Show 340, September 7, 2019: Taco Rosa’s Ivan Calderon Previewing the 7th Annual “Battle of the Tequileros”

Ivan Calderon of Taco RosaTaco Rosa, Chef Ivan Calderon’s upscale Mexican restaurant in Newport Beach, will host its 7th Annual Battle of the Tequileros on Sunday, September 22nd from 4-8 p.m. Bringing together 34 different tequila and mezcal brands, the celebratory event will benefit Operation of Hope Worldwide, a local non-profit providing free, life-changing surgeries and health care for children and adults in under-served areas of the world, while creating a self-sustaining program of hope through education.”

“As the most diverse tequila tasting in Southern California, the event gives guests an unparalleled opportunity to experience the unique nuances between a variety of tequilas and mezcals. Guests can also enjoy tray-passed tapas-style bites from the Taco Rosa kitchen, exciting giveaways, and live music performed by The Agave Bros. of Laguna Beach. Guests will embark on a tasting journey through which they will determine winners in four categories: Best Tequila, Best Mezcal, Best Cocktail, and Best Booth Presentation.”

“Over the past seven years, we have seen tremendous growth of Battle of the Tequileros, with more attendees and tequila houses. We’re thrilled to provide tequila enthusiasts with an exciting and educational event which also allow us to support local organizations with a global impact,” comments Chef Ivan Calderon of Taco Rosa. “We are proud to once again partner with Operation of Hope Worldwide, an organization whose global reach has impacted, and even saved the lives of thousands of people throughout the developing world.”

Tickets for the 21-and-over event are priced at $100 and offer guests all-inclusive access to tequila and mezcal cocktails and samples, live music, and tapas. Tickets can be purchased by calling 949.720.0980.

Chef Ivan graciously uncorks the premium tequila for us.

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Show 313, March 2, 2019: Owner / Chef Craig Strong, Ocean at Main, Laguna Beach

Craig StrongOwner/ Chef Craig Strong (Ex-Studio at Montage Laguna Beach) has just debuted his new Weekend Brunch Menu at Laguna Beach’s Ocean at Main. Bottomless mimosas and specialty cocktails are featured, too.

“Ocean at Main’s Weekend Brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Chef Craig Strong draws inspiration from culinary experiences – both personal and professional – to create a menu of sweet & savory brunch classics presented with his signature style and plated with panache.”

“Enjoy savory brunch classics like Chilaquiles made with Chef Strong’s salsa fuerte and sweet selections like Scarlet’s Favorite Five-Spice Pancakes. Toast to the weekend with bottle service, bottomless mimosas, or specialty brunch cocktails.”

Chef Craig cooks up all the mouthwatering details for us.

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Show 310, February 9, 2019: Chef / Proprietor Greg Daniels, Harley Laguna Beach

Greg Daniels of Haven GastropubHarley Laguna Beach is the newest project for Chef Greg Daniels (ex-Haven Gastropub.) It’s focused on creative, seasonal menus backed up by real hospitality. It’s Dinner only for the moment with Brunch on the horizon for Valentine’s Day Weekend.

“This mission is demonstrated in all aspects of the project, from Daniels’ collaboration with local food producers to find the best and freshest meat, seafood and vegetables in the area, to welcoming diners into the space, to carefully crafting and preparing the food, to a renewed focus on giving guests the best overall restaurant experience they’ve had in a long time.”

“Chef Daniels earned his culinary arts degree from Le Cordon Bleu in 2005. After which, Chef Daniels worked his way up in the kitchens of Pascal in Newport Beach and Napa Rose in Anaheim before he took a turn at restaurant consulting; this resulted with him becoming Executive Chef and partner at Haven Gastropub in Orange for nine years. Under Chef Daniels’ guidance, Haven Gastropub became a popular destination in Orange County and beyond, and both the restaurant and Chef Daniels earned awards for the work that he and his team performed. Chef Daniels also developed and opened the Taco Asylum concept, and Provisions Market, a bottle shop in Old Towne Orange.”

“Chef Daniels is a proponent of the farm to table movement and changes his menus frequently to reflect what’s freshest and best of season. He does this all with an eye towards sustainability and creating innovative cuisine.”

Chef Greg joins us with the delectable details.

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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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