Show 425, May 15, 2021: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group (including Raw by Slapfish, Two Birds and Big Parm) provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is continually updating us on the real impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery which remains a genuine concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining and inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions.

Moving on to the current crisis in the hospitality industry we ask Chef Andrew about the difficulty restaurants are currently experiencing in restaffing – both in the front and back of the house. It’s tough to even get applicants…What does the future hold if this unfortunate trend continues? Is more automation (and less service) possibly on the horizon?

Remember the juicy and delicious Community Burger (more than a mouthful) is available at all Southern California locations of Slapfish. The worthy burger is free with any donation to 86 Restaurant Struggle.” 100 per cent of that money goes to benefit struggling restaurant workers.

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Show 378, June 20, 2020: Tara Lazar, Founder, Foundation 10 Creative, Palm Springs Part One

Tara Lazar of Founders 10 CreativePalm Springs resident Tara Lazar is the Founder of Foundation 10 Creative, a prominent, and growing, hospitality group in Palm Springs. Over the past decade, Tara has created a small empire of iconic restaurants in the ever-growing travel destination of Palm Springs.

“Under the F10 family is the locals’ favorite breakfast, lunch and brunch hotspot Cheeky’s, the handsomely appointed modern steakhouse Mr. Lyons and their classic cocktail hideaway Seymour’s, a lively and al fresco Italian eatery Birba and the sleek and serene 34-room boutique hotel, Alcazar.”

“Initially started as a personal project to entertain and serve friends, F10 Creative has grown into a tight-knit network of some of the best food and beverage offerings in town, and continues to opportunistically expand.”

“Tara is a Palm Springs native, and after spending time traveling, sampling flavors around the world, she returned home to build Cheeky’s as the first establishment in the F10 line. Tara has been hands-on in every step of the way for each property, from creating the menu and cooking on the line, to designing the atmosphere and touching tables nightly. She now employs almost 200 residents of Palm Springs, and has been an influential voice across staffing, sourcing and serving in the hospitality industry.”

Tara joins us to talk about the reopening of all her Palm Springs properties.

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Show 378, June 20, 2020: Tara Lazar, Founder, Foundation 10 Creative, Palm Springs Part Two

Tara Lazar of Founders 10 CreativePalm Springs resident Tara Lazar is the Founder of Foundation 10 Creative, a prominent, and growing, hospitality group in Palm Springs.

Over the past decade, Tara has created a small empire of iconic restaurants in the ever-growing travel destination of Palm Springs.

“Under the F10 family is the locals’ favorite breakfast, lunch and brunch hotspot Cheeky’s, the handsomely appointed modern steakhouse Mr. Lyons and their classic cocktail hideaway Seymour’s, a lively and al fresco Italian eatery Birba and the sleek and serene 34-room boutique hotel, Alcazar.”

“Tara is a Palm Springs native, and after spending time traveling, sampling flavors around the world, she returned home to build Cheeky’s as the first establishment in the F10 line. Tara has been hands-on in every step of the way for each property, from creating the menu and cooking on the line, to designing the atmosphere and touching tables nightly. She now employs almost 200 residents of Palm Springs, and has been an influential voice across staffing, sourcing and serving in the hospitality industry.”

Tara continues with us to talk about the reopening of all her Palm Springs hotel and restaurant properties.

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Show 377, June 13, 2020: Las Vegas’ Lip Smacking Foodie Tours and Finger Licking Foodie Tours Part One

Donald Contursi of Lipsmacking Foodie ToursFood lovers are now able to eat and explore their way through Downtown Las Vegas like never before with a pair of private, self-guided, e-assisted culinary tours created by Finger Licking Foodie Tours. The brand-new company represents a follow-up, companion business to the successful Lip Smacking Foodie Tours created by Las Vegas entrepreneur and hospitality-industry veteran, Donald Contursi.

The new self-guided Finger Licking Foodie Tours (Downtown Fremont East and Arts District) offers guests a fun and innovative way to support three top restaurants in the Las Vegas community, while enjoying an array of Instagramable dishes in one outing. Each tour requires a minimum of just two patrons, so guests can safely dine with their closest family and loved ones.

Don Contursi joins us with the delectable details.

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Show 377, June 13, 2020: Las Vegas’ Lip Smacking Foodie Tours and Finger Licking Foodie Tours Part Two

Donald Contursi of Lipsmacking Foodie ToursFood lovers are now able to eat and explore their way through Downtown Las Vegas like never before with a pair of private, self-guided, e-assisted culinary tours created by Finger Licking Foodie Tours. The brand-new company represents a follow-up, companion business to the successful Lip Smacking Foodie Tours created 5 years ago by Las Vegas entrepreneur and hospitality-industry veteran, Donald Contursi.

“With restaurant capacities limited due to public health restrictions and reservations at the hottest restaurants challenging, Finger Licking Foodie Tours provide immediate VIP seating with signature dishes served fresh, shortly after arrival. Tours are “led” by a virtual tour guide who provides a map of the route, interesting tidbits along the way and a guided walk through Downtown Container Park to support local small businesses.”

“This tour provides an intimate and personalized foodie experience,” explains Contursi. “Guests receive an online map, as well as a link to an innovative virtual tour guide who provides commentary for each fascinating stop along the way including a walk- through Downtown Container Park to support small businesses. On this 2.5-hour experience in the city’s exciting, revitalized downtown, guests will visit three acclaimed restaurants, enjoying superb service and three unforgettable dishes at each venue.”

Don Contursi continues to entice us with the specifics of his new, self-guided VIP foodie experiences.

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Show 370, April 25, 2020: Alycia Harshfield, Executive Director, The CRA Foundation, for Restaurants Care

Alycia Harshfield of the California Restaaurant Association“While The California Restaurant Association Foundation has been around for more than three decades, the inspiration for Restaurants Care came just a few years ago in 2015. Jose, a cook in Sacramento, was struck in a hit and run on his way home after a late-night shift. He suffered a broken back, amongst other life-threatening injuries. The doctors at UC Davis Medical Center didn’t expect him to live.”

“The restaurant community came together and raised money to support Jose while he recovered. At that moment, The CRA Foundation knew that something bigger had to happen. Restaurants Care was created to take care of the most vulnerable in the hospitality industry in California.”

“At present, due to The Foundation’s current resources, Restaurants Care grants are focused on restaurant workers who are diagnosed with coronavirus or those who have been quarantined with a Doctor’s note.”

We’ll get all the details from Alycia Harshfield, Executive Director of the CRA Foundation.

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Show 337, August 17, 2019: Tara Lazar, Founder, Foundation 10 Creative, Palm Springs Part Two

Tara Lazar of Founders 10 CreativePalm Springs resident Tara Lazar is the Founder of Foundation 10 Creative, a prominent, and growing, hospitality group in Palm Springs. Tara has created a small empire of iconic restaurants in the ever-growing travel destination of Palm Springs

“Initially started as a personal project to entertain and serve friends, F10 Creative has grown into a tight-knit network of some of the best food and beverage offerings in town, and continues to expand.”

“Tara is a Palm Springs native, and after spending time traveling, sampling flavors around the world, she returned home to build Cheeky’s as the first establishment in the F10 line. Tara has been hands-on in every step of the way for each property, from creating the menu and cooking on the line, to designing the atmosphere and touching tables nightly. She now employs almost 200 residents of Palm Springs, and has been an influential voice across staffing, sourcing and serving in the hospitality industry.”

Tara Lazar continues the conversation with us.

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Show 302, December 15, 2018: Eric C. Gladstone, The Feast of Friends, Las Vegas

Eric GladstoneLas Vegas Insider Eric Gladstone is the principal of The Feast of Friends. In Las Vegas Eric produces food festivals and provides creative marketing services to restaurants. His specialty is independent, chef-driven projects. He also does important pro bono work supporting the independent Las Vegas hospitality industry.

Eric is the organizer of the inaugural Vegas UnStripped food festival which will return in 2019.

Eric also helped to organize a two-night benefit series (December 14th & 15th overseen by Rooster Boy Cafe) for the Intuitive Forager, Kerry Clasby. She lost part of her Malibu farm in the Woolsey fire.

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Show 133, August 1, 2015: Bobby Navarro, 100EATS.com

Bobby NavarroBobby Navarro left a decade of work in the hospitality industry to fully commit to his own event planning and culinary promotions company, 100eats.com. He cooked with Amar Santana at both Charlie Palmer’s in South Coast Plaza (now closed) and Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach.

Bobby’s passion for branding and business keeps him visiting hundreds of restaurants across the country, stemming from his original feat of dining at 100 restaurants in 100 consecutive days.

Bobby’s affection for the hospitality community and similar industries led him to create inspireartisticminds.org, an organization that gives thousands of dollars annually to connecting passionately driven individuals to the things that inspire them.

He also contributes to Foodbeast and Locale.

Bobby provides us with a preview of Chef Amar’s eagerly anticipated new restaurant in Costa Mesa, Vaca, a Spanish Restaurant.

We’ll meet Bobby…

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Show 58, January 25, 2013: Al Mancini, Las Vegas-based food journalist and co-author of Eating Las Vegas guidebook for 2011, 2012, and 2013

Max JacobsonMax Jacobson is a serious food journalist who relocated to Las Vegas from Southern California in 1999 to cover the burgeoning dining scene there. Southern Californians remember his coverage of the Orange County dining scene for The Los Angeles Times. He is currently Vegas Seven’s restaurant critic. His colleagues have great respect for him.

Two days before Christmas 2013, Jacobson was struck by a hit-and-run driver while he was in a crosswalk. He sustained severe brain trauma from the accident. He remains hospitalized in serious condition and his prognosis is uncertain.

Chefs to the Max benefit for Max Jacobson at RX Boiler RoomIn true hospitality industry fashion a group of prominent, celebrity chefs have joined together to launch the Chefs to the Max fundraising series to assist with Max Jacobson’s horrendous medical expenses.

The first dinner was January 19th at Chef Rick Moonen’s Rx Boiler Room at Mandalay Place on the Las Vegas Strip. The evening raised an impressive $275,799.

Fellow Las Vegas-based food journalist, Al Mancini, joins us to talk about the Chefs to the Max benefits and working with Max. Al and Max collaborated (with a third Las Vegas-based restaurant writer) on the three editions of the very popular Las Vegas dining guidebook series, Eating Las Vegas.

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