The first part of four parts, please continue to next part by clicking the hyperlink below
Look up a definition for the verb “connecting” and you’re likely to find a picture of Chef Susan Feniger. On her travels, she connects with street vendors to learn about their cultures. In her restaurants, she connects with her customers through friendly rapport as well as with her staff via respectful communication. And in her community, she connects with even more people who share her concerns and convictions through her active participation on boards of organizations and in numerous events.
Chef Feniger’s bridge to other cultures, people and her community is food. When she travels the globe, through a translating guide, she communicates with street vendors selling their food in markets, as well as on carts and in alleyways, and then often ends up in these vendors’ kitchens learning family recipes. This is what happened thirty years ago, on her first trip to India and what continues to occur on here more recent culinary adventures.
On her most recent trip to Shanghai, China, with the assistance a Chinese speaking Aussie guide in the food industry, Feniger was up early eating on the streets at four thirty in the morning with great breakfast food including both salty and sweet sticky rice stuffed in donuts and then served respectively with pickles or sugar. These breakfast desserts were then washed down with freshly homemade soy milk. Here at this sticky rice and soy milk cart, this early morning street dynamic helped her connect through the food to the family making it. That family consisted of a husband, his wife, their two children and a cousin.
Depending on the demands of her growing number of restaurants (Street, several Border Grill locations plus the Border Grill trucks), Feniger travels as time allows. Now most of her vacations she ends up filming either for content for the web or for potential television shows. Her trip to Shanghai was with the California Board of Tourism. The year before Susan visited Vietnam. When she’s visiting these other countries and eating the food, for her restaurant menus back home, Susan’s searching for what’s the most interesting and exciting food that her customers will love, not the most bizarre foods for shock value.
End of Part One, please continue to Part Two