Show 195, October 29, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel, Founder, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Program Note:
Next Saturday, November 5th we graciously step aside in our regular morning time period for Fighting Irish Football. For this Saturday only we’re moving downfield to 2 to 4:00 p.m. See you there!

Andrew and William GruelExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Brea, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for Rams and USC Football, is back as today’s Guest Host. San Clemente is launching next. In May in Chicago during the National Restaurant Association’s annual conclave he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now a provocatively tempting preview of Saturday’s full-measure show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

What does it take to design and execute a well-thought-out bar, restaurant or commercial kitchen? We’ll find out from veteran designer Rick Rose of the Chefs’ Toys Commercial Kitchen Design Group, formerly known as Michael Blackman & Associates. MBA has been operating for over 30 years and is known as one of the top restaurant kitchen designers in Southern California and nationally as well.

The Brennan Family represents the royalty of highly influential restaurateurs in New Orleans. The dynasty is led by the incomparable Miss Ella Brennan. She is a mother, chef mentor, and blunt-talking matriarch of the Brennan Family’s New Orleans empire whose flagship is the pioneering Commander’s Palace. Miss Ella and her daughter, Ti Adelaide Martin, have written her absorbing biography and, as expected, it’s a page-turner. Ti Martin joins us with a preview.

Pechanga Resort & Casino has a well-earned reputation for excellence in all levels of dining. Their signature Italian restaurant is Paisano’s Italian Restaurant. Newly arrived there in the open kitchen is Chef Andre Pinto. We’ll meet him.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel is no stranger to the intricacies of seafood. Smoked fish is pretty simple, right? Not exactly. Was that lox you just enjoyed prepared by hot or cold smoking? What’s the difference? It can be an elaborate process. What techniques are possibly correct for different types of fish? Chef Andrew explains.

Earlier this year we met the passionate Clarissa Nagy who is the distinguished Winemaker at Riverbench in Santa Maria. Separate from Riverbench, Clarissa has her own label, c nagy, with a rustic tasting room in historic Orcutt. Clarissa Nagy is our encore guest.

Play

Show 195, October 29, 2016: Winemaker Clarissa Nagy, c nagy Wines, Orcutt, CA

Clarissa NagyEarlier this year we met the passionate Clarissa Nagy who is the distinguished Winemaker at Riverbench in Santa Maria. Separate from Riverbench Clarissa has her own label, c nagy, with a rustic tasting room in historic Orcutt. Clarissa Nagy is our encore guest.

New for the 2016 release is a dry Gewurtztraminer and a Grenache.

“People often ask how I started in the wine industry. It was never my plan to make wine. Actually, my original intention was to work with food. Thankfully, food and wine are often paired together. Through that means, wine found me.”

“I met my husband while we were working together in the wine industry. We made a barrel of 2002 Viognier as a wedding favor. It seemed a fitting gift for our family and friends. My quest for another source of Viognier was encouraged by those who had tasted the “wedding wine.” It would be a longer quest than I expected.”

“I purchased one ton of Pinot Noir in 2004. I wanted to continue making Pinot Noir and work with an amazing vineyard. One thing led to another. In 2005, I began working with 3 different vineyards and my brand was born.”

“Pinot Noir and Syrah were my main focus for the next 6 years. I made a Viognier in 2010, but frost would prevent me from doing so in 2011. The loss of Viognier opened the door to work with Pinot Blanc as well, and my journey continued to unfold. The newest chapter of my story is the addition of the tasting room.”

“Winemaking has become my passion. Sharing that joy with others is a priority. I’d love to be able to bring everyone into the vineyard and cellar to experience winemaking firsthand. Since that isn’t realistic, I offer you a taste of my labor. Here is that experience captured in bottle. I hope to share this passion with you in person. Until then, enjoy!”

 

Play

October 29: Chefs’ Toys, Ti Adelaide Martin, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Clarissa Nagy

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel, Founder, Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Two: Rick Rose, Chefs’ Toys Commercial Design Group (previously Michael Blackman & Associates.)
Segment Three: Ti Martin, Commander’s Palace, New Orleans
Segment Four: Andre Pinto, Restaurant Chef, Paisano’s Italian Restaurant, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Five: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish on Smoked Fish
Segment Six: Winemaker Clarissa Nagy, c nagy Wines, Orcutt, CA

Andrew and William GruelExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Brea, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for Rams and USC Football, is back as today’s Guest Host. San Clemente is launching next. In May in Chicago during the National Restaurant Association’s annual conclave he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now a provocatively tempting preview of Saturday’s full-measure show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

What does it take to design and execute a well-thought-out bar, restaurant or commercial kitchen ? We’ll find out from veteran designer Rick Rose of the Chefs’ Toys Commercial Kitchen Design Group, formerly known as Michael Blackman & Associates. MBA has been operating for over 30 years and is known as one of the top restaurant kitchen designers in Southern California and nationally as well.

The Brennan Family represents the royalty of highly influential restaurateurs in New Orleans. The dynasty is led by the incomparable Miss Ella Brennan. She is a mother, chef mentor, and blunt-talking matriarch of the Brennan Family’s New Orleans empire whose flagship is the pioneering Commander’s Palace. Miss Ella and her daughter, Ti Adelaide Martin, have written her absorbing biography and, as expected, it’s a page-turner. Ti Martin joins us with a preview.

Pechanga Resort & Casino has a well-earned reputation for excellence in all levels of dining. Their signature Italian restaurant is Paisano’s Italian Restaurant. Newly arrived there in the open kitchen is Chef Andre Pinto. We’ll meet him.

Earlier this year we met the passionate Clarissa Nagy who is the distinguished Winemaker at Riverbench in Santa Maria. Separate from Riverbench, Clarissa has her own label, c nagy, with a rustic tasting room in historic Orcutt. Clarissa Nagy is our encore guest.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel is no stranger to the intricacies of seafood. Smoked fish is pretty simple, right? Not exactly. Was that lox you just enjoyed prepared by hot or cold smoking? What’s the difference? It can be an elaborate process. What techniques are possibly correct for different types of fish? Chef Andrew explains.

Rick Rose of Chefs ToysWhat does it take to design a well-thought-out bar, restaurant or commercial kitchen? What are the most common mistakes to avoid?

We’ll find out from veteran designer Rick Rose of the Chefs’ Toys Commercial Kitchen Design Group, formerly known as Michael Blackman & Associates. MBA has been operating for over 30 years and is known as one of the top restaurant kitchen designers in Southern California and nationally as well. It was acquired by Chefs’ Toys in late 2015.

“Chefs’ Toys has provided commercial kitchen design services for many years. Michael Blackman & Associates has developed an exceptional reputation in the industry”, says Steve Dickler President of Chefs’ Toys. “With their deep expertise in kitchen and bar design, restaurant interior design, tremendous knowledge and resources for restaurant fixtures, architecture, planning and construction, the MBA team will help take Chefs’ Toys to a whole new level”.

“Chefs’ Toys has developed a fantastic reputation in the restaurant business for restaurant equipment and smallwares, says Rick Rose, of Chefs’ Toys Commercial Kitchen Design Group. “We are excited to be a part of the Chefs’ Toys team and help build on their already solid project teams. This will create a new synergy that will help us both affording our customers that one-stop-shop, from planning, to building, and managing a high performance commercial kitchen design project.”

Ti Adelaide MartinThe Brennan Family represents the royalty of highly influential restaurateurs in New Orleans. The dynasty is led by the incomparable Miss Ella Brennan. She is a mother, chef mentor, and blunt-talking matriarch of the Brennan Family’s New Orleans empire whose flagship is the pioneering Commander’s Palace. Miss Ella and her daughter, Ti Adelaide Martin, have written her absorbing biography and, as expected, it’s a page-turner. Ti Martin joins us with a preview.

Ella Brennan, “Miss Ella,” changed the way America eats. At 18-years old, she went to work at her brother’s bar on Bourbon street. The New Orleans dining scene had no idea what was about to hit it. Turns out it was one of America’s greatest business coaches, whose impact on the restaurant industry and Creole cuisine is evident across the nation today. Miss Ella of Commander’s Palace is the story of The Brennan Family’s beloved restaurant matriarch!

When Miss Ella and her family launched Commander’s Palace, it quickly became the city’s most popular restaurant, where famous chefs such as Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse, and James Beard Award winner Troy McPhail got their start.

Ti Adelaide Martin is the daughter of Ella Brennan. Raised in New Orleans, she has followed in her mother’s footsteps and is now co-proprietor of Commander’s Palace. She remembers her mother “always hosting these lavish parties at our house,” she recalls. “There were always lots of interesting people there from around the country, many from the culinary world.”

Andre Pinto of Paisanos Italian Restaurant at PechangaPechanga Resort & Casino in Wine Country Temecula just off the 15 Freeway has a well-earned reputation for excellence in all levels of dining. Their signature Italian restaurant is Paisano’s Italian Restaurant. Newly arrived there in the open kitchen is Chef Andre Pinto. We’ll meet him.

Promoted from the position of kitchen supervisor for Kelsey’s restaurant, Chef Pinto, 32, showed Pechanga culinary management he possesses both the technical and creative passion for food required to be a head chef at California’s largest resort/casino. Before spending a year and one-half in the kitchen at the newly renovated Kelsey’s restaurant, Pinto spent 10 years working at two of the east coast’s top restaurants. Earlier in his career he was immersed in preparing Italian cuisine at respected establishments in the Boston area.

Originally from Salvador, Bahia in Brazil, Andre Pinto recalls helping his mother in the kitchen at home often when he was a teenager. “The other kids would be out playing soccer, and I love soccer, but I wanted to help my mom make cold feijoada (Brazilian black bean stew) and see how it came together,” says Pinto. He also tried his hand at making cakes.

“I’m so happy and humbled to have been promoted to the head chef for Paisano’s,” said Pinto. “We have a great team here, and already, it’s exciting to see some of the regulars who have come back for my dishes. My approach to food is Brazilian meets East Coast meets West Coast while still remaining true to authentic Italian flavors, though the most important thing, every ingredient must be the freshest it possibly can.”

Clarissa NagyEarlier this year we met the passionate Clarissa Nagy who is the distinguished Winemaker at Riverbench in Santa Maria. Separate from Riverbench Clarissa has her own label, c nagy, with a rustic tasting room in historic Orcutt. Clarissa Nagy is our encore guest.

“People often ask how I started in the wine industry. It was never my plan to make wine. Actually, my original intention was to work with food. Thankfully, food and wine are often paired together. Through that means, wine found me.”

“I met my husband while we were working together in the wine industry. We made a barrel of 2002 Viognier as a wedding favor. It seemed a fitting gift for our family and friends. My quest for another source of Viognier was encouraged by those who had tasted the “wedding wine.” It would be a longer quest than I expected.”

“I purchased one ton of Pinot Noir in 2004. I wanted to continue making Pinot Noir and work with an amazing vineyard. One thing led to another. In 2005, I began working with 3 different vineyards and my brand was born.”

“Pinot Noir and Syrah were my main focus for the next 6 years. I made a Viognier in 2010, but frost would prevent me from doing so in 2011. The loss of Viognier opened the door to work with Pinot Blanc as well, and my journey continued to unfold. The newest chapter of my story is the addition of the tasting room.”

“Winemaking has become my passion. Sharing that joy with others is a priority. I’d love to be able to bring everyone into the vineyard and cellar to experience winemaking firsthand. Since that isn’t realistic, I offer you a taste of my labor. Here is that experience captured in bottle. I hope to share this passion with you in person. Until then, enjoy!”

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosOur own Chef Andrew Gruel is no stranger to the intricacies of seafood. Smoked fish is pretty simple, right? Not exactly. Was that lox you just enjoyed prepared by hot or cold smoking? What’s the difference? It can be an elaborate process. What techniques are possibly correct for different types of fish? Chef Andrew explains with a promise of no smoke.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel, Founder, Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Two: Rick Rose, Chefs’ Toys Commercial Design Group (previously Michael Blackman & Associates.)
Segment Three: Ti Martin, Commander’s Palace, New Orleans
Segment Four: Andre Pinto, Restaurant Chef, Paisano’s Italian Restaurant, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Five: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish on Smoked Fish
Segment Six: Winemaker Clarissa Nagy, c nagy Wines, Orcutt, CA

Show 182, July 30, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosExecutive 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. In May in Chicago he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish during the National Restaurant Association’s annual gathering.

Now a (hopefully) tantalizing preview of Saturday’s overloaded show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

The skills of butchery meet the world of fresh produce in The Vegetable Butcher – How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini. This well-researched, essential, inspiring guide demystifies the world of vegetables. Author and Chef Cara Mangini joins us from Columbus, Ohio.

For 77 years, the Los Angeles International Wine Competition has showcased the finest domestic and international vintages through a wine-tasting event that is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious in the United States. The winning wines are available for tasting at the upcoming L.A. County Fair. Malibu winemaker Jim Palmer Vineyards scored an impressive 98-point rating from the judges for his 2014 Pinot Noir earning a Gold Medal. He’s our guest along with Master Sommelier Michael Jordan, the Competition Chairman.

What’s new, fresh and exciting in the world of Summer fruits and vegetables? Glad you asked. Joining us for an informative update is our resident Produce authority, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce. For starters it’s everything grapes. Think Red Muscato, Green Muscato, Black Muscato, Jelly Drop, Candy Sweet Grapes, Cotton Candy and Champagne grapes. They are all now best of the season. Also Jackfruit, the hefty cousin of breadfruit and figs.

Since 2012 Clarissa Nagy has been the Winemaker at Santa Maria’s Riverbench Vineyard & Winery. Riverbench Vineyard was established in 1973 when its first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes were planted on the property. Clarissa also has her own label, c nagy, with a rustic tasting room in Orcutt. Her first release was in 2005. Clarissa uncorks it for us.

Our Mad Hungry Woman blogger, Anita Lau, has just returned from a visit to Melbourne and Queensland state in Australia. Among her finds is Bass & Flinders, a boutique gin distillery in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. Anita joins us with her spirited report.

In 2009, Stuart Skversky, a Los Angeles rising star chef, gave up his life in Los Angeles and moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand to become a full time volunteer at the Wat Dan Chan (a local Buddhist temple), teaching local children English, cooking and baking. Recognizing a need to help prepare these high risk Hill Tribe kids following their graduation, he founded Stu and the Kids to better prepare them for adulthood, helping them get into a university or technical college and giving them the tools for an independent future. Stu and the Kids’ 2016 Los Angeles Fundraiser was at Vibiana on July 31st. Chef Stuart Skversky is our guest.

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

Play

Show 182, July 30, 2016: Clarissa Nagy, Winemaker – Riverbench Vineyard & Winery, Santa Maria & Proprietress/Winemaker of c nagy

Clarissa NagySince 2012 Clarissa Nagy has been the Winemaker at Santa Maria’s Riverbench Vineyard & Winery. Riverbench Vineyard was established in 1973 when its first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes were planted on the property.

Clarissa also has her own label, c nagy, with a rustic tasting room in Orcutt. Her first release was in 2005. Clarissa uncorks it for us.

Situated on the southeastern edge of the Santa Maria Valley, the northernmost AVA in Santa Barbara County, the Riverbench vineyard currently consists of 107 acres of Pinot Noir and 77 acres of Chardonnay. In 2008, Riverbench committed themselves to a premium sparkling wine program.

Riverbench continues to work hard making wines that are inspired by Champagne in France. In 2015, they added the third great grape varietal famous in that area, Pinot Meunier, to the Riverbench vineyard. They anticipate incorporating these grapes into their sparkling wine blends beginning in 2017.

Clarissa fell in love with the aromas of Pinot Noir when she started working with wine in 1995. She received a Bachelor of Science in Food Science from California Polytechnic State University, and began her career as a Lab Technician at Edna Valley Vineyards. From there she moved through the roles of Research Assistant Winemaker at Byron Winery, Assistant Winemaker and Vineyard Supervisor at Longoria Winery, and winemaker for Bonaccorsi Wine Company since 2006.

Clarissa is known for her elegant and sophisticated winemaking style, and for her appreciation for fruit that comes from the Santa Maria Valley. She continues to refine Riverbench wines each vintage, and adds her own unique twists to their portfolio.

Play

July 30: Vegetable Butcher, Jim Palmer Vineyards, Melissa’s Produce, Clarissa Nagy, Mad Hungry Woman, Stu and the Kids

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Chef Cara Mangini, Little Eater, The Vegetable Butcher
Segment Three: LA International Wine Competition
Segment Four: Robert Schueller, Prince of Produce, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce Part One
Segment Five: Robert Schueller, Prince of Produce, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce Part Two
Segment Six: Clarissa Nagy, Winemaker – Riverbench Vineyard & Winery, Santa Maria & Proprietress/Winemaker of c nagy
Segment Seven: Anita Lau, Diary of a Mad Hungry Woman blogger
Segment Eight: Chef Stuart Skversky, “Stu and The Kids”

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosExecutive 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. In May in Chicago he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish during the National Restaurant Association’s annual gathering.

Now a (hopefully) tantalizing preview of Saturday’s overloaded show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

The skills of butchery meet the world of fresh produce in The Vegetable Butcher – How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini. This well-researched, essential, inspiring guide demystifies the world of vegetables. Author and Chef Cara Mangini joins us from Columbus, Ohio.

For 77 years, the Los Angeles International Wine Competition has showcased the finest domestic and international vintages through a wine-tasting event that is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious in the United States. The winning wines are available for tasting at the upcoming L.A. County Fair. Malibu winemaker Jim Palmer Vineyards scored an impressive 98 point rating from the judges for his 2014 Pinot Noir earning a Gold Medal. He’s our guest along with Master Sommelier Michael Jordan, the Competition Chairman.

What’s new, fresh and exciting in the world of Summer fruits and vegetables? Glad you asked. Joining us for an informative update is our resident Produce authority, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce. For starters it’s everything grapes. Think Red Muscato, Green Muscato, Black Muscato, Jelly Drop, Candy Sweet grapes, Cotton Candy and Champagne grapes. They are all now best of the season. Also Jackfruit, the hefty cousin of breadfruit and figs.

Since 2012 Clarissa Nagy has been the Winemaker at Santa Maria’s Riverbench Vineyard & Winery. Riverbench Vineyard was established in 1973 when its first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes were planted on the property. Clarissa also has her own label, c nagy, with a rustic tasting room in Orcutt. Her first release was in 2005. Clarissa uncorks it for us.

Our Mad Hungry Woman blogger, Anita Lau, has just returned from a visit to Melbourne and Victoria state in Australia. Among her finds is Bass & Flinders, a boutique gin distillery in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. Anita joins us with her spirited report.

In 2009, Stuart Skversky, a Los Angeles rising star chef, gave up his life in Los Angeles and moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand to become a full time volunteer at the Wat Dan Chan (a local Buddhist temple), teaching local children English, cooking and baking. Recognizing a need to help prepare these high risk Hill Tribe kids following their graduation, he founded Stu and the Kids to better prepare them for adulthood, helping them get into a university or technical college and giving them the tools for an independent future. Stu and the Kids’ 2016 Los Angeles Fundraiser is at Vibiana on July 31st. Chef Stuart Skversky is our guest.

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

Cara Mangini, the Vegetable ButcherThe skills of butchery meet the world of fresh produce in The Vegetable Butcher – How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini authored by Chef Cara Mangini. This well-researched, essential, inspiring guide demystifies the world of vegetables. Along the way Mangini shares over 150 mouthwatering recipes that put vegetables front and center.

Author and Chef Cara Mangini joins us from Columbus, Ohio.

Cara Mangini comes from a long line of butchers. Her Italian grandfather and great-grandfather gracefully cut tenderloins and butterflied chickens for a living. Mangini also wields a knife, but hers is used against the curves of butternut squash and stalks of freshly picked Brussels sprouts at Little Eater, her vegetable-inspired restaurant, produce stand, and artisanal foods boutique in Columbus, Ohio.

Mangini’s basic recipes provide foundational methods that every cook should know – how to steam or saute spinach, the art of making crispy fingerling potatoes, how to perfectly pan-roast Brussels sprouts, and much more. From there she serves up an array of creative recipes that celebrate the soul-satisfying flavor of each vegetable – Orange-Shallot Fiddlehead Ferns and Ricotta Crostini, Cardoon and Fontina Bread Pudding, Parsnip-Ginger Layer Cake with Browned Buttercream Frosting, and many other sure-to-be new favorites.

For 77 years, the Los Angeles International Wine Competition has showcased the finest domestic and international vintages through a wine-tasting event that is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious in the United States. The winning wines are available for tasting at the upcoming L.A. County Fair.

Jim PalmerMalibu winemaker Jim Palmer Vineyards scored an impressive 98 point rating from the judges for his 2014 Pinot Noir earning a Gold Medal. Palmer’s wine bested 3000 plus entries from around the Globe. He’s our guest along with Master Sommelier Michael Jordan, the Competition Chairman.

Judged in May using a point system, the wine competition saw 3,010 international wines tasted. Many varietals and price ranges were represented, with the point system acknowledging each varietal’s special attributes and providing a level of precision in the competition’s wine ranking systems, a benefit for the competition and wine enthusiasts. Wines were tasted by an international panel comprised of judges ranging from Master Sommeliers to chefs to wine writers. There were a total of 168 Best of Class Awards, 572 Gold Medal Awards, 1,271 Silver Medal Awards and 736 Bronze Medal Awards.

“The wonderful thing about our competition is that you’ll find something for everyone among the winners,” said competition chairman Michael Jordan, Master Sommelier, Certified Wine Educator and director of global key accounts with Jackson Family Fine Wines. “From the complex with a higher-price point for the experienced palate to wonderful lower-price point wines for the novice, our winners represent a variety of wines.”

Melissa's Produce GrapesWhat’s new, fresh and exciting in the world of Summer fruits and vegetables? Glad you asked. Joining us for an update is our resident Produce authority, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce. For starters it’s everything grapes. Think Red Muscato, Green Muscato, Black Muscato, Jelly Drop, Candy Sweet Grapes, Cotton Candy and Champagne grapes. They are all now best of the season.

Jelly Drops Grapes are a hybrid of the popular Thompson Seedless grape and the rich, meaty Concord grape. The result is a plump, juicy, dark purple seedless table grape with a thin skin. Their aromatic, earthy flavor is similar to that of a Concord, but mellowed by the mild sweetness of the Thompson. This variety is a perfect out of hand summer snack fruit or delicious when used as a sweet sauce ingredient for almost any kind of meat or poultry dish.

A late-season variety (green) with an extremely high sugar content, the Candy Sweets® name describes its great flavor! Though petite in size, this amber-green seedless grape has a big taste that makes it an excellent kids snack or lunchbox favorite. Serve a bunch or two on a party platter; this grape’s firm, crunchy texture and sweetness plays well against any extra sharp cheese.

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety Produce in the AM830 KLAA StudioMelissa’s Jackfruit is the world’s largest tree fruit, averaging between 15 and 33 pounds per fruit. This large fruit grows directly out of the trunk or branches. The exterior of the Jackfruit is covered with spiny, knobby bumps and is green in color.

As the fruit ripens the skin turns to a yellow color and is very fragrant. The pink or yellow flesh is best when eaten fresh with hints of mango and melon.

Jackfruit can also be enjoyed unripe, cooked in various recipes. The flesh of the Jackfruit can be used in desserts, as well. This soft, flaky, sweet fruit can be a delight for any meal. The many seeds in the Jackfruit are sensational when roasted, similar to a chestnut in flavor. Refrigerate Melissa’s Jackfruit. Choose Jackfruit with a strong fragrance and a deep yellow color.

Coconut Hearts are harvested before the meat is fully developed. At this stage, the water inside is at its prime, delicious, refreshing flavor. After you enjoy the coconut water you can cut the tender meat to make a perfect tropical snack. Coconuts are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Coconut nourishes the skin as well as boosts metabolism. Coconut water is rich in electrolytes and potassium, making it a much healthier alternative to sports drinks that contain artificial sugars or color.

Clarissa NagySince 2012 Clarissa Nagy has been the Winemaker at Santa Maria’s Riverbench Vineyard & Winery. Riverbench Vineyard was established in 1973 when its first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes were planted on the property.

Clarissa also has her own label, c nagy, with a rustic tasting room in Orcutt. Her first release was in 2005. Clarissa uncorks it for us.

Situated on the southeastern edge of the Santa Maria Valley, the northernmost AVA in Santa Barbara County, the Riverbench vineyard currently consists of 107 acres of Pinot Noir and 77 acres of Chardonnay. In 2008, Riverbench committed themselves to a premium sparkling wine program.

Riverbench continues to work hard making wines that are inspired by Champagne in France. In 2015, they added the third great grape varietal famous in that area, Pinot Meunier, to the Riverbench vineyard. They anticipate incorporating these grapes into their sparkling wine blends beginning in 2017.

Clarissa fell in love with the aromas of Pinot Noir when she started working with wine in 1995. She received a Bachelor of Science in Food Science from California Polytechnic State University, and began her career as a Lab Technician at Edna Valley Vineyards. From there she moved through the roles of Research Assistant Winemaker at Byron Winery, Assistant Winemaker and Vineyard Supervisor at Longoria Winery, and winemaker for Bonaccorsi Wine Company since 2006.

Clarissa is known for her elegant and sophisticated winemaking style, and for her appreciation for fruit that comes from the Santa Maria Valley. She continues to refine Riverbench wines each vintage, and adds her own unique twists to their portfolio.

Anita Lau of Mad Hungry WomanOur Diary of a Mad Hungry Woman blogger, Anita Lau, has just returned from a visit to Melbourne and Victoria state in Australia. Among her finds is Bass & Flinders, a boutique gin distillery in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria.

Anita joins us with her spirited report.

“Founded in 2009 by Wayne Klintworth and Bob Laing, Bass & Flinders is an artisanal distillery, producing grape spirit using a traditional Alembic Pot Still to create a range of world‐class distillations including award winning gins, Australia’s first grape based Vodka, Limoncello, Grappa and an outstanding five-year aged spirit, Ochre.”

Stuart SkverskyIn 2009, Stuart Skversky, a Los Angeles rising star chef, gave up his life in Los Angeles and moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand to become a full time volunteer at the Wat Dan Chan (a local Buddhist temple), teaching local children English, cooking and baking.

Recognizing a need to help prepare these high risk Hill Tribe kids following their graduation, he founded Stu and the Kids to better prepare them for adulthood, helping them get into a university or technical college and giving them the tools for an independent future.

Stu and the Kids’ 2016 Los Angeles Fundraiser is at Vibiana on July 31st. Chef Stuart Skversky is our guest.

Proceeds from this event go directly to the children’s education, school uniforms, supplies, housing, food and tuition for higher education. Now in their eighth year of fundraising throughout the world, Stu and the Kids has raised over $165,000 for the charity, including last year’s record of $52,000 accumulated from the LA festival, fundraising on the east coast and online donations during 2015.

Participants for this year’s event include Hosts Neal and Amy Fraser, RedbirdAndy Ricker andThomas Boyce, Pok Pok LAEric Greenspan, MareBrooke Williamson and Nick Roberts, Playa ProvisionsAkasha Richmond, SambarDaniel Elkins and Erez Levy, Savore CateringRamon Reyes, The Ensaymada ProjectGilberto Cetina, Chicken ItzaWalter Manzke, RepubliqueWarren Schwartz and Rosa Schwartz, Magpie’s; Ted Hopson, The BellwetherGregg Wiele, Patina Restaurant GroupJames Tree and Carlos Enrique, Superba Food & BreadGary Menes, Le Comptoir; and Jason Neroni, Rose Café.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Chef Cara Mangini, Little Eater, The Vegetable Butcher
Segment Three: LA International Wine Competition
Segment Four: Robert Schueller, Prince of Produce, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce Part One
Segment Five: Robert Schueller, Prince of Produce, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce Part Two
Segment Six: Clarissa Nagy, Winemaker – Riverbench Vineyard & Winery, Santa Maria & Proprietress/Winemaker of c nagy
Segment Seven: Anita Lau, Diary of a Mad Hungry Woman blogger
Segment Eight: Chef Stuart Skversky, “Stu and The Kids”