Show 266, March 24, 2018: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now a provocative preview of this Saturday’s tempting show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… Keep in mind we’re always here with you live every Saturday morning with a fresh show.

Downtown Los Angeles’ Rossoblu (going on a year old) tells the story of two places Executive Chef & Proprietor Steve Samson considers home: Los Angeles and Bologna. The restaurant is a homage to Samson’s heritage, inspired by childhood memories of summers spent in Bologna and its surrounding region, Emilia Romagna. Newly added is Saturday and Sunday Brunch. Think Nutella Stuffed French Toast. We’ll check-in with Chef Steve Samson for an update.

The 20-year-old King’s Fish House (part of King’s Seafood Co.,) located at the Laguna Hills Mall, underwent a 7-week, $2 million dollar modernization of the entire space and reopened in early December of last year. The new design is inspired by the look and feel of a contemporary seafood warehouse with nautical touchpoints throughout and custom art. King’s Heath Bumgardner, Vice President of Operations, joins us.

A new cutting-edge cooking academy has launched at OC Fair & Event Center to empower underserved youth through free culinary education and mentorship. A commercial kitchen on the fairgrounds was transformed into Hatch Culinary Lab. The new education program is a partnership between OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC), CulinaryLab Cooking School, Anaheim’s Innovative Mentorship Experience program (AIME) and Spectra, the Fair’s master concessionaire. The OC Fair’s CEO Kathy Kramer and Chef Ryan Wagner the founder of CulinaryLab are our guests.

Jaffa is the ancient neighborhood in the city of Tel Aviv, Israel. Now this old city vibe and flavors are being imported to Los Angeles’ eclectic 3rd Street neighborhood. Here, Chef Partner Anne Conness’ (Sausal) modern take on Israeli cuisine integrates spices with a deep focus on diverse, locally grown, freshest of fresh seasonal ingredients, as well as meat well-raised, and sustainable selections from the sea. We spirit General Manager & Managing Partner Nancy Vrankovic off the floor at Jaffa for a chat.

We know Chef Tal Ronnen locally as the Executive Chef at the plant-based Crossroads Kitchen in West Hollywood. He is also the co-founder of Kite Hill. “Kite Hill makes the very best tasting alternative dairy products with the simplest ingredients using traditional methods.”

“We began with a vision for a plant-based food that would have all the qualities we relish in the best artisan dairy cheeses.” “We are the first and only company to create plant-based food using time honored techniques. We’ve figured out how to make buttery fresh ricotta, aged nut milk delicacies, creamy almond milk yogurt, fantastic entrées and more — all out of fresh nut milk.” Chef Tal pops out of his busy kitchen to join us.

Our always informed Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, continues with his “Ask the Chef” series. We all appreciate Salmon, and wild caught Chinook Salmon from California is available locally during the commercial fishing season. The season is going to be reduced this year due to a disappointing fall run. There are unfortunate economic consequences for commercial fisherman. The shortfalls even extend to Alaska, too. Last year the Pink Salmon runs there were disastrously off.

Chef Andrew reels the alarming specifics in for us.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Play

Show 266, March 24, 2018: Kathy Kramer, CEO, OC Fair & Event Center

Kathy KramerA new cutting-edge cooking academy has launched at OC Fair & Event Center to empower underserved youth through free culinary education and mentorship. A commercial kitchen on the fairgrounds was transformed into Hatch Culinary Lab. The new education program is a partnership between OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC), CulinaryLab Cooking School, Anaheim’s Innovative Mentorship Experience program (AIME) and Spectra, the Fair’s master concessionaire.

“We have an opportunity to change the lives of students through Hatch Culinary Lab and it is important for us to step in to help,” said OCFEC CEO Kathy Kramer. “Here at the OC Fair we love food, so this program is close to our hearts and ties in perfectly with our community give-back mission. I look forward to growing this program to include training for both kitchen staff and front-of-the-house positions.”

The OC Fair’s CEO Kathy Kramer is our guest.

Play

Show 266, March 24, 2018: Chef Instructor Ryan Wagner, Tustin’s CulinaryLab & Hatch Culinary Lab

Ryan Wagner of CulinaryLabA new cutting-edge cooking academy has launched at OC Fair & Event Center to empower underserved youth through free culinary education and mentorship. A commercial kitchen on the fairgrounds was transformed into Hatch Culinary Lab. The new education program is a partnership between OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC), CulinaryLab Cooking School, Anaheim’s Innovative Mentorship Experience program (AIME) and Spectra, the Fair’s master concessionaire.

OCFEC invested an initial $54,000 in equivalent value in this community program that this year will provide up to 50 students with training in everything from knife skills, cookery basics and making healthy meals to safety and sanitation. The spring session started Feb. 28 with the first 20 students from Kennedy, Savanna and Western high schools working for eight weeks. A summer internship program and fall certification series will follow, culminating in an event to feed the local homeless community.

The team from CulinaryLab in Tustin is donating staff and time to the program and has created new curriculum tailored to provide students with the basics on how food works, healthy cooking skills and simple recipes they can practice at home with minimal cost and prep time. The goal is to excite students about cooking and food service and empower them to be confident individuals ready to secure employment.

“At CulinaryLab, we do everything we can to immerse students in the world of cooking with experimentation, tons of repetitive hands-on practice, and by involving local chef partners in the teaching process,” said Chef Ryan Wagner. “The goal of the Hatch program is to bring that same high-level culinary education to high school students who might otherwise not have access to it.”

Chef Ryan Wagner the founder of Tustin’s CulinaryLab now continues the story of Hatch Culinary Lab at OC Fair & Event Center with us.

Play

March 24: Steve Samson, King’s Fish House, Hatch Culinary Lab at OC Fair & Event Center, Jaffa, Tal Ronnen

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef & Proprietor, Steve Samson, Rossoblu
Segment Three: Heath Bumgardner, Vice President of Operations, King’s Seafood Co. (King’s Fish House)
Segment Four: Kathy Kramer, CEO, OC Fair & Event Center
Segment Five: Chef Instructor Ryan Wagner, Tustin’s CulinaryLab & Hatch Culinary Lab
Segment Six: Nancy Vrankovic, General Manager & Managing Partner, Jaffa – Modern Israeli Cuisine
Segment Seven: Chef Tal Ronnen, Crossroads Kitchen and Co-Founder, Kite Hill
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel’s “Ask the Chef”

Now a provocative preview of this Saturday’s tempting show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… Keep in mind we’re always here with you live every Saturday morning with a fresh show.

Downtown Los Angeles’ Rossoblu tells the story of two places Executive Chef & Proprietor Steve Samson considers home : Los Angeles and Bologna. The restaurant is a homage to Samson’s heritage, inspired by childhood memories of summers spent in Bologna and its surrounding region, Emilia Romagna. Newly added is Saturday and Sunday Brunch. Think Nutella Stuffed French Toast. We’ll check-in with Chef Steve Samson for an update.

The 20-year-old King’s Fish House (part of King’s Seafood Co.,) located at the Laguna Hills Mall, underwent a 7-week, $2 million dollar modernization of the entire space and reopened in early December of last year. The new design is inspired by the look and feel of a contemporary seafood warehouse with nautical touchpoints throughout and custom art. King’s Heath Bumgardner, Vice President of Operations, joins us.

A new cutting-edge cooking academy has launched at OC Fair & Event Center to empower underserved youth through free culinary education and mentorship. A commercial kitchen on the fairgrounds was transformed into Hatch Culinary Lab. The new education program is a partnership between OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC), CulinaryLab Cooking School, Anaheim’s Innovative Mentorship Experience program (AIME) and Spectra, the Fair’s master concessionaire. The OC Fair’s CEO Kathy Kramer and Chef Ryan Wagner the founder of CulinaryLab are our guests.

Jaffa is the ancient neighborhood in the city of Tel Aviv, Israel. Now this old city vibe and flavors are being imported to Los Angeles’ eclectic 3rd Street neighborhood. Here, Chef Partner Anne Conness’ (Sausal) modern take on Israeli cuisine integrates spices with a deep focus on diverse, locally grown, freshest of fresh seasonal ingredients, as well as meat well-raised, and sustainable selections from the sea. We spirit General Manager & Managing Partner Nancy Vrankovic off the floor at Jaffa for a chat.

We know Chef Tal Ronen locally as the Executive Chef at the plant-based Crossroads Kitchen in West Hollywood. He is also the co-founder of Kite Hill. “Kite Hill makes the very best tasting alternative dairy products with the simplest ingredients using traditional methods.”

“We began with a vision for a plant-based food that would have all the qualities we relish in the best artisan dairy cheeses.” “We are the first and only company to create plant-based food using time honored techniques. We’ve figured out how to make buttery fresh ricotta, aged nut milk delicacies, creamy almond milk yogurt, fantastic entrées and more — all out of fresh nut milk.” Chef Tal pops out of his busy kitchen to join us.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Steve Samson of Sotto and RossobluDowntown Los Angeles’ Rossoblu tells the story of two places Executive Chef & Proprietor Steve Samson considers home: Los Angeles and Bologna. The restaurant is a homage to Samson’s heritage, inspired by childhood memories of summers spent in Bologna and its surrounding region, Emilia Romagna.

The menu features handmade pastas, market fresh produce, and an in-house butchery and salumi program. The wine list focuses on unique Italian and California varietals, with a sharp focus on Emilia Romagna’s famed Lambrusco. A true family owned and operated restaurant, Rossoblu is managed by Steve’s wife, Dina, and their management team whom they have worked with for the last ten plus years.

Located in Downtown’s City Market South, the site of Los Angeles’ original wholesale produce market, Rossoblu’s open kitchen, marbled serpentine bar, and starry-lit vaulted dining room create a convivial dining environment.

Newly added is Saturday and Sunday Brunch. Think Nutella Stuffed French Toast and Frittata Bolognese.

We’ll check-in with Chef Steve Samson for an update.

Heath BumgardnerThe 20-year-old King’s Fish House (part of King’s Seafood Co.,) located at the Laguna Hills Mall, underwent a 7-week, $2 million dollar modernization of the entire space and reopened in early December of last year. The new design is inspired by the look and feel of a contemporary seafood warehouse with nautical touchpoints throughout and custom art.

The update of the 7,500 square-foot restaurant includes rustic wood flooring, leather banquets, floor-to-ceiling garage doors allowing for an indoor-outdoor dining experience, and a warm color palette of dark browns, creams and deep blues. A wraparound, 30-seat rectangular bar anchors the space, while an additional lounge area was added to the patio, both ideal for enjoying afternoon happy hour and the extensive raw bar offerings.

In addition to the reimagined space, this location of King’s Fish House now offers a more elevated selection of seafood, by way of the company’s own distribution operation based in Santa Ana, such as a whole fish preparation and the Southern California delicacy, local spiny lobster.  The cocktail program also received an overhaul, now boasting 16 tap beers, more than 60 wines, and a selection of inspired specialty cocktails.

King’s Heath Bumgardner, Vice President of Operations, joins us.

Kathy KramerA new cutting-edge cooking academy has launched at OC Fair & Event Center to empower underserved youth through free culinary education and mentorship. A commercial kitchen on the fairgrounds was transformed into Hatch Culinary Lab. The new education program is a partnership between OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC), CulinaryLab Cooking School, Anaheim’s Innovative Mentorship Experience program (AIME) and Spectra, the Fair’s master concessionaire.

“We have an opportunity to change the lives of students through Hatch Culinary Lab and it is important for us to step in to help,” said OCFEC CEO Kathy Kramer. “Here at the OC Fair we love food, so this program is close to our hearts and ties in perfectly with our community give-back mission. I look forward to growing this program to include training for both kitchen staff and front-of-the-house positions.”

The OC Fair’s CEO Kathy Kramer is our guest.

Ryan Wagner of CulinaryLabOCFEC invested an initial $54,000 in equivalent value in this community program that this year will provide up to 50 students with training in everything from knife skills, cookery basics and making healthy meals to safety and sanitation. The spring session started Feb. 28 with the first 20 students from Kennedy, Savanna and Western high schools working for eight weeks. A summer internship program and fall certification series will follow, culminating in an event to feed the local homeless community.

The team from CulinaryLab in Tustin is donating staff and time to the program and has created new curriculum tailored to provide students with the basics on how food works, healthy cooking skills and simple recipes they can practice at home with minimal cost and prep time. The goal is to excite students about cooking and food service and empower them to be confident individuals ready to secure employment.

“At CulinaryLab, we do everything we can to immerse students in the world of cooking with experimentation, tons of repetitive hands-on practice, and by involving local chef partners in the teaching process,” said Chef Ryan Wagner. “The goal of the Hatch program is to bring that same high-level culinary education to high school students who might otherwise not have access to it.”

Chef Ryan Wagner the founder of Tustin’s CulinaryLab now continues the story of Hatch Culinary Lab at OC Fair & Event Center with us.

Nancy VrankovicJaffa is the ancient neighborhood in the city of Tel Aviv, Israel. Now this old city vibe and flavors are being imported to Los Angeles’ eclectic 3rd Street neighborhood.

Jaffa, Chef Partner Anne Conness’ (Sausal) modern take on Israeli cuisine integrates spices with a deep focus on diverse, locally grown, freshest of fresh seasonal ingredients, as well as meat well-raised, and sustainable selections from the sea.

“The social atmosphere in Jaffa, Israel is eclectic and fun; groups of friends toasting “l’chaim” with a clink of their Arak shot glasses, girlfriends catching up over coffee, the hipster tech guy on his computer, his dog lying next to him, families sharing a huge spread and couples having a bite together.”

Chef Anne Conness, Executive Chef Santos Navarro, Pastry Chef Natasha MacAller, and Lead Bartender Aly Iwamoto, along with restaurant partners Nancy Vrankovic and Brad Conroy, all share a deep commitment to creating flavorful, healthful dishes for the many Angelenos who are shifting to a more plant-based diet. Each of them speaks with great excitement describing the delicious farm-to-table dishes Jaffa is creating by blending New with the Old World flavors.

We spirit General Manager & Managing Partner Nancy Vrankovic off the floor at Jaffa for a chat.

Tal Ronnen of Crossroads KitchenWe know Chef Tal Ronnen locally as the Executive Chef at the plant-based Crossroads Kitchen in West Hollywood. He is also the co-founder of Kite Hill.

“Kite Hill makes the very best tasting alternative dairy products with the simplest ingredients using traditional methods.” “We began with a vision for a plant-based food that would have all the qualities we relish in the best artisan dairy cheeses.”

“We are the first and only company to create plant-based food using time honored techniques. We’ve figured out how to make buttery fresh ricotta, aged nut milk delicacies, creamy almond milk yogurt, cream cheese-style spreads, fantastic entrées and more — all out of fresh nut milk.”

“We think carefully about everything we put in our products. Each of our products comes from artisan almond milk cultured using traditional cheese making methods. We source non-GMO almonds from the San Joaquin Valley and do not use any artificial flavors, preservatives or sweeteners in our products.”

Chef Tal pops out of his busy kitchen to join us.

Andrew and William GruelOur always informed Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, continues with his Ask the Chef series. We all appreciate Salmon and wild caught Chinook Salmon from California is available locally during the commercial fishing season. The season is going to be reduced this year due to a disappointing fall run. There are unfortunate economic consequences for commercial fisherman.

The shortfalls even extend to Alaska, too. Last year the Pink Salmon runs there were disastrously off.

Chef Andrew reels the specifics in for us.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef & Proprietor, Steve Samson, Rossoblu
Segment Three: Heath Bumgardner, Vice President of Operations, King’s Seafood Co. (King’s Fish House)
Segment Four: Kathy Kramer, CEO, OC Fair & Event Center
Segment Five: Chef Instructor Ryan Wagner, Tustin’s CulinaryLab & Hatch Culinary Lab
Segment Six: Nancy Vrankovic, General Manager & Managing Partner, Jaffa – Modern Israeli Cuisine
Segment Seven: Chef Tal Ronnen, Crossroads Kitchen and Co-Founder, Kite Hill
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel’s “Ask the Chef”

Show 200, December 3, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andrew Gruel and Andy Harris celebrating the fourth anniversary of the SoCal Restaurant Show at SideDoor in Corona del MarWe’re a bit tardy but this Saturday we festively marked the 4th Anniversary of the debut of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” on AM 830 KLAA. Please join us via this podcast as we celebrate with a really big brunch show at SideDoor in Corona del Mar. Do I hear “Green Eggs” & Ham” Benedict” with hash browns and Applewood smoked bacon?

Executive 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.

On to a tasty preview of this Saturday’s show…

The most eagerly anticipated restaurant opening of the year is the long-in-the-works Farmhouse Café at Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar. The executive chef/proprietor is Rich Mead. Rich is fondly remembered by local foodies for Sage and Sage on the Coast. Rich pops out of the busy Farmhouse kitchen for a bit to join us.

CulinaryLab Contemporary Cooking School in Tustin offers an immersive, hands-on education for all levels of cooks including aspiring chefs, serious home cooks and industry professionals. Chef Director Ryan Wagner, C.E.C. is the founder of the program. We’ll meet him.

Ryan Wilson> is the Vice President and Executive Chef for Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc. the parent company of SideDoor. He represents the 4th generation of Frank/Van de Kamp Family ownership. Executive Chef Ryan is our guest.

Orange County craft beer enthusiasts know Victor Novak as the long-time, acclaimed head brewer of Taps in Brea. He’s also responsible for graciously mentoring many of the prominent young brewers among the new wave of award-winning OC craft breweries. In late 2014 he joined the brewing team at the fast-growing Golden Road Brewing and is now their Brewmaster. Victor is tapping a fresh keg with us.

When it comes to world-class, artisan coffee roasters in Orange County the veteran bean roaster in chief is Martin Diedrich. He grew up on a coffee farm in Guatemala! Martin now oversees busy neighborhood Kean Coffee coffee shops in Tustin and Newport Beach. He joins us.

The innovative cocktail program at SideDoor is an important attraction. New to SideDoor is Lead Barman, Randy Thais. Randy is an adjunct professor by day and a barman by night. He’s crafting something special for us as a guest…

The Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula has a long Holiday tradition of baking and decorating eye-catching gingerbread houses for sale until Christmas to their appreciative guests. Their acclaimed Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Jacques Granet (he has worked on three continents) joins us with all the sweet details.

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

Show 200, December 3, 2016: Chef Director Ryan Wagner, CulinaryLab Contemporary Cooking School, Tustin

Ryan Wagner of CulinaryLabCulinaryLab Contemporary Cooking School in a newly built facility in Tustin offers an immersive, hands-on education for all levels of cooks including aspiring chefs, serious home cooks and industry professionals. Class sizes are deliberately kept small.

“What’s the best way to learn about working in a professional kitchen? To work in one, of course. Students who choose our apprenticeship program will have the opportunity to work approximately 1,500 hours as a paid apprentice at one of our partner restaurants, gaining hours of practice and real world experience that is normally reserved for those who have already graduated culinary school. By reinforcing what they’re learning while simultaneously working in a real professional kitchen, our students are faster, more skilled and better prepared to excel in the foodservice industry.”

“Instead of spending countless hours reading culinary textbooks as homework or sitting through uninspired lectures, our students watch comprehensive video demonstrations and navigate online curriculum.”

“At CulinaryLab we measure our success by how our students perform in the real world.

If they fail, so do we. When they succeed, we do too. We put it all on the line for them.”

– Ryan Wagner, Chef Director

Chef Director Ryan Wagner, C.E.C. is the founder of the program. We’ll meet him.

Play

December 3: Our 4th Anniversary Show from Sidedoor Gastropub in Corona del Mar

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Two: Proprietor / Executive Chef Rich Mead, Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens
Segment Three: Chef Director Ryan Wagner, CulinaryLab Contemporary Cooking School, Tustin
Segment Four: Ryan Wilson, Vice President and Executive Chef for Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc.
Segment Five: Brewmaster Victor Novak, Golden Road Brewing
Segment SIx: Artisan Coffee Roaster, Martin Diedrich, Kean Coffee
Segment Seven: SideDoor’s Lead Barman, Randy Thais
Segment Eight: Jean-Jacques Granet, Executive Pastry Chef, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula

Entrance to Sidedoor Gastropub in Corona del MarWe’re a bit tardy but this Saturday we’re festively marking the 4th Anniversary of the debut of the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” Please join us on the airwaves (or via our live stream) as we celebrate with a really big brunch show at SideDoor in Corona del Mar.

Executive 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.

On to a tasty preview of Saturday’s show…

The most eagerly anticipated restaurant opening of the year is the long-in-the-works Farmhouse Café at Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar. The executive chef/proprietor is Rich Mead. Rich is fondly remembered by local foodies for Sage and Sage on the Coast. Rich pops out of the busy Farmhouse kitchen for a bit to join us.

CulinaryLab Contemporary Cooking School in Tustin offers an immersive, hands-on education for all levels of cooks including aspiring chefs, serious home cooks and industry professionals. Chef Director Ryan Wagner, C.E.C. is the founder of the program. We’ll meet him.

Ryan Wilson is the Vice President and Executive Chef for Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc. the parent company of SideDoor. He represents the 4th generation of Frank/Van de Kamp Family ownership. Executive Chef Ryan is our guest.

Orange County craft beer enthusiasts know Victor Novak as the long-time, acclaimed head brewer of Taps in Brea. He’s also responsible for graciously mentoring many of the prominent young brewers among the new wave of award-winning OC craft breweries. In late 2014 he joined the brewing team at the fast-growing Golden Road Brewing and is now their brewmaster. Victor is tapping a fresh keg with us.

When it comes to world-class, artisan coffee roasters in Orange County the veteran bean roaster in chief is Martin Diedrich. He grew up on a coffee farm in Guatemala! Martin now oversees busy neighborhood Kean Coffee coffee shops in Tustin and Newport Beach. He joins us.

The innovative cocktail program at SideDoor is an important attraction. New to SideDoor is Lead Barman, Randy Thais. Randy is an adjunct professor by day and a barman by night. He’s crafting something special for us as a guest…

The Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula has a long Holiday tradition of baking and decorating eye-catching gingerbread houses for sale until Christmas to their appreciative guests. Their acclaimed Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Jacques Granet (he has worked on three continents) joins us with all the sweet details.

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

Rich MeadThe most eagerly anticipated restaurant opening of the year in Orange County is the long-in-the-works Farmhouse Café at Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar. Guests are actually dining in the Roger’s Garden’s lush gardens. Lunch reservations are “fully committed” for the balance of the year. Guests at lunch (without reservations) line-up early (11:00 a.m. or before) to nab one of the “first come, first-served” seats available at the bar.

The executive chef/proprietor is Rich Mead. Rich is fondly remembered by local foodies for Sage and Sage on the Coast. He’s been creatively shopping at the Wednesday morning Santa Monica Farmers Market for fresh, seasonal ingredients long before it was trendy.

Roger’s Gardens and Chef Rich Mead have partnered in establishing a unique and sustainable field-to-fork dining experience at Farmhouse Café located within Roger’s Garden.

Located in the heart of Newport Beach, the Café is nestled on over 6 acres in a garden-like setting. The Farmhouse offers the freshest, locally sourced, seasonal ingredients to create a healthy based cuisine.

On the libation side there is even a signature Farmers Market Cocktail of The Week. The key ingredient is something fresh from the Santa Monica Farmers Market that week.

Chef Rich pops out of the busy Farmhouse kitchen for a brief moment to join us.

Ryan Wagner of CulinaryLabCulinaryLab Contemporary Cooking School in Tustin offers an immersive, hands-on education for all levels of cooks including aspiring chefs, serious home cooks and industry professionals.

“What’s the best way to learn about working in a professional kitchen?  To work in one, of course.  Students who choose our apprenticeship program will have the opportunity to work approximately 1,500 hours as a paid apprentice at one of our partner restaurants, gaining hours of practice and real world experience that is normally reserved for those who have already graduated culinary school.  By reinforcing what they’re learning while simultaneously working in a real professional kitchen, our students are faster, more skilled and better prepared to excel in the foodservice industry.”

“Instead of spending countless hours reading culinary textbooks as homework or sitting through uninspired lectures, our students watch comprehensive video demonstrations and navigate online curriculum.”

“At CulinaryLab we measure our success by how our students perform in the real world.

If they fail, so do we. When they succeed, we do too. We put it all on the line for them.”

– Ryan Wagner, Chef Director

Chef Director Ryan Wagner, C.E.C. is the founder of the program. We’ll meet him.

Ryan WilsonRyan Wilson is the Vice President and Executive Chef for Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc. the parent company of SideDoor and Five Crowns. He represents the 4th generation of Frank/Van de Kamp Family ownership.

Before pursuing his culinary ambitions around the world, Ryan grew up creating dishes for his mother and sister. He officially stepped into the family business in 2002 as the prep cook at the Tam O’Shanter and later transitioned to the Five Crowns kitchen as a line cook. After following culinary opportunities outside the Lawry’s realm, he returned as the opening chef for The Prime Rib restaurants in China and Japan. Stateside, he served as opening chef for Lawry’s Carvery at L.A. Live and in 2008 returned to the Tam O’Shanter as Executive Chef.

During his time at the Tam O’Shanter, Ryan worked closely on the concept and execution for SideDoor in Corona del Mar and later became the Executive Chef for both SideDoor and Five Crowns. In 2014, Ryan assisted in opening the SideDoor gastropub in Chicago and remains focused on providing the highest quality food service available through his corporate and operational roles. Chef Ryan’s responsibilities have grown to include the operational oversight of the six licensed Lawry’s Prime Rib locations in Asia and the future growth of Lawry’s international portfolio.

Executive Chef Ryan Wilson is our guest.

Victor Novak of Taps Fish House and Brewery in BreaOrange County craft beer enthusiasts know Victor Novak as the long-time (15 years), acclaimed head brewer of Taps in Brea. He’s also responsible for graciously mentoring many of the prominent young brewers among the new wave of award-winning OC craft breweries.

In late 2014 he joined the brewing team at the fast-growing Golden Road Brewing and is now their brewmaster.

“In 2011, beer enthusiasts Meg Gill and Tony Yanow founded Golden Road Brewing to bring fresh beer to the local market in the most sustainable way possible.  Golden Road is committed to engaging and supporting the growing community of socially-minded beer enthusiasts.”

“Golden Road’s year-round offerings include Point the Way IPA, Golden Road Hefeweizen, Get Up Offa That Brown and Wolf Among Weeds IPA. Along with the core beers, Golden Road brewers are constantly experimenting with the freshest ingredients through a collection of rotating, seasonal and limited-edition brews including the Custom IPA Series, a line-up of diverse, hop-forward IPAs.”

A new brewery in Anaheim (across E. Orangewood Ave. from the South entrance to Angel Stadium) with a Tasting Room was added this year with a rotating selection of 20 styles on tap. Eventually the evolving facility will include a full-service restaurant.

Head Brewer Victor is tapping a fresh keg with us.

Martin DiedrichWhen it comes to world-class, artisan coffee roasters in Orange County the veteran bean roaster in chief is Martin Diedrich. He grew up on a coffee farm in Guatemala! Martin now oversees busy neighborhood Kean Coffee coffee shops in Tustin and Newport Beach.

“Kéan Coffee™ is the newest, most exciting coffeehouse concept by coffeehouse visionary Martin Diedrich. Our mission is to purvey fresh-roasted artisan coffee the way it is meant to be, in a beautiful, eclectic coffeehouse environment. Martin is craft roasting the finest coffees from around the globe on-site, many organic and fair-trade. This enables us to serve our coffee so fresh, most days it has been roasted within hours of the moment it reaches your cup. Our expertly trained baristas are creating the most innovative, cutting edge coffee beverages to be had.”

“Martin, local coffeehouse pioneer and founder of the Diedrich Coffee chain, left behind the world of corporate culture to return to his origins as an independent coffeehouse operator in order to stay true to his ideals of what a coffeehouse should be and what coffee culture should be.”

“Along with his wife Karen Varese Diedrich, Martin spent two years putting all of his creativity, inspiration and community and global awareness into bringing Kéan Coffee to reality. Martin and Karen Diedrich aptly named this next generation of coffeehouse after their son, Kean.”

Martin joins us.

Randy TheisThe innovative cocktail program at SideDoor is an important attraction. New to SideDoor is Lead Barman, Randy Thais. Randy is an adjunct professor by day and a barman by night.

Now leading the libation charge at SideDoor, Randy’s knowledge of English culture aligns perfectly with the gastropub’s British history and inspiration. His vision is to continue to make SideDoor the ultimate destination for cocktails, and believes that executing an Old Fashioned with precision will lead to a loyal clientele.

One of Randy’s newest creations on the SideDoor cocktail menu is the Ugly Gentleman, also known as “Steve.” Steve is a boozy, long and savory rye cocktail poured over hand-cute ice. The glassware covers a spot of burning maple wood while the cocktail is being prepared, and through science or magic, the smoke rests inside the glass even after the whiskey is poured.

He’s surely crafting something special for us as a guest…

Jean Jacques GranetThe Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula has a long Holiday tradition of baking and decorating eye-catching gingerbread houses for sale at a very reasonable price until Christmas to their appreciative guests.

“This holiday season, housing starts inside of one southern California casino/resort will more than double after last year’s sales numbers topped expectations. Pechanga Resort & Casino’s in-house bakery team is preparing, constructing and decorating hand-crafted gingerbread houses and offering them to prospective buyers at a nominal cost for home ownership. These units, which may be purchased individually or several at a time to create neighborhood continuity, come fully loaded and turnkey for gift giving, or for hanging onto for one’s own sweet tooth satisfying gratification.”

“Those looking for a brand new gingerbread home can find them in easily accessed locations at the 24-hour Caffe Cocoa inside the popular Temptations Food Walk at Pechanga or at Blends Coffee & Wine Bar just inside the Pechanga Hotel Lobby. Each home features distinct décor and amenities such as hand-drawn insulation (icing) and real curb appeal with colorful holiday sweet treats lining the outside. If buyers are careful transporting the homes, no insurance is required, property tax is waived and goodwill equity can be earned by giving one of the Pechanga gingerbread homes to someone else. These handmade gingerbread houses come in 10-inch by six-inch floor plan for $35. They will be on the market until Christmas, or until all units have been snapped up by buyers.”

Pechanga’s acclaimed Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Jacques Granet (he has worked on three continents) joins us with all the sweet details.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Two: Proprietor / Executive Chef Rich Mead, Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens
Segment Three: Chef Director Ryan Wagner, CulinaryLab Contemporary Cooking School, Tustin
Segment Four: Ryan Wilson, Vice President and Executive Chef for Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc.
Segment Five: Brewmaster Victor Novak, Golden Road Brewing
Segment SIx: Artisan Coffee Roaster, Martin Diedrich, Kean Coffee
Segment Seven: SideDoor’s Lead Barman, Randy Thais
Segment Eight: Jean-Jacques Granet, Executive Pastry Chef, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula

Show 148, November 28, 2015: Chef Director Ryan Wagner, Culinary Lab

Ryan Wagner of CulinaryLabCulinaryLab, under the direction of Chef Director Ryan Wagner, is a forward-focused cooking school where timeless techniques meet cutting edge curriculum and real-world training to cook up bold contemporary cuisine. CulinaryLab reinvents culinary training with a program that harnesses the power of today’s innovations to train tomorrow’s culinary arts visionaries.

Orange County, California-based CulinaryLab (at The Anaheim Packing House) is the first school of its kind to combine an industry-fueled curriculum, tech-savvy training, hands-on learning, and a sustainable food philosophy. The first class starts in January of 2016. The first class starts in January of 2016.

Chef Wagner is really big on presenting reality to future culinarians and tempering unrealistic expectations. A student doesn’t graduate from culinary school with the expectation that they are ready to be an Executive Chef anywhere. Also the idea that they are going to graduate and be a star on Food TV is even more unlikely!

Chef Director Ryan Wagner is our guest.

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Show 148, November 28, 2015: Chef Director Ryan Wagner, Culinary Lab Continues…

Ryan Wagner of CulinaryLabCulinaryLab, under the direction of Chef Director Ryan Wagner, differs from other training programs in the region by offering an immersive, hands-on approach that not only includes 28 weeks of professional chef-led training, but also incorporates an apprenticeship in a restaurant kitchen alongside some of Orange County’s most noted chefs. Local Chef Partners currently include Mark McDonald, Chef/Owner of Old Vine Café; Carlos Salgado, Chef/Owner of Taco Maria; Jason Quinn, Chef/Owner of Playground; Peter Petro, Executive Chef of Bosscat Kitchen and Libations; and Ashley Guzman, formerly Pastry Chef at North Left and 2015 Golden Foodie Award-Winner for “Outstanding Pastry Chef.”

Limited to nine students per class, CulinaryLab’s intimate culinary training sessions focus on teaching proper cooking techniques and allowing students to perfect each skill for two days per week over the course of seven months. Trained Chef Instructors will include the local restaurant community into the class curriculum to ensure that students gain valuable insight that will enable them to transition into the industry seamlessly upon graduating. Local chefs, farmers, artisans, authors, and food scientists will serve as special guests throughout the course to offer interactive demos, input, and teaching tools that help students learn about relevant areas of expertise.

Simultaneously, each student spends another two days per week at a local Orange County restaurant, where they put their training into practice alongside top chefs. Students are exposed to the real world of professional cooking, which serves to reinforce weekly lessons. Cooking techniques, vocabulary, and ingredients leave the classroom and come to life in a working kitchen.

“CulinaryLab serves as the necessary link between up-and-coming chefs and the restaurant community,” explains Ryan Wagner, Chef Director at CulinaryLab. “We are doing something unlike anyone else in the region – we’ve revived culinary education by making it relevant to the times. When they’re not in class, our students are in the kitchen with the area’s most noted chefs, gaining fast-paced, real-world experience not normally available to beginners.”

Local Chef Partners who are active in the Orange County community will serve as mentors as CulinaryLab students go through their mandatory apprenticeship program.

 

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