Show 273, May 12, 2018: Josh Crain, Chef de Cuisine, Bouchon Las Vegas

Josh CrainAs part of the first evening of Vegas Uncork’d The Chefs of Thomas Keller Present a French Soiree”. It sold out right away. The two lead chefs are Chef de Cuisine Josh Crain of Bouchon Las Vegas and Chef de Cuisine Matt Alba of Ad Hoc and Addendum in Yountville, CA. Dessert was a K+M “Almond Joy” with a K+M Nicaragua dark chocolate mousse from Bouchon’s Pastry Chef Scott Wheatfill. Chef Josh joins us.

“Tucked away in the Venezia Tower sits Bouchon by Thomas Keller, a chef whose French cuisine has won almost every award possible: Michelin Stars, James Beard Foundation, and what Anthony Bourdain called “the best restaurant, ever.” Now you don’t have to go to French Laundry in Yountville to taste his genius — a modern take on French cuisine. Sunday brunch is the standout here, set in the sunlit bustling bistro or al fresco on the patio. An oyster bar that begins at 3 p.m. is the perfect setting for an afternoon with a bottle of rosé poolside. Of all the French restaurants Las Vegas offers, Bouchon is at the top of the must-visit list.”

Having worked so long at the original Bouchon in Yountville, Chef Josh brings to Bouchon Las Vegas an understanding of the restaurant’s sensibility and the importance of making time for meals to be a special occasion.

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Show 229, June 24, 2017: Anne Marie Panoringan, OC Weekly’s “On the Line” Columnist

Anne Marie PanoringanWhat’s it like to experience a very special $310 per guest meal (and it’s a tough pre-paid reservation to even secure) at California’s celebrated The French Laundry in Yountville in the Napa Valley?  Chef’s daily nine-course tasting menu and nine-course vegetable tasting menu highlight French technique and the finest quality ingredients available.

There is also a magnificent new $10 million state-of-the-art kitchen where your repast is artfully prepared. If you ask politely you can also get a tour of it. Very few restaurant kitchens of its equal in the world. Impressive…

OC Weekly’s “On the Line” columnist, Anne Marie Panoringan was just there and provides the salivating commentary. It’s not her first meal at The French Laundry either…

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Show 224, May 20, 2017: Russ Weis, President & General Manager, Silverado Vineyards

Russ WeisIn 1981, Ron and Diane Miller established Silverado Vineyards to make wine from the six historic vineyards of their estate. Napa pioneers first planted these ranches to vines between 1865 and 1895.

Each vineyard played an important role in establishing the reputation of their growing area: Carneros, Coombsville, Yountville, Soda Creek Canyon and Stags Leap District. The beautiful fruit from these six vineyards is the exclusive source of Silverado Vineyards’ Estate and Single Vineyard wines – the Miller family’s highest expression of the Napa Valley they love and admire.

“The beginning of vine planting is like the beginning of mining for precious metals: the winegrower also ‘prospects’.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson,
The Silverado Squatters, 1880

A century later, the Miller family began the journey Stevenson described, establishing Silverado Vineyards in 1981. “It was beautiful land, and it was land that was working,” observed the late Diane Miller of their first vineyards, purchased in the 1970s. Diane and Ron sold their grapes to some of Napa’s best vintners, who made award winning wines from them year after year. Encouraged, they struck out on their own with the goal of making the best wines the estate could produce at a fair price. This has remained the guiding philosophy over the years.

The winery’s name, Silverado, comes from the abandoned mining town at the top of the Napa Valley, where Stevenson stayed so many years ago. It is an appropriate symbol: three generations of the Miller family are still “prospecting” for wine, staying true to the idea of coaxing something precious from the soils we are privileged to care for.

Silverado Vineyards long-time President and General Manager, Russ Weis, is our guest.

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Show 164, March 19, 2016: Chef de Cuisine David Hands & Katie Hagan-Whelchel, Executive Sous Chef, Bouchon Beverly Hills Part One

David HandsIn November 2009, Chef Thomas Keller returned to Southern California after almost 20 years to bring his renowned Bouchon Bistro cuisine from Yountville to the City of Beverly Hills. Chef Keller’s accomplished culinary team also has a sense of humor. Chef Keller’s casual restaurant in Yountville, Ad Hoc, is known for their fried chicken. By guest demand Monday nights at Bouchon Beverly Hills are now Ad Hoc Fried Chicken nights.

The restaurant, located just two blocks from the famed Rodeo Drive and situated adjacent to the beautiful Beverly Canon Gardens, offers guests both the grandeur of a soaring interior space designed by the award-winning firm of Adam D. Tihany or the tranquility of an urban oasis with its second floor terrace overlooking the gardens. Like Chef Keller’s earlier incarnations of classic French dining, Bouchon Bistro features a classic mosaic floor, a magnificent pewter bar, antique light fixtures and hand-painted murals by renowned French artist Paulin Paris throughout the restaurant.

Chef de Cuisine David Hands and Executive Sous Chef Katie Hagan-Whelchel (ex-Ad Hoc) join us for a look behind-the-scenes.

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Show 105, January 10, 2015: Chefs Philip Tessier and Skylar Stover, Bocuse d’Or USA Team

Philip Tessier and Skylar StoverChef Philip Tessier and his young Commis, Skylar Stover, of Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry in Yountville, CA are going for the gold in 2015. The pair is the newest Bocuse d’Or USA Team, representing the nation at the World Cooking Contest in Lyon, France on January 27th and 28th. Often described as the “Culinary Olympics,” the Bocuse d’Or (staged every other year) is among the most demanding international cooking competitions, pitting chefs from twenty-four countries against one another in an intense five and a half hour cooking challenge in front of thousands of cheering fans.

Leading the rigorous training program – which requires the level of dedication seen in professional athletes – is Team USA Head Coach (and former Bocuse d’Or competitor) Chef Gavin Kaysen (ex-Café Boulud, New York.) Alongside Kaysen will be Coaches Chef Grant Achatz (Alienea and Next, Chicago, IL), Chef Gabriel Kreuther (formerly of The Modern, New York, NY), and Chef Richard Rosendale (formerly of The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, WV and the 2013 Bocuse d’Or competitor for the USA), as well as The Foundation’s (ment’or BKB Foundation) Board of Directors, Chefs Jerome Bocuse, Daniel Boulud, and Thomas Keller.

A contribution of any size to support Team USA in Lyon is greatly appreciated by their support group, ment’or BKB Foundation.

Team USA 2015 joins us on the road to Lyon.

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Show 94, October 25, 2014: ment’or BKB Foundation

Young YunOften dubbed the “Culinary Olympics,” the international Bocuse d’Or World Cooking Contest pits chefs from 24 countries against one another in an exhausting and intensive 5 and one-half hour cooking challenge in front of thousands of cheering fans. Teams consist of one chef and one commis assistant, with Team USA trained and financially supported by the ment’or BKB Foundation (previously known as the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation.) The Foundation was created in 2008 by Chefs Jerome Bocuse, Daniel Boulud, and Thomas Keller.

Executive Director Young Yun (of ment’or BKB Foundation) is our guest.

“The goal of the Foundation is to give back and to acknowledge, inspire, and mentor the next generation of chefs,” notes Executive Director Yun. “For now, we are primarily focused on those in the kitchen, but the long-term goal is to facilitate successful careers in all aspects of the culinary world, from the front of the house to operations.”

Chef Philip Tessier and his Commis Skylar Stover of The French Laundry in Yountville, CA are going for the gold in Lyon in January 2015 as the Bocuse d’Or USA Team.

On Thursday, October 30th at Bouchon Beverly Hills four promising young chefs from Yountville, CA; New Orleans, LA; Tacoma, WA and Orem, Utah will compete in a rigorous cooking competition to earn coveted stageries at some of the nation’s most well-respected restaurants. Designed to recognize outstanding young professionals in America, ment’or Young Chefs Competition series is spearheaded by Board of Directors members Jerome Bocuse, Daniel Boulud, and Thomas Keller.

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Show 57, January 18, 2013: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Magazine

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineOur favorite debonair man about Orange County, Kedric Francis, is back with us with a preview of the upcoming “Restaurant Issue” of The Orange County Register Magazine which is with the newspaper on Monday, January 20th. Kedric is the restaurant-savvy Executive Editor of both Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine.

One of the most intriguing pieces is Orange County chefs who have professional ties to one of America’s great chefs, Thomas Keller. You know Chef Keller’s name from the French Laundry in Yountville, CA., Per Se in New York, Bouchon, and the Bouchon Bakeries. This year is the 20th Anniversary of the opening of The French Laundry. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at some of the OC chefs who have worked for Thomas Keller earlier in their careers…

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January 18: Antonia Lafaso, Mark Boster, Kedric Francis, Skyler Reeves

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Antonia Lofaso, Executive Chef & Partner, Scopa Italian Roots and Black Market Liquor Bar Part One
Segment Three: Antonia Lofaso, Executive Chef & Partner, Scopa Italian Roots and Black Market Liquor Bar Part Two
Segment Four: Mark Boster, Senior Photojournalist, Los Angeles Times Part One
Segment Five: Mark Boster, Senior Photojournalist, Los Angeles Times Part Two
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Magazine
Segment Seven: Skyler Reeves, master barman, co-producer of Golden State of Cocktails
Segment Eight: Chef Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris of “SoCal Restaurant Show”

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Los Angeles Times Travel ShowDon’t forget the Los Angeles Times Travel Show on January 18th & 19th at The L.A. Convention Center. There is a fun travel opportunity waiting for every budget. Save $2 per ticket with Promo Code: TRAVEL4.

You know the lovely Antonia Lafaso from Bravo’s “Top Chef” and Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen.” Chef Antonia will be talking about her new restaurant, Scopa. The ace photo journalist from The Los Angeles Times is along to preview his presentation at The Los Angeles Times Travel Show and give us some insider’s tips on better food photography with smart phones. Kedric Francis, the dashing Executive Editor about town, previews the upcoming Restaurant Issue of The Orange County Register Magazine.

All of that and lots more deliciousness on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

Antonia Lofaso of Black Market Liquor Bar and Scopa Italian RootsFor a chef with as much media exposure as she has received Antonia Lofaso is refreshingly low-key. Her name is not even on the menu for the two successful restaurants in Los Angeles that she is both executive chef & partner of. The popular restaurants are Black Market Liquor Bar in Studio City and, the newest, Scopa Italian Roots in Marina del Rey, her loving homage to Italian-American red sauce cooking.

You first met Chef Antonia on Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 4 set in Chicago. Two years later she was invited back to compete on “Top Chef All-Stars” where she battled to the finals.

Antonia currently serves as one of the regular judges on Food Network’s hit series, “Cutthroat Kitchen” hosted by Alton Brown. Season 2 is now airing on Sunday nights.

Chef Antonia is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York and cooked at Spago. Her first executive chef post was at SBE’s Foxtail in West Hollywood.

Scopa, located next door to Roy Choi’s Sunny Spot, is her latest venture.

There is a huge antipasti bar where all the cheeses and salumi are cut and plated to order right in front of the guests. The Italian Hero (coppa, prosciutto, salami, provolone, olive oil, and vinegar) is very popular.

There is also an oyster bar.

The varied menu also offers salads, pasta, large plate mains, and seasonal sides including polenta. The Pappardelle with pork shank, stracciatella, and arugula is a standout. The flavorful T-Bone is a meat-lovers’ dream.

Antonia’s first cookbook, published in 2012, is still available via Amazon. It’s The Busy Mom’s Cookbook: 100 Recipes for Quick, Delicious, Home-Cooked Meals. Antonia has a teenage daughter and the recipes were developed through the eyes of a hardworking single mom.

Mark BosterThe 16th Annual Los Angeles Times Travel show returns to the West Hall of the LA Convention Center on January 18 & 19. Veteran Los Angeles Times photojournalist, Mark Boster, is with us to preview his activities at the show.

Mark is on the LA Times Stage both Saturday & Sunday at 1:00 p.m. with his “Postcards From the West” presentation. He’s doing this with LA Times Travel Writer Christopher Reynolds.

In an exclusive for our listeners Mark Boster is sharing tips for taking great food shots!

Boster is also quite an expert on California’s great treasure, Yosemite. He is the author of the acclaimed coffee table book, Four Seasons of Yosemite: A Photographer’s Journey with a forward by Robert Redford.

Mark is the co-presenter of “Postcards from the West” on the LA Times Stage at The Los Angeles Times Travel show at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 18th & 19th.

A photojournalist for 37 years and a Times photographer since 1983, Mark has covered presidential campaigns, the war in Kosovo, the 1984 Olympics, Super Bowls, the World Series, the Northridge earthquake, and Hurricane Katrina.

In this informative segment Mark shares an expert’s tips for better food photography using a smartphone.

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineOur favorite debonair man about Orange County, Kedric Francis, is back with us with a preview of the upcoming “Restaurant Issue” of The Orange County Register Magazine which is with the newspaper on Monday, January 20th. Kedric is the restaurant-savvy Executive Editor of both Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine.

One of the most intriguing pieces is Orange County chefs who have professional ties to one of America’s great chefs, Thomas Keller. You know Chef Keller’s name from the French Laundry in Yountville, CA., Per Se in New York, Bouchon, and the Bouchon Bakeries. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at some of the OC chefs who have worked for Thomas Keller earlier in their careers.

Skyler ReevesSkyler Reeves is a master barman. Denizens of Downtown Los Angeles’ popular nightlife scene will know him from 213 Downtown. He’s one of the best…

His new project is co-producing the upcoming “Golden State of Cocktails.” It takes place January 27th through 30th primarily on the historic top floor of the Los Angeles Times Building in Downtown Los Angeles. This space was the former executive offices and the grandeur of the floor will surely impress. The educational event is designed exclusively for the trade.

“California’s long awaited large-scale cocktail event is finally here: Announcing Golden State of Cocktails! Staged in Los Angeles, the West Coast’s largest city and California’s anchor, Golden State of Cocktails celebrates all aspects of cocktail culture, both industry and consumer, from San Francisco to Los Angeles to San Diego and everywhere in between. Be a part of the inaugural event in one or more ways. From experiential interactive labs, take-away stations and brand immersion rooms, Golden State of Cocktails takes a hands-on approach to the learning experience and celebrates the best of what California cocktail culture is all about.” The event is open to restaurateurs, chefs, bartenders and people associated with the trade.

Chef Jet Tila host of the SoCal Restaurant ShowWe receive intriguing food related questions via social media…

Today Chef Jet is answering a sampling of those inquiries on the air. He’ll weigh-in on salt in food, the new regulation in California that food handlers touching raw food products must wear gloves, and the Letter Grade rating system for restaurants in effect in many California counties.

This will definitely get interesting…

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Antonia Lofaso, Executive Chef & Partner, Scopa Italian Roots and Black Market Liquor Bar Part One
Segment Three: Antonia Lofaso, Executive Chef & Partner, Scopa Italian Roots and Black Market Liquor Bar Part Two
Segment Four: Mark Boster, Senior Photojournalist, Los Angeles Times Part One
Segment Five: Mark Boster, Senior Photojournalist, Los Angeles Times Part Two
Segment Six: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Magazine
Segment Seven: Skyler Reeves, master barman, co-producer of Golden State of Cocktails
Segment Eight: Chef Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris of “SoCal Restaurant Show”

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.
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“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