Show 221, April 29, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Big Island Chocolate FestivalIt’s a very special day of indulgence and celebration on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” We’re live from the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. We’re broadcasting from the Reef Lounge with an incredible ocean view.

Hawaii is the only state in the USA where cacao, the primary base of chocolate, can be successfully grown commercially.

Now a properly decadent preview of this Saturday’s full 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 that’s probably a pretty good thing…

When it comes to insider’s knowledge of the vibrant Chicago food scene one of the best sources is Chicago ABC 7 Eyewitness News Food Reporter, Steve Dolinsky, “The Hungry Hound.” Steve was recently nominated for his potential 14th James Beard Foundation Award for journalistic excellence in reporting. The James Beard Awards Gala is May 1st at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. As a veteran of The James Beard Awards in both New York and Chicago, Steve joins us with a preview of what’s in store and a report on the Media Awards.

Farsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

Hawaii Island native Peter Abarcar, Jr. was promoted in 2015 from executive chef of Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel to director of culinary and beverage operations. Chef Abarcar now oversees all culinary, food and beverage operations at the 350-room oceanfront resort including the resort’s signature restaurant, Coast Grille. He also supervises operations for extensive catering and banquets, the Ocean Terrace Restaurant and The Beach Bar. We pull him out of the busy kitchens and “Talk Story.”

Alicia Boada is an acclaimed pastry chef and instructor with 20 plus years of experience in the culinary industry. She is the West Coast Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate (The Barry Callebaut Group) whose brands include Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Mona Lisa, among more. As a Corporate Pastry Chef & Chocolatier, Chef Alicia’s role often calls on her to perform demonstrations and training worldwide keeping her on the edge of what’s happening in the contemporary pastry and chocolate world. Chef Alicia will be performing a chocolate demonstration as part of the Festival in addition to judging the Gala’s delicious offerings.

Maui Chef Elizabeth (Betty) McDonald of B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery is a judge for the Gala as well as the College Competition. She is a veteran of The Big Island Chocolate Festival. Chef Betty has been in the culinary field since 2003, developing a love for baking at a young age from her mother and grandmothers. She has been fortunate enough to travel with her husband living and working in the four corners of the country.

Guittard’s Chocolate Company’s Executive Chef and Chocolatier, Donald Wressell, really needs no long introduction to listeners. Prior to his joining Guittard Chocolate as the in-house pastry chef, Donald Wressell spent 19 years at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills where he was named the 2005 Pastry Chef of the Year, won Silver and Gold medals in the Grand Salon Culinaire and placed second at the Les Masters du Chocolat competition. Chef Donald also represented the USA four times in Le Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie and captained the winning team at the 2011 National Pastry Team Championship.

Chef instructor Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla of University of Hawaii – Maui College oversees the college competition at The Big Island Chocolate Festival and has done it for several years. The Festival has had student participants from UH-Maui College, UH-Hilo and UH-Palamanui in Kona. It is Friday, April 28th and winners are announced at the Festival Gala. Chef Shurilla has been working and teaching in the culinary field for over thirty-four years. Prepare to be judged…

Andrew and William GruelChef Andrew Gruel is at Trade in Irvine this Saturday (busily training & cooking) in the soft opening phase of Two Birds and Butterleaf. He’ll happily fly the coop and be back with us next week.

Mahalo nui loa to The Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and Prince Resorts Hawaii, our gracious hosts in Hawaii.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Play

Show 221, April 29, 2017: Chef Peter Abarcar Jr., Director of Culinary & Beverage Operations, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel

Peter Abarcar JuniorHawaii Island native Peter Abarcar, Jr. was promoted in 2015 from executive chef of Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel to director of culinary and beverage operations. Chef Abarcar now oversees all culinary, food and beverage operations at the 350-room oceanfront resort including the resort’s signature restaurant, Coast Grille. He also supervises operations for extensive catering and banquets, the Ocean Terrace Restaurant and The Beach Bar.

Abarcar first began his Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel career as lead cook in 1997. In 2000 he left the Hapuna family to become Executive Chef at the Club at Hokuli’a. Eight years later, Abarcar returned to Mauna Kea Resort to help reopen Mauna Kea Beach Hotel as sous chef, following the hotel’s closure and extensive renovation. In 2010, he was promoted to chef de cuisine at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel’s signature restaurant, Coast Grille. The following year, he was promoted to the position of Executive Chef.

Chef Abarcar enjoys pairing varieties of ethnic flavors from his Hawaii Island upbringing. His keen sense of local produce and seafood paired with his culinary talent and passion for creative food results in exciting tastes on each of the menus at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

We’ll pull him out of the busy kitchens and “Talk Story.”

Play

April 29: Live from the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 Eyewitness News’ (Chicago) – “The Hungry Hound”
Segment Three: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao Association (KCA)
Segment Four: Chef Peter Abarcar Jr., Director of Culinary & Beverage Operations, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel
Segment Five: Executive Pastry Chef Alicia Boada, West Coast Technical Advisor, Barry Callebaut Chocolate North America
Segment Six: Chef Elizabeth (Betty) McDonald, B3 “A Beach Bunny Bakery”, Maui
Segment Seven: Donald Wressell, Executive Chef, Guittard Chocolate Company
Segment Eight: Chef Instructor Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla, University of Hawaii-Maui College

It’s a very special day of indulgence on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

Big Island Chocolate FestivalWe’re coming to you from the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. We’re broadcasting from the Reef Lounge with an incredible ocean view.

Hawaii is the only state in the USA where cacao, the primary base of chocolate, can be successfully grown commercially.

Now a properly decadent preview of this Saturday’s full 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 that’s probably a pretty good thing…

When it comes to insider’s knowledge of the vibrant Chicago food scene one of the best sources is Chicago ABC 7 Eyewitness News’ Food Reporter, Steve Dolinsky, “The Hungry Hound.” Steve was recently nominated for his potential 14th James Beard Foundation Award for journalistic excellence in reporting. The James Beard Awards Gala is May 1st at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. As a veteran of The James Beard Awards in both New York and Chicago, Steve joins us with a preview of what’s in store and a report on the Media Awards.

Farsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

Hawaii Island native Peter Abarcar, Jr. was promoted in 2015 from executive chef of Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel to director of culinary and beverage operations. Chef Abarcar now oversees all culinary, food and beverage operations at the 350-room oceanfront resort including the resort’s signature restaurant, Coast Grille. He also supervises operations for extensive catering and banquets, the Ocean Terrace Restaurant and The Beach Bar. We’ll pull him out of the busy kitchens and “Talk Story.”

Alicia Boada is an acclaimed pastry chef and instructor with 20 plus years of experience in the culinary industry. She is the West Coast Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate (The Barry Callebaut Group) whose brands include Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Mona Lisa, among more. As a Corporate Pastry Chef & Chocolatier, Chef Alicia’s role often calls on her to perform demonstrations and training worldwide keeping her on the edge of what’s happening in the contemporary pastry and chocolate world. Chef Alicia will be performing a chocolate demonstration as part of the Festival in addition to judging the Gala’s delicious offerings.

Maui Chef Elizabeth (Betty) McDonald of B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery is a judge for the Gala as well as the College Competition. She is a veteran of The Big Island Chocolate Festival. Chef Betty has been in the culinary field since 2003, developing a love for baking at a young age from her mother and grandmothers. She has been fortunate enough to travel with her husband living and working in the four corners of the country.

Guittard’s Chocolate Company’s Executive Chef and Chocolatier, Donald Wressell, really needs no long introduction to listeners. Prior to his joining Guittard Chocolate as the in-house pastry chef, Donald Wressell spent 19 years at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills where he was named the 2005 Pastry Chef of the Year, won Silver and Gold medals in the Grand Salon Culinaire and placed second at the Les Masters du Chocolat competition. Chef Donald also represented the USA four times in Le Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie and captained the winning team at the 2011 National Pastry Team Championship.

Chef instructor Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla of University of Hawaii – Maui College oversees the college competition at The Big Island Chocolate Festival and has done if for several years. The Festival has had student participants from UH-Maui College, UH-Hilo and UH-Palamanui in Kona. It is Friday, April 28th and winners are announced at the Festival Gala. Chef Shurilla has been working and teaching in the culinary field for over thirty-four years. Prepare to be judged…

Andrew and William GruelChef Andrew Gruel is at Trade in Irvine this Saturday (busily training & cooking) in the soft opening phase of Two Birds and Butterleaf. He’ll happily fly the coop and be back with us next week.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Steve Dolinsky and Andreew GruelWhen it comes to insider’s knowledge of the vibrant Chicago food scene one of the best and most reliable sources is Chicago ABC 7 Eyewitness News Food Reporter, Steve Dolinsky, “The Hungry Hound.”

Steve was recently nominated for his potential 14th James Beard Foundation Award for journalistic excellence in reporting. The James Beard Awards Gala is May 1st at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

As a veteran of The James Beard Awards in both New York and Chicago, Steve joins us with a preview of what’s in store and a report on the Media Awards, held on Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers, New York City.

Farsheed BonakdarFarsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts.

Beyond creating, implementing and promoting the Big Island Chocolate Festival, the Kona Cacao Association works with cacao growers, producers, chocolate enthusiasts and chefs to help create a recognizable brand for Hawaii Island Chocolate. KCA members work together towards creating a structure to maintain the quality of cacao grown, marketed and shipped from Hawaii for the future growth of this fledging industry.

We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

Peter Abarcar JuniorHawaii Island native Peter Abarcar, Jr. was promoted in 2015 from executive chef of Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel to director of culinary and beverage operations. Chef Abarcar now oversees all culinary, food and beverage operations at the 350-room oceanfront resort including the resort’s signature restaurant, Coast Grille. He also supervises operations for extensive catering and banquets, the Ocean Terrace Restaurant and The Beach Bar.

Abarcar first began his Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel career as lead cook in 1997. In 2000 he left the Hapuna family to become Executive Chef at the Club at Hokuli’a. Eight years later, Abarcar returned to Mauna Kea Resort to help reopen Mauna Kea Beach Hotel as sous chef, following the hotel’s closure and extensive renovation. In 2010, he was promoted to chef de cuisine at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel’s signature restaurant, Coast Grille. The following year, he was promoted to the position of Executive Chef.

Chef Abarcar enjoys pairing varieties of ethnic flavors from his Hawaii Island upbringing. His keen sense of local produce and seafood paired with his culinary talent and passion for creative food results in exciting tastes on each of the menus at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

We’ll pull him out of the busy kitchens and “Talk Story.”

Alicia BoadaAlicia Boada is an acclaimed pastry chef and instructor with 20 plus years of experience in the culinary industry. She is the West Coast Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate, North America (The Barry Callebaut Group) whose brands include Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Mona Lisa, among more.

As a Corporate Pastry Chef & Chocolatier, Chef Alicia’s role often calls on her to perform demonstrations and training worldwide keeping her on the edge of what’s happening in the contemporary pastry and chocolate world.

Chef Alicia will be performing a chocolate demonstration as part of the Festival in addition to judging the Gala’s delicious offerings.

Alicia also serves as President of the Women Chefs & Restaurateurs.

Betty McDonaldMaui Chef Elizabeth (Betty) McDonald of B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery is a judge for the Gala as well as the College Competition. She is a veteran of The Big Island Chocolate Festival. Chef Betty has been in the culinary field since 2003, developing a love for baking at a young age from her mother and grandmothers.

She has been fortunate enough to travel with her husband living and working in the four corners of the country. Growing up in Rhode Island and attending culinary school in Massachusetts cemented her base knowledge and passion for traditional pastries.

Traveling the country and landing in the tropical destination of Maui has blended beautifully with Betty’s pastry skills. The tropical fruits and flavors have really made for an exciting flavor profiles in classic desserts.

Upon moving to Maui, chef Betty became the executive pastry chef for restaurateur Mark Ellman. Betty made her mark on the culinary scene at Mala an Ocean Tavern and Honu Seafood and Pizza, becoming an award-winning pastry chef. As the executive pastry chef for these restaurants Betty was awarded the Star Chef’s Rising Star Award for her desserts with vibrant and bright tropical flavors with gluten free and vegan options.

Chef Betty has continued her rise in the Maui culinary scene. In the summer of 2014 Chef Betty opened B3 “A Beach Bunny Bakery”. Specializing in cakes and cupcakes for all occasions. B3 also bakes fresh and delivers scrumptious desserts to several restaurants and coffee shops on the west side of Maui, most notably Paris Nabavi’s Sangrita Grill and Cantina.

Donald WressellGuittard’s Chocolate Company’s Executive Chef and Chocolatier, Donald Wressell, really needs no long introduction to listeners. Prior to his joining Guittard Chocolate as the in-house pastry chef, Donald Wressell spent 19 years at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills where he was named the 2005 Pastry Chef of the Year, won Silver and Gold medals in the Grand Salon Culinaire and placed second at the Les Masters du Chocolat competition.

Chef Donald also represented the USA four times in Le Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie and captained the winning team at the 2011 National Pastry Team Championship.

In his spare time Chef Donald created the spectacular “Official” Birthday Cakes for the City of Beverly Hills’ Diamond Jubilee (1988) & Centennial (2014) Anniversary celebrations. The Centennial creation yielded 15,000 ample servings and not a crumb was left!

Teresa Cheech ShurillaChef instructor Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla of University of Hawaii – Maui College oversees the college competition at The Big Island Chocolate Festival and has done if for several years. The Festival has had student participants from UH-Maui College, UH-Hilo and UH-Palamanui in Kona.

The college competition is set for Friday, April 28th at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and winners are announced at the concluding Saturday night Festival Gala. Chef Shurilla has been working and teaching in the culinary field for over thirty-four years. Prepare to be judged…

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 Eyewitness News’ (Chicago) – “The Hungry Hound”
Segment Three: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao Association (KCA)
Segment Four: Chef Peter Abarcar Jr., Director of Culinary & Beverage Operations, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel
Segment Five: Executive Pastry Chef Alicia Boada, West Coast Technical Advisor, Barry Callebaut Chocolate North America
Segment Six: Chef Elizabeth (Betty) McDonald, B3 “A Beach Bunny Bakery”, Maui
Segment Seven: Donald Wressell, Executive Chef, Guittard Chocolate Company
Segment Eight: Chef Instructor Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla, University of Hawaii-Maui College

Show 216, March 25, 2017: 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival

Donald WressellThe 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival is set for April 28th & 29th at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. “Indulge in the alluring, rich taste of chocolate – in both its sweet and savory forms – while participating in delicious, fun and informative chocolate-themed activities.”

Farsheed Bonakdar the President of the Kona Cacao Association (the event’s producer) and Executive Chef Donald Wressell (also an acclaimed chocolatier) of the Guittard Chocolate Company are with us to preview this weekend of rich chocolate indulgence with a side of education.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds annually benefit a variety of worthy local non-profits.

“Chocolate has an amazing history and it will be fun to share it at this year’s Big Island Chocolate Festival,” says KCA President Farsheed Bonakdar.

The two-day chocolate extravaganza includes a cacao plantation tour at Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, a college culinary competition and several public foodie and agriculture-themed seminars. Activities culminate 5-9 p.m. Saturday, April 29 with the indoor-outdoor festival gala—enjoy a host of sweet and savory culinary stations presented by top isle chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners. Fun chocolate activities include a live chocolate sculpture and chocolate body painting. Culinary participants will depict this year’s historical theme at their booths and be judged on originality.

Chocolate hails from Meso-America where cacao beans were brewed to make a drink or fermented into an alcoholic beverage. Highly valued, the bean was used as currency. The Mayans and Aztecs believed cacao was divine, including it in rituals. Once fashioned into a bar, chocolate became valued in America. During wartime it was included in soldiers’ rations and went to the moon with the Apollo astronauts.

Play

Show 170, May 7, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris & 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.

Congrats to all the Southern California winners at The James Beard Foundation Awards presented in Chicago on May 2nd. A tip of the toque to Suzanne Goin, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Dahlia Narvaez and food journalists Bill Esparza and Lesley Bargar Suter.

Now a sneak peak of Saturday’s appetizing show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

LA Weekly presents Tacolandia 2016 on Saturday afternoon, June 11th from 3 to 7:00 p.m. at El Pueblo de Los Angeles in DTLA. The fourth annual gourmet taco festival will feature more than 100 top taco vendors curated by the World’s First Tacorazzo, Bill Esparza, our guest.

The Hungry Cat in Downtown Santa Barbara is the newest restaurant in Chef David Lentz’s Hungry Cat empire which started in 2005 in a somewhat hidden location in Hollywood and eventually expanded to a highly visible, across the street from the beach location in Santa Monica. Santa Barbara’s General Manager, Bob Van Der Veer, joins us. He started in Hollywood as a relief bartender.

Panxa Cocina in Long Beach recently celebrated its year anniversary. It’s located in the former Christy’s space on E. Broadway. Chef Arthur Gonzalez ( the revived ROE Restaurant) is the Executive Chef and Co-Owner. It’s Santa Fe, New Mexico-style cuisine with rich, bold flavors and a lot of imagination. Chef Art is with us for the distinctive menu highlights.

Executive Chef Marc Johnson at Oak Grill at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach just launched Slow Smoked Sundaze. It’s a relaxed, family-style, smoked BBQ Sunday. Chef Marc is here with all the succulent details.

The 5th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival gala is May 14th at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Kohala Coast. Indulge in both savory and sweet temptations prepared by top chefs and chocolatiers while watching award-winning Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, sculpt one of the largest volcanoes ever created in fine chocolate. Chef Donald is our guest.

The Hollywood Farmers Market and the parent non-profit, SEE-LA, is celebrating 25 successful years of providing the Los Angeles community with sustainable and fresh produce with special market events each Sunday in May. The Sunday event series features cookbook signings and demonstrations by a few of Los Angeles’ most celebrated chefs and cookbook authors. Executive Director James Haydu has all the celebratory 411.

Sushi has become mainstream in California. It’s even sold in neighborhood convenience stores. Our own resident seafood expect, Chef Andrew Gruel, has everything you need to know about practical sushi basics. He’ll have tips for ordering as well as proper sushi etiquette.

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

Play

Show 170, May 7, 2016: Guittard Chocolate Company’s Executive Chef, Donald Wressell

Donald WressellThe 5th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival gala is May 14th at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Kohala Coast. Indulge in both savory and sweet temptations prepared by top chefs and chocolatiers while watching award-winning Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, sculpt one of the largest volcanoes ever created in fine chocolate. Chef Donald is our guest.

This year’s event theme is “Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park” and culinary stations will be judged on their depiction of the popular park, plus a host of “best” culinary categories: savory, plated dessert, bon bon, bean-to-bar, Hawaiian cacao and People’s Choice.

More chocolatey fun includes a tasty mole and salad bar, chocolate body painting, live music and dancing, a silent auction, wines, cocktails and handcrafted beer using cacao nibs from Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Play

May 7: Tacolandia, Andrew Gruel, Panxa Cocina, Oak Grill, Donald Wressell, Hollywood Farmers Market

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Bill Esparza, Street Gourmet, Tacolandia
Segment Three: The Hungry Cat, Santa Barbara
Segment Four: Proprietor / Executive Chef Arthur Gonzalez, Panxa Cocina, Long Beach
Segment Five: Oak Grill’s Executive Chef, Marc Johnson, Island Hotel, Newport Beach
Segment Six: Guittard Chocolate Company’s Executive Chef, Donald Wressell
Segment Seven: Hollywood Farmers Market – 25th Anniversary
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel and Sushi 411

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.

Now a sneak peak of Saturday’s appetizing show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

LA Weekly presents Tacolandia 2016 on Saturday afternoon, June 11th from 3 to 7:00 p.m. at El Pueblo de Los Angeles in DTLA. The fourth annual gourmet taco festival will feature more than 100 top taco vendors curated by the World’s First Tacorazzo, Bill Esparza, our guest.

The Hungry Cat in Downtown Santa Barbara is the newest restaurant in Chef David Lentz’s Hungry Cat empire which started in 2005 in a somewhat hidden location in Hollywood and eventually expanded to a highly visible, across the street from the beach location in Santa Monica. Santa Barbara’s General Manager, Bob Van Der Veer, joins us. He started in Hollywood as a relief bartender.

Panxa Cocina in Long Beach recently celebrated its year anniversary. It’s located in the former Christy’s space on E. Broadway. Chef Arthur Gonzalez (ex-ROE Restaurant) is the Executive Chef and Co-Owner. It’s Santa Fe, New Mexico-style cuisine with rich, bold flavors and a lot of imagination. Chef Art is with us for the distinctive menu highlights.

Executive Chef Marc Johnson at Oak Grill at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach just launched Slow Smoked Sundaze. It’s a relaxed, family-style, smoked BBQ Sunday. Chef Marc is here with all the succulent details.

The 5th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival gala is May 14th at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Kohala Coast. Indulge in both savory and sweet temptations prepared by top chefs and chocolatiers while watching award-winning Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, sculpt one of the largest volcanoes ever created in fine chocolate. Chef Donald is our guest.

The Hollywood Farmers Market and the parent non-profit, SEE-LA, is celebrating 25 successful years of providing the Los Angeles community with sustainable and fresh produce with special market events each Sunday in May. The Sunday event series features cookbook signings and demonstrations by a few of Los Angeles’ most celebrated chefs and cookbook authors. Executive Director James Haydu has all the celebratory 411.

Sushi has become mainstream in California. It’s even sold in neighborhood convenience stores. Our own resident seafood expect, Chef Andrew Gruel, has everything you need to know about practical sushi basics. He’ll have tips for ordering as well as proper sushi etiquette.

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

Bill EsparzaA preview of Tacolandia with Bill Esparza.

Congrats to Bill on his prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for best “Food Coverage in a General Interest Publication” which he shares with his L.A. Magazine Editor, Lesley Bargar Suter. This was for their 14-page “Taco City” spread in L.A. Magazine last year.

LA Weekly presents Tacolandia 2016 on Saturday afternoon, June 11th from 3 to 7:00 p.m. at El Pueblo de Los Angeles in DTLA. The fourth annual gourmet taco festival will feature more than 100 top taco vendors curated by the World’s First Tacorazzo, Bill Esparza. Taquerias from as far away as London, England participate. All restaurants have tasty samples of their signature gourmet tacos for all to enjoy.

Complete with live mariachi music, cash bars with beer, wine and cocktails as well as awards for best tacos in various categories presented by The Vendys, Tacolandia 2016 will be LA Weekly’s largest event of the year and one not to be missed. This event is for guests 21 years of age and older.

Some VIP tickets are still available. This event usually sells out so buy your tickets now.

Bob Van Der VeerThe Hungry Cat in Downtown Santa Barbara is the youngest restaurant in Chef David Lentz’s Hungry Cat empire (2007 launch) which started in a hidden location in Hollywood and eventually expanded to a highly visible, across the street from the beach location in Santa Monica and then North to Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara’s General Manager, Bob Van Der Veer, joins us. He started in Hollywood as a relief bartender.

“Since 2005, The Hungry Cat (Hollywood) has offered the highest quality fish and meats matched with Southern California’s abundant seasonal produce.”

“The result is not simply a seafood house, but a continuously evolving restaurant, following the seasons, but always remaining true to the product.”

“With a focus on the artisan, The Hungry Cat produces its own in-house smoked meats and seafood, curing and pickling, as well as featuring a unique farmers market driven cocktail program, esoteric wine list and rotating local beers.”

“Our rotating raw bar (Santa Barbara) showcases Pacific and Atlantic oysters, clams, Santa Barbara sea urchin, raw and marinated fish dishes, crab and lobster.”

Arthur GonzalezPanxa Cocina in Long Beach recently celebrated its year anniversary. It’s located in the former Christy’s space on E. Broadway. Chef Arthur Gonzalez (ex-ROE Restaurant) is the Executive Chef and Co-Owner. It’s Santa Fe, New Mexico-style cuisine with rich, bold flavors and a lot of imagination. Chef Art is with us for the menu highlights.

Panxa Cocina was born out of a lifetime of love for Latin cuisine and a desire to support locally sourced foods. Growing up in Cerritos, California, Chef Arthur Gonzalez helped his German mother and his Oaxacan grandmother prepare meals growing up.

Chef Gonzalez wanted to be a firefighter and started as a paid call firefighter at age 26, but due to a back injury, he discovered his passion for cooking in the firehouse kitchen. He then went on to Seal Beach restaurant, Spaghettini, as a dishwasher. This humble beginning for Chef gave him the opportunity to train in the kitchen. Two years after starting at Spaghettini, Chef Gonzalez was the pastry/sous chef at local legend Mahé before moving to New Mexico.

After working in several restaurants in New Mexico, Chef Gonzalez was introduced to James Beard award-winning Chef Eric Distefano of Coyote Café and Geronimo, who became his mentor. While working at Señor Lucky’s in Santa Fé, Chef Gonzalez met Vanessa Auclair, his current business partner here in California.

Vanessa and Chef came back to Southern California to work at McKenna’s On The Bay in Long Beach as Manager and Head Chef, respectively, with the goal of creating delicious, clean and simple food. Their success at McKenna’s led to the opening of seafood focused Roe on Second Street in Belmont Shore.

Deciding to try something new, Vanessa and Chef opened Panxa, inspired by their Southwestern roots, together creating a menu authentic to New Mexico and influenced by his family’s cooking throughout his childhood.

At Panxa, pronounced pan-zah (the Catalan word for belly), Chef Gonzalez has created a place for flavorful unique dishes, craft cocktails, wine, and an extensive tequila menu.

Marc JohnsonExecutive Chef Marc Johnson at Oak Grill at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach just launched Slow Smoked Sundaze. It’s a relaxed, family-style, smoked BBQ Sunday. Chef Marc is here with all the succulent details.

“All summer long you’ll find us smoking up Southern goodness at Oak Grill. Join us for Slow Smoked Sundaze and devour authentic BBQ smoked on property with a mixture of cherry and oak wood.”

“Choose from baby back ribs, brisket, cedar-plank salmon, fried chicken and whole roasted catch of the day. The mains are accompanied by deliciously authentic sides and down-home desserts.”

“Wash it down with our backyard lemonade, spiked with Tito’s Vodka if that’s your thing.”

Donald WressellThe 5th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival gala is May 14th at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Kohala Coast. Indulge in both savory and sweet temptations prepared by top chefs and chocolatiers while watching award-winning Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, sculpt one of the largest volcanoes ever created in fine chocolate. Chef Donald is our guest.

This year’s event theme is “Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park” and culinary stations will be judged on their depiction of the popular park, plus a host of “best” culinary categories: savory, plated dessert, bon bon, bean-to-bar, Hawaiian cacao and People’s Choice.

More chocolatey fun includes a tasty mole and salad bar, chocolate body painting, live music and dancing, a silent auction, wines, cocktails and handcrafted beer using cacao nibs from Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

James HayduThe Hollywood Farmers Market and the parent non-profit, SEE-LA, is celebrating 25 successful years of providing the Los Angeles community with sustainable and fresh produce with special market events each Sunday in May. The Sunday event series features cookbook signings and demonstrations by a few of Los Angeles’ most celebrated chefs and cookbook authors. Executive Director James Haydu has all the celebratory 411.

“We are so excited to be celebrating a quarter century in Hollywood,” said James Haydu, Executive Director, SEE-LA. “What began as a dream has become one of the oldest and best-loved institutions in Los Angeles, and we’re thrilled to be paying homage to all those who helped make it a success…from the city leaders to the farmers who have been with us for all these years. It’s a truly special community and we can’t wait to fete everyone involved.”

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamSushi has become mainstream in California. It’s even now sold in neighborhood convenience stores. Our own resident seafood expect, Chef Andrew Gruel, has just about everything you need to know about practical sushi basics. He’ll have useful tips for ordering as well as proper sushi etiquette.

Break out the chopsticks but go easy with the soy sauce…

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Bill Esparza, Street Gourmet, Tacolandia
Segment Three: The Hungry Cat, Santa Barbara
Segment Four: Proprietor / Executive Chef Arthur Gonzalez, Panxa Cocina, Long Beach
Segment Five: Oak Grill’s Executive Chef, Marc Johnson, Island Hotel, Newport Beach
Segment Six: Guittard Chocolate Company’s Executive Chef, Donald Wressell
Segment Seven: Hollywood Farmers Market – 25th Anniversary
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel and Sushi 411