Show 372, May 9, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Happy Mother’s Day to all the greatly valued Mom’s out there. We anxiously look forward to the return of properly celebratory Mother’s Day Brunches at your favorite restaurants in 2021!

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 ever-changing 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 and diverting…

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.

“Jean Hagan, Principal of KROST CPAs & Consultants has owned, operated, and consulted in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years. During that time, she worked with a well-known national chain; owned a food and beverage company that operated multiple restaurants, bars, and event spaces in the Squaw Valley area; and became the president, CEO, CFO, and shareholder of one of the highest-grossing restaurants in California. Today Jean is Principal and leads the restaurant operations consulting practice at KROST.” We’ll take an informed look at the future of dining out with Jean.

The Krewe of Red Beans in New Orleans was set to hold their annual “Bean Madness” competition for the fourth straight year when COVID 19 shut down most public gatherings. Restaurants and chefs, used to competing in the tournament for the title of Best Red Beans in the city, were instead facing another challenge: the prospect of shutting down altogether for an indefinite amount of time. Devin De Wulf, organizer of the event and founder of the Krewe of Red Beans, shifted his focus on how to help the struggling restaurants with an assist from his wife, an ER doctor at local University Medical Center. Devin began ordering food for the hospital staff with lingering funds from the cancelled fundraiser. Over the progressive several weeks, based on donations and logistical support from Krewe members, this grew to supporting over 49 restaurants while feeding front line medical workers in all 15 of New Orleans major hospitals. Emphasis has now shifted to their newly organized sister effort, Feed the Second Line, which pairs older, more vulnerable musicians and artists with their younger counterparts to assist them with shopping for their groceries and household needs. New Orleans food writer and cookbook author Mark C. Stevens joins us with the inspirational details of these grass-roots efforts.

Certified Cicerone and raconteur Tom Kelley is the Vice President of Sales and Hospitality for the El Segundo Brewing Co. He misses being in the tasting room and at the ESBC Slice & Pint engaging with guests and discussing the joys of craft beer. Tom has initiated a fun, virtual Happy Hour on Wednesday nights under the banner of Lonely Hearts Pub with guests. Gratuities are politely suggested for Restaurants Care, part of the CRA Foundation. Tom Kelley hospitably taps the keg for us on the details of Lonely Hearts Pub.

Chef Neal Fraser and Amy Knoll Fraser’s flagship restaurant Redbird features Modern American cuisine that is refined yet approachable and highlights the multi-cultural influences of Fraser’s native city – Los Angeles. Wine Director Josh Wibbenmeyer’s wine list is well rounded with great finds from both established and emerging wine regions throughout the world. Currently Redbird is offering contactless curbside pickup with an a la carte menu and Redbird at Home Family Style Dinner. An added option is Wine Director’s Josh’s Hunker Down Wine List (with 40 per cent off Redbird’s list prices.) The Fraser’s also operate the adjacent Vibiana Events Center. Executive Chef Neal Fraser is our guest.

When it comes to restaurant take-out in Orange County don’t forget the numerous appealing and varied restaurant options available at South Coast Plaza. “During these trying times and shelter-at-home, South Coast Plaza restaurants have adapted to take-out and curbside pick-up with success. Thirteen restaurants offer abbreviated and family-style menus ranging from Japanese cuisine (who isn’t craving sushi), prime steaks, contemporary cuisine and more.” South Coast Plaza’s long-time restaurant marketing consultant, Lee Healy, joins us with the specifics.

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. Pizza is always a popular snack and now that we’re cooking more at home it’s time to elevate your pizza game. Growing up in New Jersey Chef Andrew has a special affinity for the savory pie with all the variations. It all starts with the dough. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

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

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May 9: Krost CPAs, Mark C. Stevens, El Segundo Brewing Co., Neal Fraser, South Coast Plaza

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jean Hagan, Principal, Restaurants Operations Consulting for KROST CPA’s & Consultants Part One
Segment Three: Jean Hagan, Principal, Restaurants Operations Consulting for KROST CPA’s & Consultants Part Two
Segment Four: Mark C. Stevens – Spokesperson for Krewe of Red Bean’s Feed the Second Line
Segment Five: Tom Kelley, Certified Cicerone and VP of Sales & Hospitality, El Segundo Brewing Co.
Segment Six: Executive Chef & Proprietor Neal Fraser, Redbird & Vibiana, Los Angeles
Segment Seven: South Coast Plaza’s Dining Options with Lee Healy
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish with “Ask the Chef”

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 ever-changing 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.

“Jean Hagan, Principal of KROST CPAs & Consultants has owned, operated, and consulted in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years. During that time, she worked with a well-known national chain; owned a food and beverage company that operated multiple restaurants, bars, and event spaces in the Squaw Valley area; and became the president, CEO, CFO, and shareholder of one of the highest-grossing restaurants in California. Today Jean is Principal and leads the restaurant operations consulting practice at KROST.” We’ll take an informed look at the future of dining out with Jean.

The Krewe of Redbeans in New Orleans was set to hold their annual “Bean Madness” competition for the fourth straight year when COVID 19 shut down most public gatherings. Restaurants and chefs, used to competing in the tournament for the title of Best Red Beans in the city, were instead facing another challenge: the prospect of shutting down altogether for an indefinite amount of time. Devin De Wulf, organizer of the event and founder of the Krewe of Red Beans, shifted his focus on how to help the struggling restaurants with an assist from his wife, an ER doctor at local University Medical Center. Devin began ordering food for the hospital staff with lingering funds from the cancelled fundraiser. Over the progressive several weeks, based on donations and logistical support from Krewe members, this grew to supporting over 34 restaurants while feeding front line medical workers in all 15 of New Orleans major hospitals. New Orleans food writer and cookbook author Mark C. Stevens joins us with the inspirational details of this grass-roots effort.

Certified Cicerone and raconteur Tom Kelley is the Vice President of Sales and Hospitality for the El Segundo Brewing Co. He misses being in the tasting room and at the ESBC Slice & Pint engaging with guests and discussing the joys of craft beer. Tom has initiated a fun, virtual Happy Hour on Wednesday nights under the banner of Lonely Hearts Pub with guests. Gratuities are politely suggested for Restaurants Care, part of the CRA Foundation. Tom Kelley politely taps the keg for us on the details of Lonely Hearts Pub.

Chef Neal Fraser and Amy Knoll Fraser’s flagship restaurant Redbird features Modern American cuisine that is refined yet approachable and highlights the multi-cultural influences of Fraser’s native city – Los Angeles. Wine Director Josh Wibbenmeyer’s wine list is well rounded with great finds from both established and emerging wine regions throughout the world. Currently Redbird is offering contactless curbside pickup with an a la carte menu and Redbird at Home Family Style Dinner. An added option is Wine Director’s Josh’s Hunker Down Wine List (with 40 per cent off Redbird’s list prices.) Executive Chef Neal Fraser is our guest.

When it comes to restaurant take-out in Orange County don’t forget the numerous appealing and varied restaurant options available at South Coast Plaza. “During these trying times and shelter-at-home, South Coast Plaza restaurants have adapted to take-out and curbside pick-up with success. Thirteen restaurants offer abbreviated and family-style menus ranging from Japanese cuisine (who isn’t craving sushi), prime steaks, contemporary cuisine and more.” South Coast Plaza’s long-time restaurant marketing consultant, Lee Healy, joins us with the specifics.

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. Pizza is always a popular snack and now that we’re cooking more at home it’s time to elevate your pizza game. Growing up in New Jersey Chef Andrew has a special affinity for the savory pie with all the variations. It all starts with the dough. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

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

Jean Hagan of Krost CPAs and ConsultantsJean Hagan, Principal of KROST CPAs & Consultants has owned, operated, and consulted in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years. During that time, she worked with a well-known national chain; owned a food and beverage company that operated multiple restaurants, bars, and event spaces in the Squaw Valley area; and became the president, CEO, CFO, and shareholder of one of the highest-grossing restaurants in California. Today Jean is Principal and leads the restaurant operations consulting practice at KROST. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Restaurant Operations and Management Strategies at the Culinary Institute of America.

“As discussions about the success of flattening the curve of the pandemic are encouraging everyone that we will get through this eventually, now the page turns to how do we get reopened and get our businesses back up and operating. The first thing everyone has to do is recognize that the restaurant industry after this pandemic is not going to be anywhere close to what we left off in March. Everything is going to be different for a very long time, possibly forever. The restaurant industry is a perfect filter to see all other businesses through. We are a true indicator of the overall economy, consumer confidence, and disposable income figures.”

“The general assumption is that the restaurant industry will not get back to full capacity until a year from now. Assuming that travel will be back to normal by December 2020, we could assume that restaurants will be about 80% of their previous years’ sales by that time. Travel transportation has to get back to normal and travel reservations have to catch up as well; late December 2020 seems like a realistic goal to be at 80% of 2019 sales. We also do not know what the restrictions of the various city and county health departments will be for relaunching, but it is not a stretch to assume that they will want the six feet of separation, meaning that your capacity will be reduced.” – Jean Hagan

We’ll take an informed look at the future of dining out with Jean and receive sound advice on how restaurants should prepare for the return of table service.

Author Mark C. StevensThe Krewe of Redbeans in New Orleans was set to hold their annual “Bean Madness” competition for the fourth straight year when COVID 19 shut down most public gatherings. Restaurants and chefs, used to competing in the tournament for the title of Best Red Beans in the city, were instead facing another challenge: the prospect of shutting down altogether for an indefinite amount of time.

Devin De Wulf, organizer of the event and founder of the Krewe of Red Beans, shifted his focus on how to help the struggling restaurants with an assist from his wife, an ER doctor at local University Medical Center. Using as inspiration the story of how a batch of cookies boosted the morale of her entire department, Devin began ordering food for the hospital staff with lingering funds from the cancelled fundraiser.

Over the progressive several weeks, based on donations and logistical support from Krewe members, this grew to supporting over 34 restaurants while feeding front line medical workers in all 15 of New Orleans major hospitals.

New Orleans food writer and cookbook author Mark C. Stevens joins us with the inspirational details of this grass-roots effort.

Thomas Kelley of El Segundo Brewing and ESBC Slice and PintCertified Cicerone and raconteur Tom Kelley is the Vice President of Sales and Hospitality for the El Segundo Brewing Co. He misses being in the tasting room and at the nearby ESBC Slice & Pint restaurant engaging with guests and discussing the joys of craft beer. Tom has creatively initiated a fun, virtual Happy Hour on Wednesday nights under the banner of Lonely Hearts Pub with special guests. “Gratuities” are politely suggested for Restaurants Care, part of the CRA Foundation.

Greg Bechtel will be joining Tom for the next iteration of the Lonely Hearts Pub – Cicerone style on Wednesday evening, May 13th from 6 to 8:00 p.m..

“Greg was El Segundo’s first official sales rep that I hired, and for a time we were an all Cicerone Certified sales staff. We had the awesome experience of studying for our Advanced Cicerone exams together, and we hope to bring you some beer knowledge.”

“Greg will be selecting a few beers for me, and I for Greg. We will take turns doing a blind tasting of each trying to call out the style in under 3 minutes. Call out the brand and you get extra credit!”

“After that, who knows where the conversation and the drinks may lead us. Though I know Greg has been known to throw a cocktail or two together…”

“Looking forward to sharing some more beers with you all!” – Tom Kelley

Tom Kelley politely taps the keg for us on the details of Lonely Hearts Pub at El Segundo Brewing Co.

Neal and Amy Knoll FraserChef Neal Fraser and Amy Knoll Fraser’s flagship restaurant Redbird in Downtown Los Angeles features Modern American cuisine that is refined yet approachable and highlights the multi-cultural influences of Fraser’s native city – Los Angeles. Wine Director Josh Wibbenmeyer’s wine list is well rounded with great finds from both established and emerging wine regions throughout the world. Currently Redbird is offering contactless curbside pickup with an a la carte menu and Redbird at Home Family Style Dinner. An added option is Wine Director’s Josh’s Hunker Down Wine List (with 40 per cent off Redbird’s list prices.)

Redbird also has been preparing meals for LA Family Housing and raising money for displaced staff.

Executive Chef Neal Fraser is our guest.

Lee Healy representing South Coast PlazaWhen it comes to fashionable restaurant take-out in Orange County don’t forget the numerous appealing and varied restaurant options available at South Coast Plaza. “During these trying times and shelter-at-home, South Coast Plaza restaurants have adapted to take-out and curbside pick-up with success. Thirteen restaurants offer abbreviated and family-style menus ranging from Japanese cuisine (who isn’t craving sushi), prime steaks, contemporary cuisine and more.”

Chef Amar Santana‘s take-out at VACA has been lauded by restaurant critics Bill Addison with the Los Angeles Times and Brad Johnson of the Orange County Register. Their recommendations: Paella Valenciana family-menu with Vaca Tonics to go!  Water Grill has a dazzling pop-up market three days a week (premium seafood and live lobster to prepare at home).  Din Tai Fung has been busy and check out Royal Khyber‘s special three-course curbside menu for two for $30.  Award-winning chef Ross Pangilinan has just begun take-out at TERRACE by Mix Mix.”

South Coast Plaza’s long-time restaurant marketing consultant, Lee Healy, joins us with the specifics.

Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant GroupOur 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.

Pizza is always a popular snack and now that we’re cooking more at home it’s time to elevate your pizza game. Growing up in New Jersey Chef Andrew has a special affinity for the pie with all the variations. It all starts with the dough. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

Slapfish is hosting Doctors, Nurses, Medical Personnel, Police, Firefighters & EMT’s to a complimentary meal To-Go. Need to be in uniform or have appropriate ID to qualify. The participating Slapfish locations are Huntington Beach, Brea, Irvine and Laguna Beach.

Kids eat free at Slapfish, too, when their parents order Takeout.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Jean Hagan, Principal, Restaurants Operations Consulting for KROST CPA’s & Consultants Part One
Segment Three: Jean Hagan, Principal, Restaurants Operations Consulting for KROST CPA’s & Consultants Part Two
Segment Four: Mark C. Stevens – Spokesperson for Krewe of Red Bean’s Feed the Second Line
Segment Five: Tom Kelley, Certified Cicerone and VP of Sales & Hospitality, El Segundo Brewing Co.
Segment Six: Executive Chef & Proprietor Neal Fraser, Redbird & Vibiana, Los Angeles
Segment Seven: South Coast Plaza’s Dining Options with Lee Healy
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish with “Ask the Chef”

Show 371, May 2, 2020: Executive Chef & Co-Proprietor Marco Zapien, Zapien’s Salsa Grill

Marco Zapien of Zapiens Salsa Grill and Taqueria“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.”

“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 (Family Meal Packs) and Mother’s Day (including a Mother’s Day Brunch feast for 4 to 6 people).

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Show 370, April 25, 2020: Restaurateur Russ Bendel – Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook in Laguna Beach Part One

Russ Bendel of Ironwood, Olea and VIneThe Pantry at Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook, located at 1200 South Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, reopened Wednesday, April 1 for daily takeout service from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. during the COVID-19 crisis.

Dinner has just been added. Guests may call ahead (949.339.3027) to order breakfast, lunch and dinner and pick-up at The Pantry’s front door entrance where social distancing is observed. Food prices range from $7 – $15.

Two breakfast favorites, with vegetarian options, as well as house-made pastries and coffee beverages are available. Lunch offerings include an entrée garden herb salad, Wagyu beef burger and a Jidori confit chicken sandwich, both come with hand-cut herb fries. Beverage selections are fresh brewed iced tea, bottled water, soft drinks, bottled beer and craft cocktails packaged in Mason jars for $10. Think a variety of options for Mother’s Day Family meals, too.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel assumed ownership of the landmark property in March from Sapphire’s founder-proprietor, chef, Azmin Ghahreman, CEO of Sapphire Culinary Group. Bendel, with chef-partner Jared Cook, operate Vine in San Clemente, Ironwood in Laguna Hills and Olea in Newport Beach.

Restaurateur Russ Bendel is our guest.

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Show 312, February 23, 2019: Kim Jensen, Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates, Solvang

Kim JensenLocated in Solvang, California, the Danish capital of America, Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolate Factory was first opened in 1961. The traditional chocolate recipes were first brought to Solvang by Ingeborg Larsen, a chocolate dipper in one of Denmark’s largest chocolate factories. Ingeborg’s is now safely in the hands of caretakers Kim and Carol Jensen (only the 3rd owners) who have preserved the tradition of Danish artisan chocolate making with some contemporary touches.

“A perfect accent for fine wines, champagnes, and coffees, Ingeborg’s chocolates are made with absolutely the finest, fresh ingredients and no preservatives or additives. As the seasons change, the boxes and wrappings may vary, but never their commitment to quality.”

“No matter what the season, or the occasion, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas, or any day, Ingeborg’s specialty Danish chocolates are sure to delight the palate of the most discriminating chocolate lover. Their light and dark chocolate Cornucopias make stunning centerpiece displays, elegant for any time of year, and are filled with their handmade luscious soft centered Truffles and now our new award-winning “Sea Salt and Butterscotch Sea Salt Caramel Chocolates.””

“Ingeborg’s also features a wide variety of unique molded chocolate items as well as our Orange and Peppermint chocolate sticks. All items are individually boxed and beautifully wrapped. Please note that we now also feature an expanded array of sugar-free chocolates, sweets, and assorted candies.”

Kim joins us in sweet conversation.

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Show 28, May 11, 2013: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor of Coast (monthly) as well as the co-founding editor of the new OC Register Magazine (appearing twice monthly with the Monday edition of the Orange County Register, Continued…

There is a “Best Restaurants” Section of the Orange County Register’s upcoming annual “Best of OC” publication. You don’t have to be a subscriber to either the home or digital version of the paper to vote. Voting is on right now through the end of May.

Kedric made the point that there are more corporate restaurants in Orange County versus L.A. The explanation is there are a handful of very large landlords in Orange County and the typical business practice for landlords is to deal with large, corporate restaurant groups.

Fortunately this is starting to change. Kedric noted that Red O in L.A. and Fig & Olive in West Hollywood are both soon opening outposts in The Irvine Co.’s Fashion Island in Newport Beach.

Also Henry Segerstrom of South Coast Plaza fame has consistently recruited chef-driven restaurants of distinction to that high-end shopping destination. Marche Moderne, owned and operated by the husband & wife team of Florent and Amelia Marneau, is an excellent case in point.

In fact Kedric was planning to celebrate Mother’s Day with his wife at Marche Moderne.

Kedric also shared the exciting news that the famous Din Tai Fung of Arcadia, known for Shanghai-style soup dumplings, is scheduled to debut a branch in South Coast Plaza.

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