Show 76, June 14, 2014: Executive Chef Kuniko Yagi, Hinoki & The Bird, Century City

Kuniko Yagi of Hinoki and the BirdHinoki & the Bird is an imaginative dining concept that pushes modern California cooking to vibrant new bounds. Taking cues from travels through the Silk Road, the restaurant serves as a colorful kaleidoscope where bright flavors, a healthy sensibility, and technique harmoniously collide. The Milo Garcia-designed indoor/outdoor space is housed on the ground floor of Related Companies’ luxury condominium tower, The Century.”

The Executive Chef of Hinoki & the Bird is Kuniko Yagi. She opened the restaurant in December of 2012. Previously she was the sous chef at Sona and Executive Chef of Comme Ca in West Hollywood. She had no formal culinary training but the artistic drive was always with her.

In preparation for the opening of Hinoki & the Bird she traveled and conducted research in many of Japan’s top-rated Michelin–starred restaurants. Chef Kuniko had a particular interest in learning about kaiseki cooking.

Play

February 22: UNLV, Coffee Bean, Five Crowns, West Coast Prime Meats, Grill ‘em All Burgers, DOMA Beverly Hills

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Stowe Shoemaker, Dean, William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Segment Three: Jay Isais, Senior Director, Coffee Roasting & Manufacturing, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Segment Four: Jim Colombo, General Manager, Five Crowns and SideDoor, Corona del Mar
Segment Five: David Wicker, Managing Partner and Vice President of Sales & Marketing, West Coast Prime Meats
Segment Six: Ryan Harkins, Executive Chef & Co-owner, Grill ‘em All Burgers
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Dustin J. Trani, DOMA Beverly Hills
Segment Eight: Jet Tila with your questions and his answers

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Jet Tila and a heritage pig at Cochon 555 in 2013Remember the L.A. tour stop of Cochon USA is Sunday, February 23rd at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica from 4 to 8:00 p.m. Ray Garcia of Fig Restaurant is the host chef. It’s a celebration of heritage pork raised on family farms. Our own Jet Tila will be there cooking an additional late-night heritage pig for the After-Party.

UNLV in Las Vegas has the most respected hospitality management program in the West. The Dean of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration there joins us to profile the prestigious program. Unusual cuts of beef are finding their way onto fine dining restaurants menus. We’ll be speaking with a meat expert to better understand these cuts. A coffee authority is with us to talk about the current trends in roasting coffee. You’ll also hear about a relatively new contemporary Mediterranean/Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills with an energetic young chef in the kitchen and an exciting pastry chef with impressive credentials. Orange County Restaurant Week launches February 23rd. We’ll have a preview with the GM of one of the classic participating restaurants. Also on the menu is an award-winning and high profile food truck (with an edge) that graduated to opening an even more successful brick and mortar location in an unexpected location.

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

Stowe Shoemaker is the Dean of the William F Harrah College of Hotel Administration at University of Nevada Las VegasThe most distinguished hospitality and restaurant management program in the West is the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at UNLV in Las Vegas. Stowe Shoemaker (a Cornell University School of Hotel Administration alum) is the Dean. Before joining UNLV, Dean Shoemaker spent 19 years as an educator at Cornell. Food Network’s Guy Fieri is a graduate of UNLV’s program.

Las Vegas serves as one of the world’s largest hospitality and tourism laboratories. The school provides valuable internships and mentors. The hospitality-management bachelor’s-degree program provides a broad educational approach to a career in the hospitality industry.
Students can select a concentration in gaming management, meetings and conventions, professional golf management, or restaurant management.

The school is ranked #4 in the world by the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research.

Jay Isais of the Coffee Bean and Tea LeafWe had such a great response to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s Jay Isais ( eye-zay-us) from last year that we’ve invited him back to share another steaming cup of brew. This time the discussion is on the roasting of coffee beans and how that impacts flavor. Jay is the Senior Director, Coffee Roasting & Manufacturing for the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Jay also provides insight into the three major coffee growing areas of the world and what the flavor profile of the resulting coffee is.

Orange County Restaurant WeekThe OC’s most anticipated, and delicious, dining event, Orange County Restaurant Week, returns from February 23rd to March 1st. Diners will have the opportunity to enjoy the wide spectrum of dining options in the County at special prices for prix-fixe menus for both lunch and dinner.

Over 100 restaurants are part of Orange County Restaurant Week.

The iconic Five Crowns, a Corona del Mar landmark, is one of the participating restaurants. General Manager Jim Colombo (also a chef by background and training) joins us to preview his special menu.

West Coast Prime MeatsWest Coast Prime Meats really knows the meat business as only an insider can. Most of their seasoned, senior executives have an extensive background in the restaurant business or are master butchers. If fact West Coast’s key master butcher has more than 30 years experience in the field.

Dave Wicker, WCPM’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing and Managing Partner, is with us to talk beef. What’s prime beef? An explanation of the process of aging of beef is on the menu. We’ll discuss previously uncommon cuts which are now attracting attention including the Teres Major and the Flat Iron Steak.

Ryan Hankins of Gril Em All BurgersOne of the very first “better burger” food trucks in Los Angeles County, Grill ‘em All Burgers, rolled onto the scene in 2009. As unusual as it sounds it was a heavy metal devotee’s take on the ample burger meal. The founders are Chef Ryan Harkins (a Cleveland native) and Matt Chernus, a former professional wrestler.

The stars were in alignment for them as they were inexplicably cast for the first season of Food Network’s cross-country “Great Food Truck Race.” This was the only season where the competitors were required to have actual food truck experience.

Although the Grill ‘em All guys were on the threshold of elimination on multiple episodes (and expected by the Producers to be out in the early going) they scrappily hung in there and came out on top at the conclusion of the high octane finale in New York! Once the season aired business was such that they needed to secure a second truck.

The gameplan was always to eventually move into the right (affordable) brick and mortar location. That happened last January (2013) when they opened in the Renaissance Theater Plaza in Alhambra in a former (failed) chain 50s diner location. Chef Ryan and Matt have made an odd location work. Grill ‘em All had lines down the block for their anniversary celebration last month. Nights and Weekends are their really busy times.

Future plans include a second location. Down the road Chef Ryan’s goal is to open a burger restaurant in his hometown of Cleveland where the dining scene is now really happening.

The remaining Grill ‘em All truck will soon be back in action for private events.

Dustin TraniDoma Beverly Hills opened rather quietly at 362 N. Camden Dr. in Beverly Hills in 2012. The address is well-known as the long-standing former home of Prego.

What’s creating a lot of excitement there with foodies is the young executive chef, Dustin Trani. He’s all of 29 years-old. He has worked at a Michelin starred restaurant in Italy, cooked at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, and was chosen by the Governor to represent California in a prestigious national seafood competition in New Orleans.

He’s a 4th generation Los Angeles area Italian chef who started working at age 11 in his family’s restaurant, J. Trani’s, in San Pedro which opened in 1925. He’s also a C-CAP alum. His food is contemporary Mediterranean/Italian with an emphasis on seafood.

His talented pastry chef is Marissa Sharon previously at Scott Conant’s Scarpetta in Beverly Hills. Her mini-cannoli are a real standout.

KnivesWe get questions…

Chef Jet responds to an assortment of inquiries from the overflowing e-mailbag. Jet talks about safety concerns with raw chicken, the selection process for proper knives in the home kitchen, and the quality of frozen fish.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Stowe Shoemaker, Dean, William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Segment Three: Jay Isais, Senior Director, Coffee Roasting & Manufacturing, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Segment Four: Jim Colombo, General Manager, Five Crowns and SideDoor, Corona del Mar
Segment Five: David Wicker, Managing Partner and Vice President of Sales & Marketing, West Coast Prime Meats
Segment Six: Ryan Harkins, Executive Chef & Co-owner, Grill ‘em All Burgers
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Dustin J. Trani, DOMA Beverly Hills
Segment Eight: Jet Tila with your questions and his answers

March 30: Scott Slater, Graham Elliot, Brooke Williamson, Barbara Fairchild

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Jet Tila
Segment Two: Executive Chef Brad Lyons and Erika DiProfio of Slater’s 50/50
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Graham Elliot
Segment Four: Chef Brooke Williamson of The Tripel in Playa del Rey and Hudson House in Redondo Beach
Segment Five: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Educator, speaker and hospitality industry consultant Part One
Segment Six: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Educator, speaker and hospitality industry consultant Part Two

Easter and Passover greetings to all.

It’s a tasty buffet this week. We’re going from big juicy burgers and craft beer to dining with one of Chicago’s best celebrity chefs…From there it’s a conversation with our own, delightful, local “Top Chef” cheftestant. Finally it’s a trip to Venice and Rome for a sampling of their culinary delights!

Jet has been in Dallas all week so he’ll graciously share some of his dining adventures. Also, a bit of area restaurant news to report.

Scott Slater of Slater's 50/50We’re all on the quest for a great burger. So was Scott Slater when he teamed up with college buddy and chef Brad Lyons to launch the first Slater’s 50/50 in Anaheim Hills in 2009. Bacon is the key…

An impressive selection of craft beer (always changing) on tap is also a popular attraction. Since the success of Anaheim Hills busy locations have been added in Huntington Beach, San Diego, Pasadena and, most recently, Lake Forest.

On April 6th in Lake Forest Slater’s 50/50 will present the 1st Backyard Brewfest. It’s an outdoor tasting event with 15 different breweries and a sampling of Slater’s 50/50 most popular menu items. It’s a benefit for the Pediatric Children’s Research Foundation.

Graham ElliotCelebrity Chef Graham Elliot hails from Chicagoland where he has graham elliott, a well-known, Two-Star Michelin ranked restaurant. He’s perhaps more familiar to Angelenos as the sympathetic judge on Fox TV’s “MasterChef” series now in production on their 4th season.

On April 8th and 9th Chef Graham will be at W. Third Street’s Son of a Gun in Los Angeles cooking a 5-course tasting menu paired with regional wines selected by graham elliott sommelier, Jamie Kluz. Joining Chef Elliott in the kitchen will be Sous Chef John Slack and Director of Operations/Corporate Chef Merlin Verrier.

Brooke Williamson of Hudson House and TripelBrooke Williamson, the youthful co-owner of Hudson House in Redondo Beach and The Tripel in Playa del Rey represented Southern California masterfully in the just-concluded Season 10 of Bravo’s “Top Chef”. Brooke will talk to us about the two-part Season Finale which was shot in front of a live audience!

Chef Brooke has just been added to “Top Chef: The Cruise” aboard the Celebrity Constellation sailing from Miami with stops in Key West and Cozumel before returning to Miami. Those dates are April 11th to 15th.

Barbara FairchildOur International Travel Correspondent, Barbara Fairchild (former editor of Bon Appetit magazine and current hospitality consultant, teacher, speaker, and journalist), has just returned from Venice and Rome.

Barbara is going to reveal the dining highlights of her culinary journey in Rome and Venice. It’s perhaps the next best thing to actually having been there…

Barbara is on Facebook and Twitter.

Podcasts

Segment One: Chef Jet Tila
Segment Two: Executive Chef Brad Lyons and Erika DiProfio of Slater’s 50/50
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Graham Elliot
Segment Four: Chef Brooke Williamson of The Tripel in Playa del Rey and Hudson House in Redondo Beach
Segment Five: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Educator, speaker and hospitality industry consultant Part One
Segment Six: Barbara Fairchild, former long-time editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Educator, speaker and hospitality industry consultant Part Two