Show 219, April 15, 2017: 4th Annual The Big Cheese Festival & Competition: “People’s Choice” Winner

The Big Cheese Grilled Cheese CompetitionThe “SoCal Restaurant Show” was honored to be part of the Judges’ Panel for the 4th Annual “The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition on National Grilled Cheese Day at Orange’s Provisions Market.

We’ll chat with the winner of the People’s Choice recognition, Lisa Gilmore, and recap the winning sandwich from the Judges’ Panel (The Water Brewery with Chefs Carli Savedra and Raya Belna.)

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Show 167, April 9, 2016: Chef Greg Daniels, “The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition

The Big Cheese Grilled Cheese CompetitionThe 3rd Annual “The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition returns to Provisions Market in Orange on Tuesday, April 19th. Provisions Market and OC Baking Co. will celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month with fellow OC Chefs and a ProAm Challenger in an intense grilled cheese competition. All are in competition for the coveted title of “The Big Cheese.”

OC Baking Company Master Baker Dean Kim will supply locally produced freshly baked bread to the competing chefs, while the farmer-owned dairy cooperative Tillamook will offer a selection of its award-winning cheeses and butter for use at the festival. Participating chefs will present their own spin on the classic grilled cheese sandwich that festival attendees will sample and then vote on.

“Now in our third year, this event has served to unite our local chefs and engage them in a lighthearted competition,” commented Chef Greg Daniels, who oversees the kitchens at Provisions Market and Haven Gastropub.

This year’s event will again feature one ProAm competitor who will be selected by event organizers in an Instagram contest to join the professional chefs at The Big Cheese 2016. To enter, the public must create and present an original grilled cheese creation on Instagram and use the hashtag #thebigcheese2016 by Thursday, April 14th. The winning entry will be announced Friday, April 15th and the ProAm contender for “The Big Cheese” will participate in the festival on Tuesday, April 19th.

Tickets for the event must be purchased for $60 in advance (will include limited tasters of select craft beer) through Universe. This event will be limited to 100 guests (tickets will be sold at the door, if capacity permits).

Event co-founder, Chef Greg Daniels of Provisions, joins us with all the gooey specifics.

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Show 156, January 23, 2016: Dean Kim, Master Baker, OC Baking, Orange, CA

Dean KimDean Kim has developed an incredible (and well-deserved) following among the top (and most demanding) restaurants in Orange County as the personable, artisan bread baker creating a superior, boutique product along with unmatched customer service. He’s just moved his 5-year-old bakery into a vastly expanded (4 times as big) new production bread bakery with state-of-the-art equipment and ten ovens. His deck oven is from Italy.

Dean actually has the enviable problem of having more business than he can comfortably handle. Baker Dean tears himself away from the morning bake to bring us up-to-date on the new Orange facility. Yes, he’s always on the rise…

“An artisan baker is a craftsman who works with flour, water and salt rather than clay, stone or paint to create a work of art. And while the basic elements are the same and available to anyone, it’s the personal knowledge, experience and talent of the baker that helps create his own signature artisan breads.”

OC Baking Company‘s award-winning executive artisan baker Dean Kim has been baking handcrafted breads for many of Southern California’s leading hotels and restaurants for nearly 18 years. He works hand-in-hand with chefs to create artisan breads that complement their meals. Artisan breads, like fine wine and cheese, each have their own aromas, taste and structure that impact the overall taste of the food and wine.”

“OC Baking Company is dedicated to producing “the ultimate in artisan breads” for its customers that are as unique as the meals with which they are serving.”

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Show 146, November 14, 2015: Tom Gordon, Co-Founder, The Pepper Project

The Pepper ProjectTom Gordon’s and Cris Petersen’s The Pepper Project promotes U.S. importation of fine Kampot pepper as a way to support Cambodians and the country’s economy. It’s a distinctive pepper that was used in the finest French restaurants during the colonial era. The peppercorns come in black, white and red varieties. There are lots of creative and doable recipes featuring the Kampot peppers on The Pepper Project’s Website.

“To us, Cambodia is more than a pin on the map or one of 1000 places to see before you die. Although the life expectancy is around 60, an entire generation of fathers is missing and there are tens of thousands of amputees as a result of land mine injuries, this is not a place to pity.”

“This is a country filled with people who persevere, who always have a warm smile and who are grateful for every day.”

“Our mission is to get the word out about all the treasures that Cambodia has to offer starting with Kampot pepper, a spice that is highly regarded in many parts of Europe but that most people have never heard of.”

The Pepper Project USA is hosting a Holiday Open House at their Orange gift shop boutique on Sunday, Nov. 15th from Noon to 4:00 p.m. We’ll get the inside information on the wide variety of affordable Cambodian handmade crafts and unusual comestibles available from Tom Gordon. There are some 400 items available and if you miss the Open House you can order via their easy-to-navigate Web site. It’s Holiday shopping (far from the ordinary) for a cause.

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Show 117, April 11, 2015: Artisan Baker Dean Kim – “The Big Cheese” Competition

The Big Cheese Grilled Cheese CompetitionIn celebration of National Grilled Cheese Month in April Provisions Market (Chef Greg Daniels) and OC Baking Company (Dean Kim) will join forces to once again host The Big Cheese, Orange County’s grilled cheese festival and competition. Event Co-Founder Greg Daniels and his fellow Orange County Chefs will compete for the title of “The Big Cheese” on Monday, April 20th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Provisions Market. All proceeds from this year’s event will be donated to You Are Special, a local nonprofit that operates a food pantry to feed the hungry in the Orange community.

OC Baking Company Master Baker Dean Kim will supply locally produced, freshly baked bread to the competing chefs. The competitors will present their own spin on the classic grilled cheese sandwich that festival attendees will sample and then vote on.

This year, the professional chefs will be joined by one ProAm competitor who will be selected by event organizers in an Instagram contest. To enter, the public must create and present an original grilled cheese creation on Instagram and use the hashtag #thebigcheese2015 by Thursday, April 16th. The winning entry will be announced Friday, April 17th and the ProAm contender for “The Big Cheese” will participate in the festival on Monday, April 20th.

Artisan Baker Dean Kim of the OC Baking Company joins us with all the needed 411. Chef Daniels is with us on April 18th.

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Show 93, October 18, 2014: The Pepper Project

The Pepper ProjectA year ago on the show you met Cris Peterson and Tom Gordon of The Pepper Project. The Pepper Project is a not-for-profit enterprise devoted to introducing the unique products of Cambodia to the United States.

Pepper from the Kampot region of southwestern Cambodia is their flagship offering. The pepper has long been used in the finest restaurants of Europe and one goal of The Pepper Project is to make it available in the U.S. at an affordable price.

Revered OC chef, Alan Greely (he’s cooked for Presidents,) uses the peppers at The Golden Truffle.

A fully stocked Pepper Project retail store with unusual and one-of-a-kind items opens this Weekend in Orange at 940 W. Chapman, Suite 106.

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Show 85, August 23, 2014: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show

Kedric Francis and Andy HarrisGuest Host Kedric Francis of The Orange County Register Magazine & Coast Orange County Magazine and Producer Andy Harris preview the show.

The always debonair Kedric Francis, our dashing man about Orange County, is the Executive Editor of both publications.

Also joining us at 10:45 a.m. is Travis Rodgers of the “Travis Rogers Show” heard weekday mornings on AM 830 KLAA from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Travis’ loyal fans know his second most favorite subject is food! He’s serious about eats. “The Travis Rodgers Show” is SoCal’s only live and local sports morning show.

Arriving on August 29th and continuing through August 31st is the Los Angeles Times The Taste at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie & Ted’s are participants and our very special guests.

Kedric Francis of the Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine has been out and about exploring the latest finds in the OC. He was at the very exclusive pre-opening preview lunch for the eagerly anticipated Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in South Coast Plaza on August 15th and will share some of his observations.

Executive Chef Michael Rossi (ex-Napa Rose) has been at the helm of The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon since it’s opening day in early 2012. He was actually on the ambitious project over a year testing recipes before the first guests were greeted. The Ranch (unusually) has its own farm located on the Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange which provides a lot of the fresh fruits and vegetables used at the highly regarded and much acclaimed restaurant. It’s a chef’s dream to have these resources…

Freddy Vargas is the forward-thinking executive chef of the high profile Scarpetta located in the Montage Beverly Hills across a pocket park from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills. This is one of Celebrity Chef Scott Conants’s restaurant properties. At lunch on Weekdays he’s operating a to-go Paninoteca. Think gourmet Italian sandwiches like a Porchetta. It’s spiced pork belly, broccoli rabe pesto and a fried hen egg on house-baked bread.

Brad A. Johnson is the James Beard award-winning restaurant critic for both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Register. Where does a restaurant critic eat when he’s not reviewing? Those are the spots we all want to go…Brad shares with us some of his favorites in both Orange County and Los Angeles. The origin of this discussion was a recent article Brad wrote for the Orange County Register Magazine.

The show was live on Saturday morning from The Valley View Casino. The fine dining restaurant there is Black & Blue – The Place For Steak. We’ll meet Chef de Cuisine Michael Knowles.He started cooking at age 14! He has elevated Black & Blue to an award-winning California steakhouse that’s true destination dining for San Diego residents.

Travis Rodgers is the easy-going Iron Man of personalities on AM 830 KLAA. Every weekday morning he’s on AM 830 KLAA talking sports for four hours beginning at 6:00 a.m. After he’s finished at 10:00 a.m. on AM 830 he continues his national show for Yahoo Sports Radio for another hour until 11:00 a.m. That’s five hours on Weekdays as the solo host.

Travis’ second favorite subject is good food. Did we say Mexican? The discussion with Travis is on assorted cravable eats.

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

 

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Show 85, August 23, 2014: Michael Rossi, Executive Chef, The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon

Michael Rossi of the Ranch Restaurant and SaloonExecutive Chef Michael Rossi (ex-Napa Rose) has been at the helm of The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon since it’s opening day in early 2012. He was actually on the ambitious project for over a year testing recipes before the first guests were greeted.

The Ranch (unusually) has its own 2-acre farm located on the Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange which provides a lot of the fresh produce used at the highly regarded restaurant. Think of over 600 heirloom tomato vines featuring 90 different varieties. Original (and fully mature) orange and fig trees are also part of the property.

Future expansion plans for the Edwards Ranch Estates include avocado trees, olive trees, and grape vines.

It’s a chef’s fondest dream to have these incredible resources…

One of Chef Michael’s signature menu items is the much talked-about 58 oz. bone-in Cowboy Ribeye chop.

Congrats to Chef Michael and The Ranch Restaurant for their 2014 nominations for the Golden Foodie Awards including (the peer-nominated) The Golden Chef and The Golden Pastry Chef. They also have been nominated for “Best Steak” in the public voting.

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August 23: Live from Valley View Casino with Kedric Francis, Travis Rodgers, Russ Parsons, Michael Cimarusti, Michael Rossi, Freddy Vargas, Brad A. Johnson

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Preview of Los Angeles Times The Taste
Segment Three: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine
Segment Four: Michael Rossi, Executive Chef, The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon
Segment Five: Freddy Vargas, Executive Chef, Scarpetta, Montage Beverly Hills
Segment Six: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, The Orange County Register & The Los Angeles Register
Segment Seven: Chef Michael Knowles, Black & Blue Steakhouse, Valley View Casino
Segment Eight: Travis Rodgers, “The Travis Rodgers Show” on AM 830 KLAA

Kedric Francis and Andy HarrisGuest Host Kedric Francis of The Orange County Register Magazine & Coast Orange County Magazine and Producer Andy Harris preview the show.

The always debonair Kedric Francis, our dashing man about Orange County, is the Executive Editor of both publications.

Also joining us at 11:00 a.m. is Travis Rodgers of the “Travis Rogers Show” heard weekday mornings on AM 830 KLAA from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Travis’ loyal fans know his second most favorite subject is food! He’s serious about eats. “The Travis Rodgers Show” is SoCal’s only live and local sports morning show.

Arriving on August 29th and continuing through August 31st is The Los Angeles Times The Taste at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie & Ted’s are participants and our very special guests.

Kedric Francis of the Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine has been out and about exploring the latest finds in the OC. He was at the very exclusive pre-opening preview lunch for the eagerly anticipated Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in South Coast Plaza on August 15th and will share some of his observations.

Executive Chef Michael Rossi (ex-Napa Rose) has been at the helm of The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon since it’s opening day in early 2012. He was actually on the ambitious project over a year testing recipes before the first guests were greeted. The Ranch (unusually) has its own farm located on the Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange which provides a lot of the fresh fruits and vegetables used at the highly regarded and much acclaimed restaurant. It’s a chef’s dream to have these resources…

Freddy Vargas is the forward-thinking executive chef of the high profile Scarpetta located in the Montage Beverly Hills across a pocket park from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills. This is one of Celebrity Chef Scott Conants’s restaurant properties. At lunch on Weekdays he’s operating a to-go Paninoteca. Think gourmet Italian sandwiches like a Porchetta. It’s spiced pork belly, broccoli rabe pesto and a fried hen egg on house-baked bread.

Brad A. Johnson is the James Beard award-winning restaurant critic for both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Register. Where does a restaurant critic eat when he’s not reviewing ? Those are the spots we all want to go…Brad shares with us some of his favorites in both Orange County and Los Angeles. The origin of this discussion was a recent article Brad wrote for the Orange County Register Magazine.

The show is live on Saturday morning from The Valley View Casino. The fine dining restaurant there is Black & Blue – The Place For Steak. We’ll meet Chef de Cuisine Michael Knowles .He started cooking at age 14! He has elevated Black & Blue to an award-winning California steakhouse that’s true destination dining for San Diego residents.

Travis Rodgers is the easy-going Iron Man of personalities on AM 830 KLAA. Every weekday morning he’s on AM 830 KLAA talking sports for four hours beginning at 6:00 a.m. After he’s finished at 10:00 a.m. on AM 830 he continues his national show for Yahoo Sports Radio for another hour until 11:00 a.m. That’s five hours on Weekdays as the solo host.

Travis’ second favorite subject is good food. Did we say Mexican ? We’ll talk assorted cravable eats with Travis

Russ Parsons of the Los Angeles TimesArriving on August 29th and continuing through August 31st is the Los Angeles Times The Taste at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie & Ted’s are participants and our very special guests.

On Saturday morning, August 30th at 11:00 a.m. Russ Parsons and Nancy Silverton (Mozza) will be hosting “Field to Fork.” “The city’s best eats are in season.”

On Sunday, August 31st at 7:30 p.m. Chef Michael Cimarusti and Jonathan Gold will be hosting “Flavors of L.A.” “Find great eating around every corner.”

Din Tai Fung Dumpling HouseKedric Francis of the Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine has been out and about in the OC. He was at the pre-opening preview lunch for the eagerly anticipated Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in South Coast Plaza (August 18th was Opening Day) and will share some of his observations.

Din Tai Fung is most famous for XiaoLongBao, the Shanghai-style soup dumplings which became a signature dish at the original site in Taipei.

Din Tai Fung at South Coast Plaza is over 8,000 square feet, making it one of the largest in over 100 locations worldwide.

Michael Rossi of the Ranch Restaurant and SaloonExecutive Chef Michael Rossi (ex-Napa Rose) has been at the helm of The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon since it’s opening day in early 2012. He was actually on the ambitious project for over a year testing recipes before the first guests were greeted.

The Ranch (unusually) has its own 2-acre farm located on the Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange which provides a lot of the fresh produce used at the highly regarded restaurant. Think of over 600 heirloom tomato vines featuring 90 different varieties. Original (and fully mature) orange and fig trees are also part of the property.

Future expansion plans for the Edwards Ranch Estates include avocado trees, olive trees, and grape vines.

It’s a chef’s fondest dream to have these incredible resources…

One of Chef Michael’s signature menu items is the much talked-about 58 oz. bone-in Cowboy Ribeye chop.

Freddy VargasFreddy Vargas is the forward-thinking executive chef of the high profile Scarpetta located in the Montage Beverly Hills across a lush pocket park from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills. This is one of Celebrity Chef Scott Conants’s restaurant properties.

At lunch on Weekdays he’s operating a to-go Paninoteca. Think gourmet Italian sandwiches like a Porchetta. It’s spiced pork belly, broccoli rabe pesto and a fried hen egg on house-baked bread.

Photography by Brad A JohnsonBrad A. Johnson is the James Beard award-winning restaurant critic for both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Register. He’s also an accomplished photographer.

Where does a restaurant critic eat when he’s not reviewing? Those are the spots we all want to find…Brad shares with us some of his favorites in both Orange County and Los Angeles. The origins of this was discussion a recent article Brad wrote for the Orange County Register Magazine.

Michael Knowles of Black and Blue SteakhouseThe show is live on Saturday morning from The Valley View Casino. The fine dining restaurant there is Black & Blue – The Place For Steak.

We’ll meet Chef de Cuisine Michael Knowles.He started cooking at age 14! Chef Michael cooked at Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio in San Francisco in the 90s. He has elevated Black & Blue to an award-winning California steakhouse that’s true destination dining for discerning San Diego residents.

All of his pastas are made in-house along with some of the cheese.

His “Signature Indulgence” on the Black & Blue menu is “The Ultimate Surf & Turf” for $75.00. It’s also part of a betting challenge. How about Lobster Creamed Spinach as a premium side?

Travis RodgersTravis Rodgers is the easy-going Iron Man of personalities on AM 830 KLAA. Every weekday morning he’s on AM 830 KLAA talking sports for four hours beginning at 6:00 a.m. After he’s finished at 10:00 a.m. on AM 830 he continues his national show for Yahoo Sports Radio for another hour until 11:00 a.m. That’s five hours on Weekdays as the solo host.

He’s also the master of engaging with his listeners via Twitter.

Travis’ second favorite subject is good food. Did we say Mexican? We’ll talk assorted cravable eats with Travis!

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Preview of Los Angeles Times The Taste
Segment Three: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine
Segment Four: Michael Rossi, Executive Chef, The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon
Segment Five: Freddy Vargas, Executive Chef, Scarpetta, Montage Beverly Hills
Segment Six: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, The Orange County Register & The Los Angeles Register
Segment Seven: Chef Michael Knowles, Black & Blue Steakhouse, Valley View Casino
Segment Eight: Travis Rodgers, “The Travis Rodgers Show” on AM 830 KLAA

Show 68, April 5, 2014: Show 68, April 5, 2014: Master Baker Dean Kim, OC Baking Co

The Big Cheese Grilled Cheese CompetitionIn celebration of National Grilled Cheese Month in April, OC Baking Co. and Provisions Market in Orange will join forces to host The Big Cheese, Orange County’s first grilled cheese festival and competition. OC Baking Co. Master Baker Dean Kim will supply locally produced freshly baked bread to top OC chefs competing for the title of “The Big Cheese” on Monday, April 14th from 6 to 8:00 p.m. at Provisions Market in Orange.

“The Chef community in Orange County is a tight knit one with many talented individuals I’m proud to call my friends,” commented Chef Greg Daniels, who oversees the kitchens at Haven Gastropub in Orange and Pasadena, as well as taco asylum in Costa Mesa. “Grilled Cheese is something we can all relate to and, thanks to OC Baking Co.’s support, this event is a way for us to get together for a lighthearted competition.”

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