Video produced by Denise Toledo
Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, chefs and co-owners of Border Grill, were inspired by authentic Latin flavors they first discovered in the kitchen of a French restaurant. During staff meals, the pair enjoyed Oaxacan and the Yucatecan home cooking prepared by their fellow cooks from Mexico.
After falling for the cuisine, they traveled to Mexico to get a comprehensive understanding of the flavors. They then brought that knowledge back to California and put their own spin on it to create the Latin-fusion restaurant Border Grill.
“Susan and I are just mostly focused on the flavor, and we’re not too caught up on authenticity. We love things to be authentic but, you know, over these 30, 40 years we’ve been cooking, we’ve seen that at one point fusion had a real bad name, and now I think that fusion can be done right, so we’re not hung up on what the dish has to be other than really delicious,” Milliken said.
Seafood has always been instrumental in Latin cuisine and it shows on the menu at Border Grill. With as much seafood as the restaurant puts out, Milliken made sure to put a lot of thought into their sourcing. As such the, restaurant has vowed to only serve sustainable seafood.
“It led us to certain sustainability practices, like sustainable seafood was the first thing we took on. And that was over 15 years ago, where we just decided we would only serve sustainable seafood in our restaurants,” she said.
Border Grill then committed to take on one more sustainable action every year after that first decision.
“I think chefs have a huge responsibility in this. We can make anything sexy on the plate, or if we’re good, we should be able to,” she added.
Watch this episode of Table 42 to see how chef Mary Sue Milliken creates delicious Latin dishes with Wild Alaska Seafood.