Show 138, September 12, 2015: The Joy of Sake Festival – Las Vegas

Chris PearceThe Joy of Sake Festival, now in its 15th year, comes to Las Vegas for the first time on Saturday, September 19th from 7 to 10:00 p.m. at Caesars Palace. It celebrates the world’s finest sakes.

The Joy of Sake is the public tasting that follows the U.S. National Sake Appraisal, which is held in Honolulu every July. Brewers from every region in Japan enter their best junmai, ginjo and daiginjo labels, which are blind-tasted by judges from Japan and the U.S. The most exceptional win gold and silver awards. Festival-goers sample these outstanding entries, including over 200 labels which are not even available in the U.S.

For sake fans, there is no better scenario : over four hundred premium labels in peak condition, along with sake-themed appetizers from 12 top restaurants in Las Vegas including the renown Raku in Las Vegas’ Chinatown.

Tokyo follows on November 5th.

Organizer Chris Pearce gives us all the 411.

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June 14: Ben Ford, Kuniko Yagi, Barbara Fairchild, Providence 9th anniversary, Belle Chevre

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer Andy preview the show
Segment Two: Barbara Fairchild, Restaurant & Travel Editor, grapecollective.com
Segment Three: Donato Poto, co-owner, Providence, Hollywood, CA
Segment Four: Tasia Malakasis, Proprietress & Cheesemaker – Belle Chevre, Goat Cheese from Alabama
Segment Five: Executive Chef Ben Ford, Ford’s Filling Station, Culver City, CA Part One
Segment Six: Executive Chef Ben Ford, Ford’s Filling Station, Culver City, CA Part Two
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Kuniko Yagi, Hinoki & The Bird, Century City
Segment Eight: Guest Host Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, The Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Orange County Magazine

Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer Andy preview the show.

Barbara Fairchild, the well-traveled Restaurant & Travel Editor for grapecollective.com, is back with us to share some inspired and practical travel tips. Also a profile of a big deal celebrity chef restaurant in London.

It’s the 9th Anniversary of Chef Michael Cimarusti’s and Donato Poto’s Providence in Hollywood. The Los Angeles Times’ restaurant critic, Jonathan Gold, recently named them the Number 1 establishment in his annual listing of the “101 Best Restaurants – 2014.”

One of the foremost goat cheeses available in the United States, Belle Chevre, is made in a tiny town located in northern Alabama. It’s quite a success story!

You’ve seen Chef Ben Ford on Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods America” on Travel Channel and are probably familiar with his landmark Culver City Gastropub, Ford’s Filling Station. His new book is Taming The Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide To Adventurous Cooking.

Hinoki & The Bird, hidden in a luxury high rise condo tower in Century City, features pan-Asian cooking. We’ll meet executive chef Kuniko Yagi.

Guest Host Kedric Francis has been doing some traveling up the Central Coast. Some inspired dining and lodging tips are on the way.

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

Barbara FairchildBarbara Fairchild, the well-traveled Restaurant & Travel Editor for grapecollective.com, is back with us to share some inspired and practical travel tips. Also a mini-profile of dining at Gordon Ramsay in London.

Food journalist Barbara Fairchild is an editor, writer, speaker and sought-after consultant. She was the long-time Editor of Bon Appetit Magazine before the publication relocated to New York.

Providence RestaurantCelebrate nine years of Providence

“June marks our ninth anniversary at Providence and we are on…well…Cloud 9! We would like to take this opportunity to thank you, our loyal guests, for your enduring support. “We feel so fortunate to be part of the ever-evolving Los Angeles food scene. At times, I look back and can’t believe it’s been nearly a decade. It feels like we just opened yesterday!”, says consummate host and co-owner of Providence, Donato Poto. In honor of this auspicious occasion, Providence is providing some incentive for you to celebrate along with us. Beginning on our May 28th reopening, we are offering our four-course tasting menu for $80 a person, during the entire month of June. We look forward to celebrating with you!”

The Los Angeles Times‘ restaurant critic, Jonathan Gold, recently ranked Providence as the Number One Restaurant in the annual Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants 2014.

Providence was closed last month for about two weeks for a freshening of the dining rooms. The patio located off the main dining room was enclosed.

Tasia MalakasisAmerica’ most-awarded goat cheese, Belle Chevre, is lovingly made in small batches in the tiny hamlet of Elkmont, Alabama. It’s all hand-work.

Meet cheesemaker and proprietress, Tasia Malakasis

There is even an award-winning Belle Chevre cheesecake !

Goats’ milk is the most consumed milk on the planet.

Ben Ford of Ford's Filling StationYou’ve seen Chef Ben Ford on Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods America” on Travel Channel and are probably familiar with his landmark Culver City Gastropub, Ford’s Filling Station. His new book is Taming The Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide To Adventurous Cooking.

The mantra of the book is: “Cook Big. Play with Fire. Get your Hands Dirty.”
“Chef Ben Ford is known for wowing crowds with his handcrafted feasts of enormous proportions – a whole pig roast, paella for eighty, burgers for the block. Now, in Taming The Feast (Atria Books), Ford divulges his secrets for nine jaw-dropping feasts for the adventurous home cook and DIY enthusiasts in this complete guide to outdoor grilling, smoking, and roasting. It even includes creative recipes to make use of the leftovers you’re sure to have.”

“From mouthwatering Texas-style barbecue to Wood-Fired Paella, these entertaining blueprints can be used to throw a party for the whole neighborhood or an intimate dinner for four. A culinary MacGyver, Ford also provides unique complete do-it-yourself primers for making simple custom outdoor cookers that coax the ultimate flavor out of salmon, pig, rabbit, burgers, bratwurst, turkey, and lamb. Taming The Feast includes easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions, drawings, and timelines for constructing a baking barrel, cinder-block oven, smoking shed, and roasting box in your own backyard.”

Kuniko Yagi of Hinoki and the BirdHinoki & the Bird is an imaginative dining concept that pushes modern California cooking to vibrant new bounds. Taking cues from travels through the Silk Road, the restaurant serves as a colorful kaleidoscope where bright flavors, a healthy sensibility, and technique harmoniously collide. The Milo Garcia-designed indoor/outdoor space is housed on the ground floor of Related Companies’ luxury condominium tower, The Century.”

The Executive Chef of Hinoki & the Bird is Kuniko Yagi. Previously she was the sous chef at Sona and Executive Chef of Comme Ca in West Hollywood. She had no formal culinary training but the artistic drive was always with her.

In preparation for the opening of Hinoki & the Bird she traveled and conducted research in many of Japan’s top-rated Michelin–starred restaurants.

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineOur always debonair man about Orange County, Kedric Francis, did a little recent vacation swing down the Central Coast. Kedric spotlights the notable food and accommodations. Also some breaking OC restaurant news…

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer Andy preview the show
Segment Two: Barbara Fairchild, Restaurant & Travel Editor, grapecollective.com
Segment Three: Donato Poto, co-owner, Providence, Hollywood, CA
Segment Four: Tasia Malakasis, Proprietress & Cheesemaker – Belle Chevre, Goat Cheese from Alabama
Segment Five: Executive Chef Ben Ford, Ford’s Filling Station, Culver City, CA Part One
Segment Six: Executive Chef Ben Ford, Ford’s Filling Station, Culver City, CA Part Two
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Kuniko Yagi, Hinoki & The Bird, Century City
Segment Eight: Guest Host Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, The Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Orange County Magazine

Show 55, January 4, 2013: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

We’re starting off 2014 with a bang. Tune-in…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

We have the fascinating story of a middle-aged chef from New York who ventured to Japan to find himself, opened a modest ramen shop in a Tokyo suburb, and became a huge culinary celebrity in Japan! Bill Esparza is also with us, the Mexican Food Maestro and the unofficial Ambassador to the foods of Baja. Also a look at the truly affordable culinary arts program at Los Angeles Mission College, part of the Community College system.

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Show 55, January 4, 2013: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority

Ivan Orkin of Ivan RamenIn 2007, Chef Ivan Orkin, a middle-aged Jewish guy from Long Island, did something crazy. In the food-zealous, insular megalopolis of Tokyo, Ivan opened a ramen shop. He had never launched a restaurant previously.

He was a foreigner trying to make a name for himself in a place that is fiercely opinionated about ramen. At first customers came because they were simply curious. Word then spread quickly about Ivan’s handmade noodles, clean and complex broth and thoughtfully prepared toppings.

Soon enough Chef Ivan became a culinary celebrity in Japan. Fame in Japan begat his own best-selling brand of premium instant ramen.

Today there are two busy Ivan Ramen locations in Tokyo and the new Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in Manhattan. Ivan Ramen New York, a full-service Japanese restaurant, will open in the next couple of months.

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January 4: Bill Esparza, Brian Thorson, Sean E. Brown, Ivan Orkin, Jesus Sanchez, Robert Schueller

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Bill Esparza, The Mexican Food Maestro and Street Gourmet LA Blog
Segment Three: Brian Thorson, Brewmaster, Haven Gastropub + Brewery
Segment Four: Sean E. Brown, Executive Chef, ESPN Zone of Anaheim
Segment Five: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority Part One
Segment Six: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority Part Two
Segment Seven: Chef Jesus Sanchez CEC, Culinary Arts Institute, Los Angeles Mission College
Segment Eight: Robert Schueller, The Produce Guru, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce

We’re starting off 2014 with a bang. Tune-in…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

We have the fascinating story of a middle-aged chef from New York who ventured to Japan to find himself, opened a modest ramen shop in a Tokyo suburb, and became a huge culinary celebrity in Japan! Bill Esparza is also with us, the Mexican Food Maestro and the unofficial Ambassador to the foods of Baja. Also a look at the truly affordable culinary arts program at Los Angeles Mission College, part of the Community College system.

Bill EsparzaThe 16th Annual Los Angeles Times Travel Show returns to the West Hall of the L.A. Convention Center on January 18 & 19. Our favorite Mexican Food Maestro, Bill Esparza, of the Street Gourmet LA blog is with us to preview his activities at the show.

Bill has cooking demos on the Flavors of the World Stage on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. The Sunday demo he is doing with Mariana Oviedo who represents the 2nd generation of the acclaimed Guerrerense food cart in Ensenada, Mexico started by her mother, Sabina Bandera in 1962.

Brian Thorson of Haven Gastropub and BreweryHaven Gastropub + Brewery in Old Pasadena has a new brewmaster, Brian Thorson, who has been with them for a year now gaining significant acclaim from area craft beer enthusiasts. Previously in Northern California Brian created quite a following at Drake’s and Trumer Pils.

Brian brews for both Havens as well as a few select wholesale accounts. There are typically some 12 Haven styles at any given moment but that varies by season.

A current standout is El Barista Rojo brewed with Portola Coffee Lab coffee (added during conditioning.) Also of particular note is the Hops, Inc. This IPA showcases hop flavor and aroma without bitterness.

Sean Brown of the ESPN Zone in AnaheimThe ESPN Zone in Anaheim in Downtown Disney is the last of the ESPN Zones so it’s a special place. ESPN television and radio is owned by Disney and its an enormous profit center for the parent corporation.

Besides being the primo sports viewing complex of choice in the area there is a welcome new direction in the food. The new executive chef, Sean E. Brown, is committed to serving the best in homestyle American comfort food. Let’s talk about the brined pork chop special for instance.

Chef Sean spent ten years cooking in Hawaii before returning to the mainland so fresh and local is part of his repertoire! He wants to be part of the community and especially welcomes Orange County locals to stop-by and say hello.

Look for a new lunch menu in the near future. Currently they offer an all-day menu.

Ivan Orkin of Ivan RamenIn 2007, Chef Ivan Orkin, a middle-aged Jewish guy from Long Island, did something crazy. In the food-zealous, insular megalopolis of Tokyo, Ivan opened a ramen shop. He had never launched a restaurant previously.

He was a foreigner trying to make a name for himself in a place that is fiercely opinionated about ramen. At first customers came because they were simply curious. Word then spread quickly about Ivan’s handmade noodles, clean and complex broth, and thoughtfully prepared toppings.

Soon enough Chef Ivan became a culinary celebrity in Japan. Fame in Japan begat his own best-selling brand of premium instant ramen.

Ivan Ramen in New York City and TokyoToday there are two busy Ivan Ramen locations in Tokyo and the new Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in Manhattan. Ivan Ramen New York, a full-service Japanese restaurant, will open in the next couple of months.

International food authority Anthony Bourdain (CNN’s “Parts Unknown”) had this to say about Ivan Orkin :
“What Ivan Orkin does not know about noodles is not worth knowing.”

Ivan Orkin has told his story in the newly published Ivan Ramen – Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint. It’s both a memoir and a cookbook. Chef Ivan shares more than forty recipes including the complete, detailed recipe for his signature Shio Ramen.

Celebrity Chef David Chang of the Momofuku restaurant empire in New York wrote the hilarious forward.

Where can you go to culinary school locally, get a solid foundation, and not be in debt for the rest of your life?

Jesus Sanchez of the Culinary Arts Institute at Los Angeles Mission CollegeCertified Executive Chef Jesus Sanchez, a Culinary Instructor at the Culinary Arts Institute at Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar for 11 years, is with us with all the key 411.

Their Culinary Arts Institute is housed in a new 85,000 sq. ft. building with 6 classrooms, a demonstration lab/classroom and 7 impressive kitchen lab classrooms.

They offer both an Associate in Arts Degree in Culinary Arts and an Associate in Arts Degree in Restaurant Management. In addition there are Certificate Programs for Achievement in Culinary Arts, Baking & Patisserie, and Restaurant Management.

With the new year what’s in season with local fruits and vegetables?

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety ProduceOur resident produce guru, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce, is back with us to highlight what’s best of the season right now.

We’ll talk Korean Pears, Cocktail Grapefruit, Meyer Lemons, Key Limes, Dutch Yellow Potatoes, Padron Peppers, Baby Brussels Sprouts and Kale Sprouts.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Bill Esparza, The Mexican Food Maestro and Street Gourmet LA Blog
Segment Three: Brian Thorson, Brewmaster, Haven Gastropub + Brewery
Segment Four: Sean E. Brown, Executive Chef, ESPN Zone of Anaheim
Segment Five: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority Part One
Segment Six: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority Part Two
Segment Seven: Chef Jesus Sanchez CEC, Culinary Arts Institute, Los Angeles Mission College
Segment Eight: Robert Schueller, The Produce Guru, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce

Show 54, December 28, 2013: Brock Kleweno, General Manager & Executive Chef, Yamashiro Hollywood Part Two

Yamashiro Farmers MarketChef Brock personally does a lot of sourcing of his menu ingredients at the area Farmers Markets and actually operates a nighttime Farmers Market @ Yamashiro. May will mark their 5th year of hosting a Farmers Market there on Thursday evenings which has become quite a popular destination on its own drawing some 800 to 1,000 guests each Thursday night during the season.

One of Chef Brock’s signatures dishes is a Wagyu beef steak cooked at a very high temperature on a salt rock and presented with flair at the table. It finishes cooking at the table. Other standouts are the ceviche prepared with local sustainable fish and his take on Hawaiian poke based on a native Hawaiian’s family recipe.

They are also serious about the bar at Yamashiro. They prepare all the classic cocktails with style plus contemporary libations. They have some fun with the Manhattan as well as a fresh take on the Anniversary Mai Tai (which was originally created in California.) They also do a standout version of the classic Moscow Mule served in the proper chilled copper mug which actually originated in Hollywood!

The oldest structure on the property (over 600 years old) is the Pagoda Bar which was brought over from Japan. It’s located right below the main entrance to Yamashiro and offers its own incredible view during the warm weather operating season of April through September. In addition to the libations there is a small plates menu.

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August 3: Chaya Brasserie, Kedric Francis, Nancy Zavlasky, Cooks County, Life is Beautiful Festival, Kevin West

Podcasts

Segment One: Thoughts on Breakfast
Segment Two: CHAYA Brasserie Beverly Hills Part One
Segment Three: CHAYA Brasserie Beverly Hills Part Two
Segment Four: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register Magazine
Segment Five: Nancy Zaslavsky, food journalist, author, food tour guide specializing in the foods of Mexico, cooking instructor, and culinary historian
Segment Six: Daniel Mattern, Chef / Proprietor of Cook’s County
Segment Seven: Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas
Segment Eight: Kevin West, food blogger and journalist

Please join us at our new starting time of 10:00 a.m. “The SoCal Restaurant Show” expands to 2-hours on August 3rd. We’re now with you from 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon every Saturday morning for the most appetizing food talk..

It seems appropriate to be talking about breakfast this morning. We’re chronicling some recent breakfast dining experiences from Orange County to Las Vegas.

CHAYA Brasserie Beverly HillsCHAYA Brasserie Beverly Hills (located adjacent to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) is a pioneer in brining innovative Japanese cuisine served in a stylish environment to greater Los Angeles. Amazingly they are celebrating their 30th anniversary in Los Angeles this year. Their celebration kicked-off last Sunday with a “Summer Festival” tasting and celebratory activities continue through October.

Chaya owner Yuta Tsunoda and long-time CHAYA Executive Corporate Chef Shigefumi Tachibe are with us to give us the rich history.

The culinary roots of the founding Tsunoda Family stretch back 400 years when the first CHAYA opened in Japan. It is still in operation today as a restaurant.

CHAYA has four popular restaurants in California including the Flagship in Beverly Hills, Venice, Downtown Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Each location embraces the distinct neighborhood that surrounds it. For instance, CHAYA Brasserie San Francisco, located on the Embarcadero, features sweeping views of the Bay Bridge.

CHAYA also operates two Los Angeles-based locations of M Café, a casual macrobiotic eatery.

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineMan about Orange County, the always debonair Kedric Francis, is with us in-studio. Kedric is the distinguished Executive Editor of the monthly Coast Orange County Magazine. Kedric is also the co-founder and Executive Editor of the OC Register Magazine.

Kedric will preview a couple of unusual staycation ideas for the OC as well as an exciting food & wine festival set for the Central Coast in late September.

It’s Margarita time! Food journalist and Mexican cuisine-authority, Nancy Zaslavsky, is with us to share the “World’s Best Margaritas Recipe.”

Zaslavsky is an author, cooking teacher, and culinary tour leader specializing in the foods of Mexico. She penned the James Beard Award-nominated, A Cook’s Tour of Mexico.

Daniel Mattern of Cooks CountyRegulars to the show know that Chef Jet is a huge fan of Cook’s County in Los Angeles and dines there often. Starting this month (every Tuesday) it’s their inaugural California Craft Beer and Food Festival.

Chef/Proprietor Daniel Mattern has invited seven of his favorite breweries to come pour their beer selection at the “California Craft Beer and Food Festival” at Cook’s County. The series of beer-centric dinners will take place on Tuesday evenings from August 6th to September 24th. Menus will be tailored around the different craft beers and many dishes will be prepared using beer as a significant ingredient. Each evening’s menu consists of five courses, and all courses, including dessert, will be thoughtfully paired with beer.

Las Vegas has never seen anything quite like this before and it’s a big one !

life-is-beautifulIt’s the Life is Beautiful festival set for many blocks of Downtown Las Vegas from October 25th through Sunday, October 27th. It’s an impressive line-up of world class music, food, art and learning. Tickets are on sale.

With more than 60 prominent chefs and restaurants, 24 wineries and 24 breweries participating in the culinary part of the festival alone, L.I.B presents the attendees with a full-scale food festival experience.

“The food experiences of L.I.B. were carefully designed to be interactive, innovative and unexpected,” says Jolene Mannina, Head of Culinary Arts for the festival. “Working with the vision of our Culinary Advisory Board of 12 world-renowned chefs, we’ve created an approach that we feel will set us apart from other food festivals, giving both our patrons and chefs a chance to enjoy something new, fresh and, of course, delicious.”

Kevin WestCanning, pickling, and preserving has really taken off in local home kitchens. Food journalist Kevin West, a certified food preserver, has just launched Saving the Season: A cook’s guide to home canning, pickling, and preserving from Knopf. In addition to the expected recipes West has mini profiles of his favorite farmers and farm adventures as part of the book.

Kevin is at The Beverly Hills Farmers Market on Sunday, August 4th as part of Pickle Fest. He’ll be signing the book there from 9 to 10:45 a.m.

The block-wide ethnic food court at the historic Grand Central Market (dating back to 1896) in Downtown Los Angeles is undergoing a renaissance. Kevin West is consulting on that effort to bring exciting, one-of-a-kind distinctive food businesses to the Market. It’s already happening…

Podcasts

Segment One: Thoughts on Breakfast
Segment Two: CHAYA Brasserie Beverly Hills Part One
Segment Three: CHAYA Brasserie Beverly Hills Part Two
Segment Four: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register Magazine
Segment Five: Nancy Zaslavsky, food journalist, author, food tour guide specializing in the foods of Mexico, cooking instructor, and culinary historian
Segment Six: Daniel Mattern, Chef / Proprietor of Cook’s County
Segment Seven: Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas
Segment Eight: Kevin West, food blogger and journalist