Show 391, September 19, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Angelenos know the name of Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini (Italian-born) from his days in Los Angeles with Piero Selvaggio as executive chef of Primi in West Los Angeles and Posto in Sherman Oaks. In 1999 Luciano relocated to Las Vegas to open the well-received Valentino Las Vegas in the Venetian Resort as Executive Chef and Partner with Piero Selvaggio. In 2004 the James Beard Foundation awarded Pellegrini a prestigious James Beard Award as Best Chef Southwest. Very few Las Vegas-based chefs have achieved this high honor. Chef Luciano’s recent venture is the launching of Heavenly Pies with his cousin David Ryan Brister. Chef Luciano joins us with pizza peel securely in hand.

Food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is in Chicago on Friday evening, September 25th in an unexpected virtual format to be broadcast live via Twitter. Steve previews the dramatically reformatted (and virtual) 2020 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala. Steve Dolinsky joins us to better explain the unprecedented specifics.

Founded in 1987 by Chef Zov Karamardian, the iconic Zov’s Bistro and Bakery in Tustin, CA has become a culinary institution. Serving her unique cuisine that blends contemporary with Eastern Mediterranean influences, in an upscale, chic environment. There are now also Zov’s restaurants in Newport Coast, Irvine and Anaheim (temporarily on hiatus.) The Tustin, Irvine and Newport Coast locations are also serving Family Meals and Takeout Menu items curbside. Tailgating in Tustin (twice a month) with live music returns for Happy Hour and Dinner on Saturday, September 19th. New from Zov’s Catering are value-priced, individual meals that are table-ready. 2nd generation Karamardian Family member, Armen, joins us with the updates and looks to the future.

Orange County Restaurant Week Uncorked is on now through Saturday, September 26th. Orange County restaurants are participating with value priced menus available for lunch and/or dinner. Some have specialty cocktails as part of their offerings. The restaurants encourage you to savor the full guest experience with the return of limited dine-in with proper social distancing but most menus are also available To-Go.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Executive Chef Jared Cook join us to tempt with their prix fixe dinner menus at Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook in Laguna Beach, Ironwood in Laguna Hills, Olea in Newport Beach, and Vine Restaurant & Bar in San Clemente.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that greatly restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps… The consensus is that fine dining will look a bit different once the Covid 19 crisis finally subsides and there is a safe & proven vaccine readily available to all Americans. We all anticipate other changes in eating out at all levels of price and service. We’ll get Chef Andrew’s informed and insightful thoughts on the future.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Play

Show 391, September 19, 2020: Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Executive Chef Jared Cook of Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook, Laguna Beach

Chef Jared CookOrange County Restaurant Week Uncorked is on now through Saturday, September 26th. Orange County restaurants are participating with value priced menus available for lunch and/or dinner. Some have specialty cocktails as part of their offerings. The restaurants encourage you to get the full guest experience with the return of dine-in with proper social distancing but most menus are also available To-Go.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Executive Chef Jared Cook join us to tempt with their prix fixe dinner menus at Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook in Laguna Beach, Ironwood in Laguna Hills, Olea in Newport Beach, and Vine Restaurant & Bar in San Clemente.

Their special cocktail for OC Restaurant Week Uncorked is The Woodpecker. It’s Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Aperol, Crème de Peach, Fresh Peaches and Ginger.

The prix fixe dinner menu is three courses with choices in each category and priced at $50.00. Entree possibilities are Zinfandel Braised Napa Lamb Shank, Certified Double R Ranch Bone-In Ribeye Steak and Wild Caught Alaskan Halibut.

Play

September 19: Luciano Pellegrini, Steve Dolinsky, Zov’s BIstro and Bakery, OC Restaurant Week Uncorked with Sapphire

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini of Heavenly Pies and Dolce Vita Gelato, Las Vegas Part One
Segment Three: Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini of Heavenly Pies and Dolce Vita Gelato, Las Vegas Part Two
Segment Four: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound” Part One
Segment Five: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound” Part Two
Segment Six: Armen Karamardian, Zov’s Bistro, Tustin (and Irvine & Newport Coast)
Segment Seven: Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Executive Chef Jared Cook of Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook, Laguna Beach
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Angelenos know the name of Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini (Italian-born) from his days in Los Angeles with Piero Selvaggio as executive chef of Primi in West Los Angeles and Posto in Sherman Oaks. In 1999 Luciano relocated to Las Vegas to open the well-received Valentino Las Vegas in the Venetian Resort as Executive Chef and Partner with Piero Selvaggio. In 2004 the James Beard Foundation awarded Pellegrini a prestigious James Beard Award as Best Chef Southwest. Very few Las Vegas-based chefs have achieved this honor. Chef Luciano’s recent venture is the launching of Heavenly Pies with his cousin David Ryan Brister. Chef Luciano joins us with pizza peel in hand.

Food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is in Chicago on Friday evening, September 25th in an unexpected virtual format to be broadcast live via Twitter. Steve previews the dramatically reformatted (and virtual) 2020 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala. Steve Dolinsky joins us to explain the unprecedented specifics.

Founded in 1987 by Chef Zov Karamardian, the iconic Zov’s Bistro and Bakery in Tustin, CA has become a culinary institution. Serving her unique cuisine that blends contemporary with Eastern Mediterranean influences, in an upscale, chic environment. There are now also Zov’s restaurants in Newport Coast, Irvine and Anaheim (temporarily on hiatus.) The Tustin, Irvine and Newport Coast locations are now serving Family Meals and Takeout Menu items curbside. Tailgating in Tustin (twice a month) with live music returns for Happy Hour and Dinner on Saturday, September 19th. New from Zov’s Catering are value-priced, individual meals that are table-ready. 2nd generation Karamardian Family member, Armen, joins us with the updates and looks to the future.

Orange County Restaurant Week Uncorked is on now through Saturday, September 26th. Orange County restaurants are participating with value priced menus available for lunch and/or dinner. Some have specialty cocktails as part of their offerings. The restaurants encourage you to savor the full guest experience with the return of limited dine-in with proper social distancing but most menus are also available To-Go.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Executive Chef Jared Cook join us to tempt with their prix fixe dinner menus at Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook in Laguna Beach, Ironwood in Laguna Hills, Olea in Newport Beach, and Vine Restaurant & Bar in San Clemente.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that greatly restrict guest counts. Alternately take-out/delivery when you can surely helps… The consensus is that fine dining will look a bit different once the Covid 19 crisis finally subsides and there is a safe & proven vaccine readily available to all Americans. We all anticipate other changes in eating out at all levels. We get Chef Andrew’s informed and insightful thoughts on the future.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Luciano Pellegrini of Heavenly Pies in Las VegasAngelenos know the name of Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini (Italian-born) from his days in Los Angeles with Piero Selvaggio as executive chef of Primi in West Los Angeles (the unofficial commissary of Twentieth Century-Fox Studios at the time) and Posto in Sherman Oaks. In 1999 Luciano relocated to Las Vegas to open the well-received Valentino Las Vegas in the Venetian Resort as Executive Chef and Partner with Piero Selvaggio. In 2004 the James Beard Foundation awarded Pellegrini a prestigious James Beard Award as Best Chef Southwest. Very few Las Vegas-based chefs have achieved this honor.

After Valentino Las Vegas closed Pellegrini remained in Las Vegas and went on to debut Dolce Vita Gelato, an artisan gelato producer (wholesale) serving the hospitality business. He also consults for other restaurants in Las Vegas and California.

Chef Luciano’s latest venture is the launching of Heavenly Pies in the Southern Highlands neighborhood of Las Vegas with his cousin David Ryan Brister. The style of pizza is a mash up of Roman and Neapolitan varieties with premium ingredients. The signature Heavenly Pizza features black truffle tomato, brie cheese, porcini mushrooms, roasted garlic, speck and escarole.

The Trattoria Menu is Chef Luciano’s take on classic Italian dishes with a few surprises. Think Zeppole (fried dumplings) with anchovies, mozzarella and basil served with marinara or Philly cheese steak eggrolls.

Also on the menu are an assortment of six Takeout Meal packages. Each is designed to serve four guests and are packaged ready to eat or reheat.

Chef Luciano joins us with pizza peel in hand.

Steve Dolinsky and Andreew GruelFood journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence.

In addition to his considerable journalistic talents Steve in an accomplished podcaster and pizza afficionado. “Every other Friday, Steve talks to some of the world’s greatest pizzaiolos, bakers and artisans about their craft. Hear their backstories, discover their secrets, techniques and inspirations, while listening to their meticulous process as they describe how they make their truly sublime pizzas.”

The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala is in Chicago on Friday evening, September 25th in virtual format to be broadcast via Twitter. Steve previews the dramatically reformatted (and virtual) 2020 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala.

Restaurant and Chef awards in 23 categories have been nominated. None of these awards will be announced. Instead, the previously announced winners will be honored in the categories of America’s Classics, Lifetime Achievement, Humanitarian of the Year, Design Icon and Leadership Awards. All the previously announced Nominees (in twenty-three categories) will also be honored.

Steve Dolinsky joins us to untangle the specifics.

Armen Karamardian of ZovsFounded in 1987 by Chef Zov Karamardian, legendary Zov’s Bistro and Bakery in Tustin, CA has become a culinary institution. Serving her unique cuisine that blends contemporary with Eastern Mediterranean influences, in an upscale chic environment. There are now also Zov’s restaurants in Newport Coast, Irvine and Anaheim (temporarily on hiatus.) The Tustin, Irvine and Newport Coast locations are currently serving Family Meals and Takeout Menu items curbside. Also serving guests again for dine-in at 25 per cent capacity.

Tailgating in Tustin (in the parking lot) with live music on the Café patio returns for Happy Hour and Dinner (twice a month) on Saturday, September 19th. Guests can also dine under the stars on the Café patio. Guests can order ahead from Zov’s take-out menu along with the wine and cocktail list. Because of space limitations and safety requirements reservations are required.

New from Zov’s Catering are value-priced, individual meals that are table-ready. Sealed utensils are included.

“Family support has constantly been Zov’s foundation and inspiration throughout her culinary career. Zov, in addition to her husband, Gary, her son Armen, and her daughter Taleene, have created a rare family business recipe that has taken comforting creations of the family kitchen blended with Chef Zov’s culinary artistry.”

2nd generation Karamardian Family member, Armen, joins us with the updates and looks to the future.

Chef Jared CookOrange County Restaurant Week Uncorked is on now through Saturday, September 26th. Orange County restaurants are participating with value priced menus available for lunch and/or dinner. Some have specialty cocktails as part of their offerings. The restaurants encourage you to get the full guest experience with the return of dine-in with proper social distancing but most menus are also available To-Go.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Executive Chef Jared Cook join us to tempt with their prix fixe dinner menus at Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook in Laguna Beach, Ironwood in Laguna Hills, Olea in Newport Beach, and Vine Restaurant & Bar in San Clemente.

Their special cocktail for OC Restaurant Week Uncorked is The Woodpecker. It’s Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Aperol, Crème de Peach, Fresh Peaches and Ginger.

The prix fixe dinner menu is three courses with choices in each category and priced at $50.00. Entree possibilities are Zinfandel Braised Napa Lamb Shank, Certified Double R Ranch Bone-In Ribeye Steak and Wild Caught Alaskan Halibut.

Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant GroupOur own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps…

The consensus is that fine dining will look a bit different once the Covid 19 crisis finally subsides and there is a safe & proven vaccine readily available to all Americans. We all anticipate other significant changes in eating out at all levels. We get Chef Andrew’s informed and insightful thoughts on the future.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini of Heavenly Pies and Dolce Vita Gelato, Las Vegas Part One
Segment Three: Chef & Restaurateur Luciano Pellegrini of Heavenly Pies and Dolce Vita Gelato, Las Vegas Part Two
Segment Four: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound” Part One
Segment Five: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound” Part Two
Segment Six: Armen Karamardian, Zov’s Bistro, Tustin (and Irvine & Newport Coast)
Segment Seven: Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Executive Chef Jared Cook of Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook, Laguna Beach
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 370, April 25, 2020: Restaurateur Russ Bendel – Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook in Laguna Beach Part One

Russ Bendel of Ironwood, Olea and VIneThe Pantry at Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook, located at 1200 South Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, reopened Wednesday, April 1 for daily takeout service from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. during the COVID-19 crisis.

Dinner has just been added. Guests may call ahead (949.339.3027) to order breakfast, lunch and dinner and pick-up at The Pantry’s front door entrance where social distancing is observed. Food prices range from $7 – $15.

Two breakfast favorites, with vegetarian options, as well as house-made pastries and coffee beverages are available. Lunch offerings include an entrée garden herb salad, Wagyu beef burger and a Jidori confit chicken sandwich, both come with hand-cut herb fries. Beverage selections are fresh brewed iced tea, bottled water, soft drinks, bottled beer and craft cocktails packaged in Mason jars for $10. Think a variety of options for Mother’s Day Family meals, too.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel assumed ownership of the landmark property in March from Sapphire’s founder-proprietor, chef, Azmin Ghahreman, CEO of Sapphire Culinary Group. Bendel, with chef-partner Jared Cook, operate Vine in San Clemente, Ironwood in Laguna Hills and Olea in Newport Beach.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel is our guest.

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Show 370, April 25, 2020: Restaurateur Russ Bendel – Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook in Laguna Beach Part Two

Russ Bendel of Ironwood, Olea and VIneThe Pantry at Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook, located at 1200 South Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, reopened Wednesday, April 1 for daily takeout service from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. during the COVID-19 crisis.

Guests may call ahead (949.339.3027) to order breakfast, lunch or dinner and pick-up at The Pantry’s front door entrance where social distancing is observed. Food prices range from $7 – $15.

Think Breakfast Sandwich with house-made sausage, applewood bacon, cage-free egg, smoked gouda, cracked pepper aioli on a toasted challah bun or Jidori Chicken Confit Sandwich with house pickles, garlic dill aioli, on a potato roll with hand-cut herb fries.

Keep in mind a variety of creative Family Meal options for Mother’s Day.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel assumed ownership of the landmark property in March from Sapphire’s founder-proprietor, chef, Azmin Ghahreman, CEO of Sapphire Culinary Group. Bendel, with chef-partner Jared Cook, operate Vine in San Clemente, Ironwood in Laguna Hills and Olea in Newport Beach.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel continues.

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Show 350, December 7, 2019: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now an incredibly appetizing preview of this Saturday’s scrumptious show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will hopefully leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing… As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Truly couldn’t do it without you.

Thinking about buying a bottle of French Champagne as a gift or for the festive Holiday Table? Our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, joins us with selection tips from an expert that, happily, won’t break the bank. Orange Wine is a new topic of conversation among wine aficionados. Kyle provides the needed overview.

Between the two of them our resident Meatheads from West Coast Prime Meats, Terry Hanks and Jay Henderson, have decades of practical experience with center plate proteins. They are both avid home cooks, too. Terry and Jay join us with some genuinely useful Holiday cooking tips for that special holiday goose and roasted meats.

Cheesecake! The Emmy award winning show The Golden Girls made eating cheesecake a nightly ritual on the hit television series.  The pastry chef who made those luscious and delicious cheesecakes and many other foods for hit sitcoms is George Geary. Now Geary has expanded his cheesecake repertoire even more with the eagerly anticipated 2nd Edition of The Cheesecake Bible: 300 Sweet & Savory Recipes for Cakes and More.  Chef George is our guest with decadent ideas for the best in holiday cheesecakes and pro’s tips for stress-free holiday baking.

In the age of video chats and filtered “selfies”, sometimes real, human connection seems harder to come by, but it remains an important part of living a satisfying life. Eat, Laugh, Talk: The Family Dinner Playbook emerges from the brains behind The Family Dinner Project, a Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Academy-affiliated nonprofit that notes the profound impact that a fun family meal can have on the spirit, brain, and health of all family members. Co-authors (there are five) Brianne DeRosa and Shelly London join us to set the table.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel (and partners) are the respected operators of Ironwood (Laguna Hills), Olea (Newport Beach) and Vine (San Clemente) in Orange County. Russ was awarded Restaurateur of the Year honors at this year’s Golden Foodie Awards. Ironwood has a new lounge. Russ joins us with Chef-Partner Jared Cook to chat about the Holiday menus at Ironwood, Olea & Vine.

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Show 350, December 7, 2019: Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Chef-Partner Jared Cook – Ironwood, Olea & Vine Part One

Chef Jared CookRestaurateur Russ Bendel (and partners) are the respected operators of Ironwood (Laguna Hills), Olea (Newport Beach) and Vine (San Clemente) in Orange County. Russ was awarded Restaurateur of the Year honors at this year’s Golden Foodie Awards. Ironwood has a new lounge. Russ joins us with Chef-Partner Jared Cook to chat about the Holiday menus at Ironwood, Olea & Vine.

Ironwood features a full bar, open kitchen, and an enclosed outdoor heated patio with views of the Saddleback Mountains. It offers South Orange County residents a fine dining night out with a complete food and wine experience.”

“OLEA, named for a genus of trees that flourish in warm and tropical regions, is a European twist on the Napa/Sonoma-inspired cuisine and spirits at Vine, the restaurant Bendel assumed ownership of seven years ago.” The restaurant is characterized as Wine Country Cuisine at a chef-driven American bistro.

VINE is an all-encompassing Wine Country dining experience, a full bar, featuring craft cocktails, Open Kitchen, and a Semi-Private Dining table in our Wine Room. It offers South Orange County residents a fine dining night out with a complete food and wine experience.

VINE highlights Wine Country Cuisine influenced by the Napa Valley and other notable wine producing regions. In addition, the wine selection includes more than 100 bottles – more than 25 of which are available by the glass.”

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Show 350, December 7, 2019: Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Chef-Partner Jared Cook – Ironwood, Olea & Vine Part Two

Russ Bendel of Ironwood, Olea and VIneRestaurateur Russ Bendel (and partners) are the respected operators of Ironwood (Laguna Hills), Olea (Newport Beach) and Vine (San Clemente) in Orange County. Russ was awarded Restaurateur of the Year honors at this year’s Golden Foodie Awards. Ironwood has a new lounge.

Russ Bendel was born and raised in Philadelphia and relocated with his mother, father, and sister to California when he was a child. Russ grew up in the restaurant industry and always knew it was in his blood at an early age.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from The Collins College at Cal Poly Pomona with an emphasis on Restaurants and Business Management. During that time, Russ worked with Bloomin Brands Restaurant Group for 15 years, six years with Outback Steakhouse and nine years with Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. He was promoted to partner of the flagship Newport Beach location at the age of 25, youngest ever in company history.

Chef-Partner Jared Cook was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. After graduating from Western Culinary Institute in Portland Oregon, he relocated to Southern California. Since then Jared worked in restaurants such as French 75 in Laguna Beach, Chat Noir in Costa Mesa, and was promoted to Executive Chef at the Crow Bar and Kitchen, in addition to working at Vine Restaurant & Bar for the third time as a Cook, Sous Chef, and now Executive Chef.

Russ again joins us with Chef-Partner Jared Cook to continue their chat about the Holiday menus at Ironwood, Olea & Vine.

 

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December 7: Wine Exchange, West Coast Prime Meats, George Geary, The Family Dinner Project, Russ Bendel and Jared Cook

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Wine Authority Kyle Meyer, Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, with Champagne Buying Advice
Segment Three: The Meatheads from West Coast Prime Meats with Holiday Cooking Advice
Segment Four: Chef George Geary on Celebratory Cheesecakes for the Holidays
Segment Five: EAT, LAUGH, TALK! – The Family Dinner Playbook Part One
Segment Six: EAT, LAUGH, TALK! – The Family Dinner Playbook Part Two
Segment Seven: Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Chef-Partner Jared Cook – Ironwood, Olea & Vine Part One
Segment Eight: Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Chef-Partner Jared Cook – Ironwood, Olea & Vine Part Two

Now an incredibly appetizing preview of this Saturday’s scrumptious show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will hopefully leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing… As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Truly couldn’t do it without you.

Thinking about buying a bottle of French Champagne as a gift or for the festive Holiday Table? Our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, joins us with selection tips from an expert that, happily, won’t break the bank. Orange Wine is a new topic of conversation among wine aficionados. Kyle provides the needed overview.

Between the two of them our resident Meatheads from West Coast Prime Meats, Terry Hanks and Jay Henderson, have decades of practical experience with center plate proteins. They are both avid home cooks, too. Terry and Jay join us with some genuinely useful Holiday cooking tips.

Cheesecake! The Emmy award winning show The Golden Girls made eating cheesecake a nightly ritual on the hit television series.  The pastry chef who made those luscious and delicious cheesecakes and many other foods for hit sitcoms is George Geary. Now Geary has expanded his cheesecake repertoire even more with the eagerly anticipated 2nd Edition of The Cheesecake Bible: 300 Sweet & Savory Recipes for Cakes and More.  Chef George is our guest with decadent ideas for the best in holiday cheesecakes and pro’s tips for stress-free holiday baking.

In the age of video chats and filtered “selfies”, sometimes real, human connection seems harder to come by, but it remains an important part of living a satisfying life. Eat, Laugh, Talk: The Family Dinner Playbook emerges from the brains behind The Family Dinner Project, a Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Academy-affiliated nonprofit that notes the profound impact that a fun family meal can have on the spirit, brain, and health of all family members. Co-authors (there are five) Brianne DeRosa and Shelly London join us to set the table.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel (and partners) are the respected operators of Ironwood (Laguna Hills), Olea (Newport Beach) and Vine (San Clemente) in Orange County. Russ was awarded Restaurateur of the Year honors at this year’s Golden Foodie Awards. Ironwood has a new lounge. Russ joins us with Chef-Partner Jared Cook to chat about the Holiday menus at Ironwood, Olea & Vine.

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeThinking about buying a bottle of French Champagne as a gift or for the festive Holiday Table? Our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, joins us with selection tips from an expert that, happily, won’t break the bank.

Orange Wine is a new topic of conversation among wine aficionados. Kyle provides the needed overview.

Jay Henderson one of the Meatheads from West Coast Prime MeatsBetween the two of them our resident Meatheads from West Coast Prime Meats, Terry Hanks and Jay Henderson, have decades of practical experience with center plate proteins. They are both avid home cooks, too. Terry and Jay join us with some genuinely useful Holiday cooking tips.

 

Cookbook Author George GearyCheesecake! The Emmy award winning show The Golden Girls made eating cheesecake a nightly ritual on the hit television series.  The pastry chef who made those luscious and delicious cheesecakes and many other foods for hit sitcoms is George Geary. He later became the first award winning pastry chef for the Walt Disney Company at Disneyland.

Geary’s cheesecakes became one of his most popular culinary calling cards so he then published his favorite recipes in his first cookbook, 125 Best Cheesecake Recipes in 2002, and it was such a hit that a follow up book, The Cheesecake Bible was published in 2008 and became a best-seller.

Now Geary has expanded his cheesecake repertoire even more with the highly anticipated 2nd Edition of The Cheesecake Bible: 300 Sweet & Savory Recipes for Cakes and More George provides home cooks with extensive how-to instructions, tips and techniques to make the perfect cheesecake.

Recipes in the book range from holiday favorites, savory and citrus cheesecakes, no-bake cheesecakes, to bars, pies, toppings and sauces, and breakfast items. Some of the delicious recipes in the book include: Artichoke Cheesecake, Maine Lobster Cheesecake, Passover Honey Cheesecake, Blood Orange Spiced Cheesecake, Eggnog Rum Cheesecake, Italian Zabaglione Cheesecake Bars, Blood Orange Cheesecake Crępes, Cheesecake Bonbons and many more unique flavored desserts.

Chef George is our encore guest offering decadent ideas for the best in holiday cheesecakes and pro’s tips for stress-free holiday baking.

Shelly London of the Family Dinner ProjectIn the age of video chats and filtered “selfies”, sometimes real, human connection seems harder to come by, but it remains an important part of living a satisfying life. In fact, over 20 years of research has shown what parents have known for a long time: regular family meals lead to long-term benefits, including higher resilience, self-esteem, and grade-point-averages, and LOWER rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, eating disorders, and depression.

Eat, Laugh, Talk: The Family Dinner Playbook52 Weeks of Easy Recipes, Engaging Conversation, and Hilarious Games emerges from the brains behind The Family Dinner Project, a Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Academy-affiliated nonprofit that notes the profound impact that a fun family meal can have on the spirit, brain, and health of all family members.

The Family Dinner Project’s new book gives readers the tools to kickstart a habit of putting together fun family dinners, including:

  • Conversation starters
  • Quick and easy recipes
  • Fun table games for everyone to play
  • Tips for overcoming obstacles, setting dinnertime goals, managing busy schedules, and engaging everyone in the conversation

With anecdotes from real families who have become a part of The Family Dinner Project’s growing movement, this book will inspire readers of all ages to look forward to dinner (together)!

Co-authors (there are five) Brianne DeRosa and Shelly London join us to set the table.

“What if there was a single activity you could do at home, requiring no special equipment or training of any kind, that could have lifelong benefits for the physical, emotional, academic and social health of every member of your family? That activity exists, and it’s the family dinner.”

Building on decades of research and over ten years of experience working with real families who are overcoming the common challenges that keep people from sharing regular meals, The Family Dinner Project — a nonprofit initiative based at Massachusetts General Hospital — has written a step-by-step playbook to help make family dinners possible.

Eat, Talk, Laugh: The Family Dinner Playbook (Familius Publishing) is packed with practical advice and inspiration to help you overcome common mealtime challenges and get the most out of your family dinners. Organized in sections according to common mealtime obstacles, Eat, Laugh, Talk provides 52 weeks of food, fun and conversation that will appeal to people of all ages.  Laid out in an easy-to-follow, week-by-week format, Eat, Laugh, Talk is a book of real stories, real experiences and real family dinners that will inspire you and your family.

 “The Family Dinner Project, a nonprofit initiative started in 2010, champions family dinner as an opportunity for family members to connect with each other through food, fun and conversation about things that matter.  More than 20 years of scientific research shows “why” family mealtimes are so important.  The Family Dinner Project provides the “how” for today’s busy families. Our team members have come from varied personal and professional backgrounds. We are parents and non-parents, and our ages range from “young professional” to “Medicare-eligible.”  Our collective professional experience includes education, family therapy, research, food, social work, marketing and communication.  With nonprofit partners and local champions, The Family Dinner Project team works online and at community events to help families increase the frequency, meaning and long-term benefits of their shared meals.  We are based in Boston at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Psychiatry Academy.”

Co-authors (there are five) Brianne DeRosa and Shelly London continue their conversation with us at the family dinner table.

Chef Jared CookRestaurateur Russ Bendel (and partners) are the respected operators of Ironwood (Laguna Hills), Olea (Newport Beach) and Vine (San Clemente) in Orange County. Russ was awarded Restaurateur of the Year honors at this year’s Golden Foodie Awards. Ironwood has a new lounge. Russ joins us with Chef-Partner Jared Cook to chat about the Holiday menus at Ironwood, Olea & Vine.

Ironwood features a full bar, open kitchen, and an enclosed outdoor heated patio with views of the Saddleback Mountains. It offers South Orange County residents a fine dining night out with a complete food and wine experience.”

“OLEA, named for a genus of trees that flourish in warm and tropical regions, is a European twist on the Napa/Sonoma-inspired cuisine and spirits at Vine, the restaurant Bendel assumed ownership of seven years ago.” The restaurant is characterized as Wine Country Cuisine at a chef-driven American bistro.

VINE is an all-encompassing Wine Country dining experience, a full bar, featuring craft cocktails, Open Kitchen, and a Semi-Private Dining table in our Wine Room. It offers South Orange County residents a fine dining night out with a complete food and wine experience.

VINE highlights Wine Country Cuisine influenced by the Napa Valley and other notable wine producing regions. In addition, the wine selection includes more than 100 bottles – more than 25 of which are available by the glass.”

Russ Bendel of Ironwood, Olea and VIneRuss Bendel was born and raised in Philadelphia and relocated with his mother, father, and sister to California when he was a child. Russ grew up in the restaurant industry and always knew it was in his blood at an early age.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from The Collins College at Cal Poly Pomona with an emphasis on Restaurants and Business Management. During that time, Russ worked with Bloomin Brands Restaurant Group for 15 years, six years with Outback Steakhouse and nine years with Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. He was promoted to partner of the flagship Newport Beach location at the age of 25, youngest ever in company history.

Chef-Partner Jared Cook was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. After graduating from Western Culinary Institute in Portland Oregon, he relocated to Southern California. Since then Jared worked in restaurants such as French 75 in Laguna Beach, Chat Noir in Costa Mesa, and was promoted to Executive Chef at the Crow Bar and Kitchen, in addition to working at Vine Restaurant & Bar for the third time as a Cook, Sous Chef, and now Executive Chef.

Russ joins us with Chef-Partner Jared Cook to continue their chat about the Holiday menus at Ironwood, Olea & Vine.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Wine Authority Kyle Meyer, Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, with Champagne Buying Advice
Segment Three: The Meatheads from West Coast Prime Meats with Holiday Cooking Advice
Segment Four: Chef George Geary on Celebratory Cheesecakes for the Holidays
Segment Five: EAT, LAUGH, TALK! – The Family Dinner Playbook Part One
Segment Six: EAT, LAUGH, TALK! – The Family Dinner Playbook Part Two
Segment Seven: Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Chef-Partner Jared Cook – Ironwood, Olea & Vine Part One
Segment Eight: Restaurateur Russ Bendel and Chef-Partner Jared Cook – Ironwood, Olea & Vine Part Two

Show 253, December 23, 2017: Orange County Restaurateur, Russ Bendel, Olea

Russ BendelWe know restaurateur Russ Bendel from his successful wine country-themed establishments in Orange County, Vine in San Clemente and Ironwood in Laguna Hills. Now it’s a threesome with the launch of the handsome Olea, already making waves in Newport Beach.

Named for a genus of trees that flourish in warm and tropical regions, Olea gives Bendel’s award-winning Napa and Sonoma wine country concepts at Vine, in San Clemente, and Ironwood, in Laguna Hills, a European accent with extensive wine selections from Italy, France and Spain.

Chef-Partner Jared Cook has created a menu of modern California cuisine that perfectly complements the “global wine country” approach the Bendel team has taken at Olea.

“Olea represents the continued progression we have created with our other two wine country-inspired cuisine restaurants,” Bendel said. The restaurant is Bendel’s largest, seating 130 guests, and like the other two locations is open for dinner nightly.

Cook has created new dishes exclusively for Olea, including blue crab baked oysters with champagne tarragon butter); terrine of duck liver, bacon and bourbon; wild-caught Pacific Blue Nose sea bass; herb-roasted prime beef cheek stroganoff with house-made rosemary pappardelle; Pacific Northwest filet mignon with black truffle and blue crab Béarnaise; and seasonal apple and pear cobbler with oatmeal crumble and cardamom ice cream.

Also on the menu at Olea are Vine/Ironwood crowd-pleasers such as Meyer lemon & honey duck wings and jumbo lump blue crab with roasted heirloom beets.

Olea’s interior is Tuscany wine country meets California Cuisine. An eclectic blend of timeless natural backgrounds includes antique French white oak floors, Black Mountain ledge-stone, black walnut millwork complemented with contemporary decorative lighting, and clean soffit lines and a warm taupe color palette.

Dining areas are divided with sculptures instead of walls, made from natural tree branches on steel bases that lend privacy. The completely weatherproofed dining patio has a parkway setting with swagger light fixtures and citrus trees and herbs in large planters. Two olea (olive) trees flank the entrance of the restaurant.

A focal point of Olea, which totals 3,647 square feet, is a custom-made captain’s table in the wine room that can seat 10.  The captain’s table is surrounded by working wine storage and wine displays, artwork and beautiful lighting fixtures.

Olea is located at The Walk, 2001 Westcliff Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660, by Kéan Coffee. Reservations are accepted on OpenTable, or by calling 949-287-6807. There is self-parking in a newly-constructed 300-car parking structure adjacent to the restaurant.

Russ Bendel tempts us what’s on the menu.

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