Show 373, May 16, 2020: Chef & Partner Ted Hopson, The Bellwether, Studio City

Ann Marie Verdi and Ted Hopson of the Bellwether“After honing his skills at some of the most influential restaurants in Southern California –including The Eveleigh, Father’s Office, and Umami Restaurant Group—Chef & Proprietor Ted Hopson now brings his diverse experience and curious palate to The Bellwether in Studio City, incorporating Italian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern flavors for a culinary spread that proudly crashes borders and challenges convention.”

His Partner at The Bellwether is Beverage Director Ann-Marie Verdi. At The Bellwether (in normal times,) Verdi creates a beverage program that pleases all palates through both contemporary and classic selections.

The Bellwether reopened briefly for nighttime curbside pick-up but found it impractical to sustain. Their focus has shifted to preparing wholesome meals for frontline workers and charity groups working with Chef Jose Andres’ much-accomplished World Central Kitchen. Chef Ted and his kitchen staff (depending on fluctuating need) are preparing and delivering some 400 to 600 restaurant quality meals daily with a lot of variety.

Chef Ted brings us up-to-date.


Show 315, March 16, 2019: Oasis Mediterranean Cuisine, (Jordanian fare) Los Angeles

Ahmad and Hanny BulfeilatOasis Mediterranean Cuisine in the Pico-Robertson district of Los Angeles is full of pleasant surprises. It’s unassuming on the outside but an oasis of tranquility with stylish appointments (and tablecloths) in the welcoming dining room. It’s also one of the few restaurants in the West serving authentic Jordanian cuisine plated with sophistication. Think mansaff, the Jordanian national dish of tender lamb shoulder. A real gem of a find.

“Welcome, you’ve arrived! Oasis is a sophisticated, modern retreat amidst the frenzy of the city. Unwind, relax and enjoy all we have to offer. Sit down and sip mint tea, indulge your sweet tooth with delicate desserts. Dip pita, warm out of the oven, into a selection of meze redolent of fragrant spice markets of the Middle East. We are proud to serve the finest meats delicately spiced, grilled and slow roasted according to family recipes passed down for generations.”

“Whether you are hungry, thirsty, or seeking you enjoy the company of friends and family, Oasis is here to fulfill your needs. Celebrate your special occasions with us in our private dining room. Allow us to cater your next party or office event. We are here to serve you and ensure that your time at Oasis leaves you refreshed and recharged as you continue on with your journey!”

Proprietor / Chef Ahmad Abulfeilsat (Abu-fay-lot) and his son, Hanny, join us.


Show 308, January 26, 2019: Food Journalists & Authors Faye and Yakir Levy

Faye and Yakir LevyFaye Levy is an internationally acclaimed cookbook author. Most recently she collaborates with her husband, Yakir, who is also their resident photographer. In the book Foodwork: Jobs in the Food Industry and How to Get Them, with a foreword by the late Julia Child, Faye and Yakir Levy were profiled as the role models for cookbook authors.

Faye Levy lived in the Middle East for seven years. Along the way she taught cooking at Montana Mercantile, Let’s Get Cookin’, and other cooking schools, and has demonstrated cooking on national and regional TV. In addition to Feast from the Mideast, Faye has written 22 other cookbooks, including the award-winning books Faye Levy’s International Vegetable Cookbook, Fresh from France–Vegetable Creations, Chocolate Sensations and Classic Cooking Techniques.

Over her long career Faye has written many important articles for Bon Appétit, Gourmet, and other magazines and major newspapers. Faye’s most recent articles, which she wrote with Yakir, were for the Los Angeles Times, the Jerusalem Post and the Orange County Register.

Faye and Yakir highlight an unusual Jordanian restaurant in Los Angeles they enjoy, Oasis Mediterranean Cuisine. They will return to the show before Ramadan to showcase the establishments they dine at in Anaheim’s Little Arabia.

We’re talking about the delights of Middle Eastern cuisine with the very knowledgeable Faye and Yakir.


Show 285, August 11, 2018: Owner / Chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis, Bavel, DTLA’s Arts District

Executive Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis of BestiaWhen we last spoke with Owner/Chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis they had recently opened Bestia (2012) in DTLA’s emerging Arts District. Flash forward to the recent opening of their long-in-the-works Bavel (buh-vel), also in the Arts District. It’s Middle Eastern flavors with influences from Israel, Morocco, Turkey and Egypt.

“Bavel, in Downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District, is a Middle Eastern restaurant from Chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis. With family roots in Israel, Morocco, Turkey, and Egypt, Ori and Genevieve have always wanted to open a restaurant that showcases the cuisines of their family lineages, bringing together the flavors and dishes they grew up with.”

With a background in the field of interior design, Genevieve played a key role in the design of both Bestia and Bavel.

“Bavel – Stems from the story of Babel, from the original Old Testament. The Hebrew letters ‘b’ – bet, and ‘v’ – vet, both look the same, except that bet has a dot in the center of it. It is theorized that when the Old Testament was translated, it was not transcribed properly and Bavel turned into Babel.”

“The name is pronounced how it was originally written – Bavel (buh-vel). The story of Bavel is from a time when the Middle East was one. The people of Babylon came together to build a tower to heaven but God did not want them to succeed. In turn, he gave the people different languages so they could no longer communicate and work together.”

“When we read this story, we liked the word Bavel, because it was written during a time when everything was one – Bavel is not specific to any one region.”

We pull them both from the bustling Bavel kitchen (incredible bread is baking) for a chat.



Show 212, February 25, 2017: Zov Karamardian, Zov’s Bistro, Tustin

Zov Karamardian or Zov's in TustinThirty years ago Chef Zov Karamardian (now known for her unique Middle Eastern-fusion cuisine) opened her modest Bistro in 1,200 square feet in the Enderle Center in Tustin. Today Zov’s is the largest food tenant in the Enderle Center (12,000 square feet) with additional busy locations in Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Coast and John Wayne Orange County Airport. We celebrate with her…

Zov is celebrating by offering popular menu items at throwback prices. During the last week of each month (through November 4th.) Zov’s locations in Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Coast and Tustin will feature one dish at its original menu price.

“These flavors represent the foundation of my cooking,” Chef Zov said. “Over the years some of these dishes may have come and gone, but seemingly they have not been forgotten. We’re excited to share these special menu items in celebration with our longtime guests.”

Golden Lentil Soup from Zovs BistroFebruary 26th to March 4th is Golden Lentil Soup.

Happy to note The Orange County Register’s long-time Food Editor, Cathy Thomas, is back (after a year’s absence) contributing to the paper. This week’s feature is Orange County chefs talk about – and share recipes for – the dishes they just can’t ditch.” One of these highlighted recipes is Zov’s creation of Sauteed Calamari with shallots, lemon, fresh herbs and chardonnay butter sauce.

Inspired by (and later a friend to) Julia Child, Zov has authored 2 popular cookbooks while growing her restaurant group to locations in Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Coast, Tustin and John Wayne Airport. San Clemente will debut next.

Zov’s was awarded the 2015 Small Business Award by the State of California, and Zov had the honor of cooking at the James Beard Foundation in Manhattan for the third time in late 2015. She was honored as the 2016 Golden Foodies Chef of the Year by the Orange County Restaurant Association.


Show 71, May 3, 2014: Barbara Fairchild, Restaurant & Travel Editor,, editor, writer, speaker and consultant

Barbara FairchildIt’s a pleasure to welcome food journalist Barbara Fairchild back to the show. She is an editor, writer, speaker and consultant. She was the long-time Editor of Bon Appetit Magazine before the publication relocated to New York.

Her newest position is Restaurant & Travel Editor for

Based on her recent travels Barbara has restaurant finds for us from both London and Paris.

Bistro Bellet in the 10th Arrondissement is Barbara’s pick for Paris. The Chef is Francois Chenel (ex-Chez Michel.) It’s an emerging area for better restaurants. It’s two levels of prix fixe menus with lots of choices within each category. Price is highly reasonable for the quality of the cuisine.

For London its chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi’s Nopi. It’s tasty Middle-Eastern influenced fare with great atmosphere. It’s all a la carte. It’s expensive but no worse on the wallet than the best in Los Angeles and Orange Counties…