Show 247, November 11, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now a salivating preview of this Saturday’s ample show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing…

Executive Chef Jason Fullilove is back in a real restaurant space, Barbara Jean Los Angeles, with elevated American Soul Food. He’s a bit hidden on the back patio of Melrose Avenue’s Melrose Umbrella Co. It’s dinner nightly and Brunch on Weekends. We’ll catch up with the peripatetic Chef Jason.

Food and travel journalist Robyn Eckhardt brings dishes from Istanbul and eastern Turkey to the home cook in ISTANBUL AND BEYOND: EXPLORING TURKEY’S DIVERSE CUISINES. With over 150 recipes, stories about places, people and ingredients, and lush on-location photography, ISTANBUL AND BEYOND takes readers on an unforgettable culinary journey from Turkey’s cosmopolitan cultural capital to its lesser known eastern regions. Food and travel journalist Robyn Eckhardt, now based in Italy, is our guest.

We’ve actively followed (since 2014,) and reported on, Team USA in their long pursuit of winning a place on the medals stand for the biannual Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition. Team USA 2015 headed by Chef Philip Tessier took the Silver Medal (just missing the Gold) and Team USA 2017 headed by Chef Mathew Peters earned the Gold in 2017, an incredible first for Team USA. Team USA 2019 was just selected in a fierce competition on Thursday, Nov. 9th at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. We’ll talk to the winning chef, Matthew Kirkley of COI, San Francisco, who will now train with his Commis (Mimi Chen, Line Cook, COI) for the next year, and then helm Team USA 2019 in Lyon. Also in on the conversation is Chef Robert Sulatycky, Head Coach, Team USA 2019.

Executive Chef Todd Sicolo supervises all of the varied dining options at the new InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown Hotel at Wilshire Grand Center with 889 rooms. This is all located on the top floors of the tallest building West of Chicago. Dining options range from Spire 73, a rooftop lounge with breathtaking views, to La Boucherie on 71, an elegant steakhouse with a French accent. Chef Todd is our guest.

Stressed about preparing the Thanksgiving feast for your extended family? Pause…Take a breath…Chef Andrew Gruel to the rescue. Chef Andrew offers his practical chef’s tips for a stress-free, Thanksgiving celebration.

It’s typically a conundrum in selecting the wines for the Thanksgiving feast that really pair well with all the diverse trimmings. You can’t always please all palates but you give it a go. Our resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange, joins us with his informed perspective. Cheers!

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Play

November 11: Jason Fullilove, Robyn Eckhardt, Team USA Bocuse D’Or, Todd Sicolo, Wine Exchange

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Jason Fullilove, Barbara Jean, Los Angeles
Segment Three: Travel Journalist Robyn Eckhardt, Istanbul and Beyond: Exploring Turkey’s Diverse Cuisines Part One
Segment Four: Travel Journalist Robyn Eckhardt, Istanbul and Beyond: Exploring Turkey’s Diverse Cuisines Part Two
Segment Five: Executive Chef Matthew Kirkley, COI, San Francisco & Chef Robert Sulatycky, Head Coach, Team USA 2019
Segment Six: Executive Chef Todd Sicolo, InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown Hotel
Segment Seven: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish and Trade’s Two Birds & Butterleaf
Segment Eight: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

Now a salivating preview of this Saturday’s ample show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing…

Executive Chef Jason Fullilove is back in a real restaurant space, Barbara Jean Los Angeles, with elevated American Soul Food. He’s a bit hidden on the back patio of Melrose Avenue’s Melrose Umbrella Co. It’s dinner nightly and Brunch on Weekends. We’ll catch up with the peripatetic Chef Jason.

Food and travel journalist Robyn Eckhardt brings dishes from Istanbul and eastern Turkey to the home cook in ISTANBUL AND BEYOND: EXPLORING TURKEY’S DIVERSE CUISINES. With over 150 recipes, stories about places, people and ingredients, and lush on-location photography, ISTANBUL AND BEYOND takes readers on an unforgettable culinary journey from Turkey’s cosmopolitan cultural capital to its lesser known eastern regions. Food and travel journalist Robyn Eckhardt, now based in Italy, is our guest.

We’ve actively followed (since 2014,) and reported on, Team USA in their long pursuit of winning a place on the medals stand for the biannual Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition. Team USA 2015 headed by Chef Philip Tessier took the Silver Medal (just missing the Gold) and Team USA 2017 headed by Chef Mathew Peters earned the Gold in 2017, an incredible first for Team USA. Team USA 2019 was just selected in a fierce competition on Thursday, Nov. 9th at The Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas. We’ll talk to the winning chef who will now train with his Commis for the next year, and then helm Team USA 2019 in Lyon.

Executive Chef Todd Sicolo supervises all of the varied dining options at the new InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown Hotel at Wilshire Grand with 889 rooms. This is all located on the top floors of the tallest building West of Chicago. Dining options range from Spire 73, a rooftop lounge with breathtaking views, to La Boucherie on 71, an elegant steakhouse with a French accent. Chef Todd is our guest.

Stressed about preparing the Thanksgiving feast for your extended family? Pause…Take a breath…Chef Andrew Gruel to the rescue. Chef Andrew offers his practical chef’s tips for a stress-free, Thanksgiving celebration.

It’s typically a conundrum in selecting the wines for the Thanksgiving feast that really pair well with all the diverse trimmings. You can’t always please all palates but you give it a go. Our resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange, joins us with his informed perspective. Cheers!

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Jason FulliloveExecutive Chef Jason Fullilove is back in a real restaurant space, Barbara Jean Los Angeles with elevated American Soul Food. He’s a bit hidden on the back patio of Melrose Avenue’s Melrose Umbrella Co. It’s dinner nightly and Brunch on Weekends.

He also oversees the Bar Bites menu at the adjacent Melrose Umbrella Co.

“Barbara Jean Restaurant is a celebration of American Soul Food. A cuisine that is imbued with the many cultures that make up this vast and diverse country. With a focus on the roots of African American cooking, it’s nutritional foundation and original applications: meats | offal | ancient grains | vegetables | fermentation | with a modern flair a presentation.”

Chef Jason has been a regular fan favorite on the Los Angeles dining scene. He also helmed a dinner series called RED at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) that garnered national attention. At RED he created tasting menus and course meals directly inspired by current art exhibits, live readings and the films of Stanley Kubrick and Danny Boyle.

We’ll catch up with the peripatetic Chef Jason.

Robyn EckhardtFood and travel journalist Robyn Eckhardt brings dishes from Istanbul and eastern Turkey to the home cook in ISTANBUL AND BEYOND: EXPLORING TURKEY’S DIVERSE CUISINES. With over 125 recipes, stories about places, people and ingredients, and lush on-location photography, ISTANBUL AND BEYOND takes readers on an unforgettable culinary journey from Turkey’s cosmopolitan cultural capital to its lesser known eastern regions.

The culmination of Eckhardt and photographer David Hagerman’s two-decade-long passion for Turkey, its people and its food, and the result of over sixteen months of research in Istanbul and eastern Turkey, ISTANBUL AND BEYOND takes readers beyond kebab, doner, and baklava to introduce the dishes of Turkey’s distinct regional cuisines. From the Mediterranean province of Hatay to the Black Sea, and from north-central Anatolia to provinces bordering Georgia, Armenia, Iran and Iraq, Eckhardt has assembled a broad collection of dishes – many of which will be new even to those familiar with Turkish food – that are sure to entice readers into the kitchen.

Robyn Eckhardt is an American food and travel journalist specializing in Asia, Turkey and Europe. Her words and recipes have appeared in the New York Times, Saveur, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Food & Wine, Travel+Leisure and other publications. She is co-publisher, with photographer David Hagerman, of the award-winning food blog EatingAsia. After 20 years in Asia she recently moved to Piemonte, Italy, where she lives with her husband, photographer David Hagerman, and a small menagerie of cats and dogs.

Food and travel journalist Robyn Eckhardt is our guest.

“Turkey touches four bodies of water and shares borders with Bulgaria, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia…This results in not a nation united by one cuisine, but an array of culinary regions that make it one of the most gastronomically complex countries anywhere.” – Robyn Eckhardt

There is so much more to Turkish food than kebabs and baklava. Dishes like Green Olive Salad with Pomegranate Molasses, Kurdish-style Pot-Roasted Chicken & Onions, and Fava & Bulgar Stuffed Grape Leaves in Tomato Sauce prove just that. In Instanbul & Beyond – Exploring the Diverse Cuisines of Turkey, Robyn Eckhardt brings you the most extensive Turkish cookbook to date with a broad collection of 150 easy-to-follow recipes taken from the home cooks, farmers, fishermen, and bakers native to Turkey, all tested for the American home kitchen. Most of these recipes have never been published before in English.

Eckhardt and travel photographer husband, David Hagerman, have been collecting these recipes over the past twenty years and have traveled over 21,000 kilometers along the backroads of Turkey, documenting regional cuisines and life in the villages and cities, farms, and high pastures of the lesser-known provinces.

Matthew KirkleyWe’ve actively followed (since 2014,) and reported on, Team USA in their long pursuit of winning a place on the medals stand for the biannual Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition. Team USA 2015 headed by Chef Philip Tessier took the Silver Medal (just missing the Gold) and Team USA 2017 headed by Chef Mathew Peters earned the Gold in 2017, an incredible first for Team USA.

Team USA 2019 was just selected in a fierce competition on Thursday, Nov. 9th at The Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas. The three competing chef candidates are Ben Grupe, Elaia & Olio, St. Louis, MO; Jeffrey Hayashi, Mourad, San Francisco, CA; and Matthew Kirkley, COI, San Francisco, CA.

We’ll talk to the winning chef to head Team USA 2019 who will now train with his Commis for the next year, and then helm Team USA 2019 in Lyon.

The Ment’or Young Chef & Commis Competitions were held on November 8, 2017 in Las Vegas and featured five young chef teams and six Commis candidates who competed in the kitchen of University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The Winners from each competition will choose from a cash prize or the unique opportunity to train alongside Bocuse d’Or Team USA 2019.

Todd SicoloExecutive Chef Todd Sicolo supervises all of the varied dining options at the new InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown Hotel at Wilshire Grand with 889 rooms. This is all located on the top floors of the tallest building West of Chicago. Dining options range from Spire 73, a rooftop lounge with breathtaking views, to La Boucherie on 71, an elegant steakhouse with a French accent.

The dining options :
-Spire 73 – Perched atop InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown’s 73rd floor is Spire 73, the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere. This rooftop lounge offers breathtaking views of the entire City, chic fire pits, signature cocktails and a wide selection of whiskey. Culinary expressions are on the menu rivaling the view.

-La Boucherie on 71 – An elegant steakhouse with a French accent, featuring discreet, intimate private dining and VIP booths with floor to ceiling privacy screens that offer panoramic views of the L.A. skyline to accommodate discerning guests.

-Lobby Lounge – Located on the 70th floor of the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, the Lobby Lounge offers guests an upscale lounge experience with a vodka bar at night, serving light snacks, burgers and sandwiches.

-Dekkadance – Located on the 69th floor, it offers a unique farm-to-fork international marketplace. It’s a well-thought-out, contemporary adaptation of the traditional buffet. Dekkadance is an eclectic dining experience for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner featuring interactive cooking stations where guests can consult the chefs and watch their selection being prepared. On the expansive menu are Mediterranean style pizzas, paninis and an impressive array of tempting desserts.

-Sora – Sora is an intimate sushi and omakase restaurant offering a refined menu of fresh cut sushi and prepared dishes presented on the unusual sky view conveyor belt. Also located on the 69th floor, Sora features an extensive selection of the finest Japanese whiskies.

Andrew and William GruelStressed about preparing the Thanksgiving feast for your extended family ? Pause…Take a breath…

Chef Andrew Gruel to the rescue. Chef Andrew offers his practical chef’s tips for a stress-free, Thanksgiving celebration.

 

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeIt’s typically a conundrum in selecting the wines for the Thanksgiving feast that really pair well with all the diverse trimmings. You can’t always please all palates but you give it a go.

Don’t forget sparkling wines can carry throughout the meal. Strong fruit needs to be part of the equation, too. California calling…

Our upbeat resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange, joins us with his accessible, informed perspective. Cheers!

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Jason Fullilove, Barbara Jean, Los Angeles
Segment Three: Travel Journalist Robyn Eckhardt, Istanbul and Beyond: Exploring Turkey’s Diverse Cuisines Part One
Segment Four: Travel Journalist Robyn Eckhardt, Istanbul and Beyond: Exploring Turkey’s Diverse Cuisines Part Two
Segment Five: Executive Chef Matthew Kirkley, COI, San Francisco & Chef Robert Sulatycky, Head Coach, Team USA 2019
Segment Six: Executive Chef Todd Sicolo, InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown Hotel
Segment Seven: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish and Trade’s Two Birds & Butterleaf
Segment Eight: Kyle Meyer, Co-Proprietor, Wine Exchange, Santa Ana

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.

 

Play

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