Show 400, November 21, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

It’s about last call on Thanksgiving so reduce your stress level and please plan ahead…Thanksgiving is going to look a bit different for most of us this year. Take it in stride, adapt as best as your circumstances allow, and, with any luck, Thanksgiving 2021 will be back to the traditional celebrations! We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

“Next week a new edible attraction takes center stage at The Paramount (the legendary eastside Los Angeles cultural institution & history-making music venue) as Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co.  opens its doors (Nov. 24th.) along Cesar E Chavez Avenue (historically known as Brooklyn Avenue in the early 1900s). Melding past, present, and future––both through the décor and menu––Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. aims to be a neighborhood spot for locals serving pizza, wings, loaded fries, beer, wine, and cocktails at the casual and colorful all-day restaurant. The concept is the brainchild of Chef–Owner Mario Christerna—a proud Boyle Heights native, community leader, and former “MasterChef Latino” judge—alongside the team behind The Paramount.” Chef Mario Christerna joins us pizza peel in hand.

Now in its fourth year, The James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program (WEL) is part of the Foundation’s broader Women’s Leadership Programs presented by Audi and aims to support woman-identifying hospitality industry entrepreneurs, restaurant owners, and chefs in order to grow their careers and scale their businesses. The only California Fellow selected for 2020 is Dina Samson of Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza Co. in Downtown Los Angeles. We’ll meet her and also learn what services Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza are currently providing to their guests with the new restrictions.

“For the second straight year, Chef Founder Bill Bracken of Bracken’s Kitchen is hosting his signature holiday event benefiting the less fortunate and food insecure in Southern California. This year’s edition, “DECK THE HALLS,” will be its first virtual party featuring special guests, community partners, and Bracken’s own chefs cooking up a surprise along with pumpkin carvings as you’ve never seen before. Christmas tree decorating, silent auction items, opportunity drawings, and a gourmet meal delivered to attendees’ doors are also in store for those who join Bracken’s Kitchen virtually in Garden Grove on Thursday, December 3, 2020, at 6 p.m.We’re in the busy Holiday kitchen at Bracken’s Kitchen with Chef Bill Bracken.

“For over 36 years Clay Oven’s (Irvine) cuisine directed by Executive Chef & Proprietress Geeta Bansal has been about transforming tradition and old techniques of Indian cuisine while retaining the flavor profile to make them relevant to the present times and lifestyle. Food progresses and changes, and Clay Oven consistently strives to move Indian cuisine forward into the present and attempts to modernize their dishes while keeping the Ayurvedic principles intact. The menus are tied to the seasons and what is growing locally.” Clay Oven is currently operating for takeout, curbside, and delivery only with a change in address on the way as of December 1st. Chef Geeta Bansal is our guest.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Thanksgiving is fast approaching on November 26th. In the spirit of the Holidays it’s appropriate for Chef Andrew to now share his best Thanksgiving cooking tips as he has been doing with great enthusiasm for the last three weeks. For the pre-Thanksgiving finale it’s all about suggesting some inspired sides. Stuffing (or dressing) properly prepared outside the bird gets some deserved attention, too. It seems more people will be doing Family Thanksgiving at home this year and probably with smaller groups. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

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Show 400, November 21, 2020: Chef Mario Christerna, Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. and The Paramount, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles Part One

Mario Christerna of Brooklyn Avenue Pizza Company“Next week a new edible attraction takes center stage at The Paramount (the legendary eastside Los Angeles cultural institution & history-making music venue) as Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. opens its doors along Cesar E Chavez Avenue (historically known as Brooklyn Avenue in the early 1900s). Melding past, present, and future––both through the décor and menu––Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. aims to be a neighborhood spot for locals serving pizza, wings, loaded fries, beer, wine, and cocktails at the casual and colorful all-day restaurant. The concept is the brainchild of Chef–Owner Mario Christerna, a proud Boyle Heights native, community leader, and former “MasterChef Latino” judge, alongside the team behind The Paramount.”

Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. serves up to 30 seats al fresco, and 75 seats indoors (once again permitted) with all Covid 19 protocols in place including physically distanced tables, heightened sanitation protocols, single-use items, contactless ordering and payments, and an enforced mask policy.”

“It’s been my life’s journey to get to this moment of opening my very own restaurant in Boyle Heights –– the place that birthed and raised me,” says Christerna. “Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co.’s vision is to provide a slice of home for neighbors and visitors. The flavors, sounds, sights that guests will enjoy at the pizzeria are meant to stir up emotions of both happiness and nostalgia; from authentic Mexican inspirations to our favorite corner store snacks (Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, anyone?), all the ingredients speak to familiarity and character. During a time when we are experiencing so much distance, we hope people can come together here and continue to uplift each other –– as they always have in Boyle Heights.”

Chef Mario Christerna joins us pizza peel in hand.

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Show 400, November 21, 2020: Chef Mario Christerna, Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. and The Paramount, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles Part Two

Mario Christerna of Brooklyn Avenue Pizza Company“Next week a new edible attraction takes center stage at The Paramount (the legendary eastside Los Angeles cultural institution & history-making music venue) as Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. opens its doors along Cesar E Chavez Avenue (historically known as Brooklyn Avenue in the early 1900s). Melding past, present, and future––both through the décor and menu––Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. aims to be a neighborhood spot for locals serving pizza, wings, loaded fries, beer, wine, and cocktails at the casual and colorful all-day restaurant. The concept is the brainchild of Chef–Owner Mario Christerna, a proud Boyle Heights native, community leader, and former “MasterChef Latino” judge, alongside the team behind The Paramount.”

“It’s been my life’s journey to get to this moment of opening my very own restaurant in Boyle Heights –– the place that birthed and raised me,” says Christerna. “Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co.’s vision is to provide a slice of home for neighbors and visitors. The flavors, sounds, sights that guests will enjoy at the pizzeria are meant to stir up emotions of both happiness and nostalgia; from authentic Mexican inspirations to our favorite corner store snacks (Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, anyone?), all the ingredients speak to familiarity and character. During a time when we are experiencing so much distance, we hope people can come together here and continue to uplift each other –– as they always have in Boyle Heights.”

“At Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co., Christerna, one of the city’s rising chefs, with recognition for the ‘Best Dish’ at L.A.’s Latin Food Fest and the #3 taco on Bill Esparza’s ‘Best L.A. Tacos’ list, is focusing on pizza & wings with his signature Boyle Heights twist. Inspired by his beloved Chicano heritage and love for melding cultures (Christerna opened and helmed the kitchen at The Briks in South Park, a concept that reflected his early culinary influences––from North African and Spanish to French and Mexican), the menu marries familiar and vibrant sabores (flavors), while remaining approachable for all to enjoy.”

Think the Mole Pizza with Queso Oaxaca, Curtido and Crema, and Flaming Hot Cheetos Wings with Nacho Cheese, Parmesan and Crema.

“Built within the space originally established as the Jewish Bakers Union of Los Angeles Local 453 Headquarters during the early twentieth century, the restaurant’s name (Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co.) is inspired by its location in Boyle Heights along Cesar E Chavez Avenue –formerly known as Brooklyn Avenue as a way to attract East Coasters moving out West. The Jewish Bakers Union was deeply ingrained in their community, helping to feed people in need through the early twentieth century and into the Great Depression. Christerna and his team of locals are inspired by this history and are dedicated to continuing the space’s legacy as a community meeting point and culinary oasis.”

Chef Mario Christerna continues with us pizza peel securely in hand.

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Show 400, November 21, 2020: Dina Samson of Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza Co. 2020 Fellow of Women’s Entrepreneurship Leadership Program

Dina Samson of Rossoblu and Superfine PizzaNow in its fourth year, The James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program (WEL) is part of the Foundation’s broader Women’s Leadership Programs presented by Audi and aims to support woman-identifying hospitality industry entrepreneurs, restaurant owners, and chefs in order to grow their careers and scale their businesses.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue this program this year, with the opportunity to bring together an extraordinary group of industry professionals from across the country,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. “As the devastation caused by this pandemic continues, it is more important now than ever to support our community and do all that we can to help entrepreneurs continue to succeed and thrive. We are honored to provide them with resources and to help expand their networks.”

The only California fellow selected for 2020 is Dina Samson of Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza Co. in Downtown Los Angeles. We’ll meet her and also learn what creative meal services Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza are currently providing to their guests with the new restrictions.

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Show 400, November 21, 2020: Chef Founder Bill Bracken of Bracken’s Kitchen Part One

Bill Bracken of Brackens Kitchen“For the second straight year, Chef Founder Bill Bracken of Bracken’s Kitchen is hosting its signature holiday event benefiting the less fortunate and food insecure in Southern California. This year’s edition, “DECK THE HALLS,” will be its first virtual party featuring special guests, community partners, and Bracken’s own chefs cooking up a surprise along with pumpkin carvings as you’ve never seen before. Christmas tree decorating, silent auction items, opportunity drawings, and a gourmet meal delivered to attendees’ doors are also in store for those who join Bracken’s Kitchen virtually in Garden Grove on Thursday, December 3, 2020, at 6 p.m.”

“Attendees will have the opportunity to experience the kitchen, virtually, where they’ve already prepared and made over 1.3 million meals for those suffering from food insecurity in Southern California. This year’s event is even more meaningful and important due to the pandemic that has caused unexpected job loss, and even more people to suffer from food insecurity. Everyone will have the opportunity to help Bracken’s Kitchen meet this unprecedented demand for food caused by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in a fun and festive way.”

“With all the negative things happening all around us we are excited to welcome you “our friends” into our kitchen virtually for an evening of food, fun, and caring for those in need,” says Bill Bracken.

“All are invited to “Deck The Halls” and help Bracken’s Kitchen maintain its dramatically increased meal production at a time when so many people need help. Participants can help to keep recently laid off restaurant workers employed and production at more than 30,000 meals a week. 100% of the proceeds from the event will support the work and programs of Bracken’s Kitchen.”

Tickets are now available online

We’re in the busy Holiday kitchen at Bracken’s Kitchen with Chef Bill Bracken.

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Show 400, November 21, 2020: Chef Founder Bill Bracken of Bracken’s Kitchen Part Two

Bill Bracken of Brackens Kitchen“For the second straight year, Chef Founder Bill Bracken of Bracken’s Kitchen is hosting its signature holiday event benefiting the less fortunate and food insecure in Southern California. This year’s edition, “DECK THE HALLS,” will be its first virtual party featuring special guests, community partners, and Bracken’s own chefs cooking up a surprise along with pumpkin carvings as you’ve never seen before. Christmas tree decorating, silent auction items, opportunity drawings, and a gourmet meal delivered to attendees’ doors are also in store for those who join Bracken’s Kitchen virtually in Garden Grove on Thursday, December 3, 2020, at 6 p.m.”

“All are invited to “Deck The Halls” and help Bracken’s Kitchen maintain its dramatically increased meal production at a time when so many people need help. Participants can help to keep recently laid off restaurant workers employed and production at more than 30,000 meals a week. 100% of the proceeds from the event will support the work and programs of Bracken’s Kitchen.”

Bracken’s Kitchen is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Orange County California. Founded in 2013 our mission is simple: Through food recovery, culinary training, and our community feeding program we are committed to recovering, re-purposing, and restoring both food and lives. At the core of our mission is a deep commitment to our nonprofit charity partners, business and professional supporters, volunteers, donors, and employees. Our relationship with each and every one of these groups is as important to us as those we feed.”

Tickets are now available online

We’re back in the busy Holiday kitchen at Bracken’s Kitchen for a second helping with Chef Bill Bracken.

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Show 400, November 21, 2020: Chef & Proprietress Geeta Bansal, Clay Oven, Irvine

Geeta Bansal of Clay Oven in Irvine“For over 36 years Clay Oven’s cuisine directed by Executive Chef & Proprietress Geeta Bansal has been about transforming tradition and old techniques of Indian cuisine while retaining the flavor profile to make them relevant to the present times and lifestyle. Food progresses and changes, and Clay Oven consistently strives to move Indian cuisine forward into the present and attempts to modernize their dishes while keeping the Ayurvedic principles intact. The menus are tied to the seasons and what is growing locally.”

“Clay Oven serves a large selection of game including venison, wild boar, rabbit, duck, antelope, quail, and elk. Fruits and vegetables in season appear alongside organic herbs grown in their own garden. There is no fusion of cuisines, just a fun and creative Indian experience created for their guests.”

Clay Oven is currently operating for takeout, curbside, and delivery only. A yearly (limited-time) special Thanksgiving tradition at Clay Oven, Tandoori Turkey, is still available to order.

Clay Oven is on the move…As of December 1st Clay Oven is relocating to Costa Mesa on a temporary basis and will continue to serve guests via takeout, curbside and delivery exclusively. A new dine-in location is planned for the future as allowable.

Chef Geeta Bansal is our guest.

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Show 400, November 21, 2020: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group at the AM830 KLAA StudiosOur own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. New restrictions placed on Southern California restaurants in the last week…

Thanksgiving is fast approaching on November 26th. In the spirit of the Holidays it’s appropriate for Chef Andrew to now share his best Thanksgiving cooking tips as he has been providing (with encouragement) for the last three weeks. For the pre-Thanksgiving finale it’s all about suggesting some inspired sides. Also stuffing (or dressing) properly prepared outside of the bird gets some attention, too. A few ideas for dessert are also included on Chef Andrew’s Thanksgiving menu. It’s more than just the turkey…More people will be preparing Family Thanksgiving at home this year and probably with smaller groups so Chef Andrew is here to help. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

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Show 399, November 14, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

It’s closing in on Thanksgiving so reduce your stress level and please plan ahead…We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

“This November, the California Restaurant Association Foundation (CRAF), a non-profit that invests in and empowers California’s restaurant workforce, invites all Californians to participate in its inaugural ‘The Grateful Table® Dine Out!’ The ask is simple. Throughout November, Californians are encouraged to “dine out to help out” as much as possible in gratitude to their neighborhood restaurants. Want to do more? A guest can directly support California’s struggling foodservice community at featured restaurants by donating to Restaurants Care®, a nonprofit program which provides restaurant workers facing hardships with relief grants for basic living needs like groceries, utilities, diapers, clothing, gas and rent.” The CRA Foundation’s Alycia Harshfield and Farmer Boys’ President & Chief Operating Officer Dave Wetzel (a featured restaurant partner of The Grateful Table Dine Out) join us with all the details.

“The award-winning Fable & Spirit in Newport Beach has been helping to bring the Lido Marina community together by putting a unique spin on “Dinner and a Movie” with dinners under the iconic Grand Marquee of neighboring Lido Theater. Presented every Tuesday and Wednesday, the outdoor dinners feature themed menus created by Executive Chef David Shofner to change weekly. Priced between $40 and $50 per guest, the reservation-only menus will continue through November, allowing Chef Shofner to present imaginative, globally inspired dishes featuring the exciting ingredients that the season has to offer.” Proprietor Darren Coyle is our guest.

“From the creator of Skinny Southern, Emmy Award–winning chef Lara Lyn Carter, comes another collection of delicious, nutritious versions of your favorite Southern foods in Skinny Southern Baking.  Satisfy your cravings (or your hungry party guests) with completely gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free baked goods that don’t skimp on flavor. The recipes include lightened-up Southern staples like lemon squares, gingersnaps, and herb biscuits alongside incredible and surprising combinations of Southern flavors like Pumpkin Cranberry Pecan Bread, Sweet Potato Meringues, and Lemon Blueberry Cream Pie.” We’re baking with Chef Lara Lyn Carter.

“There’s just something about a new pair of jammies that says ‘cozy and safe’ to kids, and Huntington Meats and Farmers Market Poultry located at The Original Farmers Market at 3rd & Fairfax in Los Angeles are doing their part to make sure nightly bedtime rituals like fresh pajamas will provide a reassuring and peaceful good night to in-need children this holiday season. The two shops offering the best quality meats and poultry (along with genuine customer service) have come together to host their first Holiday Kids Pajama Drive taking place the entire month of November. The goal is to collect 300 pairs of pajamas for distribution to local agencies servicing homeless and low income families.” Proprietor Jim Cascone joins us with the meaty details.

Drew Brahs of Harper Barbecue (Costa Mesa based) is well-known in the West as the go-to builder (via word-of-mouth) of hand-crafted, custom smokers for skilled pitmasters and home backyard barbecue fans alike. He crafts everything from small backyard pits to large versions on trailers. Drew is responsible for creating the massive twin, 1,000 gallon offset smokers used to the max at Danny Castillo’s Heritage Barbecue in San Juan Capistrano. Drew is a fan of the Central Texas style of barbecue. In the early stages of development and construction is his own restaurant, Harper Barbecue, in Costa Mesa which will be a Family affair. While the restaurant is being built Drew will shift the smoker enterprise to selling stock items. We’ll meet barbecue entrepreneur Drew Brahs.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef”> segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Thanksgiving is fast approaching on November 26th. In the spirit of the Holidays it’s appropriate for Chef Andrew to now share his best Thanksgiving cooking tips. This week we’re talking about cooking the seasoned bird. Chef Andrew suggests this might be the year to spatchcock the turkey. It seems more people will be doing Family Thanksgiving at home this year and probably with smaller groups. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Play

Show 399, November 14, 2020: California Restaurant Association Foundation’s The Grateful Table Dine Out! to Benefit Restaurants Care

Alycia Harshfield of the California Restaaurant Association“This November, the California Restaurant Association Foundation (CRAF), a non-profit that invests in and empowers California’s restaurant workforce, invites all Californians to participate in its inaugural ‘The Grateful Table® Dine Out!’ The ask is simple. Throughout November, Californians are encouraged to “dine out to help out” as much as possible in gratitude to their neighborhood restaurants. Want to do more? A guest can directly support California’s struggling foodservice community at featured restaurants by donating to Restaurants Care®, a nonprofit program which provides restaurant workers facing hardships with relief grants for basic living needs like groceries, utilities, diapers, clothing, gas and rent.”

“This very first The Grateful Table® Dine Out is a statewide campaign that’s complementary to our current way of life and has the potential to make a lasting impact on the industry by giving back to the hardworking people who operate our restaurants – chefs, cooks, bussers, bartenders, servers and dishwashers – in their greatest time of need. Since the pandemic hit in March, Restaurants Care has awarded grants to nearly 1,200 of California’s restaurant workers also benefitting their nearly 1,700 dependents, with 79% of grants awarded to people of color.”

“This November, dining out is our superpower! We have the ability to support our favorite restaurants and chip in to help struggling restaurant workers. Whether it’s takeout, dining in or having your meal delivered, we’re encouraging every Californian to help the restaurant community get back on their feet leading into the holiday season,” said Alycia Harshfield, Executive Director of CRAF. “Your support directly impacts our neighborhood restaurants, the employees and their families, and together, we can bring them some much-needed hope and stability.”

“As an added incentive to dine out, CRAF is hosting exciting social media giveaways throughout November where diners can enter to win a $500 gift card to their favorite restaurant! Every Thursday in November, two winners will be randomly selected to receive a $500 gift card to any restaurant they tag with the hashtag #GratefulTableSweepstakes. It’s as easy as that!”

The CRA Foundation’s Alycia Harshfield and Farmer Boys’ President & Chief Operating Officer Dave Wetzel (a featured restaurant partner of The Grateful Table Dine Out) join us with all the details.

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