Show 59, February 1, 2013: Matt Bencivenga, Wolfgang Puck Catering and Puck’s Tavern at Honda Center

Matt BencivengaCelebrated chef Wolfgang Puck and Wolfgang Puck Catering have just launched two new dining destinations at Honda Center, the home of the Anaheim Ducks. They are Puck’s Tavern, an approachable fine-dining restaurant serving modern comfort food and The Window at Puck’s Tavern, a made-to-order pizza concession stand. Both operations are located on the South Side of the arena’s main level.

Open during Honda Center’s events, Puck’s Tavern (230 seats) caters to both the general public and ticketholders alike. The 7,000 square-foot, indoor-outdoor restaurant features a direct entrance to the arena allowing a seamless transition from a sit-down meal or private event to the evening’s entertainment.

Matt Bencivenga, Executive Chef and Partner of Wolfgang Puck Catering joins us to chat about the opening of Puck’s Tavern and Wolfgang’s high-profile return to Orange County. Bencivenga co-founded Wolfgang Puck Catering with Wolfgang Puck in 1998.

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February 1: Curtis Stone, Cookies for a Koz, Hans Rockenwagner, Puck’s Tavern, Pacific Coast Wine Festival

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Curtis Stone, Owner/Chef of Maude, Beverly Hills Part One
Segment Three: Curtis Stone, Owner/Chef of Maude, Beverly Hills Part Two
Segment Four: Roberta Koz Wilson, Cookies for a Koz
Segment Five: Chef Hans Rockenwagner, Rockenwagner Bakery and Café Rockenwagner Part One
Segment Six: Chef Hans Rockenwagner, Rockenwagner Bakery and Café Rockenwagner Part Two
Segment Seven: Matt Bencivenga, Wolfgang Puck Catering and Puck’s Tavern at Honda Center
Segment Eight: Tristen Beamon and Kyle Meyer, BestWinesOnline.com and Pacific Coast Wine Festival

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching so plan ahead and don’t panic. It falls on a Friday this year. Friday is an especially tough day for restaurants due to Valentine’s Day anxiety so if you want to be a bit more relaxed make your plans for Saturday or Sunday instead. Still the Valentine’s Day orbit but a bit less crazed for the restaurant. You’ll definitely have better service…

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownFood Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” with host Alton Brown is back on Sunday nights for Season 2. Our own Chef Jet Tila is the most frequently appearing solo judge on this tough competition show that requires strategy as well as cooking chops. Look for Jet’s new episodes starting in February.

Congrats to Chef Chris Oh of Seoul Sausage Co. in West Los Angeles. Last Sunday (Jan. 26th.) he competed against three other chefs on Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen.” He won big and took home the most cash of any winner to date!

Everyone’s favorite sexy Aussie Chef is Curtis Stone. He’s opening an intimate new restaurant on Feb. 1st and we’ll get all the 411 right from the source. Fine dining chef Hans Rockenwagner, in recent years, has become known for his line of artisan breads. He’s just opened his most ambitious bakery café to date in Brentwood and joins us to provide the details. Wolfgang Puck is back in Orange County with the newly launched Puck’s Tavern at Honda Center, home of the Anaheim Ducks. The executive chef of Wolfgang Puck Catering is with us to preview what’s on the menu.

All of that and lots more incredible deliciousness on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

Curtis StoneYou know Aussie celebrity chef, Curtis Stone, from Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” which he hosts. He’s now a resident of Los Angeles.

What you may not know is that he has a serious culinary background. He trained with the legendary English Chef, Marco Pierre White. Chef Curtis worked his way up Marco Pierre White’s tall culinary ladder and eventually became the Head Chef of Quo Vadis in London.

On February 1st Curtis Stone opens Maude in Beverly Hills. Maude is named after his grandmother. It’s an intimate 25 seats and Chef Curtis will actually be there cooking. The menu will change monthly and all of the nine tasting plates served each night will contain a featured ingredient.

His most recent cookbook, What’s for Dinner?: Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life was published last year by Ballantine Books Hardcover. The concept is getting dinner on the table without a hassle. The book features 130 effortless and inspired recipes that carry Chef Curtis’ promise of working.

Roberta Koz WilsonIt’s almost Valentine’s Day and what more thoughtful edible gift than absolutely delicious chocolate chip cookies baked in small batches! The big plus is that each sale benefits The Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Roberta Koz Wilson (jazz saxophone great Dave Koz’s sister) of Cookies for a Koz joins us to share the inspirational story. The cookies are a tribute to their late mother, Audrey, who created the original cookie recipe. The truth is that these famous cookies opened a lot of doors for Dave in his early days as a struggling musician!

The Red Velvet Cookie was originally created as a Valentine’s Day special. It became so popular that it was added to the year-round line. It’s their take on a moist and delicious Red Velvet Cupcake.

Hans RockenwagnerChef Hans Rockenwagner burst on the local Venice dining scene in 1985 when he opened the original (40 seat) Rockenwagner on Abbot Kinney Blvd. where Joe’s is now.

In 1991 Rockenwagner moved to a much larger space in the Frank Gehry-designed Edgemar Complex in Santa Monica.

White asparagus, in season, became a signature menu item.

Hans eventually discovered there was more money in artisan bread and eventually closed Rockenwagner to concentrate on his growing wholesale bread baking business. He now has 60 bakers working around the clock seven days a week! Rockenwagner Bakery is a fixture at area Farmers Markets including the Sunday Beverly Hills Farmers Market.

Cafe RockenwagnerIn addition to the growing wholesale bakery Hans Rockenwagner has a network of busy bakery cafes in Santa Monica, Venice, and Mar Vista. The most ambitious café to date just launched in Brentwood. This Café Rockenwagner is in the bw (a high-rise luxury apartment building) at the corner of Barrington Ave. and Wilshire Blvd.

Besides a full food menu there is on an on-site pastry chef here so there is an impressive selection of fresh breakfast pastries, desserts, breads and pretzels available.

Pucks Tavern at Honda CenterCelebrated chef Wolfgang Puck and Wolfgang Puck Catering have just launched two new dining destinations at Honda Center, the home of the Anaheim Ducks. They are Puck’s Tavern, an approachable fine-dining restaurant serving modern comfort food and The Window at Puck’s Tavern, a made-to-order pizza concession stand. Both operations are located on the South Side of the arena’s main level.

Open during Honda Center’s events, Puck’s Tavern (230 seats) caters to both the general public and ticketholders alike. The 7,000 square-foot, indoor-outdoor restaurant features a direct entrance to the arena allowing a seamless transition from a sit-down meal or private event to the evening’s entertainment.

Matt Bencivenga, Executive Chef and Partner of Wolfgang Puck Catering joins us to chat about the opening of Puck’s Tavern and Wolfgang’s high-profile return to Orange County.

Tristen Beamon and Kyle MeyerIf you’re a wine lover then the upcoming Pacific Coast Wine Festival evening on March 1st at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach to benefit the Pacific Symphony is definitely for you.

The evening starts off with tastings from highly touted wineries including Domaine Faively and Nickel & Nickel. The live and silent auction will feature renowned selections such as Margaux, Mouton, Paul Hobbs, and Screaming Eagle. The sumptuous dinner will be followed by a select chocolate and port tasting.

All the impressive wine selections for the benefit and auctions have been meticulously curated by Tristen Beamon and Kyle Meyer of Orange County’s Bestwinesonline.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Curtis Stone, Owner/Chef of Maude, Beverly Hills Part One
Segment Three: Curtis Stone, Owner/Chef of Maude, Beverly Hills Part Two
Segment Four: Roberta Koz Wilson, Cookies for a Koz
Segment Five: Chef Hans Rockenwagner, Rockenwagner Bakery and Café Rockenwagner Part One
Segment Six: Chef Hans Rockenwagner, Rockenwagner Bakery and Café Rockenwagner Part Two
Segment Seven: Matt Bencivenga, Wolfgang Puck Catering and Puck’s Tavern at Honda Center
Segment Eight: Tristen Beamon and Kyle Meyer, BestWinesOnline.com and Pacific Coast Wine Festival

Show 46, November 2, 2013: Matt Bencivenga, executive chef and partner of the Wolfgang Puck Catering Company

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

Matt BencivengaWolfgang Puck Catering (they cater the annual Governors Ball for The Oscars) was selected to serve it’s fine-dining, seasonal cuisine to some 5,000 demanding VIP attendees. Wolfgang Puck Catering’s cuisine was served in the Trackside Marquee, Frontrunner, Sierra Vista, Trophy Lounge and the Chandelier Room. They created multiple field kitchens on-site to serve the guests.

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. To guarantee fine-dining quality one chef is on-site for each hundred guests.

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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