Show 40, September 14, 2013: Brock Radke, Food and Web Editor, Las Vegas Weekly

Brock Radke of Las Vegas WeeklyOur man on the scene in Las Vegas, Brock Radke, was back with us. Brock is the respected Web and Food Editor for The Las Vegas Weekly.

Last month Brock had a provocative piece in The Weekly entitled. “Where are they now? Checking up on the first wave of Vegas food truckers.

Fukuburger has probably been the most successful and is still on the streets. A brick and mortar location for Las Vegas is in the plans. Sloppi Jo’s was a big success with the food critics but, ultimately, not a viable business model. Proprietress Jolene Mannina has parlayed this into other major food projects for herself. In fact she’s the head of Culinary Arts for the upcoming “Life is Beautiful” Festival in Downtown Las Vegas. The originator of Slidin’ Thru has moved on but the truck still does events and catering and there is a bricks and mortar drive-through.

Brock also talked about the just launched Heritage Steak at The Mirage on The Strip. The proprietor is Tom Colicchio of Bravo’s “Top Chef” fame and a James Beard Award recipient.

Kumi Japanese Restaurant & Bar is newly opened in Mandalay Bay. The executive Chef is Akira Back (Yellowtail) who is well-known in Las Vegas.

Play

September 14: Azunia Tequila, Vegas Food Trucks, Elizabeth Huettinger, Lena Kwak, Amar Santana, Eric Klein, Michael Passmore

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jim Riley, founder of Azunia Tequila
Segment Three: Brock Radke, Food and Web Editor, Las Vegas Weekly
Segment Four: Elizabeth Huettinger, Wine Director, Addison Del Mar
Segment Five: Lena Kwak, Research and Development Chef, Thomas Keller Restaurant Group
Segment Six: Amar Santana, Executive Chef / Owner, Broadway by Amar Santana
Segment Seven: Eric Klein, Executive Chef & Partner, Spago Las Vegas
Segment Eight: Michael Passmore, Passmore Ranch, Sustainable Aqua Farming

Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show.

Thai 2013 Food FestivalMark Sunday afternoon, September 29th on your calendar. Our very own Jet Tila is hosting the Thai 2013 Food Festival at Paramount Pictures Studios in the heart of Hollywood. It starts at 3:00 p.m.

Celebrity chefs from around the country and outstanding local Thai chefs will be there presenting their signature dishes for the guests to sample and enjoy. Entertainment will include music, Thai dancers and fruit carving.

VIP and Regular Tickets are now on sale!

Azunia TequilaJim Riley, the founder of Azunia Tequila joins us. In his spare time Jim is a professional off-road racer of some note.

This is a case study of how a boutique tequila company grows a brand in an environment dominated by cash-rich giants. Riley has built his brand with clever grass-roots marketing and being seen in the right places.

Azunia Tequila is organic and 100 per cent Weber Blue Agave. It is available in the styles of Platinum Blanco (great for cocktails,) Reposado, and Anejo.

Brock Radke of Las Vegas WeeklyOur man in Las Vegas, Brock Radke, is back with us. Brock is the respected Web and Food Editor for The Las Vegas Weekly.

Last month Brock had a great piece in The Weekly entitled. “Where are they now? Checking up on the first wave of Vegas food truckers.”

Fukuburger has probably been the most successful and is still on the streets. A brick and mortar location for Las Vegas is in the plans. Sloppi Jo’s was a big success with the food critics but, ultimately, not a viable business model. Proprietress Jolene Mannina has parlayed this into other food projects for herself. In fact she’s the head of Culinary Arts for the upcoming “Life is Beautiful” Festival in Downtown Las Vegas. The originator of Slidin’ Thru has moved on but the truck still does events and catering and there is a bricks and mortar drive-through.

Brock also talked about the just launched Heritage Steak at The Mirage on The Strip. The proprietor is Tom Colicchio of Bravo’s “Top Chef” fame and a James Beard Award recipient.

Elizabeth Huettinger of the Addison in Del MarSommelier Elizabeth Huettinger is the new Wine Director at Addison restaurant and The Grand Del Mar Resort in Del Mar. She was previously part of the wine team at Spago Beverly Hills.

Elizabeth just took the incredibly difficult “Advanced” certification test from the Court of Master Sommeliers. She shares that humbling experience with us.

Earlier in the Summer the Grand hosted a special screening of the documentary, “SOMM”. It’s the first effort by filmmaker Jason Wise.
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“SOMM” tells the fascinating story of four sommeliers attempting to pass the rigorous and prestigious Master Sommelier exam. This test has one of the lowest pass rates imaginable. Elizabeth’s head sommelier at Spago (her previous post) is a Master Sommelier. She talks about hosting the screening (there was wine and abundant food stations) and her reaction to the highly acclaimed documentary.

Lena KwakChef Lena Kwak is the highly acclaimed research development chef for The French Laundry and The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in Yountville, CA. She created the position.

With the backing of Keller she developed Cup4Cup, a healthy wheat flour-substitute which has gone national over the last two years. It’s carried in Williams-Sonoma stores and also available at the Bouchon Bakeries in Yountville, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, and New York.

Last year Kwak was named as one of Forbes Magazine’s “Top 30 Under 30” for her work with Cup4Cup.

In addition to bread mixes the proprietary line also includes a brownie mix, pizza dough, and pancake/waffle mix.

Amar SantanaChef Amar Santana is very familiar to Orange County foodies. His mentor, Chef Charlie Palmer (Aureole,) brought him out here from Manhattan in 2008 to open Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdales at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Talk about a plum assignment for a young chef…

With the backing of one of his very loyal guests he later departed to open a venture of his own, Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Since opening in 2011 it’s been a hit with both the food critics and guests. The bar has also created its own loyal following for unusual libations and a welcoming atmosphere. Their superior Moscow Mule (not listed on the bar menu) is a thoughtful homage to the original version created in the late 30s in Hollywood and now using all fresh ingredients and from scratch ginger beer.

Eric KleinIn 2007 Executive Chef Eric Klein (now a partner) was handed the keys to Spago Las Vegas by Wolfgang Puck and charged with freshening up the concept. This was quite a formidable assignment given that Spago is Wolfgang Puck’s flagship restaurant in Las Vegas! They celebrated their 20th Anniversary last year.

The restaurant is a busy café (with exhibition pizza oven) in the front and an elegant fine-dining restaurant in the back. The front patio opens onto the busy main Forum Shops walkway.

As with the Beverly Hills original Spago Las Vegas attracts the celebrity clientele in addition to sophisticated foodies. Chef Eric is the visible personality of the establishment.

Chef Eric’s first assignment in Las Vegas (after relocating from Beverly Hills) was SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas.

Michael Passmore of Passmore RanchMichael Passmore is an elite class freshwater fish farmer in the Sacramento area. His Passmore Ranch is sustainable aqua farming and his clientele are discriminating celebrity chefs all across the country who he, unusually, supplies directly.

They started modestly by selling live fish at Northern California farmers’ markets, and their quality and service quickly established them as premium purveyors for top restaurants and Michelin-starred chefs around the country.

Passmore Ranch offers premium freshwater white sturgeon, black bass, striped bass, catfish, silver carp and trout, plus prized domestic caviar.

Today Passmore Ranch is 86 acres and they raise fish in 80 million gallons of fresh water pumped up from the pristine Cosumnes aquifer. The ranch has a variety of open lakes and massive tanks used to increase the variety of sustainable fish they grow.

In the works is a plan to begin a thoughtful rollout of limited direct sales to serious home cooks. The info will be posted on their website.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jim Riley, founder of Azunia Tequila
Segment Three: Brock Radke, Food and Web Editor, Las Vegas Weekly
Segment Four: Elizabeth Huettinger, Wine Director, Addison Del Mar
Segment Five: Lena Kwak, Research and Development Chef, Thomas Keller Restaurant Group
Segment Six: Amar Santana, Executive Chef / Owner, Broadway by Amar Santana
Segment Seven: Eric Klein, Executive Chef & Partner, Spago Las Vegas
Segment Eight: Michael Passmore, Passmore Ranch, Sustainable Aqua Farming

Show 37, August 3, 2013: Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas

Life is Beautiful FestivalLas Vegas, a spot known for excess on a grand scale, has never seen anything quite like this before and it’s a really big one!

It’s the Life is Beautiful festival set for some 18 blocks of Downtown Las Vegas (including the grounds of a large casino hotel) from October 25th through Sunday, October 27th. It’s an impressive line-up of world class music, food, art and learning. Tickets are already 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 elite Culinary Advisory Board is headed by Chef Bruce Bromberg of the Blue Ribbon restaurants in New York. (His Las Vegas flagship is Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill at The Cosmopolitan.)

“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.”

Jolene is a local celebrity in her own right in the Las Vegas culinary community. Food critic and former ABC Radio correspondent Al Mancini (creator of the popular Eating Las Vegas guidebook series) calls her the “Queen of The Scene”. She originated a much-talked-about late night chefs’ completion series, the Back of the House Brawl.

Play

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