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Susan Feniger of Border Grill, Street

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This is 10 Things You Didn't Know About..., a new feature calling to attention lesser known facts about your favorite chefs.

You may know chef Susan Feniger from her more recent stints on Top Chef Masters, but she and collaborator Mary Sue Milliken have been longtime stalwarts in the Los Angeles chef community and are lauded for introducing ethnic street food to this city long before kaya toast was de rigueur. In 1981 Feniger and Milliken opened their first venture, City Cafe, and four years later they followed with the still popular Border Grill. Ciudad opened in 1998 and closed in 2010 to make room for another Border Grill, meanwhile the aptly titled Street hit Hollywood in 2009, brining a modern taste of street foods from around the globe. Below, 10 lesser known Feniger facts.

1) The new Jewish copywriter character on Mad Men is my nephew.
2) If wasn’t a chef my dream would be to be a therapist or a politician.
3) I was a cheerleader in high school.
4) When I was 10 years old, I prided myself on running a seven minute mile.
5) I was a total tomboy-named SAM, love sports (even though I don’t play much anymore).
6) I lived in Holland with a family on a farm when I was 15, learned to speak Dutch, well, sort of, since no one spoke English.
7) I lived on a kibbutz when I was 17, picking apples, pears, and started drinking my first coffee there.
8) I lived in Vermont, worked for a cabinet maker and sewed a teepee all winter long when it was too cold to go out. We pitched it on a dairy farmer’s land, after cutting the trees down and stripping them for the poles, then lived there bathing in streams, cooking over an open fire and Coleman stove.
9) I worked in a fish market in Poughkeepsie, New York for a year cleaning fish.
10) My final project at CIA, in Hyde Park, was opening a “fake” restaurant, it was a vegetarian restaurant which clearly shows that I was drawn to that direction early on.
·All Susan Feniger Coverage [~ELA~]