Show 293, October 6, 2018: Maria Ponzi, President & Director of Sales and Marketing, Ponzi Vineyards, Tualatin Valley, Oregon

Anna Maria PonziThe Tualatin Valley, Oregon’s esteemed Ponzi Vineyards is one of Oregon’s premier wineries. Established in 1970 as one of the pioneering wineries in Willamette Valley, Ponzi is now being run by the family’s 2nd generation of two sisters. Luisa Ponzi (trained in Burgundy) is Winemaker and Anna Maria Ponzi is President & Director of Sales and Marketing.

Founders Dick and Nancy Ponzi moved their young family to the Willamette Valley in the late 1960s with a spirit of adventure and a passion for making world class Pinot Noir. After many research trips to Burgundy and an extensive search for the ideal location, they purchased 20 acres on a small farm just southwest of Portland, Oregon. It was a daring risk — at the time, the Pacific Northwest was not thought to be a place to grow Pinot Noir, but Dick and Nancy realized the Northern Willamette Valley’s climate was ideal for cool climate varieties. Pinot Noir cuttings were planted, and in 1970 Ponzi Vineyards was founded.

The methods, philosophies and winemaking passion established nearly 50 years ago are still practiced today under the family’s second generation.

Ponzi Vineyards continues to set the standard for Oregon’s viticultural innovation while maintaining an unwavering commitment to a tradition of winemaking excellence. For the last 25 years, this philosophy has been carried on by the Ponzi family’s second generation.

All 130 acres of family-owned vineyards are LIVE Certified Sustainable, the world’s highest standard for sustainable viticulture and enology. Driven by the concept that the varietal must match the terroir and climate, Ponzi Vineyards continues to set the bar for Oregon and remains at the forefront of the nation’s top wine producers.

The handsome Ponzi tasting room at The Winery features fireside seating, a covered terrace and bocce ball courts. Experience exceptional wines while enjoying panoramic views of the vineyard and valley. Small food pairings are offered to accompany the wines. Open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Highly recommended.

Maria Ponzi pulls the cork for us.




Show 293, October 6, 2018: Charles Duque, Managing Director, French Dairy Board and French Cheese Board, New York

Charles DuqueIt’s all about butter with Charles Duque, the Managing Director for The French Dairy Board and the French Cheese Board. Indispensable to new culinary trends, butter is a source of inspiration that never grows old. Butter is an emblem of French cuisine.

Butter is an entirely natural product in its pure state. To make 35 oz. of butter, you need 23 quarts of milk.

Butter has survived for thousands of years. It has not aged in the slightest and is still smooth, soft and melting. Even through the ages, it has remained a natural and traditional product.

Butter production methods have remained virtually unchanged for 5,000 years. The churning system has been perfected over the centuries and health precautions have improved, especially with pasteurization, but, incredibly, the process has remained essentially the same.

We’ll find out why with Charles.



Show 293, October 6, 2018: Executive Chef Ross Luciano for Levy Restaurants, StubHub Center, Carson

Ross LucianoThe StubHub Center in Carson is the interim home of LA Chargers Football and LA Galaxy Soccer. The menu changes a bit between Soccer and Football. The LA Galaxy plays a lot more home games and their season is currently winding down.

Executive Chef Ross Luciano of Levy Restaurants oversees the menu there. It’s the expected hot dogs, peanuts and nachos plus more upscale fare favorites including Chicken Caesar Salad and a Seared Tuna Poke Bowl (for the Chargers.) In the Galaxy’s Healthy Kitchen are rotating chef-created healthy options including Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Mary’s organic chicken. The Buffalo Cauliflower Wrap has proved to be especially popular. Vegetarian and gluten-free options on the menu, too.

The newest addition is Beachside Kitchen. The “Wow” item is the TsUNAmi Burger (Tuna) which is served in limited quantities of 50 per game. When It’s gone…it’s gone for the day. Also Fish Tacos, Poke Nachos, and the California Poke Bowl.

We’ll meet Chef Luciano.


Show 293, October 6, 2018: Marianna Gatto, Executive Director, Italian American Museum of Los Angeles, Taste of Italy Benefit

Marianna GattoOn Saturday, Oct. 13th from 5 to 10:00 p.m. in Downtown Los Angeles the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles is presenting the 10th Annual Taste of Italy showcasing fine restaurants, world-class wines, live entertainment and celebrated chefs. Proceeds from Taste of Italy support educational programming and other initiatives related to the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles’ mission.

General Admission ($60) and Premier tickets ($125) are still available but the event does sell out before October 13th. Capacity is thoughtfully limited to ensure the comfort of all guests. Listen to the segment to learn how to get $5 off General Admission or $20 off Premier tickets.

Executive Director of IAMLA, Marianna Gatto, joins us with all the tempting details. Mangia, mangia…


Show 293, October 6, 2018: Executive Chef John Brenning, Legends Hospitality for LA Memorial Coliseum

John BrenningThe historic LA Memorial Coliseum (host of 2 previous Olympic Games) is home to USC Trojan Football and LA Rams Football. Executive Chef John Brenning of Legends Hospitality oversees the menu there.

New for this season is Chef John’s LA Hot Chicken Sandwich with both “Hot” and “Extra Hot” versions! Everything is prepared fresh, from-scratch including the guacamole used in the outrageous Carne Asada Loaded Fries and Guacamole & Chips.

Also noteworthy is the Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich. The pork shoulder is actually slow-smoked on-site for 17-hours. Chef John is now working with Melissa’s to add more tasty vegetarian items to the menu.

Chef Brenning began his career in the culinary arts more than 20 years ago. Before joining Legends and spending the past three years in the sports and entertainment side of the business at The Coliseum, Chef John held positions at the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons Hotels across California.

“It’s all about the food and service. The food and service will only be as good as the passion and heart put into it.” – Chef John Brenning


Show 293, October 6, 2018: Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio of Santa Monica’s Valentino, Planeta wines of Sicily

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa MonicaPiero Selvaggio of Valentino, Santa Monica fame is one of the pioneers of Italian fine-dining in Los Angeles. He also has been one of the visionaries introducing the premium wines of Sicily to the United States. Piero joins us to talk about the noble Nero d’Avola grape grown in Sicily and Sicily’s Planeta wines.

“We travelled through Sicily as on a great wine continent, establishing our estates in five different areas from west to east, seeking our interpretation of them through research into indigenous varieties, including those by now forgotten, and into the suitability of the different terroirs to welcome international varieties as well. We planned to eventually build around each territory a comprehensive system of experience composed of hospitality, cooking, nature and culture. On these elements the history of our company has always been based. This instinct for the future, together with our curiosity to see the world and compare ourselves with it, has guided our choices.”

After an incredible run of 46 years Piero will be closing Valentino this year after celebrating New Year’s Eve. In early 2019 he will be launching Louie’s on the waterfront in Newport Beach. It’s an upscale Italian steakhouse in tribute to Olympian Louis Zamperini. We’ll keep you posted…


Show 293, October 6, 2018: 2nd Annual “Battle of the Burgers,” Annette Brown, Director of Public Relations, Visit Temecula Valley

Battle of the BurgersVisit Temecula Valley will hold its 2nd Annual Battle of the Burgers on Saturday, October 20, 2018 in conjunction with Pechanga Resort Casino and Temecula Valley Unified School District. Some 20 restaurants are expected to compete for the championship title at Pechanga Resort Casino. New to the event, is a “Loaded Fries” competition that will include thirteen Pechanga Resort Casino executive chefs partnering with third year Career Technical Education (CTE) students at Temecula Valley High School. The students will team up with the chefs to create their Loaded Fries recipes and will be the executive chefs for the day, while Pechanga chefs will be their sous chefs.

Temecula Valley Unified School District CTE students will volunteer for the event, with the third-year students competing in the cooking challenge. The school is selling tickets to the event for $10 each as a fundraiser. All the proceeds will go directly to purchase food handler cards for their culinary students.

Attendees will be able to try several burgers from participating restaurants, as well as loaded fries from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The winners will be announced after 3:00 p.m. at the event, and posted online right here.

Visit Temecula Valley’s Director of Public Relations, Annette Brown, serves up all the juicy details.


Show 292, September 29, 2018: Food Finders’ “Chefs to the Rescue Benefit” featuring “Edible Extras,” Long Beach

Philip PrettyFood Finders, an established food recovery nonprofit, is hosting the 3rd annual Chefs to the Rescue”, a fundraising event on Tuesday, October 9th from 6 – 9pm in Long Beach.

For this unique event, Food Finders is challenging prominent local chefs to create “Edible Extras”; tasting samples and small plates made from perfectly tasty and safe rescued, recovered or repurposed food that otherwise would end up being tossed away.

“We are making inroads on reducing hunger and food waste, but we have a ways to go, so this event is designed to remind people that food and water are precious commodities,” said Patti Larson, executive director of Food Finders. “We’re continuing this theme not only because it remains timely, but aligns perfectly with our mission—and everyone loves the food created but these popular local chefs!”

Participating Chef Philip Pretty of Long Beach’s Restauration and Food Finders’ Patti Larson (Executive Director) join us.


Show 292, September 29, 2018: Philippe the Original’s 110th Anniversary Celebration

Richard Binder2018 marks a major milestone for both Philippe the Original in Downtown Los Angeles and its famous French Dip Sandwich. The classic French Dip will celebrate its centennial and the restaurant will celebrate 110 years in business. There’s an epic Monday, October 1st celebration planned, including $1.10 French Dips, live entertainment, the USC Trojan Marching Band and a whole lot more.

Today, Philippe’s boasts over 75 employees, serves about 20,000 sandwiches per week, more when the Dodgers are in town, and prepares about 100 gallons of its famous Hot Mustard (no horseradish used) every week. Unusually, the company has some employees who have been with the restaurant for over 30 years.

The Binder / Martin family has strived to keep the restaurant as original as possible throughout the years; sawdust floors, décor, payphone booths and some of the cheapest coffee in town at 45 cents a cup. It wasn’t until 2014 that the restaurant took down the cash only sign and began accepting credit cards. The Pastrami French Dip Sandwich is the most recent menu addition.

General Manager and proud 3rd generation Family proprietor, Richard Binder is at our service with what’s on the menu.


Show 292, September 29, 2018: C-CAP’s “4 Chefs 4 Kids Benefit” at Jonathan Club Preview with Executive Chef Jason McClain

Jason McClain of the Jonathan ClubThe Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) is hosting their 4 Chefs 4 Kids Harvest Dinner Benefit at Jonathan Club on Thursday evening, October 18th. Jonathan Club’s Executive Chef Jason McClain is the Host Chef along with courses prepared by talented culinarians including Tony Esnault (Church & State,) Sally Camacho Mueller (Tesse,) and Suzanne Tracht (Jar.)

C-CAP LA Alum, Mixologist Anthony Greco, will be preparing a exclusive specialty cocktail for the pre-Dinner Cocktail Reception featuring passed hors d’oeuvres from Jonathan Club’s Chef Jason McClain. It’s then a mouthwatering, four-course dinner paired with premium wines selected by Jonathan Club’s Sommelier.

Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger of Border Grill fame is the Special Guest Auctioneer.

Chef Jason McClain takes a break from his busy kitchens and rooftop vegetable garden to provide the Benefit’s enticing details.