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Top California- Inspired Ethnic Cuisine Ambassadors

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Chef Jet Tila, a native of Los Angeles, has been the “official Thai Food Ambassador” since 2013.  We applaud him for adding his own definition to his role as  Ambassador of representing Thai food and culture at food events and in media around the world.   Chef Jet also believes that it means, ” rallying everyone to create an extensive community.

Jet Tila and friend, Pastry Chef Sherry Yard, who spreads the word about Czech pastry learned from her grandmother

Jet Tila with mom, Mary on the left and writer Barbara Hansen who first wrote about Jet for the LA TIMES


Long-time key ambassadors of Mexican food and two of the most beloved chefs in Los Angeles history are “The Two Hot Tamales,” Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.  Owner-founder-chefs of Border Grill in Los Angeles (three locations at one time) and Las Vegas, “the girls” are among the most popular in the entire food industry for their enthusiasm and promotion of their own Mexican chefs.

The irrepressible Susan Feniger

Chef Susan Feniger at Bon Appetit Las Vegas

Chef Mary Sue Milliken insists on having former chef in the photo, too

Community-minded, the Border Grill has participated in, and been honored at, Planned Parenthood Food Fare for 25 years. (above and below)

At Market City Cafe chef-owners, Chipper Pastron and Sal Casola, Jr. ,have been translating the authentic recipes of Sal’s family into consistent, appealing fare for a quarter of a century.

They have also experienced bringing authentic food from Italian – Roman square pizza, the top Italian charcuterie, cheeses and fresh made pasta to Pasadena and it was a “no go” replaced by Jakes Burgers.

New Market City Caffe Holiday Menu Celebrates A Quarter Century



Frida Mexican Restaurant, Spaghettini, and India’s Tandoori Brentwood earn top marks for introducing California-inspired ethnic cuisines with special authentic dishes sprinkled in the menu.


Frida Mexican Restaurant: New California-inspired Menu, Old-fashioned Latino Hospitality



New Italian-Inspired Spaghettini Restaurant Cookbook and Ancient Hospitality

Last but not least the consummate host at the most popular gathering place on the westside, India’s Tandoor, Brentwood, Matin Shah is always on the lookout to please his guests and the first choice for events, such as the fundraiser below.


His is the “go-to” place where you always feel at home and know you will be treated in a special way.  Nothing is too much for him to do for his customers.

Matin takes care to introduce dishes from his own region of Bangladesh to his guests.  In 2017 he even created a special Off-the-menu feast of a number of these dishes.  So far they have been a success.

New Special Off-Menu Feast at India’s Tandoor, Brentwood

When I thought that another restaurant owner was alone on her birthday, of course I phoned up Matin and welcomed us over.  He prepared a little dinner and dessert.  And when I looked at the photo of him and the guest, I could see he had fallen asleep he was so tired!

Usually Matin prepares or purchases a favorite cake to celebrate each and every guest he knows by name.  This year he was startled to be presented with a cake of this own to celebrate his birthday! 

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Gerry Furth-Sides

Gerry Furth-Sides

Content Editor/Columnist

Photo-journalist Gerry Furth-Sides has been covering the ethnic and American culinary scene in California since it first came into prominence 25 years ago.