Regarding Her: The Non-Profit Fueling Food at Frieze Los Angeles 2023

We speak to co-founder, Mary Sue Milliken, and owner of Bridgetown Roti, Rashida Holmes, about the organization’s mission, their plans for the fair and LA's multicultural food scene

BY Mary Sue Milliken AND Rashida Holmes in Frieze Los Angeles | 17 FEB 23

For Frieze Los Angeles 2023, Regarding Her (RE:Her) has curated a selection of food vendors and restaurants offering global cuisine to its visitors. Beyond bringing together this select roster, RE:Her is a national non-profit on a mission to advance women-identifying and nonbinary food and beverage entrepreneurs. We speak to Mary Sue Milliken, co-founder of RE:Her, and Rashida Holmes, owner of Bridgetown Roti and a 2023 nominee for the James Beard Foundation‘s Emerging Chef Award, about the non-profit, their plans for Frieze and how fair visitors can help further the mission of Re:Her. 

Who is RE:Her? What makes RE:Her different from other non-profit organizations?  

Mary Sue Milliken: We are a community of women food and drink entrepreneurs and a non-profit dedicated to accelerating women in the culinary space. We develop deep roots in our local community, make important connections for entrepreneurs, and help communicate how consumers can find and support women-owned businesses.  

Rashida Holmes: Re:Her has become an active part of the restaurant community and has affected me personally in a profound way.  Not only do they sponsor women lead businesses financially, but the network they have opened up in this city for us to share knowledge, resources, buying power, investment opportunities is truly unique as a non-profit. They are assisting to swing open the doors to marginalized groups that have been shut for so many years and the help is practical, useful, and timely. I’m so proud to be a small part of this great organization.  

Why is this work so important to you? 

MSM: The work RE:Her does is incredibly important to me. I went to culinary school in 1976, and while yes, I have seen the industry change somewhat, it’s not as much as one would hope. I passionately adore cooking and owning restaurants, and overall the profession has been good to me, but still very hard for many women. I want to do everything I can to make this industry super hospitable to all women. 

What are you preparing for Frieze Los Angeles 2023?  

MSM: We are so proud to participate at Frieze and offer a diverse selection of some of LA's best foods - from Caribbean and tacos, to Thai and sandwiches - that represent both new to the scene chefs and legendary food concepts.  

RH: We are doing a sampling of the West Indian street food we serve at Bridgetown Roti every week. So we have our oxtail Patties, Channa doubles, Mac and cheese pie with curry gravy, and aunt vies cod fish cakes.  Simple food that packs a comforting punch!  

Who are the vendors participating in the fair?  

MSM: RE:Her participants include Ayara Thai, Bridgetown Roti, Clementine, Uli's Gelato, Gogo’s Tacos, Hotville Chicken, Monroe Place and female produced beer, wine, juices and cocktails. 

How can Frieze and its visitors help to further the aims of RE:Her?  

RH: Visit RE:Her businesses, support us financially and invest in our future. Women and women of color are least invested in groups in this country, and we need the support. We employ so many under-represented groups and they are the backbone of these communities.   

MSM: Spread the word! Sign up to our newsletters and make a commitment to support women-owned hospitality businesses. 

Why do you think community-led non-profit organisations are important? 

RH: I think they are extremely important! Until the government gets to a place where they can provide people with the resources we need (healthcare, childcare, maternity leave, issues that affect women’s lives directly!), we will continue to need organizations like RE:Her to be our voice to those in power. 

MSM: National work is good for advocacy and seeing the big picture, but if you want changes fast, you need deep rooted local communities that make things happen on the ground. 

What other events does RE:Her have coming up?  

MSM: The third annual 10 Days RE:Her Festival begins on Friday March 3 through Sunday March 12. The festival aims to generate support and camaraderie among women-owned food and beverage businesses from restaurants and bars, to artisan food/beverage makers and shop-owners. The festival will be celebrated throughout Los Angeles County with unforgettable events including a RE:Her Smorgasburg LA Takeover, 5 course dinner and cookbook party featuring culinary personality Molly Baz at Caldo Verde hosted by Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne, a So Far Sounds concert and Thai Taco Thursday at Socalo Santa Monica, and a Comedy Night at The Crow in Santa Monica. 

What are your favourite restaurants or cafés in Los Angeles?  

MSM: Ayara Thai, Saucy Chick, Birdie G’s, K-Zo for sushi and Casia to name a few. 

What do you think is special about LA’s food scene?  

MSM: Hands down, it’s the diversity. It's not just Thai, it’s northern Thai. It’s a flavorful mashup of Mexican and Indian. It’s a family recipe interpreted by the next generation. 


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Main image: Re:Her at Frieze Los Angeles 2023. 

Mary Sue Milliken is chef-owner of Mundo Hospitality Group and co-founder of non-profit Regarding Her

Rashida Holmes is owner of Bridgetown Roti, a member of non-profit Regarding:Her and a 2023 nominee for the James Beard Foundation‘s Emerging Chef Award.