Show 216, March 25, 2017: L.A’s 2017 Prince of Pork – Cochon 555

Jonathan GranadaAfter a decadent afternoon of feasting on over 1,500 pounds of heritage breed pork raised on family farms, almost 500 guests gathered with glasses full of everything from Franciacorta and Pinot Noir to Smoked Old-Fashioneds and Angostura Rum Swizzle cocktails at Viceroy Santa Monica, Official Host Venue. From cooks and guests to winemakers and distillers, all were waiting for Cochon555 founder Brady Lowe to crown Los Angeles’ “Prince of Pork,” bestowing not just the title, but a place in the national finale, Grand Cochon, in October in Chicago.

Representing the Berkshire breed of pig raised by Peads & Barnetts, the winner was Chef Jonathan Granada of Otium.

Winning Chef Jonathan’s pig breed from Peads & Barnetts Farm was a Berkshire that yields a brighter pork than most, and features a thick, delicious fat cap. The meat is sweet and creamy with hints of nuttiness, which is a by-product of the finishing process in several areas. These aspects worked in tandem with his six winning menu items, including a Head Cheese; Pork Belly with Feuille de Brick, Stinging Nettle and Caviar; Whipped Lardo with Sea Urchin, Pistachio and Brioche; Pork Shoulder with Artichoke Barigoule and Vin Jaune; a Croquette with Mojo and Potato; and finished with a Cider – Eric Bordelet Poire Granit from France.

A culinary competition featuring 5 chefs cooking 5 whole, heritage breed pigs with innovative flavors and timeless cooking techniques, Cochon555 challenges chefs to use every bit of their accumulated knowledge and inspiration. Each chef is given a 200-220 pound heritage breed pig and tasked to create, prepare and present a “Judge’s Plate” of 6 dishes scored on utilization, global influences, cooking techniques, and overall flavor, among other categories. This year’s experts and celebrity judges included local luminaries Jonathan Gold of Los Angeles Times, Christopher Ford of Beverly Wilshire, Chef Walter Manzke of Republique, Kelly Kang of Viceroy Santa Monica and others.

“The national competition gets more intense and dynamic every year, and the performance of the LA chefs, somms, and barkeeps shows precisely why the city is at the forefront for culinary excellence in this country,” said Cochon555 founder Brady Lowe. “Chef Jonathan’s winning dishes were bold, modern, thoughtful, and full of the kind of flavors that only enhance what heritage breed pigs have to offer. We owe a big thank you to the Viceroy Santa Monica Hotel – the setting was spectacular.”

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Show 187, September 3, 2016: Chef Andrew Gruel, Chief Seafood Officer, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Lobster Burger from SlapfishOur Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel of The Slapfish Restaurant Group, will be at the Los Angeles Times The Taste” this weekend at Paramount Pictures Studios historic lot in Hollywood. “Flavors of L.A.” hosted by Jonathan Gold. He gives us a preview of his food station (an incredible, messy premium surf & turf burger creation that’s quite a mouthful.)

Also on the menu is some tasty and nutritious conversation about the appeal of fresh sardines. Bait fish no more…Respect the humble sardine. In a can or fresh It’s high in nutrition and value priced.

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Show 162, March 5, 2016: C-CAP L.A. Program Director Lisa Fontanesi and Celebrity Chef Sherry Yard

City of GoldPulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold will join local non-profit C-CAP LA (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) at their upcoming fundraiser at the Westside Pavilion on Monday, March 14, 2016, featuring a VIP screening of City of Gold, a documentary that details Gold’s journey through Los Angeles’ cultural culinary scene. Following the screening will be a Q & A with filmmaker Laura Gabbert and Jonathan Gold moderated by KCRW’s “Good Food” host, Chef Evan Kleiman.

Taking place at The Wine Bar at the Landmark Theaters Westside Pavilion, the City of Gold event begins with a reception featuring premium wines from the Wine Exchange and craft beer from El Segundo Brewery and Smog City Brewing Co. as well as some of Gold’s favorite foods including sliders from West Coast Prime Meats, pork tostadas from Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken’s Border Grill, crudités and fruit from Melissa’s Produce, desserts from Spago and an oyster bar, courtesy of Michael Cimarusti’s new Cape Seafood and Provisions.

The reception will be followed by a special screening of City of Gold, accompanied by gourmet popcorn prepared by Sherry Yard. After screening the film, KCRW Good Food’s Evan Kleiman will moderate a Q&A session with Gold and Gabbert.

Sherry YardThe City of Gold fundraiser will take place on Monday, March 14 at the Landmark Theaters Westside Pavilion located at 10850 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90064. The reception begins at 6:00 PM and the 91 minute documentary will begin at 7:30 PM, followed by the Q&A session. Tickets are $101 and can be purchased at ccapinc.org. Proceeds support C-CAP’s program in the Los Angeles Region.

C-CAP L.A. Program Director, Lisa Fontanesi and James Beard Award-winning Chef Sherry Yard (also a C-CAP National Board Member) join us with the 411 on the edible evening.

Go here to see more about the City of Gold screening.

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August 23: Live from Valley View Casino with Kedric Francis, Travis Rodgers, Russ Parsons, Michael Cimarusti, Michael Rossi, Freddy Vargas, Brad A. Johnson

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Preview of Los Angeles Times The Taste
Segment Three: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine
Segment Four: Michael Rossi, Executive Chef, The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon
Segment Five: Freddy Vargas, Executive Chef, Scarpetta, Montage Beverly Hills
Segment Six: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, The Orange County Register & The Los Angeles Register
Segment Seven: Chef Michael Knowles, Black & Blue Steakhouse, Valley View Casino
Segment Eight: Travis Rodgers, “The Travis Rodgers Show” on AM 830 KLAA

Kedric Francis and Andy HarrisGuest Host Kedric Francis of The Orange County Register Magazine & Coast Orange County Magazine and Producer Andy Harris preview the show.

The always debonair Kedric Francis, our dashing man about Orange County, is the Executive Editor of both publications.

Also joining us at 11:00 a.m. is Travis Rodgers of the “Travis Rogers Show” heard weekday mornings on AM 830 KLAA from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Travis’ loyal fans know his second most favorite subject is food! He’s serious about eats. “The Travis Rodgers Show” is SoCal’s only live and local sports morning show.

Arriving on August 29th and continuing through August 31st is The Los Angeles Times The Taste at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie & Ted’s are participants and our very special guests.

Kedric Francis of the Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine has been out and about exploring the latest finds in the OC. He was at the very exclusive pre-opening preview lunch for the eagerly anticipated Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in South Coast Plaza on August 15th and will share some of his observations.

Executive Chef Michael Rossi (ex-Napa Rose) has been at the helm of The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon since it’s opening day in early 2012. He was actually on the ambitious project over a year testing recipes before the first guests were greeted. The Ranch (unusually) has its own farm located on the Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange which provides a lot of the fresh fruits and vegetables used at the highly regarded and much acclaimed restaurant. It’s a chef’s dream to have these resources…

Freddy Vargas is the forward-thinking executive chef of the high profile Scarpetta located in the Montage Beverly Hills across a pocket park from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills. This is one of Celebrity Chef Scott Conants’s restaurant properties. At lunch on Weekdays he’s operating a to-go Paninoteca. Think gourmet Italian sandwiches like a Porchetta. It’s spiced pork belly, broccoli rabe pesto and a fried hen egg on house-baked bread.

Brad A. Johnson is the James Beard award-winning restaurant critic for both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Register. Where does a restaurant critic eat when he’s not reviewing ? Those are the spots we all want to go…Brad shares with us some of his favorites in both Orange County and Los Angeles. The origin of this discussion was a recent article Brad wrote for the Orange County Register Magazine.

The show is live on Saturday morning from The Valley View Casino. The fine dining restaurant there is Black & Blue – The Place For Steak. We’ll meet Chef de Cuisine Michael Knowles .He started cooking at age 14! He has elevated Black & Blue to an award-winning California steakhouse that’s true destination dining for San Diego residents.

Travis Rodgers is the easy-going Iron Man of personalities on AM 830 KLAA. Every weekday morning he’s on AM 830 KLAA talking sports for four hours beginning at 6:00 a.m. After he’s finished at 10:00 a.m. on AM 830 he continues his national show for Yahoo Sports Radio for another hour until 11:00 a.m. That’s five hours on Weekdays as the solo host.

Travis’ second favorite subject is good food. Did we say Mexican ? We’ll talk assorted cravable eats with Travis

Russ Parsons of the Los Angeles TimesArriving on August 29th and continuing through August 31st is the Los Angeles Times The Taste at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie & Ted’s are participants and our very special guests.

On Saturday morning, August 30th at 11:00 a.m. Russ Parsons and Nancy Silverton (Mozza) will be hosting “Field to Fork.” “The city’s best eats are in season.”

On Sunday, August 31st at 7:30 p.m. Chef Michael Cimarusti and Jonathan Gold will be hosting “Flavors of L.A.” “Find great eating around every corner.”

Din Tai Fung Dumpling HouseKedric Francis of the Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine has been out and about in the OC. He was at the pre-opening preview lunch for the eagerly anticipated Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in South Coast Plaza (August 18th was Opening Day) and will share some of his observations.

Din Tai Fung is most famous for XiaoLongBao, the Shanghai-style soup dumplings which became a signature dish at the original site in Taipei.

Din Tai Fung at South Coast Plaza is over 8,000 square feet, making it one of the largest in over 100 locations worldwide.

Michael Rossi of the Ranch Restaurant and SaloonExecutive Chef Michael Rossi (ex-Napa Rose) has been at the helm of The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon since it’s opening day in early 2012. He was actually on the ambitious project for over a year testing recipes before the first guests were greeted.

The Ranch (unusually) has its own 2-acre farm located on the Edwards Ranch Estates in Orange which provides a lot of the fresh produce used at the highly regarded restaurant. Think of over 600 heirloom tomato vines featuring 90 different varieties. Original (and fully mature) orange and fig trees are also part of the property.

Future expansion plans for the Edwards Ranch Estates include avocado trees, olive trees, and grape vines.

It’s a chef’s fondest dream to have these incredible resources…

One of Chef Michael’s signature menu items is the much talked-about 58 oz. bone-in Cowboy Ribeye chop.

Freddy VargasFreddy Vargas is the forward-thinking executive chef of the high profile Scarpetta located in the Montage Beverly Hills across a lush pocket park from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills. This is one of Celebrity Chef Scott Conants’s restaurant properties.

At lunch on Weekdays he’s operating a to-go Paninoteca. Think gourmet Italian sandwiches like a Porchetta. It’s spiced pork belly, broccoli rabe pesto and a fried hen egg on house-baked bread.

Photography by Brad A JohnsonBrad A. Johnson is the James Beard award-winning restaurant critic for both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Register. He’s also an accomplished photographer.

Where does a restaurant critic eat when he’s not reviewing? Those are the spots we all want to find…Brad shares with us some of his favorites in both Orange County and Los Angeles. The origins of this was discussion a recent article Brad wrote for the Orange County Register Magazine.

Michael Knowles of Black and Blue SteakhouseThe show is live on Saturday morning from The Valley View Casino. The fine dining restaurant there is Black & Blue – The Place For Steak.

We’ll meet Chef de Cuisine Michael Knowles.He started cooking at age 14! Chef Michael cooked at Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio in San Francisco in the 90s. He has elevated Black & Blue to an award-winning California steakhouse that’s true destination dining for discerning San Diego residents.

All of his pastas are made in-house along with some of the cheese.

His “Signature Indulgence” on the Black & Blue menu is “The Ultimate Surf & Turf” for $75.00. It’s also part of a betting challenge. How about Lobster Creamed Spinach as a premium side?

Travis RodgersTravis Rodgers is the easy-going Iron Man of personalities on AM 830 KLAA. Every weekday morning he’s on AM 830 KLAA talking sports for four hours beginning at 6:00 a.m. After he’s finished at 10:00 a.m. on AM 830 he continues his national show for Yahoo Sports Radio for another hour until 11:00 a.m. That’s five hours on Weekdays as the solo host.

He’s also the master of engaging with his listeners via Twitter.

Travis’ second favorite subject is good food. Did we say Mexican? We’ll talk assorted cravable eats with Travis!

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Preview of Los Angeles Times The Taste
Segment Three: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, Orange County Register Magazine
Segment Four: Michael Rossi, Executive Chef, The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon
Segment Five: Freddy Vargas, Executive Chef, Scarpetta, Montage Beverly Hills
Segment Six: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, The Orange County Register & The Los Angeles Register
Segment Seven: Chef Michael Knowles, Black & Blue Steakhouse, Valley View Casino
Segment Eight: Travis Rodgers, “The Travis Rodgers Show” on AM 830 KLAA

Show 68, April 5, 2014: Chef Micah Wexler, Wexler’s Deli, Grand Central Market, Part One

Micah WexlerChef Micah Wexler was born and raised in Los Angeles and always had aspirations to be a chef. At age 15, Wexler’s first job was working with legendary Italian Chef, Gino Angelini, at Vincenti in Brentwood.

In 2011 Wexler opened Mezze Restaurant as Chef/Co-Owner. Mezze was named one of the Top New Restaurants that year by Los Angeles Magazine and was one of Jonathan Gold’s Essential 99 restaurants.

Next month Wexler will open his newest concept, Wexler’s Deli, in Downtown Los Angeles’ iconic Grand Central Market. Wexler’s Deli aims to take the traditional deli back to its roots and provide a place of community, pride, familiarity, and quality.

The menu will feature traditional favorites of corned beef, pastrami, salmon, and sturgeon, all cured and smoked in-house. All condiments will be house-made.

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April 5: OC Baking Co., Grist & Toll, Duskie Estes, Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, Relish Culinary Adventures, Micah Wexler

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Master Baker Dean Kim, OC Baking Co
Segment Three: Nan Kohler, Managing Partner, Grist & Toll – An Urban Flour Mill
Segment Four: Duskie Estes, Executive Chef and Co-Owner, Zazu Kitchen + Farm, The Barlow
Segment Five: Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, author of Gin: A Global History
Segment Six: Donna del Rey, Relish Culinary Adventurers, Healdsburg, CA
Segment Seven: Chef Micah Wexler, Wexler’s Deli, Grand Central Market, Part One
Segment Eight: Chef Micah Wexler, Wexler’s Deli, Grand Central Market, Part Two

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

The Inaugural Grilled Cheese Festival & Competition featuring the best of the OC’s chefs is coming. We’ll have the details on how you can attend.

Would you believe a stone flour mill in Pasadena? It’s a passion project for the two partners who are selling flour from grain sourced from local growers. That’s a great example of the locavore movement!

We last visited with Chef Duskie Estes of Zazu Kitchen + Farm & Black Pig Meat Co. right before they opened their spacious new restaurant at The Barlow in Sebastopol (Sonoma County) last year. We have an update…

You can’t have a classic bar without gin. We have a fascinating tutorial from the local expert affiliated with the Museum of the American Cocktail.

The gateway to the Sonoma County Wine Country for foodies is Relish Culinary Tours located right off the town square in Healdsburg. They offer cooking classes, private parties, culinary tours and creative catering. We’ll hear about what’s on their menu for Spring & Summer.

A Los Angeles fine dining chef who has cooked at Tom Colicchio’s Craft in Century City is a deliman at heart. He’s about to open a Jewish deli in Downtown Los Angeles featuring his premium, house cured meats.

All of this and lots more incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

The Big Cheese Grilled Cheese CompetitionIn celebration of National Grilled Cheese Month in April, OC Baking Co. and Provisions Market in Orange will join forces to host The Big Cheese, Orange County’s first grilled cheese festival and competition. OC Baking Co. Master Baker Dean Kim will supply locally produced freshly baked bread to top OC chefs competing for the title of “The Big Cheese” on Monday, April 14th from 6 to 8:00 p.m. at Provisions Market in Orange.

“The Chef community in Orange County is a tight knit one with many talented individuals I’m proud to call my friends,” commented Chef Greg Daniels, who oversees the kitchens at Haven Gastropub in Orange and Pasadena, as well as taco asylum in Costa Mesa. “Grilled Cheese is something we can all relate to and, thanks to OC Baking Co.’s support, this event is a way for us to get together for a lighthearted competition.”

Nan KohlerSerious home baker Nan Kohler and her business partner (Marti Noxon) have recently opened (December) Grist & Toll, an Urban flour mill in Pasadena. They are selling flour milled on the site from grain sourced from local growers.

The attractive blond wood stone mill from Austria is visible through a window and is the real star of the show.

They sell flour to home bakers as well as select restaurants including Union Restaurant in Pasadena.

Baking classes are on the way.

Chef Duskie Estes and Salumist John Stewart of Zazu Kitchen and FarmWhen we first met Sonoma County-based Chef Duskie Estes last Spring when she was about to move Zazu Kitchen + Farm from Santa Rosa into an incredible space at The Barlow in Sebastopol. It’s now located on the grounds of a long-closed Gravenstein apple processing facility. Some of the tin clad warehouse buildings remain and have been artfully repurposed. The rest of the complex duplicates that rustic look.

Duskie and her husband, John Stewart, are the King & Queen of Porc from the Grand Cochon competition in 2011. They also operate the Black Pig Meat Co.

Most of the mains change nightly at Zazu. A signature starter is the “I (heart) Pigstrami. John cures the pork for this little sandwich served on artisan rye with sauerkraut and house-made Guinness mustard.

Saturday and Sunday brunch is a major attraction here. At brunch the “can’t miss” item is the “As seen on TV” maple glazed donut with bacon jimmies. Outrageous…

Also popular is the king + queen of pork bacon-in-the-batter waffle with bacon toffee and house-made espresso gelato.

Lesley Jacobs SolmonsonThe Museum of the American Cocktail (based in New Orleans) is kicking off their “Touring the Cocktail Series” in Los Angeles with Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, the author of Gin: A Global History. She also is the food and cocktail columnist at LA Weekly. The provocative program is “A History of Gin in Five Cocktails.”

Gin is the undisputed king of cocktail spirits. Built upon a neutral spirit base, great gin is a symphony of juniper, spices, botanicals, and citrus.

Five signature gin cocktails will be available for sampling that evening. It’s set for Monday, April 7th at Dominick’s Restaurant in West Hollywood.

Donna del Rey of Relish Culinary AdventuresWhen it comes to providing the welcoming gateway for discriminating foodies to the Sonoma County Wine Country no one does it better than the hard-working Donna del Rey of Relish Culinary Adventures in Healdsburg. Relish offers cooking classes, private parties, distinctive culinary tours, and creative catering.

Recently Donna and her crew provided support for the Artisan Cheese Festival.

For the ultimate experience they offer “Relish Sonoma County,” a 3-Day Culinary Adventure of Sonoma County.

Coming up on June 21st is a hands-on Culinary Birds cooking class with Chef John Ash.

Micah WexlerChef Micah Wexler was born and raised in Los Angeles and always had aspirations to be a chef. At age 15, Wexler’s first job was working with legendary Italian Chef, Gino Angelini, at Vincenti in Brentwood.

In 2011 Wexler opened Mezze Restaurant as Chef/Co-owner. Mezze was named one of the Top New Restaurants that year by Los Angeles Magazine and was one of Jonathan Gold’s Essential 99 restaurants.

Next month Wexler will open his newest concept, Wexler’s Deli, in Downtown Los Angeles’ iconic Grand Central Market. Wexler’s Deli aims to take the traditional deli back to its roots and provide a place of community, pride, familiarity, and quality.

The menu will feature traditional favorites of corned beef, pastrami, salmon, and sturgeon, all cured and smoked in-house. All condiments will be house-made.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Master Baker Dean Kim, OC Baking Co
Segment Three: Nan Kohler, Managing Partner, Grist & Toll – An Urban Flour Mill
Segment Four: Duskie Estes, Executive Chef and Co-Owner, Zazu Kitchen + Farm, The Barlow
Segment Five: Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, author of Gin: A Global History
Segment Six: Donna del Rey, Relish Culinary Adventurers, Healdsburg, CA
Segment Seven: Chef Micah Wexler, Wexler’s Deli, Grand Central Market, Part One
Segment Eight: Chef Micah Wexler, Wexler’s Deli, Grand Central Market, Part Two

Show 44, October 19, 2013: Daniel Boulud, executive chef & global restaurateur based in New York Continued…

Daniel: My French Cuisine Cookbook by Daniel BouludDaniel touched on the part of his book focusing on what he prepares at home when he’s cooking more casually for friends. It is four seasonal menus from his personal favorite French culinary regions including his native Lyon.

Chef Boulud is making a rare appearance in Los Angeles the Week of October 21st supporting the release of the cookbook.

On October 23rd he’ll be at Hotel Bel-Air cooking a sumptuous five course dinner with Wolfgang Puck.

On Thursday, Oct. 24th at Noon, Chef Daniel will be signing copies of DANIEL: My French Cuisine at Whole Foods at 6350 W. 3rd St. in Los Angeles across the street from the Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax.

Finally that evening he will be in conversation with the notable Los Angeles Times restaurant critic, Jonathan Gold, at the William Turner Gallery at Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica. The talk is at 8:00 p.m. with an earlier reception running from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. There are reserved as well as General Admission seats.

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Show 11, December 29, 2012: Russ Parsons, Food Editor of the Los Angeles Times Part Two

Up until Jonathan Gold joined the staff of the paper this year from the Los Angeles Weekly to write restaurant reviews The Times had used a Star system to accompany the restaurant reviews of S. Irene Virbila. This changed with the arrival of Mr. Gold. The Times no longer uses Stars.

Russ explained the logic of this change.

Russ also talked about why it may not be a necessity anymore for a restaurant reviewer to be totally anonymous while dining in a particular restaurant which is being reviewed. Mr. Gold, for instance, makes reservations under another name and pays for his meals using a credit card with a name different from his own.

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