Show 251, December 9, 2017: Tom Kaplan, Senior Managing Partner, Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group

Tom KaplanAs Senior Managing Partner of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Tom Kaplan has worked alongside Wolfgang Puck for nearly 36 years with his world-renowned restaurants. Tom started his lengthy association with Chef Wolfgang as Office Manager two months after the original Spago West Hollywood opened in 1982. His responsibilities include overall business management, strategic development, design, and construction supervision, and philanthropy for the company’s 28 domestic and international locations.

Since 1982, Puck and Kaplan have grown the company from several individual restaurants into a collection of restaurants known as the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group. Primary brands include Spago, CUT, re/Asian Cuisine, and the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. Over the years Kaplan has nurtured key strategic partnerships with luxury hotel brands and major casinos such as the Four Seasons, Dorchester Collection, MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands.

Tom relocated to Las Vegas in 1992 to coincide with the opening of Spago Las Vegas in the Forum Shops, Wolfgang’s first (and trendsetting restaurant) restaurant there.

In Las Vegas in addition to the flagship Spago Las Vegas the dining group’s properties there include Cucina, CUT, Lupo by Wolfgang Puck, and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at the MGM Grand and off The Strip in Downtown Summerlin.

The big Wolfgang Puck Las Vegas news is that after 25 years Spago Las Vegas, in 2018, will move to the former Olives location at The Bellagio, regarded as one of the best restaurant locations in Las Vegas.

Tom Kaplan is our guest.

Show 205, January 7, 2017: Raimondo Boggia, CEO & Sommelier, Obica Group

Raimondo BoggiaObica, the world’s first mozzarella bar, was founded in Rome in 2004. There are now more than 16 contemporary Italian restaurants worldwide including two in Los Angeles (Sunset Strip and Century City) and one in Santa Monica.

Obicà is the only restaurant in Los Angeles to directly import Mozzarella di Bufala DOP (Denomination of Protected Origin) twice a week from cheese makers in Campania, southern Italy, ensuring the utmost freshness and quality. Obicà offers four kinds of mozzarella: a traditional Bufala ClassicaBufala Affumicata, which is smoked on iron nets over a hay fire, Burrata, which is sweet and creamy, and Burrata al Tartufo with black truffle.

Obicà also serves its signature pizza, prepared with a blend of stone-ground white flour and whole wheat organic flour, cooked in the restaurant’s stone pizza oven. Obicà’s pizza dough is left to rise for a minimum of 48 hours, with no chemical yeasts, resulting in an airy and lighter texture.

All the fresh pasta is homemade and the ingredients are organic. The wine list includes an extensive array of Italian indigenous grown grapes. The design is casual with a contemporary and elegant touch. Founded in 2004 by Silvio Ursini, all of Obicà’s locations and concepts follow a straightforward philosophy of serving food that is good, clean and fair.

There is also a stylish Obica cookbook available. It’s Obica – Mozzarella Bar – Pizza E Cucina – A contemporary attitude to authentic Italian food.

Sommelier and CEO of Obica group, Raimondo Boggia, joins us for a spirited discussion of Italian cuisine.