Show 109, February 7, 2015: Show Preview with Chef Andrew Gruel (Guest Host) and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Andrew GruelExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, and now, Newport Beach is today’s special Guest Host.

Now a preview of today’s delightfully overflowing show

Chinese New Year is February 19th to March 5th, 2015. It’s the Year of the Sheep (often called the Year of the Goat or the Ram.) During China’s most colorful and important holiday, foods take on special symbolic meanings. Fruits and vegetables are also healthy and delicious. Our resident produce expert, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s, joins us with a tasty overview of fruits and vegetables which are part of Chinese New Year. He’ll also tell us where to find some inspired Martin Yan recipes to prepare at home to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Eric Samaniego (ex- Comme Ca in West Hollywood) is the acclaimed Executive Chef of Little Sparrow in Santa Ana. The Orange County Register’s Restaurant Critic, Brad A. Johnson, awarded Little Sparrow recognition as “Best New Restaurant” in 2013. Samaniego’s Pastry Chef, Nasera Munshi, was Johnson’s choice as “Pastry Chef of the Year” in 2014. If all of that wasn’t enough recognition Little Sparrow was selected by the producers (including Tom Colicchio) of Bravo’s “Best New Restaurant” competition series as one of 16 USA restaurants from four cities to vie for the title of Best New Restaurant and a cool $100,000 cash prize. With eager anticipation we’ll see how Little Sparrow does in their initial episode airing on Wednesday evening. Feb. 25th.

When we last chatted with Team USA (Chefs Philip Tessier and Commis Skylar Stover of The French Laundry) early last month they were on their way to Lyon to compete in the bi-annual Bocuse d’Or World Culinary Competition, the Olympics of the culinary world. This was after a year of intensive preparation and dedicated training. 24 teams of the most gifted culinary minds from across the world competed and Team USA (guided by the ment’or BKB Foundation) was awarded the Silver Medal (second place) for their artful and spectacular meat platter and fish plate. Team Norway was the first-place winner. This is a giant first for Team USA. Their previous top finish was sixth. Congratulations to Team USA on a stunning achievement. Chef Tessier is our guest.

Chef Jason McClain is the executive chef of the storied Jonathan Club, a very exclusive private club in Los Angeles established in 1894 with a rich history. Their main building is located in Downtown Los Angeles with a second facility, the Jonathan Beach Club (established in 1927) located on the sands in Santa Monica. A social club at this level needs to have outstanding food and beverage as an amenity for their discerning members. Chef McClain will take us behind the scenes on what resources and imagination he uses to fulfill this promise. He likes to say he’s responsible for “the best restaurant in Downtown that no one knows about.” One small example of his commitment to quality is his urban rooftop garden located on a former handball court where seasonally they grow heirloom tomatoes, broccolini, baby carrots, blueberries, figs, snap peas and yuzu.

Julie Margolin is the Honda Center’s busy Director of Food & Beverage Services. Over 500 employees are part of the food and beverage operations there. Honda Center is one of the few facilities in the country who runs their own food and beverage operations. It’s a massive undertaking and costly. This was done strictly to improve the quality of the food and beverage program there. She works alongside Honda Center’s Executive Chef, Jo-Jo Doyle. Julie joins us to talk about what’s new for the current season including the menu in Standing “O”.

We now have a chance to catch-up with Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish, today’s Guest Host. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering a set of rules for organic farmed fish. Several consumer groups, though, say the recommended rules don’t go far enough to meet the strict standards of other organic foods. Chef Andrew will weigh-in on this and also speak about sustainability.

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

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