Show 391, September 19, 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. 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…

The consensus is that fine dining will look a bit different once the Covid 19 crisis finally subsides and there is a safe & proven vaccine readily available to all Americans. We all anticipate other significant changes in eating out at all levels of price and service. We get Chef Andrew’s informed and insightful thoughts on the future.

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Show 390, September 12, 2020: Food Journalist Al Mancini, Staff Writer, Las Vegas Review-Journal Part Two

Al Mancini of the Las Vegas Review JournalOne of our most reliable sources of accurate restaurant news in fabulous Las Vegas is Al Mancini, who is a staff writer for The Las Vegas Review-Journal covering food, restaurants and other aspects of entertainment. Al has been working the Vegas food scene for 19 years. He was one of the creators of the popular, and widely referenced, Eating Las Vegas restaurant guidebook series.

Al continues with an update report on the Las Vegas dining scene. Labor Day Weekend was huge for them. There is a development this week on whether bars that serve food can reopen counter service that has created a lot of confusion for restaurateurs. status of the iconic He’ll also preview what’s of particular interest to him in some major restaurant openings on the horizon. Additionally we’ll find out about food & beverage available at the new Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, when the fans can attend events there.

 

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Show 390, September 12, 2020: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style PizzaOur 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…

What’s an appropriate topping for quality pizza that compliments the pie versus clashes with it? Chef Andrew opened the can on the subject of the Hawaiian Pizza (didn’t actually originate in Hawaii) and pineapple on it last week. We’ll continue that spirited conversation along with discussing what savory toppings really belong on a pizza from a culinary POV. You may be surprised…We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

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Show 389, September 5, 2020: Chef / Proprietor Jason Quinn, Playground DTSA, Santa Ana

Jason QuinnFor the last nine years Playground DTLA has been the very personal expression of Proprietor and Chef Jason Quinn. Sadly COVID 19 has decimated their business. Chef Jason has announced that the entire Playground complex will conclude at the end of their lease on December 31st, 2021.

The better news is that for the next 16 months Chef Jason and team will continue to enthusiastically operate their nighttime Playground 1.9 dining experiences. These are ticketed, fine-dining evenings with patio, al fresco seating. The price is inclusive of food, beverage pairings, tax and gratuity. Perfect for a special celebratory evening. Typically hosted on Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings.

Chef Jason’s favorite foods will continue to be showcased during the day (closed on Monday & Tuesday) at the fast-casual Dough Exchange located in Downtown Santa Ana, right next to Playground and Playground 1.9. The offerings at Dough Exchange are always evolving, but focuses around their freshly made bagels, rotisserie shawarma offerings, and super silky hummus with the freshest pita. “Dough Exchange truly embodies the spirit of Playground: a bunch of talented chefs and bakers making the things that they are excited about.” Also the home of Kakigori, an Instagramable fluffy shaved ice dessert from Japan. “Grab some delicious food and maybe a canned craft cocktail to enjoy on our patio.”

Playground’s Director of Libations, Jarred Dooley, is joining forces with Joe Valdovinos (both former OC Bartenders of the year) for an “Illegal Mezcal Virtual Cocktail Party on September 11th or 12th. On the menu are three original cocktails.

Chef Jason is our guest.

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September 5, Memphis City Tasting Tours, Jason Quinn, Post & Beam, Tanya Holland

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Memphis Food Entrepreneur Christina McCarter – City Tasting Tours & City Tasting Boxes Part One
Segment Three: Memphis Food Entrepreneur Christina McCarter – City Tasting Tours & City Tasting Boxes Part Two
Segment Four: Chef / Proprietor Jason Quinn, Playground DTSA, Santa Ana
Segment Five: Chef John & Roni Cleveland, Proprietors, Post & Beam, Los Angeles Part One
Segment Six: Chef John & Roni Cleveland, Proprietors, Post & Beam, Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Seven: Celebrity Chef Tanya Holland, Brown Sugar Kitchen, Oakland
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Resourceful food entrepreneur Christina McCarter operates City Tasting Tours and the newly launched City Tasting Boxes in Memphis, TN. In normal times City Tasting Tour shares the stories of the people, places and food that make Memphis such a wonderful place to visit and live with savvy locals and visitors. The Downtown walking tours sample locally made dishes and interact with chefs, restaurant owners and food artisans. Between bites, guests walk through a historic Memphis neighborhood filled with unexpected landmarks that even locals may overlook. Her latest venture is the launch of City Tasting Boxes which are a collection of the specialty food products of amazing local food artisans in Memphis. 3 options are available ranging from the “Official Memphis Travel Box” to the luxe “Ultimate Support Local Box.”

For the last nine years Playground DTLA in Santa Ana has been the very personal expression of Proprietor and Chef Jason Quinn. Sadly COVID 19 has decimated their business. For the last 6 months they have pulled out all the stops to serve their loyal guests within in the confines of needed public safety for customers as well as employees. It’s not a business model that is viable. Chef Jason has announced that the entire Playground complex will conclude at the end of their lease on December 31st, 2021. For the next 16 months Chef Jason and his team will continue to enthusiastically present the evening, ticketed, fine-dining dinner series, Playground 1.9, as well as operate the daytime, fast-casual Dough Exchange featuring bagels, rotisserie shawarma items, fresh pita, hummus and Kakigori. Chef Jason is our guest with all the specifics.

Establishing itself as a vital 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. Restaurateurs Chef John and Roni Cleveland join us.

Known for her inventive take on modern soul food, as well as comfort classics, Tanya Holland is the executive chef/owner of Oakland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen. She is also the author of the Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook and New Soul Cooking; was the host and soul food expert on the television series Melting Pot; and competed on the fifteenth season of Top Chef. Holland holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, and a Grande Diplôme from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine. Her latest venture is the launch of Season 1 of Tanya’s Table, her debut podcast. We’ll meet the always on the go Chef Tanya Holland.

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… When the spread of COVID 19 has greatly slowed fine dining, as it can more fully resume, will be a bit of a different experience. What will fine dining possibly look like in the future ? We’ll, of course, “Ask the Chef.”

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Christina McCarter of Memphis City Tasting ToursResourceful food entrepreneur Christina McCarter operates City Tasting Tours and the newly launched City Tasting Boxes in Memphis, TN. In normal times City Tasting Tour shares the stories of the people, places and food that make Memphis such a wonderful place to visit and live with appreciative locals and visitors. The Downtown walking tours sample locally made dishes and interact with chefs, restaurant owners and food artisans. Between bites, guests walk through a historic Memphis neighborhood filled with unexpected landmarks that even locals may overlook.

Her latest venture is the launch of City Tasting Boxes which are a collection of the distinctive food products of amazing local food artisans in Memphis. 3 options are presently available ranging from the “Official Memphis Travel Box” to the luxe “Ultimate Support Local Box.”

Christina is also working to perfect her Virtual Memphis Tasting Tour which has already been beta tested.

Christina McCarter joins us.

Jason QuinnFor the last nine years Playground DTLA has been the very personal expression of Proprietor and Chef Jason Quinn. Sadly COVID 19 has decimated their business. Chef Jason has announced that the entire Playground complex will conclude at the end of their lease on December 31st, 2021.

The better news is that for the next 16 months Chef Jason and team will continue to enthusiastically operate their nighttime Playground 1.9 dining experiences. These are ticketed, fine-dining evenings with patio, al fresco seating. The price is inclusive of food, beverage pairings, tax and gratuity. Perfect for a special celebratory evening. Typically hosted on Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings.

Chef Jason’s favorite foods will continue to be showcased during the day (closed on Monday & Tuesday) at the fast-casual Dough Exchange located in Downtown Santa Ana, right next to Playground and Playground 1.9. The offerings at Dough Exchange are always evolving, but focuses around their freshly made bagels, rotisserie shawarma offerings, and super silky hummus with the freshest pita. “Dough Exchange truly embodies the spirit of Playground: a bunch of talented chefs and bakers making the things that they are excited about.” Also the home of Kakigori, an Instagramable fluffy shaved ice dessert from Japan. “Grab some delicious food and maybe a canned craft cocktail to enjoy on our patio.”

Playground’s Director of Libations, Jarred Dooley, is joining forces with Joe Valdovinos (both former OC Bartenders of the year) for an “Illegal Mezcal Virtual Cocktail Party on September 11th or 12th. On the menu are three original cocktails.

Chef Jason is our guest.

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 MallGovind 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!”

Roni Cleveland of Post and Beam“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 dining on their garden patio and for To-Go and delivery.

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.

Tanya Holland of Brown Sugar KitchenKnown for her inventive take on modern soul food, as well as comfort classics, Tanya Holland is the executive chef/owner of Oakland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen. She is also the author of the Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook and New Soul Cooking; was the host and soul food expert on the television series Melting Pot; and competed on the fifteenth season of Top Chef. Holland holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, and a Grande Diplôme from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine.

Her latest venture is the launch of Season 1 of Tanya’s Table, her debut podcast. Tanya’s Table spotlights Holland and her guests discussing food, culture, and diverse foodways as podcast listeners peer through the window to experience their candid, and often hilarious, conversations. While food is the center of attention, Holland explores other lifestyle topics such as travel, social awareness, self-help and work / life balance, challenges and triumphs, discovering off-the-radar gems, sustainability, the role of mentors, and more. Every episode further delves into each guest’s individual identity through their sense of taste (with food, design, style, etc.) and discovering foods of their heritage.”

Tanya is also a trustee of the prestigious, Manhattan-based James Beard Foundation. She was recently appointed to the James Beard Awards Committee, the governing body of the James Beard Awards.

We’ll meet the always on the go Chef Tanya Holland.

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style PizzaOur 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…

When the spread of COVID 19 has, at long last, greatly slowed, fine dining, as it can more fully resume, will be a bit of a different experience. What will fine dining possibly look like in the future? We’ll, of course, “Ask the Chef.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Memphis Food Entrepreneur Christina McCarter – City Tasting Tours & City Tasting Boxes Part One
Segment Three: Memphis Food Entrepreneur Christina McCarter – City Tasting Tours & City Tasting Boxes Part Two
Segment Four: Chef / Proprietor Jason Quinn, Playground DTSA, Santa Ana
Segment Five: Chef John & Roni Cleveland, Proprietors, Post & Beam, Los Angeles Part One
Segment Six: Chef John & Roni Cleveland, Proprietors, Post & Beam, Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Seven: Celebrity Chef Tanya Holland, Brown Sugar Kitchen, Oakland
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 388, August 29, 2020: Chef Christine Brown, Pacific Standard Prime and Co-Chair – 20CHEFS: A Socially Distanced Fundraiser

Christine Brown of Pacific Standard PrimeBeacon House Association of San Pedro is an all-male alcohol and drug treatment facility established in 1970 by a South Bay minister and a merchant seaman. The non-profit’s mission is to assist men recover from the diseases of alcoholism and addiction to other drugs. For this year their annual fundraiser will be 20CHEFS : A Social Distanced Fundraiser.

Supporters are encouraged to bid (online) for very special meals for a maximum of 10 guests created and prepared by prominent area chefs that are served at the buyer’s residence or at the chef’s restaurant. Celebrity Chef Andrew Zimmern of Food Network fame will be donating one of these dinner experiences. Chef Zimmern’s dinner for ten has already sold for a cool $25,000. Zimmern has now graciously added a second dinner for the bidding. The bidding for each of the other chef dinners for ten starts at $5,000.

Chef Christine Brown of the newly opened Pacific Standard Prime in Redondo Beach is Co-Chair of the benefit and one of the participating chefs cooking a meal for ten lucky guests. Chef Cristine puts down her tongs and joins us with all the 20CHEFS details.

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Show 388, August 29, 2020: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style PizzaOur 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…

The James Beard Foundation Awards set for a rescheduled virtual presentation in Chicago on September 25th have been cancelled. The balance of the chef and restaurant awards (nominations announced previously) will not be presented this year. The voting for the Awards had already taken place. The live presentation will instead salute the already announced winners in categories including America’s Classics, Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian of the Year. If you were a Nominee in any of the 23 awards categories how would you feel? What does the future hold? We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

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Show 387, August 22, 2020: Chef Marco Zapien of Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, Pico Rivera

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and Taqueria“Hatch Chile season is here, and Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria in Pico Rivera is ready with a pair of events where guests can safely enjoy the annual availability of this unique bright green and incredibly flavorful pepper.”

“Adapting to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Chef Marco Zapien and team created a way for the tenth straight year of Hatch Chile Festivities to take place. This year’s Hatch Chile cooking demonstration will be in a virtual setting, and the Hatch Chile roast will allow guests to enter a drive-thru line for pick-up.”

“The cooking demo will take place Wednesday, August 26 from 6 -7 p.m. via Zoom. Participants will be taken through a three-course Hatch Chile inspired menu and the format will still allow for the same interaction as in-restaurant demos in the past. Pre-registration is required and anyone who signs up for the premium package with all ingredients prepped and boxed, or the virtual log in access, will also receive a $25 Salsa Grill gift card.”

“This year’s Hatch Chile Roast is set for Saturday, August 29 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Patrons must pre-order their 25-pound cases of Melissa’s Hatch Chiles, and can select their preferred level of spice from mild to very hot. Patrons can arrive anytime between 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and enter the drive thru.”

“Every summer, New Mexico Hatch Chiles are ripe enough to enjoy for their short season and Chef Marco makes a late summer celebration of it. In the past, The Salsa Grill has served more Hatch Chile dishes than any other restaurant outside the Southwest region this time of year.”

“Outdoor patio dining is permitted at The Salsa Grill and Chef Marco will be featuring Hatch Chile specials on the menu on the day of the roast.”

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Show 387, August 22, 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. 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…

Chef Andrew has been on the road with his family and his travels have taken him to Texas. Central Texas BBQ is very popular locally right now and Chef Andrew will have some meaty observations. We’re talking smoked brisket and sausages with minimal sauce along the way. Chef Andrew also shares his impressions of Whataburger, a bit of a Texas tradition that’s also popular for Breakfast.

We’ll, of course “Ask the Chef.”

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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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