Show 273, May 12, 2018: Miami’s Lorena Garcia, Executive Chef, Chica at The Venetian Resort

Lorena GarciaJohn Kunkel, owner and founder of 50 Eggs Inc.’s newest concept Chica Las Vegas at The Venetian delivers the robust and vibrant flavors of Latin cuisine combined with a dynamic wine and mixology program.

Crafted by celebrity Latina chef Lorena Garcia, the diverse menu draws inspiration from classic renditions and provides guests the opportunity to explore the flavors of Latin American cuisine as one culture, with influences from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina, among many more.

Boasting the first Latina chef on the Las Vegas Strip, Chica promises to delight its diners with an astounding array of amazing dishes. Each and every bit of culturally unique food finds its pedigree equally in the homes of Peru or El Salvador as it does in the top restaurants of Mexico or Argentina.

The home cooking that is enjoyed by the people of Central and South America finds a home here in Chef Garcia’s kitchen, enhanced and made even more vibrant for Chica. Latin Fusion cuisine is Chef Garcia’s forte, and it shows: appetizers, main courses, desserts, and even the libations are specially crafted for their heritage and made to fit the modern, dynamic venue of Chica.

There is a high profile “Culinary Luminaries” Wall of Fame clearly visible on the massive exterior of The Venetian & Palazzo Resorts. Chef Lorena is the most recent addition.

Chef Lorena pops out of the busy Chica kitchen to chat.

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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 53, December 21, 2013: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego

Brian MalarkeyYou know Chef Brian Malarkey from “Top Chef: Season 3, Miami” on Bravo and Season 1 of ABC’s “The Taste.” In real life he’s also a highly successful restaurateur in San Diego (and Scottsdale and Austin) with major financial backing.

In a bold move he’s bringing an expanded Herringbone (La Jolla) to The Mondrian on the fabled Sunset Strip in January. After a major gut-rehab it’s replacing the pricey Asia de Cuba at this hip & happening boutique luxury hotel. The panoramic 180 degree view from the restaurant toward the coast, now improved, is pretty spectacular. He’s responsible for all foodservice at The Hotel including in-room dining and functions.

The food is Herringbone’s own “Fish Meats Field” cuisine. A favorite is Pork Belly with wood roasted sunchokes, manila clams, and calvados and green apple jus.

A signature wood-burning oven is being added to the totally revamped kitchen.

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December 21: Troy Johnson, Got Kosher, Aaron Fry, Susan Feniger, Brian Malarkey, Brian Malarkey,

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part Two
Segment Four: Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery, Los Angeles
Segment Five: Aaron Fry, Honeymoon Dining in Maui
Segment Six: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger of The Border Grills and Mud Hen Tavern
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part One
Segment Eight: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part Two

Update on the benefit at The Church Key on Sunday, December 8th to aid the unfortunate victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The evening raised $10,000 which will get into the proper hands to support the relief effort. This event came together very quickly so kudos to all involved!

What's Cooking with Jet Tila and Travis RodgersThanks for all the supportive words about “What’s Cooking with Travis and Chef Jet Tila” heard just after 7:50 a.m. on Friday morning on AM 830 KLAA as part of “The Travis Rodgers Show.” Travis is taking a well-earned Holiday break. The segment will return just after 7:50 a.m. on Friday, January 4th. The previous features are all available for your listening pleasure within the “Media” area of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” Website.

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show. This week we’re sending the well-deserved love to our listeners in San Diego. Troy Johnson, the Restaurant Editor of San Diego Magazine is with us to share what’s new in San Diego. We’ll also talk with “Top Chef” alum Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality. He’s bringing one of his successful San Diego restaurant concepts to the Sunset Strip.

Troy JohnsonTroy Johnson, the Food Editor of San Diego Magazine, represents the new breed of youthful restaurant journalists with a point-of-view. It’s, fortunately, not an elitist approach and Troy aims to make restaurant-going accessible for all.

You perhaps remember him on Food TV from his Cooking Channel series, “Crave.” He’s also one of the regular judges on Food Network’s new Sunday evening “Guy’s (Fieri) Grocery Games.”

There is a lot happening on the San Diego restaurant scene. The big noise is that chef and restaurateur Richard Blais is leaving his base in Atlanta to open Juniper & Ivy in the Little Italy area of San Diego. It will seat 200 when open so this is an ambitious project! Chef Blais is probably best known nationally for his multiple seasons on Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey (of Bravo’s “Top Chef” & ABC’s “The Taste”,) a multiple concept restaurant operator in San Diego, is bringing his Herringbone concept to The Mondrian Hotel on The Sunset Strip in West Hollywood in early 2014. Troy talks about Chef Brian’s history in San Diego and what his establishments are all about. The original Herringbone is in La Jolla.

The Headquarters, a new development in Downtown San Diego with destination restaurants is creating a lot of attention. Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza from Hollywood is one on the anchor tenants there already attracting lots of buzz. It’s the former Police Department Headquarters and there is even an original cell preserved for visitors to see.

Avant Restaurant in San DiegoAfter a long run (opened in 1968) as a high-end destination restaurant of celebration El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn has been reborn as the more contemporary Avant. San Diego star chef Gavin Kaysen was an alum of El Bizcocho. He’s now overseeing all the Café Bouluds for Daniel Boulud in New York!

Troy notes that the Hatch Design Group worked on a $2.5 million budget to create the new space. “The mercy killing of El Bizcocho clears the way for a new era at Avant” is the title of Troy’s recent review in San Diego Magazine.

If you think Tunisian fare is the same as the foods of Morocco then you perhaps need a refresher course. No eating with the fingers or belly dancers here. It’s actually more Mediterranean and North African fare.

Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Cafe and BakeryAlain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery located in Los Angeles Borscht Belt on Pico Blvd. joins us to give a quick education. Don’t let the “Kosher” part or the name scare you. The Jews were in Tunisia before Muhammad or the rise of Islam.

The tasty Merguez sausage with harissa appetizer is house-made.

One of Got Kosher’s specialties is “Shwar-guez.” It’s their take on schwarma. It’s ground beef seasoned with their merguez sausage spices and grilled on a schwarma pit.

Tunisian Couscous is also a popular specialty. The versions are Couscous au Poulet, Couscous Masson (with braised beef and beef meatballs,) Couscous Royal ( with chicken, beef, lamb brochettes and merguez,) and Vegetarian Couscous.

They also house-bake some incredible varieties of challah

It’s Christmas / New Year’s Holiday vacation time and that means a lot of getaways to Maui. We have a mouth-watering Lahaina dining report from an informed, recent visitor.

Aaron Fry just returned from his glorious honeymoon in Maui. Aaron is a master bartender as well as a senior Board Operator right here at AM 830 KLAA. We’re turning the microphone around on him this morning.

Fleetwoods on Front StreetAaron and his new bride enjoyed a couple of visits to Fleetwood’s on Front Street in the heart of Old Lahaina. The second level of the 10,000 square foot establishment affords an incredible ocean view and there is live music nightly. The principal is Mick Fleetwood, the well-know rock drummer. When he’s not touring he spends most of his time on Maui.

Although it’s a casual setting they are equally serious about their food. The chef advisor is Scott Leibfried (who you’ll remember as one of the two sous chefs for Gordon Ramsay on Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”) Chef Scott continues with the project.

Look for “Today’s Local Fish” and the 10 oz. Grilled Filet with Big Island Hamakua Mushrooms as standout dishes.

Maui Brewing Company CoCoNut PorTeRAaron is a craft beer aficionado so also on his Maui menu was a stop at the celebrated brewpub of the Maui Brewing Co. This is the most successful craft brewery in The Islands and quite a story. Their only “problem” is that they can’t keep up with demand on The Mainland. They can their most popular styles and they are available in California. One of their signature brews is their award-winning CoCoNut PorTeR. The brewpub features some seasonal styles only available on Maui.

The food is seriously good, too, and a big attraction for locals. They even make their own salad dressings. You can’t go wrong with their pizzas or the Kalua Pork Sliders.

Susan Feniger of Mud Hen TavernChef Susan Feniger of Border Grill and Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales” fame is back with us to talk about the revamping of Susan Feniger’s Street in Hollywood. It’s been refurbished as the Mud Hen Tavern. The concept is more of a comfortable neighborhood bar and restaurant where regulars can come and hang out more than one time per week.

As with Street the Executive Chef and Partner is Kajsa Alger. Some of Street’s classic favorites remain on the menu including Kaya Toast. A rotating collection of sixteen craft beers is available on tap.

Susan enthusiastically recommends the Hangover Burger with a fried egg and bacon and the decadent Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding for dessert. Also there are plenty of offerings for the vegetarian-inclined.

Brian MalarkeyYou know Chef Brian Malarkey from “Top Chef: Season 3, Miami” on Bravo and Season 1 of ABC’s “The Taste.” In real life he’s also a highly successful restaurateur in San Diego (and Scottsdale and Austin) with major financial backing.

In a bold move he’s bringing an expanded Herringbone (La Jolla) to The Mondrian on the fabled Sunset Strip in January. After a major gut-rehab it’s replacing the pricey Asia de Cuba at this hip & happening boutique luxury hotel. The panoramic 180 degree view from the restaurant toward the coast, now improved, is pretty spectacular. He’s responsible for all foodservice at The Hotel including in-room dining and functions.

The food is Herringbone’s own “Fish Meats Field” cuisine. A favorite is Pork Belly with wood roasted sunchokes, manila clams, and calvados and green apple jus.

Executive Chef Brian Mararkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group encores for a second segment. His growing collection of restaurants, with a San Diego base, includes Searsucker, Herringbone (La Jolla and January opening in West Hollywood,) Gabardine, and Green Acre.

Chef Brian has cooked in Los Angeles previously. Very early in his professional career he was in the kitchen at Michel Richard’s Citrus.

Chef Brian very honestly explains how he paid his dues during his 20s and 30s before becoming the executive chef at The Oceanaire Seafood Room in San Diego. That eventually led to his casting on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” He’s surprised that so many young people graduating from culinary schools think they can just walk into being celebrities on food TV without a proper foundation.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part One
Segment Three: Troy Johnson, Editor-at-Large & Food Critic of San Diego Magazine Part Two
Segment Four: Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery, Los Angeles
Segment Five: Aaron Fry, Honeymoon Dining in Maui
Segment Six: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger of The Border Grills and Mud Hen Tavern
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part One
Segment Eight: Executive Chef Brian Malarkey of Enlightened Hospitality Group, San Diego Part Two

Show 23, March 30, 2013: Chef Brooke Williamson of The Tripel in Playa del Rey and Hudson House in Redondo Beach

Brooke Williamson of Hudson House and TripelChef Brooke made all of SoCal proud on February 28th as she competed in the intense finale of “Top Chef-Seattle,” which was Season 10 for the popular series. This was a 2-part conclusion done before a live audience at Head Judge Tom Colicchio’s Craft in Century City.

When the smoke had cleared on her 5-course cookoff  Brooke came up as the runner-up which is still an incredible achievement! Every year the level of competition on “Top Chef” gets tougher and tougher.

Some of her “Top Chef” dishes will become new specials at Hudson House. The Tripel is a casual, neighborhood gastropub (30 seats) with 14 craft beer selections available on tap at any time and simpler, satisfying fare.

One of her earned perks is that Chef Brooke has just been added to “Top Chef: The Cruise” on the Celebrity Constellation sailing from Miami from April 11th to 15th with stops in Key West and Cozumel.

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March 30: Scott Slater, Graham Elliot, Brooke Williamson, Barbara Fairchild

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Jet Tila
Segment Two: Executive Chef Brad Lyons and Erika DiProfio of Slater’s 50/50
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Graham Elliot
Segment Four: Chef Brooke Williamson of The Tripel in Playa del Rey and Hudson House in Redondo Beach
Segment Five: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Educator, speaker and hospitality industry consultant Part One
Segment Six: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Educator, speaker and hospitality industry consultant Part Two

Easter and Passover greetings to all.

It’s a tasty buffet this week. We’re going from big juicy burgers and craft beer to dining with one of Chicago’s best celebrity chefs…From there it’s a conversation with our own, delightful, local “Top Chef” cheftestant. Finally it’s a trip to Venice and Rome for a sampling of their culinary delights!

Jet has been in Dallas all week so he’ll graciously share some of his dining adventures. Also, a bit of area restaurant news to report.

Scott Slater of Slater's 50/50We’re all on the quest for a great burger. So was Scott Slater when he teamed up with college buddy and chef Brad Lyons to launch the first Slater’s 50/50 in Anaheim Hills in 2009. Bacon is the key…

An impressive selection of craft beer (always changing) on tap is also a popular attraction. Since the success of Anaheim Hills busy locations have been added in Huntington Beach, San Diego, Pasadena and, most recently, Lake Forest.

On April 6th in Lake Forest Slater’s 50/50 will present the 1st Backyard Brewfest. It’s an outdoor tasting event with 15 different breweries and a sampling of Slater’s 50/50 most popular menu items. It’s a benefit for the Pediatric Children’s Research Foundation.

Graham ElliotCelebrity Chef Graham Elliot hails from Chicagoland where he has graham elliott, a well-known, Two-Star Michelin ranked restaurant. He’s perhaps more familiar to Angelenos as the sympathetic judge on Fox TV’s “MasterChef” series now in production on their 4th season.

On April 8th and 9th Chef Graham will be at W. Third Street’s Son of a Gun in Los Angeles cooking a 5-course tasting menu paired with regional wines selected by graham elliott sommelier, Jamie Kluz. Joining Chef Elliott in the kitchen will be Sous Chef John Slack and Director of Operations/Corporate Chef Merlin Verrier.

Brooke Williamson of Hudson House and TripelBrooke Williamson, the youthful co-owner of Hudson House in Redondo Beach and The Tripel in Playa del Rey represented Southern California masterfully in the just-concluded Season 10 of Bravo’s “Top Chef”. Brooke will talk to us about the two-part Season Finale which was shot in front of a live audience!

Chef Brooke has just been added to “Top Chef: The Cruise” aboard the Celebrity Constellation sailing from Miami with stops in Key West and Cozumel before returning to Miami. Those dates are April 11th to 15th.

Barbara FairchildOur International Travel Correspondent, Barbara Fairchild (former editor of Bon Appetit magazine and current hospitality consultant, teacher, speaker, and journalist), has just returned from Venice and Rome.

Barbara is going to reveal the dining highlights of her culinary journey in Rome and Venice. It’s perhaps the next best thing to actually having been there…

Barbara is on Facebook and Twitter.

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Jet Tila
Segment Two: Executive Chef Brad Lyons and Erika DiProfio of Slater’s 50/50
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Graham Elliot
Segment Four: Chef Brooke Williamson of The Tripel in Playa del Rey and Hudson House in Redondo Beach
Segment Five: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Educator, speaker and hospitality industry consultant Part One
Segment Six: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Educator, speaker and hospitality industry consultant Part Two

Show 8: December 8, 2012: Chef Scott Conant

Scott Conant of Scarpetta and Food NetworkChef Scott owns the highly acclaimed Scarpetta in New York and the Scarpettas in Miami Beach, Toronto, Las Vegas, and in Beverly Hills at The Montage. You also know him from Food Network’s “Chopped” where he presides as one of the regular celebrity judges.

Scott joined the show to talk about the wonderful Italian-American tradition for Christmas Eve of “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” which is a personal favorite of his. Traditionally most of the dishes are fried but he likes to get a little grilled octopus on the menu, too.

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