Show 274, May 19, 2018: Executive Chef Govind Armstrong and General Manager Will Holt, The Lobster, Santa Monica

Chef Govind Armstrong of Post and BeamThe Lobster is the long-running, fine-dining restaurant located on the land side of the landmark Santa Monica Pier. Recently installed there as executive chef is culinary celebrity Govind Armstrong.

Situated at the corner of Ocean Boulevard and the Santa Monica Pier, The Lobster seafood restaurant is an internationally recognized dining destination that is as much a part of Santa Monica’s history as the pier itself. Originally opened in 1923, it wasn’t until dishwasher-turned-owner, Mateo Castillo took the helm in 1950 that The Lobster became the quintessential “seafood shack,” so beloved by LA residents and tourists alike throughout the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.

The Lobster shut its doors for several years in the 1980’s and 90’s, before again being reinvented, expanded and reopened by a family of new investors in 1999. While the original structure was incorporated into the new building’s main entrance, The Lobster as it stands today is a modernly appointed, two-story cantilevered building with glass walls and seating for hundreds.

Chef Govind Armstrong comes to The Lobster with a background that includes training in some of the most famous restaurants in the world. California-born, raised in Costa Rica, and educated in Los Angeles and Europe under culinary legends including Wolfgang Puck, Mark Peel and Susan Feniger, Chef Govind is a master of California Cuisine. As an advocate for food sustainability, Chef Govind is committed to serving dishes that are crafted with only the freshest, locally sourced, and responsibly farmed ingredients.

Chef Govind’s menu takes the seafood dishes at The Lobster in a culinary direction that is sophisticated, yet approachable. With the focus on flavor and a perfect balance of taste and texture, his dishes are updated daily to account for ingredient availability, quality and creative license.

Of course the grilled and butterflied Maine lobster is a standout!

Chef Govind joins us along with the new General Manager, hospitality veteran Will Holt.

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Show 61, February 15, 2013: Chef Rick Bayless, Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, and Red O (in West Hollywood & Newport Beach)

Rick BaylessWhen it comes to possessing a vast knowledge of the regional cooking of the various states in Mexico the recognized “el jefe” in the United States is Chicago’s Rick Bayless. Locally he’s probably best known for the PBS’s series “Mexico – One Plate at a Time” (now starting its 9th award-winning season) and from Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.” In Chicago he’s a local culinary celebrity for his highly popular restaurants including River North’s Topolobampo and Frontera Grill.

Chef Bayless has created the menu for the recently opened, and much talked about, highly designed Red O in Fashion Island, Newport Beach. It’s basically his contemporary take on Oaxacan fare and other culinary regions of Mexico.

Certain dishes are exclusive to Fashion Island (including the well-received guacamole sampler) and the tequila list includes 100 selections.

Chef Bayless offers tips for preparing the perfect guacamole. He gives a lot of credit to his executive chef in Newport Beach Keith Stich. He spent two months in Chicago learning Rick’s style of Mexican cooking.

Play

February 15: Rick Bayless, Top Round Roast Beef, Cochon 555, OC Restaurant Week, Grill on the Alley

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jamie Tiampo and Chef Steven Fretz, partners, Top Round Roast Beef
Segment Three: Chef Rick Bayless, Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, and Red O (in West Hollywood & Newport Beach) Part One
Segment Four: Chef Rick Bayless, Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, and Red O (in West Hollywood & Newport Beach) Part Two
Segment Five: Brady Lowe, Founder & Lord of Pork, Cochon 555
Segment Six: Executive Chef Jason Montelibano, Chapter One: The Modern Local, Santa Ana
Segment Seven: Bob Spivak, President, CEO, and Co-Founder, Grill Concepts, Inc.
Segment Eight: Jet Tila on Manhattan Dining. (Part 2)

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownFood Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” with host Alton Brown is back on Sunday nights for Season 2. Our own Chef Jet Tila is the most frequently appearing solo judge on this tough competition show that requires strategy as well as cooking chops. Look for Jet’s new episodes starting in February.

Thanks to all of our generous listeners who attended Chef Carla Hall’s Culinary Concert to benefit The James Beard Foundation at Zov’s Bistro in Tustin on Feb. 9th. Carla and guest MC Sherry Yard had the group thoroughly entertained with Carla’s demo of her Swamp Thing recipe which is from her new cookbook. It’s a braised pork shoulder in a smoked pork and corn broth.

America’s own master Mexican cooking authority, Rick Bayless of Topolobampo and Frontera Grill, is with us. He’s the menu-maker for the fashionable new Red O restaurant in Fashion Island in Newport Beach. It’s the 30th Anniversary of the legendary Grill on The Alley in Beverly Hills. We’ll celebrate with the founder. Cochon 555, a pork spectacular, returns to Santa Monica this month. We’ll tell you all about it. How about a fast food stand serving quality roast beef sandwiches using the very best ingredients? It’s run by fine dining chefs! Orange County Restaurant Week launches February 23rd. We’ll have a preview with one of the colorful participating executive chefs.

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

Top Round Roast BeefTop Round Roast Beef opened in the extensively remodeled space of a former donut shop at the busy corner of Olympic Blvd. and La Brea Avenue last June. The theme is top quality roast beef sandwiches where the beef is sliced to order. On the menu is a variety of quality roast beef sandwiches served on a butter-toasted bun with natural au jus. The beef is impressively sliced to order. Also on the small menu are curly French fries cooked in beef fat for maximum flavor, milkshakes and St. Louis frozen custard.

The owners have impressive culinary credentials from places including Red Medicine, 800 Degrees, and Curtis Stone’s restaurants.

Restaurant investor Jamie Tiampo (who is also the owner of See Food Media in New York) joins us along with Chef Steven Fretz (previously executive chef for Curtis Stone’s restaurant group) to explain the concept.

Rick BaylessWhen it comes to possessing a vast knowledge of the regional cooking of the various states in Mexico the recognized “el jefe” in the United States is Chicago’s Rick Bayless. Locally he’s probably best known for the PBS’s series “Mexico – One Plate at a Time” (now starting its 9th award-winning season) and from Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.” In Chicago he’s a local culinary celebrity for his highly popular restaurants including River North’s Topolobampo and Frontera Grill.

Chef Bayless has created the menu for the recently opened, and much talked about, highly designed Red O in Fashion Island, Newport Beach. It’s basically his contemporary take on Oaxacan fare and other culinary regions of Mexico.

Certain dishes are exclusive to Fashion Island and the tequila list includes 100 selections.

Chef Bayless offers tips for preparing the perfect guacamole.

The new season of his hit PBS series takers us to Oaxaca, one of his favorite culinary regions in Mexico. We’ll see the “Day of the Dead” celebration Oaxaca-style.

Brady Lowe of Cochon 555Cochon 555 (a celebration of heritage pork) returns to Los Angeles on its 2014 cross-country tour at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel on Sunday afternoon, February 23rd. Over 11 tons of heritage pork raised by family farms will be served across the country in the nose-to-tail touring culinary competition.

2014’s competing chefs include Host Chef Ray Garcia of Fig Restaurant, Christian Page of Short Order, Jason Neve of B&B Ristorante, Ray England of Craft, and Brian Howard of Comme Ca. Each chef prepares a maximum of six dishes created from one whole heritage pig.

Our own Jet Tila will be preparing an additional late-night sixth pig for the After Party.

orange-county-restaurant-weekThe OC’s most anticipated, and delicious, dining event, Orange County Restaurant Week, returns from February 23rd to March 1st. Diners will have the opportunity to enjoy the wide spectrum of dining options in the County at special prices for prix-fixe menus for both lunch and dinner.

Over 100 restaurants are part of Orange County Restaurant Week.

One of the featured restaurants is Santa Ana’s Chapter One: The Modern Local. Chef Jason Montelibano (aka Chef Chicken Wing) joins us to talk about his menu. Given his Filipino ancestry he’s incorporated a few contemporary Filipino touches into his menu.

Chef Jason won Riveria Magazine’s “To Live and Dine” chefs’ challenge event @ SoCo last year with his Lamb & Gnocchi dish.

The Grill on the Alley30 years ago dining history was made in Beverly Hills (a tough city for restaurant longevity) with the launch of The Grill on the Alley which is better known as The Grill. It soon evolved into a high profile business destination for lunch for the power brokers of Hollywood. Where your table was signified your status in the Entertainment Business. At night it became a destination for affluent locals with a very loyal following. Unusually for the time pretentiousness was never part of the gameplan. It also was the start of a significant restaurant company with three successful concepts.

Grill Concepts, Inc. continues to flourish to this day. Public School is the newest concept (with a sense of humor) with locations in Downtown Los Angeles, Culver City and Thousand Oaks. Northern California is next and more locations on the horizon. It’s a bar & restaurant gathering spot.

Founder Bob Spivak, a second generation restaurateur with a love for the hospitality business, joins us to share the fascinating story.

“We are so fortunate to have been in business for 30 years,” President, CEO, and Co-Founder Bob Spivak said. “In the ever changing restaurant industry, we are proud to say that we were vintage before it was trendy. And we will continue to maintain the tradition of exceptional service and timeless cuisine that guests have come to count on.”

Ippudo Ramen in New York CityChef Jet has been in New York twice over the last two weeks and has enjoyed some standout dining adventures along the way. Jet shares the details of his meal at Chef April Boomfield’s Spotted Pig (no reservations) in the West Village. This was one of the country’s first gastropubs. It’s still a scene over ten years later.

Jet also visited Ippudo, a well-known Japanese ramen shop and a personal favorite.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jamie Tiampo and Chef Steven Fretz, partners, Top Round Roast Beef
Segment Three: Chef Rick Bayless, Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, and Red O (in West Hollywood & Newport Beach) Part One
Segment Four: Chef Rick Bayless, Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, and Red O (in West Hollywood & Newport Beach) Part Two
Segment Five: Brady Lowe, Founder & Lord of Pork, Cochon 555
Segment Six: Executive Chef Jason Montelibano, Chapter One: The Modern Local, Santa Ana
Segment Seven: Bob Spivak, President, CEO, and Co-Founder, Grill Concepts, Inc.
Segment Eight: Jet Tila on Manhattan Dining. (Part 2)

Show 55, January 4, 2013: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

We’re starting off 2014 with a bang. Tune-in…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

We have the fascinating story of a middle-aged chef from New York who ventured to Japan to find himself, opened a modest ramen shop in a Tokyo suburb, and became a huge culinary celebrity in Japan! Bill Esparza is also with us, the Mexican Food Maestro and the unofficial Ambassador to the foods of Baja. Also a look at the truly affordable culinary arts program at Los Angeles Mission College, part of the Community College system.

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Show 55, January 4, 2013: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority

Ivan Orkin of Ivan RamenIn 2007, Chef Ivan Orkin, a middle-aged Jewish guy from Long Island, did something crazy. In the food-zealous, insular megalopolis of Tokyo, Ivan opened a ramen shop. He had never launched a restaurant previously.

He was a foreigner trying to make a name for himself in a place that is fiercely opinionated about ramen. At first customers came because they were simply curious. Word then spread quickly about Ivan’s handmade noodles, clean and complex broth and thoughtfully prepared toppings.

Soon enough Chef Ivan became a culinary celebrity in Japan. Fame in Japan begat his own best-selling brand of premium instant ramen.

Today there are two busy Ivan Ramen locations in Tokyo and the new Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in Manhattan. Ivan Ramen New York, a full-service Japanese restaurant, will open in the next couple of months.

Play

January 4: Bill Esparza, Brian Thorson, Sean E. Brown, Ivan Orkin, Jesus Sanchez, Robert Schueller

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Bill Esparza, The Mexican Food Maestro and Street Gourmet LA Blog
Segment Three: Brian Thorson, Brewmaster, Haven Gastropub + Brewery
Segment Four: Sean E. Brown, Executive Chef, ESPN Zone of Anaheim
Segment Five: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority Part One
Segment Six: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority Part Two
Segment Seven: Chef Jesus Sanchez CEC, Culinary Arts Institute, Los Angeles Mission College
Segment Eight: Robert Schueller, The Produce Guru, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce

We’re starting off 2014 with a bang. Tune-in…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

We have the fascinating story of a middle-aged chef from New York who ventured to Japan to find himself, opened a modest ramen shop in a Tokyo suburb, and became a huge culinary celebrity in Japan! Bill Esparza is also with us, the Mexican Food Maestro and the unofficial Ambassador to the foods of Baja. Also a look at the truly affordable culinary arts program at Los Angeles Mission College, part of the Community College system.

Bill EsparzaThe 16th Annual Los Angeles Times Travel Show returns to the West Hall of the L.A. Convention Center on January 18 & 19. Our favorite Mexican Food Maestro, Bill Esparza, of the Street Gourmet LA blog is with us to preview his activities at the show.

Bill has cooking demos on the Flavors of the World Stage on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. The Sunday demo he is doing with Mariana Oviedo who represents the 2nd generation of the acclaimed Guerrerense food cart in Ensenada, Mexico started by her mother, Sabina Bandera in 1962.

Brian Thorson of Haven Gastropub and BreweryHaven Gastropub + Brewery in Old Pasadena has a new brewmaster, Brian Thorson, who has been with them for a year now gaining significant acclaim from area craft beer enthusiasts. Previously in Northern California Brian created quite a following at Drake’s and Trumer Pils.

Brian brews for both Havens as well as a few select wholesale accounts. There are typically some 12 Haven styles at any given moment but that varies by season.

A current standout is El Barista Rojo brewed with Portola Coffee Lab coffee (added during conditioning.) Also of particular note is the Hops, Inc. This IPA showcases hop flavor and aroma without bitterness.

Sean Brown of the ESPN Zone in AnaheimThe ESPN Zone in Anaheim in Downtown Disney is the last of the ESPN Zones so it’s a special place. ESPN television and radio is owned by Disney and its an enormous profit center for the parent corporation.

Besides being the primo sports viewing complex of choice in the area there is a welcome new direction in the food. The new executive chef, Sean E. Brown, is committed to serving the best in homestyle American comfort food. Let’s talk about the brined pork chop special for instance.

Chef Sean spent ten years cooking in Hawaii before returning to the mainland so fresh and local is part of his repertoire! He wants to be part of the community and especially welcomes Orange County locals to stop-by and say hello.

Look for a new lunch menu in the near future. Currently they offer an all-day menu.

Ivan Orkin of Ivan RamenIn 2007, Chef Ivan Orkin, a middle-aged Jewish guy from Long Island, did something crazy. In the food-zealous, insular megalopolis of Tokyo, Ivan opened a ramen shop. He had never launched a restaurant previously.

He was a foreigner trying to make a name for himself in a place that is fiercely opinionated about ramen. At first customers came because they were simply curious. Word then spread quickly about Ivan’s handmade noodles, clean and complex broth, and thoughtfully prepared toppings.

Soon enough Chef Ivan became a culinary celebrity in Japan. Fame in Japan begat his own best-selling brand of premium instant ramen.

Ivan Ramen in New York City and TokyoToday there are two busy Ivan Ramen locations in Tokyo and the new Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in Manhattan. Ivan Ramen New York, a full-service Japanese restaurant, will open in the next couple of months.

International food authority Anthony Bourdain (CNN’s “Parts Unknown”) had this to say about Ivan Orkin :
“What Ivan Orkin does not know about noodles is not worth knowing.”

Ivan Orkin has told his story in the newly published Ivan Ramen – Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint. It’s both a memoir and a cookbook. Chef Ivan shares more than forty recipes including the complete, detailed recipe for his signature Shio Ramen.

Celebrity Chef David Chang of the Momofuku restaurant empire in New York wrote the hilarious forward.

Where can you go to culinary school locally, get a solid foundation, and not be in debt for the rest of your life?

Jesus Sanchez of the Culinary Arts Institute at Los Angeles Mission CollegeCertified Executive Chef Jesus Sanchez, a Culinary Instructor at the Culinary Arts Institute at Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar for 11 years, is with us with all the key 411.

Their Culinary Arts Institute is housed in a new 85,000 sq. ft. building with 6 classrooms, a demonstration lab/classroom and 7 impressive kitchen lab classrooms.

They offer both an Associate in Arts Degree in Culinary Arts and an Associate in Arts Degree in Restaurant Management. In addition there are Certificate Programs for Achievement in Culinary Arts, Baking & Patisserie, and Restaurant Management.

With the new year what’s in season with local fruits and vegetables?

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety ProduceOur resident produce guru, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce, is back with us to highlight what’s best of the season right now.

We’ll talk Korean Pears, Cocktail Grapefruit, Meyer Lemons, Key Limes, Dutch Yellow Potatoes, Padron Peppers, Baby Brussels Sprouts and Kale Sprouts.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Bill Esparza, The Mexican Food Maestro and Street Gourmet LA Blog
Segment Three: Brian Thorson, Brewmaster, Haven Gastropub + Brewery
Segment Four: Sean E. Brown, Executive Chef, ESPN Zone of Anaheim
Segment Five: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority Part One
Segment Six: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority Part Two
Segment Seven: Chef Jesus Sanchez CEC, Culinary Arts Institute, Los Angeles Mission College
Segment Eight: Robert Schueller, The Produce Guru, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce