Show 485, July 30, 2022: The Gas Co’s Energy Resource Center in Downey Reopens

Carmen Oliver of the Gas Company

The Gas Co’s Energy Resource Center in Downey had reopened. Chef and restaurateurs are welcome to view and try a myriad of state-of-the-art and energy efficient restaurant kitchen equipment on display there. Rebates are available for qualified energy efficient natural gas equipment. There are also a host of informative, in-person seminars on the schedule.

The Gas Co’s Gina Christian and Carmen Oliver are our guests providing all the details.


Show 450, November 6, 2021: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group

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.

Veteran’s Day is Thursday, November 11th. Chef Andrew is a big supporter of the non-profit Save The Brave assisting Veterans in need. Bastards American Canteen with locations in Downey and Temecula (newly opened) is Veteran owned & operated, and also raises funds for Save The Brave. Two seasonally changing items on the Temecula menu are exclusive Slapfish creations from Chef Andrew (Surf N Turf Burger & Traditional Lobster Roll) with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Save the Brave. Chef Andrew will provide an inspirational overview.


Show 447, October 16, 2021: SoCal Gas’ Energy Resource Center with Gina Christian and Carmen Oliver

Gina Christian of SoCal Gas

The Gas Co is again providing a number of genuinely useful services to Chefs and Restaurateurs as the recovery continues. The Energy Resource Center in Downey offers small group demonstrations, equipment testing and tours. The Gas Co features their “Try Before You Buy” program out of the Energy Resource Center. Their Commercial Service Techs provide maintenance tips and repair services to restaurant operators (typically at no charge.) The Gas Co. offers outreach to restaurant and foodservice operators to receive rebates on qualified gas equipment purchases.

Representing SoCal Gas with an informative overview of all of this is Gina Christian, Foodservice Technical Specialist and Vendor Outreach, and Carmen Oliver, Customer Programs Advisor II.


Show 445, October 2, 2021: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and Casino

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 details his volunteer efforts in support of Bastards American Canteen (Veteran Owned and Operated) with a location in Downey and soon to open on a grander scale in Temecula. They are sponsors of the non-profit Save The Brave.


Show 442, September 11, 2021: Betty Porto, Vice President of Community Relations, Porto’s Bakery & Café

Betty Porto in front of the Porto's Bakery Bread Rack

All Porto’s Bakery and Café locations have reopened for dine-in at 50 per cent capacity. The locations are Burbank, Buena Park, Downey, Glendale and West Covina.

Be watching for the pending Northridge opening. In the meantime Porto’s has a bakery stand at the Northridge Farmers Market at Northridge Fashion Center every Wednesday night.

Porto’s Bake at Home ships their best-selling pastries nationwide. They are unbaked, frozen and come direct to you so you can bake them fresh in your own oven. “It’s like having a Porto’s Bakery in your home.” Popular items available include Cheese Rolls, Guava Cheese Strudel, Chicken Empanadas and Potato Balls.

2nd generation baker & Family member, Betty Porto (Porto’s Vice President of Community Relations,) is our guest with rolling pin in hand.


Show 392, September 26, 2020: SoCal Gas Co’s services to Restaurants & Foodservice Operators

Gina Christian of SoCal GasAs restaurants are slowly reopening as allowed in the various Counties of Southern California, SoCal Gas has a host of valuable services available to restaurants and foodservice operators. This assistance includes the Food Service Equipment Center located within the Energy Resource Center in Downey. Also available are Energy Savings Programs and a variety of helpful Reopening Services.

“The Food Service Equipment Center, located at the Energy Resource Center in Downey, is a state-of-the-art kitchen and a great resource for any commercial foodservice customer. SoCalGas’ FSEC is the largest test kitchen for natural gas fired equipment in the country. You can attend webinars, learn about energy-efficient equipment and which equipment qualifies for a rebate.”

For restaurants and food service operators who would like to schedule a no cost, on-site inspection of your kitchen equipment with a SoCalGas Commercial Services Tech/CST call, 1-800-427-2000.

Our knowledgeable guides are SoCalGas’ Carmen Oliver (Title Customer Programs) and Gina Christian (Food Service Technical Specialist & Customer Programs.)


Show 371, May 2, 2020: Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations, Porto’s Bakery & Café

Betty Porto in front of the Porto's Bakery Bread RackPorto’s Bakery & Café started modestly in the greater L.A. area in the 1960s and has grown steadily since then becoming a popular, local and revered institution. Founder Rosa Porto’s life took an unexpected turn back at the beginning when she and her family made the difficult decision to leave their beloved Cuba and emigrate to the United States. Out of a job, Rosa relied on her love of baking and began selling cakes out of her house for her neighbors and friends to support her family. Porto’s has gradually grown into five high-volume locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, Buena Park, and the newly opened West Covina.

Porto’s is now open for contactless ordering, payment and curbside pick-up. This can be done online or by phone. Also available is the convenient Porto’s Bake-At-Home.

Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations for Porto’s, is our guest.


Show 230, July 1, 2017: Betty Porto, Vice President, Community & Guest Relations, Porto’s Bakery & Cafe Continues…

Betty Porto in front of the Porto's Bakery Bread RackThe crowd-pleasing, proudly family-owned Porto’s Bakery & Café (think potato balls & cheese rolls) opened its biggest, long-anticipated branch in Buena Park (25,000 sq.ft.) up the street from Knott’s Berry Farm in early March. The Porto’s own the property. Actor Andy Garcia officiated at the ribbon-cutting. It’s been a resounding success. It even offers complimentary valet parking to negate potential parking hassles.

Porto’s traces its origins to the year 1960, when the Porto family made the tough decision to leave their home in Manzanillo, Cuba. After living through the drastic changes that were taking place around them, they requested permission to leave the country. Immediately Raul Sr. was terminated from his job and sent away to manual labor for the duration of the wait period. Wife, Rosa Porto was also let go. Knowing that it may take years to be able to leave the country, Rosa found herself alone and having to find a means to support her three children Betty, Raul Jr., and Margarita.

Rosa, always a talented cake maker, with a passion for baking, entrenched herself in perfecting her recipes and began selling her delicious cakes to friends and neighbors not realizing that she was also building herself a loyal customer base.

When the family finally emigrated from Cuba to California, they had not much more than the clothes on their backs, Raul Sr.’s strong work ethic, Rosa’s exceptional baking skills, and a dream for a better life. Soon after the plane landed, Rosa realized that her reputation had preceded her, and met her first customer just as she got off the plane. Raul Sr. took a job as a mechanic and after work delivered Rosa’s cakes. These were hard times, but the family was now in a country filled with limitless opportunities and their dream for a better future became more real as the years passed

Rosa continued on with her cake business and when their home could no longer accommodate the increased demand, opened a little 300-square foot bakery on Sunset Blvd, in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. From day one, the place was busy, serving close to 50 customers a day. After tirelessly working two jobs, Raul Sr. left his latter job at Van De Kamp’s and joined Rosa full time. Meanwhile, their children Betty, Raul Jr., and Margarita managed to maintain their studies and learn the different parts of the business; baking, decorating, food preparation, customer service, and finances.

Rosa’s Cuban cakes were soon joined by French mousses, Italian sweets, and international savories. As customers flocked to the bakery demanding countless quantities of Cheese Rolls™, Refugiados™-guava and cheese strudels, and the infamous Potato Ball™, space became critical. A move was made to a 2,000-square foot facility in Glendale and six years later to one double in size. The bakery continued to grow and more employees where hired to handle the demand for its increasingly broad line of cakes, desserts, and savories.

Porto’s Bakery & Café now serves thousands of customers and employs hundreds of team members in Southern California, with stores in Glendale, Burbank, Downey and now, Buena Park. In 2018 West Covina is on the horizon. Rumors are out there supporting a future Northridge store thereafter.