Show 296, November 3, 2018: Chef Andrew Gruel, Chef’s Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining, Part 1

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and CasinoThe Holidays are fast approaching and it’s time for the return of our Ask the Chef” segment with our own resident cooking authority, Chef Andrew Gruel. Chef Andrew provides a bevy of his always reliable best tips for stress-free Holiday entertaining. There is much more than turkey on the Holiday table…

To brine or not to brine that is perhaps the Thanksgiving question? How do you get all the parts of the turkey to cook evenly?


Show 99, November 29, 2014: The Solvang Bakery

Solvang has five traditional Danish bakeries turning out their cravable specialties including the famous butter cookies sold by the tub. As it turns out each also has a standout creation which is their signature.

Susan Halmes of Solvang BakeryFor the Solvang Bakery (now a Family affair with the 2nd generation involved) it’s gingerbread and jalapeno chile cheese bread. Their ornate and personalized gingerbread houses are shipped all across the country for the Holidays. True edible artistic creations…They are also known for their special occasion and distinctive wedding cakes.

Founder and 30-year master baker Susan Halmes shares her sweet story. Her recipe for success starts with “(2) heaping tablespoons Passion for delicious things to eat. From there it’s (1) cup (packed) love of family…

December is the annual Solvang Julefest (Yule-Fest.) The Solvang Bakery is part of this with gingerbread decorating classes for all ages. Great Family fun…


Show 52, December 14, 2013: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant oversees his highly successful empire of five Scarpetta restaurants

Scott Conant of Scarpetta and Food NetworkChef Scott Conant oversees a growing restaurant empire from his base in Manhattan. There are hugely successful Scarpetta restaurants in New York City, Miami Beach, Toronto, Beverly Hills at The Montage Hotel and Las Vegas at The Cosmopolitan. He’s known for an extraordinary spaghetti dish.

He also has the more casual, D.O.C.G. Enoteca at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

The Scarpetta Cookbook (his third) is just out for the Holidays. His goal is that the reader will really be able to recreate his restaurant dishes by following the recipes.

Scarpetta Beverly Hills just celebrated its 3rd birthday.

Chef Scott is familiar to millions of viewers of food television as one of the original permanent judges on Food Network’s “Chopped.” His well-established judging style is to be honest but not hurtful.

“Chopped” is probably the hardest legitimate cooking competition series on the air. As Scott explains it’s all real. None of the competing chefs have a clue as to what’s in their mystery basket of ingredients until they open it! Chef Scott reveals that “Chopped” has just been renewed for three more seasons.


Show 52, December 14, 2013: Celebrity Chef Scott Conant of the five Scarpetta restaurants coast-to-coast. Continues…

Scarpetta CookbookThe Scarpetta Cookbook came about as a result of a hands-on cooking demo Scott performed in Manhattan. There were 15 teams of two students preparing one of his signature recipes. The variations of the same dish as presented by the class members was incredible. Scott calls it a disaster.

Scott wants food fans to be able to successfully duplicate the Scarpetta recipes at home. No secrets or missing ingredient in the book’s recipes. That’s his goal for the book.

If you order the cookbook from his website you can obtain a personalized inscription. Good idea for the Holidays and saves the flight to New York.

Chef Scott talks about the needed ingredients for success with multiple restaurants. It’s all about service, food and ambiance. Service is the key. Food is the follow-up. Scott points out that if a guest has a bad service experience they are likely never to return.

Scott wants ever guest who visits his restaurants to leave happier than when they came in.


Show 52, December 14, 2013: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineIt’s the Holidays which is a peak vacation travel period. It’s a great time to catch-up with our man about Orange County, Kedric Francis. Kedric is the always debonair, well-traveled Executive Editor of Coast Magazine and The Orange County Register Magazine.

On Saturday morning Kedric is off to Cancun, Mexico to experience a new high-end resort there. He’s visiting the Nizuc Resort & Spa. It’s located on the site of the former secluded retreat for the President of Mexico. This will be the subject of a future report.

Kedric also reported on some big deal Fashion Island restaurant openings. Red O, with a high end regional Mexican menu by noted Chicago chef Rick Bayless, is now open. It’s high design with distinctive Tequila arches in the entry. Soon to launch is Fig & Olive (Mediterranean fare) which started on the West Coast in West Hollywood.

The Restaurant Issue of The Orange County Register Magazine is out on Monday, January 20th with the print edition.