Show 444, September 25, 2021: Chef & Restaurateur Vanda Asapahu, Ayara Thai Cuisine. Preview of Masters of Taste 2022 at The Rose Bowl

Vanda Asapahu of Ayara Thai Cuisine

“Be a part of the fifth annual Masters of Taste, as L.A.’s premier outdoor, luxury food and beverage festival returns and will be taking place on Sunday, April 3rd, 2022, from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the field of the Iconic Pasadena Rose Bowl with 100% of the proceeds going directly to benefit Union Station Homeless Services!”

“Masters of Taste is introducing Chef Vanda Asapahu as Host Chef of Masters of Taste 2022 which also happens to mark the 5th Anniversary of this celebrated event which had to be canceled in 2020 due to the Pandemic. Masters of Taste 2022 Culinary Master and Host Chef Vanda Asapahu is the chef and owner of Ayara Thai Cuisine and she has participated since its inception in April 2016.”

“Asapahu went to college at UCLA and to graduate school at Yale, then she spent four years living, traveling, and working her way through Thailand before returning home to Los Angeles. During Asapahu’s stay in her native country, she took extensive notes, which included absorbing Bangkok’s street food scene and reviving old family recipes. After cooking with relatives and eating her way through the streets and countryside, Asapahu brought back these treasured old recipes and new flavors to share at Ayara Thai. While her mother Anna Asapahu still helms the family kitchen, Asapahu is the vanguard, taking up the torch of her family’s culinary tradition at Ayara Thai Cuisine.”

“I have had the pleasure of participating in Masters of Taste since its inaugural year,” states Asapahu. “As a proud UCLA alum (Go Bruins!), I’d give anything for the opportunity to cook, eat and dance on the field of the Rose Bowl. The most amazing thing about Masters of Taste is that 100% of the proceeds go directly to benefit Union Station Homeless Services and not many food festivals can say that. Union Station Homeless Services is committed to ending homelessness in Los Angeles.”

“The fifth annual Masters of Taste 2022 is expected to bring over 3,000 food and beverage enthusiasts together for one afternoon to celebrate this exhilarating festival, which will include the finest fare from over 100 Culinary Masters and restaurants, delectable sweets prepared by L.A.’s top Sweet Masters, top Beverage Masters who will be featuring signature handcrafted cocktail tastings from over 25 spirit brands and bars, a premier 50-Yard-Line Cocktail Bar featuring top Mixologists from four of L.A.’s most distinguished drinking destinations, select wineries, local craft breweries, cold-pressed juices, cold brew coffee, live entertainment and much, much more.”

Chef Vanda joins us with all the enticing details.

Ayara Thai Cuisine in Westchester is currently open for Take-Out orders and their Thai Thursday Night Street Food Series.

Play

Show 438, August 14, 2021: Chef & Partner Dominique Crisp, Saso, Pasadena Part One

Dominique Crisp of Saso

Saso in Pasadena, (launched earlier this year) draws inspirations from three coast regions treasured by Chef Dominique Crisp: his home in Los Angeles, his upbringing in the Pacific Northwest, and his travels within Basque Country. Throughout the menu, his dedication to the slow-food movement shines with hyper-local ingredients and French-taught cooking techniques. Previously he helmed the kitchens at the beloved seafood restaurants, L&E Oyster Bar in Silver Lake, CA and Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica, CA.”

“At Saso, a passion for coastal cuisine is met with Dominique’s deep appreciation and understanding of farming. Born on his family’s vineyard in Wren, Oregon – raising livestock, fishing, and harvesting has always been an essential part of his life. A respect for the land, sea, and supporting those who are sustainably harvesting the bounty is an integral ethos that flows through Saso.”

“I want coastal cuisine from Baja to Alaska to shine by showcasing farmers, fishermen and butchers we work with,” says Dominique Crisp. “We need to reconnect with food as much as we need to reconnect with each other.”

“Dominique’s goal is to emphasize the relationships he’s built with artisanal purveyors to continually develop Saso’s narrative. Not entirely a “Basque restaurant,” Saso aims to bring the energetic nature of Basque Country dining to Los Angeles with a foundation of sustainable Pacific coastal cuisine.”

“Diners can expect rotating local whole fish options, a variety of niche oysters, dramatic bar creations, flaming Spanish coffees, and an extensive reserve wine list sourced from all over the globe.”

“A charcoal Josper oven imported from Barcelona gives life to dishes such as a Navarra-style Bone-in Wagyu Tomahawk and Alaskan Mussels with fennel, charred leek, and chistorra. The ‘Rolls Royce of charcoal ovens,’ the Josper features a unique enclosed-bbq design, which offers varied levels of heat and char for a distinct wood-fired flavor without sacrificing moisture.”

On August 24th (Tuesday) Saso will be serving Dinner nightly Tuesday through Sunday. (Closed on Monday.) Lunch is Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Happy Hour on the menu those same days.

Chef Dom takes a break from prep in his busy kitchen to join us.

Play

Show 438, August 14, 2021: Chef & Partner Dominique Crisp, Saso, Pasadena Part Two

Dominique Crisp of Saso

Saso in Pasadena, (launched earlier this year) draws inspirations from three coast regions treasured by Chef Dominique Crisp: his home in Los Angeles, his upbringing in the Pacific Northwest, and his travels within Basque Country. Throughout the menu, his dedication to the slow-food movement shines with hyper-local ingredients and French-taught cooking techniques.”

“At Saso, a passion for coastal cuisine is met with Dominique’s deep appreciation and understanding of farming. Born on his family’s vineyard in Wren, Oregon – raising livestock, fishing, and harvesting has always been an essential part of his life. A respect for the land, sea, and supporting those who are sustainably harvesting the bounty is an integral ethos that flows through Saso.”

“Dominique’s goal is to emphasize the relationships he’s built with artisanal purveyors to continually develop Saso’s narrative. Not entirely a “Basque restaurant,” Saso aims to bring the energetic nature of Basque Country dining to Los Angeles with a foundation of sustainable Pacific coastal cuisine.”

“Diners can expect rotating local whole fish options, a variety of niche oysters, dramatic bar creations, flaming Spanish coffees, and an extensive reserve wine list sourced from all over the globe.”

“Saso’s bar program features a wine list highlighting rare txakolinas from the Basque Country alongside natural wines from Lumos Wine Company (the vineyard where Dominique was born). Guests are in for a spectacular happy hour with top notch imported ciders, wine and beers on draught along with a blend of classic and signature cocktails drawing inspiration from Los Angeles to Portland to San Sebastián.”

“Housed in the century-old Pasadena Playhouse, Saso’s dining room and lounge area add a contemporary touch to the building’s historic architecture, including a large-scale, custom 40ft mural from renowned LA-based artist Tim Biskup.”

“On the patio diners can enjoy a breezy, socially distanced meal in a courtyard shared with the Pasadena Playhouse, adorned with string lights and an ornate water fountain.

On August 24th (Tuesday) Saso will be serving Dinner nightly Tuesday through Sunday. (Closed on Monday.) Lunch is Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Happy Hour on the menu those same days.

Chef Dom takes a break from prep in his busy kitchen and continues with us.

Play

Show 403, December 12, 2020: The Raymond 1886 with Chef Jonathan Quintana and General Manager Andrew Bugreyev Part One

Andrew Bugreyev and Executive Chef Jonathan Quintana of the Raymond 1886The Raymond 1886 (restaurant) is a living example of Pasadena’s colorful past and carries on the city’s great traditions of craftsman architecture and unparalleled hospitality.” Under State of California guidelines The Raymond 1886 is currently open for takeout & delivery of the food menu as well as specialty cocktails.”

“The Raymond 1886 offers an innovative and contemporary menu in a historic setting, featuring the finest quality ingredients and a dedication to superior service.”

“The dining menu showcases their curated classic American cuisine featuring global influences. Utilizing a mix of contemporary and classic cooking techniques, Executive Chef Jonathan Quintana combines familiar ingredients with an exotic flair.”

“Hidden and tucked away inside, guests can celebrate, sip and savor at The Raymond’s internationally acclaimed cocktail bar, 1886. Accompanied by 1886’s signature handcrafted cocktails, their award-winning Wine List features a special selection of domestic and international varietals from both premier and boutique wineries.”

General Manager Andrew Bugreyev and Executive Chef Jonathan Quintana join us.

Play

Show 403, December 12, 2020: The Raymond 1886 with Chef Jonathan Quintana and General Manager Andrew Bugreyev Part Two

Andrew Bugreyev and Executive Chef Jonathan Quintana of the Raymond 1886The Raymond 1886 (restaurant) is a living example of Pasadena’s colorful past and carries on the city’s great traditions of craftsman architecture and unparalleled hospitality.” Under State of California guidelines The Raymond 1886 is currently open for takeout & delivery.

The Raymond is offering a multi-course, Take-Out, Christmas Eve Dinner. Options are for 2 or 4 guests.

“The dining menu showcases their curated classic American cuisine featuring global influences. Utilizing a mix of contemporary and classic cooking techniques, Executive Chef Jonathan Quintana combines familiar ingredients with an exotic flair.”

“Hidden and tucked away inside, guests can celebrate, sip and savor at The Raymond’s internationally acclaimed cocktail bar, 1886. Accompanied by 1886’s signature handcrafted cocktails, their award-winning Wine List features a special selection of domestic and international varietals from both premier and boutique wineries.”

“In 1886, Walter Raymond, a Boston native, came to Pasadena and built The Raymond Hotel – a fabulous sunny destination for Easterners looking to escape harsh winter weather. On Easter Sunday in 1895, sparks from a chimney ignited the roof and the entire hotel burned to the ground in only 40 minutes.”

“Undaunted, Mr. Raymond built an even grander hotel with 300 rooms, along with a charming caretaker’s cottage. In the early years, Walter and his wife often stayed in the cottage when it wasn’t occupied by special guests. Gracious hosts, the Raymond’s entertained celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin, Tom Mix, and Buster Keaton, who visited and filmed in Pasadena in the roaring 1920s.”

“Sadly, in 1931, the Raymond Hotel was toppled by the Great Depression and the party was over. The hotel was razed to make room for residential development, and Walter and his wife moved into the cottage, where they lived until 1934.”

The caretaker’s cottage is now The Raymond 1886, and the timeless charm and spirit of this lovely Craftsman can be enjoyed by all.”

General Manager Andrew Bugreyev and Executive Chef Jonathan Quintana continue with us.

Play

Show 358, February 2, 2020: Melting Pot Food Tours Part One

Scalia Sisters of Melting Pot Food ToursOne of the best ways to come to know a city is through its food. When we go to a new city we’ve found our best insiders introduction is by partaking of a highly regarded, local food walking tour. One of the premier food walking tour operators locally is the long-established Melting Pot Food Tours. The principals are Lisa and Diane Scalia (sisters.) The Scalias hospitably lead the background tour for us.

“Melting Pot Food Tours offers delicious food tasting tours throughout the LA area that will indulge your taste buds and delight your senses! Whether you’re looking to explore the Original Farmers Market and the eclectic Third Street area of mid-city Los Angeles, discover the vibrant past of Old Pasadena, or enjoy a fabulous guided tour through the flavors of East Los Angeles, Melting Pot Food Tours will be your guide.”

Play

Show 326, June 1, 2019: Chef Jet & Ali Tila with 101 Epic Dishes Part One

Jet Tila and a heritage pig at Cochon 555 in 2013Chef Jet Tila and his accomplished pastry chef wife & culinary educator, Ali, are back with us to chat about their exciting, practical 2nd cookbook, 101 Epic Dishes: Recipes That Teach You How to Make the Classics Even More Delicious. The Foreword is unusually authored by Celebrity Chef & Food Network star Bobby Flay.

“Here’s the truth: making food worth savoring and showing off isn’t as difficult as you like to think it is. All it really takes is a solid foundation of cooking techniques, and lucky for you, celebrity chef and self-proclaimed Mr. Miyagi, Jet Tila (collaborating with Ali Tila) is ready to pass all his know-how on to you.”

The cooking Tilas have carefully selected the most essential recipes that pull double duty by tasting delicious and teaching you foundational cooking skills that will easily transfer to other cooking endeavors. Mastering perfect pan-roasted rib-eye steak means both that your dinner is going to be delicious and that you are ready to season and sear other cuts of meat like a pro. Southwestern BBQ and ranch chicken salad helps you build must-have knife skills, and crumbly apple pie will arm you with the ability to make the perfect flaky pie dough that can be used in countless other desserts.

101 Epic Dishes teaches you the most important cooking skills you need to kick your kitchen game up a few notches – all the while whipping up some delicious dishes.

“Every recipe and skill you need to be a great cook.”

Meet Chef Jet & Ali Tila (The Cooking Tilas) at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena on Saturday afternoon, June 22nd at 3:00 p.m. Jet and Ali will be there presenting and demonstrating recipes from 101 Epic Dishes.

Play

Show 326, June 1, 2019: Chef Jet & Ali Tila with 101 Epic Dishes Part Two

Cookbook Author Ali TilaChef Jet Tila and his accomplished pastry chef wife & culinary educator, Ali, are back with us to chat about their exciting, practical 2nd cookbook, 101 Epic Dishes: Recipes That Teach You How to Make the Classics Even More Delicious. The Foreword is by Celebrity Chef & Food Network star Bobby Flay.

Some featured recipes in 101 EPIC DISHES include:

-BEEF: Perfect Pan-Roasted Rib-Eye Steak; Shortcut Korean BBQ Short Ribs Worth Showing Off; Thick and Creamy Irish Beer Beef Stew

-CHICKEN & POULTRY: Old-School Shake and Fry Buttermilk Fried Chicken; Tender and Crispy Duck Confit; Better-Than-Takeout Orange Chicken

-SEAFOOD: Fried Fish Tacos with Chipotle Crema; Garlicky Lemony Shrimp Scampi; Crispy-Skin Salmon with Lemon-Caper Yogurt Sauce

-RICE, PASTA & PIZZA: Not-as-Hard-as-You-Think Risotto; Perfect-Every-Time Pizza Dough and Pepperoni Pizza; Classic Spaghetti Carbonara

-EGGS & BREAKFAST COOKERY: The Ultimate Bacon and Egg Breakfast Sandwich; Jet’s Famous Fried Chicken and Waffles; Ali’s Coconut Chia Pudding with Almonds and Fresh Berries

-DESSERTS: Grasshopper Brownie Bars; Da Bomb Budino (Italian Salted Caramel Pudding); Burnt Milk Ice Cream

-AND MUCH MORE including Vegetables; Salad and Soup; Sandwiches, Dips and Spreads and Pork!

Meet Chef Jet & Ali Tila (The Cooking Tilas) at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena on Saturday afternoon, June 22nd at 3:00 p.m. Jet and Ali will be there presenting and demonstrating recipes from 101 Epic Dishes.

Play

Show 316, March 23, 2019: Marvin Acuna, The Pizza Plant, Pasadena

Marvin AcunaPasadena’s The Pizza Plant (under a year old) is a 100 percent plant-based producer of a variety of artisanal pan style and thin crust pizzas. They operate the first custom made, 100 percent organic, plant-based pizza truck in the United States. Also, a brick-and-mortar, fast casual restaurant in an unusual virtual food court (Kitchen United.) “Life is Delicious.”

The Founder lives a plant-based nutritional life and established the enterprise because he found that a delicious, nutrient dense, made-from-scratch, organic pizza made exclusively from plants did not exist.

The Pizza Plant crusts are made-from- scratch using 100 percent organic ingredients which includes a proprietary blend of rye flour and double zero flour. The dough is fermented for 72 hours which makes it easier to digest and more nutrient rich than traditional pizza crusts.

The Pizza Plant cheeses are made-from-scratch using 100 percent organic ingredients, which includes cashew nut, their from-scratch coconut yogurt, spices and seasoning. No soy is used in making The Pizza Plant cheeses.

The Green Goddess pizza, for instance, is Roasted Broccoli, Pumpkin Seed Pesto, Plant Craft Cashew & Mozzarella & Ricotta, Avocado, Sprouts and Basil.

For the upcoming Masters of Taste Benefit on Sunday afternoon, April 7th at the Rose Bowl, The Pizza Plant will be serving their Green Goddess and The Sink Not Included creations.

Rolling the from-scratch dough out for us is Co-Founder, Marvin Acuna.

Play

Show 316, March 23, 2019: Masters of Taste Preview with Host Chef Michael Hung of Faith & Flower

Michael HungMasters of Taste is a premier food and beverage festival on the field of the iconic Rose Bowl on Sunday April 7th. 10 percent of event proceeds benefit Union Station Homeless Services, a 501(c)(3) organization. The fourth annual event introduces an exciting new host chef concept, featuring Michael Hung (Faith & Flower) as the premier event host/ambassador.

2,500 guests will stroll the 50-yard line as they feast on the finest fare from L.A.’s top chefs and restaurants, sip signature handcrafted cocktails from L.A.’s Master Mixologists, enjoy tastings from some of California’s most eclectic wineries and local craft breweries, listen to live entertainment and so much more. #SundayFunday redefined.

“For more than 45 years, Union Station Homeless Services has helped adults and families facing hunger, homelessness, and poverty in our community. Everyday, our staff has the privilege of working with people on a journey – people who trust us enough to let us into their lives so that we can provide the outreach, shelter, housing, and employment services they need for a better life. Union Station has grown and expanded in recent years. Our staff has more than doubled in size; our geographic reach has expanded to include Pasadena and 32 cities in San Gabriel Valley; and our programming has evolved and adapted to serve the most vulnerable members of our society – people experiencing chronic homelessness, chronic health conditions, disabilities, mental illness, and substance use.”

Masters of Taste is definitely a Family affair for Host Chef Michael. His brother, Jon Hung, is now the chef at The Raymond 1886. He’ll also be part of Masters of Taste.

Chef Michael’s dish for Masters of Taste is a Roasted Prime Striploin.

Chef Michael Hung is out guest.

Play