Show 215, March 18, 2017: Celebrity Chef Vikram Vij, Vij’s, Vancouver, B.C.

VIkram VijWhen it comes to star chefs and high-profile Food TV personalities in Canada the top of the class is surely Vancouver’s Chef Vikram Vij. He has introduced the joy of Indian flavors to tens of thousands of fortunate Canadians since he debuted the original (no-reservations) 14-seat Vij’s in 1994. The incredibly popular restaurant has since relocated and expanded to 85-seats plus a bar / lounge area.

The no reservations system is designed to be fair to all. Everyone is a VIP and if you get there at the evening opening the line to be seated moves quickly. Once seated the servers offer chai and complimentary appetizers as a welcome to set the stage for the evening’s pleasures. Nice touch…

In December 1994 Vikram married Meeru, who then joined him at the restaurant. “Our cuisine has stood out from others in that we do not serve what is typically expected from an India restaurant. We prefer to stay away from the tandoor oven since it’s already being used in so many other restaurants. Our philosophy behind the food has always been to keep our spices and cooking techniques Indian – from all regions of India – while using meats, seafood and produce that are locally available. To this effect, we change our menu seasonally.”

Last December 10th in Las Vegas Chef Vikram was one of the high-profile celebrity chefs (along with Thomas Keller, Ming Tsai and Curtis Stone) presenting a standout course at The Venetian’s & Palazzo’s annual Ultimo: A Weekend of Excellence. (The “SoCal Restaurant Show” was there observing in the kitchen.) Chef Vij’s dish for Ultimo’s Grand Banquet (a super luxe extravagance) was Marinated Lamb Popsicles with Fenugreek Cream Curry. (The complex sauce slowly simmered for five hours.) The recipe was published in the December 5th issue of Parade Magazine Daily.

We’ll meet the incredible Chef Vikram

 

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Show 215, March 18, 2017: Celebrity Chef Vikram Vij, Vij’s, Vancouver, B.C. Continues

VIkram VijWhen it comes to star chefs and high-profile Food TV personalities in Canada the top of the class is surely Vancouver’s Chef Vikram Vij. He has introduced the joy of Indian flavors to tens of thousands of fortunate Canadians since he debuted the original (no-reservations) 14-seat Vij’s in 1994. The incredibly popular restaurant has since relocated and expanded to 85-seats plus a bar / lounge area.

Vikram was born in 1964 in India and grew up in Amritsar and Bombay. His most vivid childhood memories revolve around food and family. He pursued this further by studying Hotel Management in Salzburg, Austria. After his studies, Vikram continued working at various fine dining restaurants in Austria and, in 1989, moved to Canada to work at the Banff Springs Hotel.

Meeru was born in India but moved to Washington, D.C. at a very young age with her parents. Prior to marrying Vikram and moving to Canada, she worked with various organizations in human rights and international development projects.

“Along with the kitchen staff’s dedication and our love of experimenting, Vij’s blossomed quickly and won its first award from Vancouver Magazine for Best Asian restaurant in March 1995. In September 1996, we moved to a larger location and Meeru took over the kitchen and the recipes for the most part. Vikram focused his efforts on the overall running of the restaurant, the presentation of the food and the wine list. In October 2001, Vikram became a certified Sommelier.”

Vikram’s biography, Vij’s: A Chef’s One-Way Ticket to Canada with Indian Spices in His Suitcase publishes on March 21st.

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Show 211, February 18, 2017: Glen Hutton, Co-Owner, Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks, Richmond, B.C.

Glen HuttonYou have to appreciate a young, upstart craft brewery whose slogan is “Keeping Beer Weird.” The talk of Richmond, B.C.’s craft beer enthusiasts is Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks. There is really a “Fuggles” and there is a “Warlock” which Glen explains.

“We try to invent styles, and nothing is done true to style”

The friendly Tasting Room at The Brewery also offers a variety of satisfying local street food specialties including samosas (beef, chicken and vegetable) and a cheese & onion pie.

One of their distinctive and popular styles is Beam Me Up – Espresso Milk Stout. “This is the perfect marriage of espresso coffee and a delicate stout with a smooth, creamy sweetness from Lactose. Made in collaboration with Notch Coffee Co. out of Vancouver.”

We’ll tap a keg of their popular “The Last Strawberry” (a Belgian wit brewed with local strawberries) with co-founder Glen Hutton, a Richmond, B.C. local.

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Show 208, January 28, 2017: Executive Chef Angus An, Maenam, Vancouver

Angus AnExecutive Chef Angus An is the proprietor of Maenam, Vancouver Magazine’s selection as Best Thai Restaurant. He’s cooked at the James Beard Foundation in New York. We’ll talk about the flavor balance of Thai cuisine with Chef An as well as his growing restaurant empire.

Chef Angus An is a graduate of New York’s prestigious French Culinary Institute, where he worked under the world’s culinary greats including Jacques Pépin, Alain Sailhac and André Soltner, and later apprenticed at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s legendary Jo-Jo. After graduating from the FCI, Angus trained under Chef Normand Laprise at Montréal’s Toqué before moving to London, UK, where he worked at Michelin-starred restaurants including The Ledbury and The Fat Duck. Following this he cooked at Chef David Thompson’s famed Nahm, which is also where Angus met his wife, Kate.

Upon returning to Vancouver, Kate and Angus opened their first restaurant, Gastropod. Lauded by diners and critics alike, Gastropod received several awards for cuisine and atmosphere before closing its doors in 2009.

In May of that year, Maenam was born. Serving authentic Thai dishes, the kitchen at Maenam is directed by both Angus and Thai-born Kate. Perennial winner of Vancouver Magazine’s “Best Thai” award, Maenam has also received rave reviews from The New York Times, USA Today, and Food & Wine magazine.

In addition to Maenam Chef Angus also owns Longtail, Freebird and Fat Mao, a Thai noodle concept.

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Show 194, October 22, 2016: Sherman Chan, Sherman’s Food Adventures, British Columbia

Sherman ChanSherman Chan is a well-respected food blogger based in Vancouver, B.C. and known for integrity. His popular blog is Sherman’s Food Adventures and includes honest commentary on restaurants and great visuals.

His eventual goal is to dine in every restaurant in Vancouver and its suburbs (including Richmond.) So far it’s over 800 restaurants in Vancouver and 200 plus in Richmond. That is dining out at least once a day for the last 7 years. Understand this is a (serious) hobby for Sherman.

We shared/slurped noodles with him on our recent trip to Richmond, BC for their intensive Hole in the Wall Street Food Tour. We’ll get Sherman’s objective thoughts on the current vibrant dining scene in both Vancouver as well as in Richmond, B.C. We’ll also highlight his travels on Richmond’s new Dumpling Trail.

Sherman was recently in Boston for the first time. Look for his Boston dining adventures to be posted in December. Also, Sherman has done some dining in Los Angeles & environs a few years back. All those posts are available for the reading in the Sherman’s Food Adventures archives.

Sherman Chan of Sherman’s Food Adventures is our guest.

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Show 181, July 23, 2016: Chef Alex Chen, Boulevard Kitchen, Vancouver, B.C.

Alex Chen of Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster BarRichmond, British Columbia is an incorporated city of 210,000 residents just South of Vancouver. 65 per cent of the residents are Asian and half of that group is of Chinese ancestry. It’s known for having some of the most authentic regional Chinese cuisine outside of China.

It’s home to Vancouver International Airport and the iconic Richmond Olympic Oval. It’s nestled where the Pacific Ocean and the mighty Fraser River meet. Richmond is a thriving multicultural destination city offering a growing range of cultural, heritage, culinary and leisure experiences.

The “SoCal Restaurant Show” was recently on assignment in Richmond B.C. Joining us to further delve into the vibrant Richmond food scene is Vancouver’s acclaimed Chef Alex Chen (ex-Beverly Hills Hotel.) Chef Chen is an enthusiastic resident of Richmond. He is currently the respected chef at Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar in Vancouver.

Where does Chef Chen eat on his time away from Boulevard Kitchen? He particularly enjoys the Chinese street food in Richmond. Cantonese specialties are at the top of the list but he savors food discoveries from all eight principal culinary regions of China. They are all represented in Richmond.

We talk about some of his favorites including HK BBQ Master. Pass the tea, please…

 

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Show 94, October 25, 2014: Executive Chef Orly Obierna of the ms Zaandam

Orly ObiernaThe “SoCal Restaurant Show” recently was aboard Holland America Line’s ms Zaandam on the Vancouver, BC to San Diego sailing of a longer 22-day Inca Discovery Tour ending in Valparaiso, Chile. Today the ship is at sea with a Port of Call tomorrow at Coquimbo (La Serena.)

This morning we continue our exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the key people who oversee this 716 room floating luxury hotel with some 1,400 guests aboard. With us is the ms Zaandam’s veteran Executive Chef, Orly Obierna. He’s responsible for a kitchen staff of 90 who work in shifts around-the-clock.

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Show 93, October 18, 2014: Marc Witney, The Fairmont Waterfront

Marc WitneyVancouver, British Columbia is a wonderful food town. The Fairmont Waterfront in downtown Vancouver also has a reputation for culinary excellence.

Dana Hauser, Executive Chef at The Fairmont Waterfront, hails from Newfoundland and brings a passion for regionally-inspired cuisine. Her culinary philosophy (influenced by the abundance of just-caught seafood) continues to focus on an appreciation for the freshest of ingredients sourced from neighboring farms and artisanal producers.

Their new destination restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is ARC. Their motto is, “Life is Complicated, Good Food Shouldn’t Be.”

The chef’s bench offers communal dining. Power lunches get guests in & out in an hour. Our guest, Marc Witney, is the Outlets Manager for The Fairmont Waterfront.

The Fairmont Honey Lager brewed for them by Whistler Brewing uses honey from the roof-top hives located at The Fairmont Waterfront.

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Show 93, October 18, 2014: Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, Holland America Line

Rudi SodaminThe “SoCal Restaurant Show” recently was aboard Holland America Line’s ms Zaandam on the Vancouver, BC to San Diego sailing of a longer 22-day Inca Discovery Tour ending in Valparaiso, Chile.

(Today the ship is at sea and then calling on Manta, Ecuador tomorrow.)

This morning we continue our exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the key people who oversee this 716 room floating luxury hotel with some 1,400 guests aboard. With us is HAL’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin who also serves as Chairman of their celebrated Culinary Council. (Australian Chef Mark Best is the newest member.)

An internationally respected food authority with 30 years of hospitality and cruise industry experience, Chef Rudi is perhaps the most highly decorated chef working on the world’s oceans. He is considered one of the hospitality industries most innovative and peripatetic chefs.

Chef Rudi has authored 13 cookbooks including his most recent, Holland America Line’s Appetizer’s (Rizzoli, June 2012.) Chef Rudi’s books can be found on Amazon.com and in bookstores everywhere.

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Show 92, October 11, 2014: Guest Host Kedric Francis & Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show

Our always debonair “Man About Orange County,” Kedric Francis, is the Executive Editor of both The Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Magazine.

If you’re under 50 don’t be fooled. There is plenty to do (and thoroughly enjoy) on a luxury cruise ship as a relaxing vacation option. The “SoCal Restaurant Show” was aboard Holland America Line’s ms Zaandam last week on the Vancouver, BC to San Diego sailing of a longer 22-day Inca Discovery Tour ending in Valparaiso, Chile. Over the next few weeks we’ll be giving you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the key people who oversee this 716 room floating luxury hotel with some 1,400 guests aboard.

A key manager aboard the ms Zaandam is the Hotel Director. He’s basically responsible for everything other than moving, navigating, and maintaining the ship. He actually supervises more of the 615 crew members aboard than the Captain!

Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach debuted with a splash about a year ago. It’s been a really great inaugural year. At the recent Golden Foodie Awards Selanne was the recipient of “Best New Restaurant” (an award decided by peers) and the people’s choice award (decided by popular vote)for “Best Steak.”

Everyone remembers Vince Ferragamo as the popular former quarterback of the L.A. Rams. What you probably don’t know is that Vince is a gentleman wine-maker in Orange County and a certified sommelier. He grows Sangiovese and Cabernet grapes on property in Orange Park Acres.

We’re continuing our report on the recent Hawaii Food & Wine Festival based on Oahu. Food, wine and travel writer Michelle Winner encores with Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguci of Lunchbox in Oahu.

Chef Holly Jivin of The Bazaar by Jose Andres at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills has just been promoted to Chef de Cuisine. She has been part of The Bazaar’s culinary team since the restaurant’s opening. Chef Holly also oversees SAAM, the intimate (and very exclusive) chef’s tasting room located within The Bazaar.

Fine wine as an accompaniment is a big part of enjoying a superb meal at one of the many dining choices aboard Holland America Line’s ms Zaandam. Cellar Master Rod is the gracious public face of the extensive wine and spirits program on the ship. He also provides entertaining wine education programs for the passengers including an interactive Blind Wine Tasting event. His motto is that good wine doesn’t need to be expensive.

The Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC) presents “Cocktails for Peat’s Sake! Scotching the Single-Malt Taboo,” the next edition of Touring the Cocktail:MOTAC Los Angeles. The seminar takes place on Monday, Oct. 20th at 6:30 p.m. at The Three Clubs in Hollywood. The evening is hosted by cocktail expert Michael J. Neff.

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

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