Show 243, October 7, 2017: Chef Eric Greenspan, 505 Southwestern’s “Clash of the Hatch” Food Truck Challenge

Eric GreenspanFlagship Food Group and 505 Southwestern have launched a unique campaign, the “Clash of the Hatch,” a food truck challenge curated by 505 Southwestern® and Celebrity Chef Eric Greenspan. Celebrating the Hatch Valley green chile harvest season, the “Clash of the Hatch” brings together 10 of LA’s most popular food trucks to compete to make the best dish possible featuring 505 Southwestern® Hatch Valley Flame Roasted Green Chile.

The 10 finalists chosen to compete are Locol, Border Grill, Baby’s Badass Burgers, Grilled Cheese Truck, South Philly Experience, Vchos Pupusas, Chubbee Monkee, India Jones, Dogtown Dogs and Wise Barbecue Co.  Each truck is challenged to develop an innovative menu item that matches the truck’s food genre and style. Trucks are encouraged to drive awareness and sales of their item through social media and creative marketing.

The truck with the winning item will be invited to the Flagship global research and development center in Burbank, California, to develop a version of their menu item as a consumer retail food product. 505 Southwestern® will work to distribute this product into retail channels, and the winner will receive 1% of the net revenue, subject to a minimum of $20,000 and up to a maximum of $100,000.

“Anyone who knows me, my restaurants, or my TV shows, knows that I am passionate about great restaurants and operators. Food trucks represent the epitome of real time innovation and passionate entrepreneurs- exactly the kind of people I, Flagship, and 505 Southwestern® love engaging with,” said chef Eric Greenspan. “I think this is an exciting event, and I can’t wait to see what these food trucks create.”

Chef Eric turns up the heat and fills us in.

 

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Show 230, July 1, 2017: Betty Porto, Vice President, Community & Guest Relations, Porto’s Bakery & Cafe Continues…

Betty Porto in front of the Porto's Bakery Bread RackThe crowd-pleasing, proudly family-owned Porto’s Bakery & Café (think potato balls & cheese rolls) opened its biggest, long-anticipated branch in Buena Park (25,000 sq.ft.) up the street from Knott’s Berry Farm in early March. The Porto’s own the property. Actor Andy Garcia officiated at the ribbon-cutting. It’s been a resounding success. It even offers complimentary valet parking to negate potential parking hassles.

Porto’s traces its origins to the year 1960, when the Porto family made the tough decision to leave their home in Manzanillo, Cuba. After living through the drastic changes that were taking place around them, they requested permission to leave the country. Immediately Raul Sr. was terminated from his job and sent away to manual labor for the duration of the wait period. Wife, Rosa Porto was also let go. Knowing that it may take years to be able to leave the country, Rosa found herself alone and having to find a means to support her three children Betty, Raul Jr., and Margarita.

Rosa, always a talented cake maker, with a passion for baking, entrenched herself in perfecting her recipes and began selling her delicious cakes to friends and neighbors not realizing that she was also building herself a loyal customer base.

When the family finally emigrated from Cuba to California, they had not much more than the clothes on their backs, Raul Sr.’s strong work ethic, Rosa’s exceptional baking skills, and a dream for a better life. Soon after the plane landed, Rosa realized that her reputation had preceded her, and met her first customer just as she got off the plane. Raul Sr. took a job as a mechanic and after work delivered Rosa’s cakes. These were hard times, but the family was now in a country filled with limitless opportunities and their dream for a better future became more real as the years passed

Rosa continued on with her cake business and when their home could no longer accommodate the increased demand, opened a little 300-square foot bakery on Sunset Blvd, in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. From day one, the place was busy, serving close to 50 customers a day. After tirelessly working two jobs, Raul Sr. left his latter job at Van De Kamp’s and joined Rosa full time. Meanwhile, their children Betty, Raul Jr., and Margarita managed to maintain their studies and learn the different parts of the business; baking, decorating, food preparation, customer service, and finances.

Rosa’s Cuban cakes were soon joined by French mousses, Italian sweets, and international savories. As customers flocked to the bakery demanding countless quantities of Cheese Rolls™, Refugiados™-guava and cheese strudels, and the infamous Potato Ball™, space became critical. A move was made to a 2,000-square foot facility in Glendale and six years later to one double in size. The bakery continued to grow and more employees where hired to handle the demand for its increasingly broad line of cakes, desserts, and savories.

Porto’s Bakery & Café now serves thousands of customers and employs hundreds of team members in Southern California, with stores in Glendale, Burbank, Downey and now, Buena Park. In 2018 West Covina is on the horizon. Rumors are out there supporting a future Northridge store thereafter.

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Show 136, August 29, 2015: Sameer Suri, Los Angeles Correspondent, InsideHook

Sameer SuriThe well-traveled Sameer Suri, raised in Los Angeles, is emblematic of the new breed of young writers covering lifestyle. He’s one of the Los Angeles correspondents for InsideHook, a daily, editorial e-mail newsletter to “inspire driven men.” It covers culture, food & drink and travel.

In true Hollywood style Sameer is also a stand-up comedian. He’s performed at a variety of clubs around town, including the Laugh Factory and Flappers Burbank.

As a student in the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, Sameer had the unusual opportunity to spend a semester in London.

We’ll chat about the newly vibrant London food scene. Surprisingly Sameer suggests that the best street food Fish & Chips these days is in Dublin. Now trending on London’s street food scene is Doner Kebabs.

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Show 95, November 1, 2014: Jennifer Morton

Jeniifer Morton of Blue PlateThe always on the go, Jennifer Morton, is a serial restaurateur who is always overflowing with creative ideas. She was the co-founder of the highly successful Divine Pasta Co. which supplied a range of fresh pastas to discriminating restaurants. Even the typically hard-to-please Italian chefs were big fans of the pasta.

Chapter Two for Jen was buying what is now Blue Plate on Montana Avenue and repositioning it as a full-service, neighborhood restaurant. Staying in Santa Monica (where she also resides) Jen then created the Blue Plate Oysterette, her homage to a New England seafood shack. A new Blue Plate Oysterette recently opened on W. Third St. in Los Angeles.

Blue Plate Taco, also in Santa Monica, is Ms. Morton’s take on costal Mexican fare using local ingredients with a distinctive California flair. Think crab guacamole with house-made chips and chicken tinga tacos with chipotle sauce and pickled onions.

There is also a lot of attention toward the tequila-based signature drink creations.

We’ll meet her.

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