Show 258, January 27, 2018: Chef Michael Stamm, MGP Specialty Food, Cured & Whey, Las Vegas Part One

Michael StammIf you’re in the gourmet specialty food business Las Vegas is the land of opportunity. There are multiple high-end fine-dining restaurants located on The Strip as well as in the affluent suburbs of Summerlin and Henderson. A great local success story is Chef Michael Stamm of MGP Specialty Food. “Specialty Products for the Gourmand.”

Chef Michael also operates Cured & Whey, an unusual retail gourmet specialty food store and deli.

He brings out imported cheese and foie gras especially for us.

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Show 178, July 2, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosHappy 4th of July Weekend to all of our loyal listeners. Wishing you the very best in culinary fireworks over the long weekend. Eat well and be safe…

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, Brea, is back as today’s special Guest Host. Last month in Chicago he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now an enticing preview of Saturday’s lush, patriotic and abundant show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Upscale senior living facilities offering incredible amenities and delicious, healthy, chef-prepared food of restaurant quality represent a huge growth industry nationally. One of the industry leaders is Morrison Community Living. We’ll meet their Senior Corporate Chef, John Rifkin.

The Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure returns to The Wiltern theater on July 9th.  Over 60+ artisan ‘garagiste’ winemakers from across California, including Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and SLO counties; Napa and Sonoma counties, and Paso Robles will pour over 200 wines. Over 30% of the wineries are participating in the Los Angeles festival for the first time. Co-founder Doug Minnick pulls the cork on the festivities for us.

“The Art of Baja Wine & Beer Dinner” takes place at the newly renovated The Grill at the Lodge at Torrey Pines on Friday evening, July 15th. Baja’s Chef Drew Deckman has put together a four-course family style dinner highlighting traditional dishes and ingredients from this unique region, which will be prepared on the outdoor rotisserie of The Grill. The dinner will feature wine connoisseur and Michelin-starred Chef Drew Deckman (Deckman’s en el Mogor) as well as Hugo D’Acosta, the premier winemaker of Valle De Guadalupe. Executive Chef Jeff Jackson of The Lodge at Torrey Pines joins us.

Food, wine and travel writer Cori Solomon (a member of the prestigious International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association and Founder of L.A. Wine Writers) recently returned from a 10-night cruise of Italy and the Greek Isles aboard the Celebrity Reflection, the pride of Celebrity’s fleet. Her accommodation was a spacious, Deluxe Ocean View Veranda Stateroom. This is a Solstice class ship, the crown of Celebrity’s fleet. Modern cruising offers a memorable vacation experience for all ages with considerable value. Cori is with us to share her smooth-sailing, cruise highlights.

Many passionate Italian chefs will tell you cheese (even the incredible Parmigiano-Reggiano) should NEVER be added to a seafood dish (particularly a seafood pasta creation.) Yet you’re now seeing lobster macaroni and cheese prepared by fine-dining chefs and raved about by guests. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel has successfully used cheese with lobster and crab at Slapfish. Confused….? We’ll ask Chef Andrew to explain.

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

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Show 178, July 2, 2016: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group, Huntington Beach

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamMany passionate Italian chefs will tell you cheese (even the incredible Parmigiano-Reggiano) should NEVER be added to a seafood dish. Yet you’re now seeing lobster macaroni and cheese prepared by fine-dining chefs and raved about by guests.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel has successfully used cheese with lobster at Slapfish. It’s a favorite with the guests. Confused….? We’ll ask Chef Andrew to explain the apparent contradiction.

Chef Andrew mentions that the delicate flavor of many fish species is simply overpowered by the taste profile of sharp, aromatic cheeses.

Shellfish pair best with cheese. A shrimp or scallop pasta can easily handle a shaving of grated cheese. Smoked seafood also matches well with cheese.

A Slapfish guest favorite is a lobster & crab grilled cheese sandwich. White American cheese is the cheese of choice here.

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July 2: Morrison Community Living, Garagiste Festival, Jeff Jackson, Cori Solomon

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: John Rifkin, CEC, Senior Corporate Executive Chef, Morrison Community Living
Segment Three: Doug Minnick, Co-Founder, The Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure
Segment Four: Jeff Jackson, Executive Chef, Lodge at Torrey Pines. Art of Baja Dinner
Segment Five: Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, Cori Solomon. 10-Night Cruise on Celebrity’s Reflection Part One
Segment Six: Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, Cori Solomon. 10-Night Cruise on Celebrity’s Reflection Part Two
Segment Seven: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group, Huntington Beach

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosHappy 4th of July Weekend to all of our loyal listeners. Wishing you the very best in culinary fireworks over the long weekend.

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, Brea, is back as today’s special Guest Host. Last month in Chicago he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now an enticing preview of Saturday’s lush and abundant show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Upscale senior living facilities offering incredible amenities and delicious, healthy, chef-prepared food of restaurant quality represent a huge growth industry nationally. One of the industry leaders is Morrison Community Living. We’ll meet their Senior Corporate Chef, John Rifkin.

The Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure returns to The Wiltern theater on July 9th.  Over 60+ artisan ‘garagiste’ winemakers from across California, including Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and SLO counties; Napa and Sonoma counties, and Paso Robles will pour over 200 wines. Over 30% of the wineries are participating in the Los Angeles festival for the first time.  Co-founder Doug Minnick pulls the cork on the festivities for us.

“The Art of Baja Wine & Beer Dinner” takers place at the newly renovated The Grill at the Lodge at Torrey Pines on Friday evening, July 15th. Executive Chef Jeff Jackson has put together a four-course family style dinner highlighting traditional dishes and ingredients from this unique region, which will be prepared on the outdoor rotisserie of The Grill. The dinner will feature wine connoisseur and Michelin-starred Chef Drew Deckman (Deckman’s en el Mogor) as well as Hugo D’Acosta, the premier winemaker of Valle De Guadalupe. Chefs Drew and Jeff join us.

Food, wine and travel writer Cori Solomon (a member of the prestigious International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association and Founder of L.A. Wine Writers) recently returned from a 10-day cruise of Italy and the Greek Isles aboard the Celebrity Reflection, the pride of Celebrity’s fleet. Her accommodation was a spacious, Deluxe Ocean View Veranda Stateroom. This is a Solstice class ship. Modern cruising offers a memorable vacation experience for all ages with considerable value. Cori is with us to share her smooth-sailing, cruise highlights.

Huntington Beach restaurateur Alicia Whitney is seemingly taking over the City one block at a time. Her newest full-service restaurant is SeaSalt Woodfire Grill featuring Santa Maria-style barbecue. She is also now on the sand at Bolsa Chica State Beach with two open beach food stands and a third set to open this weekend. We’ll detour Alica for a quick respite and get all the tasty details.

Many passionate Italian chefs will tell you cheese (even the incredible Parmigiano-Reggiano) should NEVER be added to a seafood dish (particularly a seafood pasta creation.) Yet you’re now seeing lobster macaroni and cheese prepared by fine-dining chefs and raved about by guests. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel has successfully used cheese with lobster at Slapfish. Confused….? We’ll ask Chef Andrew to explain.

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

John RifkinUpscale senior living facilities offering incredible amenities and delicious, healthy, chef-prepared food of restaurant quality represent a huge growth industry nationally. One of the industry leaders is Morrison Community Living. We’ll meet their Senior Corporate Chef, John Rifkin.

Chef Rifkin joined Morrison Community Living in 2004 as corporate chef. In this role Rifkin was able to support the many Morrison Senior Living communities throughout the country and help to show the value of both Morrison and Compass Groups’ robust sustainable seafood program nationally.

In 2010 Chef Rifkin was promoted to Senior Corporate Chef. Under his leadership he has been able to drive Morrison Community Livings’ sustainable results even further, and along with his team of 10 Corporate Chefs, 24 Regional Chefs, and the over 400 plus chefs across the country to create very delicious sustainable seafood recipes.

Chef Rifkin knows that the generations entering Morrison Community Living communities have a very high expectation that they understand where their seafood and food comes from, but also that it is harvested responsibly as well. Chef Rifkin collaborates with many food service organizations to support him to bring the very best ingredients to the seniors that Morrison Senior Living prepares for. These guests have traveled the world, run Fortune 500 companies, and are master home chefs in their own right, cooking many meals for their family and loved ones throughout the years.

Garagiste FestivalThe Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure returns to The Wiltern theater on July 9th.  Over 60+ artisan ‘garagiste’ winemakers from across California, including Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and SLO counties; Napa and Sonoma counties, and Paso Robles will pour over 200 wines. Over 30% of the wineries are participating in the Los Angeles festival for the first time.  Co-founder Doug Minnick uncorks the festivities for us.

Urban Exposure also presents the LA premiere of one of its signature comparison tasting seminars, “Tasting the Winemaker’s Spice Rack,”  on the stage of The Wiltern. Rendarrio Vineyards owner and winemaker Ryan Render and Michael Larner, winemaker and owner of the renowned Larner Vineyard, will use side-by-side comparisons to help wine consumers understand, through their taste buds, how different oak treatments – from type to region to toast – can affect the finished product and change the profile of a single wine.

Renowned for their ‘crazy thrill of discovery,’ one-on-one interactions with winemakers, and fun ‘no-snobs-allowed’ atmosphere, Garagiste Festivals offer wine lovers their only opportunity to taste so many small-production, hard-to-find wines, from so many regions, all in one place – over 60% of Urban Exposure winemakers are without a tasting room.

Drew Deckman“The Art of Baja Wine & Beer Dinner” takers place at the newly renovated The Grill at the Lodge at Torrey Pines on Friday evening, July 15th. Executive Chef Jeff Jackson has put together a four-course family style dinner highlighting traditional dishes and ingredients from this unique region, which will be prepared on the outdoor rotisserie of The Grill (which just completed a spectacular $2.5 million renovation.)

The dinner will feature wine connoisseur and Michelin-starred Chef Drew Deckman ( Deckman’s en el Mogor) as well as Hugo D’Acosta, the premier winemaker of Valle De Guadalupe who will showcase rare wines normally unavailable in California.

For those who prefer hops to grapes, Eugenio Wendtlandt of Wendlandt Brewery, voted best Mexican Brewery 2015, will also be in attendance in addition to other craft beer selections from the Agua Mala region.

Baja’s Chef Drew Deckman is also coming to San Diego. He has a restaurant project on Bankers Hill set to debut in early 2017.

Chefs Drew Deckman and Jeff Jackson join us.

Cori SolomonFood, wine and travel writer Cori Solomon (a member of the prestigious International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association & Founder of L.A. Wine Writers) recently returned from a 10-day cruise of Italy and the Greek Isles aboard the Celebrity Reflection, the pride of Celebrity’s fleet. Her accommodation was a spacious, Deluxe Ocean View Veranda Stateroom.

This is a Solstice-class ship. Modern cruising offers a memorable vacation experience for all ages and interests with considerable value. Cori is with us to share her smooth-sailing, cruise highlights.

“Celebrity Reflection® is our newest marvel. She boasts an expanded deck, 72 additional staterooms overall, more seating in the main and specialty restaurants, more sun lounges on the pool deck, and more seats in the theatre.”

“Celebrate the flavorful joys of outdoor grilling in the new Lawn Club Grill. Enjoy more than 20 delicious options in the Main Restaurant. Unwind in your own cabana-style haven, The Alcoves, on the Lawn Club. And check out all the new spa innovations in the enhanced Canyon Ranch SpaClub®.”

“Your vacation time is precious. Time aboard Celebrity Reflection will make the most of it.”

The Reflection can accommodate 3,046 guests served by a crew of 1,255.

From Cruise Critic:

With the impressive overall quality of food on board Celebrity Reflection there is little need to spend extra on specialty dining unless you feel like a treat. Even Oceanview, the cheerful buffet venue on Level 14, takes things to a new level with tasty International dishes that belie the restaurant’s casual surroundings.

Celebrity didn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to dining on Reflection, sticking instead with familiar options. In the main dining room passengers can choose from traditional dining (6:15 p.m. for the early seating and 8:45 p.m. for the late) or the more flexible Celebrity Select Dining, which allows them to eat in the main dining room any time between 6 and 10 p.m. Bookings for Select Dining can be made online up to four days before the ship sails or once onboard. Or, like us, you can simply walk-in whenever it suits you. We never had to wait longer than five minutes for a table for two although we did notice a queue on one formal night.

The main dining area, Opus, occupies space on Reflection’s third and fourth decks. It’s an elegant venue, decorated in deep browns and silvers, with bright white tablecloths and crystal as far as the eye can see. The vast space — which accommodates 40 more seats than its counterpart on Celebrity Silhouette — is stunningly designed, though tables are a bit too close together making private conversation difficult (although this can be a good way to meet fellow passengers if you are so inclined).

Menus in Opus offer appetizers, soups and salads, entrees and desserts, and they’re flexible enough to accommodate specific dietary needs. You’ll choose from a variety of options, including favorites like shrimp cocktail, escargot, prime rib, rack of lamb and crème brulee. Food is generally good, with appropriate portion sizes and some surprises on the menu, like the beef Carpaccio or frog legs. Do ask your waiter what they recommend as suggestions are usually spot-on.

Vegetarian and healthier options are identified on the menu, but if you have specific dietary needs (vegan or gluten-free), discuss them with the maitre d’ before your first meal, and ask specific questions about the menu items you select.

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamMany passionate Italian chefs will tell you cheese (even the incredible Parmigiano-Reggiano) should NEVER be added to a seafood dish. Yet you’re now seeing lobster macaroni and cheese prepared by fine-dining chefs and raved about by guests.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel has successfully used cheese with lobster at Slapfish. It’s popular with the guests. Confused….? We’ll ask Chef Andrew to explain.

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Show 177, June 25, 2016: Patric Kuh, Restaurant Critic, Los Angeles Magazine & Author of Finding the Flavors We Lost

Finding the Flavors we Lost by Patric KuhWe hear the word “artisanal” all the time—attached to cheese, chocolate, coffee, even Subway sandwiches—but what does it actually mean? Now, from Los Angeles Magazine restaurant critic and multiple James Beard Award winner Patric Kuh comes FINDING THE FLAVORS WE LOST: From Bread to Bourbon, How Artisans Reclaimed American Food. It’s an arresting exploration of the cultural demand for “artisanal” foods in a world where corporate agribusiness has co-opted the very concept. Patric is our guest.

Spanning almost the past hundred years, Kuh begins with the stories of countercultural “radicals” in the 1970s who taught themselves the forgotten crafts of bread, cheese, and beer-making, moving back to the development of mass-produced food and giant corporations that spurred them on, then to the present, hearkening back to how these 1970s trailblazers became the inspiration for today’s crop of young chefs and artisans.

From a cheese-making farm in Wisconsin to the Maker’s Mark distillery in Kentucky, Kuh examines how a rediscovery of the value of craft and individual effort has fueled today’s popularity and appreciation for artisanal food—and the transformations this has effected on both the restaurant menu and the dinner table.

Throughout the book, he raises a host of critical questions. How big of an operation is too big for a food company to still call themselves “artisanal”? Does the high cost of hand-crafted goods unintentionally make them unaffordable for many Americans? Does technological progress have to quash flavor?

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Show 85, August 23, 2014: Chef Michael Knowles, Black & Blue Steakhouse, Valley View Casino

Michael Knowles of Black and Blue SteakhouseThe show was live on Saturday morning from The Valley View Casino. The fine dining restaurant there is Black & Blue – The Place For Steak.

We met Chef de Cuisine Michael Knowles.He started cooking at age 14! Chef Michael cooked at Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio in San Francisco in the 90s. He has elevated Black & Blue to an award-winning California steakhouse that’s true destination dining for discerning San Diego residents.

All of his pastas are made in-house along with some of the cheese, including the mozzarella. There is a fresh pasta selection each night.

He uses as many local suppliers as possible. His beef purveyor is San Diego’s Brandt Beef. Seafood is from family-owned Santa Monica Seafood (celebrating their 75th Anniversary this year.) Local produce comes from Crows Pass Farm in Temecula and the legendary Chino Farms in addition to other small farmers.

Chef Michael’s “Signature Indulgence” on the Black & Blue menu is “The Ultimate Surf & Turf” for a reasonable $75.00. That’s a meal…It’s also part of a betting challenge where you might get your dinner for free or at a reduced price. It’s interactive and all in good fun…

How about Lobster Creamed Spinach as a premium side with lots of tender bites of lobster?

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Show 81, July 26, 2014: Executive Chef / Proprietor Zach Pollack, Alimento, Silver Lake continues…

Zach PollackZach was actually looking for a restaurant space in Silver Lake or Los Feliz before the deal came together for Sotto. He feels it’s an underserved area. He loves the idea that many of his employees walk to work.

One of Zach’s small plates that’s getting a lot of attention is his version of Pigs in a Blanket. It’s a braised mortadella sandwich. The “bread” is spelt pastry. The cheese is stracchino.

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Hamburgers

What makes for a great burger?

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Show 74, May 31, 2014: Chester Hastings, Cheesemonger and Chef, Joan’s on Third, Los Angeles

Chester HastingsCheesemonger (and Chef) Chester Hastings of Joan’s on Third in Los Angeles literally wrote the book on enjoying cheese. His latest title is The Cheesemonger’s Seasons – Recipes for Enjoying Cheese with Ripe Fruits and Vegetables. His first cheese book was the well-reviewed, The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen.

The Cheesemonger’s Season contains ninety amazing cheese-centric recipes, from appetizers to desserts, all of them simple, and each one showcasing the absolute best of what the season has to offer.

When Chester started at Joan’s over 12 years ago they carried seven varieties of cheese. Today they stock over 100 varieties of domestic and imported cheeses.

Chester notes that many cheeses have a time of the year when they are at their peak for freshness and flavor. For instance, Spring is prime for goat cheese.

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