Show 330, June 29, 2019: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now an enticing preview of Saturday’s effervescent 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… As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Couldn’t do it without you.

“New Orleans’ revered Leah Chase, passed away surrounded by her family on June 1, 2019. Leah Chase, lovingly referred to as the Queen of Creole Cuisine, was the executive chef and co-owner of the historic and legendary Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. She was a major supporter of cultural and visual arts and an unwavering advocate for civil liberties and full inclusion of all. She was a proud entrepreneur, a believer in the Spirit of New Orleans and the good will of all people, and an extraordinary woman of faith.” The National Food and Beverage Foundation has mounted a novel campaign to honor Chef Chase’s memory in New Orleans. Philip Dobard of National Food & Beverage Foundation dishes up the specifics for us.

Restaurateur Tim Foley (Truxton’s Bistro) and partners have caringly overhauled a former dive bar in Redondo Beach into a handsome, and welcoming, neighborhood cocktail lounge. The space has transformed into Georgia’s Cocktail Lounge, featuring an accomplished and genuinely friendly bartending staff.

“Baker to the Stars” Mani Niall is fondly remembered for the groundbreaking Mani’s Bakery in Los Angeles launched in 1989. For the last 6 years he’s been the proprietor of Sweet Bar Bakery in Oakland which he sold last year. Mani was back in Los Angeles in May working with the baking and pastry staff at Akasha in Culver City refining the menu and developing new craveable creations. For the last month he was the chef in residence at Playa Viva in Guerrero, Mexico. Playa Viva is an eco-luxury boutique hotel and treehouse resort on the beach with their own farm. We’ll find out what’s on the rise with Chef Mani.

Love & Salt is a restaurant story that begins with Cafe Pierre, a local classic restaurant birthed by Guy Gabriele in 1977 to bring a taste of France to Los Angeles’ South Bay. While Cafe Pierre was a beloved part of the community for nearly 37 years, in 2014, Guy and his daughter Sylvie Gabriele, now the owner of Love & Salt, closed the restaurant to bring new life to the iconic space with a fresh look and Italian flair. As of last year a creative new chef (Chris Feldmeier ex- Moruno) is behind the stoves. We’ll get a tasty update from Sylvie Gabriele.

Peter Merriman (the Founder of Hawaii Regional Cuisine) has been a culinary pioneer in Hawaii for over 30 years. Known as the original “locavore”, Peter is a vocal champion of Hawaii’s farmers, ranchers and fishermen. His restaurants, starting with the iconic Merriman’s Waimea in 1988, showcase island grown and harvested foods through simple preparations that reflect the myriad flavors of Hawaii’s multiculturalism. Dubbed the “Pied Piper of Hawaii Regional Cuisine” by The Los Angeles Times, he is a continuing inspiration to Hawaii’s thriving culinary scene.” Chef Peter Merriman is our very special guest.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Play

Show 330, June 29, 2019: Hawaii’s Chef / Restaurateur Peter Merriman Part One

Peter Merriman's of Merriman's HawaiiPeter Merriman (the Founder of Hawaii Regional Cuisine) has been a culinary pioneer in Hawaii for over 30 years. Known as the original “locavore,” Peter is a vocal champion of Hawaii’s farmers, ranchers and fishermen. His restaurants, starting with the iconic Merriman’s Waimea in 1988, showcase island grown and harvested foods through simple preparations that reflect the myriad flavors of Hawaii’s multiculturalism. Dubbed the “Pied Piper of Hawaii Regional Cuisine” by The Los Angeles Times, he is a continuing inspiration to Hawaii’s thriving culinary scene.”

“Some Thirty years ago, no one dreamed of growing vine ripened tomatoes, fresh sweet corn or crisp baby lettuce in Hawaii. Sugar cane and pineapple plantations dominated the farming landscape, and most food was shipped to Hawaii from thousands of miles away.”

“Chef Peter Merriman had a vision for the growth of local agriculture and the potential of Hawaii’s rich volcanic soils. He, along with twelve other prominent chefs, encouraged farmers to grow local produce, raise meats locally, and start a healthier more sustainable Hawaii.”

Chef Merriman has expanded slowly but there are now also distinctive Merriman’s on Maui, Kauai, and Oahu. All the menus are a little different to showcase the best in local ingredients. Significantly, locals are a big part of each restaurant’s regular clientele.

Chef Peter Merriman is our very special guest.

Play

Show 330, June 29, 2019: Hawaii’s Chef / Restaurateur Peter Merriman Part Two

Peter Merriman's of Merriman's HawaiiPeter Merriman (the Founder of Hawaii Regional Cuisine) has been a culinary pioneer in Hawaii for over 30 years. Known as the original “locavore,” Peter is a vocal champion of Hawaii’s farmers, ranchers and fishermen. His restaurants, starting with the iconic Merriman’s Waimea in 1988, showcase island grown and harvested foods through simple preparations that reflect the myriad flavors of Hawaii’s multiculturalism.”

“In 1988, Peter opened his signature upcountry restaurant, Merriman’s, in Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii. He was proclaimed, “A gourmet in cowboy country” by Hana Hou!, the Magazine of Hawaiian Airlines. The New York Times raved “Everything at Merriman’s…features the freshest local ingredients paired in exciting ways,” and San Francisco Magazine exclaimed “His Wok-charred Ahi is to die for!””

“Two more fine dining restaurants were added to the Merriman’s Hawaii group in 2008 and 2009 – Merriman’s Kapalua, on the grounds of the scenic resort on Maui’s West Side, and Merriman’s Fish House in Poipu, Kauai. Downstairs from the fish house, Peter offers casual dining at Merriman’s Gourmet Pizza & Burgers.”

Last year Peter launched his most ambitious Merriman’s to date, Merriman’s Honolulu, located at the base of the Anaha luxury, high-rise condominium tower at Ward Village. It’s 6,000 square feet and seats 200 guests with patio dining, too. A menu highlight is poke prepared table side. Peter’s son is the welcoming maître d’ there.

Play

June 29: Tribute to Leah Chase, Georgia’s Lounge, Mani Niall, Love and Salt, Peter Merriman

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Remembering New Orleans’ Chef Leah Chase of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant
Segment Three: Restaurateur Tim Foley on Georgia’s Cocktail Lounge, Redondo Beach
Segment Four: Mani Niall – “Baker to the Stars” Part One
Segment Five: Mani Niall – “Baker to the Stars” Part Two
Segment Six: Love & Salt with Proprietress Sylvie Gabriele
Segment Seven: Hawaii’s Chef / Restaurateur Peter Merriman Part One
Segment Eight: Hawaii’s Chef / Restaurateur Peter Merriman Part Two

Now an enticing preview of this Saturday’s effervescent 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… As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience. Couldn’t do it without you.

“New Orleans’ revered Leah Chase, passed away surrounded by her family on June 1, 2019. Leah Chase, lovingly referred to as the Queen of Creole Cuisine, was the executive chef and co-owner of the historic and legendary Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. She was a major supporter of cultural and visual arts and an unwavering advocate for civil liberties and full inclusion of all. She was a proud entrepreneur, a believer in the Spirit of New Orleans and the good will of all people, and an extraordinary woman of faith.” The National Food and Beverage Foundation has mounted a novel campaign to honor Chef Chase’s memory in New Orleans. Philip Dobard of National Food & Beverage Foundation dishes up the specifics for us.

Restaurateur Tim Foley (Truxton’s Bistro) and partners have caringly overhauled a former dive bar in Redondo Beach into a handsome, and welcoming, neighborhood cocktail lounge. The space has transformed into Georgia’s Cocktail Lounge, featuring an accomplished bartending staff.

“Baker to the Stars” Mani Niall is fondly remembered for the groundbreaking Mani’s Bakery in Los Angeles launched in 1989. For the last 6 years he’s been the proprietor of Sweet Bar Bakery in Oakland which he sold last year. Mani was back in Los Angeles in May working with the baking and pastry staff at Akasha in Culver City refining the menu and developing new craveable creations. For the last month he was the chef in residence at Playa Viva in Guerrero, Mexico. Playa Viva is an eco luxury boutique hotel and treehouse resort with their own farm. We’ll find out what’s on the rise with Chef Mani.

Love and Salt is a restaurant story that begins with Cafe Pierre, a local classic restaurant birthed by Guy Gabriele in 1977 to bring a taste of France to Los Angeles’ South Bay. While Cafe Pierre was a beloved part of the community for nearly 37 years, in 2014, Guy and his daughter Sylvie Gabriele, now the owner of Love & Salt, closed the restaurant to bring new life to the iconic space with a new look and Italian flair. As of last year a creative new chef (Chris Feldmeier ex- Moruno) is behind the stoves. We’ll get a tasty update from Sylvie Gabriele.

Peter Merriman (the Founder of Hawaii Regional Cuisine) has been a culinary pioneer in Hawaii for over 30 years. Known as the original “locavore”, Peter is a vocal champion of Hawaii’s farmers, ranchers and fishermen. His restaurants, starting with the iconic Merriman’s Waimea in 1988, showcase island grown and harvested foods through simple preparations that reflect the myriad flavors of Hawaii’s multiculturalism. Dubbed the “Pied Piper of Hawaii Regional Cuisine” by The Los Angeles Times, he is a continuing inspiration to Hawaii’s thriving culinary scene.” Chef Peter Merriman is our very special guest.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Leah Chase of Dooky Chase in New Orleans“New Orleans’ revered Leah Chase, passed away surrounded by her family on June 1, 2019. Leah Chase, lovingly referred to as the Queen of Creole Cuisine, was the executive chef and co-owner of the historic and legendary Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. She was a major supporter of cultural and visual arts and an unwavering advocate for civil liberties and full inclusion of all.

“Chef Leah was a proud entrepreneur, a believer in the Spirit of New Orleans and the good will of all people, and an extraordinary woman of faith.”

“In a town deeply divided by segregation, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant was one of the only public places in New Orleans where mixed race groups could meet to discuss strategy for the local Civil Rights Movement. Although such gatherings were illegal through most of the 1960s, Dooky Chase’s was so popular; it would have caused a public uproar if local law enforcement had interrupted the meetings. Black voter registration campaign organizers, the NAACP, backdoor political meetings and countless others often found a home at Dooky Chase’s, and Leah cooked for them all.“

The National Food and Beverage Foundation (based in New Orleans) has mounted a novel campaign to monumentally honor Chef Chase’s memory in New Orleans.

Philip Dobard of National Food & Beverage Foundation dishes up the specifics for us.

Tim Foley of Truxtons American Bistro and Georgias LoungeRestaurateur Tim Foley (Truxton’s Bistro) and partners have caringly overhauled a former dive bar in in Redondo Beach into a handsome, and welcoming, neighborhood cocktail lounge. The appealing result is Georgia’s Cocktail Lounge, featuring an accomplished bartending staff.

“Tim Foley, Jonathan Dahl, and Jocelyn Kaylene are thrilled to share their first concept, Georgia’s Cocktail Lounge. The eclectic tapas menu offers comforting bar bites as well as rich treats to satisfy those late-night munchies. The cocktail program features oldies but goodies as well as uniquely crafted cocktails all from fresh, local ingredients. Expect local craft beers and spirits to challenge the more adventurous drinkers.”

In the specialty cocktail realm look for the Grandma Georgia. It’s Wild Turkey rye, Laphroaig scotch whisky, coffee & bourbon-aged bitters, sugar cube, orange zest and Luxardo cherry.

Partner Tim Foley is our spirited guest.

Baker to the Stars Mani Niall“Baker to the Stars” Mani Niall is fondly remembered for the groundbreaking Mani’s Bakery in Los Angeles launched in 1989. For the last 6 years he’s been the proprietor of Sweet Bar Bakery in Oakland which he sold last year.

Mani is also the creator of the intriguing fauxnut (an acclaimed, alternative donut that is not fried, low in fat and absolutely delicious.) It was developed for the actor Danny DeVitio for the Oscar-nominated feature motion picture, Other People’s Money.

Mani was back in Los Angeles in May working with the baking and pastry staff at Akasha in Culver City tweaking the menu and developing new creations. For the last month he was the chef in residence at Playa Viva in Guerrero, Mexico. Playa Viva is an eco-luxury boutique hotel and treehouse resort with their own farm.

“We take the time and effort to bake first and foremost for great taste, and also for a variety of health concerns – focusing as much on ingredient standards as on taste.” – Mani Niall

We’ll find out what’s on the rise with Chef Mani.

Sylvie Gabriele of Love and SaltLove and Salt is a restaurant story that begins with Cafe Pierre, a local classic restaurant birthed by Guy Gabriele in 1977 to bring a taste of France to Los Angeles’ South Bay. While Cafe Pierre was a beloved part of the community for nearly 37 years, in 2014, Guy and his daughter Sylvie Gabriele, now the owner of Love & Salt, closed the restaurant to bring new life to the iconic space with a revitalized look and Italian flair. As of last year a creative new chef (Chris Feldmeier ex- Moruno) is lighting the fire in the busy kitchen.

Think a Spring Peas & Squash Blossoms pizza from the wood-burning oven. It’s Tutti Frutti English peas, Shingai Farms squash blossoms, Meyer lemon and ricotta.

“Love & Salt is a philosophy: that food needs only two ingredients to be great. It’s a sensibility that informs the feeling in the restaurant and the dishes on the menu — Italian-inspired with Southern California soul. An approachable wine list and classic cocktail program similarly reflect the vibrant SoCal setting of the restaurant, located just steps from the Manhattan Beach Pier.”

“Love & Salt’s rustic menu is prepared simply with produce from local farms, and composed to encourage a fun and social meal with friends and family.”

We’ll get a tasty update from Proprietress Sylvie Gabriele.

Peter Merriman's of Merriman's HawaiiPeter Merriman (the Founder of Hawaii Regional Cuisine) has been a culinary pioneer in Hawaii for over 30 years. Known as the original “locavore,” Peter is a vocal champion of Hawaii’s farmers, ranchers and fishermen. His restaurants, starting with the iconic Merriman’s Waimea in 1988, showcase island grown and harvested foods through simple preparations that reflect the myriad flavors of Hawaii’s multiculturalism. Dubbed the “Pied Piper of Hawaii Regional Cuisine” by The Los Angeles Times, he is a continuing inspiration to Hawaii’s thriving culinary scene.”

“Some Thirty years ago, no one dreamed of growing vine ripened tomatoes, fresh sweet corn or crisp baby lettuce in Hawaii. Sugar cane and pineapple plantations dominated the farming landscape, and most food was shipped to Hawaii from thousands of miles away.”

“Chef Peter Merriman had a vision for the growth of local agriculture and the potential of Hawaii’s rich volcanic soils. He, along with twelve other prominent chefs, encouraged farmers to grow local produce, raise meats locally, and start a healthier more sustainable Hawaii.”

Chef Peter Merriman is our very special guest.

“In 1988, Peter opened his signature upcountry restaurant, Merriman’s, in Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii. He was proclaimed, “A gourmet in cowboy country” by Hana Hou!, the Magazine of Hawaiian Airlines. The New York Times raved “Everything at Merriman’s…features the freshest local ingredients paired in exciting ways,” and San Francisco Magazine exclaimed “His Wok-charred Ahi is to die for!””

“Two more fine dining restaurants were added to the Merriman’s Hawaii group in 2008 and 2009 – Merriman’s Kapalua, on the grounds of the scenic resort on Maui’s West Side, and Merriman’s Fish House in Poipu, Kauai. Downstairs from the fish house, Peter offers casual dining at Merriman’s Gourmet Pizza & Burgers.”

Last year Peter launched his most ambitious Merriman’s to date, Merriman’s Honolulu, located at the base of the Anaha luxury, high-rise condominium tower at Ward Village. It’s 6,000 square feet and seats 200 guests. A menu highlight is poke prepared table side.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Remembering New Orleans’ Chef Leah Chase of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant
Segment Three: Restaurateur Tim Foley on Georgia’s Cocktail Lounge, Redondo Beach
Segment Four: Mani Niall – “Baker to the Stars” Part One
Segment Five: Mani Niall – “Baker to the Stars” Part Two
Segment Six: Love & Salt with Proprietress Sylvie Gabriele
Segment Seven: Hawaii’s Chef / Restaurateur Peter Merriman Part One
Segment Eight: Hawaii’s Chef / Restaurateur Peter Merriman Part Two

Show 321, April 27, 2019: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now an appealing preview of Saturday’s Spirit of Aloha 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, and upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience.

BIg Island Chocolate FestivalWe’re live from The 8th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. It’s pure chocolate indulgence. Hawaii is the only State in the USA where premium cacao (the base of chocolate) can be grown commercially. It’s an increasingly important crop in The Islands with almost unlimited potential.
Chef Bryan Fujikawa is the proprietor of the locals’ favorite for fresh grilled, locally caught seafood, Kona Grill House in Kealakekua. It’s a beloved hole-in-the-wall spot. He’s been a part of The Big Island Chocolate Festival’s concluding Chocolate Decadence Gala for years. Chef Bryan is known for his amazing lobster crab cakes. We’ll reel him in.

Farsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 8th 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. The Festival benefits Island culinary arts and arts programs. We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

We first met Chef Christopher Galindo two years ago when he was overseeing Hau Tree on the beach next door at the Resort’s sister property, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Last year he switched beaches and moved over to The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort’s new Meridia as the menu-maker. It’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine created with locally sourced ingredients and infused with Hawaii’s rich local bounty. Also know for creative, signature https://socalrestaurantshow.com/wp-admin/edit.phpcocktails and a primo view of the Pacific at Sunset. We entice Chef Chris out of his busy kitchen for a chat.

Chef Stéphane Tréand debuted, The Pastry School in 2012, in San Clemente. This year he moved his school to Tustin (“a piece of Paris in Tustin”) along with his new pâtisserie (pastry) shop, ST Pâtisserie Chocolat. 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 the culinary demonstration, “Creating an Artistic Chocolate Sculpture.”

Tattoo Tequila CEO, Tequila John” Atanasio (a Maui resident) set out 8 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.=

Tom Bean is acclaimed Chef Peter Merriman’s General Manager at the iconic Merriman’s Restaurant Waimea. This was Chef Merriman’s first solo venture with modest expectations. Last year Merriman’s celebrated their 30th anniversary and is consistently the highest rated restaurant on The Big Island. Chef Merriman is one of the original pioneers of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. We’ll talk story with Tom.

Tom Cross is the Hotel Manager for our host, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, which recently completed a $50 million dollar renovation. It’s part of the Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is also the host property for The Big Island Chocolate Festival.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Play

Show 321, April 27, 2019: Tom Bean, General Manager, Merriman’s Waimea – a Pioneer of Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Tom Bean of Merriman's Waimea and Andy HarrisTom Bean is acclaimed Chef Peter Merriman’s General Manager at the iconic Merriman’s Restaurant Waimea. This was Chef Merriman’s first solo venture with modest expectations.

Last year Merriman’s celebrated their 30th anniversary and is consistently the highest rated restaurant on The Big Island. Chef Merriman is one of the original pioneers of Hawaii Regional Cuisine.

“Merriman’s Waimea is the flagship establishment from award-winning Chef Peter Merriman who maintains a single vision “Do the right thing”—for local farmers, for the islands and for you—our guest.”

“Thirty years ago, no one dreamed of growing vine ripened tomatoes, fresh sweet corn or crisp baby lettuce in Hawaii. Sugar cane and pineapple plantations dominated the farming landscape, and most food was shipped to Hawaii from thousands of miles away.”

“Chef Peter Merriman had a vision for the growth of local agriculture and the potential of Hawaii’s rich volcanic soils. He along with twelve other prominent chefs encouraged farmers to grow local produce, raise meats locally, and start a healthier more sustainable Hawaii.”

“Peter Merriman has been as a culinary pioneer in Hawaii for over 30 years. Known as the original “locavore,” Peter is a vocal champion of Hawaii’s farmers, ranchers and fishermen. His restaurants showcase island grown and harvested foods through simple preparations that reflect the myriad flavors of Hawaii’s multiculturalism. Dubbed the “Pied Piper of Hawaii Regional Cuisine” by The Los Angeles Times, he is a continuing inspiration to Hawaii’s thriving culinary scene.”

We’ll talk story with Tom.

Play

April 27: Live from the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Owner / Chef Bryan Fujikawa, Kona Grill House, Kealakekua, Hawaii
Segment Three: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao (KCA) and Proprietor of Cocoa Outlet
Segment Four: Christopher Galindo, Restaurant Chef, Meridia at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
Segment Five: Stephane Treand, MOF, The Pastry School, Tustin, CA
Segment Six: “Tequila John” Atanasio, Tattoo Tequila – Tequila & Chocolate Tasting
Segment Seven: Tom Bean, General Manager, Merriman’s Waimea – a Pioneer of Hawaii Regional Cuisine
Segment Eight: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Now an appealing preview of this Saturday’s Spirit of Aloha 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, and upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience.

BIg Island Chocolate FestivalWe’re live from The 8th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. It’s pure chocolate indulgence. Hawaii is the only State in the USA where premium cacao (the base of chocolate) can be grown commercially. It’s an increasingly important crop in The Islands with almost unlimited potential.

Chef Bryan Fujikawa is the proprietor of the locals’ favorite for fresh grilled, locally caught seafood, Kona Grill House in Kealakekua. It’s a beloved hole-in-the-wall spot. He’s been a part of The Big Island Chocolate Festival’s concluding Chocolate Decadence Gala for years. Chef Bryan is known for his amazing lobster crab cakes. We’ll reel him in.

Farsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 8th 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. The Festival benefits Island culinary arts and arts programs. We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

We first met Chef Christopher Galindo two years ago when he was overseeing Hau Tree on the beach next door at the Resort’s sister property, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Last year he switched beaches and moved over to The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort’s new Meridia as the menu-maker. It’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine created with locally sourced ingredients and infused with Hawaii’s rich local bounty. Also know for creative, signature cocktails and a primo view of the Pacific at Sunset. We entice Chef Chris out of his busy kitchen for a chat.

Chef Stéphane Tréand debuted, The Pastry School in 2012, in San Clemente. This year he moved his school to Tustin (“a piece of Paris in Tustin”) along with his new pâtisserie (pastry) shop, ST Pâtisserie Chocolat. 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 the culinary demonstration, “Creating an Artistic Chocolate Sculpture.”

Tattoo Tequila CEO, “Tequila John” Atanasio (a Maui resident) set out 8 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.=

Tom Bean is acclaimed Chef Peter Merriman’s General Manager at the iconic Merriman’s Restaurant Waimea. This was Chef Merriman’s first solo venture with modest expectations. Last year Merriman’s celebrated their 30th anniversary and is consistently the highest rated restaurant on The Big Island. Chef Merriman is one of the original pioneers of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. We’ll talk story with Tom.

Tom Cross is the Hotel Manager for our host, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, which recently completed a $50 million dollar renovation. It’s part of the Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is also the host property for The Big Island Chocolate Festival.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Bryan Fujikawa of Kona Grill HouseChef Bryan Fujikawa is the proprietor of the locals’ favorite for fresh grilled, locally caught seafood, Kona Grill House in Kealakekua. It’s a beloved hole-in-the-wall spot. He’s been a popular part of The Big Island Chocolate Festival’s concluding Chocolate Decadence Gala for years. Chef Bryan is known for his amazing lobster crab cakes.

“For Kona Grill House it’s new year, a new name, and a whole new look. What started 19 years ago as a small family operation producing and selling dried fish under the name Sun Dried Specialties, has grown into a culinary destination for local cuisine that has people from not just Hawaii, but all over, returning time and time again.”

“It was a simple beginning back in 2000. The idea for Sun Dried Specialties was born in the early morning hours as Bryan sat on his boat rocking quietly with the gentle motion of the waves as he fished through the night. He realized the dried fish he’d grown up eating was disappearing. He, his wife Rebecca, and their two daughters began drying the fish that Bryan caught. They stayed true to the old way of drying. Using only fresh fish, Hawaiian salt, and beautiful Hawaiian sun. The Sun-Dried Specialties logo of a sunbathing Ahi quickly became recognizable for the best dried Ahi, Aku, and Opelu in the state and on to the Mainland.”

“Fast forward a dozen years to the birth of the Fishbowl. Bryan’s brainchild for his desire to serve great food in an atmosphere that would allow visitors and locals alike to meet and get to know one another. What started as a small poke shop had its first expansion after only three months and has continued to grow ever since. Though the original showcase still carries more than a dozen different kinds of poke made fresh each day, there’s now a second showcase for the desserts. Bryan has continued what his daughter Alexis started, baking desserts fresh every morning.”

“But it’s the food coming off the grill out back that you won’t be able to forget. Chef Bryan’s customers like to say it’s five-star food out of a cardboard box. The best fish burgers on the island and his lobster crab cakes are out of this world. Daily specials range from smoked prime rib to lobster mac and cheese. You never know what might be on the menu but you can count on never walking away hungry and having a food experience you’ll want to keep coming back for.”

We’ll meet Chef Bryan.

Farsheed BonakdarFarsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 8th 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. The Festival benefits Island culinary arts and arts programs.

The 2019 Big Island Chocolate Festival proceeds will benefit the culinary programs at Hawaii Community College Palamanui, Kealakehe High School, Hawai‘i Island High Schools and Maui Community College, plus Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Waimea Country School, Kona Pacific Public Charter School’s West Hawaii Summer Lunch Program and Kona Dance & Performing Arts.

“If you think you know everything about chocolate—think again! Find out tricks for using chocolate in the kitchen and to better grow cacao—the tree that produces the coveted cocoa bean. All the fun is part of the Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) April 26-27. With the exception of a guided cacao plantation tour, all activities are at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort.”

We’re talking all things delectably chocolate with Farsheed.

Chris GalindoWe first met Chef Christopher Galindo two years ago when he was overseeing Hau Tree on the beach next door at the Resort’s sister property, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Last year he switched beaches and moved over to The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort’s new Meridia as the menu-maker.

It’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine created with locally sourced ingredients and infused with Hawaii’s rich local bounty. Also know for creative, signature cocktails and a primo 180 degree view of the Pacific at Sunset.

“The fresh seasonal menu is complemented by expanded al fresco seating, a private dining room, a charcuterie and crudo bar, and a house- made artisanal bread nook.”

We entice Chef Chris out of his busy kitchen for a chat.

Stephane TreandChef Stéphane Tréand debuted, The Pastry School in 2012, in San Clemente. This year he moved his school to Tustin (“a piece of Paris in Tustin”) along with his new pâtisserie (pastry) shop, ST Pâtisserie Chocolat. 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 the culinary demonstration, “Creating an Artistic Chocolate Sculpture.”

Tequila John AtanasioTattoo Tequila CEO, Tequila John” Atanasio (a Maui resident) set out 8 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.

Tequila John is part of the Festival presenting the unexpected “Chocolate & Organic Tequila Pairings” seminar which he’s encoring from last year. He’ll demonstrate how different, organic tequilas and uniquely flavored chocolates can tastefully complement each other. The accompanying decadent chocolate bonbons are presented by Farsheed Bonakdar of the Cocoa Outlet. We’re all in…

We’ll meet Tequila John.

Tom Bean of Merriman'sTom Bean is acclaimed Chef Peter Merriman’s General Manager at the iconic Merriman’s Restaurant Waimea. This was Chef Merriman’s first solo venture with modest expectations.

Last year Merriman’s celebrated their 30th anniversary and is consistently the highest rated restaurant on The Big Island. Chef Merriman is one of the original pioneers of Hawaii Regional Cuisine.

“Merriman’s Waimea is the flagship establishment from award-winning Chef Peter Merriman who maintains a single vision “Do the right thing”—for local farmers, for the islands and for you—our guest.”

“Thirty years ago, no one dreamed of growing vine ripened tomatoes, fresh sweet corn or crisp baby lettuce in Hawaii. Sugar cane and pineapple plantations dominated the farming landscape, and most food was shipped to Hawaii from thousands of miles away.”

“Chef Peter Merriman had a vision for the growth of local agriculture and the potential of Hawaii’s rich volcanic soils. He along with twelve other prominent chefs encouraged farmers to grow local produce, raise meats locally, and start a healthier more sustainable Hawaii.”

“Peter Merriman has been as a culinary pioneer in Hawaii for over 30 years. Known as the original “locavore,” Peter is a vocal champion of Hawaii’s farmers, ranchers and fishermen. His restaurants showcase island grown and harvested foods through simple preparations that reflect the myriad flavors of Hawaii’s multiculturalism. Dubbed the “Pied Piper of Hawaii Regional Cuisine” by The Los Angeles Times, he is a continuing inspiration to Hawaii’s thriving culinary scene.”

We’ll talk story with Tom.

Tom Cross of the Westin Hapuna Beach ResortTom Cross is the Hotel Manager for our host, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, which recently completed a $50 million dollar renovation. It’s part of the Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is also the host property for The Big Island Chocolate Festival.

“The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort stretches along its namesake white-sand beach on the Island of Hawaii. The Kohala Coast is known for its world-class shoreline, as well as for cultural and archaeological gems nestled between centuries-old lava fields. The resort’s contemporary style contrasts with lush, manicured gardens and the endless blues of the sky and the ocean. Four reimagined dining venues are inspired by the island’s bounty.”

“The award-winning 18-hole Hapuna Golf Course was designed by Arnold Palmer. Two swimming pools, a 6,800-square-foot freeform family pool and an adult-exclusive infinity pool, overlook Hapuna Beach. A WestinWorkout Center and Crossfit Studio are complemented by the Hapuna Spa for rejuvenation and relaxation. Choose from 249 oversized guest rooms, including 17 suites.”

Mahalo nui loa to The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort for graciously hosting the “SoCal Restaurant Show” for the third year.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Owner / Chef Bryan Fujikawa, Kona Grill House, Kealakekua, Hawaii
Segment Three: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao (KCA) and Proprietor of Cocoa Outlet
Segment Four: Christopher Galindo, Restaurant Chef, Meridia at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
Segment Five: Stephane Treand, MOF, The Pastry School, Tustin, CA
Segment Six: “Tequila John” Atanasio, Tattoo Tequila – Tequila & Chocolate Tasting
Segment Seven: Tom Bean, General Manager, Merriman’s Waimea – a Pioneer of Hawaii Regional Cuisine
Segment Eight: Tom Cross, Hotel Manager, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort