Show 133, August 1, 2015: Food Network’s Simon Majumdar

Simon MajumdarSimon Majumdar is a food writer, broadcaster, Food TV personality, and author of the recently published, Fed, White and Blue – Finding America with My Fork. You know him as the no-nonsense judge on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen with host Alton Brown. In fact, Mr. Brown penned the enthusiastic Forward to Fed, White, and Blue.

Simon is probably not your typical idea of an immigrant. As he says, “I’m well rested, not particularly poor, and the only time I ever encountered “huddled masses” is in line at Costco.” But immigrate he did, and thanks to a Homeland Security agent who asked if he planned to make it official, the journey chronicled in Fed, White, and Blue was born. In it Simon sets off on a trek across the United States to find out what it really means to become an American, using what he knows best: food.

Simon will chronicle a couple of his expeditions in the book including helping to brew an exceptional ESB at the American Brewing Company in Edmonds, Washington and a wild nighttime eating and imbibing tour of Los Angeles’ extraordinary K-Town with the three young Korean owners (Chef Chris Oh and Yong & Ted Kim) of Seoul Sausage Co. (They now call him “Uncle Simon.”) It’s a possibility some alcohol may have been consumed in the in-depth research for this book…

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Show 130, July 11, 2015: Chef Jet Tila, Stir Market and Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen”

Jet Tila at Cochon 555Time to check in with our esteemed emeritus show host, Chef Jet Tila. Locally he’s the chef and partner of Stir Market in Los Angeles. He’s also one of three permanent judges on Food Network’s hit series, Cutthroat Kitchen” with Host Alton Brown.

Chef Jet’s Porchetta Sandwich at Stir Market was just recognized by Restaurant Hospitality magazine as “Best Sandwiches in America 2015: Pork.” The key ingredients are porchetta seasoned with fennel, lavender, lemon zest, rosemary and garlic.

“What the Judges Said: This category nearly drove us insane because there were so many great entries, but we fell in love with this porchetta sandwich. In Italy, it’s not uncommon to find street vendors serving this elaborately stuffed and rolled pork in sandwich form, but rarely is it seen in sandwich form in this country. It’s labor intensive to prepare, but well worth the effort. Tila lays juicy white pork atop house-made jam and then adds texture with layers of crispy pork skin. What else can we say but, “Yum!” “

Jet’s new chef at Stir Market in Beverly Grove is Stacy Rampton. Chef Jet previously worked with her at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn Las Vegas.

Chef Jet is also part of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen’s” Summer Tournament, “Camp Cutthroat.” It’s five episodes. Can you imagine host Alton Brown as your Head Counselor? It debuts on Wednesday evening, August 12th. Chef Jet’s two episodes are August 26th (“Rock Wall Me, Amadeus”) and September 2nd. (“If it Bleeds We Can Skillet”) .

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August 16: Eric Greenspan, CANstruction, Jason Grilli, LA Food and Wine, PigOut, KTown Night Market, Harlowe

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Chef Eric Greenspan and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chef Eric Greenspan of Foundation Hospitality Group
Segment Three: Long Beach CANstruction benefiting Food Finders
Segment Four: Halo Reliever Jason Grilli
Segment Five: Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival
Segment Six: Pigout 3.0
Segment Seven: KTOWN Night Market & OC Block Party
Segment Eight: Head Barman Chris Amirault of Harlowe, West Hollywood

Guest Host Celebrity Chef Eric Greenspan of Foundation Hospitality Group and Producer Andy preview the show.

Besides being all over Food TV (he bested Iron Chef Bobby Flay on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America”) Chef Eric Greenspan has made a name for himself in the rarified world of fine-dining. For almost two years he was the executive chef of Joachim Splichal’s highly-acclaimed flagship restaurant, Patina. More recently he created The Foundry on Melrose Ave. In the Fall he returns to Melrose with the eagerly anticipated fine dining, Enclave.

Although Chef Eric Greenspan has created the more casual, Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese and The Roof on Wilshire, his heart and true passion remains in fine dining. We’ll talk about the future of fine-dining in Los Angeles and get Chef Eric’s perspective. We’ll also preview Chef Eric’s new series for the National Geographic Channel debuting in November.

The first Canstruction Competition is coming to Long Beach on August 21st. The resulting collections of food benefit Food Finders food rescue / food bank. It’s going to be a wild 12 hours benefiting people in need!

The Halos have an ace relief pitcher in Jason Grilli newly arrived in a trade deal with The Pittsburgh Pirates. In Pittsburgh he’s known for The Closer, a 3-decker grilled cheese sandwich using 9 different premium cheeses. Jason is with us live from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas to talk about it.

The 2014 Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival (4th Annual) is once again upon us taking place in Downtown Los Angeles on August 21 -24. This is one of the biggest culinary festivals staged on the West Coast with culinary masters hosting power lunches, cocktail culture merging with some of the finest chefs for spirited dinners, and first –time events such as the “Ultimate Bites of L.A. Challenge” on Opening Night hosted by Graham Elliott and Fabio Viviani.

The 3rd Annual PigOut (benefiting Inspire Artistic Minds) is set for Sunday afternoon, August 24th at the California Scenario in Costa Mesa.

The main attraction will be a 250 pound Templeton Rye Duroc Pig of the Templeton Rye Heritage Pork Project.

The KTown Night Market and Block Party is coming to Angel Stadium on Friday and Saturday, August 22nd and 23rd. It’s 60 plus food trucks and vendors (including the Seoul Sausage Co.) and a large beer garden. Also there will be live music, games and rides. We’ll chat with the co-producer and one of the young founders of the participating Seoul Sausage Co.

Meet Mixologist Chris Amirault of Harlowe, a new bar that’s attracting a lot of attention in West Hollywood. Even his standard cocktails are very special. Chris also creates unusual draft and bottled cocktails.

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Eric GreenspanBesides being all over Food TV (he bested Iron Chef Bobby Flay on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America”) Chef Eric Greenspan has made a name for himself in the rarified world of fine-dining. For almost two years he was the executive chef of Joachim Splichal’s highly-acclaimed flagship restaurant Patina. More recently he created The Foundry on Melrose Ave. In the Fall he returns to Melrose with the eagerly anticipated fine dining, Enclave.

Although Chef Eric Greenspan has created the more casual, Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese and The Roof on Wilshire, his heart and true passion remains in fine dining. We’ll talk about the future of fine-dining in Los Angeles and get Chef Eric’s perspective.

We’ll also preview Chef Eric’s new series for the National Geographic Channel debuting in November. Look for Chef Eric on the next two Tuesday evenings in prime time as a chef competitor on NBC’s “Food Fighters” hosted by Adam Richman. In October Chef Eric will part of the celebrity chef episode of Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen hosted by Alton Brown.

Canstruction Long BeachThe first CANstruction Competition is coming to Long Beach on August 21st. The resulting collections of food benefit Food Finders food rescue / food bank. It’s going to be a wild 12 hours benefiting people in need!

Four teams comprised of five prominent local architectural and engineering firms will transform thousands of cans of food into larger than life artistic masterpieces. The structures may be built up to 10’ x 10’ x 10’ and will be comprised of edible canned goods totaling over 7,000 lbs.

The completed structures will be on display to the public from August 22nd through September 2nd.

CANstruction was founded in 1992 to help promote the design community and raise food donations for hunger relief efforts. CANstruction events have been held in over 140 cities worldwide donating over 15 million pounds of canned foods to alleviate the concern of hunger and malnutrition.

Jason GrilliThe Halos have an ace relief pitcher in Jason Grilli, newly arrived in a trade deal with The Pittsburgh Pirates. In Pittsburgh he’s known for The Closer, a 3-decker grilled cheese sandwich using 9 different premium cheeses. Jason is with us live from Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas to talk about it.

Grilli, and partners, are also the Pittsburgh franchisees for the rapidly growing Tom+Chee. This is a grilled cheese and tomato soup shop for the kid at heart. The restaurants mix classic comfort food with fresh ingredients, healthy alternatives, and a flare for the unexpected. In addition to the regular menu there are lots of daily specials.

David BernahlThe 2014 Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival (4th Annual) is once again upon us taking place in Downtown Los Angeles on August 21 -24. This is one of the biggest culinary festivals staged on the West Coast with culinary masters hosting power lunches, cocktail culture merging with some of the finest chefs for spirited dinners, and first–time events such as the “Ultimate Bites of L.A. Challenge” on Opening Night hosted by Graham Elliott and Fabio Viviani.

The star-studded lineup of chefs at LAFW will also include Food & Wine Magazine Best New Chefs, James Beard Award winners, iconic personalities within the culinary arena, as well as Food TV personalities (Scott Conant, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Michelle Bernstein, Michael Chiarello, Nancy Silverton, David Kinch, Michael Cimarusti, Jonathan Waxman, and more.)

Founder David Bernahl of Coastal Luxury Management is our guest.

3rd annual PigOut in Costa MesaThe 3rd Annual PigOut (benefiting Inspire Artistic Minds) is set for Sunday afternoon, August 24th at the California Scenario (Noguchi Gardens) in Costa Mesa.

The main attraction will be a 250 pound Templeton Rye Duroc Pig of the Templeton Rye Heritage Pork Project. Only 25 of these special pigs are in existence.

Chef Mike Puglisi (ex-Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills) of the soon-to-be Electric City Butcher in Santa Ana will be performing a pig deconstruction demonstration.

Koreatown Night MarketThe KTown Night Market and Block Party is coming to Angel Stadium on Friday and Saturday, August 22nd and 23rd. It’s 60 plus food trucks and vendors (including the Seoul Sausage Co.) and a large beer garden. Also there will be live music, games and rides.

Seoul Sausage Co., the Season 3 winners of Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race,” are curating the all-star mobile culinary experience. The 20 food truck lineup includes fan favorites such as Coolhaus, Slangin Corea, and Fluff Ice.

We’ll chat with the co-producer Danny Park and Yong Kim, one of the young founders of the participating Seoul Sausage Co.

Chris AmiraultMeet Mixologist Chris Amirault of Harlowe, a new bar that’s already attracting a lot of attention in West Hollywood. He’s the Head Barman there. This is from the 1933 Group (Oldfield’s Liquor Room and Sassafras.)

Even Chris’ standard cocktails are very special. Chris also creates unusual draft and bottled cocktails. Also of note are the carafe cocktails and the shared punch bowls.

Not easy to order a libation these days with all the tempting options!

“Give me a bottle of bourbon & half a chicken and I’ll take over the world.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Chef Eric Greenspan and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chef Eric Greenspan of Foundation Hospitality Group
Segment Three: Long Beach CANstruction benefiting Food Finders
Segment Four: Halo Reliever Jason Grilli
Segment Five: Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival
Segment Six: Pigout 3.0
Segment Seven: KTOWN Night Market & OC Block Party
Segment Eight: Head Barman Chris Amirault of Harlowe, West Hollywood

February 15: Rick Bayless, Top Round Roast Beef, Cochon 555, OC Restaurant Week, Grill on the Alley

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jamie Tiampo and Chef Steven Fretz, partners, Top Round Roast Beef
Segment Three: Chef Rick Bayless, Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, and Red O (in West Hollywood & Newport Beach) Part One
Segment Four: Chef Rick Bayless, Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, and Red O (in West Hollywood & Newport Beach) Part Two
Segment Five: Brady Lowe, Founder & Lord of Pork, Cochon 555
Segment Six: Executive Chef Jason Montelibano, Chapter One: The Modern Local, Santa Ana
Segment Seven: Bob Spivak, President, CEO, and Co-Founder, Grill Concepts, Inc.
Segment Eight: Jet Tila on Manhattan Dining. (Part 2)

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownFood Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” with host Alton Brown is back on Sunday nights for Season 2. Our own Chef Jet Tila is the most frequently appearing solo judge on this tough competition show that requires strategy as well as cooking chops. Look for Jet’s new episodes starting in February.

Thanks to all of our generous listeners who attended Chef Carla Hall’s Culinary Concert to benefit The James Beard Foundation at Zov’s Bistro in Tustin on Feb. 9th. Carla and guest MC Sherry Yard had the group thoroughly entertained with Carla’s demo of her Swamp Thing recipe which is from her new cookbook. It’s a braised pork shoulder in a smoked pork and corn broth.

America’s own master Mexican cooking authority, Rick Bayless of Topolobampo and Frontera Grill, is with us. He’s the menu-maker for the fashionable new Red O restaurant in Fashion Island in Newport Beach. It’s the 30th Anniversary of the legendary Grill on The Alley in Beverly Hills. We’ll celebrate with the founder. Cochon 555, a pork spectacular, returns to Santa Monica this month. We’ll tell you all about it. How about a fast food stand serving quality roast beef sandwiches using the very best ingredients? It’s run by fine dining chefs! Orange County Restaurant Week launches February 23rd. We’ll have a preview with one of the colorful participating executive chefs.

All of this and lots more incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Top Round Roast BeefTop Round Roast Beef opened in the extensively remodeled space of a former donut shop at the busy corner of Olympic Blvd. and La Brea Avenue last June. The theme is top quality roast beef sandwiches where the beef is sliced to order. On the menu is a variety of quality roast beef sandwiches served on a butter-toasted bun with natural au jus. The beef is impressively sliced to order. Also on the small menu are curly French fries cooked in beef fat for maximum flavor, milkshakes and St. Louis frozen custard.

The owners have impressive culinary credentials from places including Red Medicine, 800 Degrees, and Curtis Stone’s restaurants.

Restaurant investor Jamie Tiampo (who is also the owner of See Food Media in New York) joins us along with Chef Steven Fretz (previously executive chef for Curtis Stone’s restaurant group) to explain the concept.

Rick BaylessWhen it comes to possessing a vast knowledge of the regional cooking of the various states in Mexico the recognized “el jefe” in the United States is Chicago’s Rick Bayless. Locally he’s probably best known for the PBS’s series “Mexico – One Plate at a Time” (now starting its 9th award-winning season) and from Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.” In Chicago he’s a local culinary celebrity for his highly popular restaurants including River North’s Topolobampo and Frontera Grill.

Chef Bayless has created the menu for the recently opened, and much talked about, highly designed Red O in Fashion Island, Newport Beach. It’s basically his contemporary take on Oaxacan fare and other culinary regions of Mexico.

Certain dishes are exclusive to Fashion Island and the tequila list includes 100 selections.

Chef Bayless offers tips for preparing the perfect guacamole.

The new season of his hit PBS series takers us to Oaxaca, one of his favorite culinary regions in Mexico. We’ll see the “Day of the Dead” celebration Oaxaca-style.

Brady Lowe of Cochon 555Cochon 555 (a celebration of heritage pork) returns to Los Angeles on its 2014 cross-country tour at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel on Sunday afternoon, February 23rd. Over 11 tons of heritage pork raised by family farms will be served across the country in the nose-to-tail touring culinary competition.

2014’s competing chefs include Host Chef Ray Garcia of Fig Restaurant, Christian Page of Short Order, Jason Neve of B&B Ristorante, Ray England of Craft, and Brian Howard of Comme Ca. Each chef prepares a maximum of six dishes created from one whole heritage pig.

Our own Jet Tila will be preparing an additional late-night sixth pig for the After Party.

orange-county-restaurant-weekThe OC’s most anticipated, and delicious, dining event, Orange County Restaurant Week, returns from February 23rd to March 1st. Diners will have the opportunity to enjoy the wide spectrum of dining options in the County at special prices for prix-fixe menus for both lunch and dinner.

Over 100 restaurants are part of Orange County Restaurant Week.

One of the featured restaurants is Santa Ana’s Chapter One: The Modern Local. Chef Jason Montelibano (aka Chef Chicken Wing) joins us to talk about his menu. Given his Filipino ancestry he’s incorporated a few contemporary Filipino touches into his menu.

Chef Jason won Riveria Magazine’s “To Live and Dine” chefs’ challenge event @ SoCo last year with his Lamb & Gnocchi dish.

The Grill on the Alley30 years ago dining history was made in Beverly Hills (a tough city for restaurant longevity) with the launch of The Grill on the Alley which is better known as The Grill. It soon evolved into a high profile business destination for lunch for the power brokers of Hollywood. Where your table was signified your status in the Entertainment Business. At night it became a destination for affluent locals with a very loyal following. Unusually for the time pretentiousness was never part of the gameplan. It also was the start of a significant restaurant company with three successful concepts.

Grill Concepts, Inc. continues to flourish to this day. Public School is the newest concept (with a sense of humor) with locations in Downtown Los Angeles, Culver City and Thousand Oaks. Northern California is next and more locations on the horizon. It’s a bar & restaurant gathering spot.

Founder Bob Spivak, a second generation restaurateur with a love for the hospitality business, joins us to share the fascinating story.

“We are so fortunate to have been in business for 30 years,” President, CEO, and Co-Founder Bob Spivak said. “In the ever changing restaurant industry, we are proud to say that we were vintage before it was trendy. And we will continue to maintain the tradition of exceptional service and timeless cuisine that guests have come to count on.”

Ippudo Ramen in New York CityChef Jet has been in New York twice over the last two weeks and has enjoyed some standout dining adventures along the way. Jet shares the details of his meal at Chef April Boomfield’s Spotted Pig (no reservations) in the West Village. This was one of the country’s first gastropubs. It’s still a scene over ten years later.

Jet also visited Ippudo, a well-known Japanese ramen shop and a personal favorite.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jamie Tiampo and Chef Steven Fretz, partners, Top Round Roast Beef
Segment Three: Chef Rick Bayless, Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, and Red O (in West Hollywood & Newport Beach) Part One
Segment Four: Chef Rick Bayless, Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, and Red O (in West Hollywood & Newport Beach) Part Two
Segment Five: Brady Lowe, Founder & Lord of Pork, Cochon 555
Segment Six: Executive Chef Jason Montelibano, Chapter One: The Modern Local, Santa Ana
Segment Seven: Bob Spivak, President, CEO, and Co-Founder, Grill Concepts, Inc.
Segment Eight: Jet Tila on Manhattan Dining. (Part 2)

Show 60, February 8, 2013: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Valentine’s Day is next week so get moving and don’t panic. It falls on a Friday this year. Friday is an especially tough day for restaurants due to Valentine’s Day anxiety so if you want to be a bit more relaxed make your plans for Saturday or Sunday instead. Still the Valentine’s Day orbit but a bit less crazed for the restaurant. You’ll definitely have better service…

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownFood Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” with host Alton Brown is back on Sunday nights for Season 2. Our own Chef Jet Tila is the most frequently appearing solo judge on this tough competition show that requires strategy as well as cooking chops. Look for Jet’s new episodes starting in February.

It’s the Winter Olympics in Sochi and a classic Newport Beach restaurant is serving a special Olympics-themed menu for the duration. We’ll go inside the menu with the creative executive chef. Caroline Styne is the partner and Wine Director (with Chef Suzanne Goin) in Lucques, A.O.C. and Tavern in West Hollywood and Los Angeles. We’ll talk with her and get insight on how you keep a firmly established and growing restaurant group fresh for the dining public. We’ll also hear the story of Slapfish which started as a modest food truck and now is a growing international empire. Did you know there is an emerging wine region in Northern Baja? You’ll learn about a promising winery in the Guadalupe Valley founded by Italians. Brad A. Johnson, the restaurant critic for The Orange County Register, joins us to talk about letter grades for restaurants. We’ll also have a visit with travel journalist Linda Kissam, who was recently in Spain touring the wineries representing the 50 best Cavas produced there.

All of that and lots more incredible deliciousness on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

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February 8: Caroline Styne, San Antonio Winery, Andrew Gruel, Brad A. Johnson, Paul Gstrein, Linda Kissam

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Caroline Styne, Wine Director and Partner, Lucques, A.O.C., The Tavern, and The Larder
Segment Three: Allan Stark, San Antonio Winery, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Andrew Gruel, Executive Chef & Partner, Slapfish
Segment Five: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, Orange County Register
Segment Six: Paul Gstrein, Executive Chef, Bayside Restaurant
Segment Seven: Linda Kissam, Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA
Segment Eight: Jet Tila on Manhattan Dining

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Valentine’s Day is next week so get moving and don’t panic. It falls on a Friday this year. Friday is an especially tough day for restaurants due to Valentine’s Day anxiety so if you want to be a bit more relaxed make your plans for Saturday or Sunday instead. Still the Valentine’s Day orbit but a bit less crazed for the restaurant. You’ll definitely have better service…

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownFood Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” with host Alton Brown is back on Sunday nights for Season 2. Our own Chef Jet Tila is the most frequently appearing solo judge on this tough competition show that requires strategy as well as cooking chops. Look for Jet’s new episodes starting in February.

It’s the Winter Olympics in Sochi and a classic Newport Beach restaurant is serving a special Olympics-themed menu for the duration. We’ll go inside the menu with the creative executive chef. Caroline Styne is the partner and Wine Director (with Chef Suzanne Goin) in Lucques, A.O.C. and Tavern in West Hollywood and Los Angeles. We’ll talk with her and get insight on how you keep a firmly established and growing restaurant group fresh for the dining public. We’ll also hear the story of Slapfish which started as a modest food truck and now is a growing international empire. Did you know there is an emerging wine region in Northern Baja? You’ll learn about a promising winery in the Guadalupe Valley founded by Italians. Brad A. Johnson, the restaurant critic for The Orange County Register, joins us to talk about letter grades for restaurants. We’ll also have a visit with travel journalist Linda Kissam, who was recently in Spain touring the wineries representing the 50 best Cavas produced there.

All of that and lots more incredible deliciousness on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

Caroline StyneCaroline Styne had an extensive background in specialty food products, catering, and restaurant management before partnering with Chef Suzanne Goin to open Lucques in 1988. In December of 2002, Goin & Styne opened their second restaurant, A.O.C., where the concept of small plates and fifty wines by the glass was born out of their shared passion for going out and sampling a variety of appetizers and intriguing wines. A.O.C. relocated to the face-lifted former Orso space about a mile West on 3rd Street in late 2012. Styne is the Wine Director for all the restaurants.

Tavern, in Brentwood, followed in May of 2009. It offers fine dining all day along with The Larder which has gourmet prepared foods and packaged goods. There is a new Larder at Burton Way in the luxury 8500 Burton Way Apartments on the border of L.A. and Beverly Hills as well as at LAX.

Styne contributed the helpful wine notes to Suzanne’s The A.O.C. Cookbook.

“And because wine and cheese are at the heart of A.O.C. there are two exciting additions. Caroline Styne presents a specific wine pairing for each dish. Styne explains why each varietal works well with the ingredients and which flavors she’s trying to highlight, and she gives you room to experiment as well – showing how to shape the wine to your own palate. Whether you’re just grabbing a glass to go with dinner or planning an entire menu, her expert notes are a real education in wine.”

LA Cetto WinesDid you know there is a burgeoning wine industry in Mexico? Finally some of these affordable wines are finding their way into the United States. Shouldn’t a fine Mexican restaurant also offer premium Mexican wines?

One of the premier grape growing areas of Mexico is in the Guadalupe Valley (and adjacent valleys) located in Northern Baja California. It has the rural feel of the flat areas of Sonoma County from 40 years ago.

The predecessor wine interests of L.A. Cetto were established in Baja by Italians in the late 1920s. In 1960 L.A. Cetto acquired their first vineyards in the Guadalupe Valley. Today they have some 2,500 acres in the Valley under the stewardship of the 3rd generation of the Baja-based Cetto Family. They are the largest producer of table wines in Mexico.

L.A’s own San Antonio Winery (dating to 1917) is the distributor of L.A. Cetto wines in Southern California. Allan Stark, a 25-year veteran of San Antonio Winery joins us to tell the L.A. Cetto story and discuss some of their premium reserve wines including Nebbiolo, Chardonnay, and a Brut Sparkling wine.

Andrew GruelFood trucks have proven to be a worthwhile testing ground for innovative food concepts. A great example is Slapfish with a limited service, fast-casual restaurant in Huntington Beach located in a strip center. A new Laguna Beach location will launch later this year.

The partners started with one food truck serving the OC in 2009. By 2011 they had three trucks serving both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel is with us to fill us in on the Slapfish tale. They have just signed a franchise agreement to open 75 full service restaurants in the Middle East over the next 5 to 7 years.

They like to characterize Slapfish as a modern seafood shack. It’s a real American seafood experience that revolves around fresh, sustainable fish, prepared simply, but delivering big flavors.

Letter Grades at RestaurantsLast month The Orange County Register’s James Beard Award-winning restaurant critic, Brad A. Johnson, was looking to review a Newport Beach restaurant. Instead all of the members of his dining group came down with severe cases of food poisoning. When Brad checked the Health Department records of this restaurant he was surprised to learn that they had received a serious violation on each of their previous inspections since they opened two years ago.

Brad is with us to discuss his campaign for Orange County restaurants to receive Letter Grades as a result of their Health Department inspections as is practice in Los Angeles County and other areas of California.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi is underway. Russia is on peoples’ minds.

Paul Gstrein of Bayside RestaurantPaul Gstrein, the long-time (Austria-born) executive chef at Bayside Restaurant in Newport Beach has been inspired by Russia, too. For the duration of the Games Paul will be featuring Russian dishes as appetizers, entrees, and even desserts. How about Beef Short Rib Borscht and Berkshire Pork Tenderloin Stroganoff?

Please note that not every appetizer or entrée on the special Russian menu will be available each night.

Linda KissamThe very well-traveled Linda Kissam is a respected food, wine, and travel writer who is on the go most of the time. She serves as the 1st Vice President of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association. She is also an author and the Global Wine & Travel Editor-at-Large for Luxe Beat Magazine.

Late last year Linda was invited to Spain to tour the Penedes wine region, the heart of cava sparkling wine production. Her mission was to taste and evaluate 50 fine cavas over an intensive five day period. Linda shares the highlights of this very special experience with us.

Le BernardinChef Jet has been in New York twice over the last two weeks and has enjoyed some standout dining adventures along the way. Jet shares the details of his truly exquisite meal at the classic Le Bernardin. It’s expertly prepared French seafood from Chef Eric Ripert at a very high level.

Jet also visited Ippudo, a well-known Japanese ramen shop.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Caroline Styne, Wine Director and Partner, Lucques, A.O.C., The Tavern, and The Larder
Segment Three: Allan Stark, San Antonio Winery, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Andrew Gruel, Executive Chef & Partner, Slapfish
Segment Five: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, Orange County Register
Segment Six: Paul Gstrein, Executive Chef, Bayside Restaurant
Segment Seven: Linda Kissam, Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA
Segment Eight: Jet Tila on Manhattan Dining

Show 52, December 14, 2013: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

Lechon Porchetta by Susan ParkYou can aid the unfortunate victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and enjoy some great Filipino food…That is what the Holidays are really all about…There is a huge Filipino community right here in Los Angeles County.

Upcoming is an “all are welcome” fundraiser at Bamboo Bistro in Panorama City on Sunday, Dec. 15th from 4 to 8:00 p.m.

Pinoy food will be there in abundance expertly prepared by L.A. chefs including Chef Mayet Cristobal, the Executive Chef of the Getty Museum. She will be serving Beef Short Rib Adobo. The minimum donation is a modest $20 per adult and there will be live music.

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownThe new season of Food Network’s newest hit series, Cutthroat Kitchen, hosted by Alton Brown launches Sunday night, December 15th. Our own Jet Tila is the most-used celebrity chef judge on the series. Tough but fair…

Be looking for his episodes for Season 2. Don’t miss the online after shows on Food Network’s Website. Alton goes over each episode with the celebrity chef judge. Always fun to better understand what the vexing sabotages were…! Jet doesn’t know any of this when he evaluating the food. On this show strategy is just as important as cooking chops. Luck helps, too…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show bookended by Scott Conant (of Food Network’s “Chopped”) and the “Chopped” to the Stars, Sherry Yard.

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December 14: Scott Conant, Teemu Selanne, Clay Oven, Kedric Francis, Sherry Yard

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant oversees his highly successful empire of five Scarpetta restaurants
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant of the five Scarpetta restaurants coast-to-coast. Continues…
Segment Four: Leo Fenn, Director of Operations, Selanne Steak Tavern, Laguna Beach
Segment Five: Geeta Bansal, Executive Chef / Proprietress of Clay Oven in Irvine
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine Part One
Segment Seven: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine Part Two
Segment Eight: Sherry Yard, the acclaimed executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck for 20 years

Lechon Porchetta by Susan ParkYou can aid the unfortunate victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and enjoy some great Filipino food…There is a huge Filipino community right here in Los Angeles County.

Upcoming is an “all are welcome” fundraiser at Bamboo Bistro in Panorama City on Sunday, Dec. 15th from 4 to 8:00 p.m.

Pinoy food will be there in abundance expertly prepared by L.A. chefs including Chef Mayet Cristobal, the Executive Chef of the Getty Museum. She will be serving Beef Short Rib Adobo. The minimum donation is a modest $20 per adult and there will be live music.

The new season of Food Network’s newest hit series, Cutthroat Kitchen, hosted by Alton Brown launches Sunday night, December 15th. Our own Jet Tila is the most-used celebrity chef judge on the series. Tough but fair…

Be looking for his episodes for Season 2. Don’t miss the online after shows on Food Network’s Website. Alton goes over each episode with the celebrity chef judge. Always fun to better understand what the vexing sabotages were…! Jet doesn’t know any of this when he evaluating the food. On this show strategy is just as important as cooking chops. Luck helps, too…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Scott Conant of Scarpetta and Food NetworkChef Scott Conant oversees a growing restaurant empire from his base in Manhattan. There are hugely successful Scarpetta restaurants in New York City, Miami Beach, Toronto, Beverly Hills at The Montage Hotel and Las Vegas at The Cosmopolitan. He’s known for an extraordinary spaghetti dish.

He also has the more casual, D.O.C.G. Enoteca at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

The Scarpetta Cookbook (his third) is just out for the Holidays.

Scarpetta Beverly Hills just celebrated its 3rd birthday.

Chef Scott is familiar to millions of viewers of food television as one of the original permanent judges on Food Network’s “Chopped.” It’s probably the hardest legitimate cooking competition series on the air. As Scott explains it’s all real. None of the competing chefs have a clue what’s in their mystery basket of ingredients until they open it!

The Scarpetta Cookbook came about as a result of a hands-on cooking demo Scott performed in Manhattan. There were 15 teams of two students preparing one of his signature recipes. The variations of the same dish as presented by the class members was incredible. Scott calls it a disaster.

Scott wants food fans to be able to successfully duplicate the Scarpetta recipes at home. No secrets or missing ingredient in the book’s recipes. That’s his goal for the book.

If you order the cookbook from his website you can obtain a personalized inscription. Good idea for the Holidays and saves the flight to New York.

Chef Scott talks about the needed ingredients for success with multiple restaurants. It’s all about service, food, and ambiance. Service is the key. Food is the follow-up. Scott points out that if a guest has a bad service experience they are likely never to return.

Teemu Selanne of Selanne Steak TavernIf you’re a hockey fan then you know Teemu Selanne, The Anaheim Ducks forward and ice hockey icon. Sadly for his legion of fans this is his last season as a pro.

Teemu loves fine dining and it was only a matter of time before he opened a destination restaurant (with his business partner Kevin Pratt) in Orange County where he resides. The result is the newly launched Selanne Steak Tavern on the site of the former French 75, a historic restaurant location in Laguna Beach. It’s a sophisticated steakhouse, and lots more, with a real chef, dedicated pastry chef and a top-flight wine program orchestrated by Leo Fenn, the Director of Operations.

Leo is a recognized authority on rare and cult wines but makes it all approachable for the guest. Leo is with us to provide all the tempting 411 on Selanne Steak Tavern.

When Teemu Selanne is not on the road he will be very visible at the restaurant.

Clay Oven in IrvineThe long running Clay Oven in Irvine (26 years plus… is the OC’s classic Indian (Northern cuisine) restaurant. It’s also a true family affair.

Geeta Bansal (our guest) is the proprietress / executive chef along with her husband, Praveen, who is the gracious proprietor / sommelier. Their son, Tarun, represents the 2nd generation active at Clay Oven.

One of their holiday specials (by special order) is a Tandoor Turkey. They sell out (over 250 birds) each Thanksgiving using four tandoor ovens. The birds are skinless and marinated in an herb and spice blend. The juices are seared into the meat during the cooking process. The birds are incredibly moist when they come out of the tandoor oven.

Geeta’s unusual hobby is traveling the globe and interviewing high profile chefs in their native countries. These revealing interviews have been published in the OC Weekly, Orange County Register, and, more recently, in her own blog. Accredited, professional food journalists don’t have the access Geeta enjoys!

In a teaching moment Chef Geeta also educates us on the ancient Hindu treatise of Ayruveda as it relates to food.

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineIt’s the Holidays which is a peak vacation travel period. It’s a great time to catch-up with our man about Orange County, Kedric Francis. Kedric is the always debonair, well-traveled Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine.

On Saturday morning Kedric is off to Cancun, Mexico to experience a new high-end resort there. He’s visiting the Nizuc Resort & Spa. This will be the subject of a future report.

Kedric also reported on some big deal Fashion Island restaurant openings. Red O, with a high end regional Mexican menu by noted Chicago chef Rick Bayless, is now open. Soon to launch is Fig & Olive (Mediterranean fare) which started in West Hollywood.

Kedric was recently at The Ritz Restaurant & Garden’s annual holiday party fund-raiser in Newport Center which was a bit bittersweet. Their lease is up and this is the last Holiday Party at the original location.

There was some good news. It’s not final yet but it looks like The Ritz has found a new location in the area to relocate when they need to vacate their current home early next year. Their long-time landlord has already granted them a couple of extensions. The only glitch is that The Ritz will disappear for at least a year while the new space is remodeled. Most of the long-time employees will need to find work and perhaps move on permanently. Stay tuned…

The Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs is newly opened and Kedric had a chance to see the property a few weeks ago. It’s located in the heart of Downtown Palm Springs near the Indian Casino. Kedric observed there in now lots to do for twentysomethings and thirtysomethings in Palm Springs these days, including a vibrant nightlife.

Sherry YardL.A.’s acclaimed pastry princess, Sherry Yard, is with us for the last segment. Sherry was Wolfgang Puck’s (Spago) executive pastry chef for twenty years. She is a multiple James Beard Award-winner. Her first cookbook, The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts won a Beard Award for “Best Baking Cookbook.”

Her current project (with Lukshon’s and Father’s Office’s Sang Yoon) is the revival of Helms Bakery located on the site of the former Helms Bakery, an iconic home delivery commercial bakery that left the scene years ago. It looks like Summer of 2014 for the opening.

The exciting all-day concept keeps evolving but it’s going to be a bakery and cafe with a lot more. All the bread will be prepared and baked right there. They will roast the beans for the coffee on site. You’ll be able to get sandwiches and full meals packaged to take home.

You can sign-up for their monthly newsletter to keep current on the opening for Helms Bakery.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday afternoons look for the restored yellow Helms Bakery delivery truck in front of their future restaurant space across from Father’s Office. Sherry is selling her soon to be famous chocolate chip cookies and various hand-crafted ice cream novelties. Everything is deliciously scratch-made. Call it a tasty preview of coming edible attractions…

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant oversees his highly successful empire of five Scarpetta restaurants
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant of the five Scarpetta restaurants coast-to-coast. Continues…
Segment Four: Leo Fenn, Director of Operations, Selanne Steak Tavern, Laguna Beach
Segment Five: Geeta Bansal, Executive Chef / Proprietress of Clay Oven in Irvine
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine Part One
Segment Seven: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine Part Two
Segment Eight: Sherry Yard, the acclaimed executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck for 20 years

Show 46, November 2, 2013: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

Jet Tila with Ben McKee of Imagine Dragons at Life is Beautiful Festival in Las VegasThanks to all of our loyal & enthusiastic listeners who were part of the audience for Jet’s Saturday afternoon cooking demo with Ben McKee of The Imagine Dragons at the Life Is Beautiful food and music festival in Downtown Las Vegas. It was standing room only for the demo in the Chefs On Stage East tent.

Jet and Andy previewed the show. We had everything from a snapshot on where to dine now in New York to what it takes to prepare and serve gourmet food to the demanding VIPs at the Breeder’s Cup at Santa Anita. Also we’ll get the behind-the-scenes with a winning chef from Food Network’s new hit series “Cutthroat Kitchen” hosted by Alton Brown. Jet is one of the regular judges for the first season.

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Show 46, November 2, 2013: Chef Merrin-Mae, winning cheftestant, Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen”

Merrin Mae FuentebellaChef Merrin-Mae is a cheftestant on the first season of Food Network’s high pressure “Cutthroat Kitchen” hosted by Alton Brown. Her episode is entitled “Kiss My Grits” and was first aired on October 6th.

The level of competition was particularly intense and the sabotages were devilish. Chef Merrin-Mae made us proud in SoCal (she is a local) and she won the episode. One of the other cheftestants was a “Chopped” winner and was eliminated after the first round!

She currently works at Alma with executive chef Ari Taymor. When she did the show she was part of the culinary team at Sotto.

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