Show 134, August 8, 2015: Sal Maniaci, Proprietor, Pizzeria Sapori, Newport Beach

Sal ManiaciThe very hands-on Sal Maniaci has presided over Sapori Ristorante in Newport Beach for over 25 years. There is a lot to be said for longevity in a very tough market.

He had a good pizza on the menu but wasn’t quite satisfied with it. Using his Italian roots (he’s from Sicily) for inspiration he researched wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and the result is Pizzeria Sapori adjacent to Sapori Ristorante. It features, of course, traditional Italian Neapolitan-style pizza baked in a wood-fired oven imported from Naples.

What truly sets Pizzeria Sapori apart from others is the science behind the pizza dough. Sal and his team use a “mother” dough from a strain of yeast that is 80 years old. It is incorporated into each and every batch of dough, which they allow to mature for 72 hours. The result is a far superior crust – one that is soft yet crispy, thin but slightly chewy.

You’ll hear from Sal himself what an incredible process making the dough is!

 

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Show 81, July 26, 2014: Founder Patty Phillips and Bridget Baskin, Patty’s Gourmet Pizza

Pizza is a $30 billion dollar industry in the United States…

Patty Phillips of Pattys PizzaBack in 1988 fearless entrepreneur Patty Phillips was an early pioneer in the Gourmet Take & Bake pizza concept. All of that research and development led to a pizza dough that became really popular with local chefs. Patty’s Gourmet Pizza was established to serve that community and all these years later the Marina del Rey-based firm provides products for commercial clients in over 30 states.

Patty’s Pizza products have won industry awards for exceptional flavor and dependability. In addition, Patty’s “Take & Bake” pizza concept and innovative dough formulations have earned Patty’s critical acclaim from the toughest California restaurant critics.

Patty’s Pizza has worked rigorously to create a par (partially) baked frozen pizza formulation that does not require the heart of industrial level ovens, yet is still able to be frozen, topped, and used in a wide variety of applications. Ultimately, this has led to the development of a new line of pizza products designed to meet the diverse needs of Patty’s ever-growing client list.

The first prominent executive chef to endorse Patty’s Pizza was Roger Pigozzi (now at UCLA) who was then executive chef at The Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

We’re joined by Founder & President Patty Phillips and National Sales Manager Bridget Baskin.

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July 26: Mark Andlebradt. LuckyRice, Patty’s Pizza, Melissa’s Produce, Zach Pollack

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chef Mark Andlebradt, Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio, Las Vegas
Segment Three: Founder Danielle Chang, LUCKYRICE Los Angeles Part One
Segment Four: Founder Danielle Chang, LUCKYRICE Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Five: Founder Patty Phillips and Bridget Baskin, Patty’s Gourmet Pizza
Segment Six: Robert Schueller, Melissa’s World Variety Produce
Segment Seven: Executive Chef / Proprietor Zach Pollack, Alimento, Silver Lake Part One
Segment Eight: Executive Chef / Proprietor Zach Pollack, Alimento, Silver Lake Part Two

Jet Tila and Producer Andy preview the show.

After 15 successful years in Las Vegas at The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio was due for a culinary facelift and some new energy. Enter new Executive Chef Mark Andlebradt (An-dell-Brat) who has created a new market-driven menu more in the style of the original Postrio in San Francisco.

LUCKYRICE Fest comes to Hollywood for their third annual event in Los Angeles. It’s night market-style Asian cuisine and cocktails. Founder Danielle Chang joins us.

Back in 1988 fearless entrepreneur Patty Phillips was an early pioneer in the Gourmet Take & Bake pizza concept. All of that research and development led to a pizza dough that became really popular with local chefs. Patty’s Gourmet Pizza was established to serve that community and all these years later the Marina del Rey-based firm provides a range of products for commercial clients in over 30 states.

What fruits and vegetables are coming into season right now and tasting delicious ? We’ll have a report from our resident produce authority, Robert Schueller, of Melissa’s World Variety Produce.

You know executive chef and revered pizzaiolo Zach Pollack from Sotto in Los Angeles. Orange County listeners remember him as the acclaimed opening pizzaiolo at Pizzaria Ortica. He’s just launched Alimento, his own 40-seat place in Silver Lake.

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

Mark Andlebradt“After 15 successful years of serving Las Vegas, Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio is proud to announce a new, refined concept and market-driven menu led by newly appointed Executive Chef Mark Andlebradt. (An-dell-Brat) Postrio has dropped the “Bar & Grill” moniker and now focuses on seasonal, new American cuisine with global influences that can be enjoyed on the “indoor” patio overlooking the Carnivale atmosphere of St. Mark’s Square or in the intimate main dining room. Award-winning Chef Wolfgang Puck and Executive Chef Andelbradt’s diverse menu features wood-oven baked pizzas, handmade pastas, enticing entrees, outstanding steaks and fish from the mesquite grill, and much more.

This is a big space with 20,000 square feet. Banquets are an important component of their business.

Recent special: 32 ounce braised veal shank. Designed to be shared but many guests ordered it for one!

Weekend brunch is served from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. A guest favorite is the Cinnamon Pecan Roll with maple glaze.

Chef Andelbradt has held high positions through various prestigious kitchens including Brasserie T and Tru on Chicago with Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand; Daniel in New York with Daniel Boulud; Morimoto in both Philadelphia and New York with “Iron Chef” Masaharu Moritoto; and Tao in Las Vegas.

Postrio Las Vegas is located inside The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian Las Vegas.

Luckyrice Night Market“Hosted by Sang Yoon (Father’s Office, Lukshon, and Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters”), the third annual, LUCKYRICE Fest is moving to Hollywood and taking over Create Nightclub for an evening of innovative and traditional Asian-styled dishes paired with cocktails from L.A.’s brightest star chefs and mixologists. Ticket proceeds benefit CAAM, Center for Asian American Media. This unusual smorgasbord of Asian culinary treats features our picks (LUCKYRICE’s) from L.A.’s hot Asian culinary culture – Eat, Drink and Get LUCKY.”

Sang Yoon’s Lukshon is preparing Sichuan Dumplings with Kurobuta pork, spicy Ma’La vinaigrette, sesame, and peanuts.

Founder Danielle Chang is our guest.

LUCKYRICE Founder Danielle Chang is an award-winning media entrepreneur. Prior to launching LUCKYRICE in 2010, she was CEO of Vivienne Tam, a fashion company. Danielle has also worked for Goldman Sachs, The New York Times, and as a Professor of Contemporary Art History. Born in Taiwan, Danielle created LUCKYRICE to share her life-long affinity for Asian cuisine and lifestyle.

Our own Chef Jet Tila is preparing a five spice pork belly taco.

Pizza is a $30 billion dollar industry in the United States…

Patty Phillips of Pattys PizzaBack in 1988 fearless entrepreneur Patty Phillips was an early pioneer in the Gourmet Take & Bake pizza concept. All of that research and development led to a pizza dough that became really popular with local chefs. Patty’s Gourmet Pizza was established to serve that community and all these years later the Marina del Rey-based firm provides products for commercial clients in over 30 states.

Patty’s Pizza products have won industry awards for exceptional flavor and dependability. In addition, Patty’s “Take & Bake” pizza concept and innovative dough formulations have earned Patty’s critical acclaim from the toughest California restaurant critics.

Patty’s Pizza has worked rigorously to create a par (partially) baked frozen pizza formulation that does not require the heart of industrial level ovens, yet is still able to be frozen, topped, and used in a wide variety of applications. Ultimately, this has led to the development of a new line of pizza products designed to meet the diverse needs of Patty’s ever-growing client list.

The first prominent executive chef to endorse Patty’s Pizza was Roger Pigozzi (now at UCLA) who was then executive chef at The Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety ProduceWhat fruits and vegetables are coming into season right now and tasting delicious? We’ll have a report from our resident produce authority, Robert Schueller, of Melissa’s World Variety Produce.

New Mexico Hatch Chiles season starts first week of August.  First local roastings will be Aug. 2- Sept. 20th approx.

The following items are now coming into season and tasting great!:

Melissa’s Muscato (red, green, black), champagne grapes, Witch Finger, Niabells, Cotton Candy and Thomcords Grapes…

Other mention-able worthy fruits:  Figs (brown Turkey, Black Mission, Tiger), Masumoto Peaches, Lychees, Organic Plum Bites, and how about those cute Watermelon Cucumbers, too.

Getting into the peak of the Heirloom Tomatoes, or general tomato season too…

Zach PollackYou know executive chef and pizzaiolo Zach Pollack from Sotto in Los Angeles. Orange County listeners remember him as the acclaimed opening pizzaiolo at Pizzaria Ortica. He’s just launched Alimento, his own 40-seat place in Silver Lake.

“While Sotto’s early vision was mostly Southern Italian, Pollack expands his reach here. “It’s not as regionally specific, but more loosely inspired by the different regions of Italy,” says Pollack. “It’s really my interpretation of these dishes, so it makes sense for Los Angeles, a city that doesn’t take itself too seriously.” You’ll find small and large plates, seasonal salads and handmade pastas, sometimes using grains from Pasadena’s Grist & Toll flour mill.” (Credit to Lesley Balla of Zagat)

Sotto is part of Dine LA for Dinner. $35 prix fixe menu.

Concludes Sunday, July 27th.

Second Course is choice of: Lamb spezzatino (lemon, egg semolina,) Rigatoni (chicken liver ragu, maitake,) or Margarita pizza.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chef Mark Andlebradt, Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio, Las Vegas
Segment Three: Founder Danielle Chang, LUCKYRICE Los Angeles Part One
Segment Four: Founder Danielle Chang, LUCKYRICE Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Five: Founder Patty Phillips and Bridget Baskin, Patty’s Gourmet Pizza
Segment Six: Robert Schueller, Melissa’s World Variety Produce
Segment Seven: Executive Chef / Proprietor Zach Pollack, Alimento, Silver Lake Part One
Segment Eight: Executive Chef / Proprietor Zach Pollack, Alimento, Silver Lake Part Two

Show 80, July 19, 2014: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Continues…

Charcuterie and Cured Meats at Bestia“Chef Ori maintains an aggressive house-cured meats program with over 60 different forms of charcuterie for Bestia. Bestia means “Beast” in Italian. He is also responsible for raising his own yeast culture which he uses to bake Bestia’s sourdough Pain au Levain, used as toast ubiquitously on the menu, as well as for the pizza dough, which rises and falls over a 24-hour cycle prior to being composed as a Napolitana pizza. It’s then baked in the Acunto (wood burning) oven at 900 degrees.”

Chef Ori observes that his wood-burning oven is the most unforgiving oven he’s ever worked with. He loves the results but you can easily scorch things if you’re not constantly monitoring the oven.

‘On the dolci side of the menu, Chef Genevieve is preparing a plethora of desserts from scratch using the finest raw ingredients such as acquarello rice for her al dente rice pudding served with perfectly ripened in-season fruit or her earthy, nutty, chestnut flour zeppole served with house-made coffee gelato and cream. In addition Chef Genevieve was partially responsible for the design of Bestia. She re-furbished oil drum spouts converting them into lighting fixtures.”

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July 19: Bestia, ADYA, Allan Karl, Spencer’s on the Mountain, Tomas Estes

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Part One
Segment Three: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Four: Chef Shachi Mehra, ADYA – Fresh Indian Flavors, Anaheim
Segment Five: Allan Karl – Author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connection Part One
Segment Six: Allan Karl – Author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connection Part Two
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Eric Wadlund, Spencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain, Palm Springs
Segment Eight: Tomas Estes, Mexico’s Tequila Ambassador to Europe

Jet Tila and Producer Andy preview the show.

Bestia, which launched in late 2012 in a secluded location in the former warehouse district of Downtown Los Angeles (now known as the Arts District,) has been a high-profile foodie destination since the beginning. Meet the husband and wife team of Executive Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis and you’ll understand why.

Chef Shachi Mehra is well-known to Orange County diners as the opening chef for the fine-dining Tamarind of London in Newport Coast. Now Chef Shachi has branched out on her own and launched the more accessible ADYA in the Anaheim Packing House. It’s a reflection of modern India cuisine revolving around fresh, sustainable ingredients, simply prepared, in a casual setting.

Why would anyone sell nearly everything he owns, then pack up and travel for three years – alone – on a motorcycle? Meet world traveler and adventurer, Allan Karl, the author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine And Connection. The standout book documents his 62,000 mile journey through 35 countries on 5 continents as well as provides authentic local recipes.

Spencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain is consistently one of the most popular and favorably reviewed restaurants in the greater Palm Springs area. Since 2008 the secret has been the culinary talents of Executive Chef Eric Wadlund in the kitchen.

The Museum of the American Cocktail is hosting one of their special “Touring the Cocktail” evenings at Guelaguetza Restaurante on July 23rd. It’s a tequila appreciation evening with Oaxacan food tastes. Tomas Estes, Mexico’s official Tequila Ambassador to Europe has the details.

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

Executive Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis of BestiaBestia, which launched in late 2012 in a secluded location in the former warehouse district of Downtown Los Angeles (now known as the Arts District,) has been a high-profile foodie destination since the very beginning. Meet the husband and wife team of Executive Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis and you’ll better understand why.

Restaurant impresario Bill Chait is a partner.

The food is multi-regional Italian.

“The overall industrial feel of Bestia, couplled with the passion, hard work and talent of Chef Ori and Chef Genevieve make Bestia an honest Mom and Pop restaurant (with character) built to last.”

Charcuterie and Cured Meats at Bestia“Chef Ori maintains an aggressive house-cured meats program with over 60 different forms of charcuterie for Bestia. Bestia means “Beast” in Italian. He is also responsible for raising his own yeast culture which he uses to bake Bestia’s sourdough Pain au Levain, used as toast ubiquitously on the menu, as well as for the pizza dough, which rises and falls over a 24-hour cycle prior to being composed as a Napolitana pizza. It’s then baked in the Acunto (wood burning) oven at 900 degrees.”

‘On the dolci side of the menu, Chef Genevieve is preparing a plethora of desserts from scratch using the finest raw ingredients such as acquarello rice for her al dente rice pudding served with perfectly ripened in-season fruit or her earthy, nutty, chestnut flour zeppole served with house-made coffee gelato and cream. In addition Chef Genevieve was partially responsible for the design of Bestia. She re-furbished oil drum spouts converting them into lighting fixtures.”

Shachi MehraChef Shachi Mehra is well-known to Orange County diners as the opening chef for the fine-dining Tamarind of London in Newport Coast. Now Chef Shachi has branched out on her own and launched the more accessible ADYA in the Anaheim Packing House. It’s a reflection of modern India cuisine revolving around fresh, sustainable ingredients, simply prepared, in a casual setting.

Earlier in her career Chef Shachi was mentored by pioneering Indian Chef Floyd Cardoz in Manhattan. She worked at both Tabla and Bread Bar eventually rising to the position of Head Cook at Bread Bar.

“With ADYA, I present an Indian experience that will allow those who are both familiar and less experienced with Indian cuisine to embark on a delicious, unique culinary journey that emphasizes fresh ingredients and pronounced flavors,” commented Chef Shachi, who blends Western and Indian cultures to create artful dishes that successfully marry tradition with modernity. “The casual setting of ADYA makes it inviting and accommodating to a wide range of guests who seek out the rich experiences that Indian cuisine has to offer.”

Allan KarlWhy would anyone of sound mind sell nearly everything he owns (including a premium wine collection with cult California labels,) then pack up and travel for three years – alone – on a motorcycle? Meet world traveler and adventurer, Allan Karl, the author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine And Connection. The standout book documents his incredible 62,000 mile journey through 35 countries on 5 continents over three years as well as provides authentic local recipes.

Getting the beautiful coffee table book published was an additional three-year odyssey of its own that became a Kickstarter case study..

From Allan: “Through the pages of this book, I share not only incredible adventures, I share the powerful gift of human connection – often made over good food and drink. Readers can experience the world as I did by traveling through each country, meeting the people and their unique cultures, and tasting their food.”

“As I traveled it occurred to me how important is the ritual of sharing food and how much we learn when we take the time to connect and share a meal with strangers or good friends alike.”

Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine And Connections by Allan KarlForks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine And Connections is an oversized, coffee-table art-book with more than 700 photos, stories of adventure and survival and global local food.”

For two years Allan struggled to find a publisher willing to take on this unusual and ambitious book project. They couldn’t pigeonhole it…Finally he turned to Kickstarter to raise the needed initial funds to self publish. He raised almost twice his initial goal for a total of $44,994

After three years on the road Allan truly believes the Irish Proverb: “There are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met.”

Eric WadlundSpencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain is consistently one of the most popular and favorably reviewed restaurants in the greater Palm Springs area. Since 2008 the secret has been the culinary talents of Executive Chef Eric Wadlund in the kitchen. Their relaxing Sunday Brunch is top of the mind with the locals.

“Featuring Four Star American Cuisine with a French – Pacific Rim Influence in a casually elegant atmosphere.”

The restaurant’s outdoor patios and the striking indoor dining area create an extremely inviting visual experience.

Chef Eric was just four when he whipped up his first culinary delight: doughnuts. His father owned a bakery and taught him the tricks of the trade, and, most of all, to love food and cooking.

By the way, he’s cooked for the President, too.

Tomas EstesThe Museum of the American Cocktail is hosting one of their special “Touring the Cocktail” evenings at Guelaguetza Restaurante on July 23rd. It’s a tequila appreciation evening with Oaxacan food tastes. Tomas Estes, Mexico’s official Tequila Ambassador to Europe has the details for us.

Tomas Estes, London resident, native Angeleno, acclaimed restaurateur, and Mexico’s “Official Tequila Ambassador to Europe,” issues participants a passport to the world of tequila and takes them on a behind-the-scenes tour of agave spirits. Josh Goldman, Co-Founder of Soigné Group, a portfolio of 12 Los Angeles-area craft cocktail bars and restaurants, executes a drink menu that demonstrates tequila’s range and versatility.

A sampling of savory specialties from the authentic Oaxacan kitchen of Koreatown’s Restaurante Guelaguetza are included in the price of admission. Come taste why Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold says “Guelaguetza is the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country.”

Tickets are $45 in advance, $40 for MOTAC/SoFAB and USBG Members, and $50 at the door.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Part One
Segment Three: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Four: Chef Shachi Mehra, ADYA – Fresh Indian Flavors, Anaheim
Segment Five: Allan Karl – Author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connection Part One
Segment Six: Allan Karl – Author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connection Part Two
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Eric Wadlund, Spencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain, Palm Springs
Segment Eight: Tomas Estes, Mexico’s Tequila Ambassador to Europe

Show 58, January 25, 2013: Roger Hayot, Executive Chef, J. Nichols Kitchen Continues…

There is a new chapter to Chef Roger Hayot’s inspirational cooking story in Los Angeles so we continue.

Mezze Plate at J. Nichols KitchenIn 2012 Roger moved into the Executive Chef position at J Nichols Kitchen in Marina del Rey. This originally opened as Nichols Family Restaurant in 1974 as a friendly, neighborhood coffee shop with reasonable prices and big portions. When the founders’ son and daughter took over the operation they faced a dilemma. The retail center they were in was about to undergo a major renovation (and upscaling) and their clientele was aging and the younger crowd wasn’t patronizing them. The Nichols made the tough decision to remodel and reposition themselves as a destination neighborhood restaurant with more serious food and no snootiness. That’s a major transition…

The first 6 months of the new concept was a bit rocky. The seniors didn’t like the new menu or pricing and the Millennials thought it was still a coffee shop. A lot of guest confusion…Chef Roger joined the team in progress with the mission of improving the food and consistency. Over the last 18 months that has happened and the successful transition accomplished! A great turnaround story…

Virtually everything is now made from scratch from the pizza dough (3-day process) to the fruit preserves served at breakfast. Chef Roger takes the time to make his own biscuits (very popular) as well as flavorful premium sausages. He has his own smoker. All the desserts are house-prepared. The novel Greek Yogurt Cheesecake is perhaps Chef Roger’s tribute to The Cheesecake Factory. It’s light, has a graham cracker crust, crushed pistachios, and a honey drizzle. Yum…

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Show 40, September 14, 2013: Lena Kwak, Research and Development Chef, Thomas Keller Restaurant Group

Lena KwakChef Lena Kwak is the highly acclaimed research and development chef for The French Laundry and The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group based in Yountville, CA. She created the position.

With the backing of Keller she developed Cup4Cup, a healthy wheat flour-substitute which has gone national over the last two years. It’s carried in Williams-Sonoma stores and also available at the Bouchon Bakeries in Yountville, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and New York.

Last year Kwak was named as one of Forbes Magazine’s “Top 30 Under 30” for her work with Cup4Cup.

In addition to bread mixes the proprietary line also includes a brownie mix, pizza dough, and pancake/waffle mix.

When Cup4Cup is used as a flour substitute in frying it typically bests regular flour in blind taste tests!

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September 14: Azunia Tequila, Vegas Food Trucks, Elizabeth Huettinger, Lena Kwak, Amar Santana, Eric Klein, Michael Passmore

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jim Riley, founder of Azunia Tequila
Segment Three: Brock Radke, Food and Web Editor, Las Vegas Weekly
Segment Four: Elizabeth Huettinger, Wine Director, Addison Del Mar
Segment Five: Lena Kwak, Research and Development Chef, Thomas Keller Restaurant Group
Segment Six: Amar Santana, Executive Chef / Owner, Broadway by Amar Santana
Segment Seven: Eric Klein, Executive Chef & Partner, Spago Las Vegas
Segment Eight: Michael Passmore, Passmore Ranch, Sustainable Aqua Farming

Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show.

Thai 2013 Food FestivalMark Sunday afternoon, September 29th on your calendar. Our very own Jet Tila is hosting the Thai 2013 Food Festival at Paramount Pictures Studios in the heart of Hollywood. It starts at 3:00 p.m.

Celebrity chefs from around the country and outstanding local Thai chefs will be there presenting their signature dishes for the guests to sample and enjoy. Entertainment will include music, Thai dancers and fruit carving.

VIP and Regular Tickets are now on sale!

Azunia TequilaJim Riley, the founder of Azunia Tequila joins us. In his spare time Jim is a professional off-road racer of some note.

This is a case study of how a boutique tequila company grows a brand in an environment dominated by cash-rich giants. Riley has built his brand with clever grass-roots marketing and being seen in the right places.

Azunia Tequila is organic and 100 per cent Weber Blue Agave. It is available in the styles of Platinum Blanco (great for cocktails,) Reposado, and Anejo.

Brock Radke of Las Vegas WeeklyOur man in Las Vegas, Brock Radke, is back with us. Brock is the respected Web and Food Editor for The Las Vegas Weekly.

Last month Brock had a great piece in The Weekly entitled. “Where are they now? Checking up on the first wave of Vegas food truckers.”

Fukuburger has probably been the most successful and is still on the streets. A brick and mortar location for Las Vegas is in the plans. Sloppi Jo’s was a big success with the food critics but, ultimately, not a viable business model. Proprietress Jolene Mannina has parlayed this into other food projects for herself. In fact she’s the head of Culinary Arts for the upcoming “Life is Beautiful” Festival in Downtown Las Vegas. The originator of Slidin’ Thru has moved on but the truck still does events and catering and there is a bricks and mortar drive-through.

Brock also talked about the just launched Heritage Steak at The Mirage on The Strip. The proprietor is Tom Colicchio of Bravo’s “Top Chef” fame and a James Beard Award recipient.

Elizabeth Huettinger of the Addison in Del MarSommelier Elizabeth Huettinger is the new Wine Director at Addison restaurant and The Grand Del Mar Resort in Del Mar. She was previously part of the wine team at Spago Beverly Hills.

Elizabeth just took the incredibly difficult “Advanced” certification test from the Court of Master Sommeliers. She shares that humbling experience with us.

Earlier in the Summer the Grand hosted a special screening of the documentary, “SOMM”. It’s the first effort by filmmaker Jason Wise.
.
“SOMM” tells the fascinating story of four sommeliers attempting to pass the rigorous and prestigious Master Sommelier exam. This test has one of the lowest pass rates imaginable. Elizabeth’s head sommelier at Spago (her previous post) is a Master Sommelier. She talks about hosting the screening (there was wine and abundant food stations) and her reaction to the highly acclaimed documentary.

Lena KwakChef Lena Kwak is the highly acclaimed research development chef for The French Laundry and The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in Yountville, CA. She created the position.

With the backing of Keller she developed Cup4Cup, a healthy wheat flour-substitute which has gone national over the last two years. It’s carried in Williams-Sonoma stores and also available at the Bouchon Bakeries in Yountville, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, and New York.

Last year Kwak was named as one of Forbes Magazine’s “Top 30 Under 30” for her work with Cup4Cup.

In addition to bread mixes the proprietary line also includes a brownie mix, pizza dough, and pancake/waffle mix.

Amar SantanaChef Amar Santana is very familiar to Orange County foodies. His mentor, Chef Charlie Palmer (Aureole,) brought him out here from Manhattan in 2008 to open Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdales at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Talk about a plum assignment for a young chef…

With the backing of one of his very loyal guests he later departed to open a venture of his own, Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Since opening in 2011 it’s been a hit with both the food critics and guests. The bar has also created its own loyal following for unusual libations and a welcoming atmosphere. Their superior Moscow Mule (not listed on the bar menu) is a thoughtful homage to the original version created in the late 30s in Hollywood and now using all fresh ingredients and from scratch ginger beer.

Eric KleinIn 2007 Executive Chef Eric Klein (now a partner) was handed the keys to Spago Las Vegas by Wolfgang Puck and charged with freshening up the concept. This was quite a formidable assignment given that Spago is Wolfgang Puck’s flagship restaurant in Las Vegas! They celebrated their 20th Anniversary last year.

The restaurant is a busy café (with exhibition pizza oven) in the front and an elegant fine-dining restaurant in the back. The front patio opens onto the busy main Forum Shops walkway.

As with the Beverly Hills original Spago Las Vegas attracts the celebrity clientele in addition to sophisticated foodies. Chef Eric is the visible personality of the establishment.

Chef Eric’s first assignment in Las Vegas (after relocating from Beverly Hills) was SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas.

Michael Passmore of Passmore RanchMichael Passmore is an elite class freshwater fish farmer in the Sacramento area. His Passmore Ranch is sustainable aqua farming and his clientele are discriminating celebrity chefs all across the country who he, unusually, supplies directly.

They started modestly by selling live fish at Northern California farmers’ markets, and their quality and service quickly established them as premium purveyors for top restaurants and Michelin-starred chefs around the country.

Passmore Ranch offers premium freshwater white sturgeon, black bass, striped bass, catfish, silver carp and trout, plus prized domestic caviar.

Today Passmore Ranch is 86 acres and they raise fish in 80 million gallons of fresh water pumped up from the pristine Cosumnes aquifer. The ranch has a variety of open lakes and massive tanks used to increase the variety of sustainable fish they grow.

In the works is a plan to begin a thoughtful rollout of limited direct sales to serious home cooks. The info will be posted on their website.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jim Riley, founder of Azunia Tequila
Segment Three: Brock Radke, Food and Web Editor, Las Vegas Weekly
Segment Four: Elizabeth Huettinger, Wine Director, Addison Del Mar
Segment Five: Lena Kwak, Research and Development Chef, Thomas Keller Restaurant Group
Segment Six: Amar Santana, Executive Chef / Owner, Broadway by Amar Santana
Segment Seven: Eric Klein, Executive Chef & Partner, Spago Las Vegas
Segment Eight: Michael Passmore, Passmore Ranch, Sustainable Aqua Farming

Show 21, March 16, 2013: Paul Hibler, owner of Pitfire Artisan Pizza and American Gonzo Food Corporation

Paul Hibler of Pitfire Pizza and Superba Snack BarPitfire’s dough proofs for multiple days before baking and is unusually cooked in a wood-burning oven. The original unit in North Hollywood opened in 1989.

Expansion is something that has only happened in recent years. Paul likes to think of his units as the anti-chain. There are now seven locations. Each one is a bit different in design and all are family-friendly.

In the last year new locations have been added in Costa Mesa (the first unit in Orange County) and Manhattan Beach. The Costa Mesa Pitfire has a lounge in back with a full liquor license. All of the other Pitfire’s are beer & wine only.

American Gonzo Food Corporation’s first project is Superba Snack Bar in Venice which launched last July. The menu maker there is Chef Jason Neroni.

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