Show 223, May 13, 2017: Pam Cooper, Co-Founder, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii

Pam CooperThe Big Island of Hawaii’s first tree-to-bar chocolate producer is The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory established in 1999. In Kailua-Kona they grow cacao on their own plantation, ferment it, dry and process the beans and then create premium, single origin chocolate of the highest quality in a multi-step process.

“Welcome to Kona on the Island of Hawaii, home of Original Hawaiian Chocolate – the only chocolate of its kind in the world!”

“Beginning in 1997 we have dedicated ourselves to creating the most delicious and unique of chocolates – 100% Hawaiian made and grown. There is something about our volcanic soil, Island showers and tropical Hawaiian sun that blesses the cacao trees with a unique flavor that is world renowned.”

“We are the first producers to grow and process 100% Hawaiian cacao chocolate anywhere on earth. We process only Big Island grown cocoa beans. Our processing factory is completely self-contained, assuring total quality control from the fields to the final chocolate bars.”

“We invite you to experience our exceptionally unique chocolate, grown, harvested, processed and packaged in Hawaii – America’s own. And remember, Chocolate is Aloha!

Plantation tours (highly recommended) are available Wednesday and Friday mornings. The on-site Chocolate Shoppe (with unique specialty items) hours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday through Fridays. Most of their artisan, single origin chocolate products (Individual Bars, One Pound Bars, Large & Small Plumerias and Roasted Cacao Nibs) are also available via their Website and shipped FedEx.

Founder Pam Cooper joins us.

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Show 210, February 11, 2017: Melba and Steve Artea, Crown City Toffee

Melba ArteaWe love inspirational entrepreneurial food success stories. For Melba Artea of Crown City Toffee it all started with a family recipe for toffee (with chocolate & nuts) and a pressing need to provide more financial resources for her Family. Husband, Steve, provides added guidance on the business side.

“Our English toffee is made with the freshest ingredients available. It is crispy with a wonderful buttery crunch and topped with a coat of creamy chocolate (milk or dark) with fresh-roasted almonds sprinkled on top.”

“Our Peanut Butter Drizzle is a huge favorite of many of our customers. It’s roasted peanuts topped over melted Peanut Butter Morsels and drizzled with milk chocolate.”

Crown City Toffee is part of the Pechanga Wine Festival. We’ll get the full story from Melba on her popular toffee line that started in her home kitchen. Based on demand they have graduated to producing in a commercial kitchen.

Update: About an hour and one-half into the 9th Annual Pechanga Wine Festival, Crown City Toffee was about sold out.

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Show 170, May 7, 2016: Guittard Chocolate Company’s Executive Chef, Donald Wressell

Donald WressellThe 5th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival gala is May 14th at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Kohala Coast. Indulge in both savory and sweet temptations prepared by top chefs and chocolatiers while watching award-winning Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, sculpt one of the largest volcanoes ever created in fine chocolate. Chef Donald is our guest.

This year’s event theme is “Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park” and culinary stations will be judged on their depiction of the popular park, plus a host of “best” culinary categories: savory, plated dessert, bon bon, bean-to-bar, Hawaiian cacao and People’s Choice.

More chocolatey fun includes a tasty mole and salad bar, chocolate body painting, live music and dancing, a silent auction, wines, cocktails and handcrafted beer using cacao nibs from Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

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Show 131, July 18, 2015: Marnie Clarke, Co-Founder, Cheese Cave, Claremont

Marnie ClarkeCheese Cave is a full-service, cut-to-order cheese shop in Claremont, California. It’s probably the finest in the Inland Empire and was founded in 2010. It’s proudly family-owned and operated by two sisters. Their Family has been in the dairy business for generations. You can also find boutique wines, handmade local beers, artisan salumi, chocolates, honey, olives, and crackers. Cheese Cave also creates custom cheese platters for your party!

Sisters Marnie and Lydia Clarke have created many things inside The Cheese Cave; architecture, passion, information, advocates, and a beautifully curated selection of the most treasured cheeses from around the world. Give yourself the opportunity of discovering a cheese that has remained unchanged for generations.

The art of pairing cheese with beer and wine was discussed. The consensus is that craft beer is a bit easier to match with various different cheese types. Wine can be a bit more challenging.

DTLA CHEESE in the Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles is the more recent, sister operation. They also serve food there.

Co-Founder Marnie Clarke is with us.

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Show 118, April 18, 2015: ChocXo Bean to Bar Chocolatier

ChocXOCraving chocolate? Who doesn’t?

ChocXO “Bean To Bar Chocolatier” starts with fine flavor cacao beans from Central and South America. ChocXO believes in the quality of the bean above all else. They process them using the latest technology and highest quality raw materials locally in their Irvine factory. From this incredible liquid chocolate ChocXO creates their own chocolate bars, filled chocolates, chocolate bark, and other chocolate specialties. The factory is available for tours Tuesday through Saturday.

ChocXO Partner and General Manager Armon Demarco is our guest.

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Show 118, April 18, 2015: ChocXo Bean to Bar Chocolatier Continues…

ChocXO Bean To Bar ChocolatierChocXO “Bean to Bar Chocolatier” continues with General Manager Armon Demarco.

ChocXO is the brainchild of Richard Foley, a third generation chocolate guy. Richard literally bleeds chocolate. For the past 30 years, Richard has immersed himself in the chocolate industry. From distribution to manufacturing, he’s about done it all.

“Come visit our Irvine factory and look through our viewing windows and see our factory for yourself. Take a tour while you’re here or just stop in to buy a chocolate bar. We’re proud of what we’re doing and look forward to sharing it with you.”

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Show 108, January 31, 2015: Amy Jo Pedone, Valenza Chocolatier

Amy Jo PedoneWhat’s Valentine’s Day without some premium chocolates? Certified Master Chocolatier Amy Jo (Valenza) Pedone of Valenza Chocolatier is with us to satisfy our chocolate craving. She trained in the Pacific Northwest and Italy.

Valenza Chocolatier is an authentic Italian inspired Artisan Chocolate and Confections online and wholesale business based in Orange County at The Hood Kitchen Space in Costa Mesa. Their award-winning gourmet Bonbons, Bars and Confections are handmade from the finest local and Italian imported ingredients paired with the purest single bean origin, fair trade chocolate and no added preservatives.

“Valenza Chocolatier aspires to create a brief escape from “life” with each savory taste of True Amore infused into every decadent creation.”

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Show 108, January 31, 2015: Amy Jo Pedone, Valenza Chocolatier Continues…

Valenza ChocolatierWhat’s Valentine’s Day without some premium chocolates? Certified Master Chocolatier Amy Jo (Valenza) Pedone of Valenza Chocolatier is with us for a second segment to satisfy our chocolate craving.

It’s no surprise that Valenza Chocolatier has created an exclusive Valentine’s Day Collection with many appealing options.

“I love deeply, I cherish all the little things, and I adore many people – these are just a few of the ways I express some of my greatest passions. My Valentine’s Day Collection is an expression of how beloved my passions are, and it’s only fitting that the meaning of my name (Amy) also means beloved,” confides Amy Jo.

Valenza Chocolatier’s The Valentine’s Day Collection (including full descriptions and pricing) is available online through ValenzaChocolatier.com.

Two Valenza Chocolatier Valentine’s Day Pop-Up Shops will be available. The first will be at The Hood MRK on Wednesday, February 11th from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and the second at Local Fare (within the OC Mix in Costa Mesa) on Thursday, February 12th from 3 to 6:00 p.m. Guests can meet Amy Jo, indulge in some sampling, purchase the Valentine’s Day Collection in person, plus enter a drawing to win a 5-piece Tartaruga custom gift box.

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Show 70, April 26, 2014: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

It’s the City of Beverly Hills’ 100th Birthday. It takes a mega-talented pastry chef (and his skilled team) to create and bake a massive edible cake befitting this very special occasion. 15,000 slices will be served.

Peppers are a great addition to almost any dish as they add flavor (and not just heat.) We’ll dive into the just released The Great Pepper Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing and Cooking with Peppers.

Anthony Bourdain has called upon Chef Jet’s considerable expertise in Thai cuisine in the past with his prior Travel Channel’s “No Reservations.” Jet discusses his recent adventures with Mr. Bourdain for the new season of CNN’s “Parts Unknown.” Hint…It’s in Las Vegas.

Chef Eric Greenspan (ex-Foundry on Melrose) is a genuine character and an accomplished chef. He’s now also the maestro of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches!

Crave rich & decadent ice cream? There is a new super premium brand now available locally that both the chocolate and vanilla are single origin.

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

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April 26: Donald Wressel, Melissa’s Great Pepper Cookbook, Eric Greenspan, Choctal Ice Cream

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Guittard Chocolate Co’s Executive Chef, Donald Wressell
Segment Three: Robert Schueller, The Prince of Produce, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce, Inc.
Segment Four: Chef Jet Tila
Segment Five: Chef Eric Greenspan (ex-Foundry on Melrose,) Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese Part One
Segment Six: Chef Eric Greenspan (ex-Foundry on Melrose,) Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese Part Two
Segment Seven: Michael Leb, Chief Executive Officer, Choctal Single-Origin Ice Creams
Segment Eight: Test Kitchen Director, Chef Tom Fraker, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

It’s the City of Beverly Hills’ 100th Birthday. It takes a mega-talented pastry chef (and his skilled team) to create and bake a massive edible cake befitting this very special occasion. 15,000 slices will be served.

Peppers are a great addition to almost any dish as they add flavor (and not just heat.) We’ll dive into the just released The Great Pepper Cookbook : The Ultimate Guide to Choosing and Cooking with Peppers.

The Corporate Pastry Chef for the Patina Restaurant Group has an incredible story of personal achievement. He’s with us to talk about what it takes to get there.

Chef Eric Greenspan (ex-Foundry on Melrose) is a genuine character and an accomplished chef. He’s now also the maestro of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches!

Crave rich & decadent ice cream? There is a new super premium brand now available locally that both the chocolate and vanilla are single origin.

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

Donald WressellTwenty five years ago Donald Wressell was then the highly regarded executive pastry chef at The Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. Chef Donald was responsible for the production of everything from the fresh, buttery croissants to eye-popping wedding cakes. He created a stunning edible birthday cake for Beverly Hills’ Diamond Jubilee celebration. It was a miniature of Beverly Hills’ iconic City Hall. The rest of the cake was 100 sheet cakes. 10,000 slices were served!

It’s now the 100th Birthday of Beverly Hills. Chef Donald is now the executive chef for the Guittard Chocolate Co. How do you possibly top yourself?

For the Century Celebration festivities in addition to the 9-foot tall, 8-foot wide replica of Beverly Hills City Hall there is a miniature replica of Rodeo Dr. with edible shopping bags containing items sold on Rodeo Drive. Talk about artistry…

The cake will weigh some 4,000 pounds and serve 15,000 celebrants. It’s a dark chocolate cake with 150 layers with dark chocolate filling and a white chocolate buttercream frosting.

Look for the cake @ 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 27th in front of the Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive in the 300 N. block.

It’s all part of Taste Beverly Hills that afternoon.

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety ProduceOur friends at Melissa’s have done it again. Newly published is Melissa’s “The Great Pepper Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing and Cooking with Peppers.”

Fresh and dried peppers are a key ingredient in many cuisines around the world and they have gained popularity here in the U.S. recently thanks to the culinary world’s embracement of the vast variety of peppers. Beyond jalapenos, home cooks are now looking to learn more about these flavorful fruits, not just for their heat level, but to cook beyond their comfort zone.

This highly visual and engaging book shows readers how simple it is to use 37 different varieties of peppers.

Robert Schueller, Melissa’s resident produce authority, is our guest.

Carlos EnriquezWhat does it take to become the Corporate Pastry Chef at the highly thought of Patina Restaurant Group? Chef Carlos Enriquez, who learned the basics of pastry in his parents Los Angeles bakery, joins us to explain. It takes more than hard work…

Chef Carlos was part of the opening team of the Paris Hotel on The Strip in Las Vegas. He then moved to Colorado to serve as Executive Pastry Chef for Sky Goble at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. A year later, Enriquez joined Goble at the Ahwahnee Resort in Yosemite National Park. In 2006 Chef Carlos returned to Las Vegas and worked as Assistant Pastry Chef at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and later at Alex Restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas. He was Executive Pastry Chef at Café del Rey in Marina del Rey before joining the Patina Restaurant Group as Corporate Pastry Chef in 2012.

Eric GreenspanChef Eric Greenspan’s (ex-Foundry on Melrose) long in the works grilled cheese café is now open. It’s Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese located next door to the Melrose Umbrella Co, (the former Foundry location.)

Eric won the 2008 Grilled Cheese Invitational in Los Angeles which was the inspiration for the grilled cheese café.

Chef Eric is also the Chef/Owner of The Roof on Wilshire.

Eric talks about his extensive portfolio of Food Television appearances. He is one of the very few chefs to “reign supreme” over an Iron Chef on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” He bested Iron Chef Bobby Flay!

He participates in national pop-ups under the catchy El Nosh Latin / Jewish brand.

Choctal Single Origin Ice CreamIt’s ice cream weather. New to SoCal is Choctal – Single-origin Ice Creams. The premium flavors are properly rich and decadent as the name suggests. Michael Leb, Chief Executive Officer, is our guest with all the sinful details.

“Indulgent treats sustainably sourced from the world’s finest indigenous sources.”

“Choctal ice cream is decidedly different because we highlight the different flavor profiles by using:

  • Single-origin chocolate or vanilla from rainforests across the globe.
  • All natural base; no artificial additives.
  • Gluten-free, egg free recipes.
  • Less air for more density.”

Tom FrakerOur friends at Melissa’s have done it again. Newly published is Melissa’s “The Great Pepper Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing and Cooking with Peppers.”

Keep in mind that cooking with peppers is about adding flavor to food. It’s way beyond just adding heat.

Chef and Melissa’s Test Kitchen Director Tom Fraker is our guest. He tested, and retested, each and every recipe in the book using equipment found in home kitchens.

There is a difference in preparing and using chiles in their fresh and dry forms. Chef Tom will be our informed guide in understanding the nuances.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Guittard Chocolate Co’s Executive Chef, Donald Wressell
Segment Three: Robert Schueller, The Prince of Produce, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce, Inc.
Segment Four: Chef Jet Tila
Segment Five: Chef Eric Greenspan (ex-Foundry on Melrose,) Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese Part One
Segment Six: Chef Eric Greenspan (ex-Foundry on Melrose,) Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese Part Two
Segment Seven: Michael Leb, Chief Executive Officer, Choctal Single-Origin Ice Creams
Segment Eight: Test Kitchen Director, Chef Tom Fraker, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce