Show 215, March 18, 2017: Celebrity Chef Vikram Vij, Vij’s, Vancouver, B.C.

VIkram VijWhen it comes to star chefs and high-profile Food TV personalities in Canada the top of the class is surely Vancouver’s Chef Vikram Vij. He has introduced the joy of Indian flavors to tens of thousands of fortunate Canadians since he debuted the original (no-reservations) 14-seat Vij’s in 1994. The incredibly popular restaurant has since relocated and expanded to 85-seats plus a bar / lounge area.

The no reservations system is designed to be fair to all. Everyone is a VIP and if you get there at the evening opening the line to be seated moves quickly. Once seated the servers offer chai and complimentary appetizers as a welcome to set the stage for the evening’s pleasures. Nice touch…

In December 1994 Vikram married Meeru, who then joined him at the restaurant. “Our cuisine has stood out from others in that we do not serve what is typically expected from an India restaurant. We prefer to stay away from the tandoor oven since it’s already being used in so many other restaurants. Our philosophy behind the food has always been to keep our spices and cooking techniques Indian – from all regions of India – while using meats, seafood and produce that are locally available. To this effect, we change our menu seasonally.”

Last December 10th in Las Vegas Chef Vikram was one of the high-profile celebrity chefs (along with Thomas Keller, Ming Tsai and Curtis Stone) presenting a standout course at The Venetian’s & Palazzo’s annual Ultimo: A Weekend of Excellence. (The “SoCal Restaurant Show” was there observing in the kitchen.) Chef Vij’s dish for Ultimo’s Grand Banquet (a super luxe extravagance) was Marinated Lamb Popsicles with Fenugreek Cream Curry. (The complex sauce slowly simmered for five hours.) The recipe was published in the December 5th issue of Parade Magazine Daily.

We’ll meet the incredible Chef Vikram

 

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Show 215, March 18, 2017: Celebrity Chef Vikram Vij, Vij’s, Vancouver, B.C. Continues

VIkram VijWhen it comes to star chefs and high-profile Food TV personalities in Canada the top of the class is surely Vancouver’s Chef Vikram Vij. He has introduced the joy of Indian flavors to tens of thousands of fortunate Canadians since he debuted the original (no-reservations) 14-seat Vij’s in 1994. The incredibly popular restaurant has since relocated and expanded to 85-seats plus a bar / lounge area.

Vikram was born in 1964 in India and grew up in Amritsar and Bombay. His most vivid childhood memories revolve around food and family. He pursued this further by studying Hotel Management in Salzburg, Austria. After his studies, Vikram continued working at various fine dining restaurants in Austria and, in 1989, moved to Canada to work at the Banff Springs Hotel.

Meeru was born in India but moved to Washington, D.C. at a very young age with her parents. Prior to marrying Vikram and moving to Canada, she worked with various organizations in human rights and international development projects.

“Along with the kitchen staff’s dedication and our love of experimenting, Vij’s blossomed quickly and won its first award from Vancouver Magazine for Best Asian restaurant in March 1995. In September 1996, we moved to a larger location and Meeru took over the kitchen and the recipes for the most part. Vikram focused his efforts on the overall running of the restaurant, the presentation of the food and the wine list. In October 2001, Vikram became a certified Sommelier.”

Vikram’s biography, Vij’s: A Chef’s One-Way Ticket to Canada with Indian Spices in His Suitcase publishes on March 21st.

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Show 205, January 7, 2017: Executive Chef Rick Moonen, RM Seafood & Rx Boiler Room, Las Vegas

Rick Moonen of rm seafood in Las VegasThe epitome of a high energy and multi-disciplined executive chef, Rick Moonen (a James Beard Award recipient) has two Las Vegas restaurants in Mandalay Place, RM Seafood (launched in 2005,) and the more recent Rx Boiler Room.

He’s recognized as the Godfather of Sustainability. Chef Rick is a renown seafood chef and an early proponent of sustainable seafood practices. He encourages sampling some of the lesser know, smaller “trash fish” (sardines, anchovies) that are really delicious and represent great value.

Chef Moonen also believes in supporting local farmers. Chef Rick will tell us about his association with Desert Bloom Eco Farm. Incredible farm eggs, too.

Combining the alchemy of food and drink, Celebrity Chef Rick Moonen showcases in Rx Boiler Room his spin on classic comfort food, offering guests a variety of playful creations in small and large plate portions, ideal for a shared dining experience. Paired to elevate and complement the overall experience, the drink menu features an emporium of the finest spirits and innovative libations.

Showcasing a playful interior design that defies its new age, Rx Boiler Room offers a modern reflection of the Victorian era, celebrating the steampunk sub-genre often associated with science-fiction and inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century.

We’re going trash fishing with Chef Rick.

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Show 186, August 27, 2016: Chefs Curtis Stone (Maude and Gwen) and Dominique Crenn (Altier Crenn and Petit Crenn)

Curtis StoneChef Curtis Stone’s Maude in Beverly Hills features monthly changing prix fixe menus with the courses designed around a key ingredient. For instance, the featured ingredient for August is the Plum.

One very special night San Francisco’s Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn) is cooking a spectacular Plum-themed benefit menu at the Maude with Chef Curtis for 24 lucky guests. Curtis Stone and Dominique Crenn join us fresh from a provisions expedition at the Santa Monica Farmers Market with the tantalizing details.

The charity beneficiary for this $375 a guest sold-out, sumptuous repast is Young Farmers.

It’s been quite a year for Chef Dominique Crenn. She was named the World’s Best Female Chef by San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. She was also nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef: West.

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Show 160, February 20, 2016: Mary Sue Milliken, Border Grill, Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Las Vegas

Mary Sue MillikenLeave it to our local celebrity chefs and Food Network favorites, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, to have some real fun with Leap Day on February 29th at Border Grill Downtown Los Angeles. For one night only on Leap Day, Mary Sue’s and Susan’s fondly remembered CITY will return for an encore.

“One giant leap for restaurateurs. The year was 1981 when two newly minted chefs named Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger opened a 39-seat restaurant off Melrose Avenue with a worldview that would catapult their careers – CITY. Now 35 years later, the “Too Hot Tamales” are throwing it back to host the return of CITY Night on Leap Day, Monday, February 29th at 6:00 p.m.”

“For one night Border Grill Downtown Los Angeles warps to the 1980’s with a prix-fixe selection from the CITY menu repertoire that introduced Los Angeles eaters to radical flavors and signature dishes from Thailand, India, Italy, France and Greece with French-inspired technique. Nostalgic new wave diners and the uninitiated curious can enjoy the limited engagement at $125 per person.”

Mary Sue Milliken takes us back to the beginning in 1981.

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Show 147, November 21, 2015: Chef Jacques Pepin

Jacques PepinRenowned Chef Jacques Pepin has written more than two dozen cookbooks and hosted more than 13 popular public television cooking series. Chef Pepin recently completed production of his 14th cooking series for PBS, Jacques Pepin Heart & Soul for KQED in San Francisco. There is also a newly published companion cookbook of the same name, Jacques Pepin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen.

Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen is an intimate look at the celebrity chef and the food he cooks at home with family and friends—200 recipes in all. There are the simple dinners Jacques prepares for his wife, like the world’s best burgers (the secret is ground brisket). There are elegant dinners for small gatherings, with tantalizing starters like Camembert cheese with a pistachio crust and desserts like little foolproof chocolate soufflés. And there are the dishes for backyard parties, including grilled chicken tenderloin in an Argentinean chimichurri sauce.

Chef Jacques is a true gentleman. He includes his wife’s favorite recipe in the Rice and Pasta section of the book. It’s “Gloria’s Linguine with Clam Sauce” and he shares this treasured recipe with her “permission.”

Spiced with reminiscences and stories, this book reveals the unorthodox philosophy of the man who taught millions how to cook, revealing his frank views on molecular gastronomy, the locovore movement, Julia Child and James Beard, on how to raise a child who will eat almost anything, and much, much more.  For both longtime fans of Jacques and those who are discovering him for the first time, this is a must-have cookbook.

“For this book, mindful that as I approach eighty years old I have a limited number of cookbooks in my future, I decided to gather a collection of recipes that I cook at home today.” Jacques Pepin.

Chef Pepin is our very special guest.

 

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Show 119, April 25, 2015: Chef Eric Greenspan

Eric GreenspanYou probably recognize celebrity chef Eric Greenspan from his National Geographic Channel series, Eric Greenspan is Hungry.” Chef Eric is also the proprietor of Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese and The Roof on Wilshire, both in Los Angeles.

Chef Eric is back on Food Network with the “Chopped All-Stars Tournament: Part 1.” It premiers on Tuesday, April 28th. Each celebrity chef is playing for the $75,000 grand prize for their favorite charity. In Heat 1 Chef Eric is pitted against Madison Cowan, Brian Malarkey and Art Smith.

In the first round, a slimy ingredient provokes some disgusted reactions from the competitors and judges. In the entrée round, the beautiful fish in the basket leads the chefs to make some surprising mistakes. And when the two finalists go in totally different directions with their desserts, it’s up in the air which approach will be more pleasing to the judges. Judges for this episode are Maneet Chauhan, Scott Conant and Amanda Freitag.

Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese just finished a very well-received three-month pop-up at Westfield Century City. A sandwich created for Century City has proved so popular that it is now on the menu on Melrose. Look for expanded hours soon.

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Show 98, November 22, 2014: Chef Eric Greenspan

Eric GreenspanFine dining chef, Eric Greenspan, is all over Food Television. He impressively just vanquished the competition in Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen : Superstar Sabotage Tournament.” He came out on top against a group of seven other fiercely competitive celebrity chefs. All his winnings went to charity. Chef Eric’s new series, “Eric Greenspan is Hungry” debuts on the National Geographic Channel on Monday, November 24th.

Chef Eric also appears prominently in National Geographic Channel’s six-hour, three-night miniseries event, Eat : The Story of Food. Eric appears in each of the six hour. It premiered on Nation Geographic Channel on Nov. 21st, 22nd and 23rd.

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Show 85, August 23, 2014: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show

Kedric Francis and Andy HarrisGuest Host Kedric Francis of The Orange County Register Magazine & Coast Orange County Magazine and Producer Andy Harris preview the show.

The always debonair Kedric Francis, our dashing man about Orange County, is the Executive Editor of both publications.

Also joining us at 10:45 a.m. is Travis Rodgers of the “Travis Rogers Show” heard weekday mornings on AM 830 KLAA from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Travis’ loyal fans know his second most favorite subject is food! He’s serious about eats. “The Travis Rodgers Show” is SoCal’s only live and local sports morning show.

Arriving on August 29th and continuing through August 31st is the Los Angeles Times The Taste at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie & Ted’s are participants and our very special guests.

Kedric Francis of the Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine has been out and about exploring the latest finds in the OC. He was at the very exclusive pre-opening preview lunch for the eagerly anticipated Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in South Coast Plaza on August 15th and will share some of his observations.

Executive Chef Michael Rossi (ex-Napa Rose) has been at the helm of The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon since it’s opening day in early 2012. He was actually on the ambitious project over a year testing recipes before the first guests were greeted. The Ranch (unusually) has its own farm located on the Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange which provides a lot of the fresh fruits and vegetables used at the highly regarded and much acclaimed restaurant. It’s a chef’s dream to have these resources…

Freddy Vargas is the forward-thinking executive chef of the high profile Scarpetta located in the Montage Beverly Hills across a pocket park from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills. This is one of Celebrity Chef Scott Conants’s restaurant properties. At lunch on Weekdays he’s operating a to-go Paninoteca. Think gourmet Italian sandwiches like a Porchetta. It’s spiced pork belly, broccoli rabe pesto and a fried hen egg on house-baked bread.

Brad A. Johnson is the James Beard award-winning restaurant critic for both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Register. Where does a restaurant critic eat when he’s not reviewing? Those are the spots we all want to go…Brad shares with us some of his favorites in both Orange County and Los Angeles. The origin of this discussion was a recent article Brad wrote for the Orange County Register Magazine.

The show was live on Saturday morning from The Valley View Casino. The fine dining restaurant there is Black & Blue – The Place For Steak. We’ll meet Chef de Cuisine Michael Knowles.He started cooking at age 14! He has elevated Black & Blue to an award-winning California steakhouse that’s true destination dining for San Diego residents.

Travis Rodgers is the easy-going Iron Man of personalities on AM 830 KLAA. Every weekday morning he’s on AM 830 KLAA talking sports for four hours beginning at 6:00 a.m. After he’s finished at 10:00 a.m. on AM 830 he continues his national show for Yahoo Sports Radio for another hour until 11:00 a.m. That’s five hours on Weekdays as the solo host.

Travis’ second favorite subject is good food. Did we say Mexican? The discussion with Travis is on assorted cravable eats.

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

 

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Show 85, August 23, 2014: Freddy Vargas, Executive Chef, Scarpetta, Montage Beverly Hills

Freddy VargasFreddy Vargas is the forward-thinking executive chef of the high profile Scarpetta located in the Montage Beverly Hills across a lush pocket park from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills. This is one of Celebrity Chef Scott Conants’s restaurant properties.

At lunch on Weekdays he’s operating a to-go Paninoteca. Think gourmet Italian sandwiches like a Porchetta. It’s spiced pork belly, broccoli rabe pesto and a fried hen egg on house-baked bread.

Call in orders at 310.860.5832 and also check on the daily specials.

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