Show 371, May 2, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

It’s a time of great concern for all of us and our “SoCal Restaurant Show” mission, until the Covid-19 crisis is fully abated, is to provide reliable and genuinely useful information on how the restaurant business is coping with the rapidly evolving events. With an emphasis on the health, safety and well-being of our listeners we’ll be detailing what the range of services restaurants can now provide to their guests. Creativity and adaptability are at the forefront. We’re doing our level best to keep it upbeat…

Chefs and restaurateurs are honestly the most generous people we know. In times of need they are always the very first in generously giving back and meaningfully supporting their communities. Truly remarkable…Right now restaurants urgently need our support to stay afloat. Kindly keep this in mind and please do what you possibly can (as you can afford) to support a community-focused, local restaurant….

As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Truly couldn’t do it without the supportive encouragement of the foodie community.

Porto’s Bakery & Café started modestly in the greater L.A. area in the 1960s and has grown steadily since then becoming a popular, local and revered institution. Founder Rosa Porto’s life took an unexpected turn back at the beginning when she and her family made the difficult decision to leave their beloved Cuba and emigrate to the United States. Out of a job, Rosa relied on her love of baking and began selling cakes out of her house for her neighbors and friends to support her family. Porto’s has gradually grown into five high volume locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, Buena Park, and the newly opened West Covina. Porto’s is now open for contactless ordering, payment and curbside pick-up. Porto’s Bake-At-Home, too. Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations for Porto’s, is our guest.

Food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. He’s also accomplished in reporting on food and travel in print, radio and podcasting. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala was scheduled for Chicago at the Lyric Opera on Monday evening, May 4th. It’s now been rescheduled for a to-be-announced date for later in the year. Usually Steve would be sharing his insightful Beard Awards preview with us. Instead he talks about his informed thoughts on the dining scene in Chicagoland during the health crisis.

“Like all restaurants in LA County, Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera is limited to takeout and curbside pick-up options to share its regional Mexican Cuisine with the community. With dine-in service unavailable, Chef Marco Zapien and team are keeping it fun and giving back to the community, while offering some of their classic favorites available for takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery. For over 25 years, The Salsa Grill has been a favorite spot in the Pico Rivera community and beyond and wants to give back. “We want to give back to the community that’s been supporting us for almost 26 years,” said co-owner and Executive Chef, Zapien. We gently pull Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen to talk about all his specials for Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day.”

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Take-out/delivery when you can surely helps…Of course, the safety of restaurant employees and guests comes first. What about “Code Dates” on fresh & packaged food products? What do they really mean? You certainly don’t want to potentially waste anything or take an unwise chance either. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

The Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. They also are one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their tasting room and sell a few bottles of spirits. Blinking Owl crafts Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit. “Stay Safely at Home” provisions have necessitated the temporary closing of The Tasting Room. Wanting to continue serving the community and keep their employees on the job Blinking Owl has thoughtfully shifted production to hand sanitizer under the label of Blinking Owl Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer. So far a generous $50,000 in hand sanitizer has been donated to hospitals, First Responders and restaurants! Joining us from the packaging line for Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer is Blinking Owl’s Co-founder and Chief Financial Owl, Robin Christenson.

Chef Michael Hung began his culinary career in New York City, where he dropped out of culinary school to do extended stages at acclaimed restaurants Daniel and Aquavit. Michael then followed his heart to San Francisco in 2005 and joined Traci Des Jardins’s James Beard Award-winning team at Jardiniere.  His career continued for nearly a decade in San Francisco, culminating with his appointment as Chef de Cuisine at Roland Passot’s Michelin-starred La Folie. In late-2013, Michael left San Francisco for Los Angeles to open Faith & Flower where he has returned as Executive Chef. Community service in times of need is part of Chef Michael’s makeup. His current ambitious feeding program for those in need is under the banner of Donate to Feed L.A.’s Homeless and Underserved. Chef Michael takes a break from preparing meals and joins us with the details.

This is the Weekend we were scheduled to again be broadcasting live from the 9th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. With the ongoing health crisis the Festival hopes to be rescheduled for August 14th & 15th if it’s safe to do so. Tom Cross is the welcoming Hotel Manager at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and joins us with the good news that the property will again welcome guests at a “To Be Determined” date as the Hawaii Governor allows with all guest safety precautions in place.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Play

Show 371, May 2, 2020: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Tom Cross of the Westin Hapuna Beach ResortThis is the Weekend we were scheduled to again be broadcasting live from the 9th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. It’s a celebration with local farmers of the base of premium chocolate, cacao, being able to be grown on select Islands of Hawaii, including The Big Island itself. Cacao is an important new cash crop for the economy of Hawaii. With the current health crisis still ongoing the Festival hopes to be rescheduled for August 14th & 15th if it’s safe to do so.

Tom Cross is the welcoming Hotel Manager at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and joins us with the good news that the property will again be welcoming guests as the Hawaii Governor allows with all safety precautions in place for the visitors.

The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort completed an ambitious $50 million renovation last year. It’s part of the renown Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii.

Play

May 2: Porto’s Bakery & Cafe, Steve Dolinsky, Zapien’s Salsa Grill, Blinking Owl Distillery, Faith & Flower, Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations, Porto’s Bakery & Café
Segment Three: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound”
Segment Four: Executive Chef & Co-Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill
Segment Five: Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”
Segment Six: Robin Christenson, Co-Founder, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Michael Hung, Faith & Flower, Downtown Los Angeles
Segment Eight: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

It’s a time of great concern for all of us and our “SoCal Restaurant Show” mission, until the Covid-19 crisis is fully abated, is to provide reliable and genuinely useful information on how the restaurant business is coping with the rapidly evolving events. With an emphasis on the health, safety and well-being of our listeners we’ll be detailing what the range of services restaurants can now provide to their guests. Creativity and adaptability are at the forefront. We’re doing our level best to keep it upbeat…

Chefs and restaurateurs are honestly the most generous people we know. In times of need they are always the very first in generously giving back and meaningfully supporting their communities. Truly remarkable…Right now restaurants urgently need our support to stay afloat. Kindly keep this in mind and please do what you possibly can (as you can afford) to support a community-focused, local restaurant….

As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Truly couldn’t do it without the enthusiastic encouragement of the foodie community.

Porto’s Bakery & Café started modestly in the greater L.A. area in the 1960s and has grown steadily since then becoming a popular, local and revered institution. Founder Rosa Porto’s life took an unexpected turn back at the beginning when she and her family made the difficult decision to leave their beloved Cuba and emigrate to the United States. Out of a job, Rosa relied on her love of baking and began selling cakes out of her house for her neighbors and friends to support her family. Porto’s has gradually grown into five high volume locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, Buena Park, and the newly opened West Covina. Porto’s is now open for contactless ordering, payment and curbside pick-up. Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations for Porto’s, is our guest.

Food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. He’s also accomplished in reporting on food and travel in print, radio and podcasting. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala was scheduled for Chicago at the Lyric Opera on Monday evening, May 4th. It’s now been rescheduled for a to-be-announced date for later in the year. Usually Steve would be sharing his insightful Beard Awards preview with us. Instead he will talk about his informed thoughts on the dining scene in Chicagoland during the health crisis.

Like all restaurants in LA County, Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera is limited to takeout and curbside pick-up options to share its regional Mexican Cuisine with the community. With dine-in service unavailable, Chef Marco Zapien and team are keeping it fun and giving back to the community, while offering some of their classic favorites available for takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery. For over 25 years, The Salsa Grill has been a favorite spot in the Pico Rivera community and beyond and wants to give back. “We want to give back to the community that’s been supporting us for almost 26 years,” said co-owner and Executive Chef, Zapien. We gently pull Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen to talk about all his specials for Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Take-out/delivery when you can surely helps…Of course, the safety of restaurant employees and guests comes first. What about “Code Dates” on fresh & packaged food products? What do they really mean. You certainly don’t want to potentially waste anything or take an unwise chance. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

The Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Anna is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. They also are one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their tasting room and sell a few bottles of spirits. Blinking Owl crafts Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit. “Stay Safely at Home” provisions have necessitated the temporary closing of The Tasting Room. Wanting to continue serving the community and keep their employees on the job Blinking Owl has thoughtfully shifted production to hand sanitizer under the label of Blinking Owl Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer. So far $25,000 in hand sanitizer has been donated! Joining us from the packaging line for Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer is Blinking Owl’s Co-founder and Chief Financial Owl, Robin Christenson.

Chef Michael Hung began his culinary career in New York City, where he dropped out of culinary school to do extended stages at acclaimed restaurants Daniel and Aquavit. Michael then followed his heart to San Francisco in 2005 and joined Traci Des Jardins’s James Beard Award-winning team at Jardiniere.  His career continued for nearly a decade in San Francisco, culminating with his appointment as Chef de Cuisine at Roland Passot’s Michelin-starred La Folie. In late-2013, Michael left San Francisco for Los Angeles to open Faith & Flower where he has returned as Executive Chef. Community service in times of need is part of Chef Michael’s makeup. His current ambitious feeding program for those in need is under the banner of Donate to Feed L.A.’s Homeless and Underserved. Chef Michael takes a break from the kitchen and joins us with the details.

This is the Weekend we were scheduled to again be broadcasting live from the 9th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. With the ongoing health crisis the Festival hopes to be rescheduled for August 14th & 15th if it’s safe to do so. Tom Cross is the welcoming Hotel Manager at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and joins us with the good news that the property will again welcome guests on June 1st

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Betty Porto in front of the Porto's Bakery Bread RackPorto’s Bakery & Café started modestly in the greater L.A. area in the 1960s and has grown steadily since then becoming a popular, local and revered institution. Founder Rosa Porto’s life took an unexpected turn back at the beginning when she and her family made the difficult decision to leave their beloved Cuba and emigrate to the United States. Out of a job, Rosa relied on her love of baking and began selling cakes out of her house for her neighbors and friends to support her family. Porto’s has gradually grown into five high-volume locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, Buena Park, and the newly opened West Covina. Porto’s is now open for contactless ordering, payment and curbside pick-up. Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations for Porto’s, is our guest.

Steve Dolinsky and Andreew GruelAccomplished food journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s “Hungry Hound” in Chicago, is the recipient of an impressive 13 James Beard Foundation Awards for journalistic excellence. He’s also accomplished in reporting on food and travel in print, radio and podcasting. The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala was scheduled for Chicago at the Lyric Opera on Monday evening, May 4th. It’s now been rescheduled for an unannounced (as yet) date later in the year.

Usually Steve would be sharing his engaging Beard Awards preview with us. Instead he will talk about his informed thoughts on the dining scene in Chicagoland during the health crisis and what the future may hold.

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and TaqueriaLike all restaurants in LA County, Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera is limited to takeout and curbside pick-up options to share its regional Mexican Cuisine with the community. With dine-in service unavailable, Chef Marco Zapien and team are keeping it fun and giving back to the community, while offering some of their classic favorites available for takeout, curbside pick-up and delivery.

The most popular special so far is a family meal pack that feeds 4-6 and includes a salad, choice of entrée (Chile Verde, Chile Colorado, Chicharron, Carnitas or Chicken Fajitas), rice, beans, chips, salsa, Tortillas and soft drinks. Plus, anyone who orders this takeout/pick-up special will get 2 pounds of uncooked rice and beans and two rolls of toilet paper, all for only $39.99.

Chef Zapien’s creative giving doesn’t stop there. He’s helping out families with kids with $3 individual kids’ pizzas with the purchase of any entrée. Even more, all entrees come with a free soft drink or coffee.

Recently, Chef Zapien introduced the Corona Survival Kit, including two frozen packs of menudo or pozole, a six pack of beer of choice, two mini (Agave Tequila) shot bottles, one 2-pound bag of uncooked beans, one 2-pound bag of uncooked rice and two rolls of toilet paper.

For over 25 years, The Salsa Grill has been a favorite spot in the Pico Rivera community and beyond and wants to give back. “We want to give back to the community that’s been supporting us for almost 26 years,” said co-owner and Executive Chef, Zapien.

We gently pull Chef Marco out of his busy kitchen to talk about all his specials for Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day.

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and CasinoOur own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Take-out/delivery when you can surely helps…Of course, the safety of restaurant employees and guests comes first.

What about those confusing “Code Dates” or “Use By Dates” on fresh & packaged food products. What do they really mean? You certainly don’t want to potentially waste anything right now that’s safely edible. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

Robin Christenson of Blinking Owl Distillery with her Hand SanitzerThe Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. They also are one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their tasting room and sell a few bottles of spirits. Blinking Owl crafts Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit.

“Stay Safely at Home” provisions have necessitated the temporary closing of The Tasting Room. Wanting to continue serving the community and keep their employees on the job Blinking Owl has thoughtfully shifted production to hand sanitizer (licensed) under the label of Blinking Owl Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer. So far $25,000 in hand sanitizer has been generously donated!

Spirits are still available by ordering online.

Joining us from the packaging line for Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer is Blinking Owl’s Co-founder and Chief Financial Owl, Robin Christenson.

Michael Hung of Faith and FlowerChef Michael Hung began his culinary career in New York City, where he dropped out of culinary school to do extended stages at acclaimed restaurants Daniel and Aquavit. Michael then followed his heart to San Francisco in 2005 and joined Traci Des Jardins’s James Beard Award-winning team at Jardiniere.  His career continued for nearly a decade in San Francisco, culminating with his appointment as Chef de Cuisine at Roland Passot’s Michelin-starred La Folie. In late-2013, Michael left San Francisco for Los Angeles to open Faith & Flower where he has returned as Executive Chef.

Community service in times of need is part of Chef Michael’s makeup. His current ambitious feeding program for those in need is under the banner of Donate to Feed L.A.’s Homeless and Underserved. Chef Michael takes a break from the kitchen and joins us with the critical details.

Tom Cross of the Westin Hapuna Beach ResortThis is the Weekend we were scheduled to again be broadcasting live from the 9th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort on Hawaii Island’s Kohala Coast. With the current health crisis still ongoing the Festival hopes to be rescheduled for August 14th & 15th if it’s safe to do so. Tom Cross is the welcoming Hotel Manager at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort and joins us with the good news that the property will again be welcoming guests on June 1st.

The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort completed an ambitious $50 million renovation last year. It’s part of the renown Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Betty Porto, Vice President of Community and Guest Relations, Porto’s Bakery & Café
Segment Three: Food Journalist Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 TV’s (Chicago) “Hungry Hound”
Segment Four: Executive Chef & Co-Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill
Segment Five: Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”
Segment Six: Robin Christenson, Co-Founder, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Michael Hung, Faith & Flower, Downtown Los Angeles
Segment Eight: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Show 271, April 28, 2018: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

BIg Island Chocolate FestivalIt’s a very special day of pure indulgence on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” We’re coming to you from the 7th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Hapuna Beach ResortThis is our 2nd year of participating.

Hawaii is the only state in the USA where cacao, the primary base of chocolate, can be successfully grown commercially.

Now a properly decadent preview of Saturday’s appropriately sinful show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. Can you ever get enough of premium chocolate? If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

We fortunate enough to again have a local celebrity as our Remote Engineer. That’s hard-working, on-air radio personality G. Cruz (“Lunchtime Kalabash”) who is also the Program Director for KWXX-FM, “Feel Good Island Music” on The Big Island. We’ll meet him.

Farsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 7th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.
Tom Cross is the Hotel Manager for our host, the Hapuna Beach Resort, which is just completing a $50 million dollar renovation. By late June it will officially emerge as The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. It’s part of the Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii.

Alicia Boada is an acclaimed pastry chef and instructor with 20 plus years of experience in the culinary industry. She is the West Coast Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate (The Barry Callebaut Group) whose brands include Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Mona Lisa, among more. As a Corporate Pastry Chef & Chocolatier,
Chef Alicia’s role often calls on her to perform demonstrations and training worldwide keeping her on the edge of what’s happening in the contemporary pastry and chocolate world. Chef Alicia will be performing two chocolate culinary demonstration as part of the Festival in addition to judging the Gala’s delicious offerings.

Tattoo Tequila CEO, “Tequila John” Atanasio (a Maui resident) set out 7 years ago with the goal of crafting a “Super Premium Tequila” that would use the highest grade of organic Blue Weber Agave available in the World and to use the best ingredients available to develop “The Champagne of Tequilas.” Tattoo Tequila today has legitimate brand positioning as a leader in the Craft Spirits sector. We’ll meet Tequila John.

Wendle Lesher is the Director of Food and Beverage for Mauna Kea Resort, encompassing all restaurant and banquet staff and food and beverage operations at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection and Hapuna Beach Resort, (emerging in late June as The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort). In his role as Mauna Kea Resort Director of Food and Beverage, Lesher is responsible operationally and fiscally for nearly a dozen food and beverage outlets. We’ll chat with Wendle about the intriguing new restaurants at Hapuna including Meridia, Naupaka Beach Grill and Ikena Landing.
Chef Stéphane Tréand debuted, The Pastry School in 2012, in San Clemente. In 2015, he moved his school to Costa Mesa along with his new pâtisserie (pastry) shop, ST Pâtisserie Chocolat, to the oCo Collection!  He wanted people to come and buy pastries, chocolates, viennoiserie (baked goods such as croissants), and gelato/sorbet at his shop. But he also wanted to show others, “you can learn and create beautiful items such as these, right-next-door with me (Chef Stéphane Tréand) as your teacher!” At The Big Island Chocolate Festival Chef Stephane is performing two chocolate culinary demonstrations.
Chef Dayne Tanabe oversees the KPC Restaurant at the Hilton Waikola Village on The Big Island. Chef Dayne was instrumental in repositioning the menu direction for KPC – Kamuela Provision Company, the signature restaurant at Hilton Waikoloa Village. KPC features local Hawaii Island produce, prime steaks and fresh island fish and seafood. As Chef of Restaurants, Dayne now has the added responsibility for overseeing the many dining restaurants at Hilton Waikoloa Village, creating and implementing concept driven menus at Big Island Breakfast, Imari Japanese Izakaya, Lagoon Grill, Orchid Marketplace, Malolo, Boat Landing Cantina and Dona & Toni’s Pizzeria.. Chef Dayne joins us with his award-winning pastry chef, Eddie Enojardo.

Play

Show 271, April 28, 2018: Wendle Lesher, Director of Food and Beverage, Mauna Kea Resort

Wendle LesherWendle Lesher is the Director of Food and Beverage for Mauna Kea Resort, encompassing all restaurant and banquet staff and food and beverage operations at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection and Hapuna Beach Resort, (emerging in late June as The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort).

In his role as Mauna Kea Resort Director of Food and Beverage, Lesher is responsible operationally and fiscally for nearly a dozen food and beverage outlets. We’ll chat with Wendle about the intriguing new restaurants at Hapuna including Meridia, Naupaka Beach Grill and Ikena Landing.

Meridia is Hapuna’s new signature dining experience featuring distinctive Mediterranean inspired cuisine with locally sourced ingredients. The personable Chef there is Chris Galinda who we met last year at BICF when he was cooking next door at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s Hau Tree located adjacent to the sand.

Lesher joined Mauna Kea Resort in 2017 having worked since 2013 at The Fairmont Orchid, first as Director of Outlets, then Director of Food and Beverage and later as Director of Operations. Lesher also worked as Restaurant General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

Play

April 28: Live from the 2018 Big Island Chocolate Festival

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao Association
Segment Three: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, Hapuna Beach Resort
Segment Four: Chef Alicia Boada, West Coast Technical Advisor, Barry Callebaut Chocolate
Segment Five: “Tequila John” Atanasio, Tattoo Tequila
Segment Six: Wendle Lesher, Director of Food and Beverage, Mauna Kea Resort
Segment Seven: Robert Durant, Owner & Brewer, Inland Wharf Brewing Co.
Segment Eight: Dayne Tanabe, Chef of Restaurants & Pastry Chef Eddie Enojardo, Hilton Waikola Village

BIg Island Chocolate FestivalIt’s a very special day of pure indulgence on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” We’re coming to you from the 7th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Hapuna Beach Resort. We’re broadcasting from the “The Island Breeze” lounge.

Hawaii is the only state in the USA where cacao, the primary base of chocolate, can be successfully grown commercially.

Now a properly decadent preview of this Saturday’s appropriately sinful show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

Farsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 7th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

Tom Cross is the Hotel Manager for our host, the Hapuna Beach Resort, which just completed a $50 million dollar renovation. Within a few weeks it will officially emerge as The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. It’s part of the Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii.

Alicia Boada is an acclaimed pastry chef and instructor with 20 plus years of experience in the culinary industry. She is the West Coast Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate (The Barry Callebaut Group) whose brands include Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Mona Lisa, among more. As a Corporate Pastry Chef & Chocolatier, Chef Alicia’s role often calls on her to perform demonstrations and training worldwide keeping her on the edge of what’s happening in the contemporary pastry and chocolate world. Chef Alicia will be performing two chocolate culinary demonstration as part of the Festival in addition to judging the Gala’s delicious offerings.

Tattoo Tequila CEO, “Tequila John” Atanasio (a Maui resident) set out 7 years ago with the goal of crafting a “Super Premium Tequila” that would use the highest grade of organic Blue Weber Agave available in the World and to use the best ingredients available to develop “The Champagne of Tequilas.” Tattoo Tequila today has legitimate brand positioning as a leader in the Craft Spirits sector. We’ll meet Tequila John.

Wendle Lesher is the Director of Food and Beverage for Mauna Kea Resort, encompassing all restaurant and banquet staff and food and beverage operations at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection and Hapuna Beach Resort, (emerging very soon as The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort). In his role as Mauna Kea Resort Director of Food and Beverage, Lesher is responsible operationally and fiscally for nearly a dozen food and beverage outlets. We’ll chat with Wendle about the intriguing new restaurants at Hapuna including Meridia, Naupaka Beach Grill and Ikena Landing.

Chef Stéphane Tréand debuted, The Pastry School in 2012, in San Clemente. In 2015, he moved his school to Costa Mesa along with his new pâtisserie (pastry) shop, ST Pâtisserie Chocolat, to the Soco Collection!  He wanted people to come and buy pastries, chocolates, viennoiserie (baked goods such as croissants), and gelato/sorbet at his shop. But he also wanted to show others, “you can learn and create beautiful items such as these, right-next-door with me (Chef Stéphane Tréand) as your teacher!” At The Big Island Chocolate Festival Chef Stephane is performing two chocolate culinary demonstrations.

Chef Dayne Tanabe oversees the KPC Restaurant at the Hilton Waikola Village on The Big Island. Chef Dayne was instrumental in repositioning the menu direction for KPC – Kamuela Provision Company, the signature restaurant at Hilton Waikoloa Village. KPC features local Hawaii Island produce, prime steaks and fresh island fish and seafood. As Chef of Restaurants, Dayne now has the added responsibility for overseeing the many dining restaurants at Hilton Waikoloa Village, creating and implementing concept driven menus at Big Island Breakfast, Imari Japanese Izakaya, Lagoon Grill, Orchid Marketplace, Malolo, Boat Landing Cantina and Dona & Toni’s Pizzeria. Chef Dayne joins us with his award-winning pastry chef, Eddie Enojardo.

Farsheed BonakdarFarsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 7th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts.

Beyond creating, implementing and promoting the Big Island Chocolate Festival, the Kona Cacao Association works with cacao growers, producers, chocolate enthusiasts and chefs to help create a recognizable brand for Hawaii Island Chocolate. KCA members work together towards creating a structure to maintain the quality of cacao grown, marketed and shipped from Hawaii for the future growth of this fledging industry.

We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

Tom CrossTom Cross is the Hotel Manager for our host, the Hapuna Beach Resort, which just completed a $50 million dollar renovation. Within a few weeks it will emerge as The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. It’s part of the magnificent Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii.

The renovation’s highlights include new dining concepts/restaurants Meridia, Naupaka Beach Grill, ‘Ikena Landing and Piko Coffee+Bar; an adults-only pool; and wellness-inspired guest experiences, including a CrossFit studio, Westin Workout, Westin Kids’ Club and Hapuna Spa.

The resort’s indoor/outdoor lobby features a Living Wall vertical garden and interactive guest check-in pods, and its 232 guestrooms and 17 suites will be refurbished with Westin-brand signature room furnishings and fixtures.

Tom Cross joined Hapuna in 2013 and in his role as Hotel Manager, he is responsible for all operating departments within the hotel including rooms, and food and beverage and their overall financial performance.

Prior to his position at Hapuna, Cross served as Resort Manager at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore where he began as Director of Conference Services and Food and Beverage. He was promoted to Director of Operations in 2006 with expanded responsibilities and was named Resort Manager in 2009. Cross has also held management positions at Kona Village Resort, Hawaii Regent Hotel and the Hawaiian Waikiki Beach Hotel.

Alicia BoadaAlicia Boada is an acclaimed pastry chef and instructor with 20 plus years of experience in the culinary industry. She is the West Coast Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate (The Barry Callebaut Group) whose brands include Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Mona Lisa, among more.

As a Corporate Pastry Chef & Chocolatier, Chef Alicia’s role often calls on her to perform demonstrations and training worldwide keeping her on the edge of what’s happening in the contemporary pastry and chocolate world.

Chef Alicia will be performing two chocolate culinary demonstration as part of the Festival in addition to judging the Gala’s delicious offerings.

Tequila John AtanasioTattoo Tequila CEO, “Tequila John” Atanasio (now a Maui resident) set out 7 years ago with the goal of crafting a “Super Premium Tequila” that would use the highest grade of organic Blue Weber Agave available in the World and to use the best ingredients available to develop “The Champagne of Tequilas.” Tattoo Tequila today has legitimate brand positioning as a leader in the Craft Spirits sector.

Tattoo Tequila has a portfolio of 100% organic Blue Agave based tequila with expressions that include Blanco, Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo.

Tequila John is part of the Festival presenting the unexpected “Chocolate & Organic Tequila Pairings” seminar. He’ll demonstrate how different, organic tequilas and uniquely flavored chocolates can tastefully complement each other. We’re all in…

We’ll meet Tequila John.

Wendle LesherWendle Lesher is the Director of Food and Beverage for Mauna Kea Resort, encompassing all restaurant and banquet staff and food and beverage operations at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection and Hapuna Beach Resort, (emerging very soon as The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort).

In his role as Mauna Kea Resort Director of Food and Beverage, Lesher is responsible operationally and fiscally for nearly a dozen food and beverage outlets. We’ll chat with Wendle about the intriguing new restaurants at Hapuna including Meridia, Naupaka Beach Grill and Ikena Landing.

Lesher joined Mauna Kea Resort in 2017 having worked since 2013 at The Fairmont Orchid, first as Director of Outlets, then Director of Food and Beverage and later as Director of Operations. Lesher also worked as Restaurant General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

Stephane TreandChef Stéphane Tréand debuted, The Pastry School in 2012, in San Clemente. In 2015, he moved his school to Costa Mesa along with his new pâtisserie (pastry) shop, ST Pâtisserie Chocolat, to the SoCo Collection!  He wanted people to come and buy pastries, chocolates, viennoiserie (baked goods such as croissants), and gelato/sorbet at his shop. But he also wanted to show others, “you can learn and create beautiful items such as these, right-next-door with me (Chef Stéphane Tréand) as your teacher!”

“Come and learn from M.O.F. Chef Stéphane Tréand, students of all levels can choose from a wide array of subjects and class styles that meet their specific needs. Anyone can take the classes and learn from the master of The Pastry School.”

“Established in 2014, ST Pâtisserie Chocolat is Chef Stéphane Tréand’s premiere pastry shop! Bringing you the highest fashion in modern, Parisian pastry and confections to the wide and eclectic array of shops and wonders in the South Coast Collection (SoCo) and OC Mix shopping center.  ST Pâtisserie Chocolat is filled with delicious delights from pastries to a wide variety in chocolates, even homemade gelato and sorbets you will be sure to take a piece of France home with you.”

At The Big Island Chocolate Festival Chef Stephane is performing two chocolate culinary demonstrations.

Dayne TanabeChef Dayne Tanabe oversees the KPC Restaurant at the Hilton Waikola Village on The Big Island. Chef Dayne was instrumental in repositioning the menu direction for KPC – Kamuela Provision Company, the signature restaurant at Hilton Waikoloa Village. KPC features local Hawaii Island produce, prime steaks and fresh island fish and seafood.

As Chef of Restaurants, Dayne now also has the responsibility for overseeing the many dining restaurants at Hilton Waikoloa Village, creating and implementing concept driven menus at Big Island Breakfast, Imari Japanese Izakaya, Lagoon Grill, Orchid Marketplace, Malolo, Boat Landing Cantina and Dona & Toni’s Pizzeria.

Eddie EnojardoThis talented young chef has had extensive culinary experience previously on Oahu as a sushi chef at Moa Mua Tei, a Sous Chef at Baja Betty’s Southwest Bar & Grill, and Sous Chef at Keoni’s, located in the Outrigger Ohana Waikiki Hotel.

Chef Dayne and his Pastry Chef, Eddie Enojardo, have a long, impressive history of winning awards at the BICF Gala. Last year Chef Dayne took the honors for “Best Savory” item and Pastry Chef Eddie earned the award for “Best Bonbon.” What will this year bring?

Chef Dayne joins us with his award-winning pastry chef, Eddie Enojardo.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao Association
Segment Three: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, Hapuna Beach Resort
Segment Four: Chef Alicia Boada, West Coast Technical Advisor, Barry Callebaut Chocolate
Segment Five: “Tequila John” Atanasio, Tattoo Tequila
Segment Six: Wendle Lesher, Director of Food and Beverage, Mauna Kea Resort
Segment Seven: Robert Durant, Owner & Brewer, Inland Wharf Brewing Co.
Segment Eight: Dayne Tanabe, Chef of Restaurants & Pastry Chef Eddie Enojardo, Hilton Waikola Village

Show 221, April 29, 2017: Chef Peter Abarcar Jr., Director of Culinary & Beverage Operations, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel

Peter Abarcar JuniorHawaii Island native Peter Abarcar, Jr. was promoted in 2015 from executive chef of Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel to director of culinary and beverage operations. Chef Abarcar now oversees all culinary, food and beverage operations at the 350-room oceanfront resort including the resort’s signature restaurant, Coast Grille. He also supervises operations for extensive catering and banquets, the Ocean Terrace Restaurant and The Beach Bar.

Abarcar first began his Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel career as lead cook in 1997. In 2000 he left the Hapuna family to become Executive Chef at the Club at Hokuli’a. Eight years later, Abarcar returned to Mauna Kea Resort to help reopen Mauna Kea Beach Hotel as sous chef, following the hotel’s closure and extensive renovation. In 2010, he was promoted to chef de cuisine at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel’s signature restaurant, Coast Grille. The following year, he was promoted to the position of Executive Chef.

Chef Abarcar enjoys pairing varieties of ethnic flavors from his Hawaii Island upbringing. His keen sense of local produce and seafood paired with his culinary talent and passion for creative food results in exciting tastes on each of the menus at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

We’ll pull him out of the busy kitchens and “Talk Story.”

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