maude ( is the culmination of all his life and career experiences captured into an intimate setting. Curtis always dreamed of opening his own restaurant so when the perfect space in Beverly Hills became available, he jumped at the chance to make it his own. Curtis' passion project Maude, named after his grandmother, offers a market driven, prix-fixe monthly menu designed to create an intimate chef's table experience for the entire dining room, where every seat is within a comfortable distance to the open kitchen. Each month a single ingredient inspires a menu of nine tasting plates, and this celebrated ingredient is creatively woven, to varying degrees, through each course.

Curtis has fostered long-term relationships with charities around the world, including Feeding America in the US and Cottage by the Sea and Make-A-Wish in Australia. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Lindsay Price, two-year-old son, Hudson, and golden retriever Sully. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, gardening, surfing -- and cooking. For Curtis, cooking always brings fun. "There really is no better gift than a home-cooked meal and enjoying a good laugh around the table."

Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons is a trained culinary expert, food writer, and dynamic television personality. Since the show’s inception in 2006, she has lent her extensive expertise as permanent judge on Bravo’s Emmy-winning series Top Chef, currently in its 18th season. She is also the host of the upcoming series Top Chef Amateurs, giving talented home cooks the opportunity of a lifetime to test their skills in the illustrious Top Chef kitchen. A familiar face in the Top Chef franchise, she served as head critic on Top Chef Masters, hosted Top Chef Just Desserts and was a judge on Universal Kids’ Top Chef Jr. Gail hosts Iron Chef Canada and was co-host of The Feed on FYI.

Her first cookbook, Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating, was released by Grand Central Publishing in October 2017. Nominated for an IACP award for Best General Cookbook, it features accessible recipes and smart techniques inspired by Gail’s world travels. Gail’s first book, a memoir titled Talking With My Mouth Full, was published by Hyperion in February 2012.

From 2004 to 2019 Gail was Special Projects Director at Food & Wine magazine. During her tenure she wrote a monthly column, helped create the video series #FWCooks and worked closely with the country’s top culinary talent on events and chef-related initiatives, including overseeing the annual F&W Classic in Aspen, America’s premier culinary event. Prior to working at Food & Wine, Gail was the special events manager for Chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant empire.

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Gail moved to New York City in 1999 to attend culinary school at what is now the Institute of Culinary Education. She then trained in the kitchens of legendary Le Cirque 2000 and groundbreaking Vong restaurants and worked as the assistant to Vogue's esteemed food critic, Jeffrey Steingarten.

In 2014, Gail and her business partner Samantha Hanks, founded Bumble Pie Productions, an original content company dedicated to discovering and promoting new female voices in the food and lifestyle space. Their first series, Star Plates—a collaboration with Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films and Authentic Entertainment—premiered in Fall 2016 on the Food Network.

In addition, Gail is a weekly contributor to The Dish On Oz and makes frequent appearances on NBC’s TODAY, ABC’s Good Morning America, and the Rachael Ray Show, among others. She has been featured in publications such as People, New York Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, US Weekly, Los Angeles Times, and was named the #1 Reality TV Judge in America by the New York Post.

In February 2013, Gail was appointed Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Babson College, a mentoring role where she works with student entrepreneurs, helping them develop food-related social enterprises. In April 2016, she received the Award of Excellence by Spoons Across America, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating children about the benefits of healthy eating. She is an active board member and supporter of City Harvest, Hot Bread Kitchen, Common Threads, and the Institute of Culinary Education.

Gail currently lives in New York City with her husband, Jeremy and their children, Dahlia and Kole.

Francis Lam

Francis Lam

Francis Lam returns to the Critics’ Table for the fifth season of Top Chef Masters. He is Editor-at-Large at Clarkson Potter, and previously, was Features Editor at Gilt Taste, which was awarded six IACP awards and four James Beard award nominations in its first two years. His own writing has been nominated for a James Beard award and three IACP awards, winning one, but he knows all this talk of awards is a little tacky. In past lives, he was a senior writer at, a contributing editor at Gourmet magazine (RIP), and his work has appeared in the 2006-2012 editions of Best Food Writing. He believes that, in professional football, that would count as a dynasty in ancient China, not so much. Lam resides in New York City.

James Oseland

James Oseland

James Oseland is thrilled to be returning for his fifth season of Top Chef Masters. He is the editor-in-chief of Saveur, America’s most critically-acclaimed food magazine. Under his editorship, the magazine has won more than more than 40 awards, including numerous James Beard journalism awards, and three from the American Society of Magazine Editors. His 2006 book, Cradle of Flavor, a memoir with recipes about his time living in Southeast Asia, was named one of the best books of that year by Time Asia, The New York Times, and Good Morning America and went on to win awards from the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He is the also the editor of Saveur’s cookbooks, including Saveur: The New Comfort Food, published in 2011, and The Way We Cook. He is on the board of the directors of the American Society of Magazine Editors and is the editor of the forthcoming Lonely Planet writing anthology A Fork In the Road. He is writing Jimmy Neurosis, a memoir of his punk rock youth in the 1970s, for Ecco Press, a Harper Collins imprint. Additionally, he has lectured at the Asia Society, Slow Food Nation, and the Culinary Institute of America’s Worlds of Flavor conference. He was previously an editor at Vogue, Organic Style, Sassy, the Village Voice, and Mademoiselle, and holds degrees in photography and film studies from the San Francisco Art Institute. Born in Mountain View, California, in 1963, James has lived in India and Indonesia and now lives in New York City with his husband, Daniel. His favorite foods are char kuey teow (Malaysian stir-fried rice noodles with shrimp and chile paste) and milk chocolate bars. Though he is very picky about the food he eats, he will consume anything and usually enjoy it very much.

Lesley Suter

Lesley Suter

Joining the Critics’ Table for Top Chef Masters Season 5, Lesley Suter oversees all dining and food coverage for Los Angeles magazine. In May 2012, Suter took home a James Beard Award, the first ever awarded for food coverage in a general-interest publication. She has lent her culinary know-how to national publications including Saveur and Conde Nast Traveler and has appeared on a number of television and radio programs, including a recurring guest spot on KCRW’s Good Food. She began her career as an Associate Editor at the music magazine Filter and later served as Editor-In-Chief of the alternative weekly newspaper L.A. Alternative. Suter’s food coverage has garnered national recognition in the form of several National Magazine and James Beard Award nominations. She currently resides in the hilly Los Angeles neighborhood of Glassell Park, where she shares a home with her husband Michael, two troublesome felines, and a backyard fruit and vegetable garden—which, if it weren’t for her neighbor, she’d likely have killed by now.

Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl, author of Delicious!, a novel that will be released by Random House in the fall, returns as a critic for Season 5 of Top Chef Masters. She was Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine from 1999 to 2009. Before that, she was the restaurant critic of both The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, where she was also named food editor. As chef and co-owner of The Swallow Restaurant from 1974 to 1977, she played a part in the culinary revolution that took place in Berkeley, California.

Ms. Reichl began writing about food in 1972, when she published Mmmmm: A Feastiary. Since then, she has authored the best-selling memoirs Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me with Apples, Garlic and Sapphires, and For You Mom, Finally, which have been translated into 20 languages, and The Gourmet Cookbook. She is also the executive producer of Garlic and Sapphires, a Fox 2000 film based on her memoirs to be directed by Paul Feig, and host of Gourmet’s Adventures with Ruth, a 10-episode public television series which began airing in October 2009.

Ms. Reichl has been honored with six James Beard Awards. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in the History of Art from the University of Michigan and lives in New York City with her husband, Michael Singer, a television news producer.

Bryan Voltaggio

Bryan Voltaggio

Current Residency: Frederick, MD
Occupation: Executive Chef/Partner of VOLT, Family Meal, STRFSH, Voltaggio Bros. Steak House, ESTUARY

Two-time runner up Bryan Voltaggio is the only chef who has competed on Top Chef (Season Six: Las Vegas) and Top Chef Masters (Season 5). He is back for Season 17 All Stars LA to prove that he has what it takes to bring home the title. A Maryland native and James Beard Foundation Award finalist, Bryan is the executive chef and owner of VOLT, Family Meal, and has three additional restaurants with his brother Michael including Estuary, Voltaggio Brothers Steak House and STRFSH. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Bryan was a cook at Aureole where he met his mentor chef Charlie Palmer. He later was a stagier at Pic, a three-star Michelin restaurant in Valence, France, before reuniting as executive chef at Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington, D.C. After working for Charlie Palmer for almost 10 years, he set out on his own opening Volt in 2008, followed by Family Meal in 2012. His latest project, Estuary, opened in March of 2019 and is the third restaurant he opened with his brother Michael. He has also released two cookbooks Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends and VOLT.Ink, the latter which he co-authored with his brother Michael. As a father and chef, Bryan is a passionate philanthropist and has helped raise over one million dollars working with Chefs Cycle and No Kid Hungry to end childhood hunger. He lives with his wife Jennifer and three children in his hometown of Frederick, MD.

David Burke

David Burke

Blurring the lines between chef, artist, entrepreneur and inventor, David Burke is one of the leading pioneers in American cooking today. His fascination with ingredients and the art of the meal has fueled a thirty-year career marked by creativity, critical acclaim and the introduction of revolutionary products and cooking techniques. His passion for food and for the restaurant industry shows no signs of slowing down.

Burke graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and soon thereafter traveled to France where he completed several stages with notable chefs such as Pierre Troisgros, Georges Blanc and Gaston Lenôtre. Burke's mastery of French culinary technique was confirmed when, at age 26, he won France's coveted Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Diplome d'Honneur for unparalleled skill and creativity with his native cuisine. Burke returned to the U.S. as a sous chef for Waldy Malouf at La Cremaillere and then for Charlie Palmer at The River Café, where he ascended to executive chef and earned three stars from The New York Times.

In 1992, Burke opened the Park Avenue Café with Smith & Wollensky CEO Alan Stillman, and then, in 1996, he became vice president of culinary development for the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group. Burke has been honored with Japan's Nippon Award of Excellence, the Robert Mondavi Award of Excellence and the CIA's August Escoffier Award. Nation's Restaurant News named Burke one of the 50 Top R&D Culinarians and Time Out New York honored him as the "Best Culinary Prankster" in 2003. In May 2009, Burke was inducted into the Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America by the James Beard Foundation. In that same month, he also won the distinctive Menu Masters award from Nation's Restaurant News, naming him one of the nation"s most celebrated culinary innovators.

In February 2012, Burke was honored by the culinary school at Johnson & Wales University with the Distinguished Visiting Chef Award, which is given to the world's most influential and celebrated chefs. In November 2012, he was named Restaurateur of the Year by the New Jersey Restaurant Association. In the same month, he was honored with a Concierge Choice Award, celebrating the best in New York City hospitality, winning the best chef award. In 2013, Burke was nominated to "Best Chefs America," a new benchmark in American cooking whereby chefs name the peers who are the most inspiring and impressive in the business. In 2013, the David Burke Group was recognized by Restaurant Hospitality magazine as having one of the "Coolest Multiconcept Companies in the Land." The article highlights restaurant corporations with an enviable business concept that others can't wait to replicate. In addition, it cites the numerous incarnations of Chef Burke's creative vision, from David Burke Townhouse to David Burke Fishtail, from Burke in the Box to David Burke's Primehouse.

Chef Burke's vast talents have been showcased recently on television, including season two of Top Chef Masters, a guest spot on the Every Day with Rachael Ray show and as a mentor to Breckenridge Bourbon distiller Bryan Nolt on Bloomberg's small-business television series The Mentor. In 2013, he returned to season five of Top Chef Masters.

Burke's visibility as a celebrity chef has also led to consultant positions with hotels, cruise lines and food experts. Most recently, he was invited to join the Holland America Line Culinary Council alongside renowned international chefs Jonnie Boer, Marcus Samuelsson, Jacques Torres, Charlie Trotter and Elizabeth Falkner. In this capacity, Burke will consult on the cruise line's culinary initiatives, including the Culinary Arts Center enrichment program, and provide signature recipes which will be featured on all 15 ships. In 2003, Burke teamed up with Donatella Arpaia to open davidburke & donatella (now known as David Burke Townhouse, of which he has sole ownership). In 2005 came David Burke at Bloomingdale's, a dual-concept restaurant offering both a full service Burke Bar Café on one side and a Burke in the Box eat-in concept on the other.

In 2006 Burke opened up David Burke’s Primehouse in The James Hotel Chicago. His restaurant collection continued to grow that same year when he purchased culinary career began under founders Markus and Hubert Peter. His next ventures included David Burke Prime at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut and David Burke Fishtail in Manhattan, both of which opened in 2008. In February 2011, he opened David Burke Kitchen at The James Hotel New York in SoHo, bringing his signature whimsical style to downtown Manhattan.

In 2013, Burke made great strides in expanding his restaurant empire and enhancing his partnerships with other reputable companies. In the summer of 2013, he opened Burke's Bacon Bar in the James Hotel Chicago, a high-end sandwich and "to-go" concept featuring artisan and top-notch bacons from around the country. BBB features Burke's signature "Handwiches" -- palm-sized sandwiches packed with creative combinations of fresh ingredients -- as well as salads and sweets, all featuring bacon, in some form, as an ingredient. In 2014, Burke will bring his SoHo concept, David Burke Kitchen, which features modern takes on farmhouse cuisine, to the ski resort town of Aspen, Colorado.

During his tenure at The River Café, Burke began experimenting with interesting ingredients and cooking techniques. His first culinary innovations, including Pastrami Salmon (now available through Acme Smoked Fist), flavored oils and tuna tartare, revolutionized gastronomic technique. During his 12-year period at the Park Avenue Café, Burke created GourmetPops, ready-to-serve cheesecake lollipops. His Can o' Cake concept, where cake is mixed, baked and eaten from a portable tin, is used throughout his restaurants. Most recently, he teamed with 12NtM to create two non-alcoholic sparkling beverages, available in gourmet retailers such as Whole Foods and at his New York locations. Additionally, Burke is actively involved with culinology, an approach to food that blends the culinary arts and food technology. To that end, he is the chief culinary advisor to the Skinny Eats line of flavor-enhancing produtts.

In 2011, Burke received the ultimate honor presented to inventors: a United States patent. It was awarded to him for the unique process by which he uses pink Himalayan salt to dry-age his steaks. Burke lines the walls of his dry-aging room with brickes of the alt, which imparts a subtle flavor to the beef and renders it incredibly tender. Burke's steaks can be dry-aged for anywhere from 28 to 55, 75, or even as long as 100 days using this process.

Burke's first cookbook, Cooking with David Burke, and his second, David Burke's New American Classics launched in April 2006. He is currently working on his third book, due out in 2015.

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Around the Kitchen in 3 Questions: Chef Susan Feniger - Recipes

Hidden Valley seems to have a flair for good partnerships, and I'm thrilled to be a part of the Lunch Break for Kids program. Working with the Chef and Child Foundation, Hidden Valley is promoting fundraisers across the country beginning today, October 15th, 2012.

Highlighting ways for parents and kids to come together with chefs and schools to learn more about how simple, good food can make healthier bodies and stronger family connections, celebrity chefs including Stephan Pyles, Susan Feniger (see our interview with Susan below!) , and Ford Fry, will be holding fabulous fundraising events at their restaurants during this week.

Susan Feniger's restaurant, Street, in Los Angeles, is hosting a Lunch Break for Kids event this coming Wednesday, October 17th during the dinner hours, and we have been lucky enough to receive one of the recipes from the event! Should you wish to visit the event in person, reservations are recommended, but not required. We'd love to hear about your evening if you are close enough to attend!

Susan's Kids Falafel Wrap with Hidden Valley Ranch Yogurt Sauce looks to be a sure hit. With our time limited last weekend, Liv and I didn't have time to make the entire recipe, however we did toss together the creamy yogurt sauce for an afternoon "dip-dip" snack. Mixed with Greek-style yogurt, a touch of Hidden Valley Ranch's Seasoning Mix and a good dose of diced tomato, Liv once again ate her broccoli. Thanks Ms. Feniger. we can't wait to try the entire wrap!

As part of the DailyBuzz Food's Tastemaker Program's partnership with Hidden Valley, Liv Life received the incredible opportunity to interview Ms. Feniger, who you may know as half of the amazing duo, the Two Hot Tamales.

Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken have together logged nearly 400 episodes on The Food Network, she has appeared on Season 2 of Bravo's "Top Chef Masters", "Chef vs. City", and "The Best Thing I Ever Ate". Susan has also recently opened her restaurant, Street, in addition to releasing a new cookbook (it's on my Christmas list!) , Susan Feniger's Street Food.

I personally discovered Susan nearly 15 years ago as my husband and I dined at the Mandalay Bay Border Grill which she owns with Ms. Milliken. With additional Border Grill locations in Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles, the Tamales have now introduced the mobile Border Grill Food Truck in the L.A. area.

Susan Feniger: Trick to a great marinade is it has to be strong and powerful (not necessarily spicy) but powerful so you taste that the meat was marinated in the beginning! We typically add fresh lime, not too much though, because too much will cook the meat, and we don’t want that. Using skirt steak it’s the perfect cut, in my opinion, to marinate-it’s got great marbling making the skirt taste like butter (also cut across the grain)! Love that with a minty lime cooler which is made from tons of fresh mint, fresh lime, little sugar and sparkling water.

LL: Locally here in San Diego, food trucks are popping up all over the place with each gaining groups of dedicated followers. I’ve read about your Border Grill Food Truck, and I’m curious about the challenges of cooking on a truck as opposed to cooking in a “real” kitchen?

SF: Mary Sue and I are used to teeny kitchens …we started in a very small one, and at my newest restaurant STREET the kitchen is about the size of the one Mary Sue and I started in! But on a truck for sure there are some limitations (although you work around those!) Not a lot of room to heat up dishes slow and without rushing. Truck world is all about rushing, so we’ve had to be creative how to get to an event, get food hot, cook food to order and feel like it’s the quality of the truck. I think we’ve gotten it figured out. Trick with Trucks: it’s fast and furious… so cooks have to be the same!

LL: Congratulations on your Street Food Cookbook! In the promo you talk about your love of street food. While much of your past work has had a Mexican flair, Street Food looks to go even more global. What cultures do you feature in your new book? Was there anything that stands out in your research that you immediately knew would NOT make the book? Any spices/ingredients that have become new favorites?

SF: In the book we tell a few of my fave travel stories. India, Vietnam, Turkey. very food driven cultures, for sure some of the best… We touch a bit into India, South East Asia for sure, Ukraine, Japan, Middle East. If a recipe was too complicated it got booted! My favorite street food in India: Pani Puri..too many steps…we did put Bhel Puri, similar but not the same… Maybe recipes we felt might be too complicated got booted… Even mandoo dumplings which are easy but they got cut…

LL: My daughter, Liv, and I are thrilled to be a part of Hidden Valley Ranch’s Lunch Break for Kids Program. How did you become involved in the efforts to support childhood nutrition education, and what do you believe are some of the most important nutrition ideas we need to be teaching kids today?

Liv and her dance friends supporting Share Our Strength - 2011. Our San Diego group raised thousands of dollars over the last two years at our annual bake sales.

For me, I am lucky to be in this field. We have this incredible opportunity to possibly make a difference. Our goal in working with Hidden Valley is to help children eat better. Secretly, my mom loved Hidden Valley and that has stuck with me forever, so I was thrilled to find a great use for it that can also help!

Hidden Valley Ranch Yogurt Dip
Susan Feniger

1 cup Greek Style plain yogurt
1 packet** of Hidden Valley Ranch Original Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix 1 large tomato, cored and rough chopped
Juice of one lemon

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Let chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

**Liv Life Note: Liv and I used about 1 Tbs of the Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning in our recipe.

Liv's weekend this last weekend was consumed with a Broadcasting Competition Project, and with two days at 9+ hours a day, the kids needed fuel, energy and a break now and then.

Telling the kids we had this post to write, I asked if they would like to pose with the bottle of dressing. not only did they pose, but they laughed, posed again, and tested the dip. After about 10 minutes of fun though, one of the boys asked, "Can't we just eat it now??". And they did.