Show 297, November 10, 2018: Chef / Proprietor Craig Strong, Ocean at Main, Laguna Beach

Craig StrongIn early October Chef Craig Strong (ex-Studio at Montage Laguna Beach) debuted Ocean at Main, fulfilling a long-time career dream to open his own restaurant. The location in a classic 40s Spanish revival building is exceptional – 222 Ocean Avenue near Main Beach in Laguna Beach, steps from the oceanfront. The 126-seat, 4,500-square-foot eatery with a spectacular shaded patio, is open daily for lunch and dinner.

After nearly 25 years of working at luxury hotels and resorts around the globe, Strong has come full circle to his native Southern California roots with the opening of Ocean at Main. From growing up in San Diego and cooking with produce from the family garden, this chef/owner is now sharing his Coastal California cuisine with the Laguna Beach community he has embraced for the last 10 years.

“Everything from its name, Ocean at Main, to the last drop of a favorite California wine is designed to provide guests with the quintessential Southern California dining experience. Here, Chef Craig Strong continues his devotion to sourcing the finest products available from local purveyors and suppliers as he creates approachable contemporary Coastal California cuisine and a convivial ambiance to please the nearby community and beyond.”

“I want to cook for our guests the way I cook for my family and friends at home. At Ocean at Main, I will celebrate the diversity, freshness and healthy lifestyle of Southern California. We will procure our ingredients from the local farmers and meat, seafood and specialty vendors whom I have been working and collaborating with for years. Coaxing the true flavors from exceptional products is always my goal.” Chef Craig Strong

Chef Craig escapes his busy kitchen for a chat.

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Show 194, October 22, 2016: “Breakfast in the Barn for Gregory” Benefit

Breakfast in the Barn for GregoryOrange County foodies probably best know Chef Greg Moro best from his time on the line at French 75 in Laguna Beach. He also spent time in the kitchens of Charlie Palmer’s at South Coast Plaza (now closed) and Chapter One – The Modern Local.

Sadly he was recently in a devastating accident while riding his motorcycle. Leave it to the ever-generous Orange County chefs’ community to now marshal the forces to orchestrate a special fundraiser for Chef Greg, Breakfast in the Barn for Gregory at Manassero Farm in Irvine on Saturday morning, October 29th @ 10:00 a.m. It’s a modest $40 per guest for a lavish spread.

Joining us with all the key details is Jill Cook of Bow and Arrow PR and one of the lead restaurants, Chef Debra Sims of Maro Wood Grill in Laguna Beach.

“Please help Chef Greg Moro get back in the kitchen…
This is going to be a long and very costly recovery process. The goal is to raise money to cover Greg’s medical bills, replace his knife kit and give him a cushion to help him pay his normal bills while in recovery, so that he can take the proper time to heal and not feel worried/rushed to get back to work (even though we all know he will be eager to!).“

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Show 134, August 8, 2015: Chef Amar Santana, Broadway by Amar Santana, Laguna Beach

Amar SantanaIt’s safe to say Chef Amar Santana of Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach has created quite a following for himself in Orange County. He was recently recognized by the Orange County Register as one of the five top toques. Not bad for a 33-year old who immigrated to the United States when he was 13.

Broadway by Amar Santana, located in the heart of beautiful Laguna Beach, opened in 2011. The restaurant evokes the culinary style and ambiance of New York City where Chef Amar received his early culinary training.

Inspired by the legitimate theaters in Manhattan, award-winning Chef Amar along with his partners Ahmed Labbate and Rich Cadarette, create an atmosphere where the food becomes the main show. The restaurant’s menu is inspired by the creativity of Santana and his version of Modern Cuisine of The Americas. It features top quality ingredients, with a focus on local farmers who can provide the menu’s seasonal requirements.

The interior reflects an industrial New York look with an open kitchen that is center stage. There are six coveted seats at the chef’s table overlooking the activity of the kitchen. One of the restaurants’ distinctive features is an intimate speakeasy cocktail bar with master bartenders and classic libations.

Labbate is Chef Amar’s partner and runs the front-of-the-house. They worked together previously at Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdales. Chef Amar gives him a lot of credit in achieving the success that Broadway is.

 

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Show 134, August 8, 2015: Chef Amar Santana, Broadway by Amar Santana, Laguna Beach Continues

Amar SantanaThe most talked-about restaurant opening of the year in Orange County is Amar Santana’s Vaca in Costa Mesa. It’s possibly his take on either a Spanish tapas spot or Spanish steakhouse. Details have been securely under wraps. We’re sure Chef Amar has spent a lot of time in Spain studying the cuisine.

We’ll find out a lot more with Chef Amar Santana…

Chef Amar shares that Vaca is a hybrid concept. It will be an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant and a steakhouse with premium, dry-aged beef from around the world cooked on a wood-burning grill. A dry-aging room will be a feature of Vaca. With a bit of luck it looks like a possible late November opening if all goes well.

Chef Amar has been running paella specials (4 to 5 styles) at Broadway to get his culinary staff trained for the upcoming Vaca. Some of the team will move over there from Broadway as well as former cooks from Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdales. Large paella pans and small kitchen…

Surprisingly he was disappointed with the paella he sampled in Spain. Chef Amar was far more inspired about what he tasted in Morocco!

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Show 133, August 1, 2015: MJ Hong, Proprietress, The Wine Artist, Laguna Beach

MJ HongMJ Hong is the gracious proprietress of The Wine Artist in Laguna Beach. She is a former corporate executive turned entrepreneur. It’s a boutique winery, special event venue (and more) designed to accommodate team building exercises. It’s also a destination for unusual cooking demos and classes.

With over 2,500 square feet, this elegantly decorated Tuscan Winery is perfect for hosting private parties, team building, birthday parties, fund raising and charity events where you can incorporate wine tasting, and bottling your favorite wine.

MJ’s passion for entertaining, food and wine led her to leave her secure corporate job of 15 years to pursue her dream job of reinvigorating The Wine Artist which she acquired in late 2009.

We’ll learn all about it with MJ.

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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 92, October 11, 2014: Selanne Steak Tavern

Sellane Steak TavernSelanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach debuted with a splash about a year ago. It’s been a really great inaugural year. At the recent Golden Foodie Awards Selanne was the recipient of “Best New Restaurant” (an award decided by peers) and the people’s choice award (decided by popular vote)for “Best Steak.”

Selanne’s accomplished pastry chef, Heather Fisher, was also nominated for Golden Pastry Chef at The Golden Foodie Awards, also a prestigious peer-decided category.

Joshua Severson is the executive chef at Selanne Steak Tavern. It’s owned by legendary former Anaheim Ducks hockey player and six-time Olympian Teemu Selanne and local Orange County businessman Kevin Pratt.

Leo Fenn is the Operations Director.

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Show 87, September 6, 2014: Executive Chef Andrew Gruel

Andrew GruelExecutive Chef Andrew Gruel is CEO of Slapfish Restaurant Group with locations in Huntington Beach, Laguna, Dubai, and soon – Newport Beach.

Chef Andrew is a guest judge on Food Network’s upcoming “Food Truck Face-Off” series, was a participant on Sept. 5th at OC Weekly’s 11th Annual Decadence 2014 Tasting Event, and has a new video out explaining the secrets of preparing Slapfish’s Clobster Roll to the Orange County Register’s distinguished food writer, Cathy Thomas.

The Clobster Roll is an incredible creation of half New England lobster and half Dungeness crabmeat.

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Show 82, August 2, 2014: Guest Host Richard (Rich) B. Perelman and Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris preview the show

Guest Host Richard (Rich) B. Perelman and Producer Andy preview the show.

It’s our salute to the 30th Anniversary of the Games of the Twenty-Third Olympiad, Los Angeles, 1984. Guest Host Rich Perelman was the youngest Vice President of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee (LAOOC) responsible for Press Operations and the Editor-in-Chief of the Official Report after the Games. Rich explains the continuing financial legacy to youth sports in Southern California as a direct result of the incredible success of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

SYNEK (a recent Kickstarter success story) is a nifty countertop draft system that serves any beer, fresh from the tap, anywhere you want it. Steve Young, based in St. Louis, MO is the Founder. His modest objective is to do for quality beer what Keurig did for single-brewed cups of coffee. With the phenomenal success of his cleverly orchestrated Kickstarter campaign he’s now well on his way…

Chef Andrew Gruel’s (of Slapfish) mission is to make quality seafood popular with everyday folks. He started with one modest food truck in 2010. It quickly expanded into four food trucks. The first Slapfish brick and mortar restaurant opened in Huntington Beach a year later. Laguna Beach recently launched and more restaurants are in the works.

James Republic in Long Beach orchestrates one of the very best, honest Farm-to-Fork dinner series around. It happens monthly on a Sunday under the name of the Dinner Bell Supper Series. The restaurant’s chef, David MacLennan, joins us with the specifics.

Every year in Northern Baja is the Fiestas del la Vendimina celebrating the bounty of wine and food in the region over an extended two-week period. One of the best single events is Chef Javier Plascencia’s (Tijuana’s Mision 19) “From Farm and Vineyard to Your Table” dinner at his ranch, Finca Altozano, in Valle de Guadalupe. It’s a 6-course, wine paired feast.

Time to hit the OC Fair in its final week. We’ll hear about Bakeology and all the tasty culinary events in the OC Promenade Building. Also the winning Fair Food item!

As part of our tribute to the Los Angeles Olympics we’ll also be looking back at the food served to the spectators. Surprisingly there was lots more variety to the offerings than plain boiled hot dogs and bagged chips. Innovations in food for 1984 are now part of guest expectations in 2014!

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

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Show 82, August 2, 2014: Executive Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish, Huntington Beach and Laguna

Andrew GruelFood trucks have proven to be a worthwhile testing ground for innovative food concepts. A great example is the fast growing Slapfish with a limited service, fast-casual restaurant in Huntington Beach located in a strip center. A new Laguna Beach location (across Pacific Coast Highway from the beach) launched earlier in the Summer.

The partners started with one modest food truck serving the OC in 2009. By 2011 they had four trucks serving both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Executive Chef (and co-founder) Andrew Gruel is with us to fill us in on the Slapfish tale. New locations both in the United States (airports, too) and the Middle East are on the way.

They like to characterize Slapfish as a modern seafood shack. It’s a real American seafood experience that revolves around fresh, sustainable fish, prepared simply, but delivering big flavors.

They are so fanatical about quality control that they have established their own seafood distribution company to service their restaurants.

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