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New Documentary About a Celebrity Chef Opening a Restaurant Will Play at Austin Film Festival

“Susan Feniger. Forked” is making its Texas premiere at the movie festival this October

A woman cooking something in a pan with a lot of fire.
Susan Feniger in Susan Feniger. Forked.
Very Bad Dog
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

A new documentary detailing celebrity chef Susan Feniger’s journey behind opening a Los Angeles restaurant on her own is making its Texas premiere at the Austin Film Festival this week.

Susan Feniger. Forked recounts how the chef opened her first restaurant without her longtime business partner and co-chef Mary Sue Milliken, Street, in 2009. In 2013, she closed the global street food restaurant, turned it into neighborhood pub Mud Hen Tavern, and then ultimately closed the business in 2016. The film was shot and directed by Feniger’s spouse Liz Lachman

Feniger’s first restaurant with Milliken was City Cafe in Los Angeles in 1981. They went on to open modern Mexican restaurant Border Grill (which expanded into Las Vegas, which remains the sole location now) and pan-Latin restaurant Cuidad (which closed in 2010). The duo also starred in Food Network show Too Hot Tamales. Feniger has also wrote a bunch of cookbooks, some with Milliken and some on her own. She also competed on food shows like Top Chef Masters and Iron Chef.

Currently, Feniger and Milliken also run Santa Monica Mexican restaurant Socalo, which they opened in 2019; and then in Las Vegas, fast-casual casino-stadium stall mini-chain BBQ Mexicana, stadium stall Pacha Mamas. They’re also opening a new restaurant in Palm Springs, Alice B., sometime in 2023.

Susan Feniger. Forked will first play on Friday, October 27 at 3:30 p.m. at the Hideout Theatre in downtown Austin. That screening will be accompanied by a Q&A with Feninger and Lachman moderated by We Are Austin host Trevor Scott. It’ll screen again on November 1 at 1:30 p.m. at the Galaxy Theatre up in the Highland neighborhood. The films are available to Austin Film Festival badgeholders.

The film already had its world premiere at the Chicago LGTBQ Film Festival in September, winning its audience award, and has since played film festivals in Kansas and California.

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