Show 207, January 21, 2017: Executive Chef / Restaurateur Dean James Max of DJM Restaurants & Executive Chef David MacLennan of James Republic, Long Beach

Dean James MaxThe Founder and Co-Proprietor of James Republic Restaurant in Long Beach is Chef Dean James Max of DJM Restaurants, a multiple James Beard Award nominee. His opening Executive Chef there is the talented David MacLennan. In a bit over three years they have made this relaxed vibe restaurant one of the best dining destinations in Long Beach. Their Brunch is a standout, too. Think Chorizo & Cheddar Croissant.

On February 8th at James Republic at Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Long Beach they are presenting a multi-course dining spectacular along with Chef Amar Santana (Vaca & Broadway by Amar Santana) to benefit the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP.) Chef Amar is a distinguished C-CAP Alum.

The evening includes a cocktail reception with local craft beer, sparkling wine and still wine and passed hors d’oeuvres. Then it’s a sumptuous seated dinner with three waves of ample food platters served Family-style. Each wave of the three incudes separate platters from each chef. That’s three platters of delights for each wave. Dessert and gourmet chocolates conclude the festivities. If you go away hungry it’s your own fault. There is also both a live & silent auction with crave-worthy items with great appeal for any foodie.

Tickets (and there are only 150 reservations available) are $195 per guest with $150 of that being Tax Deductible.

Chefs Dean & David join us to preview C-CAP’s Winter Harvest Benefit Dinner at James Republic on Wednesday, February 8th.

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Show 206, January 14, 2017: Show Preview with Andy Harris, Co-Host & Executive Producer and Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at the Pechanga Wine Festival for Angels Radio AM830 KLAANow a hunger-evoking preview of Saturday’s fully-loaded show with Co-Hosts Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

The 11th Annual Newport Beach Restaurant Week is upon us from January 16th to 29th, 2017. The Bungalow Restaurant, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last October, is one of the 60 plus restaurants participating. Terri Henry of Terri Henry Marketing joins us to highlight her client’s Lunch and Dinner Restaurant Week menu options.

The always “in-the-know” Anne Marie Panoringan is a contributing writer for OC Weekly. She is also a recognized authority on cocktails from the consumers’ point-of-view. Experience counts! Anne Marie joins us with a recap of her recent OC Weekly piece, “Top 5 Orange County Cocktails of 2016, Anne Marie Edition!” Cheers…

Amar Santana is the Executive Chef/Proprietor of Vaca in Costa Mesa and Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Vaca was Orange County Register Restaurant Critic, Brad A. Johnson’s “Best New Restaurant of 2016. Chef Amar is also a distinguished alum of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP.) Amar joins us to preview C-CAP’s Winter Harvest Benefit Dinner at James Republic on Wednesday, February 8th.

We 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 seasonings over to the Red O Restaurants (Fashion Island, Los Angeles and Santa Monica) where is the Corporate Executive Chef. We’ll get all the spicy details with Chef Marc.

Some of the best Mexican street food available in Puerto Vallarta is found at the 10 year-old Vallarta Botanical Garden. Let’s talk about those incredible fish tacos and really fresh chunky guacamole! It’s all served with style, too, in an unequaled setting. The garden itself is an impressive attraction, too. We’re sipping local Raicilla (available in their gift shop) with Curator and Founder, Bob Price.

“Noods Noods Noods” – The Noodle & Asian Themed Food Festival in on for January 14th, 2017 in historic Downtown Santa Ana. This one-day Festival presented by Foodbeast and Nissin, The Original Cup Noodles will feature some of the craziest, most delicious noodle and Asian-themed creations. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel will be debuting an item from his soon-to-open Two Birds at Trade in Irvine. Festival Producer Bobby Navarro of 100 Eats is our guest.

What’s trending in fruits and vegetables for the new year? Produce Guru (aka The Prince of Produce) Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce has the answers. For openers everything “Coconut” is hot…

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

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Show 206, January 14, 2017: Executive Chef Amar Santana, Vaca and Broadway by Amar Santana

Amar SantanaAmar Santana is the Executive Chef/Proprietor of Vaca in Costa Mesa and Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Vaca was Orange County Register Restaurant Critic, Brad A. Johnson’s “Best New Restaurant of 2016. For Season 13 of Bravo’s Top Chef Amar was the runner-up by the thickness of an onion skin. Chef Amar is also a distinguished alum of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP.)

Amar joins us to preview C-CAP’s Winter Harvest Benefit Dinner at James Republic in Long Beach on February 8th. The popular James Republic is one of the top destination restaurants in Long Beach. The evening is a spectacular, multi-course feast.

James Republic is co-owned by Executive Chef and Restaurateur Dean James Max (a multiple James Beard Award nominee) of DJM Restaurants. Chef Dean will be flying in from his base in southern Florida to present a course. James Republic’s executive chef, David MacLennan (opening exec chef) will also be preparing a course.

Chef Amar’s dish is under the veil of heavy secrecy but he does hint it will be a pork spectacular. The award-winning El Segundo Brewing Co. is brewing a special craft beer to pair with Chef Amar’s dish exclusively for the evening.

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January 14: The Bungalow, OC Weekly, Amar Santana, Marc Johnson, Vallarta Botanical Garden, Noods Noods Noods, Melissa’s Produce

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Andy Harris, Co-Host & Executive Producer and Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Two: The Bungalow Restaurant, Corona del Mar, for Newport Beach Restaurant Week
Segment Three: Food & Libation journalist, Anne Marie Panoringan, Contributor to OC Weekly
Segment Four: Executive Chef Amar Santana, Vaca and Broadway by Amar Santana
Segment Five: Marc Johnson, Corporate Executive Chef, Red O Restaurants
Segment Six: Bob Price, Curator and Founder, Vallarta Botanical Garden, Jardin Botanico De Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta
Segment Seven: Bobby Navarro, Producer, Noods Noods Noods Noodle and Asian Fusion Festival
Segment Eight: Robert Schueller, Director of Public Relations (The Produce Guru), Melissa’s / World Variety Produce, Inc.

Now a hunger-evoking preview of Saturday’s fully-loaded show with Co-Hosts Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a pretty good thing…

The 11th Annual Newport Beach Restaurant Week is upon us from January 16th to 29th, 2017. The Bungalow Restaurant, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last October, is one of the 60 plus restaurants participating. Restaurant management veteran Louie Feinstein (a co-owner) joins us to highlight their Lunch and Dinner Restaurant Week menu options.

The always “in-the-know” Anne Marie Panoringan is a contributing writer for OC Weekly. She is also a recognized expert on cocktails. Experience counts! Anne Marie joins us with a recap of her recent OC Weekly piece, “Top 5 Orange County Cocktails of 2016, Anne Marie Edition!” Cheers…

Amar Santana is the Executive Chef/Proprietor of Vaca in Costa Mesa and Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Vaca was Orange County Register Restaurant Critic, Brad A. Johnson’s “Best New Restaurant of 2016. Chef Amar is also a distinguished alum of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP.) Amar joins us to preview C-CAP’s Winter Harvest Benefit Dinner at James Republic on Wednesday, February 8th.

We 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 seasonings over to the Red O Restaurants (Fashion Island, Los Angeles and Santa Monica) where is the Corporate Executive Chef. We’ll get all the spicy details with Chef Marc.

Some of the best Mexican street food available in Puerto Vallarta is found at the 10 year-old Vallarta Botanical Garden. Let’s talk about those incredible fish tacos and really fresh guacamole! It’s all served with style, too, in an unequaled setting. The garden itself is an impressive attraction, too. We’re sipping local Raicilla with Curator and Founder, Bob Price.

“Noods Noods Noods” – The Noodle & Asian Themed Food Festival in on for January 14th, 2017 in historic Downtown Santa Ana. This one-day Festival will feature some of the craziest, most delicious noodle and Asian-themed creations. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel will be debuting an item from his soon-to-open Two Birds at Trade in Irvine. Festival Producer Bobby Navarro of 100 Eats is our guest.

What’s trending in fruits and vegetables for the new year? Produce Guru (aka The Prince of Produce) Robert Schueller of Melissa’s / World Variety Produce has the answers. Everything “Coconut” is hot…

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

Louie FeinsteinThe 11th Annual Newport Beach Restaurant Week is upon us from January 16th to 29th, 2017. The Bungalow Restaurant, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last October, is one of the 60 plus restaurants participating.

For Restaurant Week The Bungalow offers a $20 per guest 3-course Lunch menu with a choice of 8 entrée options including Grilled Mahi Mahi & Wild Rice Salad. For Dinner there is a $40 menu option as well as a $50 menu.

The Bungalow is a local favorite at the crossroads of Coast Highway and MacArthur Boulevard in Corona del Mar. Its shingle façade, striking black awnings, and Arts and Crafts font displaying the restaurant’s name gives the feel of dining in a charming Craftsman retreat.

The Bungalow’s menu specializes in USDA Prime Steaks, fresh seafood and handcrafted cocktails. The restaurant also boasts a 160-label wine cellar featuring premium vintages. A full bar and menu of signature cocktails adds to the restaurant’s allure.

Restaurant management veteran and co-owner Louie Feinstein (ex-Grill Concepts) joins us to highlight their Lunch and Dinner Restaurant Week menu options.

Anne Marie PanoringanThe always “in-the-know” Anne Marie Panoringan is a contributing writer for OC Weekly. She is also a recognized expert on cocktails. Anne Marie joins us with a recap of her recent OC Weekly piece, Top 5 Orange County Cocktails of 2016, Anne Marie Edition!”

“Another year, another round of drinks. It’s a great time to love me some cocktails, because more places than ever have been pouring some of the best I’ve seen and tasted. We turn back the clock 300-ish days to recap on some of my favorites for the year. Any hey – they don’t all contain whiskey.”

One hint: “Pineapple Under the Sea at TAPS Fish House & Brewery ranks #5.

Amar SantanaAmar Santana is the Executive Chef/Proprietor of Vaca in Costa Mesa and Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Vaca was Orange County Register Restaurant Critic, Brad A. Johnson’s “Best New Restaurant of 2016. For Season 13 of Bravo’s Top Chef Amar was the runner-up by the thickness of an onion skin. Chef Amar is also a distinguished alum of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP.)

Amar joins us to preview C-CAP’s Winter Harvest Benefit Dinner at James Republic in Long Beach on February 8th. The popular James Republic is one of the top destination restaurants in Long Beach.

It’s co-owned by Executive Chef and Restaurateur Dean James Max (a multiple James Beard Award nominee) of DJM Restaurants. Chef Dean will be flying in from his base in southern Florida to present a course. James Republic’s executive chef, David MacLennan (opening exec chef) will also be preparing a course.

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.

We’ll get all the spicy details with a side of guacamole with Chef Marc.

Bob PriceSome of the best & tastiest Mexican street food available in Puerto Vallarta is found at the Vallarta Botanical Garden (“Where Mexican plants meet the imagination!”) Let’s talk about those incredible fish tacos and fresh guacamole! It’s all served with style, too, in an unequaled setting. The garden itself is an impressive attraction, too.

“The mission of the Vallarta Botanical Gardens is to create Mexico’s foremost botanical garden for the discovery, study, propagation, conservation and display of native and exotic plants for the enjoyment of Puerto Vallarta’s residents and visitors.”

We’re sipping local Raicilla with Curator and Founder, Bob Price.

Bobby Navarro“Noods Noods Noods” – The Noodle & Asian Themed Food Festival in on for January 14th, 2017 in historic Downtown Santa Ana. This one-day Festival will feature some of the craziest, most delicious noodle and Asian-themed creations. Our own Chef Andrew Gruel will be debuting an item from his soon-to-open Two Birds at Trade in Irvine.

Asian-Inspired Comfort Foods — NOODS has brought some of the best food geniuses around to this epicenter of Asian-eats. The innovative dishes at NOODS are promised to be nothing short of newsworthy and drool-worthy. This event will host multiple vendors, each supplying exclusive Asian-inspired and/or noodle-tastic comfort-food items.

Among the lineup of participating restaurants and their creative food items:

Anchor Hitch: Deep Fried Uni pasta with swiss cheese, lightly coated in panko, drizzled in uni cream sauce, topped with Smelt Roe and Shredded Nori

Mess Hall Canteen: Award Winning White Boy Ramen with tonkatsu style pork broth, crispy pork belly, pickled jalapeños and shallots, dandelion greens, mushroom, sous vide egg

Two Birds: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish debuts his newest concept to NOODS and will present Jidori Chicken and a Ramen Burrito

Shrimp Daddy: The OC Debut of June Quan’s AKA @stirandstyle’s Hawaiian garlic shrimp concept

Festival Producer Bobby Navarro of 100 Eats is our guest.

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety Produce in the AM830 KLAA StudioWhat’s trending in fruits and vegetables for the new year? Produce Guru (aka The Prince of Produce) Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce has the answers.

Everything “Coconut,” for instance, is hot…Melissa’s is introducing Fresh Coconut. It’s fresh coconut juice (with no additives) in a genuine coconut grown in Vietnam. Also available are coconut hearts & slices, young coconuts, packaged coconut clean snaxs and lots more.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Andy Harris, Co-Host & Executive Producer and Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group
Segment Two: The Bungalow Restaurant, Corona del Mar, for Newport Beach Restaurant Week
Segment Three: Food & Libation journalist, Anne Marie Panoringan, Contributor to OC Weekly
Segment Four: Executive Chef Amar Santana, Vaca and Broadway by Amar Santana
Segment Five: Marc Johnson, Corporate Executive Chef, Red O Restaurants
Segment Six: Bob Price, Curator and Founder, Vallarta Botanical Garden, Jardin Botanico De Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta
Segment Seven: Bobby Navarro, Producer, Noods Noods Noods Noodle and Asian Fusion Festival
Segment Eight: Robert Schueller, Director of Public Relations (The Produce Guru), Melissa’s / World Variety Produce, Inc.

Show 187, September 3, 2016: Chefs Amar Santana and Greg Daniels – “Tastemakers of Orange County”

Amar SantanaChefs supporting a worthy cause yet again…The 1st Annual “Tastemakers of Orange County” at SOCO on September 8th benefits The Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA.) The lineup of culinary talents is impressive.

This culinary event celebrates the Asian and Pacific Islander community, culture, and heritage and gives guests the opportunity to taste and indulge in Asian and Pacific Island-inspired cuisines and beverages from distinguished chefs throughout Orange County.

Greg Daniels of Haven GastropubThe Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA) was established in 1997 with the vision to build healthier, happier, and stronger communities and strives to transform Orange County through innovative programs and strategies that can be a model for other individuals, groups, and organizations to follow in efforts to change.

Featured benefit Chefs Amar Santana (Vaca & Broadway by Amar Santana) and Greg Daniels (Haven Gastropub) join us with the needed 411. Also Mary Anne Foo, the Executive Director of OCAPICA.

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Show 168, April 23, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, Brea, is back as today’s special Guest Host.

Congrats to Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel on his Nation’s Restaurant News 2016 Menu Masters Award as a Trendsetter. Presented annually by Nation’s Restaurant News, the prestigious awards honor outstanding foodservice research and development. Chef Andrew will receive his MenuMaster Award in a by-invitation-only reception at The Drake Hotel in Chicago on May 21st during the National Restaurant Association’s convention.

Now an enticing sneak peak of Saturday’s appetizing show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a good thing…

One of the newest additions to Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market is Pig Pen Delicacy. It’s a fresh take on American comfort food using an array of sophisticated and modern interpretations of bacon and pork favorites. Co-owner and Director of Operations Jason Trinh joins us with all the pork-a-licious details.

It’s time for America’s favorite pastime…Ballpark food. It’s our always anticipated annual report on what’s new on the menu at Angel Stadium with Executive Chef Robert Biebrich. It’s the 50th season at Angel Stadium so expect to be impressed.

Since The Pie Hole launched in The Arts District of Downtown L.A. in 2011 it’s been a word-of-mouth and social media sensation. The Pie Hole offers fresh baked sweet pie by the slice, individual savory pies, and their own premium coffee. Co-owner Sean Brennan joins us with his fresh-from-the-oven recipe for sweet (and savory) success.

The Four Brix Winery in Ventura grew out of three couples’ hobby of making premium wine at home for their appreciative friends. The Winery represents a throwback to the days of blended wines made in California. Winemaker and Partner Gary Stewart uncorks it for us.

One of the more unusual finds at the recent Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim was Tin Star Foods. They produce Cultured Ghee and Cultured Brown Butter in small batchers. Tin Star Foods Founder, Hima Pandya, is our guest.

The annual Dine LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week is taking place April 23 – May 1, 2016. Each participating restaurant from twelve unique neighborhoods in the city offers a three course menu priced at $20, $30, $40 or $50, either per guest with wine pairing options at fine dining locations OR dinner for two priced at $20, $30, $40 or $50, where diners share an appetizer, each enjoy their own entree, then share a dessert at more casual establishments. One of the participating restaurants in DINE LBC is Domenico’s Italian Restaurant, Long Beach’s oldest restaurant. Proprietor Mike Rhodes joins us.

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

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Show 167, April 9, 2016: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel

Program Note for Saurday, April 16thOur Halos are playing an unusual 11:10 a.m. start on the road with the Minnesota Twins. We’ll be back with another big show on April 23rd at 10:00 a.m. See you then.

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, Brea, is back as today’s special Guest Host.

Now an enticing sneak peak of Saturday’s mouthwatering show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a good thing…

The annual Dine LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week is taking place April 23 – May 1, 2016. Each participating restaurant from twelve unique neighborhoods in the city offers a three course menu priced at $20, $30, $40 or $50, either per guest with wine pairing options at fine dining locations OR dinner for two priced at $20, $30, $40 or $50, where diners share an appetizer, each enjoy their own entree, then share a dessert at more casual establishments. Producer Terri Henry and Executive Chef David MacLennan of James Republic (an encoring participating restaurant) are our guests.

The Pacific Food & Beverage Museum is inaugurating The Thoughtful Feast,” a new series of curated dinners that highlight the culinary heritage of Southern California, the Pacific Coast, American West, and beyond. The first dinner on April 11th will focus on a region of the American South that in the early 1700s developed a cosmopolitan cuisine. Host Chef Brian Dunsmoor of Hatchet Hall in Culver City and The Pacific Food & Beverage’s Museum’s Philip Dobard are with us to set the ample table.

Noted gourmand Darrell Corti of Corti Brothers gourmet grocery and spirit purveyors in Sacramento is the Chairman of the globally respected L.A. International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. We’ll chat about the Best of Show award recipients and lots more. TheDailyMeal.com has dubbed him one of the coolest people in food and drink in America.

Chef Michael Puglisi (ex-Bouchon Beverly Hills) is the Electric City Butcher at the 4th Street Market in Santa Ana. He was greatly influenced by a cousin in Sicily who has a popular, neighborhood butcher shop there. Chef Michael is a custom, whole animal, artisan butcher. We’ll meet him.

Executive Chef Amar Santana (a C-CAP graduate) is the Proprietor of Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach and the new Vaca in Costa Mesa. Both restaurants have highly innovative beverage programs to compliment the stellar cuisine. Chef Amar was also one of two finalists on Bravo’s Top Chef Season 13 which just concluded with a cliff-hanger of a two-part finale in Las Vegas. Chef Amar is our guest.

The 3rd Annual “The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition returns to Provisions Market in Orange on Tuesday, April 19th. Provisions Market and OC Baking Co. will celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month with fellow OC Chefs and a ProAm Challenger in an intense (but light-hearted) grilled cheese competition. Event co-founder, Chef Greg Daniels of Provisions, joins us with the gooey overview courtesy of Tillamook County Creamery Association.

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

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Show 167, April 9, 2016: Executive Chef Amar Santana, Broadway by Amar Santana & Vaca

Amar Santana at the Top Chef FinaleExecutive Chef Amar Santana (a C-CAP graduate) is the Proprietor of Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach and the new Vaca in Costa Mesa. Both restaurants have highly innovative beverage programs to compliment the stellar cuisine.

Chef Amar was also one of two finalists on Bravo’s Emmy-Award winning Top Chef Season 13 which just concluded with a two-part finale in Las Vegas. Amar battled Chef Jeremy Ford, the Chef de Cuisine of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Matador Room in Miami. In a very close finale Chef Jeremy edged out Chef Amar for the title of “Top Chef.”

Gail Simmons, one of the “Top Chef” regular judges, has an insightful post on the “Top Chef” Finale (dated April 6th) in the blog section of the “Top Chef” area of Bravo’s Web site. It explains, course by course, the judging for the Finale.

Also OC Weekly’s Anne Marie Panoringan penned an entertaining weekly recap of each episode of “Top Chef” Season 13 with an emphasis on covering Chef Amar. You can find these archived pieces on ocweekly.com. Search on the site for Anne Marie Panoringan and “Top Chef.”

Chef Amar should be justifiably proud of what he accomplished during Season 13 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” The level of competition was the highest of any prior season! James Beard Award nominees as well as Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chefs” were among the strong field of super-talented Cheftestants. Amar also retains great respect for Chef Jeremy Ford.

Chef Amar’s “Top Chef” Official Bio:
Amar Santana serves as the Executive Chef and Partner at Broadway By Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, CA and Vaca in Costa Mesa, CA. Born in the Dominican Republic, he immigrated to the US at the age of 13 and began his culinary career at 16.

He has been mentored by some of the world’s most renowned chefs, including Charlie Palmer, who helped him develop his skills of expressing his passion through food. By combining flavors and culinary traditions from all over the world, Chef Amar provides a truly unforgettable gastronomical experience.

Chef Amar is our very special guest.

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April 9: Amar Santana, James Republic, Brian Dunsmoor, Corti Brothers, Electric City Butcher, Big Cheese

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Executive Chef David MacLennan, James Republic, Long Beach
Segment Three: Executive Chef Brian Dunsmoor of Hatchet Hall & Philip Dobard, The Pacific Food & Beverage Museum
Segment Four: Darrell Corti, Corti Brothers, Sacramento & Chair of the L.A. International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition Part One
Segment Five: Darrell Corti, Corti Brothers, Sacramento & Chair of the L.A. International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition Part One
Segment Six: Chef Michael Puglisi, Electric City Butcher, 4th Street Market, Santa Ana
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Amar Santana, Broadway by Amar Santana & Vaca
Segment Eight: Chef Greg Daniels, “The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition

Andrew Gruel at the AM830 KLAA StudiosExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, Irvine at UCI and, most recently, Brea, is back as today’s special Guest Host.

Now an enticing sneak peak of Saturday’s mouthwatering show and not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re doing it right we will always leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s actually a good thing…

The annual Dine LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week is taking place April 23 – May 1, 2016. Each participating restaurant from twelve unique neighborhoods in the city offers a three course menu priced at $20, $30, $40 or $50, either per guest with wine pairing options at fine dining locations OR dinner for two priced at $20, $30, $40 or $50, where diners share an appetizer, each enjoy their own entree, then share a dessert at more casual establishments. Producer Terri Henry and Executive Chef David MacLennan of James Republic (an encoring participating restaurant) are our guests.

The Pacific Food & Beverage Museum is inaugurating “The Thoughtful Feast,” a new series of curated dinners that highlight the culinary heritage of Southern California, the Pacific Coast, American West, and beyond. The first dinner on April 11th will focus on a region of the American South that in the early 1700s developed a cosmopolitan cuisine. Host Chef Brian Dunsmoor of Hatchet Hall in Culver City and The Pacific Food & Beverage’s Museum’s Philip Dobard are with us to set the ample table.

Noted gourmand Darrell Corti of Corti Brothers gourmet grocery and spirit purveyors in Sacramento is the Chairman of the globally respected L.A. International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. We’ll chat about the Best of Show award recipients and lots more. TheDailyMeal.com has dubbed him one of the coolest people in food and drink in America.

Chef Michael Puglisi (ex-Bouchon Beverly Hills) is the Electric City Butcher at the 4th Street Market in Santa Ana. He was greatly influenced by a cousin in Sicily who has a popular, neighborhood butcher shop there. Chef Michael is a custom, whole animal, artisan butcher. We’ll meet him.

Executive Chef Amar Santana (a C-CAP graduate) is the Proprietor of Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach and the new Vaca in Costa Mesa. Both restaurants have highly innovative beverage programs to compliment the stellar cuisine. Chef Amar was also one of two finalists on Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 13 which just concluded with a cliff-hanger of a two-part finale in Las Vegas. Chef Amar is our guest.

The 3rd Annual “The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition returns to Provisions Market in Orange on Tuesday, April 19th. Provisions Market and OC Baking Co. will celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month with fellow OC Chefs and a ProAm Challenger in an intense (but light-hearted) grilled cheese competition. Event co-founder, Chef Greg Daniels of Provisions, joins us with the gooey overview courtesy of Tillamook County Creamery Association.

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

David McLennan of Dine LBCThe annual Dine LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week is taking place April 23 – May 1, 2016. Each participating restaurant from twelve unique neighborhoods in the city offers a three course menu priced at $20, $30, $40 or $50, either per guest with wine pairing options at fine dining locations OR dinner for two priced at $20, $30, $40 or $50, where diners share an appetizer, each enjoy their own entree, then share a dessert at more casual establishments.

James Republic encores in 2016 as a participating restaurant in DINE LBC. They hosted the launch party this year.

“Our menus are a labor of love – a love of the finest foods. We proudly serve a large array of local artisan products.  Organic is important to us, but more importantly we believe in all natural products without the use of steroids, growth hormones, and animals raised responsibly.  As well as our preference for products and practices that are sustainable, we try to embrace the idea of localism to strengthen our community.   Most of our items are priced under $20 which is incredible considering the high quality of products we serve.  Our passion for the seasons and what it brings to us in food keeps us always searching for great new combinations.  Come join us for a journey in cuisine.”

Producer Terri Henry and Executive Chef David MacLennan of James Republic (an encoring participating restaurant) are our guests with all the tempting specifics.

Brian Dunsmoor of Hatchet HallThe Pacific Food & Beverage Museum is inaugurating The Thoughtful Feast,” a new series of curated dinners that highlight the culinary heritage of Southern California, the Pacific Coast, American West, and beyond. The first dinner on April 11th will focus on a region of the American South that in the early 1700s developed a cosmopolitan cuisine, one that is not generally available in greater Los Angeles.

Host Chef Brian Dunsmoor of Hatchet Hall in Culver City and The Pacific Food & Beverage’s Museum’s Philip Dobard are with us to set the ample table.

Charleston, South Carolina, was the South’s leading port in the Colonial Era, and the city’s wealth and trade links came to be expressed in a cuisine that included French, African, South Asian, and native foods and techniques. Chef Brian Dunsmoor of Hatchet Hall studied in Charleston and brings his personal experience to recreating a meal that would have been enjoyed in Colonial America but has flavors that are surprising and beguiling to a modern palate. Between courses, Chef Brian will explain the dishes and discuss the region’s culinary culture.

Darrell CortiNoted gourmand Darrell Corti of Corti Brothers gourmet grocery and spirit purveyors in Sacramento is the Chairman of the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. We’ll chat about the Best of Show award recipients and lots more about gourmet specialty food with the revered Mr. Corti. TheDailyMeal.com has dubbed him one of the coolest people in food and drink in America.

Now in its 17th year, the Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition is the top ranking EVOO competition in the United States and fifth worldwide. The goal is to bring together the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in awarding medals to the best oils from around the globe.

For “Best of Show – Domestic” there is an award-winner in Delicate, Medium and Robust category oils. Best of Show – Robust is Pacific Sun, Riverview Ranch Tuscan Blend, Yolo County, California.

We’ve tasted this EVOO. It’s a grassy, bright, peppery olive oil.

Suggested Food Pairings: “Delicious with poultry, lamb, beans, soups, or any dish you want to add a little pepperiness to.”

Noted gourmand Darrell Corti of Corti Brothers gourmet grocery and spirit purveyors in Sacramento continues…

From TheDailyMeal.com:
One sign of how cool this Italian-American Sacramento grocer is is the fact that he’ll think the whole idea of being considered cool is just plain silly. Running the family business in the California capital is a full-time job, and he doesn’t have spare moments for a lot of folderol. Of course, Corti is a grocer like Itzhak Perlman plays some fiddle. Corti is simply one of the most deeply knowledgeable food and drink experts in America, able to expound with equal authority on Chinese tea, Spanish vinegar, Central Asian wine, Italian pasta, and about 30,000 other gastronomic topics.

The Corti Brothers online store, where you can buy their Italian specialties even if you don’t live in Sacramento, remains charmingly low-tech and straightforward, giving away very little about the vast treasures and culinary knowledge amassed by this family. At the store itself, you can shop for everything from toilet paper and skim milk to artisanal soy sauce and sherries so rare you can’t even find them in Spain — or just stand in line for one of the California capital’s best deli sandwiches.

Corti, a member of The Daily Meal Council, knows everybody worth knowing in his chosen field, and everybody knows him. They call him “The Professor.” If you’ve never heard of him, well, that sort of makes him even cooler, you know?

Michael PuglisiChef Michael Puglisi (ex-Bouchon Beverly Hills) is the Electric City Butcher at the 4th Street Market in Santa Ana. He was greatly influenced by a cousin in Sicily who has a popular, neighborhood butcher shop there. Chef Michael is a custom, whole animal, artisan butcher. We’ll meet him.

From Michael Puglisi:
“Electric City Butcher is built upon relationships – our relationship to you, our relationship to sustainable farmers and humanely raised animals, and your relationship to the food that you serve to your friends and family.  ECB is modeled after our family’s shop in Sicily, where guests arrive with an idea of what they’d like, have a conversation with the butcher and leave with freshly prepared cuts.  We take the time to offer personalized service and the highest quality products, because we believe that it matters what we serve to our family and we believe that you will taste the difference.”

Amar Santana at the Top Chef FinaleExecutive Chef Amar Santana (a C-CAP graduate) is the Proprietor of Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach and the new Vaca in Costa Mesa. Both restaurants have highly innovative beverage programs to compliment the stellar cuisine.

Chef Amar was also one of two finalists on Bravo’s Emmy-Award winning Top Chef Season 13 which just concluded with a two-part finale in Las Vegas. Amar battled Chef Jeremy Ford, the Chef de Cuisine of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Matador Room in Miami.

Chef Amar’s “Top Chef” Official Bio:
Amar Santana serves as the Executive Chef and Partner at Broadway By Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, CA and Vaca in Costa Mesa, CA. Born in the Dominican Republic, he immigrated to the US at the age of 13 and began his culinary career at 16.

He has been mentored by some of the world’s most renowned chefs, including Charlie Palmer, who helped him develop his skills of expressing his passion through food. By combining flavors and culinary traditions from all over the world, Chef Amar provides a truly unforgettable gastronomical experience.

Chef Amar is our very special guest.

The Big Cheese Grilled Cheese CompetitionThe 3rd Annual “The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition returns to Provisions Market in Orange on Tuesday, April 19th. Provisions Market and OC Baking Co. will celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month with fellow OC Chefs and a ProAm Challenger in an intense grilled cheese competition. All are in competition for the coveted title of “The Big Cheese.”

OC Baking Company Master Baker Dean Kim will supply locally produced freshly baked bread to the competing chefs, while the farmer-owned dairy cooperative Tillamook will offer a selection of its award-winning cheeses and butter for use at the festival. Participating chefs will present their own spin on the classic grilled cheese sandwich that festival attendees will sample and then vote on.

“Now in our third year, this event has served to unite our local chefs and engage them in a lighthearted competition,” commented Chef Greg Daniels, who oversees the kitchens at Provisions Market and Haven Gastropub.

Tickets for the event must be purchased for $60 in advance (will include limited tasters of select craft beer) through Universe. This event will be limited to 100 guests (tickets will be sold at the door, if capacity permits).

Event co-founder, Chef Greg Daniels of Provisions, joins us with all the gooey specifics.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris & Chef Andrew Gruel
Segment Two: Executive Chef David MacLennan, James Republic, Long Beach
Segment Three: Executive Chef Brian Dunsmoor of Hatchet Hall & Philip Dobard, The Pacific Food & Beverage Museum
Segment Four: Darrell Corti, Corti Brothers, Sacramento & Chair of the L.A. International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition Part One
Segment Five: Darrell Corti, Corti Brothers, Sacramento & Chair of the L.A. International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition Part One
Segment Six: Chef Michael Puglisi, Electric City Butcher, 4th Street Market, Santa Ana
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Amar Santana, Broadway by Amar Santana & Vaca
Segment Eight: Chef Greg Daniels, “The Big Cheese” Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition

Show 164, March 19, 2016: Food Journalist Anne Marie Panoringan

Top Chef on BravoThe incredible 13th Season of Bravo’s “Top Chef” has just concluded in dramatic fashion in Las Vegas. The final showdown for the title of “Top Chef” was between Orange County’s Chef Amar Santana (Vaca and Broadway by Amar Santana) and Chef Jeremy Ford, the Chef de Cuisine at Miami’s Matador Room by Jean-George. The winning cheftestant takes home a cool $125,000 and a feature spread in Food and Wine magazine.

Local food journalist, Anne Marie Panoringan (OC Weekly) has been penning an entertaining weekly recap of the series all season. Anne Marie provides us with observations and commentary of Season 13th.

Even if you’ve heard who won Top Chef it’s well-worth catching the engaging episode On Demand or reading Anne Marie’s thorough recap.

One of the two big surprises in the Finale is that the two celebrity chefs who mentored Chefs Amar (Charlie Palmer) and Jeremy (Jean-George Vongerichten) join the episode to assist their proteges.

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