Show 80, July 19, 2014: Allan Karl – Author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connection Part Two

Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine And Connections by Allan KarlOne of the most captivating stories in the coffee-table book is how Allan finally got into Syria. You can only get a visa at the Syrian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and that was what he was told at the border.

The Syrian dish he features in the book is Fattoush. This is an incredible crisp salad with fresh herbs and pita strips. He enjoyed this specialty with the proprietor of a dusty, decrepit gas station in the middle of nowhere who spoke English.

Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connections is an oversized, coffee-table art-book with more than 700 photos, stories of adventure and survival and global local food.”

For two years Allan struggled to find a publisher willing to take on this unusual and ambitious book project. They couldn’t pigeonhole it…Finally he turned to Kickstarter to raise the needed initial funds to self publish. He raised almost twice his initial goal for a total of $44,994

After three years on the road Allan truly believes the Irish Proverb: “There are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met.”

Show 63, March 1, 2013: Donato Poto, Partner, Connie & Ted’s, West Hollywood, and Providence, Hollywood

Donato PotoDonato Poto is the ever-gracious, “Mr. Hospitality,” when it comes to seasoned restaurant General Managers on the volatile Los Angeles dining scene. He speaks three languages including Italian, French, and English.

In the mid 80s he was the GM of Piero Selvaggio’s Primi in West Los Angeles. At lunch this hot spot was the unofficial commissary for the senior executives, producers, writers, and actors & actresses at the nearby Twentieth Century Fox Studios. If you were anybody this is where you lunched at 1:00 p.m. Talk about pressure…

Today Donato is a partner in both Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood and Providence in Hollywood.

Connie & Ted’s was just selected as a Semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant. His business partner, Chef Michael Cimarusti was also recognized as a semifinalist for The James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: West for Providence.

Donato’s other partner in Connie and Ted’s, Craig Nickoloff, founded the hugely successful Claim Jumper Restaurants. (Nickoloff sold Claim Jumper to a venture capital group at the height of its success in 2005.) Donato credits Mr. Nickoloff with providing the Connie & Ted’s team the wisdom on how to provide exemplary service when you’re serving hundreds of sophisticated guests per day for lunch and dinner.