What Turned French-Trained Feniger into One Hot Tamale?

Photo: Street

What made Susan Feniger shift gears and dedicate her career to Mexican cuisine? The Hot Tamale tells RealityWanted all about her personal journey as a chef, which (surprise surprise) veered south of the border once she was introduced to L.A. and a certain taco stand nearby her City Restaurant. Shortly after admitting that she had “no desire” to be on Top Chef Masters and before dropping the news that she wants to expand Street and publish a Street cookbook, Feniger explains, “All of my training was in strict French restaurants…and then it ended up that I had moved to LA and we used to eat tacos down at a place at Western and Melrose. So when we went to open a 2nd restaurant, we thought ‘should we do noodles or tacos?’ and we decided on tacos. I took my first trip to Mexico and fell in love with the culture and the people. I had all this training in French kitchens and now all of a sudden I am learning about chipotle, achiote, and tamarind.” As for expanding Street, maybe she should eye San Francisco so that Traci Des Jardins, another classically-trained chef exploring her Mexican inspirations, has a little company. It would be a perfect fit. After all, Feniger did confess “to being a hippie at heart” before packing her knives.

Top Chef Masters Season 2: Exclusive Interview with Susan Feniger [Reality Wanted]