Show 379, June 27, 2020: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Drago Centro and Louie’s by the Bay Part One

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa MonicaLegendary Los Angeles Restaurateur and ever-gracious host Piero Selvaggio attentively presided over the iconic Valentino in Santa Monica for over 46 years. Valentino was truly a landmark establishment defining regional Italian fine dining in the West combined with a deep and well-maintained wine cellar and polished service. Piero’s most recent venture was the debut of Louie’s by the Bay (modern Italian steakhouse) in Newport Beach with Restaurateur Ron Salisbury.

His new project is with acclaimed Chef Celestino Drago with the about to relaunch, handsome and elegant Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles in the City National Bank Tower. “At Drago Centro, located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, Chef Celestino Drago is giving his classic Italian techniques a contemporary flair. The lunch and dinner menus at Drago Centro feature a wide range of options, from hand-cranked pastas, savory steaks and elegant desserts sure to end the meal on a sweet note.”

We’ll hear all about it with Piero Selvaggio.

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Show 379, June 27, 2020: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Drago Centro and Louie’s by the Bay Part Two

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa MonicaLegendary Los Angeles Restaurateur and ever-gracious host Piero Selvaggio attentively presided over the iconic Valentino in Santa Monica for over 46 years. Valentino was truly a landmark establishment defining regional Italian fine dining in the West combined with a deep and well-maintained wine cellar. Piero’s most recent venture was the launching of Louie’s by the Bay (modern Italian steakhouse) in Newport Beach with Restaurateur Ron Salisbury.

His new project is with acclaimed Chef Celestino Drago with the about to relaunch Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles in the City National Bank Tower. “At Drago Centro, located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, Chef Celestino Drago is giving his classic Italian techniques a contemporary flair. The lunch and dinner menus at Drago Centro feature a wide range of options, from hand-cranked pastas, savory steaks and elegant desserts sure to end the meal on a sweet note.”

We continue our conversation on hospitality at its best with acclaimed Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio.

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Show 379, June 27, 2020: Chef Avinash Kapoor, Kapoor’s Akbar, Downtown Los Angeles

Avi Kapoor of Kapoor's Akbar“Under the supervision of prominent executive chef Avi Kapoor, the latest incarnation of the Akbar restaurant family, Kapoor’s Akbar, offers diners an innovative Indian food experience on the edge of Downtown L.A. Relying on traditional recipes passed down through the family but updated with non-traditional techniques and ingredients, Kapoor’s Akbar serves freshly prepared dishes that are rich in taste, temptingly presented and always memorable.”

“Omnivores, vegetarians and vegans will find a wide range of selections to satisfy their hunger, joining the thousands of diners who have feasted over the years with generations of Kapoor Family restauranteurs.”

Chef Avi was one of the first accomplished Indian chefs in Los Angeles some two decades ago to pioneer the pairing of premium wines with Indian cuisine. Traditionally beer had been the suggested match.

We gently pull Chef Avi away from the tandoor oven for a visit.

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Show 371, May 2, 2020: Executive Chef Michael Hung, Faith & Flower, Downtown Los Angeles

Michael Hung of Faith and FlowerChef Michael Hung began his culinary career in New York City, where he dropped out of culinary school to do extended stages at acclaimed restaurants Daniel and Aquavit. Michael then followed his heart to San Francisco in 2005 and joined Traci Des Jardins’s James Beard Award-winning team at Jardiniere. His career continued for nearly a decade in San Francisco, culminating with his appointment as Chef de Cuisine at Roland Passot’s Michelin-starred La Folie. In late-2013, Michael left San Francisco for Los Angeles to open Faith & Flower where he has returned as Executive Chef.

Community service in times of need is part of Chef Michael’s makeup. His current ambitious feeding program for those in need is under the banner of Donate to Feed L.A.’s Homeless and Underserved. Chef Michael takes a break from the kitchen and joins us with the critical details.

Faith & Flower hopes to reopen in the near future featuring a limited menu of take-out.

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Show 370, April 25, 2020: Manager & Partner Andrew Binder, Philippe The Original

Andrew Binder of Phillipe's the OriginalPhilippe’s (Philippe The Original) in Downtown Los Angeles has reopened for takeout and delivery with French Dips, sides and desserts, as well as beer and wine, available to go. Guests can now call the restaurant or order online via ChowNow to place an order for pickup. Delivery options are available from Postmates.”

“Walk-in takeout orders can also be placed. Patrons can wait for their orders in the parking lot where safe social distancing practices are politely enforced.”

“All six of Philippe’s French Dips are on the takeout and delivery menus available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. That includes Beef, Pork, Lamb, Turkey, Pastrami or Ham on a freshly baked French Roll single-dipped, double-dipped or wet with au jus. Swiss, American, Jack, Bleu or Cheddar cheese can be added.”

“Available sides on the limited menu include, Potato and Macaroni Salad, Coleslaw, Pickled Eggs, Beets, Stew, Chili, salad and a variety of desserts from brownies to cheesecake.”

“No breakfast will be available until the restaurant resumes dine-in service after the statewide orders due to the COVID-19 outbreak end or are lifted.”

Manager & Partner Andrew Binder provides all the juicy details. Andrew represents the 4th generation of proud Binder Family ownership.

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Show 370, April 25, 2020: Sommelier Ryan Bailey, Wine Director, NoMad Los Angeles on “Clink Different”

Ryan Bailey of the NoMad HotelBack in February, the Clink Different – Experience the Wines of Europe evening was hosted at The NoMad Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. It was a walk-around tasting for wine and lifestyle journalists with four flights of unusual wines Bordeaux and Wines of Germany followed by a multi-course wine paired dinner. The European wines were hand-selected by Ryan Bailey, the accomplished Wine Director for NoMad Los Angeles.

Ryan Bailey, a Sonoma County transplant, started his hospitality career while in high school at one of Sonoma’s best restaurants, The General’s Daughter. In 2013 Ryan joined the team at NoMad in New York City, and quickly advanced to the position of Head Sommelier. Ryan now leads the Los Angeles wine team as Wine Director and curates NoMad’s expansive wine and beer program.

Sommelier Ryan artfully pulls the cork on Clink Different for us.

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Show 357, January 25, 2020: Chef Jason McClain, McClain Chophouse and Philly Jay’s Steaks

Jason McClain of the Jonathan Club and Philly Jay's SteaksAfter 8 years as the popular Executive Chef at the prestigious Jonathan Club (Downtown Los Angeles and on the beach in Santa Monica) Jason McClain has amicably departed to pursue some culinary adventures on his own. At Jonathan Club Chef McClain took traditional club fare in the elevated direction of fine dining at a highly rated, independent restaurant.

On the horizon is McClain Chophouse, an ingredient-focused premium steak house and, just for fun, an authentic Philly Cheesesteak food truck (Philly Jay’s Steaks.)

“Chef McClain received his formal training at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY and honed his skills under the tutelage of some of the USA’s great culinary talents in Philadelphia and Miami. He has evolved his menus by focusing on one thing : ingredients.”

“At Jonathan Club Chef Jason joined forces with a local urban farming company to plant a 42-bed rooftop garden. Four times each year he used his expertise to contribute to the surrounding neighborhood by inviting underprivileged youth to visit the Club to learn the value of growing fresh ingredients firsthand.”

We’ll get an “a la minute” update from Chef Jason.

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Show 341, September 21, 2019: Preux & Proper’s Proprietor Joshua Kopel

“Downtown Los Angeles’ Preux & Proper is rooted in the bold flavors and techniques of the South. We season our food with a bit of Lowcountry swag and So-Cal culture. Our scratch cookery focuses on thoughtfully sourced sustainable ingredients, modern culinary technique and putting a whole lotta love into everything we do.”

Newly launched at Preux & Proper is the lunchtime popup, South City Fried Chicken, served Monday through Saturday. The heart of the menu is inspired regional fried chicken sandwiches where the premium Georgia chicken breast is brined overnight on buttermilk. Think the Austin with rojo bean hummus, burrata, javi’s tia’s hot sauce, pickled radish, cilantro, blue corn tortilla crumble and heirloom tomato

On Thursday night’s it’s (Chef) Sammy’s Cookout Barbecue with handcrafted libations including the Texas Two-Timer (Reposado Tequila based.) The menu highlight is the 18- Hour Bone-In Pork Shoulder (for 8 to 12 guests) served with a variety of creative, regional BBQ sauces. The Baked Mac & Cheese is unusually good and don’t miss the Spam Fries served in a Spam can with pineapple chipotle ketchup.

Serving up all the delicious details is the hospitable proprietor Joshua Kopel.

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Show 339, August 31, 2019: Caroline Styne, Co-Founder The Lucques Group, L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade Part Two

Caroline Styne of Lucques Restaurant GroupDelightful and delicious, the upcoming 10th Annual L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade brings superstar chefs and mixologists to Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon, September 14th to lend their support to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) and battle against childhood cancer. The celebrity chefs and mixologists participating come from landmark establishments from all across the country.

Co-Founder Caroline Styne of the Lucques Group continues.

Caroline also provides a tantalizing sneak peak of the restaurants and bars The Lucques Group is creating and operating at the future The Proper Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles (near the historic, former Herald-Examiner building) including a rooftop view restaurant with a bar and lounge.

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Show 333, July 20, 2019: Stu and The Kids Flavors of Asia Food Fest Fundraiser

Stuart Skversky of Stu and the KidsThe 6th annual Stu and The Kids Flavors of Asia Food Fest Fundraiser, an exceptional Thai-flavored Food & Wine Festival hosted by Chef Stuart Skversky with the help of his friends, returns to Vibiana in Downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, August 4, 2019. The event is a rare chance to experience original dishes created by Los Angeles’ Asian-food-loving chefs expressed through Far East influences and personal styles that have impressed guests since the inception of the event in 2014. All of the proceeds from this event are used towards scholarships for university education to help underserved and orphaned Hill Tribe kids in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

“In 2009, Stuart Skversky, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and rising-star chef, made a dramatic life change by giving up a promising culinary career in Los Angeles to move to Chiang Mai, becoming a full-time volunteer at the Wat Don Chan (a local Buddhist temple), teaching local children English, cooking and baking. Recognizing a need to help prepare these at-risk Hill Tribe kids following their graduation, he founded Stu and The Kids to better prepare them for adulthood, help them get into a university or technical college and give them the tools for an independent future. Funds raised go directly to the children’s education, school uniforms, supplies, housing, food and tuition for higher education.”

Neal Fraser of Redbird“Now in their ninth year of fundraising throughout the world, Stu and The Kids has raised over $658,000 for the charity, including last year’s astounding record of $164,000 accumulated from the Los Angeles festival, in addition to fundraising on the east coast and online donations during 2018. Stu and The Kids supervises thirty-six kids, including sixteen that received 4-year scholarships in 2018 to support education and jobs in accounting, business management, in-home elder care, cooking and fashion and textiles and two with continuing 2-year master degree programs. The charity hopes to increase the awards to twenty more four-year university scholarships in the coming year.”

VIP ticket purchasers will have early entrance at 2:30 p.m. to meet and chat with the chefs and receive a Stu and The Kids tote bag filled with special gifts including a signed copy of Jet Tila‘s new cookbook, 101 Epic Dishes, a collectible Stu and the Kids baseball hat and much more.

Chef Stu and Host Chef Neal Fraser of Redbird and Vibiana crack the coconut for us.

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