Show 223, May 13, 2017: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Valentino Santa Monica

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa MonicaValentino, the renowned Santa Monica restaurant by noted Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio that has defined Italian fine dining since its opening in 1972, is hosting a Wine Spectacular Series in May with four dinners (2 remaining on May 19th and 26th) curated by Selvaggio and James Beard Foundation award-winning chef Luciano Pellegrini, who recently returned as the restaurant’s Executive Consulting Chef.

The dinners, in partnership with the LA Times Food Bowl, celebrated citywide for the month, feature choice and rare selections from Valentino’s legendary wine cellar. Valentino presents the finest and most elegant in wine pairing dinners, showcasing Sicily on May 19 and culminating with the Cal-Italian Spectacular on May 26, 2017.

Selvaggio will speak to guests about his personal memories, deep connections to the territory, and of his many discoveries and experiences during 40 years of visits to his homeland. Each menu will be seven courses of authentic regional specialties prepared with a contemporary take on traditional recipes.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling Valentino at 310.849.4313 or email Giuseppe Mollica at giuseppe@valentinosantamonica.com.

Piero also graciously suggests that you can e-mail him directly @ welovewines@aol.com for reservations or more information.

Complete menus can be viewed here –>

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Show 223, May 13, 2017: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Valentino Santa Monica continues…

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa MonicaValentino, the renowned Santa Monica restaurant by noted Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio that has defined Italian fine dining since its opening in 1972, is hosting a Wine Spectacular Series in May with four dinners (2 remaining on May 19th and 26th) curated by Selvaggio and James Beard Foundation award-winning chef Luciano Pellegrini, who recently returned as the restaurant’s Executive Consulting Chef.

The upcoming wine dinner for Sicily is priced at $99 per guest, $55 for wine pairings. The Cal-Italian finale can be reserved with a ten-guest minimum and is priced at $499 per guest, all-inclusive of menus, wines, taxes and gratuity.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling Valentino at 310.849.4313 or email Giuseppe Mollica at giuseppe@valentinosantamonica.com.

Piero also graciously suggests that you can e-mail him directly @ welovewines@aol.com for reservations or more information.

Complete menus can be viewed here –>

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Show 223, May 13, 2017: Sam Fox, Fox Restaurant Concepts, Phoenix

Sam FoxSam Fox (Fox Restaurant Group) has been an industry leader since founding his company in 1998 in Phoenix. His uber successful restaurant group boasts nearly 60 locations and 16 unique concepts in nine states. Sam is a nine-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee for Restaurateur of the Year.

We know him best locally for North Italia, True Food Kitchen, Flower Child and Las Vegas’ Culinary Dropout at the Hard Rock Hotel.

“The things that drive Sam are delicious food, amazing design and thoughtful hospitality. A master of details, you’re likely to find Sam snacking on the turkey pastrami sandwich from Culinary Dropout while personally developing the design plan for one of the several new restaurant concepts he’s launching this year. From selecting the perfect furniture fabric on one of his restaurant’s signature patios to determining the exact ratio of spirits in a new craft cocktail, Sam’s powerful attention to detail guides the business. Today, Fox Restaurant Concepts employs more than 6,000 people with plans for significant and strategic growth in years to come.”

A Santa Monica North Italia will debut right after Memorial Day and, just announced, is the 2nd location of Phoenix’s The Henry (“The Greatest Neighborhood Restaurant”) in West Hollywood’s Robertson Plaza located just across Robertson Boulevard from The Ivy for early 2018.

Sam Fox is our guest.

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Show 206, January 14, 2017: Marc Johnson, Corporate Executive Chef, Red O Restaurants

Marc JohnsonWe know Chef Marc Johnson as the opening chef for both the Oak Grill Restaurant and Aqua Lounge at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach. Chef Marc has now taken his spice rack and rubs over to the Red O Restaurants (Fashion Island, Los Angeles and Santa Monica) where is the Corporate Executive Chef. La Jolla launches in April.

Focusing on Red O Restaurants, Chef Johnson is shaking things up with his passionate drive. “Joining Red O Restaurants has been an amazing opportunity to push the limits of what I can do creatively in the kitchen,” says Chef Johnson.

With a focus on flavors from Central Mexico, Baja and MexiCali, Chef Johnson finds a balance with Red O mainstays that guests have come to love, while introducing new menu offerings with a seafood focal point. Hearty or light, all of Chef Johnson’s dishes feature fresh, vibrant ingredients reminiscent of the beachy lifestyle South of the Border.

From the sauces to the tortillas all made fresh daily, nearly 100% of the food prepared at Red O Restaurants is made in-house. “A lot of labor and passion goes into the process of bringing the components of these dishes to life,” says Johnson.

Chef Marc has the good fortune to be able to travel a couple of times per year with Red O Culinary Director Rick Bayless (the premier American chef cooking authentic, regional Mexican fare in the USA) and his staff on his immersion culinary research travels in Mexico.

We’ll get all the spicy details with a side of guacamole and house-prepared tortilla chips with Chef Marc

 

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Show 205, January 7, 2017: Raimondo Boggia, CEO & Sommelier, Obica Group

Raimondo BoggiaObica, the world’s first mozzarella bar, was founded in Rome in 2004. There are now more than 16 contemporary Italian restaurants worldwide including two in Los Angeles (Sunset Strip and Century City) and one in Santa Monica.

Obicà is the only restaurant in Los Angeles to directly import Mozzarella di Bufala DOP (Denomination of Protected Origin) twice a week from cheese makers in Campania, southern Italy, ensuring the utmost freshness and quality. Obicà offers four kinds of mozzarella: a traditional Bufala ClassicaBufala Affumicata, which is smoked on iron nets over a hay fire, Burrata, which is sweet and creamy, and Burrata al Tartufo with black truffle.

Obicà also serves its signature pizza, prepared with a blend of stone-ground white flour and whole wheat organic flour, cooked in the restaurant’s stone pizza oven. Obicà’s pizza dough is left to rise for a minimum of 48 hours, with no chemical yeasts, resulting in an airy and lighter texture.

All the fresh pasta is homemade and the ingredients are organic. The wine list includes an extensive array of Italian indigenous grown grapes. The design is casual with a contemporary and elegant touch. Founded in 2004 by Silvio Ursini, all of Obicà’s locations and concepts follow a straightforward philosophy of serving food that is good, clean and fair.

There is also a stylish Obica cookbook available. It’s Obica – Mozzarella Bar – Pizza E Cucina – A contemporary attitude to authentic Italian food.

Sommelier and CEO of Obica group, Raimondo Boggia, joins us for a spirited discussion of Italian cuisine.

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Show 189, September 17, 2016: Chef Jet Tila, Host, Chang Sensory Trails

Jet Tila at Cochon 555Celebrity Chef and Thai Culinary Ambassador, Jet Tila, is no stranger to the show. You can see him multiple times a week on Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen with Alton Brown” as one of the three original, permanent judges. He’s also the host in Los Angeles on Friday, September 23rd for the upcoming Chang Sensory Trails. It’s a Thai flavors culinary adventure uniquely curated by Chef Jet.

Thailand’s leading beer brand, Chang, presents the first-ever Chang Sensory Trails – a multi-sensorial playground to create new memories around iconic Thai flavors. Uniting Thai food lovers from around the world, the festival launched in Singapore a few weeks ago and will soon make its way to the United States. The final stop is London.

The USA Festival is set for Friday, September 23rd from 3 to 11:00 p.m. at The Victorian in Santa Monica. It should prove to be a memorable festival that brings together six of L.A.’s finest Thai restaurants with art and music. Admission is free.

Celebrity chef and Thai Culinary Ambassador, Chef Jet Tila, along with six of LA’s finest Thai restaurants, are set to take attendees on a culinary journey where the food experiences are all curated and brought to life based on Jet’s own personal memories. Behind every dish at #ChangSensoryTrails is a story inspired by seminal moments in his life.

Festival-goers can look forward to creating new memories with Chang, plus enjoy a live art mural painting by visual artist Mambo, and live musical acts all night at Chang Sensory Trails.

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Show 186, August 27, 2016: Chefs Curtis Stone (Maude and Gwen) and Dominique Crenn (Altier Crenn and Petit Crenn)

Curtis StoneChef Curtis Stone’s Maude in Beverly Hills features monthly changing prix fixe menus with the courses designed around a key ingredient. For instance, the featured ingredient for August is the Plum.

One very special night San Francisco’s Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn) is cooking a spectacular Plum-themed benefit menu at the Maude with Chef Curtis for 24 lucky guests. Curtis Stone and Dominique Crenn join us fresh from a provisions expedition at the Santa Monica Farmers Market with the tantalizing details.

The charity beneficiary for this $375 a guest sold-out, sumptuous repast is Young Farmers.

It’s been quite a year for Chef Dominique Crenn. She was named the World’s Best Female Chef by San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. She was also nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef: West.

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Show 174, June 4, 2016: Kevin McCafferty of Soda Jerk’s, Looff Hippodrome, Santa Monica Pier

Soda JerksIt’s the 100th anniversary on Sunday, June 12th of the opening of the Looff Hippodrome on the classic Santa Monica Pier. Since 2010 the familiar Carousel Building has been the home to Soda Jerk’s, an authentic, period soda fountain.

Proprietor Kevin McCafferty has created a limited-edition sweet-salty potato-chip sundae to commemorate the occasion. He’s full-scooping as our guest.

For foodies seeking a special dessert conceived from the opening era, this is a rare opportunity to indulge in a limited-edition sweet-salty potato-chip sundae inspired by Pier history and created by Kevin McCafferty, dessert historian and owner of Soda Jerk’s soda fountain. The Brass Ring Sundae is one scoop of salted caramel topped with caramel sauce, one scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate, all covered in crushed potato chips with a single chip (the brass ring) on top.

The Looff Hippodrome is on the National Register of Historic Places since 1987 and was declared a Santa Monica Landmark in 1976. “When it first opened, the sound of the band organ from the Carousel could be heard all the way to downtown Santa Monica,” explains Jim Harris, historian for the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corp. and author of the acclaimed book, Santa Monica Pier – A Century on the Last Great Pleasure Pier. “In many ways, it was and remains the heart of the city and we are excited to celebrate Looff’s dream 100 years later. It is a testament to his great vision that the Hippodrome has withstood the test of time.”

100 years later, the Looff Hippodrome remains an example of timeless design and continues to stand as a testament to Looff’s vision. The 100-year celebration will take place on Sunday, June 12, 2016 from 11am – 7:00pm.

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Show 170, May 7, 2016: The Hungry Cat, Santa Barbara

Bob Van Der VeerThe Hungry Cat in Downtown Santa Barbara is the youngest restaurant in Chef David Lentz’s Hungry Cat empire (2007 launch) which started in a hidden location in Hollywood and eventually expanded to a highly visible, across the street from the beach location in Santa Monica and then North to Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara’s General Manager, Bob Van Der Veer, joins us. He started in Hollywood as a relief bartender.

“Since 2005, The Hungry Cat (Hollywood) has offered the highest quality fish and meats matched with Southern California’s abundant seasonal produce.”

“The result is not simply a seafood house, but a continuously evolving restaurant, following the seasons, but always remaining true to the product.”

“With a focus on the artisan, The Hungry Cat produces its own in-house smoked meats and seafood, curing and pickling, as well as featuring a unique farmers market driven cocktail program, esoteric wine list and rotating local beers.”

“Our rotating raw bar (Santa Barbara) showcases Pacific and Atlantic oysters, clams, Santa Barbara sea urchin, raw and marinated fish dishes, crab and lobster.”

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Show 163, March 12, 2016: Brady Lowe, Founder, Cochon555 Tour

Brady Lowe of Cochon 555COCHON555 Los Angeles is set for Sunday, March 13th at The Viceroy in Santa Monica. It’s 5 Chefs, 5 Winemakers, and 5 Pigs. Experience this must-see, annual pork-centric culinary competition as part of the L.A. stop of the extensive national tour. It’s five high-profile chefs cooking over 36 dishes prepared from whole, locally-raised heritage breed pigs.

This year’s competing chefs include Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria, Bruce Kalman of Union, Jason Neroni of Rose Cafe, Brooke Williamson of The Tripel and returning champion Walter Manzke of Republique.

The five chefs will prepare a maximum of six dishes from one whole hog and their utilization will help them win votes from a crowd of hungry gourmands and celebrated judges. In addition to the 36 dishes prepared from locally-raised pigs, guests will feast on educational experiences featuring boutique wines and culinary cocktails paired with delicious bites.

The winner of the regional event will be announced as the “Prince of Porc” and go on to compete for the national title of “King or Queen of Porc” at Grand Cochon, the tour finale, held at the Viceroy in Snowmass / Aspen on June 18th.

Cochon’s founder, Brady Lowe, joins us with all the porkalicious details.

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