Show 277, June 16, 2018: NZ Wine Navigator Dinner at Napa Valley Grille, Westwood

Brian CousinsAt NZ Wine Navigator (virtual store,) you’ll discover the finest selection of artisanal New Zealand wines available in the US delivered right to your door. Personally selected by Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas (the first MS in New Zealand and the official global ambassador of New Zealand wines), these wines prove that New Zealand is much more than Sauvignon Blanc.

Westwood’s Napa Valley Grille is hosting a special NZ Wine Navigator Dinner there on Thursday evening, June 28th. Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas (direct from New Zealand) will be attending to present the wines and interact with the guests.

Expect, as one of the courses, an exceptional lamb dish matched with both a Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Napa Valley Grille’s General Manager, Brian Cousins, and Executive Chef Kenny Spost pull the cork for us on the specifics.

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Show 257, January 20, 2018: Master Sommelier Cameron J. Douglas, NZ Wine Navigator Part One

Cameron DouglasCameron Douglas enjoys the distinction of being New Zealand’s first certified Master Sommelier. He serves on the Board for the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas. He takes his position as unofficial Ambassador for New Zealand wine very seriously. Cameron is an experienced wine writer, commentator, judge, reviewer, presenter and consultant.

Cameron also serves as the curator for NZ Wine Navigator. There is lots more to know about premium New Zealand wines than simply the big name grassy, Sauvignon Blancs that have earned the country deserved global acclaim.

We’ll meet him.

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Show 182, July 30, 2016: LA International Wine Competition

Jim PalmerFor 77 years, the Los Angeles International Wine Competition has showcased the finest domestic and international vintages through a wine-tasting event that is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious in the United States. The winning wines are available for tasting at the upcoming L.A. County Fair.

Malibu winemaker Jim Palmer Vineyards scored an impressive 98 point rating from the judges for his 2014 Pinot Noir earning a Gold Medal. Palmer’s wine bested 3000 plus entries from around the Globe. He’s our guest along with Master Sommelier Michael Jordan, the Competition Chairman.

Judged in May using a point system, the wine competition saw 3,010 international wines tasted. Many varietals and price ranges were represented, with the point system acknowledging each varietal’s special attributes and providing a level of precision in the competition’s wine ranking systems, a benefit for the competition and wine enthusiasts.

Wines were tasted by an international panel comprised of judges ranging from Master Sommeliers to chefs to wine writers. There were a total of 168 Best of Class Awards, 572 Gold Medal Awards, 1,271 Silver Medal Awards and 736 Bronze Medal Awards.

“The wonderful thing about our competition is that you’ll find something for everyone among the winners,” said competition chairman Michael Jordan, Master Sommelier, Certified Wine Educator and director of global key accounts with Jackson Family Fine Wines. “From the complex with a higher-price point for the experienced palate to wonderful lower-price point wines for the novice, our winners represent a variety of wines.”

Jim Palmer points out there is a (not well known) rich history of wine-making in Los Angeles prior to Prohibition (which then put most L.A. wineries out of business.) He recommends the book, Los Angeles Wine: A History from the Mission Era to the Present by Stuart Douglas Byles.

Jim’s current wine releases are available for tasting and purchase at Cornell Winery and Tasting Room on Mulholland Highway in Agoura. You can also find his wines on the lists at Spago Beverly Hills and Bouchon Beverly Hills.

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Show 116, April 4, 2015: SOCO Uncorked 2015, Costa Mesa

SOCO Uncorked 2015The inaugural SOCO Uncorked 2015 is a delightfully indulgent food and wine pairing experience set for Thursday, April 16th from 6 to 8:00 p.m. on the grounds at SOCO in Costa Mesa. The charitable beneficiary is the Project Hope Alliance. The premium wine pairings representing over 30 producers are curated by LCA Wine’s own sommelier, Nancy Milby who is our guest.

The event is set in the open courtyard of the SOCO Collection. Guests (regular and VIP tickets available) will indulge in delicious small bites from award-winning SOCO restaurants, hand-crafted wine from over 30 different producers and live music.

Participating SOCO/OC Mix tenants: LCA Wine, ST Patisserie, Bistro Papillote, Pueblo, Taco Maria (one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs (Carlos Salgado) 2015), ARC, We Olive, The Cheese Shop, Portola Coffee, The Mixing Glass, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, Surfas Culinary District, 24 Carrots Catering + Events, The Iron Press, Shuck Oyster Bar and Savory Spice Shop.

The VIP experience includes a choice of one, of two, pre-events. Master Sommelier Peter Neptune will be conducting a seminar “Exploring Varietal Typicity” and ARC’s Chef Noah Blom will be presenting a 3-course cooking demo at Surfas Culinary District.

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Show 63, March 1, 2013: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Fat Tuesday and the craziness of Mardi Gras are next week We’ll tell you where you can get an authentic taste of New Orleans locally. You’ll meet the very hospitable Donato Poto, the co-owner of both Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood and one of the finest, high-end seafood restaurants in the West, Providence. The Oscars are upon us. Mar Yvette, the Lifestyle Reporter for Fox 11 News, talks to us about what’s on the menu for the 2014 Oscars Governor’s Ball at Hollywood & Highland. This is Wolfgang Puck’s (and his teams) 20th year creating the dazzling menu for the Oscars! Also where the stars dine…

Eat LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week kicks off on March 30th. Executive Chef Dean James Max of James Republic in Long Beach is with us to preview his menu. When it comes to elegant, destination resorts they don’t come more highly acclaimed than Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado. Carlton McCoy (an accredited Master Sommelier) is their 29-year old Wine Director. We’ll hear his inspiring story. Chef Jet was a Judge at last Sunday’s Cochon 555 – An Epic Heritage Pork Event at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica. Jet takes us behind-the-scenes at this eagerly anticipated and highly competitive event that tours the country. Oink…

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

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Show 63, March 1, 2013: Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Wine Director, Little Nell, Aspen, CO

The Little Nell is an acclaimed five star, five diamond luxury property in Aspen, Colorado. It’s Aspen’s only ski-in/ski out luxury hotel. The destination restaurant there is element 47 restaurant.

Carlton McCoyCarlton McCoy, a Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) graduate, is the greatly admired Wine Director there. He is also a certified Master Sommelier, an incredibly elite group. He’s just 29.

Carlton will share with us his inspiring story of growing up in a rough area of Washington, D.C. (known as the “murder capital”) and finding his way (through hard-work) to the privileged affluence of Aspen.

“Growing up, there wasn’t wine on the table at my house, like in many black households,” Carlton said.” But wine is for everyone. Every time I approach a table or talk about wine, it isn’t coming from a place of snobbery or elitism. It’s about figuring out what people like, finding the right wine to appeal to our guests and ultimately having it enhance their experience at the table with friends and family.”

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March 1: Brandon Boudet, Dean James Max, Mar Yvette, Donato Poto, Carlton McCoy, Robert Schueller, Cochon 555

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Brandon Boudet, Dominick’s and Little Dom’s, Los Angeles.
Segment Three: Executive Chef James Dean Max, James Republic, Long Beach
Segment Four: Mar Yvette, Lifestyle reporter, Fox 11 News & “Good Day L.A.”
Segment Five: Donato Poto, Partner, Connie & Ted’s, West Hollywood, and Providence, Hollywood
Segment Six: Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Wine Director, Little Nell, Aspen, CO
Segment Seven: Jet Tila reporting on Cochon 555 Los Angeles

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Fat Tuesday and the craziness of Mardi Gras are next week We’ll tell you where you can get an authentic taste of New Orleans locally. You’ll meet the very hospitable Donato Poto, the co-owner of both Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood and one of the finest, high-end seafood restaurants in the West, Providence. The Oscars are upon us. Mar Yvette, the Lifestyle Reporter for Fox 11 News, talks to us about what’s on the menu for the 2014 Oscars Governor’s Ball at Hollywood & Highland. This is Wolfgang Puck’s (and his teams) 20th year creating the dazzling menu for the Oscars! Also where the stars dine…

Eat LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week kicks off on March 30th. Executive Chef Dean James Max of James Republic in Long Beach is with us to preview his menu. When it comes to elegant, destination resorts they don’t come more highly acclaimed than Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado. Carlton McCoy (an accredited Master Sommelier) is their 29-year old Wine Director. We’ll hear his inspiring story. Organic fruits and vegetables are top of the mind. Our resident Professor of Produce, Robert Schueller from Melissa’s, is back with an informative update on organics. Chef Jet was a Judge at last Sunday’s Cochon 555 – An Epic Heritage Pork Event at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica. Jet takes us behind-the-scenes at this eagerly anticipated and highly competitive event that tours the country.

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

Brandon Boudet of Dominick’s, Little Dom’s and Tom Bergin’sChef Brandon Boudet is the co-owner and head chef for Dominick’s and Little Dom’s. He’s a proud native of New Orleans.

Each year Dominick’s and Little Dom’s celebrate Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday in true Bourbon Street Style. On their menu are special cocktails, bites and of course, Jambalaya and red beans and rice. Chef Brandon explains the mysteries of the King Cake.

Coming up in May are two Saturdays of crawfish boils.

James Republic combines modern sensibilities with old-world principles to afford a genuine gathering place for the neighborhood and a distinctive dining destination in the heart of Long Beach. Weekend brunch on the patio is a popular attraction for the locals.

James Republic is one of over 50 restaurants participating in EAT LBC – Long Beach Restaurant Week running from March 30 to April 5th.

The style of food at James Republic is what they call “modern California coastal” dining. The goal is to highlight the season’s vibrant, locally sourced bounty from both the land and sea.

Dean James MaxThe Chef and Partner is Dean James Max whose base is in Florida. His flagship is 3030 Ocean restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale. He has been nominated for James Beard Awards, has authored two cookbooks, and has the honor of cooking at The Beard Foundation in Manhattan regularly.

He now has restaurants in Columbus, Ohio; Grand Cayman; Cleveland; and Trumbull, CT.

In Los Angeles Chef Max is remembered as the owner/chef of Woodside in Brentwood in the late 90s. It was highly regarded and well-reviewed.

Mar YvetteMar Yvette is the Lifestyle Reporter for Fox 11 News right here in Los Angeles.

We’re talking about cuisine worthy of Oscar! For the 20th year Wolfgang Puck and his highly talented team of chefs and associates will prepare the exquisite menu for the 2014 Oscars Governor’s Ball held in the Ray Dolby Ballroom on the top level of the Hollywood & Highland Center. We’ll preview the menu!

Think 1,250 Stone Crab claws for the 1,500 invited guests.

Mar also highlights some of the hidden restaurants in Los Angeles where the celebrities go to simply enjoy the great food and not be noticed! Mar points out that the celebs love the restaurants in luxury hotels. Think Culina Modern Italian at The Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.

Donato PotoDonato Poto is the ever-gracious, “Mr. Hospitality,” when it comes to seasoned restaurant General Managers on the volatile Los Angeles dining scene. He speaks three languages including Italian, French, and English.

In the mid 80s he was the GM of Piero Selvaggio’s Primi in West Los Angeles. At lunch this was the unofficial commissary for the senior executives, producers, writers, and actors & actresses at the nearby Twentieth Century Fox Studios. If you were anybody this is where you lunched. Talk about pressure…

Today Donato is a partner in both Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood and Providence in Hollywood.

Connie & Ted’s was just selected as a Semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant. His business partner, Chef Michael Cimarusti was also recognized as a semifinalist for The James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: West for Providence.

Donato’s other partner in Connie and Ted’s, Craig Nickoloff, founded the hugely successful Claim Jumper Restaurants.

The Little Nell is an acclaimed five star, five diamond luxury property in Aspen, Colorado. It’s Aspen’s only ski-in/ski out luxury hotel. The destination restaurant there is element 47 restaurant.

Carlton McCoyCarlton McCoy, a Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) graduate, is the greatly admired Wine Director there. He is also a certified Master Sommelier, an incredibly elite group. He’s just 29.

Carlton will share with us his inspiring story of growing up in a rough area of Washington, D.C. (known as the “murder capital”) and finding his way (through hard-work) to the privileged affluence of Aspen.

“Growing up, there wasn’t wine on the table at my house, like in many black households,” Carlton said.” But wine is for everyone. Every time I approach a table or talk about wine, it isn’t coming from a place of snobbery or elitism. It’s about figuring out what people like, finding the right wine to appeal to our guests and ultimately having it enhance their experience at the table with friends and family.”

Organic fruits and vegetables are getting a lot of attention these days. With the fresh concern about GMOs in food, certified organic fruits and vegetables are, by definition, free of GMOs.

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety ProduceOur resident Professor of Produce, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce, is back with us to discuss what’s new in organics.

Melissa’s is the largest variety supplier of fresh organic produce in the USA.

All the varieties of organic Kale are the hot item in produce right now. Organic Pixie Tangerines (easy to peel and sweet) are leading the charge in fresh citrus.

The COCHON U.S. Tour events serve as a link to preserving heritage breed pigs by promoting breed diversity in communities nationwide. The coast-to-coast tour connects ranchers raising heritage breeds with top chefs known for whole animal utilization.

Jet Tila at Cochon 555The Los Angeles stop of the Cochon 555 tour was Sunday, Feb. 23rd at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica. Five Chefs worked with five heritage pigs in an intense competition. Chef Ray Garcia of Fig Restaurant was the defending champion.

Our own Chef Jet Tila was a judge. He also cooked the heritage pig for the After Party (Cochon Late Night Asian Speakeasy.) The heritage pig was a Kune Kune (they like to feed on grass) from Rainbow Ranch Farm.

Jet will report on this year’s “Epic Heritage Pork Event.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Chef Brandon Boudet, Dominick’s and Little Dom’s, Los Angeles.
Segment Three: Executive Chef James Dean Max, James Republic, Long Beach
Segment Four: Mar Yvette, Lifestyle reporter, Fox 11 News & “Good Day L.A.”
Segment Five: Donato Poto, Partner, Connie & Ted’s, West Hollywood, and Providence, Hollywood
Segment Six: Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Wine Director, Little Nell, Aspen, CO
Segment Seven: Jet Tila reporting on Cochon 555 Los Angeles

Show 40, September 14, 2013: Elizabeth Huettinger, Wine Director, Addison Del Mar

Elizabeth Huettinger of the Addison in Del MarSommelier Elizabeth Huettinger is the new Wine Director at Addison restaurant and The Grand Del Mar Resort in Del Mar. She was previously part of the celebrated wine team at Spago Beverly Hills.

Elizabeth just took the incredibly difficult “Advanced” certification test from the Court of Master Sommeliers. It’s in three parts, including service, theory, and blind tasting. She shared that humbling experience with us.

Earlier in the Summer the Grand hosted a special screening of the documentary, “SOMM”. It’s the first effort by filmmaker Jason Wise.
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“SOMM” tells the fascinating story of four sommeliers attempting to pass the rigorous and prestigious Master Sommelier exam. This test has one of the lowest pass rates imaginable. Elizabeth’s head sommelier at Spago (her previous post) is a Master Sommelier. She talked about hosting the screening (there was wine and abundant food stations) and her reaction to the highly acclaimed documentary.

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Show 36, July 20, 2013: Michael Rossi, Executive Chef of The Ranch Restaurant and Saloon

Michael Rossi of the Ranch Restaurant and SaloonThe story of The Ranch is one of the most incredible restaurant opening stories in recent OC restaurant history. This elegant, handsomely-appointed, fine-dining restaurant is oddly located on the ground floor of the Extron Electronics office building a bit off the beaten path on E. Ball Road in Anaheim. The building is the newly-constructed corporate headquarters for Andrew Edwards, who is the sole backer of multi-million dollar The Ranch Restaurant and Saloon.

Master Sommelier Michael Jordan (ex-Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian) recruited Chef Michael to the project. Jordan, as Vice-President of Beverage, orchestrates the beverage program and front-of-the-house operations for Mr. Edwards. He’s one of the OC’s most gracious, and experienced, hosts. Chef Rossi oversees the entire culinary program.

Much of the seasonal produce used at The Ranch comes from Edward’s 2-acre farm in Orange County. You just can’t get fruit and vegetables any fresher.

Chef Michael stands by every item on his thoughtfully developed menu but if he had to choose one entrée for this evening it would be the Colorado Grass-Fed Lamp Chops.

The Ranch has already been nominated for two Golden Foodies this year. Chef Michael is up for the Golden Chef Award. His brother, David, is contending for the Golden Pastry Chef Award.

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Show 30, June 1, 2013: Chuck Furuya, Master Sommelier and partner in DK Restaurants, Honolulu

Chuck FuruyaWhen it comes to wine the go-to guy in Hawaii is Chuck Furuya. He was only the 10th person in the United States to pass the incredibly rigorous Master Sommelier exam.

Chuck is the sommelier and a partner in the DK Restaurant Group. In their collection of hugely popular properties are DK Steak House (Waikiki), Sansei (Waikiki, Maui, and The Big Island), Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas (Honolulu), and Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar (Honolulu).

Over the Memorial Day Weekend, Chuck was the lead sommelier in Maui at the Four Seasons Resort Maui’s Vintage Wine Weekend.

Chuck offered some practical advice on pairing wine with classic Hawaiian flavors.

Chuck also commented on why wine from grapes grown in Hawaii is such a challenge although there are working wineries on both Maui and the Big Island.

Part of the dilemma in potentially growing grapes there is that there are no seasons in Hawaii. Grape vines need a period of dormancy each year.

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