Show 52, December 14, 2013: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine Continues…

Ritz Restaurant and GardenKedric was recently at The Ritz Restaurant & Garden’s long-running annual holiday party fund-raiser (“Christmas at the Ritz”) in Newport Center benefiting Chapman University which was a bit bittersweet. Their lease is up and this is the last “Christmas at The Ritz” at the original location dating to 1977. The Ritz was established by the late Hans Prager, the former executive chef at both Lawry’s The Prime Rib and the fabled Scandia on The Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.

There was some good news. It’s not final yet but it looks like The Ritz has found a new location in the area to relocate when they need to vacate their current home early next year. Their long-time landlord has already granted them a couple of extensions. The only glitch is that The Ritz will disappear for at least a year while the new space is remodeled. Most of the long-time employees will need to find work and perhaps move on permanently. Stay tuned…

Hard Rock Hotel Palm SpringsThe Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs is newly opened and Kedric had a chance to see the property a few weeks ago. It’s located in the heart of Downtown Palm Springs near the Indian Casino. Kedric observed there in now lots to do for twentysomethings and thirtysomethings in Palm Springs these days, including a vibrant nightlife.

Kedric also previewed some luxury resorts opening next year in French Polynesia, Bali and the Maldives. That’s the life…

Play

December 14: Scott Conant, Teemu Selanne, Clay Oven, Kedric Francis, Sherry Yard

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant oversees his highly successful empire of five Scarpetta restaurants
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant of the five Scarpetta restaurants coast-to-coast. Continues…
Segment Four: Leo Fenn, Director of Operations, Selanne Steak Tavern, Laguna Beach
Segment Five: Geeta Bansal, Executive Chef / Proprietress of Clay Oven in Irvine
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine Part One
Segment Seven: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine Part Two
Segment Eight: Sherry Yard, the acclaimed executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck for 20 years

Lechon Porchetta by Susan ParkYou can aid the unfortunate victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and enjoy some great Filipino food…There is a huge Filipino community right here in Los Angeles County.

Upcoming is an “all are welcome” fundraiser at Bamboo Bistro in Panorama City on Sunday, Dec. 15th from 4 to 8:00 p.m.

Pinoy food will be there in abundance expertly prepared by L.A. chefs including Chef Mayet Cristobal, the Executive Chef of the Getty Museum. She will be serving Beef Short Rib Adobo. The minimum donation is a modest $20 per adult and there will be live music.

The new season of Food Network’s newest hit series, Cutthroat Kitchen, hosted by Alton Brown launches Sunday night, December 15th. Our own Jet Tila is the most-used celebrity chef judge on the series. Tough but fair…

Be looking for his episodes for Season 2. Don’t miss the online after shows on Food Network’s Website. Alton goes over each episode with the celebrity chef judge. Always fun to better understand what the vexing sabotages were…! Jet doesn’t know any of this when he evaluating the food. On this show strategy is just as important as cooking chops. Luck helps, too…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Scott Conant of Scarpetta and Food NetworkChef Scott Conant oversees a growing restaurant empire from his base in Manhattan. There are hugely successful Scarpetta restaurants in New York City, Miami Beach, Toronto, Beverly Hills at The Montage Hotel and Las Vegas at The Cosmopolitan. He’s known for an extraordinary spaghetti dish.

He also has the more casual, D.O.C.G. Enoteca at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

The Scarpetta Cookbook (his third) is just out for the Holidays.

Scarpetta Beverly Hills just celebrated its 3rd birthday.

Chef Scott is familiar to millions of viewers of food television as one of the original permanent judges on Food Network’s “Chopped.” It’s probably the hardest legitimate cooking competition series on the air. As Scott explains it’s all real. None of the competing chefs have a clue what’s in their mystery basket of ingredients until they open it!

The Scarpetta Cookbook came about as a result of a hands-on cooking demo Scott performed in Manhattan. There were 15 teams of two students preparing one of his signature recipes. The variations of the same dish as presented by the class members was incredible. Scott calls it a disaster.

Scott wants food fans to be able to successfully duplicate the Scarpetta recipes at home. No secrets or missing ingredient in the book’s recipes. That’s his goal for the book.

If you order the cookbook from his website you can obtain a personalized inscription. Good idea for the Holidays and saves the flight to New York.

Chef Scott talks about the needed ingredients for success with multiple restaurants. It’s all about service, food, and ambiance. Service is the key. Food is the follow-up. Scott points out that if a guest has a bad service experience they are likely never to return.

Teemu Selanne of Selanne Steak TavernIf you’re a hockey fan then you know Teemu Selanne, The Anaheim Ducks forward and ice hockey icon. Sadly for his legion of fans this is his last season as a pro.

Teemu loves fine dining and it was only a matter of time before he opened a destination restaurant (with his business partner Kevin Pratt) in Orange County where he resides. The result is the newly launched Selanne Steak Tavern on the site of the former French 75, a historic restaurant location in Laguna Beach. It’s a sophisticated steakhouse, and lots more, with a real chef, dedicated pastry chef and a top-flight wine program orchestrated by Leo Fenn, the Director of Operations.

Leo is a recognized authority on rare and cult wines but makes it all approachable for the guest. Leo is with us to provide all the tempting 411 on Selanne Steak Tavern.

When Teemu Selanne is not on the road he will be very visible at the restaurant.

Clay Oven in IrvineThe long running Clay Oven in Irvine (26 years plus… is the OC’s classic Indian (Northern cuisine) restaurant. It’s also a true family affair.

Geeta Bansal (our guest) is the proprietress / executive chef along with her husband, Praveen, who is the gracious proprietor / sommelier. Their son, Tarun, represents the 2nd generation active at Clay Oven.

One of their holiday specials (by special order) is a Tandoor Turkey. They sell out (over 250 birds) each Thanksgiving using four tandoor ovens. The birds are skinless and marinated in an herb and spice blend. The juices are seared into the meat during the cooking process. The birds are incredibly moist when they come out of the tandoor oven.

Geeta’s unusual hobby is traveling the globe and interviewing high profile chefs in their native countries. These revealing interviews have been published in the OC Weekly, Orange County Register, and, more recently, in her own blog. Accredited, professional food journalists don’t have the access Geeta enjoys!

In a teaching moment Chef Geeta also educates us on the ancient Hindu treatise of Ayruveda as it relates to food.

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineIt’s the Holidays which is a peak vacation travel period. It’s a great time to catch-up with our man about Orange County, Kedric Francis. Kedric is the always debonair, well-traveled Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine.

On Saturday morning Kedric is off to Cancun, Mexico to experience a new high-end resort there. He’s visiting the Nizuc Resort & Spa. This will be the subject of a future report.

Kedric also reported on some big deal Fashion Island restaurant openings. Red O, with a high end regional Mexican menu by noted Chicago chef Rick Bayless, is now open. Soon to launch is Fig & Olive (Mediterranean fare) which started in West Hollywood.

Kedric was recently at The Ritz Restaurant & Garden’s annual holiday party fund-raiser in Newport Center which was a bit bittersweet. Their lease is up and this is the last Holiday Party at the original location.

There was some good news. It’s not final yet but it looks like The Ritz has found a new location in the area to relocate when they need to vacate their current home early next year. Their long-time landlord has already granted them a couple of extensions. The only glitch is that The Ritz will disappear for at least a year while the new space is remodeled. Most of the long-time employees will need to find work and perhaps move on permanently. Stay tuned…

The Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs is newly opened and Kedric had a chance to see the property a few weeks ago. It’s located in the heart of Downtown Palm Springs near the Indian Casino. Kedric observed there in now lots to do for twentysomethings and thirtysomethings in Palm Springs these days, including a vibrant nightlife.

Sherry YardL.A.’s acclaimed pastry princess, Sherry Yard, is with us for the last segment. Sherry was Wolfgang Puck’s (Spago) executive pastry chef for twenty years. She is a multiple James Beard Award-winner. Her first cookbook, The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts won a Beard Award for “Best Baking Cookbook.”

Her current project (with Lukshon’s and Father’s Office’s Sang Yoon) is the revival of Helms Bakery located on the site of the former Helms Bakery, an iconic home delivery commercial bakery that left the scene years ago. It looks like Summer of 2014 for the opening.

The exciting all-day concept keeps evolving but it’s going to be a bakery and cafe with a lot more. All the bread will be prepared and baked right there. They will roast the beans for the coffee on site. You’ll be able to get sandwiches and full meals packaged to take home.

You can sign-up for their monthly newsletter to keep current on the opening for Helms Bakery.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday afternoons look for the restored yellow Helms Bakery delivery truck in front of their future restaurant space across from Father’s Office. Sherry is selling her soon to be famous chocolate chip cookies and various hand-crafted ice cream novelties. Everything is deliciously scratch-made. Call it a tasty preview of coming edible attractions…

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant oversees his highly successful empire of five Scarpetta restaurants
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant of the five Scarpetta restaurants coast-to-coast. Continues…
Segment Four: Leo Fenn, Director of Operations, Selanne Steak Tavern, Laguna Beach
Segment Five: Geeta Bansal, Executive Chef / Proprietress of Clay Oven in Irvine
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine Part One
Segment Seven: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine Part Two
Segment Eight: Sherry Yard, the acclaimed executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck for 20 years

June 29: Kedric Francis, Tony Abou-Ganim, Thornton Winery

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part One
Segment Four: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part Two
Segment Five: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part Two
Segment Six: David Vergari, Winemaker at Thornton Winery in Temecula

Time to talk dining…

Providence RestaurantChef Jet celebrated Father’s Day at Providence in Los Angeles. This is celebrity chef Michael Cimarusti’s (ex-Water Grill) much-praised, fine-dining seafood restaurant. In addition to the expected great seafood non-stuffy, attentive service is part of the experience. There is also a very deep wine list and an outstanding bar. Jet talks about his meal there and why this is such a popular special occasion establishment.

We’ll also answer some e-mail inquiries.

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineMr. Suave himself, Kedric Francis, is back with us. He’s the Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and co-founding editor of the revamped OC Register Magazine.

Kedric is in-studio talking about local travel opportunities for Summer. He’s got some inspired ideas for traveling on the rails and previews the new attractions at The Disneyland Resort. It’s all child-friendly, too.

The Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-GanimWe’re delighted to welcome The Modern Mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim, to the show. He’s a master barman and part magician. Tony is based in Las Vegas. He created the entire bar program (nothing short of spectacular) for the opening of Steve Wynn’s  original Bellagio, the trend-setting casino resort of it’s time.

Tony will share his inspirations for Summer cocktails and the importance of quality ice. It really makes the difference in a properly-prepared cocktail!

The Modern Mixologist also previews his new line of custom-designed bar tools.

Man about Orange County, Kedric Francis encores for another segment. This time he’s  chatting about the just-released June Restaurant Issue of Coast.

One feature profiles up and coming areas where there are pockets of distinctive dining places. Downtown Santa Ana is one of these spotlighted dining neighborhoods.

The most interesting piece, we think, is on the best restaurants in Orange County located in the worst spots. What a fun idea…

A truly underappreciated local wine country destination is the Temecula Valley. It’s 90 minutes, or less, from most areas of Orange County. It’s probably best known as the location of the Pechanga Casino Resort (largest Indian casino & hotel property in the West) but there is lots more out there.

Thornton Winery in TemeculaWhen you cross Butterfield Stage Road going East on Rancho California Road you hit the picturesque, and delightfully rural,  wine country. The first winery property you pass is the eye-catching Thornton Winery celebrating their 25th anniversary of proud family ownership in 2013. They are especially known for their premium California sparkling wines but also produce a  distinctive line of still wines under the stewardship of winemaker David Vergari.

Since the beginning Thornton has staged a highly regarded summer Champagne Jazz Series at the winery showcasing renowned contemporary jazz artists. Dave Koz performed two concerts there last weekend. It’s a superb environment to enjoy a concert in. You can also sip wine and enjoy a three-course seated dinner in the concert area.

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part One
Segment Four: Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist Part Two
Segment Five: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine Part Two
Segment Six: David Vergari, Winemaker at Thornton Winery in Temecula

Show 7: November 24, 2012: Chef Dean A. Thomas, Innkeeper (with his wife, Nicole) of The Inn At Europa Village and Executive Chef de Cuisine at Europa Village Winery and Tasting Room

The Inn at Europa Village is perched on its own private hilltop in the heart of the Temecula Valley Wine Country. Each of the newly renovated 10 rooms has a majestic view of the surrounding lush vineyards. The patio (where guests may enjoy breakfast) has a sweeping 180 degree view of the Valley.

Before he came to Temecula, Dean was the highly regarded Executive Chef of Barona Resort & Casino (the large Indian casino) in San Diego County. He supervised everything from fine-dining to the casual fare there.

Chef Dean brings that same impressive culinary tradition to breakfast at The Inn. Each morning Chef Dean and Nicole prepare a rotating, 2-course breakfast spectacular for their guests. A lot of the fruit comes from the Inn’s property or Dean’s organic garden at nearby Peltzer Farms. He typically makes his own condiments, salsas, and preserves.

Dean is also the unofficial concierge of the Temecula Valley. He offers superb, unbiased recommendation for activities and locals-only dining spots for lunch and dinner. It’s a very personalized experience tailored to the guests’ specific needs. Producer Andy recommends The Inn with enthusiasm as he’s been a frequent guest over the last two yearts.

They have a TravelZoo discount promotion coming up for a weekday stay so be looking for that.

Play