Show 35, July 13, 2013: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Continued…

Bill ChaitWhen Bill continued the conversation turned to the story of Test Kitchen. The original Test Kitchen occupied the spot where Sotto is now. Ricardo Zarate’s Picca is in the same building right above the space.

As Bill explains it while he was deciding what was going into this space (with Picca being built above) the thought was to do an iteration of a pop-up in that space. The eventual concept was to bring big deal chefs into the space for a week to cook the menu of their dreams and perhaps test new ideas. The only publicity was an e-mail blast to folks who signed up to get it. The media did the rest by picking this up and promoting it as hidden dining! The demand for a seat at any of the Test Kitchen evenings well exceeded the available room thereby creating high interest in future programs!

Ricardo Zarate functioned as host chef and John Sedlar also helped out. Walter Manzke, Neal Fraser, Javier Plascencia, and others were part of the ambitious effort.  Steve Samson and Zach Pollack (who now occupy the space with Sotto) were also part of the series.

Bill’s newest projects are the pending Republique with Walter Manzke (ex-Bastide) and Redbird with Neal Fraser (bld.)

Republique is looking at a late August or early September launch in the former Campanile space on S. La Brea Ave. It will include a 95-seat café in the style of Joan’s on Third as well as a French bistro that will be Walter’s adaption/refinement of Church & State (where he also previously ran the kitchen.)

Redbird is Neal Fraser’s long in the works restaurant for the former rectory building at St. Vibiana Cathedral in Downtown Los Angeles. The project is in plan check with the City and depending on construction issues is aiming for a late fourth quarter opening.

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July 13: Mary Sue Milliken, Bill Chait, Anita Lau, Jet Tila on Sushi

Podcasts

Segment One: Dining discoveries of the week with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part One
Segment Three: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part Two
Segment Four: Mary Sue Milliken, Executive Chef & Partner of Border Grill
Segment Five: Anita Lau, creator of the Mad Hungry Woman Blog
Segment Six: Chef Jet Tila with “Sushi 411.”

Previews of potential dining adventures…

Khao Soi at Spicy Thai BBQChef Jet somewhat reluctantly shares his recommendation for Northern Thai food in Los Angeles. It’s a small place with 15 seats but worth seeking out. Their signature dish is khao soi.

Producer Andy highlights Marche Moderne’s (Penthouse @ South Coast Plaza) annual Bouillabaisse festival running nightly until July 18th. It’s an authentic Marseillaise-bouillabaisse with all the fish flown in from the South of France. Spoil yourself with the very best and a glass of Rose! Reservations are a must…

If you dine-out in Los Angeles you’ve no doubt heard of Rivera and Bestia in Downtown Los Angeles. You probably also know the Italian favorite Sotto and the Peruvian-flavored, Picca located just East of Century City. How about Short Order and Short Cake at the Original Farmers Market at Third & Fairfax?

Bill ChaitWhat you probably don’t know is that all of these popular, chef-driven restaurants are ventures put together by low key restaurant impresario, Bill Chait. Bill joins us to discuss how he has created a string of successful, and enduring, restaurants (done on a budget) with talented celebrity chefs in a very tough business environment.

In the pipeline for Chait are Chef Walter Manzke’s Republique in the former Campanile space on La Brea Avenue and Neal Fraser’s Redbird in the former Vibiana Cathedral space in Downtown Los Angeles.

Mary Sue Milliken of Border GrillOn Monday, July 22nd at 6:30 p.m. at Border Grill Las Vegas Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, and Border Grill Executive Chef Mike Minor are teaming up with Chef Rick Moonen of rm seafood and Chefs Collaborative to host a Trash Fish Dinner. The cocktail reception and dinner will feature tasty alternatives to the seafood we love and, unfortunately, eat too much of. Understand the fish is delicious…

Mary Sue Milliken joins us to preview the fun evening with a purpose.

Time for Fair Food!

Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe from Chicken CharliesThe OC Fair is on through August 11th! Mad Hungry Woman blogger, Anita Lau, is with us to discuss what extreme foods are new at the Fair for 2013. She will actually be judging some Fair food contests during the event.

Fair food vendor, Chicken Charlie’s, always is always out there with fab fried food items. Eagerly anticipated is his new Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe’s and Bacon A-Fair’s Wild Boar on a stick (an OC Fair exclusive.)

According to the Orange County Register’s Nancy Luna, Chicken Charlie sold 50,000 deep-fried Twinkies last year at the Fair!

Other Chicken Charlie highlights are a deep-fried bacon pickle and a waffle dog.

SushiDo you crave sushi but feel somewhat compromised about proper manners and ordering technique in a sushi restaurant? When do you use the ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi? Is omakase (“trust the chef”) the best way to go? If you sit at the sushi bar how do you convey respect to the sushi chefs?

Listeners to the “SoCal Restaurant Show” are in luck. When he was helming Wazuzu at Encore Las Vegas, Jet had some of the most highly regarded sushi in Las Vegas on his menu. Backing it all up was in-house master sushi chef (and his highly trained team.) He will give us the 411 on ordering, and enjoying, sushi.

Podcasts

Segment One: Dining discoveries of the week with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part One
Segment Three: Restaurant Impresario Bill Chait Part Two
Segment Four: Mary Sue Milliken, Executive Chef & Partner of Border Grill
Segment Five: Anita Lau, creator of the Mad Hungry Woman Blog
Segment Six: Chef Jet Tila with “Sushi 411.”

Show 32, June 22, 2013: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles

Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of SottoSamson and Pollack are the co-executive chefs and partners (with restaurateur Bill Chait) in Sotto on Pico Blvd in West Los Angeles. The exterior has a very New York-brownstone feel. The restaurant is actually located a few steps below the sidewalk. Above is Picca featuring the cooking of executive chef Ricardo Zarate.

Steve Samson’s mother is Italian so the foods of Northern Italy are something he grew up with. During the time he was with Piero Selvaggio of Valentino fame (Santa Monica & Las Vegas) he traveled extensively in Italy to master regional Italian cuisine. Sotto is actually their interpretation of Southern Italian fare.

Zach is not Italian. His love affair with Italy started when he was a college student studying architecture in Florence. He is a master at preparing the authentic Naples-style pizza. His special Italian wood-burning pizza oven was actually shipped to Los Angeles from Italy and assembled on-site by skilled Italian masons.

In the mornings they bake the Sotto bread in that oven.

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March 23: Ricardo Zarate, Cocoy Ventura, Anita Lau, Brock Radke, Portola Coffee Lab

Podcasts

Segment One: Food GPS’ Joshua Lurie
Segment Two: Chef Cocoy Ventura
Segment Three: Anita Lau, Mad Hungry Woman Blogger
Segment Four: Brock Radke, Food & Web Editor of Las Vegas Weekly
Segment Five: Jeff & Christa Duggan of Portola Coffee Lab, Theorem by Portola Coffee Lab, and Seventh Tea Bar in the OC Mart Mix in Costa Mesa Part One
Segment Six: Jeff & Christa Duggan of Portola Coffee Lab, Theorem by Portola Coffee Lab, and Seventh Tea Bar in the OC Mart Mix in Costa Mesa Part Two

Hungry? This week we’ll start with a dine-around of New York, Houston, and a bit of L.A. From there it’s the 411 on Filipino food presented by a distinguished Filipino Chef.

Next it’s a look at an appealing San Diego restaurant discovered by our always reliable correspondent covering San Diego. From there it’s a look at the Top 20 restaurants in Las Vegas both on and off The Strip ranked by an objective local insider. Lastly it’s all things coffee with a pair of real experts.

Jet has been in New York and Houston since he was last on the air so he’ll share some of his dining adventures.

Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica and PiccaChef Ricardo Zarate (Mo-Chica & Picca) is about to open his eagerly anticipated Paiche in Marina del Rey. To celebrate Chef Zarate is joining forces with FOOD GPS to present two evenings of special dinners collaborating with fellow Food & Wine magazine “Best New Chefs”. Joshua Lurie of Food GPS will be along to preview the dinners on March 26th and 27th.

Chef Cocoy VenturaHiding in plain sight is the fact that there is a large Filipino community in Los Angeles. There is even a chain of well-stocked and nicely-appointed Filipino supermarkets based in Los Angeles County.

Chef Cocoy Ventura is with us to talk about the basic components of Filipino food. Fish, vegetables, and fruit are just some of the tasty building blocks.

Anita Lau, the widely followed Mad Hungry Woman blogger, is back with us sharing another dining discovery. She tell us about an appealing find in San Diego that she happily goes back to time and again.

Brock Radke of Las Vegas WeeklyBrock Radke is the respected, no-nonsense Food and Web Editor for Las Vegas Weekly. The March 14th cover story for The Weekly was “The 20 Most Important Restaurants in Las Vegas: Brock Radke ranks the landmarks and upstarts defining how we eat right now” positioned in order of appeal to him. It features both on and off The Strip locations. Let the games begin…

Jeff and Christa Duggan of Portola Coffee Lab in Costa MesaIf you really love a superior cup of coffee then don’t miss this segment! Coffee fanatics Jeff and Christa Duggan of Portola Coffee Lab at the OC Mart Mix in Costa Mesa are constantly on the hunt for brewing the ultimate cup of coffee…They call it Craft Coffee. (Don’t worry – they are passionate but harmless…)

“Since opening Portola Coffee Lab, we have focused on empowering the community with quality, traceable, fresh-roasted coffee, presented in an artful context – one cup at a time,” explains proprietor Jeff Duggan.

Last year the energetic Duggans added Theorem by Portola Coffee Lab adjacent to their original coffee haven. It’s a 6-seat bar presenting a Barista-crafted menu of one-of-a-kind Craft Coffee creations focused on delivering a rich, personal experience.

Podcasts

Segment One: Food GPS’ Joshua Lurie
Segment Two: Chef Cocoy Ventura
Segment Three: Anita Lau, Mad Hungry Woman Blogger
Segment Four: Brock Radke, Food & Web Editor of Las Vegas Weekly
Segment Five: Jeff & Christa Duggan of Portola Coffee Lab, Theorem by Portola Coffee Lab, and Seventh Tea Bar in the OC Mart Mix in Costa Mesa Part One
Segment Six: Jeff & Christa Duggan of Portola Coffee Lab, Theorem by Portola Coffee Lab, and Seventh Tea Bar in the OC Mart Mix in Costa Mesa Part Two

Show 7: November 24, 2012: Chef Ricardo Zarate and Business Partner & Restaurateur Stephane Bombet of Picca in West Los Angeles and Mo-Chica in Downtown Los Angeles

Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica and PiccaChef Ricardo Zarate vaulted onto the local food scene in 2009 with his hole in the wall Peruvian spot, Mo-Chica, located in the off-the-beaten path Mercado La Paloma near USC. His inventive fare at wallet-friendly prices soon attracted national notice.

Restaurateur Stephane Bombet soon discovered Chef Zarate for himself and a business partnership bloomed. Their first venture was the upscale small plates establishment, Picca (just East of Century City,) which features Peruvian-Japanese small plates meant to share. From there Mo-Chica was relocated to expanded, and more fashionable, quarters in Downtown Los Angeles.

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Show 7: November 24, 2012: Chef Ricardo Zarate and Business Partner & Restaurateur Stephane Bombet Part Two

Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica and PiccaChef Ricardo is an expert with ceviche. He provided the 411 on its preparation and a bounty of helpful hints.

The next venture for the partnership of Chef Ricardo and Stephane Bombet is Paiche well under construction in Rick Caruso’s Waterside Marina del Rey. It’s named after a large Amazon fish. Ceviche will most probably be an element of the developing concept.

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November 24: Ricardo Zarate, Inn at Europa Village, Deep End Dining, Marche Moderne

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Dean A. Thomas, Innkeeper (with his wife, Nicole) of The Inn At Europa Village and Executive Chef de Cuisine at Europa Village Winery and Tasting Room
Segment Three: Eddie Lin of the blog “Deep End Dining” and the new Web series for YouTube, “Kamikaze Kitchen.”
Segment Four: Eddie Lin Part Two
Segment Five: Chef Ricardo Zarate and Business Partner & Restaurateur Stephane Bombet of Picca in West Los Angeles and Mo-Chica in Downtown Los Angeles
Segment Six: Ricardo Zarate and Stephane Bombet Part Two
Segment Seven: Amelia Marneau of Marche Moderne in The Penthouse (Level 3) at South Coast Plaza
Segment Eight: Food TV Producer and Culinary Personality Eric Boardman

The Holidays are upon us and the “SoCal Restaurant Show” is getting into the spirit of the season. It’s a stuffed grab bag of entertaining info this week.

Ever wonder what a busy chef (and new father) does for his own Family on Thanksgiving? Chef Jet gives us the behind-the-scenes on his Thanksgiving 2012.

The picturesque Temecula Valley Wine Country is only 90-minutes from most of Los Angeles and is a great local getaway with numerous inviting attractions including a winery for every palate and budget.

In the last year The Inn at Europa Village (located on a hilltop with an unrivaled view of the Valley) has been remodeled and enhanced, and now defines the standard of truly memorable bed and breakfast establishments in the Temecula Valley.

The personable Innkeepers are the dynamic duo of Executive Chef Dean Thomas and his wife, Nicole. Chef Dean also oversees the culinary operations at the neighboring Europa Village Tasting Room & Vineyards.

We’ll talk with Dean about his unusual hands-on approach to managing a bed and breakfast and the show-stopping breakfasts he creates with premium local ingredients for his appreciative guests every morning!

Eddie Lin of Deep End DiningJoining Jet in studio will be Asian food blogger extraordinaire and culinary personality Eddie Lin. You may know him from “Deep-End Dining.” He also has a new Web series, “Kamikaze Kitchen.”

Eddie’s most recent assignment is as a contributor to Los Angeles Magazine’sDigest” blog.

Peruvian cuisine has captured the attention of SoCal foodies. At the forefront is Chef Ricardo Zarate who achieved fame in L.A. with his hole-in-the wall spot, Mo-Chica, originally located in the Mercado La Paloma just East of the USC campus. This was later relocated to a more ambitious and expanded space Downtown at 514 W. Seventh St.

Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica and PiccaBefore that Ricardo and his business partner Stephane Bombet launched the upscale Picca (Peruvian/Japanese small plates) on W. Pico Blvd. just East of Century City.

A new spot in Marina del Rey is on the horizon.

Jet will chat with both Chef Ricardo and Stephane Bombet about their expanding restaurant empire which started quite modestly.

Our vote for nicest couple in the hospitality business in Orange County has to be Florent and Amelia Marneau who are the greatly respected proprietors of the acclaimed Marche Moderne located in The Penthouse (Level 3) at South Coast Plaza.

Since they opened in 2007 the restaurant has earned the reputation as the premier French restaurant in Orange County and beyond. Florent is behind the stoves and Amelia creates the incredible desserts and also graciously runs the front-of-the-house.

Throughout the year they do noteworthy special events to keep their establishment fresh. This morning Amelia joins the show to preview Marche Moderne’s “40 Days of Champagne and Caviar” Holiday Celebration. Nightly until December 30th Marche is showcasing a nightly special menu of six top caviar selections and bubbly from four renowned Champagne houses along with the traditional accoutrements and caviar-friendly cocktails. If you don’t think that says “Holidays” with a flourish then forget about it…

Finally Careers through Culinary Arts Program Los Angeles Advisory Board Member (and food TV producer) Eric Boardman is with us to discuss the spirited C-CAP alum competition in the style of Food Network’s “Chopped” that was part of last Saturday’s “Getting Our Just Desserts” Benefit at The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles’ campus in Santa Monica. Eric was the Master of Ceremonies for the competition and shares the results.

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Dean A. Thomas, Innkeeper (with his wife, Nicole) of The Inn At Europa Village and Executive Chef de Cuisine at Europa Village Winery and Tasting Room
Segment Three: Eddie Lin of the blog “Deep End Dining” and the new Web series for YouTube, “Kamikaze Kitchen.”
Segment Four: Eddie Lin Part Two
Segment Five: Chef Ricardo Zarate and Business Partner & Restaurateur Stephane Bombet of Picca in West Los Angeles and Mo-Chica in Downtown Los Angeles
Segment Six: Ricardo Zarate and Stephane Bombet Part Two
Segment Seven: Amelia Marneau of Marche Moderne in The Penthouse (Level 3) at South Coast Plaza
Segment Eight: Food TV Producer and Culinary Personality Eric Boardman