Show 213, March 4, 2017: Executive Chef / Restaurateur Dino Ferraro, Capone’s Cucina, Huntington Beach

Dino FerraroChef Dino Ferraro is affectionately known to his many regulars as the “Godfather of Italian Cuisine” in Huntington Beach with three popular Italian/Mediterranean Restaurants located in this prominent beach community. Chef Dino’s flagship is Capone’s Cucina and his other establishments are Black Trumpet Bistro and Mona Lisa Cucina.

Capone’s Pasta and Pizza opened in Westminster in 1997. It was at this location that Dino expanded his repertoire and added specials to the standard menu. Customers were hooked on Dino’s ability to transform everyday ingredients into culinary works of art and became regulars.

He sold Capone’s Pasta and Pizza in 2000 and moved to Huntington Beach where he opened Capone’s Cucina with a goal of creating a more gourmet dining experience. In 2002, Dino hired friend and fellow chef, Francois Lieutaud to create a unique paring of French and Italian cuisine. The combination made for an old world European feel and customers loved the larger selection of dishes. Capone’s remodeled and expanded into the space next door late last year.

Dino and Francois rejoined again and started Mona Lisa Cucina with a large variety of gourmet pasta’s and pizza’s to serve the Huntington Beach community. From their early experiments with simple, basic foods grew an appreciation for the sensuality of texture, presentation and fragrance.

The newest addition to Chef Dino’s family of restaurants is The Black Trumpet. This establishment specializes in Mediterranean tapas, small plates that bring the guest the flavors of Italy, France, Greece and Morocco.

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Show 205, January 7, 2017: Executive Chef Ross Pangilinan, Mix Mix Kitchen Bar, Santa Ana

Ross PangilinanYou know Executive Chef Ross Pangilinan from his time at Leatherby’s Café Rouge in Costa Mesa at The Segerstrom Concert Hall. He’s now launched his own ambitious venture, Mix Mix Kitchen Bar (A Globally Inspired Chef-Driven Concept) in Downtown Santa Ana.

It’s an appealing, somewhat unfamiliar menu (Dinner) of global dishes with influences from traditional French and Italian to modern Filipino cuisines. Sunday Brunch has recently been added to the menu.

“The inspiration for my menu at Mix Mix comes from both the memories I embrace from childhood and techniques I’ve learned throughout my culinary career,” commented Chef Ross Pangilinan, who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants across France and California. “At an early age, my father instilled in me an appreciation for diversity in food; together, we explored everything from hole-in-the-wall Chinese eateries to high-end French restaurants.”

Dishes like the Filipino Ceviche and Tropical Verrine pay homage to Pangilinan’s Filipino heritage. Among his signature dishes, the Tropical Verrine is a modern interpretation of the restaurant’s namesake dish, Mix Mix, the literal translation from Halo Halo, a traditional Filipino dessert featuring a mixture of sweets.

“The dining adventures I shared with my father sparked my inspiration for cuisine at a young age,” added Pangilinan. “To this day, I draw inspiration from the meals we shared together.”

In addition to its eclectic menu of global cuisine, Mix Mix offers handcrafted libations from its craft cocktail bar. The beverage program focuses on ‘shaken & stirred’ cocktails created with house-made bitters, syrups, and infusions, as well as French wines and craft beer from around the world.

Prominent features of the new restaurant include a succulent garden wall behind the bar and in the dining room, a 6-seat ‘butcher’s block’ Chef’s Table that peers directly into the restaurant’s open kitchen. The reservation-only Chef’s Table will offer a five-course “Oui Chef” menu that evokes a dining experience for all the senses.

Chef Ross briefly escapes from the open kitchen and is our in-studio guest.

 

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Show 195, October 29, 2016: Andre Pinto, Restaurant Chef, Paisano’s Italian Restaurant, Pechanga Resort & Casino

Andre Pinto of Paisanos Italian Restaurant at PechangaPechanga Resort & Casino in Wine Country Temecula just off the 15 Freeway has a well-earned reputation for excellence in all levels of dining. Their signature Italian restaurant is Paisano’s Italian Restaurant. Newly arrived there in the open kitchen is Chef Andre Pinto. We’ll meet him.

Promoted from the position of kitchen supervisor for Kelsey’s restaurant, Chef Pinto, 32, showed Pechanga culinary management he possesses both the technical and creative passion for food required to be a head chef at California’s largest resort / casino. Before spending a year and one-half in the kitchen at the newly renovated Kelsey’s restaurant, Pinto spent 10 years working at two of the east coast’s top restaurants. Earlier in his career he was immersed in preparing Italian cuisine at respected establishments in the Boston area.

Originally from Salvador, Bahia in Brazil, Andre Pinto recalls helping his mother in the kitchen at home often when he was a teenager. “The other kids would be out playing soccer, and I love soccer, but I wanted to help my mom make cold feijoada (Brazilian black bean stew) and see how it came together,” says Pinto. He also tried his hand at making cakes.

“I’m so happy and humbled to have been promoted to the head chef for Paisano’s,” said Pinto. “We have a great team here, and already, it’s exciting to see some of the regulars who have come back for my dishes. My approach to food is Brazilian meets East Coast meets West Coast while still remaining true to authentic Italian flavors, though the most important thing, every ingredient must be the freshest it possibly can.”

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Show 193, October 15, 2016: Frank Buono, CEO, Buono’s Authentic Pizzeria, Long Beach and San Pedro

Frank BuonoOver 50 years ago Nicolaniello Buono opened a modest Italian Grocery and Deli in San Pedro. In 1973 that transitioned into Buono’s Italian Pizzeria. There are now two locations in Long Beach and the original in San Pedro. The Flagship is at 250 W. Ocean Blvd. in the heart of Downtown Long Beach. Two generations of the Buono Family are still actively involved.

“From the pizza fashioned from hand-kneaded dough made fresh daily, to the homemade sauces and sausages, to the fresh mozzarella, and the gas-fired brick ovens, eating at Buono’s is like dining at a pizzeria in the Old Country. When you order any of their Italian specialties, such as lasagna, spaghetti, eggplant parmigiana, or linguini e vongole, you are tasting a bit of Italy near the shores of the Pacific.

All of the Italian sandwich rolls used on the menu at Buono’s are baked in-house, daily.

A sign of a successful restaurant is the longevity of their staff. Many of the co-workers at Buono’s (both in the front and back-of-the-house) have been there for years.

Family CEO, Frank, hand-kneads the dough for us.

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Show 153, January 2, 2016: Winegrower David de Lancellotti, Formaglini Vineyards, Williamette Valley, Oregon Continues…

David de Lancelotti and Andy HarrisMaking great wine requires a basic passion for farming. We continue with winegrower David de Lancellotti of Formaglini Vineyards.

David brings a unique talent to both his wine growing style and his dedication to small hand-farmed Oregon Pinot Noir. True to the essence of the soil, the Formaglini Vineyard has used only Biodynamic and organic techniques since its planting in 2007. David is deeply passionate and faithful to his Italian roots and integrates these Old World learnings and practices throughout his Formaglini Vineyard wine experience.

“The Formaglini family (my grandmother Onelia) came from a small village in the hills outside Bologna. It was there in the small community of La Quercia that this wine, this dream, was born. The traditions that were passed from that generation to our de Lancellotti family today is the passion behind this wine. It is our family’s belief that what was once simple and true, just a generation ago, is even more real today. This vineyard project and the wine made here in Oregon is a tribute to all those who shaped and enriched our lives.” –David de Lancellotti

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Show 138, September 12, 2015: Barbara Lynch’s Sportello, Boston

David CavillaChef Barbara Lynch (No 9 Park), a James Beard Award-winner, is a celebrated chef in Boston. Her Barbara Lynch Gruppo enterprise owns multiple highly-regarded restaurant properties there. One of the newest is Sportello (Italian for “counter service”), a modern interpretation of the classic diner. It’s trattoria –inspired Italian dishes for lunch and dinner.

Sportello’s casual, lively, Italian spirit is captured in the sleek, minimalist design of the cuisine – fresh pastas, creamy polenta, and simple soups – and in the supremely approachable, artisanal wine list created by Wine Director Cat Silirie. (also a James Beard-Award recipient.)

The Strozzapreti is a widely-featured house favorite with braised rabbit, picholine olives and rosemary. The Tagliatelle Bolognese is also popular.

Chef de Cuisine David Cavilla has spent his culinary career as a member of Barbara Lynch Gruppo having cooked at B&G oysters, The Butcher Shop, Stir, and now Sportello. Chef David is “excited about the opportunity to dive into a new setting along with a restaurant with a new identity.”

Chef de Cuisine David Cavilla is our guest.

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Show 134, August 8, 2015: Sal Maniaci, Proprietor, Pizzeria Sapori, Newport Beach Continues…

Sal Maniaci at Pizzeria SaporiSal Maniaci, the owner and chef of Sapori Ristorante has served the flavors of Italy to Newport Beach for over 25 years. Earlier this year he decided to take his Italian roots to wood-fired Neapolitan pizza with the opening of Pizzeria Sapori. Located adjacent to Sapori Ristorante, Pizzeria Sapori features traditional Italian Neapolitan-style pizza baked in a wood-fired oven imported from Naples.

What to Expect? “Simplicity. Authentic Neapolitan pizza uses very few ingredients and light toppings. You won’t see us adding “extra cheese” here. Your pizza is not burned. Charring is normal and this is a key feature of Neapolitan pizza. Your pie will be a bit charred with a high border “cornicione” or “frame” of the pizza. It won’t come sliced. True Neapolitan pizza is served whole to prevent sogginess and to maintain the integrity of the dough we spend a lot of TLC making for you. But if you’d like it sliced, no problem – just ask.”

The bread for the ample Panini (lunch only) comes from the dough used for the pizza and is baked-to-order in the wood-burning oven. One of the house signatures is the Siciliano. It’s grilled eggplant, mozzarella, tomato, pesto, pecorino cheese and extra-virgin olive oil.

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Show 126, June 13, 2015: Executive Chef and Restaurateur Giacomino Drago

Giacomino DragoBeverly Hills is one of the toughest, and most unforgiving, markets for sophisticated dining in Los Angeles County. It’s hard to imagine thinking about quality Italian cuisine in Beverly Hills without mentioning il Pastaio, the celebrated Italian restaurant in the city’s center. For 21 years now, il Pastaio has served as an important gathering spot for locals as well as a place for celebrities to be seen. And for all of these years, one man has run the kitchen with an extraordinary eye for detail : Owner/Chef Giacomino Drago.

In Beverly Hills with its fickle clientele, it’s never easy to keep patrons happy. That Giacomino has consistently pleased his demanding customers for over two decades is a feat to be lauded. It’s clear something special is happening in the kitchen. Daily fresh-made pastas, traditional risottos, salads with Italian staples like artichokes, lentils and aged Parmesean, and entrees, including whole Branzino prepared simply with lemon, butter and capers. These are just a few of the fresh flavors that emerge from Giacomino’s kitchen.

Building upon the immediate success of il Pastaio, Giacomino opened the charming boutique trattoria Piccolo Paradiso in Beverly Hills. He also founded Panzanella in Sherman Oaks, il Segreto in the Bel Air hills, Via Alloro and il Buco, both in Beverly Hills, and Celestinio in Pasadena. In addition, Giacomino owns two fine dining sushi restaurants, SHU Sushi House Unico just a few doors away from his il Segreto in Bel Air, and Yojisan, a unique concept marrying Japanese and Italian cuisines into one. Here, albacore sashimi meets olive oil and persimmon for flavors never before considered. Taste the food you’ll agree it’s delicious.

Chef Giacomino is our guest.

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Show 116, April 4, 2015: La Dolce Vita Ristorante, Heritage Square, Oxnard

Michelle KenneyHidden away in Oxnard’s Heritage Square in a restored, three-story 1901 pre-Craftsman-style mansion is La Dolce Vita Ristorante featuring Italian and Mediterranean fusion cuisine. Family recipes and contemporary creations abound.

The owner and executive chef is Michelle Kenney, a second generation restaurateur. Michelle has over twenty-five years of experience in the restaurant and catering fields. She also is known locally for her wide variety of popular cooking classes.

Michelle took the opportunity earlier in her hospitality career to work in New England for several years to expand her expertise in the food business. She has worked every aspect of the business from large banquets at the Mystic Hilton to bartending, serving and supervising a large staff.

Along the way she even found the time to pen a cookbook, La Dolce Vita – Recipes For Living The Sweet Life.

Today, for example, La Dolce Vita serves brunch and dinner, hosts a wedding reception, and Chef Michelle performs one of her cooking classes. That’s certainly a day’s work…

We’ll meet her.

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Show 112, February 28, 2015: Chef Marlene Moore, Temptations Food Walk, Pechanga Resort

Marlene MooreFor the last seven years Chef Marlene Moore has been overseeing the busy Temptations Food Court, the Poker Room, and Bingo Parlor at Pechanga Resort & Casino. The Food Court features American, Italian, Mexican, Fried Chicken, Espresso, Pastries, Bahn Mi, Hot Dogs, finished-to-order Donuts and fresh Lemonade.

The outlet names at Temptations are American Classics, Agave Mexican Delights, Pronto Italiano, Caffe Cocoa, Little Wok Asian Specialties, and Pechanga Fried Chicken.

Chef Marlene explains why her special fried chicken (prepared to order) is well-worth waiting for!

 

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