445 S Figueroa St · Los Angeles, CA 90071 · Neighborhood: Downtown
I was recently invited back to Border Grill to enjoy a little cooking demonstration and brunch courtesy of chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger! Little did I know that they have been doing these “cooking class” demonstrations for while now. It the was the first time I had the opportunity to watch them cook together up close and personal and I really get a feel for how well they really work off one another. Together, they are a blast of humor, energy and charisma. It’s no wonder they had their own show on the Food Network for so many years.
These “two hot tamales” demonstrated some easy, yet sophisticated alternatives to making eggs and toast for breakfast. They cooked, we watched and then ate.
“Who buys Bloody Mary mix?” (no one raises their hand)
“Who makes it at home?” (no one raises their hand)
“Does ANYBODY drink Bloody Marys anymore?” (silence then laughter)
“Well, what DO you guys drink in the morning!?” joked Mary Sue.
Throughout the two-hour long demonstration, they engaged in the entertaining banter that made them the well-known celebrity chefs that they are. They shared simple tips like “listen for the sizzle,” discussed the importance of wiping off your kitchen knife’s blade to preserve it longer, or why one should make sure to flip pastry dough as you roll it out — so that it doesn’t stick, of course. They even went into explaining proper knife skills and the basics of honing and sharpening your knife at a 45 degree angle. The audience “ooooh-ed” and “aaaaah-ed” (a la Emeril Live). Some took notes while others insta-gramed each dish.
The pair encouraged us to ask questions and comment throughout the demo. Someone in the audience shouted out, “You two should go on Iron Chef!” To which Susan replied, “We did! And we beat Bobby Flay!” Mary Sue humorously corrected, “Well… we tied.” This was way back in 2005 and just goes to show how long their career as a successful duo has spanned.
Their cooking show was one of the first to put Food Network on the map. They were the first female chefs at Chicago’s El Perroquet (where they met in 1978), and have numerous successful restaurants and cookbooks to boot. There really isn’t anything these two haven’t achieved during the course of their 35+ year long careers.
If I may be blunt, they are pretty badass. These are savvy business women and amazing chefs. As a young woman, business owner and food enthusiast, I am super inspired by the the work they do and the great example they set for young girls and aspiring chefs everywhere.
This cooking class was a great reason to get up early on Saturday morning, devourer some tasty dishes and meet these two incredibly talented and super friendly ladies.
Here’s a look at what we drank and ate:
Thanks to Yoko Isassi for being my date and special thanks to Megan and Border Grill for inviting me!
BYB Tip! For $20 bucks Border Grill downtown is featuring a weekly changing menu of bottomless small plates every Sunday from 5 to 9 pm. Short ribs, shrimp and grits (see above pic) and quinoa fritters are on the menu along with half-off pitchers of margaritas. Whoo!