Show 278, June 23, 2018: Chef Colin Fukunaga, FukuBurger, Las Vegas

Colin FukunagaWhen it comes to award-winning burgers for the true enthusiast the place to go in Las Vegas is FukuBurger. They have their original rolling grill food truck on the road (now mainly used for special events & catering) as well as a bricks-and-mortar location in Chinatown. They were recently in L.A. at the Sunday Smorgasburg LA as the invited guest of noted burger authority, George Motz (Hamburger America – A State-By-State Guide to 200 Great Burger Joints.)

Our emeritus Co-Host, Chef Jet Tila, is a big fan of Fukuburger’s Tamago. Chef Jet even profiled it on Food Network’s “Guilty Pleasures.” It’s an all-beef Fukupatty topped with a fried runny egg, furikake, crispy onion strings, and finished with house-prepared teriyaki sauce and wasabi mayo.

A 2nd brick-and-mortar FukuBurger will soon launch is Vegas.

We’re flipping a Tamago Burger with Co-Founder Colin Fukunaga.


Show 243, October 7, 2017: Chef Eric Greenspan, 505 Southwestern’s “Clash of the Hatch” Food Truck Challenge

Eric GreenspanFlagship Food Group and 505 Southwestern have launched a unique campaign, the “Clash of the Hatch,” a food truck challenge curated by 505 Southwestern® and Celebrity Chef Eric Greenspan. Celebrating the Hatch Valley green chile harvest season, the “Clash of the Hatch” brings together 10 of LA’s most popular food trucks to compete to make the best dish possible featuring 505 Southwestern® Hatch Valley Flame Roasted Green Chile.

The 10 finalists chosen to compete are Locol, Border Grill, Baby’s Badass Burgers, Grilled Cheese Truck, South Philly Experience, Vchos Pupusas, Chubbee Monkee, India Jones, Dogtown Dogs and Wise Barbecue Co.  Each truck is challenged to develop an innovative menu item that matches the truck’s food genre and style. Trucks are encouraged to drive awareness and sales of their item through social media and creative marketing.

The truck with the winning item will be invited to the Flagship global research and development center in Burbank, California, to develop a version of their menu item as a consumer retail food product. 505 Southwestern® will work to distribute this product into retail channels, and the winner will receive 1% of the net revenue, subject to a minimum of $20,000 and up to a maximum of $100,000.

“Anyone who knows me, my restaurants, or my TV shows, knows that I am passionate about great restaurants and operators. Food trucks represent the epitome of real time innovation and passionate entrepreneurs- exactly the kind of people I, Flagship, and 505 Southwestern® love engaging with,” said chef Eric Greenspan. “I think this is an exciting event, and I can’t wait to see what these food trucks create.”

Chef Eric turns up the heat and fills us in.



Show 239, September 2, 2017: Chef Andrew Gruel, Founder of Slapfish, Two Birds & Butterleaf

Andrew and William GruelWe’re delighted to welcome our Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, back to the show (in-studio) after his recent global travels. Chef Andrew is discussing the benefit he’s hosting at the original Huntington Beach Slapfish location on Beach Blvd. for all of September in support of Bracken’s Kitchen.

Two ways to contribute to raising money for Chef Bill Bracken to buy his vitally needed 2nd food truck. For the month of September Slapfish Huntington Beach will donate 50 per cent of the sales of their “Sweet Pow Shrimp & Lobster Bowl” to Bracken’s Kitchen. Second option is to donate $10 to Bracken’s Kitchen and be rewarded with a free lobster roll (a $22 value menu item.)

Also on the menu is a discussion of shrimp. When you’re buying shrimp as “fresh” is that really the case? Is there anything wrong with enjoying shrimp that has been previously frozen and then properly thawed for sale in the fish case? (Typically domestic shrimp is IQF frozen on the fishing boat or dock to preserve freshness.)


Show 183, August 6, 2016: Chef Hop Phan, Dos Chinos & Sit Low Pho, 4th Street Market Santa Ana

Hop PhanOne of the pioneering food trucks in Orange County is the innovative Dos Chinos taco truck (Chef Hop Phan) which is a tasty fusion of Latin-Vietnamese fare. It’s also a permanent food stall at the 4th Street Market in Santa Ana.

Hop Phan’s newest concept is Sit Low Pho (Vietnamese) at the 4th Street Market. He’s planning something fresh for the upcoming Trade market hall in Irvine arriving before year’s end. It will have a captivating Hawaiian flair with a few twists.

Chef Hop is already a veteran of Food TV. Most recently he competed on FYI’s Man versus Child: Chef Showdown. You’ve also seen him on NBC’s “Food Fighters,” Cooking Channel’s “Eat Street”, Food Network‘s “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Chopped.”

We’ll meet him.

“Southern California raised us on Asian and Latin food. It’s what were made of – every sinew is built on years of carne asada and Vietnamese pho…”


Show 159, February 13, 2016: Executive Chef Bill Bracken, Bracken’s Kitchen

Bill BrackenBill Bracken is a well-known executive chef who traded in luxury hotels (The Peninsula Beverly Hills and Island Hotel, Newport Beach) for Betsy, a well-worn food truck with a lot of miles. He’s now feeding people in need in Orange County. Chef Bill shares his new mission with us. It’s quite a career change.

“I can already tell that 2016 will be a great one. More than ever, Bracken’s Kitchen is charging full speed ahead to combat food insecurity and taking the strides to be one of the most effective hunger-focused organizations in Orange County.”

“With their help and yours, we can continue to extend our reach to help more individuals and families in need and to not be just a hand out but truly be a hand up.”

There are many ways for the listener to support the good work of Bracken’s Kitchen. Cash donations are always appreciated. Also there are meaningful volunteer opportunities available.

Sign-up for the informative Bracken’s Kitchen’s Newsletter via the Website. It tells the story…



Show 159, February 13, 2016: Executive Chef Bill Bracken, Bracken’s Kitchen Continues…

Bill Bracken“In addition to expanding our team, we are building what we call our “Trio of Services”: our Food Truck Feeding Program (which we are currently executing), a Rescued Food Program and a Culinary Internship Program that will move us forward as an organization and business. With these two new platforms, we aim to affect change in a person’s life by offering job training and work opportunities in the culinary field which will be of huge support to our restaurant and hospitality partners.”

“2015 marked the end of our first year of feeding and we are incredibly grateful for not only all of the hard work, support and contributions that were made, but also for the learning lessons, challenges and obstacles that we had to overcome to achieve our goals.”

Some of our accomplishments:

  • Moved into our fully equipped prep kitchen to support our Food Truck Feeding Program
  • Over 5,000 hot and nutritious meals were served to those experiencing food insecurity in Orange County, CA in just nine months.
  • The average cost of our high quality, freshly prepared dinner is about $0.50 – almost matching average meal cost provided by food banks across America.
  • The Illumination Foundation and Bracken’s Kitchen secured Tuesday night feedings at the Ross Street House in Santa Ana, catering to children who attend their after school program and their families.
  • Served approximately 3000 meals to our homeless military veterans at Stand Down Orange County in October
  • Launched trial runs for our Chef’s To End Hunger rescued food program

Sign-up for the informative Bracken’s Kitchen’s Newsletter via the Website. It tells the story…


Show 158, February 6, 2016: Kevin Nguyen, Co-Founder/Partner, GD Bro

Kevin Bobby NguyenGD Bro (Globally Delicious Stuffed Burgers) began as a culinary passion project for co-founders, Mark Cruz and Kevin Nguyen, who had ambitious and creative ideas for a “new” way to eat burgers. Within a year’s time, as word spread via an organic social media frenzy and growing lines of hungry guests, GD Bro teamed up with Hue Nguyen, current CFO and foodie enthusiast, to expand on GD Bro’s cutting edge brand and style. Co-founder Kevin Nguyen joins us with the juicy details.

Their vision is to create a colorful menu full of savory burgers and indulging appetizers using innovative and tantalizing toppings. GD Bro’s signature burgers feature handcrafted premium Angus beef patties with warm and toasty brioche buns that are customized from a local artisan baker. Their progressive approach continues to evolve by developing seasonal menus and monthly burger specials with addictive and bold flavors.

The original truck is still used for catering. Location #2 opened in Signal Hill on February 6th.


Show 158, February 6, 2016: Kevin Nguyen, Co-Founder/Partner, GD Bro Continues…

Kevin Bobby NguyenSince opening in early 2013, GD Bro has been favorably mentioned among the best of the best in local, regional, national media outlets and online Food Bloggers.

GD Bro also premiered on Season 6 of the FOOD NETWORK’s Great Food Truck Race taking a nail biting third place spot.

Now known for their inventive and light-hearted approach to cooking, GD Bro is consistently challenging the traditional concept of a “burger” by selecting new and uniquely blended ingredients that surprise and delight the foodie traditionalists and culinary thrill-seekers alike. GD Bro not only takes pride in delivering a consistent signature product but more importantly, they believe both great service and above and beyond hospitality from their caring, gracious, hip and outgoing staff distinguishes them from their competitors.

Hence, the reason the GD Bro followers have an “emotional” attachment to the brand and feel like they are part of a family backyard BBQ atmosphere.

The original brick- and- mortar location is in Santa Ana and newly opened in Signal Hill.
For each new location there will be a special menu item only available at that unit.


Show 158, February 6, 2016: Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andrew Gruel and his son WilliamSlapfish started life as a popular food truck with a very loyal following developed via clever use of Social Media. As soon as Chef Andrew had a firm base with the truck he was on the hunt for an affordable brick-and-mortar location which resulted in the original Huntington Beach location.

The food truck business in Los Angeles and Orange County is not as lucrative as it once was. Competition is intense and there is a lot of duplication of successful concepts. Competition is fierce for the best stops at lunch on weekdays.

Chef Andrew suggests it’s a good way to test a food concept without breaking the bank. Understand it’s really hard work with very long hours. It’s not glamorous…

Taco Maria at SoCo, the darling of food critics, started as a food truck.


Show 102, December 20 2014: Show Preview with Executive Chef Andrew Gruel (Guest Host) and Producer Andy Harris

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel of the rapidly growing Slapfish empire is today’s special Guest Host.

Chef Gruel, a notable seafood authority, will first comment on his identified trends in seafood looking ahead to 2015. He’ll also update us on his experience as a judge on Food Network’s Food Truck Face Off for Season One and talk about a new food TV series he’s part of, currently in production.

CUCINA Enoteca, a California-inspired Italian kitchen and wine shop, opened earlier in the year in 8,300 square feet in Fashion Island. It’s a venture of Tracy Borkum’s San Diego-based Urban Kitchen Group. The very popular predecessor sister restaurant is located in the Irvine Spectrum. Leading the day-to-day kitchen operations in Newport Beach as Chef de Cuisine is Orange County native Brent Omeste, a rising culinary talent. Chef Brent is our guest.

Lorenzi Estate Vineyards and Winery in Temecula is one of the newest wineries in the area and already attracting positive-word-of-mouth among wine connoisseurs. It’s the passion project of magazine publisher Don Lorenzi (Inland Empire Magazine) a self-taught winemaker who resides part-time on the estate. His family has a long history in growing wine grapes. They are best known for bold reds and case production is a boutique 2,000 per year. Darnel Damon-Dias, the dynamic Tasting Room Manager, joins us for a verbal tour.

Houweling’s Tomatoes (Mastery Under Glass,) is a family-owned, world-renowned greenhouse tomato grower with facilities in Camarillo, and Delta, BC. A new facility in Mona, Utah is just coming into production. Founded by Cornelius Houweling as a grower of fresh flowers, it’s now led by his son, Casey. Houweling’s is now dedicated to delivering a full complement of scrumptious tomatoes year-round, while constantly innovating to reduce its environmental footprint. They are also pioneers in branding their premium tomatoes and cucumbers. David Bell, the Chief Marketing Officer for Houwelings, joins us with the fascinating story.

Are you in overdrive contemplating just the right wines to match with that festive holiday food celebration ? Fear not…Our new resident wine expert, Kyle Meyer, President and Director of Purchasing for Best Wines in Santa Ana, gives us some inspired suggestions that should provide the proper inspiration.

Cathy Thomas is the award-winning Food Writer for The Orange County Register. Cathy shares with us her favorite dishes of 2014 and looks ahead to some food trends for 2015. Is cauliflower perhaps the new kale for chefs ?

Cathy was just in New York at The James Beard Foundation as the invited guest presenter at a session of the acclaimed Beard on Books author series. The conversation was Melissa’s 50 Best Plants on the Planet. Cathy will share that special experience at the James Beard House as well as talk about some of the restaurants she visited.

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!