About Cooks Without Borders

Welcome –– or welcome back –– to Cooks Without Borders, the cooking website that delectably crashes frontiers: state lines, national borders, states of mind. Our mission is to make the world more harmonious and delicious by exploring food and food culture from around the world. We bring you the best dishes and recipes

Bringing stories about cooking and eating together with recipes, cookbook reviews and more, Cooks Without Borders has a two-part history.

Part One began in December, 2015, when the site was born. Founded by Leslie Brenner, who at the time was restaurant critic at The Dallas Morning News and had previously served as Food Editor at The Los Angeles Times, Cooks Without Borders was inspired by Leslie’s experiences cooking and eating around the globe and the idea that cooking has unique power to bring peoples together. It explored delicious food from everywhere, offering recipes for dishes readers were excited to make in their own kitchens.

Many of the recipes were created or developed by Leslie –– who had deep experience from her days running the Food section and overseeing the test kitchen at the L.A. Times (as well as authoring two cookbooks) in crafting recipes that are easy to follow and really work. Many of the stories, and the recipes that accompanied them, wound up in the pages (both digital and physical) of The Dallas Morning News, where they found a devoted following.

In 2017 Leslie left The News to lead food & beverage programming for Rebees, a then-new place-creation agency in Dallas. Under the tutelage of Rebees’ founder, Tristan Simon, an influential Dallas restaurateur who had created a number of Dallas’ most acclaimed restaurants, Leslie led Food & Beverage Programming, marketing and media for the start-up. In that capacity she helped open and develop menus for two Dallas restaurants, Billy Can Can and Hatchways Café, and helped conceptualize and develop an international food hall in Orange County, California, a project that is still in development. During her two years at Rebees, Cooks Without Borders went into hibernation.

Which brings us to Part Two. In the summer of 2019, Leslie launched her own consulting business, Leslie Brenner Concepts. She continues to work with Rebees –– for instance on the continuing international food hall project in Southern California –– but now as a consultant. Immersed in global cuisines more than ever, through that project and projects with several restaurant clients, and craving an excuse to spend more time in her own kitchen, Leslie felt it was high time to relaunch Cooks Without Borders.

Many of the recipes you’ll find on the site are Leslie’s own. They might be quick sautés, pastas or stir-fries for a weekday dinner after a busy day at work, more involved dishes to serve for friends on a Saturday night, or long, slow braises or easy grills on a relaxing Sunday. Other dishes, perhaps as part of a cookbook review, are adapted from volumes that explore the world's cuisines. Still others come care of Leslie's food-loving, border-busting friends from around the country and the world – from California, New York and Texas to France, Spain, England, Italy, Mexico, Tunisia, South Africa, India, Vietnam and beyond. Leslie discovers the flavors they love as she cooks with them in their kitchen, or invites them into her own to cook.

Heading into 2020, the site will be evolving and opening up, featuring types of stories and other content you wouldn’t have seen in Cooks Without Borders Part One. We are beyond excited to start exploring and sharing again.

We hope you’ll make yourself at home here. Pour yourself a glass of wine or a cup of tea, sharpen your knives, and cook with us. Tell us about the places you want to explore through cooking; comment on and review the recipes we post, and ask us for recipes for the dishes you'd love to make. Or maybe you have a border-busting recipe you know others would enjoy: We invite you to share it with us. Now let’s mess up that kitchen!