Show 418, March 27, 2021: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

The Ranch Restaurant in Anaheim is, again, available for full service dine-in for lunch and dinner on an open-air patio and with inside dining (as allowable) with proper social distancing between tables. To-Go meals are also on the menu. “The Ranch Restaurant, under the culinary direction of Chef Michael Rossi, features true American regional cuisine. It’s cooking from scratch with the finest ingredients possible to capture the rustic style of wine country and the freshest flavors of the farm. The Ranch honors California’s great ranches, farms and dairies, the artisan bread bakers and cheese and wine makers. Their seasonally driven menu showcases the freshest produce in season – as nature intended. The emphasis is on farm to table, fresh organically grown fruits and vegetables from local farms and from The Ranch’s own ranch in the Santa Ana Mountains.” Executive Chef Michael Rossi joins us from The Ranch.

We met restaurateur Bjoern Risse previously with his Rasselbock Kitchen and Beer Garden in Mar Vista and Long Beach. His latest venture is Long Beach’s Wood & Salt Tavern. At Wood & Salt Tavern the focus is on pasta, made in house, by hand, everyday and fish, seafood & fine meats from their wood fired grill. Think Charred Corn Croquetas with pickled fresno chile, garlic aioli and ricotta salata, and Tagliatelle with beef, pork and veal ragu sprinkled with parmigiano. It’s a local, neighborhood restaurant with elevated fare located in Bixby Knolls (Long Beach.) At present it’s dinner-only, 7 days. Restaurateur Bjoern Risse is our guest.

“For years, vintners have coveted a stretch of land in the western end of Santa Barbara’s Santa Rita Hills AVA known to have the perfect microclimate, soils, and exposure to grow world-class Pinot Noir. In 1999, fulfilling a long-held dream of owner Bob Davids, this sought-after stretch of land became Sea Smoke Vineyard.” “At Sea Smoke, our objective is to produce the best Pinot Noir possible from our unique vineyard site. Located on south-facing hillside bluffs, our estate vineyard benefits from excellent sun exposure – producing grapes with optimum flavor, color and tannin development.” Victor Gallegos, Sea Smoke’s Vice President and General Manager gently pulls the cork on all things Sea Smoke for us.

“For over forty years, Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio (Valentino and Valentino Restaurant Group) and Restaurateur/Chef Celestino Drago of the famed Drago Brothers have been close friends, colleagues, and competitors in the thriving Los Angeles dining scene. Now, their longstanding relationship has transcended to a proprietary level as Chef Celestino Drago officially welcomed Piero Selvaggio to Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles last year as new Managing Partner!” Now that Drago Centro has reopened again for pampered, evening patio and inside dining Piero Selvaggio returns with the timely update.

“Winemakers and restaurateurs agree. There’s an art to preserving wine. While you may have heard it’s important to let wine “breathe,” this causes oxygen to degrade the bottle the longer it’s been opened. Oxidation can spoil opened bottles of wine as quickly as 24 hours after opening.” “Argon gas is the preferred method by winemakers to prevent oxidation that spoils wine. ArT Wine Preserver® is an affordable, recyclable wine saver (packaged in a convenient can) that uses pure argon gas to displace oxygen.” ArT Wine Preserver® Founder Ryan Frederickson joins us.

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 during the early stages of recovery which remains a genuine concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining and inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. We’ll “Ask the Chef.” The recently passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 importantly includes a $28.6 billion dollar relief fund designated to assist independent local restaurants, bars, food trucks and street vendors. What impact will it have? Chef Andrew thoughtfully weighs in.

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

Play

Show 418, March 27, 2021: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Managing Partner, Drago Centro, Los Angeles

Piero Salvaggio of Drago Centro

“For over forty years, Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio (Valentino and Valentino Restaurant Group) and Restaurateur / Chef Celestino Drago of the famed Drago Brothers have been close friends, colleagues, and competitors in the thriving Los Angeles dining scene. Now, their longstanding relationship has transcended to a proprietary level as Chef Celestino Drago officially welcomed Piero Selvaggio to Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles last year as new Managing Partner!”

“Originally from Sicily, both Piero and Celestino met over forty years ago in Los Angeles when Celestino first came to the states. Piero opened the renowned Valentino, the flagship restaurant in his Valentino Restaurant Group in Santa Monica in 1972. Valentino was widely regarded as one of the finest Italian restaurants in the U.S. and credited with introducing Angelenos to true Italian food, fresh ingredients and new products. Also, introducing a new wave of Italian Chefs that in time built world-wide reputations on the their own.”

“Piero went on to build a multimillion-dollar restaurant empire garnering numerous James Beard Foundation awards for its wine list and service, along with critical acclaim for its food, wine, and service by top national publications. In 2018, after forty-five plus years, he decided to retire and close Valentino to look for new challenges. After launching Louie’s by the Bay (with restaurateur Ron Salisbury) in Newport Beach, Piero met again with Celestino and started considering Drago Centro as the perfect venue for a new chapter.”

Now that Drago Centro has again reopened for inviting patio dining (along with inside seating at the allowable 25 per cent capacity) nightly (except Sunday) the always gracious Piero Selvaggio returns with the update.

Play

March 27: The Ranch Restaurant, Wood & Salt Tavern, Sea Smoke Vineyard, Drago Centro, ArT Wine Preserver

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Michael Rossi, The Ranch Restaurant, Anaheim
Segment Three: Restaurateur Bjoern Risse, Wood & Salt, Long Beach
Segment Four: Victor Gallegos, Vice President & General Manager, Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard Part One
Segment Five: Victor Gallegos, Vice President & General Manager, Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard Part Two
Segment Six: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Managing Partner, Drago Centro, Los Angeles
Segment Seven: ArT Wine Preserver® Founder Ryan Frederickson
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

The Ranch Restaurant in Anaheim is, again, available for full service dine-in for lunch and dinner on an open-air patio and with inside dining with proper social distancing between tables. To-Go meals are also on the menu. The Ranch Restaurant, under the culinary direction of Chef Michael Rossi, features true American regional cuisine. It’s cooking from scratch with the finest ingredients possible to capture the rustic style of wine country and the freshest flavors of the farm. The Ranch honors California’s great ranches, farms and dairies, the artisan bread bakers and cheese and wine makers. Their seasonally driven menu showcases the freshest produce in season – as nature intended. The emphasis is on farm to table, fresh organically grown fruits and vegetables from local farms and from The Ranch’s own ranch in the Santa Ana Mountains. Executive Chef Michael Rossi joins us from The Ranch.

We met restaurateur Bjoern Risse previously with his Rasselbock Kitchen and Beer Garden in Mar Vista and Long Beach. His latest venture is Long Beach’s Wood & Salt Tavern. At Wood & Salt Tavern the focus is on pasta, made in house, by hand, everyday and fish, seafood & fine meats from their wood fired grill. Think Charred Corn Croquetas with pickled fresno chile, garlic aioli and ricotta salata, and Tagliatelle with beef, pork and veal ragu sprinkled with parmigiano. It’s a local, neighborhood restaurant with elevated fare located in Bixby Knolls (Long Beach.) At present it’s dinner-only, 7 days. Restaurateur Bjoern Risse is our guest.

“For years, vintners have coveted a stretch of land in the western end of Santa Barbara’s Santa Rita Hills AVA known to have the perfect microclimate, soils, and exposure to grow world-class Pinot Noir. In 1999, fulfilling a long-held dream of owner Bob Davids, this sought-after stretch of land became Sea Smoke Vineyard.” “At Sea Smoke, our objective is to produce the best Pinot Noir possible from our unique vineyard site. Located on south-facing hillside bluffs, our estate vineyard benefits from excellent sun exposure – producing grapes with optimum flavor, color and tannin development.” Victor Gallegos, Sea Smoke’s Vice President and General Manager gently pulls the cork on all things Sea Smoke for us.

“For over forty years, Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio (Valentino and Valentino Restaurant Group) and Restaurateur/Chef Celestino Drago of the famed Drago Brothers have been close friends, colleagues, and competitors in the thriving Los Angeles dining scene. Now, their longstanding relationship has transcended to a proprietary level as Chef Celestino Drago officially welcomed Piero Selvaggio to Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles last year as new Managing Partner!” Now that Drago Centro has reopened again for pampered, evening patio dining Piero Selvaggio returns with the timely update.

“Winemakers and restaurateurs agree. There’s an art to preserving wine. While you may have heard it’s important to let wine “breathe,” this causes oxygen to degrade the bottle the longer it’s been opened. Oxidation can spoil opened bottles of wine as quickly as 24 hours after opening.” “Argon gas is the preferred method by winemakers to prevent oxidation that spoils wine. ArT Wine Preserver® is an affordable, recyclable wine saver (packaged in a convenient can) that uses pure argon gas to displace oxygen.” ArT Wine Preserver® Founder Ryan Frederickson joins us.

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 during the early stages of recovery which remains a genuine concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining and inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. We’ll “Ask the Chef.” The recently passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 importantly includes a $28.6 billion dollar relief fund designated to assist independent local restaurants, bars, food trucks and street vendors. What impact will it have ? Chef Andrew thoughtfully weighs in.

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

Michael Rossi of the Ranch Restaurant and Saloon

The Ranch Restaurant in Anaheim is, again, available for full service dine-in for lunch and dinner on an open-air patio and with inside dining (at a reduced capacity) with proper social distancing between tables. To-Go meals are also on the menu.

The Ranch Restaurant features true American regional cuisine. It’s cooking from scratch with the finest ingredients possible to capture the rustic style of wine country and the freshest flavors of the farm. The Ranch honors California’s great ranches, farms and dairies, the artisan bread bakers and cheese and wine makers. Their seasonally driven menu showcases the freshest produce in season – as nature intended. The emphasis is on farm to table, fresh organically grown fruits and vegetables from local farms and from The Ranch’s own ranch in the Santa Ana Mountains.”

“In the kitchen, brothers Michael Rossi (Executive Chef) and Dave Rossi (Pastry Chef) create menus that journey between classic dishes and elevated interpretations of global fare.”

Executive Chef Michael Rossi joins us from The Ranch.

Bjoern Risse of Rasslebock Kitchen and Beer Garden

We met restaurateur Bjoern Risse previously with his Rasselbock Kitchen and Beer Garden in Mar Vista and Long Beach. His latest venture is Long Beach’s Wood & Salt Tavern.

At Wood & Salt Tavern the focus is on pasta, made in house, by hand, everyday and fish, seafood & fine meats from their wood fired grill. Think Charred Corn Croquetas with pickled fresno chile, garlic aioli and ricotta salata, and Tagliatelle with beef, pork and veal ragu sprinkled with parmigiano. It’s a local neighborhood restaurant with elevated cuisine located in Bixby Knolls (Long Beach.) At present it’s dinner-only, 7 days.

Restaurateur Bjoern Risse joins us.

Victor Gallegos of Sea Smoke

“For years, vintners have coveted a stretch of land in the western end of Santa Barbara’s Santa Rita Hills AVA known to have the perfect microclimate, soils, and exposure to grow world-class Pinot Noir. In 1999, fulfilling a long-held dream of owner Bob Davids, this sought-after stretch of land became Sea Smoke Vineyard.”

“At Sea Smoke, our objective is to produce the best Pinot Noir possible from our unique vineyard site. Located on south-facing hillside bluffs, our estate vineyard benefits from excellent sun exposure – producing grapes with optimum flavor, color and tannin development. The heat generated during the day is moderated each evening by a marine fog layer (sea “smoke”), which travels up the Santa Ynez River canyon, cooling the vines and resulting in a longer ripening period. This extended ‘hangtime’ allows the grape tannins to fully ripen prior to harvest, creating wines that are rich and supple.”

“Our pursuit of great Pinot Noir can also be seen in the meticulous management of our estate vineyard. We strive for low crop yields and small grape clusters of intense flavor. To this end, our rich clay soils are planted with ten, top-quality Pinot Noir clones on vigor reducing rootstocks. While we employ the latest technology in the vineyard to help us achieve vine balance and vigor reduction, we also recognize that technology is no replacement for skilled people.”

“Every one of our vines receives personal handling from our vineyard crew seven to eight times each year – every vine. As stewards of this remarkable piece of land, we are also dedicated to its long-term wellbeing. In this spirit, we have been farming Sea Smoke sustainably since 2003, and now farm 80 acres biodynamically, including the blocks destined for our Sea Smoke Chardonnay and Sea Spray Blanc de Noirs.”

“Every growing season, our winemaking team works to determine the optimum timing for the harvest of each block. After hand harvesting, grapes are brought to the winery for destemming and table sorting. During this process each lot is carefully studied, taking into consideration parameters such as fruit integrity, clonal characteristics and soil profile, before proceeding with fermentation. Each block and clone combination is kept separate throughout the winemaking process, enabling us to develop an intimate knowledge of how they respond to specific barrels in our cellar. These individual lots form the basis of a complex flavor palette from which final blending decisions are made by our team.”

“To ensure our loyal customers access to these limited-production wines, we have created The List. Simple and fair, The List is an uncomplicated allocation system offering members the opportunity to purchase our wines. Although production of Sea Smoke is limited and they can be difficult to find, joining The List guarantees your allocation. Unlike wine clubs, there is absolutely no purchase commitment and no cost to join.”

Victor Gallegos, Sea Smoke’s ling-time Vice President and General Manager gently pops the cork on 2015 Sea Smoke “Sea Spray” Blanc de Noirs for us.

Piero Salvaggio of Drago Centro

“For over forty years, Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio (Valentino and Valentino Restaurant Group) and Restaurateur / Chef Celestino Drago of the famed Drago Brothers have been close friends, colleagues, and competitors in the thriving Los Angeles dining scene. Now, their longstanding relationship has transcended to a proprietary level as Chef Celestino Drago officially welcomed Piero Selvaggio to Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles last year as new Managing Partner!”

“Originally from Sicily, both Piero and Celestino met over forty years ago in Los Angeles when Celestino first came to the states. Piero opened the renowned Valentino, the flagship restaurant in his Valentino Restaurant Group in Santa Monica in 1972. Valentino was widely regarded as one of the finest Italian restaurants in the U.S. and credited with introducing Angelenos to true Italian food, fresh ingredients and new products. Also, introducing a new wave of Italian Chefs that in time built world-wide reputations on the their own.”

Piero went on to build a multimillion-dollar restaurant empire garnering numerous James Beard Foundation awards for its wine list and service, along with critical acclaim for its food, wine, and service by top national publications. In 2018, after forty-five plus years, he decided to retire and close Valentino to look for new challenges. After launching Louie’s by the Bay (with restaurateur Ron Salisbury) in Newport Beach, Piero met again with Celestino and started considering Drago Centro as the perfect venue for a new chapter.

Now that Drago Centro has again reopened for inviting patio dining nightly (except Sunday) the always gracious Piero Selvaggio returns with the update.

Ryan Fredrickson of ArT Wine Preserver

“Winemakers and restaurateurs agree. There’s an art to preserving wine. While you may have heard it’s important to let wine “breathe,” this causes oxygen to degrade the bottle the longer it’s been opened. Oxidation can spoil opened bottles of wine as quickly as 24 hours after opening.”

“Argon gas is the preferred method by winemakers to prevent oxidation that spoils wine. ArT Wine Preserver® is an affordable, recyclable wine saver (packaged in a convenient can) that uses pure argon gas to displace oxygen.”

“ArT Wine Preserver® is on a mission to reduce waste, starting with wine. According to the National Resources Defense Council, wine waste is part of the 40 percent of food that is wasted in the United States every day. In the United States alone, the company estimates home consumers pour more than $1.27 billion dollars of wine down the drain, and restaurants pour out another 18+ million bottles!”

“ArT Wine Preserver® Founder Ryan Frederickson’s former career as an engineer took a different path after a vacation in California wine country. After learning about how much work goes into producing each bottle, and just how much waste occurs due to oxidation, he decided to put his previous experience working in the argon gas industry to use. Naming the product ArT, short for “Argon Technology, the wine preserving canister contains 100% pure argon gas to keep opened bottles of wine fresh up to three times longer.”

Founder Ryan Frederickson joins us with wine glass in hand.

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 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 which is a genuine concern as recovery slowly starts to happen.

Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to again operate for outside/patio dining and limited inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

The recently passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 importantly includes a $28.6 billion dollar relief fund designated to assist independent local restaurants, bars, food trucks and street vendors. What impact will it actually have? Chef Andrew thoughtfully weighs in.

Chef Andrew also updates us on the inspiring progress for the grass-roots, 86 Restaurant Struggle campaign to benefit out-of-work and struggling restaurant workers. Chef Andrew and his wife, Lauren, have already distributed over $380,000 in small grants to deserving restaurant workers in serious need. All applications are carefully vetted by the Gruels. The substantial need, and fundraising, continues…

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Michael Rossi, The Ranch Restaurant, Anaheim
Segment Three: Restaurateur Bjoern Risse, Wood & Salt, Long Beach
Segment Four: Victor Gallegos, Vice President & General Manager, Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard Part One
Segment Five: Victor Gallegos, Vice President & General Manager, Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard Part Two
Segment Six: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, Managing Partner, Drago Centro, Los Angeles
Segment Seven: ArT Wine Preserver® Founder Ryan Frederickson
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 388, August 29, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Beacon 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 benefit will be 20CHEFS: A Social Distanced Fundraiser. Supporters are encouraged to bid (online) for special multi-course 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 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 sumptuous meal for ten lucky guests. Chef Cristine puts down her tongs and joins us with all the salivating 20 CHEFS details.

Mutt Lynch’s in Newport Beach, celebrating their 45th Anniversary this year, has introduced a limited-time menu inspired by the distinctive and typically over-the-top specialty foods found at the OC Fair.  Available for a limited time, the special menu sees the addition of iconic Fair favorites, including Giant Turkey Legs and Deep-fried Oreos. When the OC Fair was canceled this year for only the second time in its over-130-year history due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Mutt Lynch’s found a way to keep its magic alive with a special menu recreating some of the Fair’s most iconic dishes. The OC Fair favorites will be available through Labor Day.” 2nd generation Co-owner, Jerilyn Lynch, is our guest with Giant Turkey Leg in hand.

“For over forty years, Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio (Valentino and Valentino Restaurant Group) and Restaurateur/Chef Celestino Drago of the famed Drago Brothers have been close friends, colleagues, and competitors in the thriving Los Angeles dining scene. Now, their longstanding relationship transcends to a proprietary level as Chef Celestino Drago officially has welcomed Piero Selvaggio to Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles as new Managing Partner!” Now that Drago Centro has reopened for pampered, evening patio dining Piero Selvaggio returns with the update.

Since Executive Chef Jonathan Blackford departed A Restaurant (Newport Beach) and CdM Restaurant (Corona del Mar) to develop a food venture of his own he’s given a lot of thought to what the dining community really needs right now. The result of this planning is Fork & Knife scheduled to launch in Costa Mesa in early October. “Fork & Knife is actually three concepts in one and I believe that it speaks to current dining habits and what the public wants right now,” commented Chef Blackford. “It has always been my goal to open a restaurant of my own, but the timing isn’t right for a full-service dining experience. What people want right now is a neighborhood place that offers fully prepared dinners, quick meals to carryout and quality products that you would find at a gourmet market – that’s what Fork & Knife aims to deliver.”

Jeff Nelson is the Founder and CEO of Liquid Farm with their distinctive Tasting Room in Los Olivos and the Winery in Lompoc.

“We seek to support local viticulture and honor our palates’ love for old world wines that have naturally high acidity and are not masked by many of the modern-day manipulations.” “To do so, we selfishly decided to make what we most love to drink: Chardonnay that is earth and mineral driven from cool climates with little or no new oak. To achieve these qualities we were drawn to one of the coolest of all California AVA’s, Sta. Rita Hills. Located in Santa Barbara County, it is home to some of the most Chardonnay-suited, unique, ancient soils in North America.” Jeff Nelson artfully pulls the cork for us on all things Liquid Farm.

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

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

Play

Show 388, August 29, 2020: Piero Selvaggio, Managing Partner, Drago Centro, Downtown Los Angeles Part One

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa Monica“For over forty years, Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio (Valentino and Valentino Restaurant Group) and Restaurateur/Chef Celestino Drago of the famed Drago Brothers have been close friends, colleagues, and competitors in the thriving Los Angeles dining scene. Now, their longstanding relationship transcends to a proprietary level as Chef Celestino Drago officially has welcomed Piero Selvaggio to Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles as new Managing Partner!”

“Originally from Sicily, both Piero and Celestino met over forty years ago in Los Angeles when Celestino first came to the states. Piero opened the renowned Valentino, the flagship restaurant in his Valentino Restaurant Group in Santa Monica in 1972. Valentino was widely regarded as one of the finest Italian restaurants in the U.S. and credited with introducing Angelenos to true Italian food, fresh ingredients and new products. Also, introducing a new wave of Italian Chefs that in time built world-wide reputations on the their own.”

“Piero went on to build a multimillion-dollar restaurant empire garnering numerous James Beard Foundation awards for its wine list and service, along with critical acclaim for its food, wine, and service by top national publications. In 2018, after forty-five plus years, he decided to retire and close Valentino to look for new challenges. After launching Louie’s by the Bay (with Ron Salisbury) in Newport Beach, Piero met again with Celestino and started considering Drago Centro as the perfect venue for a new chapter.”

Now that Drago Centro has reopened for inviting patio dining the always gracious Piero Selvaggio returns with the update.

Play

Show 388, August 29, 2020: Piero Selvaggio, Managing Partner, Drago Centro, Downtown Los Angeles Part Two

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa Monica“For over forty years, Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio (Valentino and Valentino Restaurant Group) and Restaurateur/Chef Celestino Drago of the famed Drago Brothers have been close friends, colleagues, and competitors in the thriving Los Angeles dining scene. Now, their longstanding relationship transcends to a proprietary level as Chef Celestino Drago officially has welcomed Piero Selvaggio to Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles as new Managing Partner!”

“Over the years Piero and Celestino have remained very close and have done many events together. Both men have also dedicated their legacies to promoting modern Italian cooking with fine ingredients, so it is no surprise that these two celebrated restaurateurs would finally come together. Says Celestino, “When Piero decided to retire, we just kept talking. You can never really retire from this business, so the conversation just kept going.” And, the timing could not be more serendipitous as Celestino just reopened Drago Centro while introducing a stunning new outdoor Dining Patio, new Summer Menu, Takeout, Delivery, Curbside Pickup, and now the exciting celebratory new partnership between Chef Celestino Drago and the hospitality maestro himself, Piero Selvaggio!”

“As Angelenos are able to take advantage of L.A.’s great summer weather, Piero and Celestino have created a magical al fresco dining experience featuring a new Summer Menu on their new Outdoor Dining Patio. The tables for dining are spaciously and safely placed all throughout this stunning outdoor atrium surrounded by luscious greenery, verdant olive trees, and a resplendently calming water feature, where the pair await to take each guest on an extraordinary journey as they sip and savor under the stars.”

Drago Centro has reopened for distinctive patio fine dining and the welcoming Piero Selvaggio now continues with us.

Play

August 29: 20CHEFS, Mutt Lynch’s, Drago Centro, Fork & Knife, Liquid Farm

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Christine Brown, Pacific Standard Prime and Co-Chair – 20CHEFS: A Socially Distanced Fundraiser
Segment Three: Jerilyn Lynch, Co-Proprietor, Mutt Lynch’s, Newport Beach
Segment Four: Piero Selvaggio, Managing Partner, Drago Centro, Downtown Los Angeles Part One
Segment Five: Piero Selvaggio, Managing Partner, Drago Centro, Downtown Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Six: Executive Chef Jonathan Blackford of Fork & Knife, Costa Mesa
Segment Seven: Jeff Nelson, Founder & CEO, Liquid Farm, Lompoc
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Beacon 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 special multi-course 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 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 20 CHEFS details.

Mutt Lynch’s in Newport Beach, celebrating their 45th Anniversary this year, has introduced a limited-time menu inspired by the distinctive and typically over-the-top specialty foods found at the OC Fair.  Available for a limited time, the special menu sees the addition of iconic Fair favorites, including Giant Turkey Legs and Deep-fried Oreos. When the OC Fair was canceled this year for only the second time in its over-130-year history due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Mutt Lynch’s found a way to keep its magic alive with a special menu recreating some of the Fair’s most iconic dishes. The OC Fair favorites will be available through Labor Day. 2nd generation Co-owner, Jerilyn Lynch, is our guest with Giant Turkey Leg in hand.

“For over forty years, Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio (Valentino and Valentino Restaurant Group) and Restaurateur/Chef Celestino Drago of the famed Drago Brothers have been close friends, colleagues, and competitors in the thriving Los Angeles dining scene. Now, their longstanding relationship transcends to a proprietary level as Chef Celestino Drago officially has welcomed Piero Selvaggio to Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles as new Managing Partner!” Now that Drago Centro has reopened for pampered, evening patio dining Piero Selvaggio returns with the update.

Since Executive Chef Jonathan Blackford departed A Restaurant (Newport Beach) and CdM Restaurant (Corona del Mar) to develop a food venture of his own he’s given a lot of thought to what the dining community really needs right now. The result of this planning is Fork & Knife scheduled to launch in Costa Mesa in October. “Fork & Knife is actually three concepts in one and I believe that it speaks to current dining habits and what the public wants right now,” commented Chef Blackford. “It has always been my goal to open a restaurant of my own, but the timing isn’t right for a full-service dining experience. What people want right now is a neighborhood place that offers fully prepared dinners, quick meals to carryout and quality products that you would find at a gourmet market – that’s what Fork & Knife aims to deliver.”

Jeff Nelson is the Founder and CEO of Liquid Farm with their distinctive Tasting Room in Los Olivos and the Winery in Lompoc.

“We seek to support local viticulture and honor our palates’ love for old world wines that have naturally high acidity and are not masked by many of the modern-day manipulations.” “To do so, we selfishly decided to make what we most love to drink: Chardonnay that is earth and mineral driven from cool climates with little or no new oak. To achieve these qualities we were drawn to one of the coolest of all California AVA’s, Sta. Rita Hills. Located in Santa Barbara County, it is home to some of the most Chardonnay-suited, unique, ancient soils in North America.” Jeff Nelson artfully pulls the cork for us on all things Liquid Farm.

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… 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 live presentation will instead salute the already announced winners in categories including America’s Classics, Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian of the Year. What does the future hold? We’ll” “Ask the Chef.”

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

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.

Jerilyn Lynch of Mutt Lynch'sMutt Lynch’s in Newport Beach, celebrating their 45th Anniversary this year, has introduced a limited-time menu inspired by the distinctive and typically over-the-top specialty foods found at the OC Fair.  Available for a limited time, the special menu sees the addition of iconic Fair favorites, including Giant Turkey Legs and Deep-fried Oreos. When the OC Fair was canceled this year for only the second time in its over-130-year history due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Mutt Lynch’s found a way to keep its magic alive with a special menu recreating some of the Fair’s most iconic dishes. The OC Fair favorites will be available through Labor Day.

“We go to OC Fair every year as a family, and one of the biggest draws for us is the outrageously fun food,” comments second-generation owner Jerilyn Lynch. “The Fair signifies the peak of summer; being there creates a sense of care-free nostalgia. We think the world could use a bit of that right now, so we thought ‘If we can’t go to the OC Fair, we’ll bring the OC Fair to us!’”

In addition to its new, limited-time menu of OC Fair-inspired food, Mutt Lynch’s is currently offering its full menu – which contains over 200 items. The iconic beach bar has also expanded to offer outdoor dining, converting five parking spaces into a spacious beach-front dining area with plenty of seating, tiki torches and the hanging Christmas lights, that have become a year-round staple at Mutt Lynch’s. This year, the family-owned eatery celebrates its 45th anniversary.

2nd generation Co-owner, Jerilyn Lynch, is our guest with Giant Turkey Leg in hand.

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa Monica“For over forty years, Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio (Valentino and Valentino Restaurant Group) and Restaurateur/Chef Celestino Drago of the famed Drago Brothers have been close friends, colleagues, and competitors in the thriving Los Angeles dining scene. Now, their longstanding relationship transcends to a proprietary level as Chef Celestino Drago officially has welcomed Piero Selvaggio to Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles as new Managing Partner!”

“Originally from Sicily, both Piero and Celestino met over forty years ago in Los Angeles when Celestino first came to the states. Piero opened the renowned Valentino, the flagship restaurant in his Valentino Restaurant Group in Santa Monica in 1972. Valentino was widely regarded as one of the finest Italian restaurants in the U.S. and credited with introducing Angelenos to true Italian food, fresh ingredients and new products. Also, introducing a new wave of Italian Chefs that in time built world-wide reputations on the their own.”

Piero went on to build a multimillion-dollar restaurant empire garnering numerous James Beard Foundation awards for its wine list and service, along with critical acclaim for its food, wine, and service by top national publications. In 2018, after forty-five plus years, he decided to retire and close Valentino to look for new challenges. After launching Louie’s by the Bay (with Ron Salisbury) in Newport Beach, Piero met again with Celestino and started considering Drago Centro as the perfect venue for a new chapter.

“Over the years Piero and Celestino have remained very close and have done many events together. Both men have also dedicated their legacies to promoting modern Italian cooking with fine ingredients, so it is no surprise that these two celebrated restaurateurs would finally come together. Says Celestino, “When Piero decided to retire, we just kept talking. You can never really retire from this business, so the conversation just kept going.” And, the timing could not be more serendipitous as Celestino just reopened Drago Centro while introducing a stunning new outdoor Dining Patio, new Summer MenuTakeoutDeliveryCurbside Pickup, and now the exciting celebratory new partnership between Chef Celestino Drago and the hospitality maestro himself, Piero Selvaggio!”

“As Angelenos are able to take advantage of L.A.’s great summer weather, Piero and Celestino have created a magical al fresco dining experience featuring a new Summer Menu on their new Outdoor Dining Patio. The tables for dining are spaciously and safely placed all throughout this stunning outdoor atrium surrounded by luscious greenery, verdant olive trees, and a resplendently calming water feature, where the pair await to take each guest on an extraordinary journey as they sip and savor under the stars.”

Now that Drago Centro has reopened for inviting patio dining the always gracious Piero Selvaggio returns with the update.

Jonathan Blackford of A Restaurant and CDM RestaurantSince Executive Chef Jonathan Blackford departed A Restaurant (Newport Beach) and CdM Restaurant (Corona del Mar) to develop a food venture of his own he’s given a lot of thought to what the dining community really needs right now. The result is Fork & Knife scheduled to launch in Costa Mesa in October.

“Fork & Knife is actually three concepts in one and I believe that it speaks to current dining habits and what the public wants right now,” commented Chef Blackford, who has received much attention for the globally inspired, progressive menus he created as Executive Chef for River Jetty Restaurant Group over the past decade. “It has always been my goal to open a restaurant of my own, but the timing isn’t right for a full-service dining experience. What people want right now is a neighborhood place that offers fully prepared dinners, quick meals to carryout and quality products that you would find at a gourmet market – that’s what Fork & Knife aims to deliver.”

“Fork & Knife will offer inspired, seasonal, from-scratch fully prepared dishes, as well as retail-focused items such as fresh-made pastas, jams, sauces, dressings and more. The market will also feature many of Chef Blackford’s favorite artisan products, from a selection of olive oils, to vinegars and grains. The kitchen will offer freshly made grab-and-go items daily, ranging from sandwiches, prepared pastas, and easy-to-eat-on-the-go dishes.”

“I want to serve as an extension to the home kitchen by providing the freshest and most flavorful meals and dishes,” explained Chef Blackford. “There is nothing more comforting than a home-cooked meal enjoyed with family and friends, but with time being the biggest challenge in our lives, we’re handling the heavy lifting so those in our community don’t have to sacrifice quality.”

Chef Jonathan Blackford is our guest.

Jeff Nelson of Liquid FarmJeff Nelson is the Founder and CEO of Liquid Farm with their distinctive Tasting Room in Los Olivos and the Winery in Lompoc.

“We seek to support local viticulture and honor our palates’ love for old world wines that have naturally high acidity and are not masked by many of the modern-day manipulations.”

“To do so, we selfishly decided to make what we most love to drink: Chardonnay that is earth and mineral driven from cool climates with little or no new oak. To achieve these qualities we were drawn to one of the coolest of all California AVA’s, Sta. Rita Hills. Located in Santa Barbara County, it is home to some of the most Chardonnay-suited, unique, ancient soils in North America.”

“From the climate and soil, to the people and their wines, the Santa Ynez Valley is certainly one of the most special regions we have ever come across.”

“Often said, but very true, all great wine starts in the vineyard. Our project’s name reflects our strong belief in that philosophy. It is truly all about place in combination with the highest quality fruit and letting the varietal and regional TYPICITY of the wine shine through from vineyard to glass…Liquid from Farming.”

“We allow the wines to develop on their own with little intervention, minimal or no new oak and use no additives or machines to manipulate the wines inherent personality. The project is also committed to blending from the handful of special vineyards we work with in the small AVA of Sta. Rita Hills to produce a collection of Chardonnays that are markedly different expressions, but with the same thread of intense minerality and salinity they started with in the vineyard.”

“Jeff Nelson has been in the wine business for the past 20+ years, working for some of the top Champagne and Burgundy houses. With the name Liquid Farm on Jeff’s mind for many years, it was the catalyst in 2009 for starting the project with the helping guidance of Brandon Sparks-Gillis of Dragonette Cellars.”

Jeff Nelson gently pulls the cork for us on all things Liquid Farm.

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 live presentation will instead salute the already announced winners in categories including America’s Classics, Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian of the Year. What does the future hold? We’ll” Ask the Chef.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Christine Brown, Pacific Standard Prime and Co-Chair – 20CHEFS: A Socially Distanced Fundraiser
Segment Three: Jerilyn Lynch, Co-Proprietor, Mutt Lynch’s, Newport Beach
Segment Four: Piero Selvaggio, Managing Partner, Drago Centro, Downtown Los Angeles Part One
Segment Five: Piero Selvaggio, Managing Partner, Drago Centro, Downtown Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Six: Executive Chef Jonathan Blackford of Fork & Knife, Costa Mesa
Segment Seven: Jeff Nelson, Founder & CEO, Liquid Farm, Lompoc
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 379, June 27, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy  (documentary feature film) is an intimate, candid perspective into the curious world of cookbook author and British ex-pat Diana Kennedy – widely regarded as the world’s expert on Mexican cuisine. At five feet tall and 97 years old, Diana is larger than life: a foul-mouthed fireball far more feisty and energetic than her age and petite frame let on. Author of nine Mexican cookbooks, she has spent over 60 years researching and documenting the regional cuisines of Mexico.” Filmmaker Elizabeth Carroll is our guide to the career of Diana Kennedy.

The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar matches contemporary California regional cuisine, with a hip, vibrant, sophisticated setting, to create a cutting-edge dining experience. Located at The District in Tustin, overlooking the Marina in Newport Beach, and at Westfield UTC in La Jolla, The Winery culinary team is led by Executive Chef & Partner Yvon Goetz. The other Founding Partners are JC Clow and Wine Director William Lewis. William Lewis uncorks it all for us.

Legendary Los Angeles Restaurateur and ever-gracious host Piero Selvaggio attentively presided over the iconic Valentino in Santa Monica for over 46 years. Valentino was a landmark establishment in the West defining regional Italian fine dining with polished service combined with a deep and well-maintained wine cellar. Piero’s most recent undertaking was the debut of Louie’s by the Bay (modern Italian steakhouse) in Newport Beach with Restaurateur Ron Salisbury. His current effort is with Chef Celestino Drago and is the pending relaunching of the elegant Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles in the City National Bank Tower. We’ll hear all about it with Piero Selvaggio.

Leading the Margerum Wine Company team (with a handsome new tasting room at Hotel Californian in the State Building) is creator and namesake, Douglas Barden Margerum, a long-term Santa Barbara resident who has been a fixture in the Santa Barbara food and wine scene for over 35 years. Doug is also is a member of the (rescheduled for 2021) Santa Barbara Culinary Experience (SBCE) Advisory Committee. Doug is our guest to pull the cork for us on the reopening of the Margerum Wine Company Tasting Room which now also includes the Barden Wines Tasting Room.

“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 LA. 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.” We gently pull Chef Avi away from the tandoor oven for a long overdue visit.

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 starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps… Covid 19 has impacted the food system across the United States. Oddly there are spot shortages of foodstuffs in some areas and surpluses in others. 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!

Play

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.

Play

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.

Play