Mary Sue Milliken

Mary Sue Milliken

Very few chefs have the longevity and sustained level of success as Mary Sue Milliken, so it should come as no surprise that she’s earned herself a place on this list. After graduating from the Washburne Culinary Institute in Chicago, Mary Sue worked in kitchens in Chicago and Paris with her eventual collaborator Susan Feniger. Combining their prodigious talents, Mary Sue and Susan opened City Café in Los Angeles in 1981, and in 1985 they opened Border Grill. Finally, in 1998, Mary Sue and Susan opened Ciudad in Los Angeles, and the success of the properties has led some to claim that Mary Sue and Susan are singlehandedly responsible for the evolution of the Los Angeles restaurant scene.

In addition to her continued success in the kitchen, Mary Sue is also an accomplished cookbook author and TV personality. Mary Sue has published five cookbooks outlining her expertise of Mexican cuisine, and her long-running Food Network shows “Too Hot Tamales” and “Tamales World Tour made her a household name. Mary Sue also appeared on TV with the legendary Julia Child on her show “Cooking with Master Chefs” in 1993, and most recently, Mary Sue appeared on “Top Chef Masters” in 2011, where she placed second in the competition.

Top Dishes


Specialties & Resources

Mary Sue’s bread and butter, as it were, is Mexican cuisine. And although that may lead you to believe she is just another of the long line of chefs to embrace this culinary style, the fact that she has had such continued success is a testament to her abilities.

At Border Grill, menu items include plantain empanadas with organic black beans, poblano, aged cotija, crema and red salsa; brisket taquitos with spicy slaw, guacamole, salsa fresca and crema; quinoa fritters with aged cotija cheese and aji Amarillo aioli; Peruvian ceviche with aji amarillo, ginger, lime, cucumber, avocado and crispy plantains; Yucatan pork slow-roasted in banana leaves and served with honey lime yams, roasted brussels sprouts and pineapple jicama salsa; wild mushroom quesadilla with huitlacoche, dried crushed peppers, roasted garlic and epazote; carnitas with roasted corn grits, serrano chile salsa, red onion, jalapeno bacon and cilantro; grilled turkey with cracked black pepper sauce, honey lime yams and seared greens; lamb barbacoa tacos with jalapeno mint salsa, queso fresco and avocado; creamy potato and chile tacos with Mexican cheese, guacamole, grilled corn relish and chipotle crema; short rib enchiladas with Mexican cheeses, roasted tomato guajillo sauce, lime-cured onions and crema; and pan-seared seasonal fish with organic white rice, tomato, Kalamata olive, jalapeno, oregano and a white wine garlic broth.