Show 406, January 2, 2021: Executive Chef / Proprietor Michael and General Manager / Proprietor Sarah Cherney of Peasants Feast, Solvang

Sarah and Michael Cherney of peasants FEASTThree years in the making the dynamic husband and wife team of Chef Michael (Executive Chef / Proprietor) and Sarah Cherney (General Manager / Proprietor) debuted the full-service Peasants Feast restaurant in Solvang in April just at the time restaurants were restricted to takeout and delivery only.

Peasants Feast started as a catering company and they have adapted along the way as best they can. Peasants Feast’s cuisine focuses on local, seasonal comfort food with a twist. The couple met at the Nichols Brothers’ Sides Hardware and Shoes (now closed,) a well-received restaurant in Los Olivos. Michael was the Chef de Cuisine and Sarah the General Manager.

In a what’s wrong with this picture moment Peasants Feast was recently cited by California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for their employees (6) eating inside the closed restaurant for Family Meal. Hard to believe…The Cherney’s join us to share their truly unfortunate experience of navigating a bureaucracy during a pandemic. Staff now enjoy their Family Meals in their cars (including the Cherney’s children) or sitting solo on a curb well away from the restaurant.

Peasants Feast is currently serving their guests with take-out and delivery Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

“Inspired by the earth and rooted in community, we’ve built good relationships with the planet & our table, we present a changing menu of mostly seasonal, locally sourced food.”

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Show 402, December 5, 2020: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant GroupOur 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 which is a genuine (and increasingly growing) concern.

New restrictions for restaurants (no dine-in for at least 3 weeks) are now in place for all of Southern California as we approach the all-important Holiday dining season. It’s takeaway only until the end of the year (and possibly longer.)

Our thoughts now turn to festive Holiday entertaining at home. Chef Andrew presented his recipe for Lobster Pot Pie (guaranteed comfort food) on the Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family” show this week. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

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Show 389, September 5, 2020: Chef John & Roni Cleveland, Proprietors, Post & Beam, Los Angeles Part One

John Cleveland of Post and BeamEstablishing itself as a South L.A. cultural institution, Brad and Linda Johnson opened up the fine dining restaurant, Post & Beam in 2011 — its location adjacent to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Mall. Govind Armstrong served as head chef and partner, mentoring and eventually passing the culinary baton to John Cleveland. Last year, John & Roni Cleveland took over ownership of Post & Beam, keeping it a black-owned business. “With the changing of the guards, John will benefit from business consulting and access to senior leadership as well as mentorship in the kitchen from Govind, while Linda and I will focus on extending the brand through Post & Beam Hospitality LLC,” said Brad Johnson.

This year the team behind Post & Bream received the Los Angeles Times Gold Award, named for the late Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold. “The Los Angeles Times Gold Award is given annually “with the idea of honoring culinary excellence and expanding the notion of what Southern California cooking might be. The award celebrates intelligence and innovation, brilliance and sensitivity to aesthetics, culture and the environment,” described Gold in 2017, prior to his death.”

“I consider myself a ‘working chef,’ and I love creating California comfort food. Comfort food is simple; yet it requires perfect execution, said John Cleveland. “The secret ingredients to good cooking are love and patience. You can taste it in every bite!”

“Post & Beam focuses on “California comfort food.” The restaurant offers a variety of hand-stretched pizzas and traditional southern comfort food, using local ingredients. Born in Oakland, California and raised in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Cleveland draws his influences from southern soul food, Carolina BBQ, coastal seafood as well as Neapolitan cuisine, culminating into what he’s coined as “California comfort food.””

“Favorite menu items include the hand-stretched pizzas with such toppings as pepperoni, turkey meatballs, shrimp and wild mushrooms; smoked BBQ baby back ribs and red cabbage slaw; fried jerked catfish; buttermilk fried chicken; shrimp ‘n’ grits; slow-cooked collard greens with smoked turkey and classic pound cake – just to name a few. In addition, dishes are seasoned with fresh herbs and seasonal fruits, grown from Post & Beam’s garden, such as basil, rosemary, sorrel, and lemon verbena along with panache figs, cara cara oranges and Meyer lemons.””

Chef John and Roni Cleveland are our guests. They will chat about becoming the 2nd proprietors of the well-established Post & Beam and the responsibility to the community that entails.

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Show 389, September 5, 2020: Chef John & Roni Cleveland, Proprietors, Post & Beam, Los Angeles Part Two

Roni Cleveland of Post and BeamEstablishing itself as a South L.A. cultural institution, Brad and Linda Johnson opened up the fine dining restaurant, Post & Beam in 2011 — its location adjacent to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Mall. Govind Armstrong served as head chef and partner, mentoring and eventually passing the culinary baton to John Cleveland. Last year, John & Roni Cleveland took over ownership of Post & Beam, keeping it a black-owned business.

This year the team behind Post & Bream received the Los Angeles Times Gold Award, named for the late Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold. “The Los Angeles Times Gold Award is given annually “with the idea of honoring culinary excellence and expanding the notion of what Southern California cooking might be. The award celebrates intelligence and innovation, brilliance and sensitivity to aesthetics, culture and the environment,” described Gold in 2017, prior to his death.”

“I consider myself a ‘working chef,’ and I love creating California comfort food. Comfort food is simple; yet it requires perfect execution, said John Cleveland. “The secret ingredients to good cooking are love and patience. You can taste it in every bite!”

“Post & Beam focuses on “California comfort food.” The restaurant offers a variety of hand-stretched pizzas and traditional southern comfort food, using local ingredients. Born in Oakland, California and raised in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Cleveland draws his influences from southern soul food, Carolina BBQ, coastal seafood as well as Neapolitan cuisine, culminating into what he’s coined as “California comfort food.””

“Favorite menu items include the hand-stretched pizzas with such toppings as pepperoni, turkey meatballs, shrimp and wild mushrooms; smoked BBQ baby back ribs and red cabbage slaw; fried jerked catfish; buttermilk fried chicken; shrimp ‘n’ grits; slow-cooked collard greens with smoked turkey and classic pound cake – just to name a few. In addition, dishes are seasoned with fresh herbs and seasonal fruits, grown from Post & Beam’s garden, such as basil, rosemary, sorrel, and lemon verbena along with panache figs, cara cara oranges and Meyer lemons.””

Post & Beam is again open for limited (space available) dining on their garden patio for dinner and for To-Go and delivery. Weekend Brunch service has just resumed.

Chef John and Roni Cleveland continue the conversation about becoming the 2nd proprietors of the well-established Post & Beam and the responsibility to the community that entails.

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Show 375, May 30, 2020: Cooking Instructor Pamela Salzman with Quicker Than Quick

Pamela Salzman“From Los Angeles-based cooking instructor and author of Kitchen Matters, Pamela Salzman, comes Pamela Salzman’s Quicker Than Quick: 140 Crave-Worthy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Foods in 30 Minutes or Less– a cookbook complete with quick, delicious meals and kitchen hacks that make home cooking a breeze.”

“Life, whether one works outside the home or not, is really, really busy. In a perfect world, we would write out our meal plans for the week, shop accordingly, and cook nutritious meals every day with ease. But some days, the orthodontist visit runs late, or there’s more traffic than usual, or the chicken was never defrosted. And some days, we just don’t have the energy to cook for an hour even if we have the time.”

Quicker Than Quick is the book you will reach for time and again when you need to make something quick but nutritious. In her second cookbook, Pamela shares an arsenal of cooking class-tested, family-approved, easy, healthful recipes that will have you covered through breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and almost everything can be made in thirty minutes or less.”

“These inventive sheet pan dinners, stovetop skillet meals, Instant Pot recipes, and quick versions of time-consuming comfort foods require minimal hands-on time and don’t use exotic, hard-to-find ingredients. Equally useful are the techniques and tricks that teach you great ways to hack your meals, without sacrificing quality.”

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Show 337, August 17, 2019: Chef Scooter Kanfer, The Tropicale Restaurant & Coral Seas Lounge, Palm Springs

Scooter Kanfer of the TropicaleChef Scooter Kanfer is the menu maker (with proprietor Tony Di Lembo) at Palm Springs’ The Tropicale Restaurant & Coral Seas Lounge (Comfort Food for a Modern World.) “Every night at Tropicale is a party.”

Newly published is The Tropicale Restaurant Cookbook.

“A chic and sophisticated décor provides the setting for our distinctive “world cuisine”, a provocative mix of zesty influences that creates a delightful dining experience in Palm Springs, California. Plush high-backed semicircular banquettes surround our dining room and offer comfortable and private seating. The cuisine has a light, exotic feel with an emphasis on Pacific Rim specialties, from Chilean Sea Bass baked in Banana Leaves or Kahlua-Barbecued Pork Chops to all sorts of tasty tapas, salads, wood-fired pizzas, and desserts.”

“The Coral Seas Lounge, a hip mid-century style bar is lined with sexy black leather bar-stools and is reminiscent of the upbeat lounges of old Palm Springs. It wraps around the dining room and leads outside to a lush, tropical, 2000 square foot dining patio where a variety of specialty cocktails and old-school favorites are mixed – an ideal place where friends gather and martinis are sipped under the starlit desert sky.”

We spirit Chef Scooter away from her busy kitchen at Brunch for a chat.

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Show 307, January 19, 2019: James Trees, Executive Chef / Proprietor, Esther’s Kitchen, Las Vegas

James TreesJames Trees is a chef in the best, old school meaning of the word. Currently he’s the chef/proprietor of Las Vegas acclaimed Esther’s Kitchen in the Arts District adjacent to Downtown. Previously Chef James spent some time in L.A. cooking at high profile establishments. He serves up his own blend of elegant Italian comfort food. Recently added is Weekend Brunch.

“While Chef Trees is descended from Jewish Austrian wine merchants, growing up he spent a lot of time at his best friend Alfio’s house. “I love Italian food because of Alfio and his family,” says Trees. “That’s the food I grew up eating. My mom was always working and didn’t have time to make dinner, so whenever we were hungry we went to Alfio’s house. They’d be making lasagna or braciola, and pasta – there was always pasta. That’s my comfort food.” “

Who is Esther? “Great-aunt Esther was a tough, smart, no-nonsense type who cared about people and gave good advice. “She was a big support to my mom when I was growing up, and that was huge,” says Trees. “She was always there for us.””

“Esther wrote the check that sent Chef Trees off to the CIA (after all, someone had to get him out of Alfio’s kitchen). When she passed in 2016 she left James a nest egg – the money he needed to finally open his own restaurant.”

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Show 291, September 22, 2018: Chef/Proprietor Dee Nguyen, Break of Dawn, Laguna Hills

Dee NguyenBack in 2006 rising-star, fine-dining chef Dee Nguyen (ex-Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel) was looking to simplify his life and spend more time with his growing family. He bravely branched out on his own to launch the modest, 50-seat Break of Dawn in Laguna Hills.

Fortunately he quickly developed a loyal following of inspired guests. It’s a very personal statement for Chef Dee who serves breakfast, lunch and brunch Wednesday through Sunday only. It’s creative, fine-dining comfort foods with a Vietnamese twist.

“Guests can select from a variety of dishes, including bison sausage, French toast crème brulee, flax seed and quinoa oatmeal and mac and cheese. All foods are prepared with fresh ingredients and are designed to meld flavors and textures together. A children’s menu and beverage list with cocktails is also available.”

Think the unexpected including Goat Chili with morita, goat cheese, Mexican chocolate and chickpeas.

Chef Dee also stages infrequent dinner pop-ups that have a fanatical following. Check his Facebook regularly to stay informed.

Chef Dee puts down his well-worn spatula and joins us.

 

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Show 251, December 9, 2017: Celebrity Chef Rick Moonen, RM Seafood & Rx Boiler Room, Las Vegas

Rick Moonen of rm seafood in Las VegasRick Moonen is one of the very few celebrity chefs with high profile restaurants in Las Vegas who actually lives in Fabulous Las Vegas. His two restaurants in The Shoppes at Mandalay Place are RM Seafood and Rx Boiler Room.

Since opening RM Seafood at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place in 2005, Master Chef Rick Moonen brings his expertise to The Strip by offering a unique dining experience with a thoughtful selection of seafood through his delectable dishes. Renowned for his passionate views on sustainable seafood, Chef Moonen creates an experience that features a vast array of flavor combinations designed to exemplify the natural qualities of fresh ingredients. Along with abundant offerings from the sea, the menu includes Wagyu beef, lamb, salads and other unique items such as seared foie gras and chicken san daniele.

Combining the alchemy of food and drink, Chef Rick Moonen’s Rx Boiler Room showcases his spin on classic comfort food, offering guests a variety of playful creations in small and large plate portions, ideal for a shared dining experience. Paired to elevate and complement the overall experience, the drink menu features an emporium of the finest spirits and innovative libations. Rx Boiler Room offers a modern reflection of the Victorian era, celebrating the steampunk sub-genre often associated with science-fiction and inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century.

Chef Rick is our guest.

 

 

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Show 168, April 23, 2016: Pig Pen Delicacy, 4th Street Market, Santa Ana

Jason TrinhOne of the newest additions (debuted in March) to Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market is Pig Pen Delicacy. It’s a fresh take on American comfort food using an array of sophisticated and modern interpretations of bacon and pork favorites.

The founders of GD Bro Burger (Santa Ana & Signal Hill) were involved in Pig Pen Delicacy’s creation.

Menu highlights include Candied Bacon, Pulled Pork Sandwich and Pork Belly Slider (crispy pork belly, pickled daikon, hoisin sauce and creamy cilantro.)

If you’re doing breakfast you need to have a standout Breakfast Sandwich. Pig Pen’s offering comes with Candied Bacon, Soft Scrambled Eggs, Cheddar Cheese and Banana Ketchup.

Co-owner and Director of Operations Jason Trinh joins us with all the pork-a-licious details.

 

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