Show 428, June 5, 2021: Executive Sous Chef Patrick Contreras, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage

Patrick Contreras at 360 Sports inside of Agua Caliente Rancho Mirage

Last week we spoke with Executive Chef Kenneth Williams who oversees the diverse dining options at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage. We’re picking up the conversation with Chef Ken’s Executive Sous Chef, Patrick Contreras.

Now we’re concentrating on the casual, full-service Waters Café serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Happy Hour, and The District (fast casual service,) offering an array of regional cuisines from Mexican (La Olla Mexican Cuisine) to a selection of Asian (Jade Asian Cuisine) and delicatessen foods (ACE Deli.) ACE Deli is open 23 hours per day. Waters Café also handles Room Service for the 340-room Resort Hotel.

Executive Sous Chef Patrick Contreras joins us with tongs securely in hand.

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Show 409, January 23, 2021: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant GroupOur 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 (and increasingly growing) concern. Extended restrictions for restaurants are now in place for Southern California for at least January and seemingly longer.

Chef Andrew 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 $300,000 in small grants to deserving restaurant workers in need. All applications are carefully vetted by the Gruels. The great need continues…

The fried chicken sandwich is becoming a popular menu item at the major burger places in addition to other fast casual outlets. It’s all about the quality of the chicken patty which can vary.  Chef Andrew has a lot of hands-on experience with premium fried chicken at Two Birds in Irvine. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

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Show 376, June 6, 2020: Chef Louie Jocson, Vice President, Food & Beverage, California Fish Grill

Louie Jocson of California Fish GrillWe all know the experts suggest we get more heart-healthy seafood into our regular diet. How do you dine out and find quality seafood at affordable prices? That’s been the goal of California Fish Grill since the first location opened in 1998. Restaurants now include both Northern and Southern California and Las Vegas.

“Since 1998, California Fish Grill has been serving quality seafood at affordable prices to our loyal customers and their families. The vision for our restaurant came more from a simple question than the thought of a successful business enterprise. It is widely known that seafood is rich in nutrients and healthy omega-3 oils. The Surgeon General recommends that Americans eat 2-3 servings of seafood per week to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

“Why is it so hard to find a place that serves great seafood at prices someone could afford to eat 2-3 times per week?” That is where the concept of California Fish Grill was born.”

“Our menu consists of grilled and fried seafood to satisfy anyone’s palate. We also offer wonderful crisp, fresh salads topped with your choice of grilled fish or seafood. One of our most popular offerings is fish tacos. We offer the widest variety of fish tacos served anywhere. From grilled Mahi-Mahi, Tuna, Salmon and Shrimp to our fried selections of Arctic White Fish and Shrimp.”

New are the selection of Cali Bowls including the Paleo Salmon Bowl (lightly seasoned salmon, cauliflower rice, rosemary zucchini mix, fresh herbs and pickled onion) and the Dynamite (Keto) Shrimp Bowl (quick-fried shrimp in California Fish Grill’s dynamite sauce with fresh cilantro, green onions, daikon sprouts, tomatoes, cabbage and sesame soy sauce.) Dine-in has returned to California Fish Grill while takeout & delivery (with Family Meal options, too) continues.

Veteran Chef Louie Jocson, Vice President, Food & Beverage for California Fish Grill, joins us with all the finny details.

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Show 369, April 18, 2020: Wahoo’s Fish Taco Co-Founder, Chef Wing Lam

Wing and Levi Lam at the KLAA StudiosChef Wing Lam is the Co-Founder of Wahoo’s Fish Taco. He is a community leader and grass-roots philanthropist working the fast- casual dining experience for 32 years. Wing is our guest to discuss how Wahoo’s is navigating the current health crisis as well as still supporting the community. Seeing a need he is even selling well-crafted, reusable face masks at his cost for Wahoo’s guests. Most locations (outside of inside malls & sports venues) are open for takeout and delivery.

“We wanted to create a menu that was a reflection of our unique heritage. From China to Brazil, to Baja with hints of Greece, our bold, fresh flavors come from our memories of growing up in Brazil, surfing in Baja and working in our family’s Chinese restaurant.”

“At Wahoo’s, we encourage you to nourish yourself with food and experiences that make you feel more alive. So, ride those waves, care for your community, love what you eat every day, and be authentically you. Our family is here to feed yours.”

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Show 287, August 25, 2018: FOODBEAST’s SPAM Restaurant Month

Geoff KutnickFor the entire month of August, FOODBEAST is bringing you SPAM® Restaurant Month! This month-long event showcases the versatility of SPAM® and its place on the restaurant scene nationwide, from fast-casual to fine dining concepts. Think $100 Gold SPAM® Musubis in San Francisco to SPAM® Tamales in Orlando.

FOODBEAST has curated an impressive lineup of concepts across the United States to share their SPAM® creations. Each item is what FOODBEAST likes to call ‘FOODBEAST Approved’ for taste, creativity and newsworthiness, pushing restaurants to unprecedented lengths of SPAM® innovation.

FOODBEAST’s Geoff Kutnick opens the tin for us on these wild chef-driven creations.

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Show 275, May 26, 2018: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at the Fifth Anniversary of the SoCal Restaurant ShowChef Andrew Gruel the founder of The Slapfish Restaurant Group joins us with another installment of Ask the Chef.”

When you’ve at your favorite fast casual or quick service restaurant are you faced with the dilemma of way too many choices as the line lengthens in back of you? Does it take 4 complicated steps to customize a simple salad? Are there dozens of possible adds? Is this a matter of having choices or utter confusion?

This discussion is inspired by Wall Street Journal’s Julie Jargon from her May 11th Page One piece, “Today’s Special: Way Too Many Options for One Sandwich – Restaurants are driving patrons down a rapid assembly line of possibilities.”

We’ll get Chef Andrew’s informed thoughts

 

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Show 267, March 31, 2018: Brendon Salisbury, 4th Generation Restaurateur, Coast Fish Co., Irvine

Brendon SalisburyCoast Fish Company is the relatively new brand and concept from the same family of restaurants (family owned and operated for 94 years) as El Cholo and The Cannery in Newport Beach. The fast-casual Coast located in the Los Olivos Marketplace in the Irvine Spectrum brings the best premium seafood from both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts to Orange County. The Salisburys’ prefer to brand it “fine casual.”

What’s a bit unusual is that the taco or entrée choices comes with the guest’s selection of fish. Seasonal options include Ahi Tuna, Barramundi, Catfish, Halibut, Mahi Mahi, Salmon, Swordfish, and Tilapia.

Sides include the expected chips & salsa and avocado but also feature mushroom risotto.

Happy Hour is new on the menu with $1.50 beers and half-price appetizers.

4th Generation restaurateur Brendon Salisbury is our guest.

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Show 253, December 23, 2017: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel

Andrew and William GruelOur Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, joins us from Park City, Utah where he has just debuted the third Slapfish in Utah. Chef Andrew will share (and explain) some important hospitality business trends he sees for 2018.

It’s a challenging time for the restaurant business at all levels from fast casual to fine-dining. The next tax laws will impact hospitality, too.

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Show 212, February 25, 2017: Chef Louie Jocson, Vice President, Food & Beverage, California Fish Grill

Louie JocsonWe all know the experts suggest we get more heart-healthy seafood into our regular diet. How do you dine out and find quality seafood at affordable prices? Answering that need has been the Ambitious goal of California Fish Grill since the first location opened in 1998.

“Since 1998, California Fish Grill has been serving quality seafood at affordable prices to our loyal customers and their families. The vision for our restaurant came more from a simple question than the thought of a successful business enterprise. It is widely known that seafood is rich in nutrients and healthy omega-3 oils. The Surgeon General recommends that Americans eat 2-3 servings of seafood per week to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

“Why is it so hard to find a place that serves great seafood at prices someone could afford to eat 2-3 times per week?” That is where the concept of California Fish Grill was born.”

“Our menu consists of grilled and fried seafood to satisfy anyone’s palate. We also offer wonderful crisp, fresh salads topped with your choice of grilled fish or seafood. One of our most popular offerings is fish tacos. We offer the widest variety of fish tacos served anywhere. From grilled Mahi-Mahi, Tuna, Salmon and Shrimp to our fried selections of Arctic White Fish and Shrimp.”

It’s a fast casual concept. You order and pay up front and then your food is delivered to your table by a runner when it’s ready. There is a separate order counter for takeout.

Veteran Chef Louie Jocson, Vice President, Food & Beverage for California Fish Grill joins us with all the details.

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Show 82, August 2, 2014: Executive Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish, Huntington Beach and Laguna

Andrew GruelFood trucks have proven to be a worthwhile testing ground for innovative food concepts. A great example is the fast growing Slapfish with a limited service, fast-casual restaurant in Huntington Beach located in a strip center. A new Laguna Beach location (across Pacific Coast Highway from the beach) launched earlier in the Summer.

The partners started with one modest food truck serving the OC in 2009. By 2011 they had four trucks serving both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Executive Chef (and co-founder) Andrew Gruel is with us to fill us in on the Slapfish tale. New locations both in the United States (airports, too) and the Middle East are on the way.

They like to characterize Slapfish as a modern seafood shack. It’s a real American seafood experience that revolves around fresh, sustainable fish, prepared simply, but delivering big flavors.

They are so fanatical about quality control that they have established their own seafood distribution company to service their restaurants.

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