Show 149, December 5, 2015: Ultimo – A Weekend of Excellence, Las Vegas

Ultimo A Weekend ExcellenceThey always do it B-I-G in Las Vegas. What’s billed as the culinary event of the year, Ultimo – A Weekend of Excellence, hosted by The Venetian and The Palazzo, will take culinary extravagance to new levels, December 17th through the 20th.

The highlight of the festivities will be the competition to select Team USA representing the United States in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or international cooking competition in Lyon, France in early 2017. This is the Olympics of the culinary arts. For the first time ever Team USA (Chef Philip Tessier and Commis Skyler Stover) was awarded the Silver Medal at the Bocuse d’Or this year. Chef Tessier will be part of Ultimo Weekend.

For the third year in a row, Ultimo will celebrate the romance of Italy with lavish feasts and exceptional experiences from an A-team of award-winning chefs as it unfolds around The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas. Renowned culinary luminaries participating in the weekend will include Chefs Jérôme Bocuse, Daniel Boulud, Josiah Citrin, Shaun Hergatt, Gavin Kaysen, Thomas Keller, James Kent, Roland Passot, Philip Tessier, Ming Tsai, Richard Rosendale, and Dario Cecchini, the famed Chianti “Butcher of Panzano.”

“This will be, without a doubt, the most spectacular gathering of world-renowned chefs in Las Vegas,” said Sebastien Silvestri, vice president of food & beverage for The Venetian and The Palazzo.  “For the culinary enthusiast, this will be a weekend to remember.”

This exceptional winter weekend will feature the return of The Venetian’s Grand Banquet, a landmark collaboration between several of the world’s best culinarians including Chefs Keller, Tessier, Hergatt and Tsai.

Sebastien Silvestri, Vice President of Food & Beverage for The Venetian and The Palazzo is our guest.

 

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Show 109, February 7, 2015: Chef Philip Tessier, Team USA & The French Laundry

Bocuse D'Or Team USA wins SilverWhen we last chatted with Team USA (Chefs Philip Tessier and Commis Skylar Stover of The French Laundry) early last month they were on their way to Lyon to compete in the bi-annual Bocuse d’Or World Culinary Competition, the Olympics of the culinary world. This was after a year of intensive preparation and dedicated training.

24 teams of the most gifted culinary minds from across the world competed and Team USA (guided by the ment’or BKB Foundation) was awarded the Silver Medal (second place) for their artful and spectacular meat platter and fish plate. Team Norway was the first-place winner. This is a giant first for Team USA. Their previous top finish was sixth.

Congratulations to Team USA on a stunning achievement. Chef Tessier is our guest.

The non-profit ment’or BKB Foundation created by Jerome Bocuse, Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller supports Team USA with funding and coaching support. It also aims to inspire excellence in young culinary professionals and to preserve the traditions and quality of classic cuisine in America. Donations are graciously accepted.

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Show 109, February 7, 2015: Chef Philip Tessier, Team USA & The French Laundry Continues…

24 teams of the most gifted culinary minds from across the world competed in the Bocuse d’Or Culinary Competition and Team USA (guided by the ment’or BKB Foundation) was awarded the Silver Medal (second place) for their artful and spectacular meat platter and fish plate. Team Norway was the first-place winner. This is a giant first for Team USA. Their previous top finish was sixth. Congratulations to Team USA on a stunning achievement.

Barrel-Oak Roasted Guinea Hen from Team USA at the Bocuse D'orTeam USA presented “the acclaimed panel of judges with a stunning meat platter of Barrel-Oak Roasted Guinea Hen with sausage of guinea leg confit, white corn mousse, and black winter truffle, “Garden of Sweet Peas” with French Laundry garden blossoms and herbs, sugar snap peas, and black trumpet mushroom panade, “Beehive” with boudin of smoked guinea liver, grapevine honey, pistachio “Pain des Genes, ” wild fennel buds, and topaz wine glaze, Black Truffle Consomme with ragout of gizzard and heart “confit,” steamed custard, and flowering cress, White Corn “Nest” with buttered corn pudding, crisped corn silk, and “petit” popcorn, and Preserved Chanterelles with salad of frisee and garden blossoms, pickled huckleberry, and “foie gras” jus.”

“The gorgeous fish plate showcased Brioche-Crusted Brown Trout Pave with American caviar, tartelette of crisped skin, garden dill, celery branch “Farci,” celery root puree, compressed apples, brown butter emulsion, sand smoked mushroom consomme. Both the meat platter and fish plate were designed by the lauded  Martin Kastner of Chicago.”

The non-profit ment’or BKB Foundation created by Jerome Bocuse, Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller supports Team USA with funding and coaching support. It also aims to inspire excellence in young culinary professionals and to preserve the traditions and quality of classic cuisine in America. Donations are graciously accepted.

Chef Phil Tessier continues as our guest.

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Show 96, November 8, 2014: Mentor BKB Foundation’s Young Chefs Competition

Mentor KBK Young Chef Competition winner Lyn Wells with Thomas KellerTwo weeks ago we introduced you to the ment’or BKB Foundation (previously known as The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation) and their Executive Director, Young Yun. The mission of the nonprofit Foundation is to inspire culinary excellence in young professionals and to preserve the traditions and quality of classic cuisine in America. The founders are Chefs Jerome Bocuse (Paul’s son,) Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller.

They also mentor and support Team USA’s participation in the Bocuse d’Or competition staged every other year in Lyon, France. The Bocuse d’Or is considered to be the world’s most prestigious and rigorous cooking competition. The standards and traditions set by Bocuse d’Or have served as a model for ment’or BKB in building their Young Chef Competitions.

Lyn WellsThis morning we have the winner of the Ment’or Young Chef Competition, Lyn Wells of Canyon Park Café, held recently in Beverly Hills at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro as well as Chef Timothy Hollingsworth who was Team USA with his Commis) in the 2009 Bocuse d’Or. Timothy will be the executive chef and partner of the ambitious restaurant that will open next Fall as part of The Broad contemporary art museum located on Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles.

Chef Lyn’s award is a dream three-month stagiaire (internship) at one of America’s premier fine-dining establishments. This is worth $15,000. She will have her choice of some amazing possibilities. We’ll continue to follow Lyn’s progress.

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Show 94, October 25, 2014: ment’or BKB Foundation

Young YunOften dubbed the “Culinary Olympics,” the international Bocuse d’Or World Cooking Contest pits chefs from 24 countries against one another in an exhausting and intensive 5 and one-half hour cooking challenge in front of thousands of cheering fans. Teams consist of one chef and one commis assistant, with Team USA trained and financially supported by the ment’or BKB Foundation (previously known as the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation.) The Foundation was created in 2008 by Chefs Jerome Bocuse, Daniel Boulud, and Thomas Keller.

Executive Director Young Yun (of ment’or BKB Foundation) is our guest.

“The goal of the Foundation is to give back and to acknowledge, inspire, and mentor the next generation of chefs,” notes Executive Director Yun. “For now, we are primarily focused on those in the kitchen, but the long-term goal is to facilitate successful careers in all aspects of the culinary world, from the front of the house to operations.”

Chef Philip Tessier and his Commis Skylar Stover of The French Laundry in Yountville, CA are going for the gold in Lyon in January 2015 as the Bocuse d’Or USA Team.

On Thursday, October 30th at Bouchon Beverly Hills four promising young chefs from Yountville, CA; New Orleans, LA; Tacoma, WA and Orem, Utah will compete in a rigorous cooking competition to earn coveted stageries at some of the nation’s most well-respected restaurants. Designed to recognize outstanding young professionals in America, ment’or Young Chefs Competition series is spearheaded by Board of Directors members Jerome Bocuse, Daniel Boulud, and Thomas Keller.

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Show 46, November 2, 2013: Josiah Citrin, Chef/Proprietor of Melisse

Josiah CitrinFifteen years ago when fine-dining restaurants located outside of the protective umbrella of luxury hotels were at a low ebb in Los Angeles Chef Josiah Citrin sold his stake in a very popular Santa Monica dinner house and went out on his own to open a ultra-luxe, destination, freestanding, fine-dining, contemporary French restaurant with California accents. That was the start of Melisse. All these years later it still impresses.

Josiah is a new member of the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation’s prestigious Culinary Council. On November 10th Josiah and five other culinary superstars will join forces to cook an extraordinary six course repast at Melisse in Santa Monica to raise funds for The Foundation. Two different levels of wine-pairings are available for a supplement.

The esteemed group of chefs includes Gavin Kaysen, the Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Operations for Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud in New York, Palm Beach, and Toronto. He has previously represented the USA in the Bocuse d’Or culinary competition. For reservations please call 310.395.0881.

The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation, established in 2008, is a non-profit organization led by a Board of Directors of renowned chefs Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jerome Bocuse (Paul’s son.) The Foundation is devoted to recruiting, training, and financially supporting the promising young American chefs who compete on behalf of the United States in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition, held in Lyon, France every two years. Think of it as the Olympics of the culinary world…

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November 3: Barbara Fairchild, Merrin-Mae Fuentebella, Jason Kessler, Anita Lau, Elizabeth Whitt, Josiah Citrin, Matt Bencivenga

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Barbara Fairchild, food journalist, cookbook author, educator, and consultant
Segment Three: Chef Merrin-Mae, winning cheftestant, Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen”
Segment Four: Jason Kessler, food journalist
Segment Five: Anita Lau of the Mad Hungry Woman blog”
Segment Six: Chef Instructor Elizabeth Whitt
Segment Seven: Josiah Citrin, Chef/Proprietor of Melisse
Segment Eight: Matt Bencivenga, executive chef and partner of the Wolfgang Puck Catering Company

Jet Tila with Ben McKee of Imagine Dragons at Life is Beautiful Festival in Las VegasThanks to all of our loyal & enthusiastic listeners who were part of the audience for Jet’s Saturday afternoon cooking demo with Ben McKee of The Imagine Dragons at the Life Is Beautiful food and music festival in Downtown Las Vegas. It was standing room only for the demo in the Chefs On Stage East tent.

Jet and Andy preview the show. We have everything from a snapshot on where to dine now in New York to what it takes to prepare and serve gourmet food to the demanding VIPs at the Breeder’s Cup at Santa Anita. Also we’ll get the behind-the-scenes with a winning chef from Food Network’s new hit series “Cutthroat Kitchen” hosted by Alton Brown. Jet is one of the regular judges for the first season.

Barbara FairchildBarbara Fairchild is a respected food journalist, cookbook author, consultant, and educator. She is best known to us as the long-time former editor of Bon Appetit Magazine when they were based in Los Angeles.

This summer she taught a course in the Arthur L. Canter Journalism Institute at the prestigious New York University. Barbara tells us all about that as well as provides us with some great Manhattan dining suggestions ranging from a deli find to fine dining Italian and a comfortable celebrity chef restaurant that’s really worth going to.

Merrin Mae FuentebellaChef Merrin-Mae is a cheftestant on the first season of Food Network’s high pressure “Cutthroat Kitchen” hosted by Alton Brown. Her episode is entitled “Kiss My Grits” and was first aired on October 6th.

The level of competition was particularly intense and the sabotages were devilish. Chef Merrin-Mae made us proud in SoCal (she is a local) and she won the episode. One of the other cheftestants was a “Chopped” winner and was eliminated after the first round!

She currently works at Alma with executive chef Ari Taymor. When she did the show she was part of the culinary team at Sotto.

The latest fad diet that is getting a lot of attention is the Paleo Diet (also known as the caveman diet.)

Jason Kessler of Food RepublicFood journalist Jason Kessler of Food Republic and Bon Appetit was actually on the diet for 40 days and shares his experience with us. Jason’s observation is that because the diet is so restrictive you can drop some weight rather quickly. The severely limiting factor is that it gets monotonous rather fast.

San Diego, we haven’t forgotten you.

anita-lauAnita Lau of the Mad Hungry Woman blog is with us with a San Diego dining discovery. Anita was a nominee for a Golden Foodie award in Journalism this year.

Anita’s find is Ristorante Kaz. This is an intriguing Japanese Italian fusion cuisine spot. Anita’s favorite bite was an angel hair pasta dish with creamy sea urchin with spinach and salmon roe.

Elizabeth WhittFeeling ambitious in the kitchen…? Time to get a running start on holiday cooking and entertaining. Our superstar chef instructor, Elizabeth Whitt, of www.ChefElizabeth.com is with us again to get those holiday preparations pointed in the right direction with relative ease.

Pumpkin is in this year. Chef Elizabeth has both a savory and sweet recipe to add to your holiday collection. First up is an incredible Pumpkin Risotto with a fresh baking pumpkin or butternut squash. For dessert there is a not too sweet Pumpkin Cheesecake. Yum….!

When Chef Jet has his own culinary questions he turns Le Cordon Bleu, Paris-trained to Chef Elizabeth. She has a series of popular holiday classes coming up that always sell out early. On November 7th she has “Make-Ahead Holiday Side Dishes” from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and “Holiday Pies and Desserts” the same day from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Then on December 5th its her most popular class, “Appetizers and Hors D’oeuvres,” from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

All classes are at the Cypress Community Center in Cypress.

Josiah CitrinFifteen years ago when fine-dining restaurants located outside of the protective umbrella of luxury hotels were at a low ebb in Los Angeles Chef Josiah Citrin sold his stake in a very popular Santa Monica dinner house and went out on his own to open a ultra-luxe, destination, freestanding, fine-dining, contemporary French restaurant with California accents. That was the start of Melisse. All these years later it still impresses.

Josiah is a new member of the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation’s prestigious Culinary Council. On November 10th Josiah and five other culinary superstars will join forces to cook an extraordinary six course repast at Melisse in Santa Monica to raise funds for The Foundation. Two different levels of wine-pairings are available for a supplement.

The esteemed group of chefs includes Gavin Kaysen, the Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Operations for Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud in New York, Palm Beach, and Toronto. He has previously represented the USA in the Bocuse d’Or culinary competition. For reservations please call 310.395.0881.

The Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation, established in 2008, is a non-profit organization led by a Board of Directors of renowned chefs Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jerome Bocuse (Paul’s son.) The Foundation is devoted to recruiting, training, and financially supporting the promising young American chefs who compete on behalf of the United States in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition, held in Lyon, France every two years. Think of it as the Olympics of the culinary world…

The 2013 Breeder’s Cup, horse racing’s premier international event, returns to storied Santa Anita Park on November 1st and 2nd.

Matt BencivengaWolfgang Puck Catering (they cater the annual Governors Ball for The Oscars) has been selected to serve it’s fine-dining, seasonal cuisine to some 5,000 demanding VIP attendees. Wolfgang Puck Catering’s cuisine will be served in the Trackside Marquee, Frontrunner, Sierra Vista, Trophy Lounge and the Chandelier Room.

Founding Executive Chef and Partner (of Wolfgang Puck Catering) Matt Bencivenga joins us to talk about the challenges of maintaining Spago quality at large events. It takes a lot of skill, planning, and an army of chefs.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Barbara Fairchild, food journalist, cookbook author, educator, and consultant
Segment Three: Chef Merrin-Mae, winning cheftestant, Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen”
Segment Four: Jason Kessler, food journalist
Segment Five: Anita Lau of the Mad Hungry Woman blog”
Segment Six: Chef Instructor Elizabeth Whitt
Segment Seven: Josiah Citrin, Chef/Proprietor of Melisse
Segment Eight: Matt Bencivenga, executive chef and partner of the Wolfgang Puck Catering Company