Show 473, May 7, 2022: The Matzo Project, Brooklyn, NY Part One

Ashley Albert and Kevin Rodriguez of the Matzo Project

The Matzo Project, a discovery at the recent Natural Products Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center, introduces carefully made, artfully packaged, legitimately scrumptious matzo to a stale, overlooked corner of the food marketplace.”

“Summer Camp friends Ashley Albert and Kevin Rodriguez set out to bake a new take on the culturally beloved, but traditionally flavorless box of matzo. Instead, they created a super-snappy, extra-sturdy, crazy-versatile cracker that goes with virtually every single thing they’ve tried to put on it.”

“Ashley had been tinkering with the idea of updating matzo for nearly 20 years and casually mentioned it to Kevin when they were charting about him making a change. He began experimenting in his kitchen.”

“The two would taste test Kevin’s recipes while Ashley started sketching out plans for The Matzo Project’s branding and packaging. That work led to their muse – the grandmother on their box – asking “Would it kill you to try something new?”

“After selling out their first trial batch in a single day, the two moved out of their tiny commissary kitchen and into a larger Kosher bakery in Brooklyn to take their unleavened show on the road.”

“While it currently languishes in the “Ethnic” food isle The Matzo Project’s hope is to help matzo claim its rightful spot in the cracker isle right next to Rosemary Pita Chips and the Gorgonzola Fig Toast.”

The Matzo Project’s product line includes Matzo Flats, Matzo Chips, a Matzo Ball Soup Kit and a Matzo Ball Mix. New is the Dark Chocolate Ungahpotchkees. Delicious but certainly not easy to ask for…

Locally high-profile Chef Jeff Cerciello (ex-The French Laundry) of Farmshop in Brentwood and Chef Jeremy Fox of Birdie G’s in Santa Monica are both fans and buyers.

“The Bubbe” of The Matzo Project has given Ashley and Albert permission to join us. She is thinking we’re looking skinny…

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Show 472, April 30, 2022: Chef Jet Tila, Food TV Personality, Author and Restaurateur Part One

Jet Tila at Cochon 555

“Celebrity Chef Jet Tila is a James Beard Award-nominated chef. He’s made appearances as a celebrity chef on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “Guy’s Grocery Games,” “Tournament of Champions III” and more.”

“Jet is Culinary Vice President for Pei-Wei Restaurant Group and co-owns Dragon Tiger Noodle Co. (multiple locations) in Las Vegas. Jet grew up at his Family’s famed Bangkok Market in Los Angeles – the first Thai market in the United States. Jet also serves as the Culinary Ambassador of Thai Cuisine for the Royal Thai government.”

Chef Jet is one of the three chef mentors (along with Bobby Flay) for Food Network’s eight-part “BBQ Brawl” competition series (Season 3) launching on May 9th.

Chef Jet is our guest with authentic Thai Fish Sauce in hand.

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Show 40, September 14, 2013: Amar Santana, Executive Chef / Owner, Broadway by Amar Santana

Amar SantanaChef Amar Santana is very familiar to Orange County foodies. His mentor, Chef Charlie Palmer (Aureole), brought him out here from Manhattan in 2008 to open Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdales at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Talk about a plum assignment for a young chef…Amar was with Chef Palmer for ten years.

With the backing of one of his very loyal guests he later departed to open a venture of his own, Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Talented chefs dream of having a place of their own but the reality is that few ever realize the dream.

Since opening in 2011 it’s been a hit with both the food critics and guests. The bar has also created its own loyal following for unusual libations and a welcoming atmosphere. Their superior Moscow Mule (not listed on the bar menu) is a thoughtful homage to the original version created in the late 30s in Hollywood and now using all fresh ingredients and from scratch ginger beer.

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