Show 132, July 25, 2015: Matthew De Marte, General Manager, Connie and Ted’s

Matthew de MarteThe casual, seafood centric Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood has been a crowd-pleasing phenomenon since it opened its door two years ago.

Co-owner Chef Michael Cimarusti (Providence) is one of the most respected seafood chefs in the country. Partner Donato Poto (Providence) has a long reputation as one of L.A.’s consummate hosts. He speaks three languages.

Partner Craig Nickoloff is a veteran restaurateur best known for founding the hugely successful Claim Jumper restaurants (which he sold at their peak of popularity.) Craig knows how to feed a crowd and give them every reason to return.

Executive Chef Sam Baxter began his career with Chef Michael Cimarusti at Water Grill. Chef Baxter looks to demonstrate that the freshest seafood needs only a light touch and the simplest of preparations to make outstanding food.

At any given time the busy oyster bar showcases some 16 to 24 varieties of fresh oysters.

Connie & Ted’s opening General Manager, Matthew De Marte is our guest to share a few secrets of their incredible success. He’s a veteran of Providence.

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Show 114, March 14, 2015: Show Preview with Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Kedric Francis and Andy HarrisKedric Francis, the always debonair Editor of Coast Magazine (an Orange County Register property) is the Guest Host today.

Now a preview of today’s abundant show…

It’s not well known outside of the local restaurant industry that the late Henry Segerstrom (the patriarch of developing South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa) was a champion of chefs and restaurateurs. He truly enjoyed dining out. There are some memorable stories over the years about rising star chefs and restaurateurs being the beneficiaries of Mr. Segerstrom’s largesse. This morning we’ll hear a few of these inspiring, and revealing, stories shared by the people who actually lived them.

In the words of Chef Gavin Kaysen: “In the past year, I’ve left New York City where I had the pleasure of cooking alongside Daniel Boulud running his Café Boulud brand; opened Spoon and Stable in my hometown of Minneapolis; served as the head coach for Team USA as we won a record-breaking Second Place in the Bocuse d’Or; and led my restaurant to become a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation Awards. I’m looking forward to sharing the next steps of my journey with you.” Chef Gavin Kaysen joins us.

EAT LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week returns for its big 2nd year from March 22nd to March 28th. One of the participating restaurants is Callalloo Caribbean Kitchen which made a big impression at the inaugural event’s kick-off party last year with their cravable Jerk Chicken. Proprietor Hamid Latiff Jr. is from Trinidad and is out guest.

He likes to describe his cuisine “beach food.”

In 1977 veteran restaurateur Antonio Cagnolo (Antonello Ristorante) met Henry Segerstrom for the first time. He was the new assistant manager at the fine-dining Alfredo’s which was part of what is now the Westin South Coast Plaza. Mr. Segerstrom greatly appreciated Antonio’s gracious Italian hospitality and his innovative table-side service. A friendship blossomed. Antonio Cagnolo joins us to share the story of how Antonello Ristorante came to be at the South Coast Plaza Village in 1979 and other ventures thereafter.

The acclaimed French chef, Florent Marneau, was the opening Executive Chef for Joachim Splichal’s first restaurant in Orange County, Pinot Provence at the Westin South Coast Plaza. He attracted deserved raves from the critics. In the mid-2000’s Chef Florent and his wife, Amelia (a talented pastry chef in her own right) were contemplating a restaurant of their own. Henry and his son, Anton, were fans of Chef Florent from Pinot Provence and doing some private functions for the Segerstrom Family. Chef Florent is with us to share the story of how Marche Moderne at South Coast Plaza in the Penthouse was born in 2007. It’s unusual for an entrepreneurial husband-and-wife team to be given such an incredible opportunity. Their 8th Anniversary is in April.

In March, ADYA Executive Chef/Owner, Shachi Mehra, will introduce four weeks of special curries in an effort to highlight India’s regional culinary styles and provide guests with a delicious, in-depth look at India’s culinary diversity. The curries will feature ingredients and styles of cooking unique to each region, from coconut and curry leaves, to poppy seeds and mustard. Chef Shachi is with us to explain it all.

You never know who you may be talking to (or the future impact that casual conversation might have) as Craig Nickoloff (the Founder of Claim Jumper) found out on a breezy Fall Sunday afternoon in the late 90s at South Coast Plaza Village at the finish of a multi-day antiques’ show. The person that Craig Nickoloff inadvertently befriended was the late Henry Segerstrom’s elderly (but spry) Mother. This ultimately led to the establishment of a Claim Jumper, their flagship, at South Coast Plaza in 2003.

Blue Ribbon Cupcake ChallengeThe 3rd Annual Blue Ribbon Culinary Cupcake Challenge 2015 is March 22nd from 1 to 4:00 p.m. at the Grand Ballroom of the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula. Professional and amateur bakers will compete for cash prizes, category awards and Temecula’s “People’s Choice Award.” Admission, including tastings, is a modest $25.00 per guest. The charitable beneficiary is Rancho Damacitas Children & Family Services.

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

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Show 114, March 14, 2015: Craig Nickoloff, Founder of Claim Jumper

Craig Nickoloff of Connie and Ted's as well as West Coast Prime MeatsYou never know who you may be talking to (or the future impact that casual conversation might have) as Craig Nickoloff (the Founder of Claim Jumper) found out on a breezy Fall Sunday afternoon in the late 90s at South Coast Plaza Village at the finish of a multi-day antiques’ show.

The person that Craig Nickoloff inadvertently befriended was the late Henry Segerstrom’s elderly (but spry) Mother. This ultimately led to the establishment of a Claim Jumper, their flagship (store Number 33,) at South Coast Plaza in 2003.

Nickoloff sold Claim Jumper in 2005. He didn’t stay “retired” for very long. Today he’s the Co-Founder and Co-Owner of the wildly successful Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood along with partners Chef Michael Cimarusti and Donato Poto.) He’s also the Managing Partner of West Coast Prime Meats which supplies proteins to quality restaurants in California, Nevada, and Hawaii. He’s also associated with his son, Nick, in the growing Nick’s Restaurant Group (Nick’s and South of Nick’s.)

Play

March 14: Kedric Francis, Henry Segerstrom tribute, Gavin Kaysen, Callalloo Caribbean Kitchen, Antonio Cagnolo, Florent Marneau, Shachi Mehra, Craig Nickoloff

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Gavin Kaysen, Spoon & Stable, Minneapolis Part One
Segment Three: Chef Gavin Kaysen, Spoon & Stable, Minneapolis Part One
Segment Four: Hamid Latiff Jr., Callalloo Caribbean Kitchen, Long Beach.
Segment Five: Antonio Cagnolo, Antonello Ristorante, South Coast Plaza Village
Segment Six: Florent Marneau, Executive Chef & Co-Owner, Marche Moderne, South Coast Plaza
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Shachi Mehra, ADYA, Anaheim Packing House
Segment Eight: Craig Nickoloff, Founder of Claim Jumper

Kedric Francis and Andy HarrisKedric Francis, the always debonair Editor of Coast is back with us as Guest Host this morning. Now a preview of today’s abundant show…

It’s not well known outside of the local restaurant industry that the late Henry Segerstrom (the patriarch of developing South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa) was a champion of chefs and restaurateurs. He truly enjoyed dining out. There are some great stories over the years about rising star chefs and restaurateurs being the beneficiaries of Mr. Segerstrom’s largesse. This morning we’ll hear a few of these inspiring, and revealing, stories shared by the people who actually lived them.

In the words of Chef Gavin Kaysen : “In the past year, I’ve left New York City where I had the pleasure of cooking alongside Daniel Boulud running his Café Boulud brand; opened Spoon and Stable in my hometown of Minneapolis; served as the head coach for Team USA as we won a record-breaking Second Place in the Bocuse d’Or; and led my restaurant to become a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation Awards. I’m looking forward to sharing the next steps of my journey with you.” Chef Gavin Kaysen joins us.

EAT LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week returns for its big 2nd year from March 22nd to March 28th. One of the participating restaurants is Callalloo Caribbean Kitchen which made a big impression at the inaugural event’s kick-off party last year with their cravable Jerk Kitchen. Proprietor Hamid Latiff Jr. is from Trinidad and is out guest.

He likes to describe his cuisine “beach food.”

In 1977 veteran restaurateur Antonio Cagnolo (Antonello Ristorante) met Henry Segerstrom for the first time. He was the new assistant manager at the fine-dining Alfredo’s which was part of what is now the Westin South Coast Plaza. Mr. Segerstrom greatly appreciated Antonio’s gracious Italian hospitality and his innovative table-side service. A friendship blossomed. Antonio Cagnolo joins us to share the story of how Antonello Ristorante came to be at the South Coast Plaza Village in 1979 and other ventures thereafter.

The acclaimed French chef, Florent Marneau, was the opening Executive Chef for Joachim Splichal’s first restaurant in Orange County, Pinot Provence at the Westin South Coast Plaza. He attracted well-deserved raves from the critics. In the mid-2000’s Chef Florent and his wife, Amelia (a talented pastry chef in her own right) were contemplating a restaurant of their own. Henry and his son, Anton, were fans of Chef Florent from Pinot Provence and doing some private functions for the Segerstrom Family. Chef Florent is with us to share the story of how Marche Moderne at South Coast Plaza in the Penthouse was born in 2007. It’s unusual for an entrepreneurial husband-and-wife team to be given such an incredible opportunity. Their 8th Anniversary is in April.

In March, ADYA Executive Chef/Owner, Shachi Mehra, introduces four weeks of special curries in an effort to highlight India’s regional culinary styles and provide guests with a delicious, in-depth look at India’s culinary diversity. The curries feature ingredients and styles of cooking unique to each region, from coconut and curry leaves, to poppy seeds and mustard. Chef Shachi is with us to explain it all.

You never know who you may be talking to (or the future impact that casual conversation might have) as Craig Nickoloff (the Founder of Claim Jumper) found out on a breezy Fall Sunday afternoon in the late 90s at South Coast Plaza Village at the finish of a multi-day antiques’ show. The person that Craig Nickoloff inadvertently befriended was the late Henry Segerstrom’s elderly (but spry) Mother. This ultimately led to the establishment of a Claim Jumper, their flagship, at South Coast Plaza in 2003.

Blue Ribbon Cupcake ChallengeThe 3rd Annual Blue Ribbon Culinary Cupcake Challenge 2015 is March 22nd from 1 to 4:00 p.m. at the Grand Ballroom of the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula. Professional and amateur bakers will compete for cash prizes, category awards and Temecula’s “People’s Choice Award.” Admission, including tastings, is a modest $25.00 per guest. The charitable beneficiary is Rancho Damacitas Children & Family Services.

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

Gavin kaysenIn the words of Chef Gavin Kaysen : “In the past year, I’ve left New York City where I had the pleasure of cooking alongside Daniel Boulud running his Café Boulud brand; opened Spoon and Stable in my hometown of Minneapolis; served as the head coach for Team USA as we won a record-breaking Second Place in the Bocuse d’Or; and led my restaurant to become a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation Awards. I’m looking forward to sharing the next steps of my journey with you.”

First we’ll chat with Gavin about his work with Team USA and Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation which is now known as men’tor BKB Foundation. Chef Gavin represented the United States at the 2007 Bocuse d’Or, a prestigious, international culinary competition hosted biennially in Lyon, France.

He was personally selected by Chefs Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller, both men’tor BKB Foundation Directors & Founders, to serve as the Head Coach of the Bocuse d’Or USA Team in both 2013 and 2015.

In the words of Chef Gavin Kaysen: “This is the only industry where you can go out and have a great glass of Champagne and eat a great meal, and you’re learning.”

While working as Executive Chef at El Bizcocho in San Diego, he received a considerable amount of local acclaim, as well as being recognized nationally by being named one of Food + Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2007. While working as Chef de Cuisine at Café Boulud in New York City, Gavin was 2008 recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s coveted Rising Star Award.

In 2014 Gavin returned to his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota to open the highly anticipated restaurant Spoon & Stable. The restaurant has earned rave reviews from local media and patrons alike. It is described as a culinary destination for food lovers in search of casual elegant dining. Last month Spoon and Stable was announced as a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation Awards.

Chef Gavin Kaysen joins us.

Hamid Latiff JrEAT LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week returns for its big 2nd year from March 22nd to March 28th.

One of the participating restaurants is Callalloo Caribbean Kitchen which made a big impression at the inaugural event’s kick-off party last year with their cravable Jerk Kitchen. Proprietor Hamid Latiff Jr. is from Trinidad and is out guest.

He likes to describe his cuisine “beach food.”

Callaloo Caribbean Kitchen specializes in Southern Caribbean delicacies including Jerk Chicken, Stewed Oxtails, Curry Goat, and Roti. They even bake in-house their own Coconut and Banana Breads. Lunch specials daily and they also offer a good-sized function room.

On Facebook you can find then at Callaloo Caribbean Kitchen.

Antonio CagnoloIn 1977 veteran restaurateur Antonio Cagnolo (Antonello Ristorante) met Henry Segerstrom for the first time. He was the new assistant manager at the fine-dining Alfredo’s (managed by a German) which was part of what is now the Westin South Coast Plaza. Mr. Segerstrom greatly appreciated Antonio’s gracious Italian hospitality and his innovative table-side service. A friendship blossomed.

A native of Northwestern Italy, Antonio Cagnolo has emerged as a dynamic force in the field of dining having received honor after honor for his many contributions both in and out of culinary circles. Most recently Antonello has debuted its version of an enoteca room (wine library) called the Enoteca Lounge.

Cagnolo also owns several nearby South Coast Plaza establishments that have proven to be favorites of the critics and public, alike. Nello Cucina is located at the entrance of South Coast Plaza north of Bear Street. The Italian restaurant specializes in steaks, pasta and pizza from an authentic brick oven. Across the street, at the center of the bustling South Coast Plaza, sits Quattro Café, a 104-seat dining establishment featuring specialty pasta dishes and entree selections. The casual coffee destination, Antonello Expresso Bar, offers a wide variety of gourmet coffee drinks as well as baked goods and sandwiches.

Antonio Cagnolo joins us to share the story of how Antonello Ristorante came to be at the South Coast Plaza Village in 1979 and other ventures thereafter.

Florent and Amelia Marneau of Marche Moderne at South Coast PlazaThe acclaimed French chef, Florent Marneau, was the opening Executive Chef for Joachim Splichal’s first restaurant in Orange County, Pinot Provence at the Westin South Coast Plaza. He attracted well-deserved raves from the critics. In the mid-2000’s Chef Florent and his wife, Amelia (a talented pastry chef in her own right) were contemplating a restaurant of their own.

Henry and his son, Anton, were fans of Chef Florent from Pinot Provence and doing some memorable private functions for the Segerstrom Family.

Chef Florent is with us to share the story of how Marche Moderne at South Coast Plaza in the Penthouse was born in 2007. It’s unusual for an entrepreneurial husband-and-wife team with modest resources to be given such an incredible opportunity. Their 8th Anniversary is in April.

Marche Moderne, which opened in 2007, has been described as “probably the best bistro in Southern California” in the Los Angeles Times by S. Irene Virbila; was crowned best restaurant in the OC by Orange County Register restaurant Critic Brad A. Johnson; and named in the Los Angeles Times 2014 “101 Best Restaurants” by Pulitzer Prize-winning restaurant journalist Jonathan Gold. The Marneaus combine a passion for market-inspired ingredients and classic French cooking techniques with modern touches at their enduringly popular restaurant.

Shachi MehraIn March, ADYA Executive Chef/Owner, Shachi Mehra, introduces four weeks of special curries in an effort to highlight India’s regional culinary styles and provide guests with a delicious, in-depth look at India’s culinary diversity. The curries will feature ingredients and styles of cooking unique to each region, from coconut and curry leaves, to poppy seeds and mustard.

“Curry, in simplest terms, is a mix of spices – the composition of these spices varies greatly among the regional cuisines native to India,” commented Chef Shachi, whose diverse menu of fresh Indian flavors features a variety of traditional curries. “As curries become increasingly popular, diners are beginning to realize that curry isn’t just Chicken Tikka Masala. My goal is to provide my guests with a better understanding of the defining factors of the different types of curries one can find in Indian regional cooking.”

Chef Shachi is with us to explain it all.

Craig Nickoloff of Connie and Ted's as well as West Coast Prime MeatsYou never know who you may be talking to (or the future impact that casual conversation might have) as Craig Nickoloff (the Founder of Claim Jumper) found out on a breezy Fall Sunday afternoon in the late 90s at South Coast Plaza Village at the finish of a multi-day antiques’ show.

The person that Craig Nickoloff inadvertently befriended was the late Henry Segerstrom’s elderly (but spry) Mother. This ultimately led to the establishment of a Claim Jumper, their flagship (store Number 33,) at South Coast Plaza in 2003.

Nickoloff sold Claim Jumper in 2005. He didn’t stay “retired” for very long. Today he’s the Co-Founder and Co-Owner of the wildly successful Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood along with partners Chef Michael Cimarusti and Donato Poto.) He’s also the Managing Partner of West Coast Prime Meats which supplies proteins to quality restaurants in California, Nevada, and Hawaii. He’s also associated with his son, Nick, in the growing Nick’s Restaurant Group (Nick’s and South of Nick’s.)

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Gavin Kaysen, Spoon & Stable, Minneapolis Part One
Segment Three: Chef Gavin Kaysen, Spoon & Stable, Minneapolis Part One
Segment Four: Hamid Latiff Jr., Callalloo Caribbean Kitchen, Long Beach.
Segment Five: Antonio Cagnolo, Antonello Ristorante, South Coast Plaza Village
Segment Six: Florent Marneau, Executive Chef & Co-Owner, Marche Moderne, South Coast Plaza
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Shachi Mehra, ADYA, Anaheim Packing House
Segment Eight: Craig Nickoloff, Founder of Claim Jumper

Show 63, March 1, 2013: Donato Poto, Partner, Connie & Ted’s, West Hollywood, and Providence, Hollywood

Donato PotoDonato Poto is the ever-gracious, “Mr. Hospitality,” when it comes to seasoned restaurant General Managers on the volatile Los Angeles dining scene. He speaks three languages including Italian, French, and English.

In the mid 80s he was the GM of Piero Selvaggio’s Primi in West Los Angeles. At lunch this hot spot was the unofficial commissary for the senior executives, producers, writers, and actors & actresses at the nearby Twentieth Century Fox Studios. If you were anybody this is where you lunched at 1:00 p.m. Talk about pressure…

Today Donato is a partner in both Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood and Providence in Hollywood.

Connie & Ted’s was just selected as a Semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant. His business partner, Chef Michael Cimarusti was also recognized as a semifinalist for The James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: West for Providence.

Donato’s other partner in Connie and Ted’s, Craig Nickoloff, founded the hugely successful Claim Jumper Restaurants. (Nickoloff sold Claim Jumper to a venture capital group at the height of its success in 2005.) Donato credits Mr. Nickoloff with providing the Connie & Ted’s team the wisdom on how to provide exemplary service when you’re serving hundreds of sophisticated guests per day for lunch and dinner.

Play

March 1: Brandon Boudet, Dean James Max, Mar Yvette, Donato Poto, Carlton McCoy, Robert Schueller, Cochon 555

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Brandon Boudet, Dominick’s and Little Dom’s, Los Angeles.
Segment Three: Executive Chef James Dean Max, James Republic, Long Beach
Segment Four: Mar Yvette, Lifestyle reporter, Fox 11 News & “Good Day L.A.”
Segment Five: Donato Poto, Partner, Connie & Ted’s, West Hollywood, and Providence, Hollywood
Segment Six: Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Wine Director, Little Nell, Aspen, CO
Segment Seven: Jet Tila reporting on Cochon 555 Los Angeles

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Fat Tuesday and the craziness of Mardi Gras are next week We’ll tell you where you can get an authentic taste of New Orleans locally. You’ll meet the very hospitable Donato Poto, the co-owner of both Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood and one of the finest, high-end seafood restaurants in the West, Providence. The Oscars are upon us. Mar Yvette, the Lifestyle Reporter for Fox 11 News, talks to us about what’s on the menu for the 2014 Oscars Governor’s Ball at Hollywood & Highland. This is Wolfgang Puck’s (and his teams) 20th year creating the dazzling menu for the Oscars! Also where the stars dine…

Eat LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week kicks off on March 30th. Executive Chef Dean James Max of James Republic in Long Beach is with us to preview his menu. When it comes to elegant, destination resorts they don’t come more highly acclaimed than Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado. Carlton McCoy (an accredited Master Sommelier) is their 29-year old Wine Director. We’ll hear his inspiring story. Organic fruits and vegetables are top of the mind. Our resident Professor of Produce, Robert Schueller from Melissa’s, is back with an informative update on organics. Chef Jet was a Judge at last Sunday’s Cochon 555 – An Epic Heritage Pork Event at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica. Jet takes us behind-the-scenes at this eagerly anticipated and highly competitive event that tours the country.

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

Brandon Boudet of Dominick’s, Little Dom’s and Tom Bergin’sChef Brandon Boudet is the co-owner and head chef for Dominick’s and Little Dom’s. He’s a proud native of New Orleans.

Each year Dominick’s and Little Dom’s celebrate Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday in true Bourbon Street Style. On their menu are special cocktails, bites and of course, Jambalaya and red beans and rice. Chef Brandon explains the mysteries of the King Cake.

Coming up in May are two Saturdays of crawfish boils.

James Republic combines modern sensibilities with old-world principles to afford a genuine gathering place for the neighborhood and a distinctive dining destination in the heart of Long Beach. Weekend brunch on the patio is a popular attraction for the locals.

James Republic is one of over 50 restaurants participating in EAT LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week running from March 30 to April 5th.

The style of food at James Republic is what they call “modern California coastal” dining. The goal is to highlight the season’s vibrant, locally sourced bounty from both the land and sea.

Dean James MaxThe Chef and Partner is Dean James Max whose base is in Florida. His flagship is 3030 Ocean restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale. He has been nominated for James Beard Awards, has authored two cookbooks, and has the honor of cooking at The Beard Foundation in Manhattan regularly.

He now has restaurants in Columbus, Ohio; Grand Cayman; Cleveland; and Trumbull, CT.

In Los Angeles Chef Max is remembered as the owner/chef of Woodside in Brentwood in the late 90s. It was highly regarded and well-reviewed.

Mar YvetteMar Yvette is the Lifestyle Reporter for Fox 11 News right here in Los Angeles.

We’re talking about cuisine worthy of Oscar! For the 20th year Wolfgang Puck and his highly talented team of chefs and associates will prepare the exquisite menu for the 2014 Oscars Governor’s Ball held in the Ray Dolby Ballroom on the top level of the Hollywood & Highland Center. We’ll preview the menu!

Think 1,250 Stone Crab claws for the 1,500 invited guests.

Mar also highlights some of the hidden restaurants in Los Angeles where the celebrities go to simply enjoy the great food and not be noticed! Mar points out that the celebs love the restaurants in luxury hotels. Think Culina Modern Italian at The Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.

Donato PotoDonato Poto is the ever-gracious, “Mr. Hospitality,” when it comes to seasoned restaurant General Managers on the volatile Los Angeles dining scene. He speaks three languages including Italian, French, and English.

In the mid 80s he was the GM of Piero Selvaggio’s Primi in West Los Angeles. At lunch this was the unofficial commissary for the senior executives, producers, writers, and actors & actresses at the nearby Twentieth Century Fox Studios. If you were anybody this is where you lunched. Talk about pressure…

Today Donato is a partner in both Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood and Providence in Hollywood.

Connie & Ted’s was just selected as a Semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant. His business partner, Chef Michael Cimarusti was also recognized as a semifinalist for The James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: West for Providence.

Donato’s other partner in Connie and Ted’s, Craig Nickoloff, founded the hugely successful Claim Jumper Restaurants.

The Little Nell is an acclaimed five star, five diamond luxury property in Aspen, Colorado. It’s Aspen’s only ski-in/ski out luxury hotel. The destination restaurant there is element 47 restaurant.

Carlton McCoyCarlton McCoy, a Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) graduate, is the greatly admired Wine Director there. He is also a certified Master Sommelier, an incredibly elite group. He’s just 29.

Carlton will share with us his inspiring story of growing up in a rough area of Washington, D.C. (known as the “murder capital”) and finding his way (through hard-work) to the privileged affluence of Aspen.

“Growing up, there wasn’t wine on the table at my house, like in many black households,” Carlton said.” But wine is for everyone. Every time I approach a table or talk about wine, it isn’t coming from a place of snobbery or elitism. It’s about figuring out what people like, finding the right wine to appeal to our guests and ultimately having it enhance their experience at the table with friends and family.”

Organic fruits and vegetables are getting a lot of attention these days. With the fresh concern about GMOs in food, certified organic fruits and vegetables are, by definition, free of GMOs.

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety ProduceOur resident Professor of Produce, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce, is back with us to discuss what’s new in organics.

Melissa’s is the largest variety supplier of fresh organic produce in the USA.

All the varieties of organic Kale are the hot item in produce right now. Organic Pixie Tangerines (easy to peel and sweet) are leading the charge in fresh citrus.

The COCHON U.S. Tour events serve as a link to preserving heritage breed pigs by promoting breed diversity in communities nationwide. The coast-to-coast tour connects ranchers raising heritage breeds with top chefs known for whole animal utilization.

Jet Tila at Cochon 555The Los Angeles stop of the Cochon 555 tour was Sunday, Feb. 23rd at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica. Five Chefs worked with five heritage pigs in an intense competition. Chef Ray Garcia of Fig Restaurant was the defending champion.

Our own Chef Jet Tila was a judge. He also cooked the heritage pig for the After Party (Cochon Late Night Asian Speakeasy.) The heritage pig was a Kune Kune (they like to feed on grass) from Rainbow Ranch Farm.

Jet will report on this year’s “Epic Heritage Pork Event.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Brandon Boudet, Dominick’s and Little Dom’s, Los Angeles.
Segment Three: Executive Chef James Dean Max, James Republic, Long Beach
Segment Four: Mar Yvette, Lifestyle reporter, Fox 11 News & “Good Day L.A.”
Segment Five: Donato Poto, Partner, Connie & Ted’s, West Hollywood, and Providence, Hollywood
Segment Six: Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Wine Director, Little Nell, Aspen, CO
Segment Seven: Jet Tila reporting on Cochon 555 Los Angeles