dish, ceramic

dish, ceramic

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These small dishes were used to hold spices at Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s City Café in Los Angeles, California. The colorful receptacles feature the City Café logo and were manufactured by Coors China in nearby Inglewood, California. Like the brightly hued chef’s coats donned by Milliken and Feniger, the dishware at City Café signaled the lively and appealing environment cultivated by the chefs at their first restaurant. City Café opened in 1981 on Melrose Avenue and held 39 seats. Though the duo outgrew the original space and moved on to other endeavors in the mid-1980s, they continue to honor their first eatery with CITY Night celebrations featuring City Café-inspired menus. Milliken and Feniger donated these items along with several others to the National Museum of American History after receiving the Julia Child Award in 2018.
Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken met in Chicago in 1978 while working in the largely male kitchen of French restaurant Le Perroquet. Originally from Ottawa Hills, Ohio, Feniger attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York and later trained under Wolfgang Puck at Ma Maison. Mary Sue Milliken grew up in Michigan and graduated from Chicago’s Washburne Culinary Institute. Both women spent time perfecting techniques in France before reuniting in Los Angeles, California at City Café in 1981. In 1985, they opened CITY Restaurant and introduced Border Grill, putting their own spin on Mexican cuisine. In addition to their restaurants, Milliken and Feniger have collaborated on multiple television series, cookbooks, and the radio show Good Food.
While their early menus at City Café heavily featured the classic French cuisine in which they had been trained, Feniger and Milliken later expanded their menu to accommodate dishes they encountered on their travels. The pair sampled dishes in India, Thailand, and the Middle East and soon the influence of these experiences surfaced in the meals served at their restaurant. Pairing global inspirations with local ingredients, Milliken and Feniger contributed to the evolution of Los Angeles food culture in ways that remain deeply felt today.
Currently not on view
Object Name
dish, ceramic
overall: 2 1/4 in x 2 1/4 in x 1/2 in; 5.715 cm x 5.715 cm x 1.27 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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Work and Industry: Food Technology
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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