Half of “Too Hot Tamales” Talks About Getting Her Start in Chicago

Mary Sue Milliken at Chicago Gourmet, cooking with Jonathan Waxman (photo: Joseph Storch)


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Before there was DeLaurentis and “Iron Chef” Cora, there were the Too Hot Tamales, a.k.a. Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken. The two teamed up to open Border Grills in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Las Vegas (at the Mandalay), along with a successful food truck operation. Milliken got her professional start in Chicago in the 70s, which is why, after our demo at Chicago Gourmet a few weeks ago, I pulled her aside to talk about the progress women have made in the kitchen (and in front of the TV); but I also wanted to hear about the early days in the Midwest, and how those experiences have made her the successful chef she is today.