Show 138, September 12, 2015: The Joy of Sake Festival – Las Vegas

Chris PearceThe Joy of Sake Festival, now in its 15th year, comes to Las Vegas for the first time on Saturday, September 19th from 7 to 10:00 p.m. at Caesars Palace. It celebrates the world’s finest sakes.

The Joy of Sake is the public tasting that follows the U.S. National Sake Appraisal, which is held in Honolulu every July. Brewers from every region in Japan enter their best junmai, ginjo and daiginjo labels, which are blind-tasted by judges from Japan and the U.S. The most exceptional win gold and silver awards. Festival-goers sample these outstanding entries, including over 200 labels which are not even available in the U.S.

For sake fans, there is no better scenario : over four hundred premium labels in peak condition, along with sake-themed appetizers from 12 top restaurants in Las Vegas including the renown Raku in Las Vegas’ Chinatown.

Tokyo follows on November 5th.

Organizer Chris Pearce gives us all the 411.

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Show 130, July 11, 2015: Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi, Mission Social Hall & Cafe, Honolulu

Mark NoguchiHawaii Chef Mark Noguchi is based on Oahu. He has been a previous guest on the show talking about the Hawaii Wine & Food Festival. (which he, again, will be part of in 2015.)

“I cook from an ‘aina based perspective. It’s important for us to know where our food comes from. It defines who we are. The awareness of this intimate connection keeps me grounded.” – Chef Mark Noguchi

His latest project is providing the food at the historic Hawaii Mission Houses with the Mission Social Hall & Café. It’s in Downtown Honolulu. It’s a lunch café that features healthy grab-n-go choices such as sandwiches, salads and soups along with contemporary Hawaiian food inspired by dishes of the 19th-century missionary era.

In June Chef Mark was part of the highly exclusive chefs’ group participating in the James Beard Foundation’s 7th Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change at Glynwood in Cold Spring, New York. The site was a 225-acre agricultural nonprofit’s farm.

This series of workshops provided the chefs with the policy and advocacy skills they need to be effective champions for their chosen food-system causes.

Chef Mark Noguchi joins us to bring us up-to-date on his various efforts.

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Show 30, June 1, 2013: Jeffrey Vigilla, executive chef of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu

Chef Jeffrey Vigilla of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach ResortJeffrey Vigilla is the accomplished executive chef of the 2,860 room Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu on 22 lush tropical acres. It’s the largest hotel property on the famed Waikiki Beach with the widest stretch of sandy beach.

Chef Vigilla is going local with as much of his function and banquet menu ingredients as possible. His chocolate is from Waialua Estates on the North Shore of Oahu and he even sources local honey. Chef Vigilla is responsible for all the banquet food serving 150,000 square feet of banquet space.

Unfortunately we missed connecting with Chef Vigilla and hope to have him on at a later date.

Meanwhile Jet talked about his new frozen dessert concept, Kuma Snow Cream, which soft opened in the Chinatown district of Las Vegas last week.

Jet also asked Producer Andy to highlight his favorite single taste of both Oahu and The Big Island.

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Show 30, June 1, 2013: Celebrity Chef Alan Wong, Alan Wong’s, Honolulu

Alan WongChef Wong is one of the distinguished pioneers of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. This group of influential chefs was advocating using local ingredients and sustainability years before the concept was fashionable. In Honolulu he is the owner / chef of Alan Wong’s and the more casual Pineapple Room located in Macy’s in the Ala Moana Center. On Maui his property is Alan Wong’s Amasia at the Grand Wailea Resort. That’s Hawaii Regional Cuisine with sushi and a robata grill.

Chef Alan defines Hawaii Regional Cuisine as an artful blending of all the cultures now populating the Islands. In addition to native Hawaiian food it includes influences from the Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Koreans, and Filipinos, among others.

Chopped Ahi Sashimi and Avocado Salsa StackThere are many ways to experience dinner at Alan Wong’s. The a la carte menu features salads and entrees. There is also an a la carte “Side By Side Tasting” menu. Additionally there is both a “Chef’s Tasting Menu” and “A Tasting of The Classics” prix fixe menu. Both of the “Tasting” menus have optional wine pairings matched with each course.

Miya Nishimura is Chef Alan’s Chef De Cuisine at Alan Wong’s. She is a rising star in her own right.

On Sunday, June 2nd Chef Alan Wong is one of the celebrity chefs with a tasting station at the annual Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation Benefit at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach Resort. The event starts at 4:00 p.m. One hundred per cent of the ticket sales revenues goes toward hunger relief efforts in Orange County

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Show 30, June 1, 2013: Chuck Furuya, Master Sommelier and partner in DK Restaurants, Honolulu

Chuck FuruyaWhen it comes to wine the go-to guy in Hawaii is Chuck Furuya. He was only the 10th person in the United States to pass the incredibly rigorous Master Sommelier exam.

Chuck is the sommelier and a partner in the DK Restaurant Group. In their collection of hugely popular properties are DK Steak House (Waikiki), Sansei (Waikiki, Maui, and The Big Island), Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas (Honolulu), and Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar (Honolulu).

Over the Memorial Day Weekend, Chuck was the lead sommelier in Maui at the Four Seasons Resort Maui’s Vintage Wine Weekend.

Chuck offered some practical advice on pairing wine with classic Hawaiian flavors.

Chuck also commented on why wine from grapes grown in Hawaii is such a challenge although there are working wineries on both Maui and the Big Island.

Part of the dilemma in potentially growing grapes there is that there are no seasons in Hawaii. Grape vines need a period of dormancy each year.

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June 1: Hawaiian Food and Restaurant Special

Podcasts

Segment One: Hawaii Food Tours’Chef Matthew Gray
Segment Two: Jeffrey Vigilla, executive chef of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Alan Wong, Alan Wong’s, Honolulu
Segment Four: Chuck Furuya, Master Sommelier and partner in DK Restaurants, Honolulu
Segment Five: Celebrity Chef Sam Choy, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, The Big Island, Hawaii
Segment Six: Les Apoliona, Land Asset Manager, Land Assets Division of Kamehameha Schools of Hawaii

Summer is upon us and the vacation travel season is at hand. Both Jet and Producer Andy have recently been to Hawaii. Saturday will be our Hawaii special bringing you the best (and tastiest) tips for visits to Oahu and The Big Island.

Matthew Gray of Hawaii Food ToursChef and food critic Matthew Gray has been objectively observing the Oahu food scene since 1993. He was previously the food critic for the local newspaper, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Whether it’s a joint in Chinatown making their own noodles or the best in high-end cuisine Matthew knows the territory.

Some six years ago he created Hawaii Food Tours to provide visitors with highly entertaining, one-of-a-kind food adventures. His signature food tour is his Hole-in-the-Wall Food Tour where you discover the rich history of Honolulu through food. Matthew takes his guests to unusual places they would never discover on their own.

Chef Jeffrey Vigilla of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach ResortJeffrey Vigilla is the accomplished executive chef of the 2,860 room Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu on 22 lush tropical acres. It’s the largest hotel property on the famed Waikiki Beach with the widest stretch of beach. Chef Vigilla is going local with as much of his menu ingredients as possible. His chocolate is from Waialua Estates on Oahu and he even sources local honey.

 

Alan WongHawaii’s Alan Wong is one of the pioneers of Hawaiian Regional cuisine. Now, sourcing and serving the freshest local ingredients is in vogue. In Hawaii, Alan owns the flagship Alan Wong’s in Honolulu as well as the more casual Pineapple Room in Ala Moana Center. On Maui his most recent establishment is Amasia at the Grand Wailea.

The President dines with the First Lady at Alan Wong’s on his yearly vacations on Oahu.

On Sunday, June 2nd Chef Alan will be one of the celebrity chefs cooking at the Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation Benefit at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach.

Chuck FuruyaChuck Furuya of the D.K. Restaurant Group with hugely successful properties on Oahu, Maui, and The Big Island was only the 10th person in the United States to pass the rigorous Master Sommelier examination. He’s the recognized leader in the Islands in furthering wine education.  He loves to introduce undiscovered wines to his guests and good value is always part of his mission. No wine snobbery here…

Sam ChoyThe Big Island’s Sam Choy is known as Hawaii’s culinary ambassador to the world. He has a new restaurant on The Big Island, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, with a 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean. He’s also known as the “Godfather of Poke” which is his signature dish. Chef Sam is the author of 16 cookbooks and is a regular culinary celebrity chef aboard Crystal Cruises.

Kamehameha Schools is Hawaii’s largest private landowner with some 365,000 acres on The Big Island, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, and Kauai. They own the choice land in Waikiki that are the sites of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and associated upscale retail complex. One of their new initiatives is to support value added agriculture with entrepreneurial leaseholders of their land. Two out of three coffee estates in the Kona area are on Kamehameha Schools leased land.

Les Apoliona, a land asset manager for the north Kona district for the Land Assets Division of Kamehameha joins us to talk about the inventive effort to support these businesses and the move to make The Big Island more self sufficient in the production of food. Les has a background in food service and hotel management and is well-known in the restaurant community of The Big Island.

Podcasts

Segment One: Hawaii Food Tours’Chef Matthew Gray
Segment Two: Jeffrey Vigilla, executive chef of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Alan Wong, Alan Wong’s, Honolulu
Segment Four: Chuck Furuya, Master Sommelier and partner in DK Restaurants, Honolulu
Segment Five: Celebrity Chef Sam Choy, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, The Big Island, Hawaii
Segment Six: Les Apoliona, Land Asset Manager, Land Assets Division of Kamehameha Schools of Hawaii/a>

Show 29, May 18, 2013: Craig Strong, executive chef of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach

Chef Craig StrongFor the 3rd year Chef Craig, Studio, and Montage Laguna Beach are hosting the Orange County “Taste of the Nation” benefit for Share Our Strength. Share Our Strength’s national mission is hunger relief.

One hundred percent of the ticket revenue from June 2nd goes to local Orange County hunger relief organizations for programs. All expenses are covered by donations and sponsors. That’s highly unusual!

The event itself is an elaborate, walk-around tasting on the oceanfront bluff (with views of the Pacific) of Studio with food tasting stations from Studio and celebrity chefs from around the country. There are also premium wines served. Guests have the chance to really interact with the chefs and winemakers in a relaxed environment.

The impressive chef line-up includes Alan Wong from Alan Wong’s in Honolulu, Josiah Citrin of Melisse in Santa Monica, and Brooke Williamson of Hudson House in Redondo Beach, the 1st runner up on this season’s “Top Chef” series on Bravo.

Tickets in advance are $150, and the VIP Meet the Chef experience is $250.

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May 18: Sherry Yard, Craig Strong, Bill Esparza, Martin Blin, Marcus Samuelsson

Podcasts

Segment One: Pastry Chef Sherry Yard
Segment Two: Craig Strong, executive chef of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach
Segment Three: Bill Esparza, the “Mexican Food Maestro” and authority on the food of Baja California
Segment Four: Marius Blin, executive chef of Sofitel Los Angeles and president of Club Culinaire of Southern California
Segment Five: Pastry Chef Sherry Yard, Celebrity Chef discusses the new Helms Bakery
Segment Six: Marcus Samuelsson, chef / proprietor of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem

Sherry YardSpecial treat for this Saturday’s show. Pastry princess Sherry Yard is guest hosting the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” She was Wolfgang Puck’s long-time pastry chef until departing after the Oscars this year to embark on a restaurant project of her own.

Sherry Yard is a multiple James Beard Award-winner for both the pastry arts as well as writing. These coveted medallions are the Oscars of the food world! Sherry was just in New York for the annual Beard Awards presented at Lincoln Center. Sherry will tell us what it’s like to be backstage and onstage in Manhattan during the Beard Awards.

Chef Craig StrongCraig Strong is the executive chef of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach. This is one of Orange County’s elite fine-dining destinations. It’s housed in its own architecturally distinctive building on the luscious grounds of Montage and the added bonus is the view of The Pacific.

On Sunday, June 3rd Chef Strong and his team are again hosting the annual Share Our Strength – Taste of the Nation benefit in Studio and the adjacent grounds. It’s a refined walk-around wine and food tasting afternoon with incredible tastes from some of the most high profile chefs in the country. Alan Wong from Alan Wong’s in Honolulu is one of the distinguished visiting chefs. Chef Alan cooks for the President at Alan Wong’s when he visits Honolulu. Also Chef Brooke Williamson of Hudson House in Redondo Beach. She was the runner- up in this season’s “Top Chef” series on Bravo!

Bill EsperanzaSaxophonist Bill Esparza has been dubbed the “Mexican Food Maestro.” As a hobby he’s developed an expertise (now a bustling 2nd career) in the foods of Baja California and the other culinary regions of Mexico. He leads escorted food tours there for journalists and food fans alike. He’s even given advice to Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern.

On Sunday, June 23rd he’s hosting LA Weekly’s Tacolandia Tacofest from Noon to 5:00 p.m. on the parking lot of the Hollywood Palladium.

33rd Annual Picnic de ChefsWhen a group of accomplished French chefs get together to cook guaranteed fun is always on the menu. The 33rd Annual Picnic des Chefs will be held on Sunday, June 2, 2013 at Vasa Park in Agoura Hills. This picnic is organized annually by the Club Culinaire of Southern California to benefit area charities.

On hand will be food tasting stations from 20 area restaurants complimented by premium wines from 20 wineries.

Chef Martin Blin the executive chef of Sofitel Los Angeles (across from the Beverly Center) and the President of the group joins us with all the appetizing details.

Back to our conversation with Sherry Yard.

Her new venture is the reimagined Helms Bakery (under construction) in partnership with Sang Yoon of Father’s Office and Lukshon. This will be on the site of the original Helms Bakery, an iconic food landmark and brand established in 1931 (with home delivery) which sadly closed in 1969.

Marcus Samuelsson and Andy Harris at a Taste of Harlem in Baldwin HillsMarcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem really needs no introduction. Among his many achievements he orchestrated the menu for President Obama’s first State Dinner at the White House during his initial term.

His excellent memoirs, Yes, Chef, is now in paperback. It just earned a James Beard Award. It’s a must read for any young person contemplating a career in the culinary arts. Chef Marcus is brutally honest in recounting his achievements and failures on the lengthy path to the major success he now is.

Podcasts

Segment One: Pastry Chef Sherry Yard
Segment Two: Craig Strong, executive chef of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach
Segment Three: Bill Esparza, the “Mexican Food Maestro” and authority on the food of Baja California
Segment Four: Marius Blin, executive chef of Sofitel Los Angeles and president of Club Culinaire of Southern California
Segment Five: Pastry Chef Sherry Yard, Celebrity Chef discusses the new Helms Bakery
Segment Six: Marcus Samuelsson, chef / proprietor of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem