Show 323, May 11, 2019: Donald Contursi, Founder & President, Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, Las Vegas

Donald Contursi of Lipsmacking Foodie Tours“In Vegas, you may need Lady Luck at the gambling tables, but not at the dining ones. Not when you rely on Lip Smacking Foodie Tours’ award-winning culinary walking tours that ensure a delicious payoff in the best bites this exciting city offers.”

“Our mission at LIPSMACKING foodie tours is to introduce visitors and locals alike to the best signature dishes, unique preparations and exciting tastes in Las Vegas. The mouths behind Lip Smacking Foodie Tours love food, eating, dining and experiencing. This quartet of passions originally inspired us to pursue careers in the food, beverage and hospitality industries. And ultimately, after years in the game, we created Las Vegas’ premier walking tour company exclusively geared toward those craving the ultimate taste of Las Vegas.”

“Book a tour today and you will be privy to a day or night adventure at up to four top restaurants, on the Strip or downtown, hosted by the citys culinary insiders who will entertain you with fascinating stories about Vegas. At each restaurant, you’re a VIP, whisked to the best table to enjoy 3 to 4 signature dishes at each stop. We take the gamble out of finding the most Lip Smacking tastes among the more than 330 restaurants on the Strip.”

President & Founder Donald Contursi is our guide.

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Show 221, April 29, 2017: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao Association (KCA)

Farsheed BonakdarFarsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts.

Beyond creating, implementing and promoting the Big Island Chocolate Festival, the Kona Cacao Association works with cacao growers, producers, chocolate enthusiasts and chefs to help create a recognizable brand for Hawaii Island Chocolate. KCA members work together towards creating a structure to maintain the quality of cacao grown, marketed and shipped from Hawaii for the future growth of this fledging industry.

Working with the American Culinary Federation, Kona Kohala Chefs Association, KCA encourages the advancement of culinary students at both the High School and College levels.

The 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival Gala sold out with a capacity 600 guests.

We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

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Show 80, July 19, 2014: Executive Chef Eric Wadlund, Spencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain, Palm Springs

Eric WadlundSpencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain is consistently one of the most popular and favorably reviewed restaurants in the greater Palm Springs area. Since 2008 the secret has been the culinary talents of Executive Chef Eric Wadlund in the kitchen. Their relaxing Sunday Brunch is top of the mind with the locals. Their specialty is “Benedicts.”

“Featuring Four Star American Cuisine with a French – Pacific Rim Influence in a casually elegant atmosphere.” Chef Eric sources a lot of the produce he uses from two local Farmers Markets.

The restaurant’s outdoor patios and the striking indoor dining area create an extremely inviting visual experience.

Chef Eric was just four when he whipped up his first culinary delight: doughnuts. His father owned a bakery (Butterball Bakery) and taught him the tricks of the trade, and, most of all, to love food and cooking.

His banana cream pie is a locals’ favorite and all the ice creams and sorbets are house-made.

By the way, he’s cooked for the President, too, at Sunnylands (the former Walter Annenberg Estate.)

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July 19: Bestia, ADYA, Allan Karl, Spencer’s on the Mountain, Tomas Estes

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Part One
Segment Three: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Four: Chef Shachi Mehra, ADYA – Fresh Indian Flavors, Anaheim
Segment Five: Allan Karl – Author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connection Part One
Segment Six: Allan Karl – Author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connection Part Two
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Eric Wadlund, Spencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain, Palm Springs
Segment Eight: Tomas Estes, Mexico’s Tequila Ambassador to Europe

Jet Tila and Producer Andy preview the show.

Bestia, which launched in late 2012 in a secluded location in the former warehouse district of Downtown Los Angeles (now known as the Arts District,) has been a high-profile foodie destination since the beginning. Meet the husband and wife team of Executive Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis and you’ll understand why.

Chef Shachi Mehra is well-known to Orange County diners as the opening chef for the fine-dining Tamarind of London in Newport Coast. Now Chef Shachi has branched out on her own and launched the more accessible ADYA in the Anaheim Packing House. It’s a reflection of modern India cuisine revolving around fresh, sustainable ingredients, simply prepared, in a casual setting.

Why would anyone sell nearly everything he owns, then pack up and travel for three years – alone – on a motorcycle? Meet world traveler and adventurer, Allan Karl, the author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine And Connection. The standout book documents his 62,000 mile journey through 35 countries on 5 continents as well as provides authentic local recipes.

Spencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain is consistently one of the most popular and favorably reviewed restaurants in the greater Palm Springs area. Since 2008 the secret has been the culinary talents of Executive Chef Eric Wadlund in the kitchen.

The Museum of the American Cocktail is hosting one of their special “Touring the Cocktail” evenings at Guelaguetza Restaurante on July 23rd. It’s a tequila appreciation evening with Oaxacan food tastes. Tomas Estes, Mexico’s official Tequila Ambassador to Europe has the details.

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Executive Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis of BestiaBestia, which launched in late 2012 in a secluded location in the former warehouse district of Downtown Los Angeles (now known as the Arts District,) has been a high-profile foodie destination since the very beginning. Meet the husband and wife team of Executive Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis and you’ll better understand why.

Restaurant impresario Bill Chait is a partner.

The food is multi-regional Italian.

“The overall industrial feel of Bestia, couplled with the passion, hard work and talent of Chef Ori and Chef Genevieve make Bestia an honest Mom and Pop restaurant (with character) built to last.”

Charcuterie and Cured Meats at Bestia“Chef Ori maintains an aggressive house-cured meats program with over 60 different forms of charcuterie for Bestia. Bestia means “Beast” in Italian. He is also responsible for raising his own yeast culture which he uses to bake Bestia’s sourdough Pain au Levain, used as toast ubiquitously on the menu, as well as for the pizza dough, which rises and falls over a 24-hour cycle prior to being composed as a Napolitana pizza. It’s then baked in the Acunto (wood burning) oven at 900 degrees.”

‘On the dolci side of the menu, Chef Genevieve is preparing a plethora of desserts from scratch using the finest raw ingredients such as acquarello rice for her al dente rice pudding served with perfectly ripened in-season fruit or her earthy, nutty, chestnut flour zeppole served with house-made coffee gelato and cream. In addition Chef Genevieve was partially responsible for the design of Bestia. She re-furbished oil drum spouts converting them into lighting fixtures.”

Shachi MehraChef Shachi Mehra is well-known to Orange County diners as the opening chef for the fine-dining Tamarind of London in Newport Coast. Now Chef Shachi has branched out on her own and launched the more accessible ADYA in the Anaheim Packing House. It’s a reflection of modern India cuisine revolving around fresh, sustainable ingredients, simply prepared, in a casual setting.

Earlier in her career Chef Shachi was mentored by pioneering Indian Chef Floyd Cardoz in Manhattan. She worked at both Tabla and Bread Bar eventually rising to the position of Head Cook at Bread Bar.

“With ADYA, I present an Indian experience that will allow those who are both familiar and less experienced with Indian cuisine to embark on a delicious, unique culinary journey that emphasizes fresh ingredients and pronounced flavors,” commented Chef Shachi, who blends Western and Indian cultures to create artful dishes that successfully marry tradition with modernity. “The casual setting of ADYA makes it inviting and accommodating to a wide range of guests who seek out the rich experiences that Indian cuisine has to offer.”

Allan KarlWhy would anyone of sound mind sell nearly everything he owns (including a premium wine collection with cult California labels,) then pack up and travel for three years – alone – on a motorcycle? Meet world traveler and adventurer, Allan Karl, the author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine And Connection. The standout book documents his incredible 62,000 mile journey through 35 countries on 5 continents over three years as well as provides authentic local recipes.

Getting the beautiful coffee table book published was an additional three-year odyssey of its own that became a Kickstarter case study..

From Allan: “Through the pages of this book, I share not only incredible adventures, I share the powerful gift of human connection – often made over good food and drink. Readers can experience the world as I did by traveling through each country, meeting the people and their unique cultures, and tasting their food.”

“As I traveled it occurred to me how important is the ritual of sharing food and how much we learn when we take the time to connect and share a meal with strangers or good friends alike.”

Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine And Connections by Allan KarlForks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine And Connections is an oversized, coffee-table art-book with more than 700 photos, stories of adventure and survival and global local food.”

For two years Allan struggled to find a publisher willing to take on this unusual and ambitious book project. They couldn’t pigeonhole it…Finally he turned to Kickstarter to raise the needed initial funds to self publish. He raised almost twice his initial goal for a total of $44,994

After three years on the road Allan truly believes the Irish Proverb: “There are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met.”

Eric WadlundSpencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain is consistently one of the most popular and favorably reviewed restaurants in the greater Palm Springs area. Since 2008 the secret has been the culinary talents of Executive Chef Eric Wadlund in the kitchen. Their relaxing Sunday Brunch is top of the mind with the locals.

“Featuring Four Star American Cuisine with a French – Pacific Rim Influence in a casually elegant atmosphere.”

The restaurant’s outdoor patios and the striking indoor dining area create an extremely inviting visual experience.

Chef Eric was just four when he whipped up his first culinary delight: doughnuts. His father owned a bakery and taught him the tricks of the trade, and, most of all, to love food and cooking.

By the way, he’s cooked for the President, too.

Tomas EstesThe Museum of the American Cocktail is hosting one of their special “Touring the Cocktail” evenings at Guelaguetza Restaurante on July 23rd. It’s a tequila appreciation evening with Oaxacan food tastes. Tomas Estes, Mexico’s official Tequila Ambassador to Europe has the details for us.

Tomas Estes, London resident, native Angeleno, acclaimed restaurateur, and Mexico’s “Official Tequila Ambassador to Europe,” issues participants a passport to the world of tequila and takes them on a behind-the-scenes tour of agave spirits. Josh Goldman, Co-Founder of Soigné Group, a portfolio of 12 Los Angeles-area craft cocktail bars and restaurants, executes a drink menu that demonstrates tequila’s range and versatility.

A sampling of savory specialties from the authentic Oaxacan kitchen of Koreatown’s Restaurante Guelaguetza are included in the price of admission. Come taste why Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold says “Guelaguetza is the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country.”

Tickets are $45 in advance, $40 for MOTAC/SoFAB and USBG Members, and $50 at the door.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris preview the show
Segment Two: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Part One
Segment Three: Chefs Ori Menashe and Chef Genevieve Gergis of Bestia, Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Four: Chef Shachi Mehra, ADYA – Fresh Indian Flavors, Anaheim
Segment Five: Allan Karl – Author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connection Part One
Segment Six: Allan Karl – Author of Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine and Connection Part Two
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Eric Wadlund, Spencer’s Restaurant at The Mountain, Palm Springs
Segment Eight: Tomas Estes, Mexico’s Tequila Ambassador to Europe

Show 61, February 15, 2013: Bob Spivak, President, CEO, and Co-Founder, Grill Concepts, Inc.

The Grill on the Alley30 years ago dining history was made in Beverly Hills (a tough city for restaurant longevity) with the launch of The Grill on the Alley which is better known as The Grill. It soon evolved into a high profile business destination for lunch for the power brokers of Hollywood. Where your table was signified your status in the Entertainment Business. No one arrived before 1:00 p.m. At night it became a destination for affluent locals with a very loyal following. Unusually for the time pretentiousness was never part of the gameplan. It also was the start of a significant restaurant company with three successful concepts.

To this day the signature Cobb Salad (a faithful homage to the iconic Brown Derby) is the most popular menu item. Bob likes to feel it’s a true recreation of this classic dish from the long departed heritage restaurant in Beverly Hills that was a forerunner of The Grill. The most popular dessert is the house rice pudding, a perennial favorite.

Grill Concepts, Inc. continues to flourish to this day. Public School (“an education in the art of food and beer”) is the newest concept (with a sense of humor) with locations in Downtown Los Angeles, Culver City and Thousand Oaks. Northern California (Mountain View) and Sherman Oaks are next, and more locations are on the horizon. It’s a bar & restaurant gathering spot.

Founder Bob Spivak, a second generation restaurateur with a love for the hospitality business, joins us to share the fascinating story.

“We are so fortunate to have been in business for 30 years,” President, CEO, and Co-Founder Bob Spivak said. “In the ever changing restaurant industry, we are proud to say that we were vintage before it was trendy. And we will continue to maintain the tradition of exceptional service and timeless cuisine that guests have come to count on.”

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Show 50, November 30, 2013: Chef & Restaurateur Suzanne Goin of Lucques, A.O.C. and Tavern

Suzanne GoinChef & Restaurateur Suzanne Goin is true culinary royalty in Los Angeles. She has just published her second cookbook, the A.O.C. Cookbook. It was a two year process as she actually does the writing.

Suzanne, a Los Angeles native, is the recipient of the prestigious James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef: California (2006) and is a multiple past nominee. She worked for Alice Waters at Chez Panisse earlier in her career. Closer to home her final position at Campanile (now closed) in Hollywood (before going out on her own) was as executive chef.

Suzanne partnered with sommelier, Caroline Styne, to open Lucques in West Hollywood in 1998. That was followed by A.O.C. in 2002. Next was Tavern and The Larder in Brentwood. The President has dined at Tavern. The newest Larder is The Larder on Burton Way on the ground floor of the luxury apartment building from the developer of The Grove.

A new Larder is soon to open in January at The Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

A goal of the new cookbook is to make vegetables delicious and, in our opinion, Suzanne handily succeeds. A.O.C., a personal favorite of Chef Jet’s, is all about what’s fresh right now. That’s Suzanne’s daily inspiration.

Suzanne is also influenced by the flavors of Mexico and India.

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November 17: Getting Our Just Desserts

Podcasts

Segment One: Claude Brown– President of the Art Institute of California – Los Angeles
Segment Two: Susan Robbins, President of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP)
Segment Three: Chef Caroline Mi Li Artiss of “Chef Race : U.K. vs. U.S.”

Segment Four: Executive Pastry Chef Sherry Yard
Segment Five: Marcel Vigneron of “Top Chef” & “Next Iron Chef :Redemption” & Mixologist Devon Espinosa of Hollywood’s Pour Vous
Segment Six: Chef Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes West and Cakemix. Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes”

It’s our sweetest show of the year as we broadcast live from the incredible “Getting Out Just Desserts” Benefit at The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles’ Santa Monica campus.

The Art Institute of California has generously opened up their campus to host this dazzling array of celebrity pastry chefs. Jet will chat with Claude Brown, the President of this campus about their culinary arts program.

Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) is the beneficiary of this event. This dessert tasting raises badly needed funds for their scholarship fund benefiting underserved Los Angeles area senior high school students who have demonstrated the talent and motivation necessary for a culinary career. C-CAP’s New York-based President, Susan Robbins, will explain the history of C-CAP and their important mission.

Caroline Mi Li ArtissHave you been following the new BBC America original series, “Chef Race : U.K. vs. U.S.”? The level of competition and intrigue is intense. The series stated right here in Santa Monica. London’s Caroline Mi Li Artiss, a chef competitor on the series, will be with us to talk about “Chef Race” and her new affection for the USA! Caroline is a big celebrity on You Tube in the UK.

Sherry YardTalk about star power. Next up is Sherry Yard and Donald Wressell. Sherry is Wolfgang Puck’s executive pastry chef and she does the incredible desserts for the Oscars every year. She is also the author of two best-selling cookbooks on desserts and pastries. Donald Wressel is one of the foremost chocolatiers in the U.S. He’s executive chef for Guittard Chocolate based in Northern California and teaches pastry chefs in the fine art of chocolate dessert making.

Marcel VigneronHe was the cheftestant you just loved to hate on “Top Chef: Las Vegas” but it turns out Marcel Vigneron is not really a heavy. He joins us to talk about “Next Iron Chef: Redemption” and update us on what he’s doing in Los Angeles with Modern Global Tasting, his catering company. Marcel is joined by his colleague, Devon Espinosa, who is a master mixologist at Pour Vous in Hollywood and was previously with Chef Michael Voltaggio at ink.

Duff GoldmanFood Network’s “Ace of Cakes,” Duff Goldman, brings down the curtain on the show. Duff will talk about his Charm City Cakes West operation here as well as his cake decorating classes.

Eat Sweet and Do Good !

Podcasts

Segment One: Claude Brown– President of the Art Institute of California – Los Angeles
Segment Two: Susan Robbins, President of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP)
Segment Three: Chef Caroline Mi Li Artiss of “Chef Race : U.K. vs. U.S.”

Segment Four: Executive Pastry Chef Sherry Yard
Segment Five: Marcel Vigneron of “Top Chef” & “Next Iron Chef :Redemption” & Mixologist Devon Espinosa of Hollywood’s Pour Vous
Segment Six: Chef Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes West and Cakemix. Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes”