Show 224, May 20, 2017: Al Mancini, Staff Writer, Las Vegas Review-Journal Continues…

Al ManciniJournalist Al Mancini is well-known in Las Vegas hospitality circles and beyond. He’s been reviewing restaurants there for over 15 years. In 2011 he co-created the definitive Las Vegas dining guideEating Las Vegas – The 50 Essential Restaurants. He recently joined the Las Vegas Review-Journal as a staff writer primarily covering the food, restaurant and libations beat.

We resume the conversation with the delightfully opinionated Al Mancini.

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Show 209, February 4, 2017: John Kunkel, 50 Eggs, Inc & Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, The Venetian, Las Vegas

John KunkelJohn Kunkel’s (50 Eggs, Inc.) lauded Yardbird Southern Table & Bar initially roosted at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas in January of 2015. The original is in Miami. The motto is “Southern from Scratch,” a modern take on Southern fare.

John revealed to us exclusively that Yardbird Southern Table & Bar will launch a new location in Beverly Hills before year’s end.

Founded by John Kunkel, 50 Eggs, Inc. is a multi-faceted, full-service culinary and hospitality firm focused on developing cutting-edge brands with unparalleled dining experiences. Named Restaurant Hospitality Magazine’s “Coolest Multi-Concept Companies in the Land”, 50 Eggs, Inc. owns and operates the James Beard-nominated and award winning Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Miami and Las Vegas, Swine Southern Table & Bar in Miami, and Spring Chicken in South Beach, Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale, and the Miami International Airport.

50 Eggs, Inc. will open its first international location in 2017, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands. The brand’s first Latin concept, CHICA, will debut at the Venetian Las Vegas in 2017 (in the former db Brasserie space). The menu is from acclaimed chef, Lorena Garcia.

John is here with all the details.

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Show 205, January 7, 2017: Executive Chef Rick Moonen, RM Seafood & Rx Boiler Room, Las Vegas

Rick Moonen of rm seafood in Las VegasThe epitome of a high energy and multi-disciplined executive chef, Rick Moonen (a James Beard Award recipient) has two Las Vegas restaurants in Mandalay Place, RM Seafood (launched in 2005,) and the more recent Rx Boiler Room.

He’s recognized as the Godfather of Sustainability. Chef Rick is a renown seafood chef and an early proponent of sustainable seafood practices. He encourages sampling some of the lesser know, smaller “trash fish” (sardines, anchovies) that are really delicious and represent great value.

Chef Moonen also believes in supporting local farmers. Chef Rick will tell us about his association with Desert Bloom Eco Farm. Incredible farm eggs, too.

Combining the alchemy of food and drink, Celebrity Chef Rick Moonen showcases in Rx Boiler Room his spin on classic comfort food, offering guests a variety of playful creations in small and large plate portions, ideal for a shared dining experience. Paired to elevate and complement the overall experience, the drink menu features an emporium of the finest spirits and innovative libations.

Showcasing a playful interior design that defies its new age, Rx Boiler Room offers a modern reflection of the Victorian era, celebrating the steampunk sub-genre often associated with science-fiction and inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century.

We’re going trash fishing with Chef Rick.

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Show 201, December 10, 2016: Mourad Lahlou, Owner / Chef, Mourad and Aziza, San Francisco

Mourad LahlouConsidered by many as the pioneer of modern Moroccan cuisine in the United States, the James Beard award-nominated Mourad Lahlou (San Francisco’s Aziza and Mourad) never envisioned becoming a world-famous chef. Chef Mourad is one of the celebrity chefs preparing a course for The Grand Banquet of Ultimo Weekend at The Venetian. He’ll lift the lid on the tagine for us.

Aziza is currently under renovation. The plan is for it to reopen in February.

The Marrakesh native immigrated to the United States when he was 20 years old to pursue a master’s degree in economics. Missing his country’s cuisine, Lahlou taught himself how to recreate versions of his favorite Moroccan dishes with local ingredients using his own inventive techniques. Most of the lessons he learned about food came from his mother, who cooked traditional Moroccan recipes, and grandfather, who took him to the markets.

Chef Mourad’s strikingly modern reinventions of traditional Moroccan dishes are all about showcasing the great flavors of his native cuisine in ways that harmonize with the fresh, local, artisanal ingredients available in Northern California. “I’m not sure I would even call it a Moroccan restaurant anymore,” he says. Like his jet-black tattoos, Lahlou’s food and restaurants reveal a very personal story, one rooted both in San Francisco and abroad, and recount the memories that have inspired his life’s work.

 

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Show 201, December 10, 2016: Chef Scott Pajak, Chef de Cuisine, Lagasse’s Stadium, The Palazzo Resort, Las Vegas

Scott PajakScott Pajak is the Chef de Cuisine at the high volume Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. It sets the standard for Sports Bars in Sin City. He’s been with Emeril Lagasse since 2002 and was promoted to his current position in May of 2011.

Growing up in Lancaster, NY, Scott Pajak could often be found in the kitchen – cooking chicken noodle soup and sauces with his grandparents, or helping his dad tend the grill and savoring the smoky aroma of barbecue.

While studying at UNLV, he worked in numerous restaurants around Las Vegas, including Planet Hollywood, New York New York Casino and TPC Country Club, where he prepared meals for participants on the PGA Tour.

In 2002, Pajak entered the kitchen at Emeril Lagasse’s seafood eatery Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House as a line cook. Over the next 9 years, he would work in nearly every position in Lagasse’s kitchen, from saucier to butcher, eventually rising to the post of sous chef. He helped write the restaurant’s daily menus and showed off his creativity as he cooked for guests at the chef’s kitchen table.

For Monday Night Football Chef Scott adds nightly specials creatively themed to the cities of the teams playing. For “Big Game” Sunday viewing Chef Scott is featuring a Tomahawk Bone-In 32 oz. Ribeye with Mashed Potatoes. The guest can kick it up with the addition of Sauteed Mushrooms & Onions, Sauteed Lump Crabmeat, Seared Foie Gras, Sauteed Lobster Meat or Alaskan Mini Crab Legs.

Chef Scott also has appealing specials for Christmas Eve & Day 2016 as well for New Year’s Eve.

Bring on the kicked-up wings and we’ll talk hearty tailgate food (and more) with Chef Scott.

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December 10: Live from Lagasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo Las Vegas

Podcasts

Segment One: Daniel and Georges Daou, DAOU Vineyards & Winery
Segment Two: Young Yun, Executive Director, Mentor BKB Foundation
Segment Three: Mourad Lahlou, Owner / Chef, Mourad and Aziza, San Francisco
Segment Four: Paul Bartolotta, Executive Chef / Proprietor, The Bartolotta Restaurants
Segment Five: Chef Ming Tsai, Blue Ginger, Blue Dragon and Public Television’s “Simply Ming”
Segment Six: Emma Bengtsson, Executive Chef, Aquavit, New York
Segment Seven: Chef Curtis Stone, Maude in Beverly Hills & Gwen in Hollywood
Segment Eight: Chef Scott Pajak, Chef de Cuisine, Lagasse’s Stadium, The Palazzo Resort, Las Vegas

Ultimo A Weekend ExcellenceWe’re in fabulous Las Vegas on Saturday coming to you from the radio studio at Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo on the fabled Strip.

We’re here for the 4th annual Ultimo: Le Grand Voyage, The Venetian’s and The Palazzo’s ultra-extravagant, dream food and wine weekend for 140 discriminating foodies. It’s so anticipated the food, wine and libation spectacular always sells out within a couple of days of being announced.

On to a tasty preview of Saturday’s show…

Ultimo: Le Grand Voyage shouts out for incredible wines. Each year The Grand Banquet is the stellar dining experience of the Weekend festivities with courses prepared by big-name celebrity chefs. Brothers Daniel and Georges Daou of DAOU Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles will debut their Patrimony Cabernet Sauvignon at The Grand Banquet. We’ll uncork it with them.

Young Yun is the Executive Director of the Ment’or BKB Foundation in New York, a charitable beneficiary of Ultimo Weekend. Ment’or is a leading nonprofit organization devoted to INSPIRING CULINARY EXCELLENCE in young professionals and preserving the traditions and quality of cuisine in America. Will get an update from Young on the Foundation’s busy year.

Considered by many as the pioneer of modern Moroccan cuisine in the United States, the James Beard award-nominated Mourad Lahlou (San Francisco’s Aziza and Mourad) never envisioned becoming a world-famous chef. Chef Mourad is one of the celebrity chefs preparing a course for The Grand Banquet of Ultimo Weekend at The Venetian. He’ll lift the lid on the tagine for us.

Paul Bartolotta of The Bartolotta Restaurants is a two-time, James Beard Award-winner for culinary excellence. He’s best known in Las Vegas for creating the memorable Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas in 2005 which redefined high end Italian cuisine with seafood as its center. (Chef Paul is no longer associated with the renamed and repositioned restaurant as of the end of 2015.) Paul is our guest.

The Boston area’s Ming Tsai is one of the distinguished, high-profile, celebrity chefs preparing Ultimo Weekend’s Grand Banquet at the Venetian. You know Chef Ming from Food TV including his long-running acclaimed series for Public Television, “Simply Ming.” His popular restaurants in the greater Boston area are the long-running Blue Ginger and the more recent, Blue Dragon. We’ll meet him.

Aquavit, a landmark New York-based fine dining establishment featuring the cuisine of Sweden is a classic. In the Spring of 2014 their former Pastry Chef, Emma Bengtsson, was unusually elevated to the Executive Chef there post by proprietor Hakan Swahn. We’ll hear Emma’s incredible story.

Melbourne-born Chef Curtis Stone now resides in Los Angeles. In addition to being all over Food TV (“Kitchen Inferno” and the upcoming “My Kitchen Rules” on Fox), Chef Curtis has the intimate Maude in Beverly Hills and Gwen (also a butcher shop) in Hollywood. Chef Curtis, also a participating chef in The Grand Banquet, joins us.

Scott Pajak is the Chef de Cuisine at the high-volume Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. He’s been with Emeril Lagasse since 2002 and was promoted to his current position in May of 2011. Bring on the kicked-up wings and we’ll talk hearty tailgate fare (and more) with Chef Scott.

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

Daniel DaouUltimo: Le Grand Voyage calls for incredible wines. Each year The Grand Banquet is the stellar dining experience of the Weekend festivities with courses prepared by huge celebrity chefs. Brothers Daniel and Georges Daou of DAOU Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles will debut their Patrimony Cabernet Sauvignon at The Grand Banquet. We’ll chat with them.

DAOU Estate Collection wines are made from the finest vineyard blocks on Daou Mountain and aged extensively in hand-selected custom-crafted, new French oak barrels. These wines showcase the visionary talent of Winemaker Daniel Daou, and embody DAOU’s mission to produce first-growth Cabernet Sauvignon from the unrivaled terroir of DAOU Mountain.

DAOU Reserve Collection wines are made from premium fruit sourced from DAOU Mountain as well as select Paso Robles vineyards. Throughout the growing season, Daniel Daou is actively involved in the management of these vineyards to ensure the highest quality. These wines are distinguished by signature qualities of grace and structure.

Young YunYoung Yun is the Executive Director of the Ment’or BKB Foundation in New York, a charitable beneficiary of Ultimo Weekend. Ment’or is a leading nonprofit organization devoted to INSPIRING CULINARY EXCELLENCE in young professionals and preserving the traditions and quality of cuisine in America.

“Our aim is to build a sustainable community of young American professionals that are knowledgeable and confident in their career pursuits and will be life-long ambassadors of quality and excellence in the world of gastronomy. The organization is dedicated to making the careers of serious young individuals more meaningful and successful by offering them unique educational opportunities, internships and access to a Culinary Council of established mentors.”

Will get an update from Young on the Foundation’s busy year supporting Team USA for the upcoming Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Challenge in Lyon and Ment’or’s Young Chef and Commis Competition.

Mourad LahlouConsidered by many as the pioneer of modern Moroccan cuisine in the United States, the James Beard award-nominated Mourad Lahlou (San Francisco’s Aziza and Mourad) never envisioned becoming a world-famous chef. Chef Mourad is one of the celebrity chefs preparing a course for The Grand Banquet of Ultimo Weekend at The Venetian. He’ll lift the lid on the tagine for us.

The Marrakesh native immigrated to the United States when he was 20 years old to pursue a master’s degree in economics. Missing his country’s cuisine, Lahlou taught himself how to recreate versions of his favorite Moroccan dishes with local ingredients using his own inventive techniques. Most of the lessons he learned about food came from his mother, who cooked traditional Moroccan recipes, and grandfather, who took him to the markets.

Chef Mourad’s strikingly modern reinventions of traditional Moroccan dishes are all about showcasing the great flavors of his native cuisine in ways that harmonize with the fresh, local, artisanal ingredients available in Northern California. “I’m not sure I would even call it a Moroccan restaurant anymore,” he says. Like his jet-black tattoos, Lahlou’s food and restaurants reveal a very personal story, one rooted both in San Francisco and abroad, and recount the memories that have inspired his life’s work.

Paul BartolottaPaul Bartolotta of The Bartolotta Restaurants is a two-time, James Beard Award-winner for culinary excellence. He’s best known in Las Vegas for creating the memorable Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas in 2005 which redefined high end Italian cuisine with seafood as its center. (Chef Paul is no longer associated with the renamed and repositioned restaurant as of the end of 2015.)

Joe and Paul Bartolotta grew up in a traditional Italian family in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Along with siblings, Maria and Felicia, they enjoyed large gatherings centered around unbelievably good food and plenty of love. In 1993, Joe and Paul collaborated to realize their dream of creating signature restaurants in Milwaukee. Paying homage to the family name, Ristorante Bartolotta opened in March of 1993. Embracing the culinary concept of “cucina rustica,” the restaurant offers simple, traditional Italian dishes using the freshest ingredients available.

In 1995, the company opened a second restaurant: Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro, a spacious, brasserie-style restaurant, focusing on casual and authentic French cuisine. After Lake Park Bistro earned a four-star review, Joe became Milwaukee’s first “eight-star general,” a restaurateur with two top-rated restaurants to his name. Lake Park Bistro was recognized in 2008 when Executive Chef Adam Siegel won the coveted James Beard Award for Best Chef Midwest.

Over the next two decades, The Bartolotta Restaurants added a variety of fine dining and casual concepts to its portfolio. Joe, Paul and The Bartolotta Restaurants family will continue to grow their lineup of distinguished Southeastern Wisconsin venues and look forward to potential expansion throughout the Midwest.

Chef Paul is our guest.

Ming TsaiThe Boston area’s Ming Tsai is one of the distinguished, high-profile, celebrity chefs preparing Ultimo Weekend’s Grand Banquet at the Venetian. You know Chef Ming from Food TV including his long-running acclaimed series for Public Television, Simply Ming.” His popular restaurants in the greater Boston area are the long-running Blue Ginger and the more recent, Blue Dragon. We’ll meet him.

“Ming’s love of cooking was forged in his early years. Ming was raised in Dayton, Ohio, where he spent hours cooking alongside his mother and father at Mandarin Kitchen, the family-owned restaurant. His experience also taught him about restaurant operations and the art of making customers happy.”

“Ming headed east to attend school at Phillips Academy Andover. From there, Ming continued to Yale Universityearning his degree in Mechanical Engineering. During this time, Ming spent his summers attending Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and apprenticing at area restaurants in Paris. After graduating from Yale, Ming moved to Paris and trained under renowned Pastry Chef Pierre Herme and then on to Osaka with Sushi Master Kobayashi.”

Upon his return to the United States, Ming enrolled in graduate school at Cornell University, earning a Master’s degree in Hotel Administration and Hospitality Marketing.

Emma BengtssonAquavit, a landmark New York-based fine dining establishment featuring the cuisine of Sweden is a classic. In the Spring of 2014 their former Pastry Chef, Emma Bengtsson, was unusually elevated to the Executive Chef post there by proprietor Hakan Swahn.

Former Aquavit Executive Chef Marcus Jernmark recruited Bengtsson in 2010 to join the restaurant as Pastry Chef. Bengtsson quickly became known for her creative interpretations of classic Scandinavian desserts, as well as establishing a new bread program. Her style was reflective of the region’s penchant for local products, progressive techniques, and continuing traditions; and it was well received, as Aquavit was recognized with one star in the Michelin Guide New York City in 2013 and 2014.

Håkan Swahn, the owner of Aquavit, saw talent and fresh perspective in Chef Bengtsson’s skillset and offered her the role of Executive Chef in spring 2014. She accepted the job, and since then has injected the critically acclaimed menu with her personal style and experience.

In October of 2015, her work garnered a second Michelin Star for Aquavit, making her the second female chef in the U.S. to run a two-star kitchen and the first ever Swedish female chef to do so.

We’ll hear Emma’s incredible story.

Curtis StoneMelbourne-born Chef Curtis Stone now resides in Los Angeles. In addition to being all over Food TV (“Kitchen Inferno” and the upcoming “My Kitchen Rules” on FOX), Chef Curtis has the intimate Maude in Beverly Hills and Gwen (also a butcher shop) in Hollywood.

“My mum and granny taught me everything I know about food and cooking. My mum, Lozza, is a great cook, in particular a phenomenal baker, and I would watch her every move while she baked. I am very partial to her corn and bacon muffins so she makes these for me whenever I visit. I still call on her regularly for advice when I’m developing recipes – thanks Lozza!”

Curtis Stone is also the author of six cookbooks. The most recent title is Good Food, Good Life.

Chef Curtis, also a participating chef in The Grand Banquet, joins us.

Scott PajakScott Pajak is the Chef de Cuisine at the high volume Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. It sets the standard for Sports Bars in Sin City. He’s been with Emeril Lagasse since 2002 and was promoted to his current position in May of 2011.

Growing up in Lancaster, NY, Scott Pajak could often be found in the kitchen – cooking chicken noodle soup and sauces with his grandparents, or helping his dad tend the grill and savoring the smoky aroma of barbecue.

While studying at UNLV, he worked in numerous restaurants around Las Vegas, including Planet Hollywood, New York New York Casino and TPC Country Club, where he prepared meals for participants on the PGA Tour.

In 2002, Pajak entered the kitchen at Emeril Lagasse’s seafood eatery Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House as a line cook. Over the next 9 years, he would work in nearly every position in Lagasse’s kitchen, from saucier to butcher, eventually rising to the post of sous chef. He helped write the restaurant’s daily menus and showed off his creativity as he cooked for guests at the chef’s kitchen table.

Bring on the kicked-up wings and we’ll talk hearty tailgate food (and more) with Chef Scott.

Podcasts

Segment One: Daniel and Georges Daou, DAOU Vineyards & Winery
Segment Two: Young Yun, Executive Director, Mentor BKB Foundation
Segment Three: Mourad Lahlou, Owner / Chef, Mourad and Aziza, San Francisco
Segment Four: Paul Bartolotta, Executive Chef / Proprietor, The Bartolotta Restaurants
Segment Five: Chef Ming Tsai, Blue Ginger, Blue Dragon and Public Television’s “Simply Ming”
Segment Six: Emma Bengtsson, Executive Chef, Aquavit, New York
Segment Seven: Chef Curtis Stone, Maude in Beverly Hills & Gwen in Hollywood
Segment Eight: Chef Scott Pajak, Chef de Cuisine, Lagasse’s Stadium, The Palazzo Resort, Las Vegas

Show 199, November 26, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer amp; Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish Restaurant Group

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend to all. No sorry leftovers here. Thanks for making us part of your Saturday. Now it’s on to festive Holiday parties, Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations…

Andrew and William GruelExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Brea, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for Rams and USC Football, is back as today’s Guest Host. San Clemente is launching next. In May in Chicago during the National Restaurant Association’s annual conclave he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now a provocatively tantalizing preview of Saturday’s fully-loaded show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Sara Moulton was one of the first breakout stars of the then embryonic Food Network and is currently the host of Public Television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.” Her newest cookbook is the ambitious, Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101: How to Make Everything Taste Better. We’re in the kitchen with Chef Sara.

Since 1994 Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria has been the standout Mexican restaurant in Pico Rivera. It recently underwent a major refreshening. In 2003, Chef Marco Zapien joined The Grill full-time as the Executive Chef and partnered with his father, Jess, to become co-owner. Chef Marco has elevated the cuisine and enhanced its popularity well beyond the borders of Pico Rivera. Chef Marco is our guest.

Chef Marlene Moore is the dynamic chef at the popular Temptations Food Walk at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula. Earlier this year she successfully defended her title as Pechanga’s Chili Champ by, again, besting eight other talented Pechanga chefs in the 8th Annual Pechanga Microbrew Fest & Chili Cook-off. We’ll catch-up with the always on-the-move Chef Marlene and see what’s cooking for the Holidays.

They always do it B-I-G in Las Vegas. What’s accurately billed as the culinary event of the year, Ultimo – Le Grand Voyage, hosted by The Venetian and The Palazzo, will take culinary extravagance to new levels, December 9th through the 11th. The highlight of the festivities will be the Grand Banquet with lead Chef Thomas Keller. Sebastien Silvestri, Vice President of Food & Beverage for The Venetian and The Palazzo is our guest with a tantalizing preview.

Chef Andrew Gruel thankfully rescued us from potential Thanksgiving kitchen disasters with reliable information from a real, working chef. Now it’s on to December Holiday entertaining and the stakes are equally high. Is the Boss and spouse perhaps coming over for a Holiday Party? Chef Andrew has more practical and inspired Holiday cooking tips aplenty…

Join us via the airwaves next week, December 3rd, as we a bit belatedly celebrate the 4th Anniversary of the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” We’ll be live at SideDoor in Corona del Mar with a special brunch broadcast.

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

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Show 199, November 26, 2016: Sebastien Silvestri, Vice President, Food and Beverage, The Venetian / The Palazzo, Las Vegas

Ultimo A Weekend ExcellenceThey always do it B-I-G in Las Vegas. What’s billed as the culinary event of the year, Ultimo – Le Grand Voyage, hosted by The Venetian and The Palazzo, will take culinary extravagance to new levels, December 9th through the 11th.

The highlight of the festivities will be the exclusive Grand Banquet with lead Chef Thomas Keller and a team of international culinary all-stars including Curtis Stone of Gwen (Hollywood) and Maude (Beverly Hills) fame. $2 million in Lalique crystal (flown in from France just for this dinner) will decorate the long table. Incredible premium wines will be paired with each course presented by the winemakers themselves. It’s also a benefit for the Ment’or BKB Foundation, the backers of Team USA at the upcoming biannual Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition in Lyon.

Ultimo – Le Grand Voyage is already at capacity for the 140 lucky guests. Check The Venetian’s website for the updates on Ultimo Weekend 2017.

Sebastien Silvestri, Vice President of Food & Beverage for The Venetian and The Palazzo is our guest with a tantalizing preview.

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November 26: Sara Moulton, Zapien’s Salsa Grill, Temptations Food Walk at Pechanga, Ultimo – Le Grand Voyage

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Two: Celebrity Chef Sara Moulton of “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101
Segment Three: Chef / Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria
Segment Four: Chef Marlene Moore, Temptations Food Walk, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Five: Sebastien Silvestri, Vice President, Food and Beverage, The Venetian / The Palazzo, Las Vegas
Segment Six: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish Restaurant Group – Holiday Entertaining

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend to all. No sorry leftovers here. Thanks for making us part of your Saturday.

Andrew and William GruelExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Brea, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for Rams and USC Football, is back as today’s Guest Host. San Clemente is launching next. In May in Chicago during the National Restaurant Association’s annual conclave he received Nation’s Restaurant News’ Trendsetter MenuMaster Award for Slapfish.

Now a provocatively tantalizing preview of Saturday’s fully-loaded show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

Sara Moulton was one of the first breakout stars of the then embryonic Food Network and is currently the host of Public Television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.” Her newest cookbook is the ambitious, Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101: How to Make Everything Taste Better. We’re in the kitchen with Chef Sara.

Since 1994 Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria has been the standout Mexican restaurant in Pico Rivera. It recently underwent a major refreshening. In 2003, Chef Marco Zapien joined The Grill full-time as the Executive Chef and partnered with his father, Jess, to become co-owner. Chef Marco has elevated the cuisine and enhanced its popularity well beyond the borders of Pico Rivera. Chef Marco is our guest.

Chef Marlene Moore is the dynamic chef at the popular Temptations Food Walk at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula. Earlier this year she successfully defended her title as Pechanga’s Chili Champ by, again, besting eight other talented Pechanga chefs in the 8th Annual Pechanga Microbrew Fest & Chili Cook-off. We’ll catch-up with the always on-the-move Chef Marlene and see what’s cooking.

They always do it B-I-G in Las Vegas. What’s billed as the culinary event of the year, Ultimo – Le Grand Voyage, hosted by The Venetian and The Palazzo, will take culinary extravagance to new levels, December 9th through the 11th. The highlight of the festivities will be the Grand Banquet with lead Chef Thomas Keller. Sebastien Silvestri, Vice President of Food & Beverage for The Venetian and The Palazzo is our guest with a tantalizing preview.

Chef Andrew Gruel thankfully rescued us from potential Thanksgiving kitchen disasters with reliable information from a real, working chef. Now it’s on to December Holiday entertaining and the stakes are equally high. Is the Boss and spouse perhaps coming over for a Holiday Party ? Chef Andrew has more practical and inspired Holiday cooking tips aplenty…

Join us via the airwaves next week, December 3rd, as we a bit belatedly celebrate the 4th Anniversary of the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” We’ll be live at SideDoor in Corona del Mar with a brunch broadcast.

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

Sara MoultonSara Moulton was one of the first breakout stars of the then embryonic Food Network and is currently the host of Public Television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.” She is also the author of the Associated Press column “Kitchen Wise.”

Her newest cookbook is the ambitious, Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101: How to Make Everything Taste Better.

Not just a collection of wonderful recipes, HOME COOKING 101 is a teaching manual aimed at the home cook. The recipes will indeed make it easier to put dinner on the table on a weeknight, but, as Sara notes in her introduction, “more important is that each recipe specifically demonstrates a tip or method that can make you a better and more confident cook while also teaching you to make your dishes taste better.”

Accordingly, the book’s first chapter is a compact and handy rulebook entitled “The Ten Basics of Good Home Cooking.” It advises the home cook as follows:

  • Shake hands with your stove
  • Buy a good knife
  • Get organized
  • Follow the recipe exactly the first time you make it
  • Dispense with mise en place
  • Reach for the salt
  • Balance flavors
  • Build umami
  • Use all your senses
  • Don’t waste food

As for the recipes, there are 150 of them—all new and accompanied by photographs that illustrate, step-by-step, the book’s key techniques. The book also boasts guest recipes from a stellar cast of some of Sara’s favorite chefs and cookbook authors, including Rick Bayless, Amanda Cohen, Hiroko Shimbo, Jacques Torres, Marc Vetri, and Grace Young.

In sum, Sara writes, “The goal of this book is two-fold: to sharpen your sense of taste and to provide you with a raft of time-tested techniques that I hope will become second nature to you.”

We’re in the kitchen with Chef Sara.

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and TaqueriaSince 1994 Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria has been the standout Mexican restaurant in Pico Rivera. It recently underwent a major refreshening.

In 2003, Chef Marco Zapien joined The Grill full-time as the Executive Chef and partnered with his father, Jess, to become co-owner. Chef Marco has elevated the cuisine and enhanced its popularity well beyond the borders of Pico Rivera.

Chef Marco has refined a unique style of cooking that incorporates two generations of his mother’s and father’s family recipes with the passionate creativity he has enhanced throughout his culinary career.

The Salsa Grill serves truly traditional Mexican food with items such as Lengua and Enchilades en Mole on the Chef’s Specialties menu, Camarones Mojo De Ajo and Tequila Fried Shrimp on its Seafood Specialty Menu, and fresh Menudo, Cocido and Pozole served daily.

They even make their own tortillas right there fresh throughout the day. This is the base of their tortilla chips, too. Can’t get any fresher than this!

Chef Marco is our guest.

Marlene Moore at the Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili CookoffChef Marlene Moore is the high-energy chef at the popular Temptations Food Walk at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula. She is famous for the signature Pechanga Fried Chicken.

Earlier this year she successfully defended her title as Pechanga’s Chili Champ by, again, besting eight other talented Pechanga chefs in the 8th Annual Pechanga Microbrew Fest & Chili Cook-off which was a benefit for Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley.

Her winning chili creation is “Temptation” Hearty Southern Style Chili.

Chef Moore, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, retained her title despite stiff competition from Chef Ronnel Capacia of Kelsey’s, who serves southwestern chili in his appetizer selections for lunch and dinner every day. Now in its eighth year, 1,459 people came to enjoy craft and microbrews, chili and music at the 2016 Pechanga Microbrew Festival.

We’ll catch-up with the always on-the-move Chef Marlene.

Ultimo A Weekend ExcellenceThey always do it B-I-G in Las Vegas. What’s billed as the culinary event of the year, Ultimo – Le Grand Voyage, hosted by The Venetian and The Palazzo, will take culinary extravagance to new levels, December 9th through the 11th.

The highlight of the festivities will be the exclusive Grand Banquet with lead Chef Thomas Keller and a team of international culinary all-stars including Curtis Stone of Gwen (Hollywood) and Maude (Beverly Hills) fame. $2 million in Lalique crystal (flown in from France just for this dinner) will decorate the long table. It’s also a benefit for the Ment’or BKB Foundation.

Sebastien Silvestri, Vice President of Food & Beverage for The Venetian and The Palazzo is our guest with a tantalizing preview.

Andrew and William GruelChef Andrew Gruel thankfully rescued us from potential Thanksgiving kitchen disasters with reliable information from a real, working chef.

Now it’s on to December Holiday entertaining and the stakes are equally high. Is the Boss and spouse perhaps coming over for a Holiday Party?

Chef Andrew has more practical and inspired Holiday cooking tips aplenty to share…

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Two: Celebrity Chef Sara Moulton of “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101
Segment Three: Chef / Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria
Segment Four: Chef Marlene Moore, Temptations Food Walk, Pechanga Resort & Casino
Segment Five: Sebastien Silvestri, Vice President, Food and Beverage, The Venetian / The Palazzo, Las Vegas
Segment Six: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish Restaurant Group – Holiday Entertaining

Show 185, August 20, 2016: Brock Radke, Managing Editor, Las Vegas Weekly Part One

Brock Radke of Las Vegas WeeklyJournalist Brock Radke is our well-connected Las Vegas insider. He’s the Managing Editor of Las Vegas Weekly and has been reporting on the dynamic Las Vegas scene for 15 years. He’s back with his regular dining update.

We’ll get updated on Downtown Las Vegas restaurant happenings, celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Caesars Palace, and talk about the late Chef Michel Richard’s restaurant there, Central Michel Richard.

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