Show 278, June 23, 2018: Chef Colin Fukunaga, FukuBurger, Las Vegas

Colin FukunagaWhen it comes to award-winning burgers for the true enthusiast the place to go in Las Vegas is FukuBurger. They have their original rolling grill food truck on the road (now mainly used for special events & catering) as well as a bricks-and-mortar location in Chinatown. They were recently in L.A. at the Sunday Smorgasburg LA as the invited guest of noted burger authority, George Motz (Hamburger America – A State-By-State Guide to 200 Great Burger Joints.)

Our emeritus Co-Host, Chef Jet Tila, is a big fan of Fukuburger’s Tamago. Chef Jet even profiled it on Food Network’s “Guilty Pleasures.” It’s an all-beef Fukupatty topped with a fried runny egg, furikake, crispy onion strings, and finished with house-prepared teriyaki sauce and wasabi mayo.

A 2nd brick-and-mortar FukuBurger will soon launch is Vegas.

We’re flipping a Tamago Burger with Co-Founder Colin Fukunaga.

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Show 62, February 22, 2013: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Jet Tila and a heritage pig at Cochon 555 in 2013Remember the L.A. tour stop of Cochon USA is Sunday, February 23rd at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica from 4 to 8:00 p.m. Ray Garcia of Fig Restaurant is the host chef (and the defending Prince of Pork.) It’s a celebration of heritage pork raised on family farms. Our own Jet Tila will be there cooking an additional late-night heritage pig (a Kune Kune) for the After-Party.

UNLV in Las Vegas has the most respected hospitality management program in the West. The Dean of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration there joins us to profile the prestigious program. Unusual cuts of beef are finding their way onto fine dining restaurants menus. We’ll be speaking with a meat expert to better understand these cuts. A coffee authority is with us to talk about the current trends in roasting coffee. You’ll also hear about a relatively new contemporary Mediterranean/Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills with an energetic young chef in the kitchen and an exciting pastry chef with impressive credentials. Orange County Restaurant Week launches February 23rd. We’ll have a preview with the GM of one of the classic participating restaurants. Also on the menu is an award-winning and high profile food truck (with an edge) that graduated to opening an even more successful brick and mortar location in an unexpected location.

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

Play

Show 62, February 22, 2013: Ryan Harkins, Executive Chef & Co-owner, Grill ‘em All Burgers

Ryan Hankins of Gril Em All BurgersOne of the very first “better burger” food trucks in Los Angeles County, Grill ‘em All Burgers, rolled onto the scene in 2009. As unusual as it sounds it was a heavy metal devotee’s take on the ample burger meal. The founders are Chef Ryan Harkins (a Cleveland native) and Matt Chernus, a former professional wrestler.

The stars were in alignment for them as they were inexplicably cast for the first season of Food Network’s cross-country “Great Food Truck Race.” This was the only season where the competitors were required to have actual food truck experience.

Although the Grill ‘em All guys were on the threshold of elimination on multiple episodes (and expected by the Producers to be out in the early going) they scrappily hung in there and came out on top at the conclusion of the high octane finale in New York! Once the season aired business was such that they needed to secure a second truck.

The gameplan was always to eventually move into the right (affordable) brick and mortar location. That happened last January (2013) when they opened in the Renaissance Theater Plaza in Alhambra in a former (failed) chain 50s diner location. Chef Ryan and Matt have made an odd location work. Grill ‘em All had lines down the block for their anniversary celebration last month. Nights and Weekends are their really busy times.

The most popular burger is The Behemoth. It’s a monster…The patty is one half-pound. It’s grilled cheese sandwich “buns” on the top & bottom, cheddar cheese, bbq sauce, pickle, grilled onion, and bacon.

Future plans include a second location in perhaps Long Beach or North Hollywood. Down the road Chef Ryan’s goal is to open a burger restaurant in his hometown of Cleveland where the dining scene is now really happening.

The remaining Grill ‘em All truck will soon be back in action for private events.

Play

February 22: UNLV, Coffee Bean, Five Crowns, West Coast Prime Meats, Grill ‘em All Burgers, DOMA Beverly Hills

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Stowe Shoemaker, Dean, William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Segment Three: Jay Isais, Senior Director, Coffee Roasting & Manufacturing, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Segment Four: Jim Colombo, General Manager, Five Crowns and SideDoor, Corona del Mar
Segment Five: David Wicker, Managing Partner and Vice President of Sales & Marketing, West Coast Prime Meats
Segment Six: Ryan Harkins, Executive Chef & Co-owner, Grill ‘em All Burgers
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Dustin J. Trani, DOMA Beverly Hills
Segment Eight: Jet Tila with your questions and his answers

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Jet Tila and a heritage pig at Cochon 555 in 2013Remember the L.A. tour stop of Cochon USA is Sunday, February 23rd at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica from 4 to 8:00 p.m. Ray Garcia of Fig Restaurant is the host chef. It’s a celebration of heritage pork raised on family farms. Our own Jet Tila will be there cooking an additional late-night heritage pig for the After-Party.

UNLV in Las Vegas has the most respected hospitality management program in the West. The Dean of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration there joins us to profile the prestigious program. Unusual cuts of beef are finding their way onto fine dining restaurants menus. We’ll be speaking with a meat expert to better understand these cuts. A coffee authority is with us to talk about the current trends in roasting coffee. You’ll also hear about a relatively new contemporary Mediterranean/Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills with an energetic young chef in the kitchen and an exciting pastry chef with impressive credentials. Orange County Restaurant Week launches February 23rd. We’ll have a preview with the GM of one of the classic participating restaurants. Also on the menu is an award-winning and high profile food truck (with an edge) that graduated to opening an even more successful brick and mortar location in an unexpected location.

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

Stowe Shoemaker is the Dean of the William F Harrah College of Hotel Administration at University of Nevada Las VegasThe most distinguished hospitality and restaurant management program in the West is the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at UNLV in Las Vegas. Stowe Shoemaker (a Cornell University School of Hotel Administration alum) is the Dean. Before joining UNLV, Dean Shoemaker spent 19 years as an educator at Cornell. Food Network’s Guy Fieri is a graduate of UNLV’s program.

Las Vegas serves as one of the world’s largest hospitality and tourism laboratories. The school provides valuable internships and mentors. The hospitality-management bachelor’s-degree program provides a broad educational approach to a career in the hospitality industry.
Students can select a concentration in gaming management, meetings and conventions, professional golf management, or restaurant management.

The school is ranked #4 in the world by the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research.

Jay Isais of the Coffee Bean and Tea LeafWe had such a great response to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s Jay Isais ( eye-zay-us) from last year that we’ve invited him back to share another steaming cup of brew. This time the discussion is on the roasting of coffee beans and how that impacts flavor. Jay is the Senior Director, Coffee Roasting & Manufacturing for the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Jay also provides insight into the three major coffee growing areas of the world and what the flavor profile of the resulting coffee is.

Orange County Restaurant WeekThe OC’s most anticipated, and delicious, dining event, Orange County Restaurant Week, returns from February 23rd to March 1st. Diners will have the opportunity to enjoy the wide spectrum of dining options in the County at special prices for prix-fixe menus for both lunch and dinner.

Over 100 restaurants are part of Orange County Restaurant Week.

The iconic Five Crowns, a Corona del Mar landmark, is one of the participating restaurants. General Manager Jim Colombo (also a chef by background and training) joins us to preview his special menu.

West Coast Prime MeatsWest Coast Prime Meats really knows the meat business as only an insider can. Most of their seasoned, senior executives have an extensive background in the restaurant business or are master butchers. If fact West Coast’s key master butcher has more than 30 years experience in the field.

Dave Wicker, WCPM’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing and Managing Partner, is with us to talk beef. What’s prime beef? An explanation of the process of aging of beef is on the menu. We’ll discuss previously uncommon cuts which are now attracting attention including the Teres Major and the Flat Iron Steak.

Ryan Hankins of Gril Em All BurgersOne of the very first “better burger” food trucks in Los Angeles County, Grill ‘em All Burgers, rolled onto the scene in 2009. As unusual as it sounds it was a heavy metal devotee’s take on the ample burger meal. The founders are Chef Ryan Harkins (a Cleveland native) and Matt Chernus, a former professional wrestler.

The stars were in alignment for them as they were inexplicably cast for the first season of Food Network’s cross-country “Great Food Truck Race.” This was the only season where the competitors were required to have actual food truck experience.

Although the Grill ‘em All guys were on the threshold of elimination on multiple episodes (and expected by the Producers to be out in the early going) they scrappily hung in there and came out on top at the conclusion of the high octane finale in New York! Once the season aired business was such that they needed to secure a second truck.

The gameplan was always to eventually move into the right (affordable) brick and mortar location. That happened last January (2013) when they opened in the Renaissance Theater Plaza in Alhambra in a former (failed) chain 50s diner location. Chef Ryan and Matt have made an odd location work. Grill ‘em All had lines down the block for their anniversary celebration last month. Nights and Weekends are their really busy times.

Future plans include a second location. Down the road Chef Ryan’s goal is to open a burger restaurant in his hometown of Cleveland where the dining scene is now really happening.

The remaining Grill ‘em All truck will soon be back in action for private events.

Dustin TraniDoma Beverly Hills opened rather quietly at 362 N. Camden Dr. in Beverly Hills in 2012. The address is well-known as the long-standing former home of Prego.

What’s creating a lot of excitement there with foodies is the young executive chef, Dustin Trani. He’s all of 29 years-old. He has worked at a Michelin starred restaurant in Italy, cooked at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, and was chosen by the Governor to represent California in a prestigious national seafood competition in New Orleans.

He’s a 4th generation Los Angeles area Italian chef who started working at age 11 in his family’s restaurant, J. Trani’s, in San Pedro which opened in 1925. He’s also a C-CAP alum. His food is contemporary Mediterranean/Italian with an emphasis on seafood.

His talented pastry chef is Marissa Sharon previously at Scott Conant’s Scarpetta in Beverly Hills. Her mini-cannoli are a real standout.

KnivesWe get questions…

Chef Jet responds to an assortment of inquiries from the overflowing e-mailbag. Jet talks about safety concerns with raw chicken, the selection process for proper knives in the home kitchen, and the quality of frozen fish.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Stowe Shoemaker, Dean, William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Segment Three: Jay Isais, Senior Director, Coffee Roasting & Manufacturing, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Segment Four: Jim Colombo, General Manager, Five Crowns and SideDoor, Corona del Mar
Segment Five: David Wicker, Managing Partner and Vice President of Sales & Marketing, West Coast Prime Meats
Segment Six: Ryan Harkins, Executive Chef & Co-owner, Grill ‘em All Burgers
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Dustin J. Trani, DOMA Beverly Hills
Segment Eight: Jet Tila with your questions and his answers

Show 40, September 14, 2013: Brock Radke, Food and Web Editor, Las Vegas Weekly

Brock Radke of Las Vegas WeeklyOur man on the scene in Las Vegas, Brock Radke, was back with us. Brock is the respected Web and Food Editor for The Las Vegas Weekly.

Last month Brock had a provocative 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 major 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.

Kumi Japanese Restaurant & Bar is newly opened in Mandalay Bay. The executive Chef is Akira Back (Yellowtail) who is well-known in Las Vegas.

Play

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