Show 248, November 18, 2017: Chef Thierry Blouet, Café des Artistes, Co-Founder – Festival Gourmet International

“LOVE AND PASSION – THE SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE GOOD!”

Thierry Blouet2017 marks twenty-three years of the Festival Gourmet International in Puerto Vallarta featuring the talent and creations of over 30 chefs. In 1995 Chefs Thierry Blouet and Heinz Reize (joined later by Chef Roland Menetrey) came up with the idea of ​​promoting and raising up the culinary level of this region to competitive international standards, interacting with new methods and creativity of highly qualified Chefs from around the globe. Over 500,000 gourmet food fans have attended over the years along with close to 600 participating celebrity chefs.

The goal of this 10-day, great party is to strengthen the gastronomy of Puerto Vallarta as an exemplary showcase and to promote the destination through the excellence of the good table.

It’s a full schedule of culinary activities including chef tastings events, culinary safaris, seasonal tastings and themed nights offering distinct dishes from cities from around the world. Distinguished restaurants from Puerto Vallarta’s different zones will be participating.

In addition to all the special events every night of the 9-day Festival is the Gourmet Dine Around.” Nightly each of the 27 participating Puerto Vallarta restaurants and hotels serve a special menu offering creations and delicacies crafted by their respective guest chef.

Chef Thierry joins us.

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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 226, June 3, 2017: Bella Lantsman, General Manager & Partner, Chinois on Main, Santa Monica

Belle LantsmanLongevity for a restaurant in the highly competitive Los Angeles restaurant arena isn’t an easy thing. Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Pucks 2nd fine-dining restaurant in the Los Angeles area after Spago was Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. It launched in 1983 and is still a landmark dining destination in Santa Monica that consistently delivers with memorable food and polished service. Many of the professional servers have, unusually, been there for years.

Chinois on Main boldly combines Chinese tradition and fresh California ingredients with contemporary French techniques. The restaurant pioneered Asian fusion cuisine in the United States. Today, Chinois remains a culinary icon with its timeless interior design by (Partner) Barbara Lazaroff, an open kitchen, full-service bar, and extensive (and expertly crafted) wine list.

The Executive Chef is Rene Mata. He started at Chinois on Main as a line cook in 1987.

GM & Partner Bella Lantsman has, extraordinarily, been there since almost the beginning. We’ll meet her.

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Show 226, June 3, 2017: Bella Lantsman, General Manager & Partner, Chinois on Main, Santa Monica Continues…

Belle LantsmanLongevity for a restaurant in the highly competitive Los Angeles restaurant arena isn’t an easy thing. Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Pucks 2nd fine-dining restaurant in the Los Angeles area after Spago was Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. It launched in 1983 and is still a landmark dining destination in Santa Monica that consistently delivers with memorable food and polished service. Many of the professional servers have, unusually, been there for years.

There is a hidden (and very exclusive) private dining room with all the amenities at Chinois accommodating up to 40 seated guests. It even has its own kitchen.

 

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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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