Show 324, May 18, 2019: John Nguyen, Garden Grove’s Pho 79, 2019 Recipient of James Beard Foundation’s America’s Classics Award

John Nguyen of Pho79The James Beard America’s Classics Award is given to locally owned restaurants that have timeless appeal and are cherished for quality food reflecting the character of their community. The five 2019 honorees join the ranks of over 100 restaurants from across the country that have received the award since the category was introduced in 1998.

The Tran Family’s Pho 79 is a 2019 Honoree as an America’s Classics. This honor represents the first James Beard Foundation Award ever presented to an Orange County Restaurant or Chef!

“Orange County, California, claims one of the most vibrant Vietnamese-American communities in the country. Pho 79 was founded by Thọ Trần and Liễu Trần who opened in 1982, when it was among the area’s very first restaurants of its kind, introducing Americans to bowls of slippery rice noodles in beefy broth, topped with eye of round steak, brisket, tripe, meatballs, or the restaurant’s justifiably legendary oxtails. With chef Lieu Trần in the kitchen, Pho 79 helped pave the way for southern California’s Little Saigon to become the dynamic hub of Vietnamese cuisine it is today. The next generation of the Trần family continues to operate the restaurant, as well as others in the area including Pho 101. The family’s story is as much about intrepid entrepreneurship and excellent cooking as it is about a community that rose from war and displacement to forever change American cuisine.”

The Tran Family’s other Pho restaurant is Pho 101 in Westminster.

Do keep in mind it’s cash only.

We’ll meet Tran Family member, John Nguyen.


Show 299, November 24, 2018: Chef Andrew Gruel, Bracken’s Kitchen’s Deck the Halls Holiday Open House Benefit

Bill BrackenChef Bill Bracken and high- profile chef friends (Bracken’s Kitchen, “Driven to combat food insecurity one tasty meal at a time”) – are gathering together for a Holiday Open House benefit on Thursday, Nov. 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Bracken’s new kitchen in Garden Grove to help raise awareness and funds for Bracken’s Kitchen’s mission to feed those in need. Bill Bracken is grateful to be in a new 9,000 sq. ft. kitchen, yet with the growth comes more need to do more that requires additional resources and funding.

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and CasinoAttendees will be invited to tour the various kitchens to sample signature dishes made from top chefs such as Chef Hugo Bolanos from Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel Air, Avalon Grille & The Catalina Company’s Chef Roberto Hernandez, Chef Andrew Gruel from Slapfish and Two Birds and Butterleaf and Chef John Park of Toast Kitchen + Bakery, not to mention Bracken’s Kitchen’s Executive Chef Jerry and Founder & Culinary Director, Chef Bill Bracken. Master Baker Dean Kim of OC Baking Company, Pastry Chef Michael Owens of the new Left Coast Bakery, and from The Dirty Cookie, Shahira Marel will round out our pastries and dessert tasting.

Tickets for the event start at $95 and will be going directly toward Bracken’s Kitchen food recovery efforts and feeding programs.

“We are excited to be able to make a bigger impact in the communities we serve with the additional space in our new kitchen,” says Chef Bill Bracken. “Thanks to our community donors and food business partners, we are able to host events like Deck The Halls and continue to restore food and lives.”

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel’s Slapfish, Two Birds and Butterleaf will be part of the festivities. Chef Andrew provides the details of what’s on the Deck The Halls (And The Kitchen!) menu.