But she’ll be the first to tell you that TV is not exactly her cup of tea.
“Some people love it,” she told me in a recent phone interview. “But it’s not one of those things that I love to do. Once I won the first round and didn’t get kicked off at the start, I was happy. But judging is a whole lot easier than competing, that’s for sure.”
Over the years, Feniger and business partner Chef Mary Sue Milliken have won legions of fans for their Latin flair at their Border Grill restaurants. In 2009, though, Feniger struck out on her own to open Susan Feniger’s Street in Los Angeles, just as global street food would become a phenomenon with the likes of food trucks serving up inexpensive, boldly flavored ethnic food to the masses.
Feniger would love to tell you she predicted it all by looking in a crystal ball. But really, she says, she lucked out with the timing when she decided to follow her passion.
“When I took my first trip to India in 1981 and ate on the streets there, it moved me away from the formal kitchen,” she says. “Now, with social media, the world is a much smaller place and much more available. Our eyes have been opened to the rest of the world beyond France or Mexico. There’s this whole world of cuisines out there that is so exciting now.”
That includes Japan, which was her inspiration for “Chilled Soba Noodles with Spicy Orange Sesame and Tofu.”
The recipe is from her new cookbook, “Susan Feniger’s Street Food” (Clarkson Potter), of which I recently received a review copy. The book contains 83 recipes from her Street restaurant that span the globe, from Tunisian chicken kebabs with currants and olives to Thai creamed corn with coconut milk to Trinidad duck and potato curry with plaintain and green beans.