Show 183, August 6, 2016: Chef Hop Phan, Dos Chinos & Sit Low Pho, 4th Street Market Santa Ana

Hop PhanOne of the pioneering food trucks in Orange County is the innovative Dos Chinos taco truck (Chef Hop Phan) which is a tasty fusion of Latin-Vietnamese fare. It’s also a permanent food stall at the 4th Street Market in Santa Ana.

Hop Phan’s newest concept is Sit Low Pho (Vietnamese) at the 4th Street Market. He’s planning something fresh for the upcoming Trade market hall in Irvine arriving before year’s end. It will have a captivating Hawaiian flair with a few twists.

Chef Hop is already a veteran of Food TV. Most recently he competed on FYI’s Man versus Child: Chef Showdown. You’ve also seen him on NBC’s “Food Fighters,” Cooking Channel’s “Eat Street”, Food Network‘s “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Chopped.”

We’ll meet him.

“Southern California raised us on Asian and Latin food. It’s what were made of – every sinew is built on years of carne asada and Vietnamese pho…”

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Show 91, October 4, 2014: Chef Neela Paniz, Indian regional cooking authority

Neela PanizIndian cooking authority, Chef Neela Paniz, grew up in Bombay, India and is fondly remembered by Angelenos as the executive chef and co-owner of the landmark Bombay Café in West Los Angeles which she sold a number of years ago before moving to Napa. In Napa she oversaw a contemporary Indian restaurant, Neela’s. Her new cookbook is The New Indian Slow Cooker.

On Food TV Paniz has competed on Food Network’s Chopped” and was the winning chef of her episode.

“Beautifully illustrated with forty full-color photographs throughout, The New Indian Slow Cooker makes preparing traditional Indian cuisine at home surprisingly effortless. The results will inspire multitudes of Indian food lovers to savor its delicious slow cooker creations often.”

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April 12: Deep End Dining, K-Town Night Market, Provenance OC, Argot Wines, Bruce Kalman, The Shed, It’s It, Cool-A-Coo

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Food blogger Eddie Lin of Deep End Dining
Segment Three: Danny Park, Operations Partner, KTown Night Market, and Yong Kim, Co-Founder & Co-Owner, Seoul Sausage Company
Segment Four: Owner/Chef Cathy Pavlos, Provenance in Newport Beach
Segment Five: Justin Harmon, Winemaker, Argot Wine Company, Santa Rosa, CA
Segment Six: Executive Chef Bruce Kalman, Union Restaurant, Pasadena, CA
Segment Seven: HeadShedHead Brad Orrison, The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint and The Shed Saucery, Ocean Springs, MS
Segment Eight: Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris on the iconic premium ice cream novelty now back at Dodger Stadium, the Cool-A-Coo

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Thoughtfully written food blogs proving genuinely useful information are seemingly ubiquitous now but they weren’t ten years ago. Happy 10th Anniversary to “Deep End Dining.”

There is a new addition to the booming Asian Night Market scene locally. A warm welcome to the first K-Town Night Market.

The most ambitious restaurant opening in the OC thus far this year is the long-awaited Provenance in Newport Beach. An impressive organic garden wraps around the perimeter of the restaurant’s spacious patio.

We’ll have a visit from a passionate young wine maker in Sonoma County who is creating limited production wines crafted his way with impressive results.

A local chef with substantial cooking credentials has opened a new, more personal restaurant in Pasadena. Chef Jet will provide the specifics.

The most famous barbeque joint in Mississippi has figured out a way to go national. Their popular sauces and marinades are now available in glass bottles at better food stores across the country.

It’s ice cream season. One of the most popular premium ice cream novelty items ever is the iconic It’s It. It’s SoCal cousin is the Cool-A-Coo. We have the scoop on both…

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

Eddie Lin of Deep End DiningEddie Lin is a larger than life food blogger. Fortunately he also knows what he’s writing about.

Ten years ago he created the always provocative Deep End Dining blog to provide a forum for his views. It’s a hit…

He is also Los Angeles Magazine’s Digest blogger.

Eddie is the author of Lonely Planet’s Extreme Cuisine. You’ve seen him on Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Cooking Channel’s Eat Street, and as a guest judge on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.

He’s working on a provocative new documentary about the placenta as a possible vitamin-rich, food source.

Deep End Dining…”Daring. Different. Delicious. There’s high end dining. There’s low end dining. And then there’s everything else in between. We’d like to introduce you to another level – Deep End Dining. We are diners dedicated to seeking and devouring the food uncommon, cuisine exotic and entrees less ordered. Have an open appetite and get ready to plunge into…the Deep End.”

Koreatown Night MarketNight Markets are hot right now in SoCal. It was only a matter of time before a Korean Night Market was organized.

KTown Night Market (a free event) is set for Friday, April 18th (4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.) and Saturday, April 19th (2:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.) at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in KoreaTown.

It’s a veritable buffet of great ethnic food including the best food trucks around curated by Seoul Sausage Co. (winners of Season 3 of Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race.”

For the 1st time ever the winners of “Great Food Truck Race” from Seasons 1 to 3 (Grill ‘Em All, The Lime Truck & Seoul Sausage Co.) will all be together selling the food that made them famous nationwide.

“Our vision is for people to come and experience Korean food, Korean culture and Korean Entertainment.” Everyone is welcome!

Yong Kim of Seoul Sausage Co. and Danny Park, Operations Partner for KTown Night Market are our guests.

Cathy PavlosChef Cathy Pavlos’ Provenance – The Garden at Eastbluff in Newport Beach (Eastbluff Center) is the most anticipated restaurant opening in the OC this far this year. It’s been an anxious two years in the making…

Chef Cathy’s grandfather was a commercial farmer in Huntington Beach. She grew up eating and cooking only her grandfather’s farm raised produce, fresh fish from the docks in San Pedro, fresh fruits from family orchards in Whittier, and often proteins butchered on the farm. She spent 10-years in the local 4-H club raising horses, goats, lambs and rabbits. Her lamb and rabbits were sold commercially.

Provenance’s Mission Statement – Provenance is a neighborhood restaurant – the kind of restaurant you wish you had in your neighborhood. Our menu, with most items made in house from natural and/or organic products, is of consistently high quality and tailored to a simple as well as sophisticated taste and a moderately high budget. Our concept, anchored by our organic garden, will focus on California Cuisine and outstanding service. We will continue to grow and evolve with our customers and promote a friendly, fair, and creative work environment, while profitably providing unwavering attentive and knowledgeable service.

Provenance is already serving seven days a week. No lunch on Saturday and Sunday Farm Breakfast.

Justin Harmon of Argot WinesHow does a software engineer (and ex-chemical engineer) from Chicago find his way to Sonoma County and make the transition to becoming a serious winemaker who is respected by his peers? You’ll meet the passionate Justin Harmon and find out! His first home brew was a Cabernet made from a juice concentrate kit while still in Chicago.

He’s coming to Los Angeles on April 16th to showcase his wines @ a pop-up dinner prepared by Chef David Feau (ex-The Royce at The Langham Hotel in Pasadena) in Downtown Los Angeles organized by Learn About Wine.

Bruce Kalman on Union PasadenaBruce Kalman, who was previously the chef at the Churchill and Urbano Pizza Bar, has opened the 50-seat Union in Old Town Pasadena. It’s Kalman’s version of Northern Italian cuisine.

He’s known for making his pastas from scratch.

He’s an alum from the exclusive winner’s circle of Food Network’s “Chopped.”

His much praised polenta is from Pasadena’s Grist & Toll.

On April 13th Union debuts Sunday Family Suppers (Cena di Famiglia.) It’s three courses, including an ample platter of Italian desserts, for $39.

Brand Orrinson of the Shed BBQIf you’re from the South and love barbeque then you know the familiar catchphrase, “Get Fed at the Shed.”

It refers to The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

The Shed was founded in 2002 by (brothers and sister) Brad and Brooke Orrison and their parents. The original shed was 330 square feet and was built by Brad. He was all of 24 and his sister was 19. With success it expanded to 15,000 square feet over the years. The ‘cue has garnered many serious BBQ competition awards. The Shed burned down in 2011 and was quickly rebuilt retaining the quirky charm of the original.

They have been all over Food TV. Guy Fieri “discovered” them for Food Network’s “Diners Drive-Ins & Dives” and they have also been on Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food.” Most recently they even had their own reality series on Food Network.

Their proprietary BBQ Sauces and Marinades have become so popular that they have packaged them in glass bottles for national distribution. They are preservative free, have no MSG, and no added colorings or artificial flavors. This line of their business will eventually be bigger than the BBQ restaurants.

Brad and his crew (including New Orleans Chef Rene Patout) were just here exhibiting (with great flair) at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim. You could taste any of their fine sauces on their fabulous tri-tip!

Cool a Coo Ice Cream SandwichesWe’re talking the best in premium ice cream novelties…

In a recent “What’s Cooking with Travis and Chef Jet Tila” segment (heard on Friday morning @ 7:50 a.m. on AM 830 KLAA) the guys were discussing their favorites in ballpark eats. Travis brought up the decadent subject of It’s It and Cool-As-Coo’s. Travis became a fan of the It’s It during his college years. For Jet, Cool-A-Coos bring back memories of Dodger Stadium. We’ll explore these rich vanilla ice cream sandwich treats dipped in chocolate and topped on both sides with an oatmeal cookie. Both are made right here in California.

Both have great background stories. Unfortunately only one of them is available to enjoy outside of a Ball Park!

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Food blogger Eddie Lin of Deep End Dining
Segment Three: Danny Park, Operations Partner, KTown Night Market, and Yong Kim, Co-Founder & Co-Owner, Seoul Sausage Company
Segment Four: Owner/Chef Cathy Pavlos, Provenance in Newport Beach
Segment Five: Justin Harmon, Winemaker, Argot Wine Company, Santa Rosa, CA
Segment Six: Executive Chef Bruce Kalman, Union Restaurant, Pasadena, CA
Segment Seven: HeadShedHead Brad Orrison, The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint and The Shed Saucery, Ocean Springs, MS
Segment Eight: Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris on the iconic premium ice cream novelty now back at Dodger Stadium, the Cool-A-Coo

Show 52, December 14, 2013: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

Lechon Porchetta by Susan ParkYou can aid the unfortunate victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and enjoy some great Filipino food…That is what the Holidays are really all about…There is a huge Filipino community right here in Los Angeles County.

Upcoming is an “all are welcome” fundraiser at Bamboo Bistro in Panorama City on Sunday, Dec. 15th from 4 to 8:00 p.m.

Pinoy food will be there in abundance expertly prepared by L.A. chefs including Chef Mayet Cristobal, the Executive Chef of the Getty Museum. She will be serving Beef Short Rib Adobo. The minimum donation is a modest $20 per adult and there will be live music.

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownThe new season of Food Network’s newest hit series, Cutthroat Kitchen, hosted by Alton Brown launches Sunday night, December 15th. Our own Jet Tila is the most-used celebrity chef judge on the series. Tough but fair…

Be looking for his episodes for Season 2. Don’t miss the online after shows on Food Network’s Website. Alton goes over each episode with the celebrity chef judge. Always fun to better understand what the vexing sabotages were…! Jet doesn’t know any of this when he evaluating the food. On this show strategy is just as important as cooking chops. Luck helps, too…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show bookended by Scott Conant (of Food Network’s “Chopped”) and the “Chopped” to the Stars, Sherry Yard.

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Show 52, December 14, 2013: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant oversees his highly successful empire of five Scarpetta restaurants

Scott Conant of Scarpetta and Food NetworkChef Scott Conant oversees a growing restaurant empire from his base in Manhattan. There are hugely successful Scarpetta restaurants in New York City, Miami Beach, Toronto, Beverly Hills at The Montage Hotel and Las Vegas at The Cosmopolitan. He’s known for an extraordinary spaghetti dish.

He also has the more casual, D.O.C.G. Enoteca at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

The Scarpetta Cookbook (his third) is just out for the Holidays. His goal is that the reader will really be able to recreate his restaurant dishes by following the recipes.

Scarpetta Beverly Hills just celebrated its 3rd birthday.

Chef Scott is familiar to millions of viewers of food television as one of the original permanent judges on Food Network’s “Chopped.” His well-established judging style is to be honest but not hurtful.

“Chopped” is probably the hardest legitimate cooking competition series on the air. As Scott explains it’s all real. None of the competing chefs have a clue as to what’s in their mystery basket of ingredients until they open it! Chef Scott reveals that “Chopped” has just been renewed for three more seasons.

Play

December 14: Scott Conant, Teemu Selanne, Clay Oven, Kedric Francis, Sherry Yard

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant oversees his highly successful empire of five Scarpetta restaurants
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant of the five Scarpetta restaurants coast-to-coast. Continues…
Segment Four: Leo Fenn, Director of Operations, Selanne Steak Tavern, Laguna Beach
Segment Five: Geeta Bansal, Executive Chef / Proprietress of Clay Oven in Irvine
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine Part One
Segment Seven: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine Part Two
Segment Eight: Sherry Yard, the acclaimed executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck for 20 years

Lechon Porchetta by Susan ParkYou can aid the unfortunate victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and enjoy some great Filipino food…There is a huge Filipino community right here in Los Angeles County.

Upcoming is an “all are welcome” fundraiser at Bamboo Bistro in Panorama City on Sunday, Dec. 15th from 4 to 8:00 p.m.

Pinoy food will be there in abundance expertly prepared by L.A. chefs including Chef Mayet Cristobal, the Executive Chef of the Getty Museum. She will be serving Beef Short Rib Adobo. The minimum donation is a modest $20 per adult and there will be live music.

The new season of Food Network’s newest hit series, Cutthroat Kitchen, hosted by Alton Brown launches Sunday night, December 15th. Our own Jet Tila is the most-used celebrity chef judge on the series. Tough but fair…

Be looking for his episodes for Season 2. Don’t miss the online after shows on Food Network’s Website. Alton goes over each episode with the celebrity chef judge. Always fun to better understand what the vexing sabotages were…! Jet doesn’t know any of this when he evaluating the food. On this show strategy is just as important as cooking chops. Luck helps, too…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Scott Conant of Scarpetta and Food NetworkChef Scott Conant oversees a growing restaurant empire from his base in Manhattan. There are hugely successful Scarpetta restaurants in New York City, Miami Beach, Toronto, Beverly Hills at The Montage Hotel and Las Vegas at The Cosmopolitan. He’s known for an extraordinary spaghetti dish.

He also has the more casual, D.O.C.G. Enoteca at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

The Scarpetta Cookbook (his third) is just out for the Holidays.

Scarpetta Beverly Hills just celebrated its 3rd birthday.

Chef Scott is familiar to millions of viewers of food television as one of the original permanent judges on Food Network’s “Chopped.” It’s probably the hardest legitimate cooking competition series on the air. As Scott explains it’s all real. None of the competing chefs have a clue what’s in their mystery basket of ingredients until they open it!

The Scarpetta Cookbook came about as a result of a hands-on cooking demo Scott performed in Manhattan. There were 15 teams of two students preparing one of his signature recipes. The variations of the same dish as presented by the class members was incredible. Scott calls it a disaster.

Scott wants food fans to be able to successfully duplicate the Scarpetta recipes at home. No secrets or missing ingredient in the book’s recipes. That’s his goal for the book.

If you order the cookbook from his website you can obtain a personalized inscription. Good idea for the Holidays and saves the flight to New York.

Chef Scott talks about the needed ingredients for success with multiple restaurants. It’s all about service, food, and ambiance. Service is the key. Food is the follow-up. Scott points out that if a guest has a bad service experience they are likely never to return.

Teemu Selanne of Selanne Steak TavernIf you’re a hockey fan then you know Teemu Selanne, The Anaheim Ducks forward and ice hockey icon. Sadly for his legion of fans this is his last season as a pro.

Teemu loves fine dining and it was only a matter of time before he opened a destination restaurant (with his business partner Kevin Pratt) in Orange County where he resides. The result is the newly launched Selanne Steak Tavern on the site of the former French 75, a historic restaurant location in Laguna Beach. It’s a sophisticated steakhouse, and lots more, with a real chef, dedicated pastry chef and a top-flight wine program orchestrated by Leo Fenn, the Director of Operations.

Leo is a recognized authority on rare and cult wines but makes it all approachable for the guest. Leo is with us to provide all the tempting 411 on Selanne Steak Tavern.

When Teemu Selanne is not on the road he will be very visible at the restaurant.

Clay Oven in IrvineThe long running Clay Oven in Irvine (26 years plus… is the OC’s classic Indian (Northern cuisine) restaurant. It’s also a true family affair.

Geeta Bansal (our guest) is the proprietress / executive chef along with her husband, Praveen, who is the gracious proprietor / sommelier. Their son, Tarun, represents the 2nd generation active at Clay Oven.

One of their holiday specials (by special order) is a Tandoor Turkey. They sell out (over 250 birds) each Thanksgiving using four tandoor ovens. The birds are skinless and marinated in an herb and spice blend. The juices are seared into the meat during the cooking process. The birds are incredibly moist when they come out of the tandoor oven.

Geeta’s unusual hobby is traveling the globe and interviewing high profile chefs in their native countries. These revealing interviews have been published in the OC Weekly, Orange County Register, and, more recently, in her own blog. Accredited, professional food journalists don’t have the access Geeta enjoys!

In a teaching moment Chef Geeta also educates us on the ancient Hindu treatise of Ayruveda as it relates to food.

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineIt’s the Holidays which is a peak vacation travel period. It’s a great time to catch-up with our man about Orange County, Kedric Francis. Kedric is the always debonair, well-traveled Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine.

On Saturday morning Kedric is off to Cancun, Mexico to experience a new high-end resort there. He’s visiting the Nizuc Resort & Spa. This will be the subject of a future report.

Kedric also reported on some big deal Fashion Island restaurant openings. Red O, with a high end regional Mexican menu by noted Chicago chef Rick Bayless, is now open. Soon to launch is Fig & Olive (Mediterranean fare) which started in West Hollywood.

Kedric was recently at The Ritz Restaurant & Garden’s annual holiday party fund-raiser in Newport Center which was a bit bittersweet. Their lease is up and this is the last Holiday Party at the original location.

There was some good news. It’s not final yet but it looks like The Ritz has found a new location in the area to relocate when they need to vacate their current home early next year. Their long-time landlord has already granted them a couple of extensions. The only glitch is that The Ritz will disappear for at least a year while the new space is remodeled. Most of the long-time employees will need to find work and perhaps move on permanently. Stay tuned…

The Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs is newly opened and Kedric had a chance to see the property a few weeks ago. It’s located in the heart of Downtown Palm Springs near the Indian Casino. Kedric observed there in now lots to do for twentysomethings and thirtysomethings in Palm Springs these days, including a vibrant nightlife.

Sherry YardL.A.’s acclaimed pastry princess, Sherry Yard, is with us for the last segment. Sherry was Wolfgang Puck’s (Spago) executive pastry chef for twenty years. She is a multiple James Beard Award-winner. Her first cookbook, The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts won a Beard Award for “Best Baking Cookbook.”

Her current project (with Lukshon’s and Father’s Office’s Sang Yoon) is the revival of Helms Bakery located on the site of the former Helms Bakery, an iconic home delivery commercial bakery that left the scene years ago. It looks like Summer of 2014 for the opening.

The exciting all-day concept keeps evolving but it’s going to be a bakery and cafe with a lot more. All the bread will be prepared and baked right there. They will roast the beans for the coffee on site. You’ll be able to get sandwiches and full meals packaged to take home.

You can sign-up for their monthly newsletter to keep current on the opening for Helms Bakery.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday afternoons look for the restored yellow Helms Bakery delivery truck in front of their future restaurant space across from Father’s Office. Sherry is selling her soon to be famous chocolate chip cookies and various hand-crafted ice cream novelties. Everything is deliciously scratch-made. Call it a tasty preview of coming edible attractions…

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant oversees his highly successful empire of five Scarpetta restaurants
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant of the five Scarpetta restaurants coast-to-coast. Continues…
Segment Four: Leo Fenn, Director of Operations, Selanne Steak Tavern, Laguna Beach
Segment Five: Geeta Bansal, Executive Chef / Proprietress of Clay Oven in Irvine
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine Part One
Segment Seven: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine Part Two
Segment Eight: Sherry Yard, the acclaimed executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck for 20 years

Show 46, November 2, 2013: Chef Merrin-Mae, winning cheftestant, Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen”

Merrin Mae FuentebellaChef Merrin-Mae is a cheftestant on the first season of Food Network’s high pressure “Cutthroat Kitchen” hosted by Alton Brown. Her episode is entitled “Kiss My Grits” and was first aired on October 6th.

The level of competition was particularly intense and the sabotages were devilish. Chef Merrin-Mae made us proud in SoCal (she is a local) and she won the episode. One of the other cheftestants was a “Chopped” winner and was eliminated after the first round!

She currently works at Alma with executive chef Ari Taymor. When she did the show she was part of the culinary team at Sotto.

Play

November 3: Barbara Fairchild, Merrin-Mae Fuentebella, Jason Kessler, Anita Lau, Elizabeth Whitt, Josiah Citrin, Matt Bencivenga

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Barbara Fairchild, food journalist, cookbook author, educator, and consultant
Segment Three: Chef Merrin-Mae, winning cheftestant, Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen”
Segment Four: Jason Kessler, food journalist
Segment Five: Anita Lau of the Mad Hungry Woman blog”
Segment Six: Chef Instructor Elizabeth Whitt
Segment Seven: Josiah Citrin, Chef/Proprietor of Melisse
Segment Eight: Matt Bencivenga, executive chef and partner of the Wolfgang Puck Catering Company

Jet Tila with Ben McKee of Imagine Dragons at Life is Beautiful Festival in Las VegasThanks to all of our loyal & enthusiastic listeners who were part of the audience for Jet’s Saturday afternoon cooking demo with Ben McKee of The Imagine Dragons at the Life Is Beautiful food and music festival in Downtown Las Vegas. It was standing room only for the demo in the Chefs On Stage East tent.

Jet and Andy preview the show. We have everything from a snapshot on where to dine now in New York to what it takes to prepare and serve gourmet food to the demanding VIPs at the Breeder’s Cup at Santa Anita. Also we’ll get the behind-the-scenes with a winning chef from Food Network’s new hit series “Cutthroat Kitchen” hosted by Alton Brown. Jet is one of the regular judges for the first season.

Barbara FairchildBarbara Fairchild is a respected food journalist, cookbook author, consultant, and educator. She is best known to us as the long-time former editor of Bon Appetit Magazine when they were based in Los Angeles.

This summer she taught a course in the Arthur L. Canter Journalism Institute at the prestigious New York University. Barbara tells us all about that as well as provides us with some great Manhattan dining suggestions ranging from a deli find to fine dining Italian and a comfortable celebrity chef restaurant that’s really worth going to.

Merrin Mae FuentebellaChef Merrin-Mae is a cheftestant on the first season of Food Network’s high pressure “Cutthroat Kitchen” hosted by Alton Brown. Her episode is entitled “Kiss My Grits” and was first aired on October 6th.

The level of competition was particularly intense and the sabotages were devilish. Chef Merrin-Mae made us proud in SoCal (she is a local) and she won the episode. One of the other cheftestants was a “Chopped” winner and was eliminated after the first round!

She currently works at Alma with executive chef Ari Taymor. When she did the show she was part of the culinary team at Sotto.

The latest fad diet that is getting a lot of attention is the Paleo Diet (also known as the caveman diet.)

Jason Kessler of Food RepublicFood journalist Jason Kessler of Food Republic and Bon Appetit was actually on the diet for 40 days and shares his experience with us. Jason’s observation is that because the diet is so restrictive you can drop some weight rather quickly. The severely limiting factor is that it gets monotonous rather fast.

San Diego, we haven’t forgotten you.

anita-lauAnita Lau of the Mad Hungry Woman blog is with us with a San Diego dining discovery. Anita was a nominee for a Golden Foodie award in Journalism this year.

Anita’s find is Ristorante Kaz. This is an intriguing Japanese Italian fusion cuisine spot. Anita’s favorite bite was an angel hair pasta dish with creamy sea urchin with spinach and salmon roe.

Elizabeth WhittFeeling ambitious in the kitchen…? Time to get a running start on holiday cooking and entertaining. Our superstar chef instructor, Elizabeth Whitt, of www.ChefElizabeth.com is with us again to get those holiday preparations pointed in the right direction with relative ease.

Pumpkin is in this year. Chef Elizabeth has both a savory and sweet recipe to add to your holiday collection. First up is an incredible Pumpkin Risotto with a fresh baking pumpkin or butternut squash. For dessert there is a not too sweet Pumpkin Cheesecake. Yum….!

When Chef Jet has his own culinary questions he turns Le Cordon Bleu, Paris-trained to Chef Elizabeth. She has a series of popular holiday classes coming up that always sell out early. On November 7th she has “Make-Ahead Holiday Side Dishes” from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and “Holiday Pies and Desserts” the same day from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Then on December 5th its her most popular class, “Appetizers and Hors D’oeuvres,” from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

All classes are at the Cypress Community Center in Cypress.

Josiah CitrinFifteen years ago when fine-dining restaurants located outside of the protective umbrella of luxury hotels were at a low ebb in Los Angeles Chef Josiah Citrin sold his stake in a very popular Santa Monica dinner house and went out on his own to open a ultra-luxe, destination, freestanding, fine-dining, contemporary French restaurant with California accents. That was the start of Melisse. All these years later it still impresses.

Josiah is a new member of the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation’s prestigious Culinary Council. On November 10th Josiah and five other culinary superstars will join forces to cook an extraordinary six course repast at Melisse in Santa Monica to raise funds for The Foundation. Two different levels of wine-pairings are available for a supplement.

The esteemed group of chefs includes Gavin Kaysen, the Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Operations for Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud in New York, Palm Beach, and Toronto. He has previously represented the USA in the Bocuse d’Or culinary competition. For reservations please call 310.395.0881.

The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation, established in 2008, is a non-profit organization led by a Board of Directors of renowned chefs Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jerome Bocuse (Paul’s son.) The Foundation is devoted to recruiting, training, and financially supporting the promising young American chefs who compete on behalf of the United States in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition, held in Lyon, France every two years. Think of it as the Olympics of the culinary world…

The 2013 Breeder’s Cup, horse racing’s premier international event, returns to storied Santa Anita Park on November 1st and 2nd.

Matt BencivengaWolfgang Puck Catering (they cater the annual Governors Ball for The Oscars) has been selected to serve it’s fine-dining, seasonal cuisine to some 5,000 demanding VIP attendees. Wolfgang Puck Catering’s cuisine will be served in the Trackside Marquee, Frontrunner, Sierra Vista, Trophy Lounge and the Chandelier Room.

Founding Executive Chef and Partner (of Wolfgang Puck Catering) Matt Bencivenga joins us to talk about the challenges of maintaining Spago quality at large events. It takes a lot of skill, planning, and an army of chefs.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Barbara Fairchild, food journalist, cookbook author, educator, and consultant
Segment Three: Chef Merrin-Mae, winning cheftestant, Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen”
Segment Four: Jason Kessler, food journalist
Segment Five: Anita Lau of the Mad Hungry Woman blog”
Segment Six: Chef Instructor Elizabeth Whitt
Segment Seven: Josiah Citrin, Chef/Proprietor of Melisse
Segment Eight: Matt Bencivenga, executive chef and partner of the Wolfgang Puck Catering Company

Show 30, June 1, 2013: Celebrity Chef Sam Choy, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, The Big Island, Hawaii

Sam ChoyThe Big Island’s Sam Choy is known as Hawaii’s culinary ambassador to the world. He has a new hilltop restaurant on The Big Island, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, with a 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean. He’s also known as the “Godfather of Poke” which is his signature dish. Chef Sam is the author of 16 cookbooks and is a regular culinary celebrity chef aboard Crystal Cruises.

Poke is a specialty at Sam Choy’s. It actually means “cubed” in Hawaiian. At the restaurant you can get Shoyu Poke, or Fried Poke (Sam’s Original) either seared or cooked.

Poke from Sam Choy's Kai LanaiSam is far along with his next book. It will be his first memoir but also include recipes. A new restaurant is in the works for Maui.

Chef Sam recently battled his way to 3rd place (with a lot of heart,) on Food Network’s “Chopped – Grill Masters” before being chopped.

Chef Sam also originated the Pineapple Express Hawaiian food truck serving a touch of authentic aloha for friends who now operate it on the streets of Los Angeles. They specialize in bringing the luau to you.

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February 23: Richard Rosendale, Daniel Shemtob, Govind Armstrong, OC Restaurant Week

Podcasts

Segment One: Richard Rosendale, Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage, The Greenbrier, West Virginia & Bocuse d’Or USA Captain 2013”
Segment Two: Daniel Shemtob of The Lime Truck and TLT Food in Westwood Village, Part One
Segment Three: Daniel Shemtob of The Lime Truck and TLT Food in Westwood Village, Part Two
Segment Four: Govind Armstrong the Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Post & Beam in Baldwin Hills
Segment Five: Orange County Restaurant Week, February 24th to March 2nd, Part One
Segment Six: Orange County Restaurant Week, February 24th to March 2nd, Part Two

We’re all over these great United States today with celebrated chefs, a local food entrepreneur, and bargain dining at extraordinary restaurants in Orange County for the next week.

Richard Rosendale of the Greenbrier Resort in Sulphur Springs West VirginiaWhen we spoke with Thomas Keller back in December he was giving us the background on the talented American chef representing the USA in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or culinary competition in Lyon, France in late January. That distinguished chef is Richard Rosendale, the executive chef of the historic Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia.

Chef Rosendale is with us this morning to share the extraordinary experience of competing in the Bocuse d’Or on the international stage. If you think “Chopped” is tough wait until you hear what is required for this intense international competition! The winner comes as close to achieving perfection in the culinary arts as humanly possible…

Daniel ShemtobYou’ve no doubt heard about The Lime Truck, one of Orange County’s pioneering gourmet food trucks. Perhaps you’ve even enjoyed one of their Ultimate Tacos. It’s been so successful that there are now three of them on the road in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. The food is both original and tasty.

The fame of The Lime Truck is now national. In a spirited competition The Lime Truck deftly maneuvered it’s way across the USA on Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race” (Season 2) and crossed the finish line first. That earned young food entrepreneur Daniel Shemtob and his colleagues a $50,000 cash prize.

Last year Daniel debuted his first bricks and mortar spot in Westwood Village. TLT Food has an expanded menu and a thoughtful collection of craft beers and boutique wines. You’ll actually see Daniel there regularly cooking!

Chef Govind Armstrong of Post and BeamOn Tuesday evening, February 26th super chef Marcus Samuelsson will be joining forces with Chef Govind Armstrong (Table 8) to present “A Taste of Harlem” at Govind’s new restaurant, Post & Beam, located in Baldwin Hills. The menu is reimagined soul classics. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to C-CAP Los Angeles.

Unfortunately the dinner reached capacity some two weeks ago. The good news is that an After Party benefiting C-CAP has been added so foodies will have a chance to meet Chef Marcus and Chef Armstrong and enjoy some good music.

Chef Govind Armstrong will be with us to talk about the festivities and how to obtain a coveted ticket for the After Party.

orange_county_restaurant_weekOrange County Restaurant Week (The 5th Annual) starts on Sunday and it’s your chance to experience Orange County’s best for lunch and dinner at very consumer-friendly special pricing! Yes, it’s a real bargain. The 2013 OC Restaurant Week will be held Sunday, February 24th through Saturday, March 2nd.

Explains Pamela Waitt, president of the OC Restaurant Association, “This year’s five-year anniversary will serve as a grand celebration as restaurants offer the best menus and ensure that diners will be presented with a truly special weeklong celebration. After all, the goal is for everyone involved to have fun!”

Executive Chef Roy Hendrickson of Zimzala Restaurant & Bar at The Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach and proprietress/restaurateur Nancy Wilhelm and Executive Chef Rayne Frey of Tabu Grill in Laguna Beach will all be in-studio to reveal their ambitious menu creations for OC Restaurant Week.

Podcasts

Segment One: Richard Rosendale, Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage, The Greenbrier, West Virginia & Bocuse d’Or USA Captain 2013”
Segment Two: Daniel Shemtob of The Lime Truck and TLT Food in Westwood Village, Part One
Segment Three: Daniel Shemtob of The Lime Truck and TLT Food in Westwood Village, Part Two
Segment Four: Govind Armstrong the Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Post & Beam in Baldwin Hills
Segment Five: Orange County Restaurant Week, February 24th to March 2nd, Part One
Segment Six: Orange County Restaurant Week, February 24th to March 2nd, Part Two