Show 235, August 5, 2017: House of An Executive Chef Tony Nguyen, Pop-up Crustacean Menu at AnQi, Costa Mesa

Tony NguyenAs Beverly Hills Vietnamese fusion institution Crustacean undergoes a major five-month redesign this summer, Orange County diners will be treated to signature dishes prepared by Crustacean master chef Helene “Mama” An at AnQi, a sister restaurant at South Coast Plaza. Beginning August 1 and through September 30, diners at the upscale gourmet bistro AnQi will be able to savor a sampling of signature dishes from An’s famous Secret Kitchen that previously were not available at the Costa Mesa restaurant.

The pop-up version of Crustacean’s highly acclaimed menu will be available at dinner only Monday through Friday in the Q Lounge at AnQi, which like its Beverly Hills counterpart has won acclaim for its signature style of Euro-Vietnamese cuisine and An’s creative use of Asian herbs and spices in her cooking.

Reservations are required and are limited to 60 guests a night and should be made by phone: 714.557.5679. AnQi is located at South Coast Plaza, 333 Bristol St. Costa Mesa

The pop-up Crustacean menu at AnQi will include 10 appetizers, four main courses and two desserts.

The tantalizing appetizer options include Turmeric Grilled Calamari ($15), with saffron, orange zest and peanut mustard sauce; Sweet and Spicy Chicken Meatballs ($15), made with basil, tofu, tempura flakes and Gochujang sauce; and the addictive XO Noodles ($18) with scallops, shrimp, chicken, bird’s eye chili, shallots and Hennessy cognac.

Among the choices for the main courses are Rack of Lamb ($46), made with chardonnay flambé, Steamed Seabass ($49); and An’s Famous Roasted Crab ($65), featuring An’s garlic sauce and secret spices and available in or out of the shell.

A mouthwatering dessert option is Grandma Diana’s Famous Banana Fritters ($12).

Joining us to explain all the delicious specifics is House of AN’s Executive Chef, Tony Nguyen.



Show 208, January 28, 2017: Duane Owen, Executive Chef, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula

Duane Owen of Pechanga Casino and ResortThe Pechanga Resort + Casino’s executive chef, Duane Owen, is no stranger to the show. Chef Duane joins us to preview Pechanga’s upcoming Chocolate Decadence Event (February 10th) and the 9th Annual Pechanga Wine Festival on February 11th.


FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2017 • 7-10PM
VIP* Ticket $75 • General Admission $55 • Designated Driver $30

Enjoy an array of chocolates and pastries while sampling a variety of wines, domestic sparkling wines, champagnes, spirits and dessert wines along with live music.

*VIP ticket includes early entry beginning at 5:30PM, upgraded souvenir wine glass, sliced seasonal fruit, international and domestic cheese and tray-passed hors d’oeuvres.


VIP* Ticket $85 • General Admission $65 • Designated Driver $40


The most notable wineries from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Temecula, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand and beyond will offer a few hundred of their finest vintages along with live music. Sip and savor as you sample a variety of distinguished dishes from the award-winning chefs of Pechanga Resort & Casino.

Combo VIP Ticket $140 • Combo General Admission Ticket $100


Show 201, December 10, 2016: Emma Bengtsson, Executive Chef, Aquavit, New York

Emma BengtssonAquavit, a landmark New York-based fine dining establishment featuring the cuisine of Sweden is a classic. In the Spring of 2014 their former Pastry Chef, Emma Bengtsson, was unusually elevated to the Executive Chef post there by proprietor Hakan Swahn.

Former Aquavit Executive Chef Marcus Jernmark recruited Bengtsson in 2010 to join the restaurant as Pastry Chef. Bengtsson quickly became known for her creative interpretations of classic Scandinavian desserts, as well as establishing a new bread program. Her style was reflective of the region’s penchant for local products, progressive techniques, and continuing traditions; and it was well received, as Aquavit was recognized with one star in the Michelin Guide New York City in 2013 and 2014.

Håkan Swahn, the owner of Aquavit, saw talent and fresh perspective in Chef Bengtsson’s skillset and offered her the role of Executive Chef in spring 2014. She accepted the job, and since then has injected the critically acclaimed menu with her personal style and experience.

In October of 2015, her work garnered a second Michelin Star for Aquavit, making her the second female chef in the U.S. to run a two-star kitchen and the first ever Swedish female chef to do so.

We’ll hear Emma’s incredible story.



Show 191, October 1, 2016: Executive Chef Jason Montelibano, Chapter One – The Modern Local

Jason MontelibanoOur friend and colleague, Anne Marie Panoringan (OC Weekly’s blog), was the first journalist to break the story (August 30th) that Executive Chef Jason Montelibano was departing EATS Kitchen at Hotel Irvine to return to Chapter One: The Modern Local in Santa Ana. Time to catch-up with Chef Jason (a.k.a. Chef Chicken Wing.)

From Anne Marie’s OC Weekly “Stick a Fork in It” blog post:

“I have had such a positive experience with EATS, Hotel Irvine and the Irvine Company over the last two years. And while I’ve learned so much and grown in this time, I’m very excited to return to Chapter One: the modern local, in Santa Ana to continue my career in an environment of creativity and collaboration. As always, I’m eternally grateful to those who’ve supported me every step of the way, and I look forward to what the future brings.” – Chef Jason Montelibano

Chef Jason’s new menu arrives the Week of October 3rd. He also explains the origin of the unusual name, “Chapter One – The Modern Local.” It actually makes a lot of sense once you understand the background.

Take a look at our Instagram feed for some good food porn images of the food at Chapter One including a new Chef Jason menu item.


Show 188, September 10, 2016: Executive Chef Eric Ernest, USC Hospitality

Eric Ernest“Today’s top-flight University chefs are likely to be as savvy and competitive as their independent restaurant peers. Eric Ernest, the accomplished fine-dining chef who has headed University of Southern California Hospitality since 2012, knows this all too well.”

USC Hospitality operated 44 food and beverage venues on the University Park Campus, Health Sciences Center Campus, as well as two off-campus venues. It also provides creative full-service catering.

“Ernest and his team of up to 40 chefs turn out about 20,000 meals daily between students, faculty, the hospital, the hotel, the Coliseum and special events. So the pressure is on to produce and produce well.” “The question is not how do we fit their needs?” “Instead of what do they want, it’s what do they not know exists that they can’t live without?” Ernest insists.

USC’s pinnacle of fine-dining is Moreton Fig Restaurant + Lounge. The chef there is the highly-motivated Mireya Medina. Her first position at USC Hospitality was as a line cook. Great example of promoting an exceptional candidate from within.

Chef Eric is also USC Hospitality’s Associate Director of Purchasing, Logistics & Special Projects. He’s our guest.



Show 174, June 4, 2016: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort and Casino

Duane Owen of Pechanga Casino and ResortThe 8th Annual Pechanga Microbrew & Craft Beer Festival and Chili Cook-off returns to the Pechanga Grand Ballroom on Saturday, June 11th. The “SoCal Restaurant Show” will be there broadcasting live from 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon when the taps officially open. Pechanga’s Executive Chef, Duane Owen, is our guest. He’ll be chatting about the chili cook-off, a fiery annual competition among the talented Pechanga chefs.

In addition to sampling over 100 styles of craft beer guests have the opportunity to taste and savor nine varieties of house-prepared chili, fired up by the award-winning chefs at Pechanga Resort & Casino. It’s a yearly highlight.

A new chili champion was crowned by the guests last year at the annual Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili Cookoff. Temptations Food Court chef, Marlene Moore, tantalized the sold-out crowd with her “Temptation” Hearty Southern Style Chili. She edged out seven other Pechanga chefs’ chili varieties which included Texas-style chili with trio of meat, steak chili mac, and black bean chili con carne, with poblano rajas, crispy pork and shishito peppers.

In a spirited competition Chef Marlene will be defending her title on June 11th. Nine chef-created chilies are in the crowded field for consideration. The popular vote of the attendees determines the winner.

With 219 votes out of a total of 914 from 2015 Microbrew Festival attendees, Chef Moore, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, unseated Chef Damian Stanley (the Executive Sous Chef of Pechanga) who had held the chili throne for two years. Stanley received third place with 153 votes. Kelsey’s chef, Ronnel Capacia, came in a close second with 155 votes.

One secret ingredient is out…We know that Chef Ronnel’s chili creation for 2016 will use Golden Road Brewing’s Get Up Offa That Brown, a toasty brown ale, in the recipe.


Show 168, April 23, 2016: Angel Stadium’s Executive Chef, Robert Biebrich

Robert BiebrichIt’s time for America’s favorite pastime…Ballpark food. It’s our always anticipated annual report on what’s new on the menu at Angel Stadium with Executive Chef Robert Biebrich of Legends Hospitality. It’s the 50th season at Angel Stadium so expect to be wowed.

Chef Robert brought in two standout plated desserts from his full-time Executive Pastry Chef. One dessert is a deconstructed Red Velvet Cake with white chocolate mousse, fresh strawberries and strawberry paper. The chocolate wonder is a decadent Chocolate Tart with candied peanuts and fresh raspberries.

Set to open soon (probably May…) is The Corner Market. It’s a new dining destination on the Terrace Concourse which will add to Angel Stadium’s healthier options with Jersey Mike’s Cold Subs, Muscle Maker Wraps, Melissa’s Asian Chicken Salad, and a whole lot more.

Also new is Crafty Dawgs in Field Level 127. It’s a build your own dog concept with an appealing variety of both hot and cold toppings available. You can also choose from the creative menu. Think The Sonora Dog with Bacon or the Short Rib Cheese Chili Dog…



Show 156, January 23, 2016: Executive Chef Timothy Hollingsworth, Partner, Otium, Downtown Los Angeles

Timothy HollingsworthShortly after leaving his post as Chef de Cuisine at The French Laundry in 2013, Chef Timothy Hollingsworth moved to Los Angeles and opened Barrel & Ashes in Studio City in 2014. It’s an updated take on traditional BBQ that pays homage to the food of Hollingsworth’s youth growing up in Texas.

Late last month he debuted his first solo project, Otium. Located on Grand Ave. adjacent to The Broad – L.A.’s New Contemporary Art Museum in the Historic Bunker Hill neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles, Otium strips away the formalities of fine dining while focusing on quality food and service. Chef Tim is our guest.

Chef Timothy Hollingsworth’s 13- year history in Napa Valley, blended with his present roots as an Angeleno living in downtown Los Angeles, sets the stage for an environment of sophisticated rusticity with highly eclectic, vibrant, and seasonal flavors.

While working at The French Laundry under Chef Thomas Keller in 2008, Hollingsworth competed in the Bocuse d’Or USA, where he was awarded the opportunity to represent the United States at the Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Contest—the biennial global cooking competition first envisioned in 1987 by revered French chef Paul Bocuse.

Hollingsworth subsequently completed a rigorous training process, during which he worked with some of the industry’s most influential figures. In early 2009, Hollingsworth traveled to Lyon, France to compete in the prestigious event, where he placed sixth out of 24 prominent chef teams from around the world.

In his current role and first solo project at Otium, he looks to be a mentor to the next generation of aspiring chefs. Hollingsworth has been awarded Rising Star Chef Award from The San Francisco Chronicle as well as the Rising Star Chef of the Year Award presented by the James Beard Foundation.


Show 156, January 23, 2016: Executive Chef Timothy Hollingsworth, Partner, Otium, Downtown Los Angeles Continues…

Timothy HollingsworthOtium is a contemporary restaurant that draws from the rich culinary heritage of Chef Timothy Hollingsworth. It is designed to be a social restaurant with an open kitchen merging indoor and outdoor spaces. The restaurant’s name, Otium, has its roots in Latin, a word that is meant to emphasize a place where time can be spent on leisurely social activities.

Adjacent to one of Los Angeles’ most important cultural corridors — Grand Avenue — and next to its newest, most vibrant addition, the contemporary art museum, The Broad, Otium strips away the rigid formalities of dining while focusing on the quality of food, warm service, and relaxed casual ambience, paralleling the true essence of its name. The restaurant draws inspiration from the 100-year-old olive trees planted in The Broad’s adjacent Plaza by utilizing rustic cooking with wood fire and sustainable ingredients grown in the garden of the restaurant’s mezzanine.

“Walk through the beautiful Plaza that sits between Otium and The Broad. Face Otium’s front patio. Walk left towards our far exterior wall. Turn your head right. Admire. Yes, THAT IS a Damien Hirst mural (“Isolated Elements”) adorning the outside of the restaurant.”

Opening next door to the Broad presents many exciting opportunities for Otium to identify itself first and foremost as a place for artistic expression in all its forms, and this has given me an amazing blank canvas to craft a very unique and exciting restaurant for Los Angeles,” –Timothy Hollingsworth

I’ve always been a great admirer of Damien Hirst’s work, so we were thrilled when we had the opportunity to include a mural of his as part of the restaurant’s design.” -Timothy Hollingsworth


Show 155, January 16, 2016: Executive Chef Garth Blackburn, “Taste Texas” and Sub-Zero Wolf, Dallas & Houston, Texas

Chef Garth Blackburn and Andy HarrisChef Garth Blackburn (our guest) is the Executive Chef for Taste Texas TV and Sub-Zero Wolf. He’s hosting the Taste of Travel Theater at The Travel & Adventure Show with his colleague, Amy Kushnir, Executiver Producer of “Taste Texas TV.” On the daily television show Chef Garth shares his passion for great Texas food sources.

The last cooking demonstration on Sunday afternoon at the Taste of Travel Theater will be Chef Garth demonstrating his own recipe for Texas Seafood Tostados.

Born in Lubbock and raised in Houston, Chef Garth has a passion for all things Texas and that certainly includes stellar sources for seasonal ingredients. His parents’ home cooking got him started in the kitchen, and he really fell in love with food as a member of the U.S. National Cycling Team traveling and tasting his way through 30 different countries.

After graduating culinary school, he went on to cook at several acclaimed Houston restaurants, cheffed it up in catering, and also cooked full time for a star NBA family.  Currently he is Executive Chef at Sub-Zero Wolf running two state-of-the-art culinary centers in Dallas and Houston