Show 45, October 26, 2013: Elizabeth Blau of Blau & Associates in Las Vegas

Elizabeth Blau of Blau and AssociatesElizabeth Blau shattered the glass ceiling with female food & beverage executives in Las Vegas some 15 years ago working with Steve Wynn at The Bellagio recruiting high profile celebrity chefs to headline the restaurants there. It created the much-copied template for the future of big deal restaurants on The Strip.

Currently she is the Founder and CEO of Blau and Associates with her husband Chef Kim Canteenwalla. They provide food service consulting at the top level for highly discriminating, and demanding, clients.

Their personal restaurant projects in Las Vegas include Society Café at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Honey Salt in Summerlin for the locals, and the newly opened Buddy V’s Ristorante (with TLC’s “Cake Boss” Buddy Vaslastro) located in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian with a western facing view of the famed Las Vegas Strip.

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October 26: Life is Beautiful Festival from Las Vegas

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Mary Sue Milliken, Founder and Co-Owner of Border Grill Las Vegas
Segment Three: Kent Bearden, Craft Beer & Spirits Specialist for Wirtz Beverage Nevada
Segment Four: Oscar Goodman, immediate past Mayor (three terms) of Las Vegas
Segment Five: Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame
Segment Six: Elizabeth Blau of Blau & Associates in Las Vegas
Segment Seven: Jonathan Waxman, owner/chef of Barbuto in New York City
Segment Eight: Rick Moonen, owner/chef of Rx Boiler Room and rm seafood at the Shoppes at Mandalay Place in Las Vegas

Life is Beautiful FestivalYou’ve been asking for it so here it is….Our first Las Vegas Special!

Jet is in Las Vegas this Weekend as a participant in the giant “Life Is Beautiful” Festival using an event area encompassing 15-blocks of Downtown Las Vegas. The storied El Cortez Hotel and several popular new restaurants are actually part of the Festival area.

Something like this on the scale that it represents has never really been tried before…Unusually the food and beverage component shares the spotlight with the music.

The biggest names in the culinary world like Tom Colicchio will all be there. Some will be performing cooking demos at the Chefs on Stage area and others serving up their signature dishes in the Culinary Village.

Saturday afternoon at 4:45 p.m. Jet is on the Chefs On Stage East with of Ben McKee of Imagine Dragons.

Jet is also in the Culinary Village with a Chef Jet tasting station. Say hello if you’re in the neighborhood…

Mary Sue Milliken of Border GrillChef, restaurateur, and food television star, Mary Sue Milliken, really needs no introduction to the show. Her “Two Hot Tamales” series for Food Network which she did with her business partner, Susan Feniger, was one of the early hit series for the network. More recently she competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.”

One of the most successful Border Grills is located in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Hotel on The Strip.

Mary Sue and Susan are on the Chef on Stage East at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday at Life is Beautiful.

Kent Bearden of Wirtz Beverage Group NevadaCraft beer, premium wines, and fine spirits are well represented at Life is Beautiful. In fact the center of the spirited action will be at the Alchemy Gardens and the related Flight Tastings area (6th St. & Ogden Ave.) at the Festival. The Gardens will showcase the beverages of 18 distinguished craft breweries, 18 quality wineries, and 18 spirits entities.

Craft Beer and Spirits Specialist Kent Bearden of Wirtz Beverage Nevada is with us to provide all the thirst-quenching details. He’s a Cicerone (certified beer specialist) and Certified Specialist of Spirits.

Oscars Goodman former mayor of Las VegasOscar Goodman is the immediate past Mayor of Las Vegas. During his three terms as Mayor he liked to refer to himself as the “Happiest Mayor in the World.” He proudly drinks at least one gin martini a day and on official business he used to travel with two gorgeous Las Vegas Showgirls with one on each arm. His wife, Carolyn, the current Mayor approves.

Oscar is with us to discuss his leadership role in reawaking Downtown Las Vegas, his new autobiography, and his upscale steakhouse at The Plaza in Downtown.

When it comes to big city Mayors in the USA Mr. Goodman is surely a colorful original. Mayor Goodman current serves as the official Goodwill Ambassador for Las Vegas.

Jet Tila and Penn JilletteIn the world of stage magicians there is no enduring act quite like Penn & Teller. Las Vegas is the ideal base for these two performing vets. Their home, since 2003, is at The Rio just off The Strip.

He’s also a musician. Penn plays the upright bass.

What the general public doesn’t know is that Penn Jillette is an accomplished home cook. Jet has been cooking with him recently and Penn will be our very special guest.

Elizabeth Blau of Blau and AssociatesElizabeth Blau shattered the glass ceiling with female food & beverage executives in Las Vegas some 15 years ago working with Steve Wynn at The Bellagio recruiting high profile celebrity chefs to headline the restaurants there. It created the much-copied template for the future of big deal restaurants on The Strip.

Currently she is the Founder and CEO of Blau and Associates with her husband Chef Kim Canteenwalla. They provide food service consulting at the top level for highly discriminating, and demanding, clients.

Their personal restaurant projects in Las Vegas include Society Café at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Honey Salt in Summerlin for the locals, and the newly opened Buddy V’s Ristorante (with TLC’s “Cake Boss” Buddy Vaslastro) located in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian with a western facing view of the famed Las Vegas Strip.

Jonathan WaxmanHe’s affectionately known as the Obi Wan Kanobi of chefs because of his practical, no-nonsense approach to cooking and we’re talking about the Manhattan-based Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto in the West Village. You’ve seen him competing on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” His most recent cookbook is Italian, My Way: More Than 150 Simple and Inspired Recipes That Breathe New Life into Italian Classics by Jonathan Waxman and Tom Colicchio (Apr 5, 2011.) The roasted chicken recipe as served at Barbuto is a classic.

We have great affection for him in California for his early years with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse and as a recognized pioneer of California cuisine.

He’s in Las Vegas for “Life is Beautiful” Festival and will be honored Friday night at the kick-off dinner, “Grill and Guitars,” with a menu prepared by celebrity chefs.

Rick Moonen of rm seafood in Las VegasAn acclaimed former New York chef, know as a seafood master, has really taken to living in Las Vegas. We’re talking about Chef Rick Moonen.

His latest creation is Rx Boiler Room in the Shoppes at Mandalay Place (on the upper level.) The decor is over the top but our Las Vegas food expert, Brock Radke, Food Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, recommends the menu. Highlights include bacon-wrapped pork belly and “fish tacos” which are actually kampachi tartare presented in crunchy/crisp taro root shells. There is a serious cocktail program at Rx.

Chef Rick will also chat about what he’s doing on both Saturday and Sunday at “Life is Beautiful.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Mary Sue Milliken, Founder and Co-Owner of Border Grill Las Vegas
Segment Three: Kent Bearden, Craft Beer & Spirits Specialist for Wirtz Beverage Nevada
Segment Four: Oscar Goodman, immediate past Mayor (three terms) of Las Vegas
Segment Five: Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame
Segment Six: Elizabeth Blau of Blau & Associates in Las Vegas
Segment Seven: Jonathan Waxman, owner/chef of Barbuto in New York City
Segment Eight: Rick Moonen, owner/chef of Rx Boiler Room and rm seafood at the Shoppes at Mandalay Place in Las Vegas

July 13: Mary Sue Milliken, Bill Chait, Anita Lau, Jet Tila on Sushi

Podcasts

Segment One: Dining discoveries of the week with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part One
Segment Three: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part Two
Segment Four: Mary Sue Milliken, Executive Chef & Partner of Border Grill
Segment Five: Anita Lau, creator of the Mad Hungry Woman Blog
Segment Six: Chef Jet Tila with “Sushi 411.”

Previews of potential dining adventures…

Khao Soi at Spicy Thai BBQChef Jet somewhat reluctantly shares his recommendation for Northern Thai food in Los Angeles. It’s a small place with 15 seats but worth seeking out. Their signature dish is khao soi.

Producer Andy highlights Marche Moderne’s (Penthouse @ South Coast Plaza) annual Bouillabaisse festival running nightly until July 18th. It’s an authentic Marseillaise-bouillabaisse with all the fish flown in from the South of France. Spoil yourself with the very best and a glass of Rose! Reservations are a must…

If you dine-out in Los Angeles you’ve no doubt heard of Rivera and Bestia in Downtown Los Angeles. You probably also know the Italian favorite Sotto and the Peruvian-flavored, Picca located just East of Century City. How about Short Order and Short Cake at the Original Farmers Market at Third & Fairfax?

Bill ChaitWhat you probably don’t know is that all of these popular, chef-driven restaurants are ventures put together by low key restaurant impresario, Bill Chait. Bill joins us to discuss how he has created a string of successful, and enduring, restaurants (done on a budget) with talented celebrity chefs in a very tough business environment.

In the pipeline for Chait are Chef Walter Manzke’s Republique in the former Campanile space on La Brea Avenue and Neal Fraser’s Redbird in the former Vibiana Cathedral space in Downtown Los Angeles.

Mary Sue Milliken of Border GrillOn Monday, July 22nd at 6:30 p.m. at Border Grill Las Vegas Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, and Border Grill Executive Chef Mike Minor are teaming up with Chef Rick Moonen of rm seafood and Chefs Collaborative to host a Trash Fish Dinner. The cocktail reception and dinner will feature tasty alternatives to the seafood we love and, unfortunately, eat too much of. Understand the fish is delicious…

Mary Sue Milliken joins us to preview the fun evening with a purpose.

Time for Fair Food!

Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe from Chicken CharliesThe OC Fair is on through August 11th! Mad Hungry Woman blogger, Anita Lau, is with us to discuss what extreme foods are new at the Fair for 2013. She will actually be judging some Fair food contests during the event.

Fair food vendor, Chicken Charlie’s, always is always out there with fab fried food items. Eagerly anticipated is his new Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe’s and Bacon A-Fair’s Wild Boar on a stick (an OC Fair exclusive.)

According to the Orange County Register’s Nancy Luna, Chicken Charlie sold 50,000 deep-fried Twinkies last year at the Fair!

Other Chicken Charlie highlights are a deep-fried bacon pickle and a waffle dog.

SushiDo you crave sushi but feel somewhat compromised about proper manners and ordering technique in a sushi restaurant? When do you use the ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi? Is omakase (“trust the chef”) the best way to go? If you sit at the sushi bar how do you convey respect to the sushi chefs?

Listeners to the “SoCal Restaurant Show” are in luck. When he was helming Wazuzu at Encore Las Vegas, Jet had some of the most highly regarded sushi in Las Vegas on his menu. Backing it all up was in-house master sushi chef (and his highly trained team.) He will give us the 411 on ordering, and enjoying, sushi.

Podcasts

Segment One: Dining discoveries of the week with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part One
Segment Three: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part Two
Segment Four: Mary Sue Milliken, Executive Chef & Partner of Border Grill
Segment Five: Anita Lau, creator of the Mad Hungry Woman Blog
Segment Six: Chef Jet Tila with “Sushi 411.”

Show 32, June 22, 2013: Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads in West Hollywood

Tal Ronnen of Crossroads KitchenChef Tal is the soft-spoken culinary force behind the elegant, Crossroads, in West Hollywood. This is white tablecloth, plant-based fare featuring Mediterranean-influenced small plates.

Chef Tal has cooked for very discriminating celebrities including Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres.

Tal stays away from the politics. If his food is not satisfying to all then he feels he has failed. His mantra is simply to suggest trying a little plant based fare (which is properly prepared) as an addition to your present diet.

Tal Ronnen’s reputation is such that a few years ago when “difficult to please” Las Vegas casino hotel mogul Steve Wynn wanted vegetarian dishes added to all his restaurant menus at both Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Tal was engaged to accomplish this working with superstar celebrity chefs. When the project was done not only was Mr. Wynn pleased but Chef Tal became friends with all the high-profile chefs he worked with at Wynn and they continue to stay in touch.

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June 22: Sotto, Cochon 555, Tal Ronnen

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles Part One
Segment Three: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Four: Brady Lowe, creator of the Cochon 555 National Tour
Segment Five: Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads in West Hollywood Part One
Segment Six: Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads in West Hollywood Part Two

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownThis past week Chef Jet has been part of an influential food conference along with a number of standout food luminaries at UMass Amherst in Massachusetts. Jet will give us some of the highlights.

Producer Andy will preview one of the biggest ethnic food festivals happening this weekend in Orange County.

We’ll also answer some e-mail inquiries.

Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of SottoSotto on Pico Blvd. in West Los Angeles just East of Century City is the dream restaurant of American chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack who are both obsessed (in the best possible way) with all things Italy. Samson is the skilled executive chef and Pollack is the gifted pizzaiolo, and the food represents the fare of Southern Italy.

Steve Samson is known to Angelenos as one of the respected executive chefs in the rich history of Piero Selvaggio’s Valentino in Santa Monica. In early 2009 Samson and Pollack created the well-received Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa’s performing arts district near South Coast Plaza for David Myers.

Brady Lowe of Cochon 555We’ve been following the Cochon 555 national tour since their stop in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 5th at House of Blues in West Hollywood. Our own Chef Jet Tila headed one of the five competing teams creating dishes from a whole heritage pig. Each culinary team provided tastes for the 400 attendees who were then part of the final judging.

The ten regional winners met at the Aspen Food & Wine Festival last Sunday for the final showdown, The Grand Cochon. Among the finalists was Chef Ray Garcia of Fig in Santa Monica, the supreme porker from the Los Angeles competition.

Cochon founder, Brady Lowe, based in Atlanta, joins us with the final report of this year’s results.

Tal Ronnen of Crossroads KitchenTal Ronnen is the go-to vegan chef cooking in the United States. He opened his first Los Angeles area restaurant, Crossroads, back in March. It’s at the corner of Melrose and Sweetzer Avenue in West Hollywood. The food is fine-dining vegan with Mediterranean-style small plates in a highly designed space.

“I just can’t do the throw some vegetables and a starch on a plate thing,” Ronen once said in a Los Angeles Times profile. “That’s the problem with most vegan dishes. It’s a Portobello mushroom cap, or pasta primavera, and when you’re finished with dinner you have to hit the drive-through. You have to give people something that will satisfy them”

Chef Ronnen also contributed to the original menu for LYFE Kitchen which launched earlier in the year in Culver City.

His reputation is such that in early 2011 when very particular casino resort mogul Steve Wynn wanted to add vegan dishes to all of his acclaimed restaurants at both Wynn Las Vegas and Encore the plum assignment went to Chef Ronnen.

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles Part One
Segment Three: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Four: Brady Lowe, creator of the Cochon 555 National Tour
Segment Five: Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads in West Hollywood Part One
Segment Six: Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads in West Hollywood Part Two

Show 13, January 19, 2013: Brock Radke, Food & Web Editor, Las Vegas Weekly

Brock Radke of Las Vegas WeeklySome big deal new restaurants opened in Las Vegas (both on and off The Strip) toward the end of last year. And our own Brock Radke from Las Vegas Weekly has the scoop.

Alex Stratta, a well-recognized fixture at Wynn Las Vegas for many years, has decamped Sin City for Beverly Hills. He’s now executive chef at Scarpetta at Montage Beverly Hills for Scott Conant.

Chef Kim Canteenwalla opened Society Café at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. His wife is respected restaurant consultant and concept developer Elizabeth Blau. Together they opened a neighborhood casual spot, Honey Salt, in Rampart Commons across the street from Boca Park. It’s a locals’ place that’s also family friendly.

Amazingly, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay opened two new spots the same week. The larger concept is Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace. It’s already doing good business but there are consistency problems due to the mobs of guests being served.

Every Strip Hotel has a gourmet burger spot these days so Gordon Ramsay is in on that action, too, with Gordon Ramsay BurGR at Planet Hollywood. Brock recommends their burgers and thinks it’s a fun lunch experience for the Family that won’t break the bank.

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Jet Tila’s TV Adventures

Take a look at our Jet Tila all over the foodie lover TV dial.

First off, here’s Jet on the web series, Rock the Wok from Tasted showing how to make the best Shrimp Stir-Fry dish.

Here’s Jet on Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate as Giada De Laurentiis shares her affinity with Jet’s Drunken Noodles back in his days at the Encore Las VegasWazuzu.

Here’s Jet with the always opinionated Anthony Bourdain on Travel Channel’s No Reservations. Jet gave Tony a tour of LA’s Thai Town and his families Bangkok Market. Will Jet eventually make a return appearance once Tony Bourdain hits CNN?