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Mary Sue Milliken

Mary Sue Milliken is an award-winning chef, cookbook author, activist, and media personality best known for Border Grill, her modern Mexican concept restaurants, trucks, and catering business she runs with her business partner Susan Feniger. With locations from Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Miliken and Fenigen’s restaurants serve street food-inspired regional Mexican cuisine with a commitment to sustainability and conscientiously-sourced ingredients. 

After graduating from Washburne Culinary Institute in Chicago, Milliken became the first female chef at Le Perroquet in 1978—where she met Susan Feniger. She went on to cook at the woman-owned, two-Michelin-star Restaurant D’Olympe in Paris, before rejoining Feniger in L.A. to launch City Café in 1981. By 1985, it had transformed into Border Grill and a James Beard Award that same year confirmed their impact on the nation’s cuisine. 

Milliken and Feniger brought their innovative approaches to The Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales” and “Tamales World Tour” series. In 2011, Milliken competed on season three of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” winning $40,000 for charity.  

In 2018, Feniger and Milliken were named the recipients of the fourth annual Julia Child Award from The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, marking the first women to be honored.  

Milliken serves on the boards of Share Our Strength and the James Beard Foundation. In the 1990s, she co-founded Women Chefs & Restaurateurs and Chefs Collaborative. In 2020, she helped co-found Regarding Her, a non-profit devoted to the advancement and empowerment of female food and beverage entrepreneurs. She also served on the U.S. State Department’s American Chef Corps.