Show 385, August 8, 2020: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style Pizza“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. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps…

National Oyster Day was August 5th. We started the conversation last week about fully appreciating oysters. Chef Andrew is our resident authority on these bivalve mollusks enjoyed since ancient times. We’ll resume with tips about cooking with oysters. They are great cooked on the grill with no shucking involved. (They open on their own as cooked.) Oyster stew anyone? How about an oyster pizza? Why should clams get all the glory?

We’ll, of course “Ask the Chef.”

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Show 288, September 1, 2018: Chef Andrew Gruel, Founder, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and CasinoChef Andrew Gruel, the founder of The Slapfish Restaurant Group, joins us with another installment of Ask the Chef.”

When it comes to shellfish, clams are probably more of a staple on the East Coast. There are some 150 edible species. They are sustainable.

Clams are high in protein and versatile in the kitchen. Simply steaming them with garlic and butter couldn’t be easier. Since their ocean home is in the sand and mud the only caution is to properly clean them. Live clams should always have a closed shell.

What do you use clam juice for, anyway? Also does a clam really belong on a pizza? Chef Andrew will provide the tasty basics.

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Show 170, May 7, 2016: The Hungry Cat, Santa Barbara

Bob Van Der VeerThe Hungry Cat in Downtown Santa Barbara is the youngest restaurant in Chef David Lentz’s Hungry Cat empire (2007 launch) which started in a hidden location in Hollywood and eventually expanded to a highly visible, across the street from the beach location in Santa Monica and then North to Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara’s General Manager, Bob Van Der Veer, joins us. He started in Hollywood as a relief bartender.

“Since 2005, The Hungry Cat (Hollywood) has offered the highest quality fish and meats matched with Southern California’s abundant seasonal produce.”

“The result is not simply a seafood house, but a continuously evolving restaurant, following the seasons, but always remaining true to the product.”

“With a focus on the artisan, The Hungry Cat produces its own in-house smoked meats and seafood, curing and pickling, as well as featuring a unique farmers market driven cocktail program, esoteric wine list and rotating local beers.”

“Our rotating raw bar (Santa Barbara) showcases Pacific and Atlantic oysters, clams, Santa Barbara sea urchin, raw and marinated fish dishes, crab and lobster.”

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Show 137, September 5, 2015: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel & Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Thanks for sharing your Labor Day Weekend with us!

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

Next a tantalizing preview of Saturday’s festive and appropriately loaded show and not, with apologies, for dieters. With any luck we will always leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a good thing…

Premium tea is gaining traction at better restaurants everywhere. Steve Schwartz, a Master Tea Blender, is our guest. Steve is serious about tea! He’s the incredibly knowledgeable proprietor of the locally-based, Art of Tea. For starters Art of Tea supplies Bestia, Pizzeria Mozza, Sotto, Son of a Gun, and many more fine restaurants. We’ll also learn about the the intriguing 8 Minute Digital Detox with Tea.”

We last chatted with the Midway Gourmet, Dominic Palmieri, at the beginning of the 125th Anniversary OC Fair. His standout new item at Biggy’s, located on the Midway at The Fair, was as Bacon-Wrapped Pork Belly on a stick. Now it’s on to the L.A. County Fair through Sept. 27th. We’ll find out what’s on the menu for the L.A. County Fair and get the post-Fair results for Orange County’s “One Big Party.”

If you’re a fan of bouillabaisse, the celebrated fresh seafood stew from Provence, then you need to plan your evening at Marche Moderne in South Coast Plaza. Nightly from September 10th through Sunday, September 20th is their annual Bouillabaisse 2015 festival! It’s an occasion worthy of celebration.

After 25 years in business, The Halal Guys are expanding from New York’s City’s most popular food cart to its first West Coast brick-and-mortar fast casual location in Costa Mesa. In New York the cart is famous for “The Never-Ending Line.” Well-known for its gyro sandwiches, chicken-and-rice platters and mystery white sauce, The Halal Guys menu offers a mix of various Middle Eastern dishes. The area franchisee for SoCal, Thomas Pham, joins us.

East Coasters particularly enjoy their clams of which there are two main varieties. You hear Easterners long for Ispswich Belly Clams. There is also the revered white clam pizza to consider. We’ll now get the basics of Clam 411 from our own, and highly knowledgeable, Chef Andrew Gruel. This is no shell game…

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

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Show 137, September 5, 2015: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish

Andrew GruelEast Coasters particularly enjoy their clams of which there are two main varieties. You hear Easterners longing for Ispswich Belly Clams. There is also the revered white clam pizza to consider.

Clams are high in protein with a healthy shot of iron, too.

We’ll now get the basics of Clam 411 from our own, and highly knowledgeable, Chef Andrew Gruel.

For food trivia fans (That’s us) you’ll even get the explanation of where the expression, “Happy as a clam” comes from. Who knew…?

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September 5: Andrew Gruel, Art of Tea, Midway Gourmet, Marche Moderne, Halal Guys

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel & Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Steve Schwartz, Master Tea Blender, Art of Tea Part One
Segment Three: Steve Schwartz, Master Tea Blender, Art of Tea Part Two
Segment Four: Dominic Palmieri, Midway Gourmet Part One
Segment Five: Dominic Palmieri, Midway Gourmet Part Two
Segment Six: Chef / Proprietor Florent Marneau, Marche Moderne
Segment Seven: The Halal Guys, Thomas Pham, SoCal Franchisee
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish

Thanks for sharing your Labor Day Weekend with us!

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire with restaurants in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, LAX, and now, Irvine at UCI, is back as today’s special Guest Host.

Next a tantalizing preview of Saturday’s festive and appropriately loaded show and not, with apologies, for dieters. With any luck we will always leave you hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a good thing…

Premium tea is gaining traction at better restaurants everywhere. Steve Schwartz, a Master Tea Blender, is our guest. Steve is serious about tea! He’s the incredibly knowledgeable proprietor of the locally-based, Art of Tea. For starters Art of Tea supplies Bestia, Pizzeria Mozza, Sotto, Son of a Gun, and many more fine restaurants. We’ll also learn about the the intriguing “8 Minute Digital Detox with Tea.”

We last chatted with the Midway Gourmet, Dominic Palmieri, at the beginning of the 125th Anniversary OC Fair. His standout new item at Biggy’s, located on the Midway at The Fair, was as Bacon-Wrapped Pork Belly on a stick. Now it’s on to the L.A. County Fair through Sept. 27th. We’ll find out what’s on the menu for the L.A. County Fair and get the post-Fair results for Orange County’s “One Big Party.”

If you’re a fan of bouillabaisse, the celebrated fresh seafood stew from Provence, then you need to plan your evening at Marche Moderne in South Coast Plaza. Nightly from September 10th through Sunday, September 20th is their annual Bouillabaisse 2015 festival! It’s an occasion worthy of celebration.

After 25 years in business, The Halal Guys are expanding from New York’s City’s most popular food cart to its first West Coast brick-and-mortar fast casual location in Costa Mesa. In New York the cart is famous for “The Never-Ending Line.” Well-known for its gyro sandwiches, chicken-and-rice platters and mystery white sauce, The Halal Guys menu offers a mix of various Middle Eastern dishes. The area franchisee for SoCal, Thomas Pham, joins us.

East Coasters particularly enjoy their clams of which there are two main varieties. You hear Easterners long for Ispswich Belly Clams. There is also the revered white clam pizza to consider. We’ll now get the basics of Clam 411 from our own, and highly knowledgeable, Chef Andrew Gruel. This is no shell game…

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

Steve SchwartzPremium tea is gaining traction at the better restaurants everywhere. Steve Schwartz, a Master Tea Blender, is our guest. Steve is serious about tea! He’s the incredibly knowledgeable proprietor of the locally-based, Art of Tea. For starters Art of Tea supplies Bestia, Pizzeria Mozza, Sotto, Son of a Gun, and many more fine restaurants. We’ll also learn about the intriguing 8 Minute Digital Detox with Tea.”

Art of Tea is a tea importer and wholesaler based in Los Angeles. They hand blend and custom craft the world’s finest organic teas and botanicals. The Art of Tea’s products are carefully selected directly from growers, each one offering a unique story.

The seeds that formed the foundation of Art of Tea were first planted in 1996 when Steve Schwartz began his journey of extensive study in preventative medicine at the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico. Since then, Art of Tea has become a leading purveyor of organic and specialty teas. Each year Steve travels extensively, returning with rare and unique teas from around the world.

Steve Schwartz is recognized by many authoritative figures in the tea industry as a Master Tea Blender. He has blended award-winning teas under the Art of Tea brand and his blends have won awards offered under their private label program for tea companies around the world. His drive and passion for expanding people’s knowledge and history of tea is captivating. Steve has lectured sold out tea blending classes for World Tea Conventions and frequently travels to offer educational programs on tea and tea blending.

Through his travels in Asia, India, Africa and the Middle East, Steve and Art of Tea have developed close relationships with farmers and distributors. These personal relationships, a hallmark at Art of Tea, make possible the offering of top tier organic teas and select botanicals, while ensuring that both employees and teas are treated with great respect.

“At Art of Tea, our intensive care program combines aesthetics with passion, flavor and high quality control.”

Art of Tea offers Customized Tea Menus, Retail Teas, Pyramid Tea bag Line, Hospitality Tea Program, Customized Blends, Training and Private Label Programs.

Dominic Palmieri of Midway GourmetWe last chatted with the Midway Gourmet, Dominic Palmieri, at the beginning of the 125th Anniversary OC Fair. His standout new item at Biggy’s, located on the Midway at The OC Fair was as Bacon-Wrapped Pork Belly on a stick.

Now it’s on to the L.A. County Fair through Sept. 27th. The theme is “Mind Blowing Fun.” We’ll find out what’s on the menu for the L.A. County Fair and get the post-Fair results for Orange County’s One Big Party.”

“With my first OC Fair on the books, I fully appreciate all of the hard work that goes into creating this exciting summer tradition for 125 years. From the Deep-Fried Slim Fast Bar to a cattle drive down Harbor Boulevard to the cute piglets and beautiful competitive entries, the OC Fair is an amazing summer tradition that I am proud to have shared with more than one million guests and staff,” said OC Fair & Event Center CEO Kathy Kramer, who was appointed in January.

Biggy’s Meat Market (Dominic Palmieri) sold 2,500 pounds of Bacon-Wrapped Pork Belly skewers wrapped in 1.25 miles of thick-cut honey bacon plus 600 gluten-free burgers and 22,000 pounds of sausage.

Florent and Amelia Marneau of Marche Moderne at South Coast PlazaIf you’re a fan of bouillabaisse, the celebrated fresh seafood stew from Provence, then you need to head over to Marche Moderne in South Coast Plaza. Nightly from September 10th through Sunday, September 20th is their annual Bouillabaisse 2015 festival! It’s an occasion worthy of celebration.

Chef/Proprietor Florent Marneau flies in his fish from the South of France. In the bouillabaisse you’ll see Saint-Pierre, Daurade Royale or Seabream and Rouget or Rascasse. There is also a carefully selected group of Rose wines (available by the glass or bottle) to pair with the bouillabaisse.

Halal GuysAfter 25 years in business, The Halal Guys are expanding from New York’s City’s most popular food cart to its first West Coast brick-and-mortar fast casual location in Costa Mesa. In New York the cart is famous for “The Never-Ending Line.” Well-known for its gyro sandwiches, chicken-and-rice platters and mystery white sauce, The Halal Guys menu offers a mix of various Middle Eastern dishes.

The Halal Guys grew from its humble beginnings as a food cart on the streets of New York City to a global icon known as the largest American halal street food concept in the world. This Manhattan-based landmark was created by three like-minded men from Egypt who came to America in search of a lucrative life.

When Mohamed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka and Abdelbaset Elsayed noticed many Muslim cab drivers in New York were looking for a place to buy meals in Manhattan, they created their first food cart and quickly grew into a leading tourist and native New Yorker destination for American Halal fare.

In 2013, The Halal Guys were ranked the most popular food truck reviewed on FourSquare and the third most Yelped restaurant in the United States in 2014.

The area franchisee for SoCal, Thomas Pham, joins us.

Andrew GruelEast Coasters particularly enjoy their clams of which there are two main varieties. You hear Easterners longing for Ispswich Belly Clams. There is also the revered white clam pizza to consider.

Clams are high in protein with a healthy shot of iron, too.

We’ll now get the basics of Clam 411 from our own, and highly knowledgeable, Chef Andrew Gruel.

This is no shell game…

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Guest Host Chef Andrew Gruel & Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Steve Schwartz, Master Tea Blender, Art of Tea Part One
Segment Three: Steve Schwartz, Master Tea Blender, Art of Tea Part Two
Segment Four: Dominic Palmieri, Midway Gourmet Part One
Segment Five: Dominic Palmieri, Midway Gourmet Part Two
Segment Six: Chef / Proprietor Florent Marneau, Marche Moderne
Segment Seven: The Halal Guys, Thomas Pham, SoCal Franchisee
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish

Show 110, February 14, 2015: Damian Stanley, Executive Sous Chef, Pechanga Resort & Casino Continues…

Umi Sushi and Oyster Bar at Pechanga Resort and CasinoChef Damian Stanley is the always on the move Executive Sous Chef at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula. Since the hotel tower and casino opened in 2002 at Pechanga they have enjoyed an outstanding reputation for the quality and diversity of their food and beverage offerings.

Chef Damian was the project manager for one of their newest interactive fine-dining spots, Umi Sushi and Oyster Bar. which launched after Thanksgiving in 2013. Umi means “sea” in Japanese. Sushi, sashimi, nigiri, rolls, oysters on the half shell, seafood platters, specialty cocktails and lots more are on the varied menu at Umi Sushi and Oyster Bar.

Three highly skilled Japanese sushi chefs (actually from Japan) are part of the culinary team. It’s an interactive and highly entertaining experience with the sushi chefs if you dine at the sushi bar.

There is a hint of the South on the menu, too. Look for gumbo and jambalaya. The specialty bouillabaisse has clams, fish, shrimp, scallop, and mussels in the hearty seafood broth.

A standout dish is the Bone Marrow Lobster with pear, tatsoi salad, celery root skordalia and black truffle vinaigrette.

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