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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June 22: Sotto, Cochon 555, Tal Ronnen

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles Part One
Segment Three: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Four: Brady Lowe, creator of the Cochon 555 National Tour
Segment Five: Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads in West Hollywood Part One
Segment Six: Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads in West Hollywood Part Two

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownThis past week Chef Jet has been part of an influential food conference along with a number of standout food luminaries at UMass Amherst in Massachusetts. Jet will give us some of the highlights.

Producer Andy will preview one of the biggest ethnic food festivals happening this weekend in Orange County.

We’ll also answer some e-mail inquiries.

Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of SottoSotto on Pico Blvd. in West Los Angeles just East of Century City is the dream restaurant of American chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack who are both obsessed (in the best possible way) with all things Italy. Samson is the skilled executive chef and Pollack is the gifted pizzaiolo, and the food represents the fare of Southern Italy.

Steve Samson is known to Angelenos as one of the respected executive chefs in the rich history of Piero Selvaggio’s Valentino in Santa Monica. In early 2009 Samson and Pollack created the well-received Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa’s performing arts district near South Coast Plaza for David Myers.

Brady Lowe of Cochon 555We’ve been following the Cochon 555 national tour since their stop in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 5th at House of Blues in West Hollywood. Our own Chef Jet Tila headed one of the five competing teams creating dishes from a whole heritage pig. Each culinary team provided tastes for the 400 attendees who were then part of the final judging.

The ten regional winners met at the Aspen Food & Wine Festival last Sunday for the final showdown, The Grand Cochon. Among the finalists was Chef Ray Garcia of Fig in Santa Monica, the supreme porker from the Los Angeles competition.

Cochon founder, Brady Lowe, based in Atlanta, joins us with the final report of this year’s results.

Tal Ronnen of Crossroads KitchenTal Ronnen is the go-to vegan chef cooking in the United States. He opened his first Los Angeles area restaurant, Crossroads, back in March. It’s at the corner of Melrose and Sweetzer Avenue in West Hollywood. The food is fine-dining vegan with Mediterranean-style small plates in a highly designed space.

“I just can’t do the throw some vegetables and a starch on a plate thing,” Ronen once said in a Los Angeles Times profile. “That’s the problem with most vegan dishes. It’s a Portobello mushroom cap, or pasta primavera, and when you’re finished with dinner you have to hit the drive-through. You have to give people something that will satisfy them”

Chef Ronnen also contributed to the original menu for LYFE Kitchen which launched earlier in the year in Culver City.

His reputation is such that in early 2011 when very particular casino resort mogul Steve Wynn wanted to add vegan dishes to all of his acclaimed restaurants at both Wynn Las Vegas and Encore the plum assignment went to Chef Ronnen.

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles Part One
Segment Three: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Four: Brady Lowe, creator of the Cochon 555 National Tour
Segment Five: Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads in West Hollywood Part One
Segment Six: Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads in West Hollywood Part Two

Show 8: December 1, 2012: Jason Kessler of Food Republic and Bon Appetit Part Three

We unfortunately weren’t able to connect with Pamela Sheldon Johns who is a Italian culinary expert and cookbook author who now lives in Tuscany on an agricultural estate with olive trees, a cooking school, and a bed and breakfast. She is on a brief SoCal book tour for Cucina Povera, Tuscan Peasant Food. She will be a Zov’s Bistro in Tustin on Saturday, Dec. 8th @ 11:30 a.m. teaching a full menu from the book using her own estate olive oil. All the details are on Zov’s website.

Jason Kessler then continued his conversation with Jet and revealed a discovery. Jason is from Chicago and he’s finally uncovered a deep dish pizza spot that’s comparable to the best in Chicago!

In the Fairfax district he’s become a fan of Hollywood Pies @ 6616 and ½ W. Pico Blvd. Phone – (323) 337-3212. This underground spot has been at various locations and recently moved here. It’s take-out or delivery right now with seating planned for the future. If you’re out of their delivery area you need to call ahead and order. At the scheduled pick-up time you call from the curb and the pizza comes out to you.

Open nightly but closed on Monday.

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