Show 177, June 25, 2016: Patric Kuh, Restaurant Critic, Los Angeles Magazine & Author of Finding the Flavors We Lost

Finding the Flavors we Lost by Patric KuhWe hear the word “artisanal” all the time—attached to cheese, chocolate, coffee, even Subway sandwiches—but what does it actually mean? Now, from Los Angeles Magazine restaurant critic and multiple James Beard Award winner Patric Kuh comes FINDING THE FLAVORS WE LOST: From Bread to Bourbon, How Artisans Reclaimed American Food. It’s an arresting exploration of the cultural demand for “artisanal” foods in a world where corporate agribusiness has co-opted the very concept. Patric is our guest.

Spanning almost the past hundred years, Kuh begins with the stories of countercultural “radicals” in the 1970s who taught themselves the forgotten crafts of bread, cheese, and beer-making, moving back to the development of mass-produced food and giant corporations that spurred them on, then to the present, hearkening back to how these 1970s trailblazers became the inspiration for today’s crop of young chefs and artisans.

From a cheese-making farm in Wisconsin to the Maker’s Mark distillery in Kentucky, Kuh examines how a rediscovery of the value of craft and individual effort has fueled today’s popularity and appreciation for artisanal food—and the transformations this has effected on both the restaurant menu and the dinner table.

Throughout the book, he raises a host of critical questions. How big of an operation is too big for a food company to still call themselves “artisanal”? Does the high cost of hand-crafted goods unintentionally make them unaffordable for many Americans? Does technological progress have to quash flavor?

Show 96, November 8, 2014: Chef Seth Nelson, Root 246, Solvang

Seth NelsonThe “SoCal Restaurant Show” was on assignment in Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley this past week. One of standout restaurants in the area, and it’s tasteful and elegant, is Root 246 in Solvang. The menu has been totally redone in the last year under the direction of newly arrived Chef Seth Nelson. He’s spent time locally cooking in the kitchens of Melisse and Ford’s Filling Station.

It’s craft based American food utilizing as much of the local bounty as possible. Even the desserts are something special without being fussy. They make their own flavored vinegars. There is an intimate 4-seat chef’s table in the kitchen with a full view of all the action on the line.

There is also a serious libation program. Available at Root 246 is one of the most extensive collections of local wines available in the area. They also pride themselves on the whiskey labels and choices for craft beers. It’s a standout cocktail program.

Root 246 is owned by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians but the spacious restaurant with outside patios (cigar smoking allowed) is not on reservation land.

We’ll talk with Chef Seth.