Chef Biography

Mark Hollger was born in a small wine town in southern Germany just before the start of WWII, in the late 1930s.  At the age of 15, his mother said to him, “you’re interested in eating, perhaps you’d be interested in cooking?”  He began his apprenticeship first in the pastry kitchens, then fish station, then on to soups and sauces of major hotels in Frankfurt, Germany, Lucerne, Switzerland, Stockholm, Sweden and London, England.  He then worked his way around as chef at resorts in the islands, ending up in Bermuda.  From there he thought it might be a short jump from Bermuda to Texas, where he found something different, Mexican food, and how to make a good margarita.

In 1977, he flipped a coin to see whether to go to Las Vegas or New Orleans.  He went to work at Brennan’s in the French Quarter, not as a cook but as a waiter to learn the front of the house. 

In 1984, Chef Hollger and his wife opened Santa Fe Mexican Restaurant on the other side of the French Quarter. When folks asked him how a German could cook Mexican food, he reminded them that German Kaiser Maximilian ruled Mexico from 1864 until he died in 1867. The Great Chefs crew showed up in 1993 to tape Chef Hollger for their Great Chefs, the Louisiana New Garde television series for the Discovery Channel, and he is seen in episodes 11 and 16.

In 2003, experiencing health problems, Chef Hollger sold the restaurant and retired to North Carolina.  After Hurricane Katrina, one of his cooks opened another Santa Fe restaurant in a different location with the same menu.  It has since been taken over several times with new chefs trying to replicate Chef Hollger’s dishes and margaritas.


Seafood Fajitas

Print Seafood Fajitas By Great Chefs November 23, 2015 These “open-faced” fajitas present the wealth of the sea with a southwestern kick. Each arrives at the table with a tortilla along with rice, beans, and seafood, and its perfectly possible to fill the tortilla — but more likely the diners will enjoy each part of […]

Summer Steak

Serving: 2 Print Summer Steak By Great Chefs November 11, 2015 And now for something completely different: steak with Stilton cheese, a brandy cream sauce, and a warm compote of mixed fruit. The accompanying baked sweet potato is garnished with raisins, pumpkin seeds, and nuts. Somehow it all works together beautifully. Ingredients Tenderloin Steaks – […]

Chicken Maximilian

Serving: 2 Print Chicken Maximilian By Great Chefs November 10, 2015 Chicken Maximilian is an innovative version of the Mexican classic, chiles rellenos. Chilies re stuffed with cheese, then wrapped in a chicken breast, deep fried, and baked. Chef Mark Hollger says this dish began as a special creation for a banquet in tribute to […]

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