Show 288, September 1, 2018: Chef Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and TaqueriaOnce a year Chef Marco Zapien of Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera hosts a series of Hatch Chile-themed events to celebrate the famous New Mexican spicy and savory pepper. Zapien’s will orchestrate a daytime Hatch Chile Roast on September 8th where supplies of the roasted Hatch Chiles can be picked up by the case. The guest selects the level of spicy desired ranging from mild to hot. A good tip is to reserve your case in advance.

Also on Saturday, September 8th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. join Chef Marco and Zapien’s Salsa Grill for their special Hatch Chile Brunch featuring over ten Hatch Chile inspired dishes. Enjoy all-you-can-eat, and hand-made Tortillas, Champagne and Mimosas for a modest $24 per guest. Think Hatch “Macadillo” with macaroni baked in a spiced cheese sauce with Hatch Chile picadillo.

We’ll entice Chef Marco away from the rotating chile roaster for a flavorful chat.


Show 274, May 19, 2018: Chef Ricardo Zarate, Once at The Palazzo Resort, Las Vegas

Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica and PiccaSeveral years ago Chef Ricardo Zarate created quite a foodie sensation with his original Mo-Chica restaurant located within walking distance of USC in the Mercado la Paloma. The menu was modern interpretations of traditional Peruvian comfort food.

Currently Chef Ricardo operates Rosaline in Los Angeles and the recently debuted Once in the Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas.

Once is a one-of-a-kind Peruvian Nikkei dining experience from Chef Ricardo Zarate. Once (on-seh), which means ’11’ in Spanish and symbolizes Ricardo Zarate’s spot in his line of 13 siblings, is inspired by the food of his native Peru.

Drawing distinct flavors from both Peru and Japan, along with the comforting dishes of Chef Ricardo Zarate’s childhood, the menu includes dishes such as Big Eye Tuna Sashimi Ceviche, with black truffle and kizami tigers milk; Arroz Chaufa, Peruvian fried rice, snow crab, yuzu aioli and crispy calamari; and Ox Tail Bibimbap, with black mint stew, tacu tacu rice, fried egg and plantains. To compliment the menu, there are 11 signature cocktails, including a Rum & Cola “slushee” machine for an irreverent, Vegas-style twist on a boozy classic.

Dinner nightly with the recently introduced Brunch on Weekends.

One of the distinct design elements is the chefs’ counter. Guests have front row, center views of the goings-on in the open kitchen and can interact with the engaging culinary team. Live theater of the culinary variety…

We relished the “Avocado Toast” on the Brunch menu. It’s not what you expect…It’s spicy tuna, crispy quinoa bread, avocado mousse with a Yuzu aioli.

Chef Ricardo is our guest.



Show 266, March 24, 2018: Executive Chef & Proprietor, Steve Samson, Rossoblu

Steve Samson of Sotto and RossobluDowntown Los Angeles’ Rossoblu (almost 1-year old) tells the story of two places Executive Chef & Proprietor Steve Samson considers home: Los Angeles and Bologna. The restaurant is a homage to Samson’s heritage, inspired by childhood memories of summers spent in Bologna and its surrounding region, Emilia Romagna.

The menu features handmade pastas, market fresh produce, and an in-house butchery and salumi program. The wine list focuses on unique Italian and California varietals, with a sharp focus on Emilia Romagna’s famed Lambrusco. A true family owned and operated restaurant, Rossoblu is managed by Steve’s wife, Dina, and their management team whom they have worked with for the last ten plus years.

Located in Downtown’s City Market South, the site of Los Angeles’ original wholesale produce market, Rossoblu’s open kitchen with wood-fired rotisserie, marbled serpentine bar, and starry-lit vaulted dining room create a convivial dining environment.

Newly added is Saturday and Sunday Brunch. Think Nutella Stuffed French Toast and Frittata Bolognese.

Rossoblu will also host the premier event for the 2nd Annual Los Angeles Times Food Bowl on Monday evening, April 30th. Jonathan Gold (Los Angeles Times Food Critic) will be in the house.

We’ll check-in with Chef Steve Samson for an update.


Show 241, September 16, 2017: Special Olympics Southern California’s Pier del Sol Benefit

Peter GarlandPier del Sol on Sunday, Oct. 8th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. is an exciting and unique day of fun on the historic Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park. At the only culinary festival fused with a backyard private Amusement Park experience, attendees can enjoy an exclusive VIP brunch featuring mouthwatering tastings from over 35 of L.A.’s top Chefs and restaurants, entertainment, music, arts & crafts, games, and unlimited rides at Pacific Park. All proceeds from this annual event benefit the athletes of Special Olympic Southern California.

This year’s theme is “Oktoberfest,” where a beach top VIP Beer & Wine Garden will enhance your culinary palette!

Love the food at Pier del Sol? To celebrate 20 years of food, fun, and sun on the pier, SOSC published Cuisine del Sol in 2016, a souvenir cookbook featuring 28 chefs with recipes and stories who have supported the event. Think Michael Cimarusti, Neal Fraser and David LeFevre for starters…This is your chance to create the recipes of these culinary masterminds!

Special Olympics Southern California’s Maureen Barclift and participating restaurateur Peter Garland of Beverly Hills’ Porta Via are our guests. Peter is also included in the Cuisine del Sol Cookbook with Porta Via’s signature recipe for Organic Kale and Quinoa Salad.


Show 239, September 2, 2017: Chef AC Boral, RICE & SHINE Brunch Series

AC BoralPresented by Long Beach Chef AC Boral, RICE & SHINE (an eight- course, family-style brunch experience) prides itself in being a completely unique brunch. Guests even leave with an edible care package. Sit at Chef AC’s long table for a great time blending food, family, culture, and, of course, mimosas. It’s Filipino family favorites with a contemporary twist.

Filipino hospitality means that guests eat well, always leaving the table busog (full) and with even MORE food to take home. Everyone is treated like family and becomes family.

“RICE & SHINE takes traditional Filipino dishes and blends them with American brunch. We want to share the culture and history of Filipino cuisine with those who are unfamiliar while offering something fresh for those who grew up eating it. “If ya don’t know, now ya know.”

At its core, Filipino cuisine is food for the soul. The spirit behind RICE & SHINE is to pay tribute to Filipino food tradition.

The next RICE & SHINE is set for Sunday, September 10th at 11:30 a.m. in a secret location in Downtown Long Beach.

We’ll meet Chef AC.


Show 235, August 5, 2017: Executive Chef Marco Zapien, Hatch Chile Festivities at Zapien’s Salsa Grill

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and TaqueriaOnce a year Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera (known for from-scratch, regional Mexican fare) hosts a series of interactive Hatch Chile-themed events to celebrate the famous New Mexican spicy and savory pepper. Along with Chef Marco Zapien’s Hatch Chile Cooking Demonstration and Dinner on August 10th (Hatch Chile Verde & Hatch Chile Colorado) the restaurant hosts a festive daytime Hatch Chile Roast on September 9th were cases of the roasted Hatch Chiles can be picked up and enjoyed.

At The Roast the guest selects the level of spicy desired ranging from mild to hot. Alongside the roasting on Saturday September 9th Chef Marco will be featuring a special Hatch Chile Brunch menu at Zapien’s. And, yes, scrumptious Hatch Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert !

Chef Marco Zapien shares his Hatch Chile secrets with us. He’s just back from cooking at The Hampton’s Party of the Summer – The James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne Benefit at the Wolffer Estate Vineyard.


Show 227, June 10, 2017: Chef Ronnel Capacia, Journey’s End at Pechanga

Ronnel Capacia at the Chili CookoffRegular listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” know Chef Ronnel Capacia as the master of the grill, smoker and pizza oven at Kelsey’s – Great Food & Drinks.

He’s just been promoted to Chef at Journey’s End at Pechanga, the stylish restaurant with incredible views located in the handsome clubhouse of the Journey golf course.

Special Father’s Day Brunch there on June 18th at $39 for Adults and $21 for Children. Everything from a Live Egg & Omelet Station to a Seafood Bar and Carved Roasted Prime Rib station. Also. a Louisiana-Style Seafood Boil.

Chef Ronnel is always a serious competitor (and one to watch) in the annual Pechanga Chili Cook-off.

We’ll get Chef Ronnel off the links for a chat.




Show 207, January 21, 2017: Executive Chef / Restaurateur Dean James Max of DJM Restaurants & Executive Chef David MacLennan of James Republic, Long Beach

Dean James MaxThe Founder and Co-Proprietor of James Republic Restaurant in Long Beach is Chef Dean James Max of DJM Restaurants, a multiple James Beard Award nominee. His opening Executive Chef there is the talented David MacLennan. In a bit over three years they have made this relaxed vibe restaurant one of the best dining destinations in Long Beach. Their Brunch is a standout, too. Think Chorizo & Cheddar Croissant.

On February 8th at James Republic at Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Long Beach they are presenting a multi-course dining spectacular along with Chef Amar Santana (Vaca & Broadway by Amar Santana) to benefit the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP.) Chef Amar is a distinguished C-CAP Alum.

The evening includes a cocktail reception with local craft beer, sparkling wine and still wine and passed hors d’oeuvres. Then it’s a sumptuous seated dinner with three waves of ample food platters served Family-style. Each wave of the three incudes separate platters from each chef. That’s three platters of delights for each wave. Dessert and gourmet chocolates conclude the festivities. If you go away hungry it’s your own fault. There is also both a live & silent auction with crave-worthy items with great appeal for any foodie.

Tickets (and there are only 150 reservations available) are $195 per guest with $150 of that being Tax Deductible.

Chefs Dean & David join us to preview C-CAP’s Winter Harvest Benefit Dinner at James Republic on Wednesday, February 8th.


Show 184, August 13, 2016: Chef Ted Hopson & Beverage Director Ann-Marie Verdi, The Bellwether, Studio City

Ann Marie Verdi and Ted Hopson of the BellwetherThe Bellwether is the debut restaurant (launched in early August of 2015) and bar from Executive Chef/Owner Ted Hopson and Beverage Director/Owner Ann-Marie Verdi. The market-inspired menu aims to capitalize on the abundance of California produce in order to showcase one-of-a-kind food and drink menus that feature family style shareable dishes, unique infusion based cocktails, and a hand-selected list of beer and wine.

Equal attention is warranted for the thoughtful beverage program created by Ann-Marie Verdi (also formerly of Father’s Office) who has worked closely with Chef Hopson to create complementary cocktails infused with much of the same seasonal produce found in the menu.

A weekend Brunch standout cocktail is Mama Betty’s Bloody Mary. It’s house-infused Habanero Vodka, house mix, bacon salt and topped with a cute mini-BLT.

“Our years of combined industry experience have impacted every decision we have made throughout this process and seeing our ideas turn into reality has been incredibly rewarding,” says Hopson. “We focused on creating the type of experience we would want as guests, and we couldn’t be more excited to be able to share that with everyone !”

Chef Ted and Ann-Marie are our guests.



Show 184, August 13, 2016: Robert Schueller, Melissa’s World Variety Produce, Hatch Chile Season Continues…

Melissa's Hatch ChilesIt’s that most wonderful time of the year – Hatch Chile season! Grown only in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico they are only available fresh for a few shorts weeks annually, now through mid-September.

Once roasted, Hatch Chiles are easy to peel and seed. Roasting heightens the robust earthy flavor of chiles and the texture of thick walls of the chile pod becomes lusciously rich. These unique qualities, and the peppers’ variable heat (unlike other chile peppers. Hatch Chiles come in varieties that cover the full spectrum of heat levels) have earned Hatch Chiles great popularity far beyond the local community of Hatch New Mexico.

Connoisseurs and chefs from all over the globe have adopted Hatch Chiles as a condiment of choice. Many a home cook and celebrity chef have gone further, incorporating Hatch Chiles into all kinds of superb dishes from burgers, pizzas, quiches, pancakes, milkshakes, pastries and even spiced ice cubes.

Chef Marco’s Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria in Pico Rivera really makes a celebration out of Hatch Chile season. For the 6th straight year Chef Marco Zapien is hosting an evening Hatch Chile interactive cooking demonstration, Hatch Chile Saturday parking lot roast and Hatch Chile Saturday brunch. The cooking demo is Wednesday, September 7th from 6 to 8:00 p.m. The roasting and Saturday Hatch Chile Brunch is set for September 17th. Think Hatch Chile Picadillo, and Tacos de papa con Hatch Chile.

Mouth-watering Hatch Chile recipes are available on the Melissa’s Website. Perfected recipes for Hatch Chile Guacamole, Hatch Chile Chili and Hatch Chile Salsa are all right there at the ready. The informative Melissa’s Hatch Chile Cookbook is also an excellent reference.