Show 251, December 9, 2017: Chef Mike Minor, Border Grill Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Mike Minor of Border Grill in Las VegasMike Minor is back as the Executive Chef of Mary Sue Milliken’s and Susan Feniger’s original Border Grill Las Vegas (launched in 1999) located by the lazy river adjacent to Mandalay Beach at the Mandalay Bay Resort on The Strip. Chef Mike grew up in Las Vegas and has a huge locals’ following. We’ll meet him.

This Border Grill is known for their incredible Weekend, all-you-can-enjoy brunch with everything cooked to order. There is also bottomless sparkling wine. Talk about indulgent…It’s Vegas, baby !

Ironically, it was a French restaurant where Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger first tasted authentic Latin flavors. While guests were dining on escargot out front, in the back of the house Mary Sue and Susan were discovering the home cooking of Oaxaca and the Yucatan at staff meals prepared by their fellow cooks from Mexico. Unlike anything they had ever tasted in Mexican restaurants in the United States, the dishes were as varied and complex as the French fare the chefs were serving out front.

In 1985, Mary Sue and Susan packed a VW bug and took a road trip far south of the Mexican border. Never setting foot in a “fine restaurant,” they learned the recipes and techniques of market vendors and home cooks, from street corners in downtown Mexico City to back road family barbecues and taco stands along the beach. When they returned they opened Border Grill and “applied the same intelligence,” noted Los Angeles Magazine, “to green corn tamales and cactus-paddle tacos that other chefs might to a lobe of foie gras.” Border Grill quickly established a new standard for gourmet Mexican fare.

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Show 251, December 9, 2017: Celebrity Chef Rick Moonen, RM Seafood & Rx Boiler Room, Las Vegas

Rick Moonen of rm seafood in Las VegasRick Moonen is one of the very few celebrity chefs with high profile restaurants in Las Vegas who actually lives in Fabulous Las Vegas. His two restaurants in The Shoppes at Mandalay Place are RM Seafood and Rx Boiler Room.

Since opening RM Seafood at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place in 2005, Master Chef Rick Moonen brings his expertise to The Strip by offering a unique dining experience with a thoughtful selection of seafood through his delectable dishes. Renowned for his passionate views on sustainable seafood, Chef Moonen creates an experience that features a vast array of flavor combinations designed to exemplify the natural qualities of fresh ingredients. Along with abundant offerings from the sea, the menu includes Wagyu beef, lamb, salads and other unique items such as seared foie gras and chicken san daniele.

Combining the alchemy of food and drink, Chef Rick Moonen’s Rx Boiler Room showcases his spin on classic comfort food, offering guests a variety of playful creations in small and large plate portions, ideal for a shared dining experience. Paired to elevate and complement the overall experience, the drink menu features an emporium of the finest spirits and innovative libations. Rx Boiler Room offers a modern reflection of the Victorian era, celebrating the steampunk sub-genre often associated with science-fiction and inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century.

Chef Rick is our guest.

 

 

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Show 251, December 9, 2017: Chef / Owner Brian Howard, Sparrow + Wolf, Chinatown, Las Vegas

Brian Howard of Comme Ca in Las VegasChef Brian Howard developed a loyal following during his tenure at Comme Ca located in The Cosmopolitan. He’s now branched out on his own with Sparrow + Wolf located in Las Vegas’s bustling Chinatown just Off The Strip on Spring Mountain Road. Chef Brian refers to his establishment as “Neighborhood Cookery & Libations.”

Chef Brian Howard’ Sparrow + Wolf boasts cuisine from the heart using a modern hand. It features American cookery influenced by the culturally diverse neighborhoods of Chef Brian’s travels, classic training and Midwestern roots. The centerpiece of the open kitchen is a wood-burning grill. It’s also already a hospitality industry hangout. Chefs and restaurateurs frequent the place.

Throughout his 17-year culinary career in Las Vegas, star Chef Brian Howard earned his stripes working with some of the most popular restaurants on The Strip. He has gained the utmost respect from his colleagues and the city’s most prestigious food writers, including one who referred to Howard as “The Most Ambitious Chef in Las Vegas.” The culinary field is known as a profession of passion, and Howard is a bold example of that premise, having believed since he was 10 years old that cooking is in his blood.

Chef Brian attributes his varied influences to being surrounded by talented people, childhood memories, and his continuous hunger for learning new things every day. “I’ve always had a fight and desire in me to never give up, no matter how rocky the road,” says Howard.  “Perseverance has gotten me to where I am today and now I just want to create something for the people of Las Vegas, a city that has been good to me. I want to create food that I’d like to eat.”

Chef Brian joins us to talk about his first seven months of operations.

 

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Show 251, December 9, 2017: Food Journalist Al Mancini, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Al ManciniThe delightfully opinionated Al Mancini took on the dream assignment for any food journalist of becoming the food reporter for The Las Vegas Review-Journal just about a year ago. He’s an unabashed fan of Fabulous Las Vegas. He also faithfully covers the happenings in the revived Downtown Las Vegas including the vibrant restaurant scene there.

Al discovered his passion for food while living in New York City, where he attended law school by day, tended bar and made pizza at the infamous punk club CBGB by night, and explored the Big Apple’s dynamic dining scene during every spare moment in between.

Previously Al has written extensively about food and dining for numerous local, Las Vegas lifestyle publications. He is the co-creator of Eating Las Vegas – The 50 Essential Restaurants guidebook which launched with the 2011 Edition.

Al is celebrating a B-I-G Birthday this weekend and we pull him away from the festivities for a chat.

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Show 251, December 9, 2017: Dean Stowe Shoemaker, William F. Harrah College of Hospitality, UNLV

Stowe Shoemaker is the Dean of the William F Harrah College of Hotel Administration at University of Nevada Las VegasStowe Shoemaker is the dean of the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV.) Prior to being named dean, Shoemaker served as a Lincy Professor at UNLV and the Donald Hubbs Distinguished Professor at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel Administration at the University of Houston. For many years he was a member of the executive education faculty at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, and for a time he maintained an appointment in the Division of Diagnostic Imagery at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Located in the heart of the hotel, gaming and tourism industries, UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality is uniquely positioned to offer students the real-world skills they need to succeed in the dynamic field of hospitality.

Prominent alums include Food Network’s Guy Fieri and respected hospitality executives throughout Las Vegas and the world.

Hospitality Hall, The College’s new $59 million, 93,500 square-foot building, will welcome students next year. Hospitality Hall will provide the setting and the resources students need to learn the fast-paced, ever changing world of hospitality. With faculty guidance and industry partnerships, Hospitality Hall will help set a new standard of excellence in hospitality education.

We’re in session with The Dean.

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Show 251, December 9, 2017: Tom Kaplan, Senior Managing Partner, Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group

Tom KaplanAs Senior Managing Partner of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Tom Kaplan has worked alongside Wolfgang Puck for nearly 36 years with his world-renowned restaurants. Tom started his lengthy association with Chef Wolfgang as Office Manager two months after the original Spago West Hollywood opened in 1982. His responsibilities include overall business management, strategic development, design, and construction supervision, and philanthropy for the company’s 28 domestic and international locations.

Since 1982, Puck and Kaplan have grown the company from several individual restaurants into a collection of restaurants known as the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group. Primary brands include Spago, CUT, re/Asian Cuisine, and the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. Over the years Kaplan has nurtured key strategic partnerships with luxury hotel brands and major casinos such as the Four Seasons, Dorchester Collection, MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands.

Tom relocated to Las Vegas in 1992 to coincide with the opening of Spago Las Vegas in the Forum Shops, Wolfgang’s first (and trendsetting restaurant) restaurant there.

In Las Vegas in addition to the flagship Spago Las Vegas the dining group’s properties there include Cucina, CUT, Lupo by Wolfgang Puck, and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at the MGM Grand and off The Strip in Downtown Summerlin.

The big Wolfgang Puck Las Vegas news is that after 25 years Spago Las Vegas, in 2018, will move to the former Olives location at The Bellagio, regarded as one of the best restaurant locations in Las Vegas.

Tom Kaplan is our guest.

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Show 251, December 9, 2017: Brenda Hengel, Public Relations and Marketing Brand Manager, The Mob Museum, Las Vegas

Brenda HengelThe Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, is a world-class destination in downtown Las Vegas. It presents an exciting and authentic view of the Mob’s impact on Las Vegas history and its unique imprint on America and the world. With tales so intriguing they need no embellishment, The Mob Museum reveals an insider’s look at the events and people on both sides of this continuing battle between organized crime and law enforcement.

True stories of Mob history are brought to life in a bold and contemporary style via engaging exhibits and multi-sensory experiences. The Mob Museum puts the visitor in the middle of the action through high-tech theater presentations, iconic one-of-a-kind artifacts and interactive, themed environments. The Mob Museum was ranked #20 out of 25 Top U.S. Museums in 2017 by TripAdvisor.

The Mob Museum features a variety of interactive exhibits, films and high-tech audio-visual displays that are periodically updated to reflect new information and acquisitions. Exhibits examine in great depth such topics as how organized crime persists today;  how the Mob is perceived and portrayed in pop culture; how the battle against the Mob was fought with focus on important historic and law enforcement victories; an examination of Mob violence, corruption, conspiracy and murder; notable mobsters and Mob busters; an in-depth look at Las Vegas as the ultimate “open city” that attracted mobsters and how organized crime operated “the skim” inside casinos; and a historic timeline on the birth and evolution of organized crime with a look at its geographic “families” from around the globe.

The centerpiece exhibit of the Museum is the courtroom where the proceedings of the United States Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce occurred in Las Vegas in 1950. Led by U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver, the hearings sought to expose organized crime.

Coming to The Mob Museum in the 2nd Quarter of 2018 is The Underground. It’s a permanent prohibition history exhibition featuring a working Speakeasy and distillery. Also included is a working craft-brewery. Organized crime syndicates flourished during Prohibition with bootlegging and rum-running.

The Mob Museum’s Brenda Hengel, Public Relations and Marketing Brand Manager, joins us.

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Show 250, December 2, 2017: James Beard Award-winning Author, Karen Page, Kitchen Creativity

Karen PagePerhaps eclipsing painters and musicians, chefs have emerged as the world’s leading creative professionals—so there is no better place to turn for insight into the creative process than the pages of the new book by two-time James Beard Award-winners author Karen Page and photographer Andrew Dornenburg, creators of the beloved 400,000-copy bestseller The Flavor Bible, named one of the ten best cookbooks of the past century by Forbes.

KITCHEN CREATIVITY: Unlocking Culinary Genius—with Wisdom, Inspiration, and Ideas from the World’s Most Creative Chefs is filled with secrets and strategies from more than 100 leading culinary minds—including José Andrés, Dan Barber, Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud, Amanda Cohen, Kyle Connaughton, Curtis Duffy, Emily Luchetti, Eric Ripert, Marcus Samuelsson, and Joshua Skenes. Beyond a cookbook, KITCHEN CREATIVITY is a guide to a more inventive and intuitive approach to cooking (without recipes!)—one that will inspire readers to think, improvise, and cook like the world’s best chefs.

Anyone who’s ever dreamed of walking into a kitchen and creating a dish from scratch, knowing exactly how to season it to perfection, will find the book’s three-stage process a godsend:

  • In Stage 1: Mastery, a cook copies the masters—their dishes, their techniques, their seasoning—to develop a knowledge and skill base. Here, Page recommends essential books for the chef’s library, explains the difference between enhancing flavor and adding flavor, lists trusted food sources for the best-quality ingredients, and demonstrates how to learn time-tested flavor pairings and affinities.
  • During Stage 2: Alchemy, a cook integrates and applies new knowledge and experience, converting ingredients and classic dishes into something fresh.
  • By Stage 3: Creativity, a cook connects and combines elements into a new creation. Page teaches you how to take a look at the cooking techniques you know, and the dishes you love, to play with different combinations and create dishes without recipes, using your informed imagination. You’ll also find countless proven techniques for enhancing creativity through both stimulation (including travel, reading, and dining out) and stillness (such as lowering brain wave frequencies via meditation and yoga).

The book’s A-to-Z section prompts starting points for creative inspiration, from flavor pairings for marijuana, to Damian Sansonetti’s idea of grinding Italian rice to make gluten-free gnocchi, to the dishes top chefs cook on Super Bowl Sunday.

Karen Dornenburg is our guest.

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Show 250, December 2, 2017: 2017 Roswell Wine Festival, Roswell, GA

Executive Producer Andy Harris was in Roswell, GA (an incorporated City of 95,000 in the greater Atlanta area with a lot of living Civil War history) in early October with fellow members of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA.) In this show we continue our coverage of the best of Roswell with a chat with the Producers & Co-Founders of the annual Roswell Wine Festival, an impressive, all-volunteer community effort that raises money in support of local non-profits. It always sells out weeks early…

The Roswell Wine Festival was established in 2012 by long- time friends Peggy Robinson and Dwight Cunningham. After graduating from college at Johnson & Wales University, both moved to the Roswell and fell in love with the area. With a shared passion for wine, they wanted to create an event which provides an exceptional experience for wine enthusiasts, supports the business community, and benefits local charities. Through ticket sales, sponsorships, and restaurant participation, the Roswell Wine Festival has been able to support many area non-profits including the 2017 beneficiary, Keep Roswell Beautiful.

It takes place over almost three-quarters of a mile of picturesque, and low-rise, Canton Street in the heart of Historic Roswell. In addition to the tasting stations on the street each participating restaurant on Canton St. samples their personal selections of fine wines.

There is also a popular VIP ticket option which we always recommend. It’s early access, admission to the VIP premium tasting tent which showcases the best of the best wines, and additional food samplings.

Roswell Wine Festival Co-founders Peggy Robinson and Dwight Cunningham uncork it for us.

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Show 250, December 2, 2017: Cambodia Town’s (Long Beach) Chef “T” Visoth Ouk

Rithy Hahn, and Chef T Visoth OukOn Friday, December 8th, starting at 6:30pm, Long Beach’s own Chef “T” Visoth Ouk (a spokeschef for Cambodia Town) will offer his second in a series of pop-up dinners featuring Cambodian favorites with a contemporary twist. The A Stroll Through Phnom Penh pop-up and Toy Drive will feature passed appetizers and a four-course sit-down dinner, and also includes a glass of wine. The pop-up location is Legend Seafood Restaurant located at 1350 E. Anaheim Street in Long Beach.

Chef “T” requests guests bring an unwrapped toy valued at $15 or more for distribution and to brighten the holidays for local underserved children in the Long Beach community.

“My goal since becoming a chef has been to give back to the community that I came from,” said Chef “T”. “For this pop-up, combining my life’s passion of cooking with a holiday toy drive seemed like a natural fit for this time of year.”

Chef “T” made the announcement on the show that in 2018 he will be departing Federal Bar and opening a restaurant of his own in Long Beach. We’ll keep you posted…

Chef “T’ pops out of the kitchen with the details.

 

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