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.


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.


Show 230, July 1, 2017: Chef Andrew Gruel

Andrew and William GruelOur own Chef Andrew Gruel is on the road again but in the holiday spirit we have him for a few moments by phone. No doubt he’ll have helpful some 4th of July cooking tips for us as well as an insider’s report from the Slapfish booth at last Weekend’s inaugural Arroyo Seco Weekend festival in Pasadena adjacent to the, and in, Rose Bowl. There was some great food and beverages available out there!


Show 222, May 6, 2017: Susan Feniger, Border Grill, The Los Angeles Times Food Bowl

Susan Feniger of Mud Hen TavernWe’re continuing our preview of the Los Angeles Times Food Bowl which is on now through May 31st. Joining us is Susan Feniger of Border Grill fame. Border Grill, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are all participating in multiple events as part of the Food Bowl. Their contribution to “Things In A Bowl Menu Items is an Heirloom tomato gazpacho in a bowl topped with shrimp and crab salpicon.

Susan will also be previewing the May 19th screening at The Huntington, Pasadena of the new documentary, James Beard: America’s First Foodie. Beard is revered (and remembered) as the Dean of American Cookery.

Susan’s business partner, Mary Sue Milliken, knew Beard (also a Trustee of The James Beard Foundation) and will be a part of a panel with Chef Jim Dodge and the filmmakers after the screening of the documentary.

Border Grill is also part of Beast Feast (May 21st) with Fergus Henderson, April Bloomfield and Michael Cimarusti.


Show 220, April 22, 2017: 2nd Annual Masters of Taste Benefit, Rose Bowl, Pasadena

Rob LevyThe 2nd Annual Masters of Taste benefit, an outdoor, luxury food and beverage festival is being held on Sunday, May 7th, 2017 from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the field of the iconic Pasadena Rose Bowl!

The Benefit will bring over 2,500 food and beverage enthusiasts together from all over Greater Los Angeles for one afternoon to celebrate this exhilarating festival, which will include the finest fare from over 40 Culinary Masters and restaurants, delectable sweets prepared by L.A.’s top Sweet Masters, signature handcrafted cocktails and tastings from over 30 Beverage Masters, including LA’s top bartenders and cocktail bars, local California wineries, local craft breweries, pressed juices, hand roasted coffee, live entertainment and much more.

100% of the proceeds from Masters of Taste 2017 will directly benefit Union Station Homeless Services, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping homeless men, women and children rebuild their lives. Union Station is part of a premier group of human services agencies in Los Angeles County that are leading the way to end homelessness in our community and offers an array of services including street outreach, meals, shelter, housing, case management and career development.

Michael HungLast year, Masters of Taste 2016 raised over $435,000 for Union Station Homeless Services, and this year Masters of Taste hopes to grow that number to $560,000.

Ticket Information: Masters of Taste will take place on Sunday, May 7th, 2016. A VIP Power Hour will be held from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm and General Admission will be from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Tickets to this event are only available for guests 21+ and over. For more information on Masters of Taste or to book your tickets directly, please visit right here.

The Chairman of Masters of Taste, Robert Levy, joins us for a stellar preview along with participating Chef Michael Hung of K-Town’s Mama Lion.


Show 213, March 4, 2017: Executive Chef Bruce Kalman, Union & Cochon 555 L.A. Competitor

Bruce Kalman on Union PasadenaCochon555 is a national culinary competition for a cause in support of safe, honest foodways and family farms producing heritage breed pigs. The Los Angeles edition of the event takes place on March 12, at Viceroy Santa Monica. Among the five competing local chefs is Bruce Kalman of Pasadena’s Union (Farmhouse Italian Fare) & Knead & Co. at Grand Central Market.

At the center of Cochon555 is a cook-off featuring five chefs cooking five whole, heritage breed pigs with innovative techniques and bold flavor profiles. One week before the event, the five competing chefs receive a 200-pound heritage breed pig from a local farmer. They are each tasked to create and present a “Judge’s Plate” of 6 dishes scored on categories such as utilization; cooking techniques; and overall flavor. The winner from each city is crowned the “Prince of Porc,” and given a place at Cochon’s national championship, Grand Cochon, to be held in Chicago during October 2017. This year, Chef Larry Monaco of Viceroy Santa Monica’s CAST Restaurant will lead the judging.

Communal feasting is an integral part of the Cochon555 culinary fabric. Beyond the 30 chef-competitor dishes – all told, some 1,500-plus pounds of heritage pork from family farms – guests can sample beef tartare with the wines of Antica Napa Valley; farmhouse cheeses; a pop-up bakery featuring La Brea; a Reserve Salami Snack Bar from Creminelli and Divina paired with wines from Nielson; a ramen noodle soup bar paired with the racy wines from Wines of Germany; organic pâté offerings from Les Trois Petit Cochons; a Luxury Butter Bar featuring Sabatino truffle butter, foie gras, and more; wines from Twomey and Silver Oak Cellars paired with bites prepared by Chef Dominic Orsini and an innovative take on classic pastry presented by Perfect Puree of Napa Valley.

Tickets for general admission start at $125; VIP tickets (early admission + exclusive sommelier and cocktail competition tastings) are $200; and BESPOKE tickets $400 (includes a multi-course charity dinner prepared by 3 celebrity chefs on Saturday night; super early admission + exclusive private tasting and tour of Somm-Selected wines and the Barkeep competition by a Cochon555 director on Sunday; and a donation to Piggy Bank charity). You can purchase tickets right here.

Chef Bruce Kalman of Pasadena’s Union is our guest along with Cochon 555’s Communications Director, Robert McKeown.


Show 203, December 24, 2016: Lawry’s Beef Bowl with College Football Historian Todd Erickson & Tim Tessalone, Sports Information Director, USC

Road to the Rose Bowl 50 Years of Lawry's Beef BowlThere is a great tradition associated with the annual Rose Bowl Game and it’s not held in Pasadena. It’s the iconic Lawry’s Beef Bowl, now in its 61st year, hosted at Lawry’s the Prime Rib in Beverly Hills. The gridiron guests this year (on separate nights) are the USC Trojans and the Penn State Nittany Lions.

USC will be celebrating their 22nd appearance in Lawry’s Beef Bowl on December 29th, a Beef Bowl record for number of appearances!

The Tournament of Roses – Lawry’s partnership was the first of its kind in college football. It claims the distinction of being the longest running sponsor partnership in bowl game history.

Football Historian Todd Erickson wrote the book on Lawry’s Beef Bowl (Road To The Rose Bowl: 50 Years of Lawry’s Beef Bowl) and is our guest along with long-time USC Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone.


Show 179, July 9, 2016: Adam Seger CCP, Corporate Sommelier / Executive Bartender, iPic Entertainment

Adam SegerGoing to the movies doesn’t have to be a lackluster experience anymore when you’re talking about premium food and beverage offerings. iPic Entertainment is redefining how people eat and drink at the movies with 13 locations Coast-to-Coast and more on the way. In Southern California there are iPic complexes in Westwood and Pasadena. The chef-driven food is created by multiple James Beard-award winning chef, Sherry Yard.

Adam Seger, the Corporate Sommelier and Executive Bartender for iPic Entertainment, is our guest. A master barman, Adam has created high profile, signature cocktails now appearing on bar menus across the country. He even has his own line of bitters and has developed proprietary spirits. Cheers.

The Tuck Room Tavern is the newly conceived destination restaurant at iPic Westwood created by Chef Sherry Yard (ex-Spago Beverly Hills.) A serious cocktail program is part of the experience.

iPic’s answer to a concession stand –features a chef-driven menu from acclaimed Chef Sherry Yard, to be delivered to guests in Premium Plus. Freshness and quality is key followed by special attention taken to craft each dish to be in-cinema friendly for guests to enjoy in a dark cinema during the movie. iPic wouldn’t forget the classics, Chef Sherry has selected an assortment of classic candies and custom treats as well as classic and gourmet popcorn flavors to satisfy your sweet, or savory, tooth. iPic Express also offers an assortment of cocktails, beer, and wine, featuring our exclusive Cocktail Shaker.


Show 142, October 17, 2015: John Fosselman, Fosselman’s Ice Cream, Alhambra

John FosselmanFosselman’s Ice Cream Co. “Using the finest ingredients available to make the most delicious ice cream” has been a local favorite since 1919. The ice cream is still handmade in small batches in Alhambra. It relocated there in 1941.

Fosselman’s has just introduced a flavor line of soft serve ice cream for restaurants. The line extension was done in association with Dog Haus, based in Pasadena. Fosselman’s soft serve and milkshakes will now be available in all Dog Haus locations.

“As a Pasadena-based restaurant, we’ve always had a deep respect for local businesses in our community like Fosselman’s that are as committed to quality as we are at Dog Haus,” observes Dog Haus partner Hagop Giragossian.

Co-owner John Fosselman (representing the 3rd generation of Family ownership) joins us with all the sinfully rich details.

The soft serve was just introduced to the greater restaurant community at the Western Foodservice Expo at the L.A. Convention Center. Next will be at the upcoming Fancy Food Show.


Show 119, April 25, 2015: Chef Jet Tila

Jet Tila and a heritage pig at Cochon 555 in 2013Chef Jet Tila, the Emeritus Host of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” really needs no introduction. He’s the Royal Thai Government’s official Culinary Ambassador to the United States. Jet is the most-used permanent solo judge on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen with host Alton Brown.

Jet is with us to discuss his participation in Food Network’s upcoming “Chopped All-Stars Tournament.” A cool $75,000 is on the line for the winning celebrity chef’s charity!

Jet’s heat is “All-Stars Tournament : Part 4” where there is just one more spot in the Grand Finale up for grabs. Competing with Chef Jet are Rocco DiSpiritio, Fabio Viviani and Lee Anne Wong. “The All-Stars open the appetizer baskets and find a succulent seafood and an Asian pastry. In the entrée round, the chefs will need to get creative in order to cook a perfect piece of beef in time. And some fish-shaped snacks meet crystals that pop in the dessert round.”

Sherry Yard (ex-Spago) is the Culinary Director for iPic Theaters. She has just started a celebrity guest chef series there. In May Chef Jet will have a signature menu item available at the iPics in Westwood and Pasadena. It’s Tuna on Crispy Rice Cake. The beverage pairing is a Tokyo Iced Tea with jasmine tea-infused vodka, balsam, Riesling, and honey-pineapple-yuzu-lychee salsa.