Show 50, November 30, 2013: Griffin Hammond, of “Sriracha – a documentary by Griffin Hammond”

Griffin HammondGriffin Hammond, a past guest on the show, is a respected filmmaker. He’s just completed his fascinating film on Sriracha. This documentary has taken him to Southern California on multiple occasions and even to Thailand where Sriracha originated. In Thailand the people are amazed that Sriracha is a popular condiment in the United States. In Thailand it’s used on fish and eggs and doesn’t have a cult following.

Griffin financed this unusual documentary via an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign that was actually way oversubscribed.

On Wednesday, December 11th “Sriracha” will be released to the public online. If you love Sriracha or just wonder what all the fuss is about this is a must-see for you!

Just how popular is the domestic version of Sriracha? In 2012 they sold 20 million bottles with the green cap and the red rooster on the label! That’s an incredible 100 million pounds of peppers used in the sauce.

Play

Show 39, September 7, 2013: Randy Clemens, food journalist

Randy ClemensRandy Clemens, noted food journalist and author of the best-selling Sriracha Cookbook and The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook, both from Ten Speed Press.

Randy was just in Thailand in Sri Racha in the Chonburi Province researching the unusual origins of Sriracha and shared this rich history with us. The original Thai version of Sriracha varies considerably from what we know stateside as the ubiquitous product from Huy Fong Foods, Inc. with the green cap and red rooster on the label.

We chatted with him from the Canary Islands.

Play

Show 34, July 6, 2013: Food Journalist Randy Clemens and “Sriracha” filmmaker Griffin Hammond

Randy ClemensWhen you say that Randy Clemens wrote the book on Sriracha that’s both figuratively and literally true. Randy has authored two books on Sriracha. The first, still in print and selling well, is the Sriracha Cookbook. Just released from Ten Speed Press is Clemens’ latest, The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook : 50 Vegan “Rooster Sauce: Recipes that Pack a Punch.

On Randy’s Web site he graciously shares favorite recipes from each book. Look for Honey Glazed Sriracha Buffalo Wings and Watermelon-Sriracha Sangria.

Griffin HammondGriffin Hammond is a video producer at YouTube Next Lab where he manages Indy Mogul. This You Tube channel teaches low-budget filmmaking techniques to over 500,000 subscribers.

Griffin was intrigued with the story of Sriracha and Vietnam refugee David Tran the founder of Huy Fong Foods who developed the ubiquitous American brand with the familiar Red Rooster on the distinctive plastic bottle with the green cap.

Hammond felt compelled to make a 30-minute documentary revealing the story of Sriracha – where it comes from – how it’s made, and the people who love it.

He went to Kickstarter to fund the travel & related expenses necessary to complete the film. (He already had the video equipment needed.)

Play

July 6: Sherry Yard, Sriracha Movie, Gustavo Arrelamo, Evan Funke, Valerie Confections

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Town with Chef Jet, Sherry Yard, and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Food Journalist Randy Clemens and “Sriracha” filmmaker Griffin Hammond Part One
Segment Three: Food Journalist Randy Clemens and “Sriracha” filmmaker Griffin Hammond Part Two
Segment Four: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of OC Weekly and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Foods Conquered America
Segment Five: Chef Evan Funke, executive chef & proprietor, Bucato Restaurant
Segment Six: Valerie Gordon, Valerie Confections

Time to talk of recent dining adventures …

Sherry YardPastry princess, Sherry Yard, the recipient of two James Beard Awards, joins us in-studio. She was celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s high-profile dessert guru for 20 years and is now out on her own with an ambitious project at The Helms Bakery complex in Los Angeles (on the border with Culver City.)

We’ll also answer some e-mail inquiries.

Sriracha MovieIt’s the Sriracha wars and the heat is on !

If you think Sriracha is simply the locally produced, fiery sauce with the red rooster on the label you need to know the real story. It’s actually Thai hot sauce named after the seaside town of Si Racha. It’s as popular as ketchup on the Southeast Asian table.

Documentary filmmaker Griffin Hammond will join us to talk about the Sriracha documentary he’s working on. It’s partially funded by an ongoing KickStarter campaign that’s already oversubscribed! He’ll be joined by local food writer Randy Clemens who is the author of two cookbooks on Sriracha. Newly released is The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook from Ten Speed Press.

Gustavo Arellano of Ask a MexicanOur favorite all-star, “Ask a Mexican,” Gustavo Arellano, returns to give us more practical insight on Mexican ingredients and their history. He’s also the editor of OC Weekly.

Today we’re talking tortillas. Why is a burrito made with flour tortillas? On the other hand why are enchiladas prepared with corn tortillas. What is right for a hard or soft-shelled taco? We’re confused…

I need a cerveza…

Evan Funke of Bucato Restaurant Chef Evan Funke generated a lot of interest at Rustic Canyon as the opening chef when it opened a few years back in Santa Monica. Now Evan is about to debut Bucato Restaurant on Washington Blvd. in Culver City in the former iconic Beacon Laundry Building which is part of the larger Helms Bakery complex. With Bucato he is Executive Chef and Proprietor.

During construction Chef Evan has been operating a food truck. The rave item is his porchetta sandwich. Bucato will be modern Italian.

Valerie Gordon of Valerie ConfectionsValerie Gordon of Valerie Confections burst on the local foodie scene with her cravable line of chocolate-dipped toffees in 2004. The response has been terrific and the line has greatly expanded over the years. Her quality products now include chocolates, a line of petis fours, handmade preserves, cakes, pastries, and even a catering division.

Valerie has developed a sub-specialty of recreating the classic desserts of fondly remembered, but long-ago departed, iconic local restaurants. The original Brown Derby’s grapefruit cake is just one memorable example.

Valerie Confections latest project is their new Coffee Shop & Bakery located at the historic Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles.

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Town with Chef Jet, Sherry Yard, and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Food Journalist Randy Clemens and “Sriracha” filmmaker Griffin Hammond Part One
Segment Three: Food Journalist Randy Clemens and “Sriracha” filmmaker Griffin Hammond Part Two
Segment Four: Gustavo Arellano, Editor of OC Weekly and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Foods Conquered America
Segment Five: Chef Evan Funke, executive chef & proprietor, Bucato Restaurant
Segment Six: Valerie Gordon, Valerie Confections

Show 29, May 18, 2013: Marcus Samuelsson, chef / proprietor of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem

Marcus Samuelsson and Andy Harris at a Taste of Harlem in Baldwin HillsChef Marcus just got off a plane flight to Chicago before going on the air with us and we’re most grateful to him for extending himself to be available for this interview.

Last year Marcus Samuelsson published his inspiring memoir, Yes, Chef: A Memoir. He’s in his early 40s so to have enough of substance to share with readers at this youthful age is pretty special. Readers of the book will quickly realize that he’s lived a couple of lifetimes already and there is surely lots more of substance in his future.

The book is brutally honest about the “left turns” on Chef Marcus’ path to the runaway success he is today. All of that life experience has made him an even stronger person. Marcus feels you learn more from your mistakes if you really take them to heart.

Marcus attributes the women in his life to providing him the most inspiration. These ladies include his late Ethiopian birth mother, his Swedish mother (by adoption,) and his Swedish grandmother who encouraged his early interest in cooking.

Earlier this month at a black-tie ceremony at Lincoln Center in New York Yes, Chef was awarded the James Beard Award for “Writing and Literature”. Congratulations to Marcus Samuelsson!

The paperback edition of Yes, Chef from Random House Trade Paperbacks has just been released. For all aspiring young culinarians this book is a graduate degree in what it really takes to learn the craft and the dues you need to pay along the way.

Play

May 18: Sherry Yard, Craig Strong, Bill Esparza, Martin Blin, Marcus Samuelsson

Podcasts

Segment One: Pastry Chef Sherry Yard
Segment Two: Craig Strong, executive chef of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach
Segment Three: Bill Esparza, the “Mexican Food Maestro” and authority on the food of Baja California
Segment Four: Marius Blin, executive chef of Sofitel Los Angeles and president of Club Culinaire of Southern California
Segment Five: Pastry Chef Sherry Yard, Celebrity Chef discusses the new Helms Bakery
Segment Six: Marcus Samuelsson, chef / proprietor of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem

Sherry YardSpecial treat for this Saturday’s show. Pastry princess Sherry Yard is guest hosting the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” She was Wolfgang Puck’s long-time pastry chef until departing after the Oscars this year to embark on a restaurant project of her own.

Sherry Yard is a multiple James Beard Award-winner for both the pastry arts as well as writing. These coveted medallions are the Oscars of the food world! Sherry was just in New York for the annual Beard Awards presented at Lincoln Center. Sherry will tell us what it’s like to be backstage and onstage in Manhattan during the Beard Awards.

Chef Craig StrongCraig Strong is the executive chef of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach. This is one of Orange County’s elite fine-dining destinations. It’s housed in its own architecturally distinctive building on the luscious grounds of Montage and the added bonus is the view of The Pacific.

On Sunday, June 3rd Chef Strong and his team are again hosting the annual Share Our Strength – Taste of the Nation benefit in Studio and the adjacent grounds. It’s a refined walk-around wine and food tasting afternoon with incredible tastes from some of the most high profile chefs in the country. Alan Wong from Alan Wong’s in Honolulu is one of the distinguished visiting chefs. Chef Alan cooks for the President at Alan Wong’s when he visits Honolulu. Also Chef Brooke Williamson of Hudson House in Redondo Beach. She was the runner- up in this season’s “Top Chef” series on Bravo!

Bill EsperanzaSaxophonist Bill Esparza has been dubbed the “Mexican Food Maestro.” As a hobby he’s developed an expertise (now a bustling 2nd career) in the foods of Baja California and the other culinary regions of Mexico. He leads escorted food tours there for journalists and food fans alike. He’s even given advice to Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern.

On Sunday, June 23rd he’s hosting LA Weekly’s Tacolandia Tacofest from Noon to 5:00 p.m. on the parking lot of the Hollywood Palladium.

33rd Annual Picnic de ChefsWhen a group of accomplished French chefs get together to cook guaranteed fun is always on the menu. The 33rd Annual Picnic des Chefs will be held on Sunday, June 2, 2013 at Vasa Park in Agoura Hills. This picnic is organized annually by the Club Culinaire of Southern California to benefit area charities.

On hand will be food tasting stations from 20 area restaurants complimented by premium wines from 20 wineries.

Chef Martin Blin the executive chef of Sofitel Los Angeles (across from the Beverly Center) and the President of the group joins us with all the appetizing details.

Back to our conversation with Sherry Yard.

Her new venture is the reimagined Helms Bakery (under construction) in partnership with Sang Yoon of Father’s Office and Lukshon. This will be on the site of the original Helms Bakery, an iconic food landmark and brand established in 1931 (with home delivery) which sadly closed in 1969.

Marcus Samuelsson and Andy Harris at a Taste of Harlem in Baldwin HillsMarcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem really needs no introduction. Among his many achievements he orchestrated the menu for President Obama’s first State Dinner at the White House during his initial term.

His excellent memoirs, Yes, Chef, is now in paperback. It just earned a James Beard Award. It’s a must read for any young person contemplating a career in the culinary arts. Chef Marcus is brutally honest in recounting his achievements and failures on the lengthy path to the major success he now is.

Podcasts

Segment One: Pastry Chef Sherry Yard
Segment Two: Craig Strong, executive chef of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach
Segment Three: Bill Esparza, the “Mexican Food Maestro” and authority on the food of Baja California
Segment Four: Marius Blin, executive chef of Sofitel Los Angeles and president of Club Culinaire of Southern California
Segment Five: Pastry Chef Sherry Yard, Celebrity Chef discusses the new Helms Bakery
Segment Six: Marcus Samuelsson, chef / proprietor of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem

Show 18, February 23, 2013: Govind Armstrong the Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Post & Beam in Baldwin Hills

Chef Govind Armstrong started his culinary career in Los Angeles early with Wolfgang Puck at the tender age of 13. Before Post & Beam he was best known for Table 8 on Melrose Avenue.

Chef Govind Armstrong of Post and BeamGovind is friends with super chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club fame in Harlem. They originally met at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic. Marcus even mentioned Chef Govind in his well-received memoir (published last year,) Yes, Chef.

Since Post & Beam opened Chef Govind has been looking for the opportunity to collaborate on a celebratory dinner with Chef Marcus at Post & Beam. The result is a “Taste of Harlem in Baldwin Hills” which will take place Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at Post & Beam as a benefit for the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP.)

Unfortunately the dinner is sold out but an After Party has been added. Guests will have the unusual opportunity to meet Marcus Samuelsson, Govind Armstrong, and 2nd generation restaurateur Brad Johnson (the co-owner of Post & Beam.)

There is a modest donation of $20 for admission to the After Party with a DJ and a cash bar. All the money goes to benefit C-CAP. This is a ticketed event.

Play

Show 17, February 16, 2013: Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. Author of Yes, Chef, his biography

Marcus SamuelssonChef Marcus is on the National Board of Directors in New York for the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program, and has been a generous benefactor of the effort. C-CAP provides culinary education in high schools for at-risk and disadvantaged students thinking about careers in the culinary arts. As seniors, if the culinary arts becomes a true career direction, there is a generous scholarship program where the best of the best are identified in a series of competitions and are awarded scholarships to the top line culinary arts universities in the country.

Marcus Samuelsson is going to be at Post & Beam in Baldwin Hills on Tuesday evening, February 26th  cooking with host chef Govind Armstrong at a dinner to benefit C-CAP. It’s a “Taste of Harlem” saluting Black History Month. The menu is reimagined soul classics.

The dinner itself is sold out but an After Party with a DJ is being organized. Check with Post & Bream  at 323.299.5599 for the details. It also benefits C-CAP.

Play

February 16: Marcus Samuelsson, Dean McDermott, Chick Marshall, Nyesha Arrington, Greg Daniels, Brian Howard

Podcasts

Segment One: Dean McDermott, Actor, “The Gourmet Dad, and contestant on Season 2 of Food Network’s “Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-off”
Segment Two: Chick Marshall of Mr. Stox Restaurant, Anaheim
Segment Three: Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. Author of Yes, Chef, his biography
Segment Four: Nyesha Arrrington the Executive Chef of The Wilshire in Santa Monica
Segment Five: Greg Daniels – Executive Chef & Partner of Haven Gastropub in Orange and Old Pasadena
Segment Six: Brian Howard, Executive Chef of Comme Ca by David Myers in the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

We’re honored to have one of the food world’s most prominent celebrity chefs with us to talk about an upcoming visit to Los Angeles. We’ll also be catching up with the results of a Food Network competition series and talking with an important Orange County chef as well as a Los Angeles celebrity chef with new ventures. Another feature is saying good-bye to an OC fine dining institution.

Dean McDermottWhen we left him six weeks ago, actor, reality TV star, and “Gourmet Dad,” Dean McDermott, was competing for “Team Guy” on Food Network’s “Rachael vs. Guy (Fieri) – Celebrity Cook-Off.”

The finale of “Rachael vs. Guy” on February 10th pitted singer and TV host Carnie Wilson of Team Rachael against Dean McDermott of Team Guy. The winner is to be awarded $50,000 for their charity of choice.

Dean joins us to share the results of the finale and what’s next for him.

Chick Marshall of Mr. Stox in AnaheimChick Marshall is one of the long-time, co-owners of the highly regarded OC fine dining institution, Mr. Stox, located near Angel Stadium. His partners are his brother, Ron, and Ron’s wife, Debbie. One of their trademarks is an extensive wine cellar of some 15,000 bottles, one of the largest in Orange County.

Mr. Stox launched in 1968 and the Marshall’s acquired the restaurant in 1977. Many of their loyal employees have been with them more than 20 years.

The Marshalls have decided to retire and March 15, 2013 will be the last dinner service for Mr. Stox. It’s a bittersweet transition for the regulars. Fortunately the Marshalls own their land which has been sold for residential and commercial development (combined with adjacent parcels.)

Marcus SamuelssonMarcus Samuelsson has cooked around the world but has settled into Harlem, New York as his home base. He owns the hugely successful Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club there. Marcus has prepared State Dinners for President Obama as well as is the recipient of many prestigious culinary awards. Last year his very revealing autobiography, Yes, Chef, was published which should be required reading for every aspiring culinarian.

Marcus proudly serves on the National Board of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) which provides foodservice training and career opportunities for underserved youth. Every year hundreds of thousands of dollars in culinary scholarships are awarded to deserving high school graduates in key cities across the USA to pursue careers in the culinary arts.

On Tuesday evening, February 26th Marcus Samuelsson will be joining forces with Chef Govind Armstrong to present “A Taste of Harlem” at Govind’s restaurant, Post & Beam, located in Baldwin Hills. The menu is reimagined soul classics. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to C-CAP Los Angeles.

Tickets are $140 per guest and the evening is very close to capacity.

For reservations : atasteofharlem.brownpapertickets.com

Nyesha Arrington of WilshireIn 2011 Nyesha Arrington (mentored by Melisse’s Josiah Citrin) became the executive chef of the (already established) The Wilshire in Santa Monica. Unusually, she won the coveted position in an intense cook-off on the first season of Food Network’s “Chef Hunter”.

She was also a popular cheftestant on Bravo’sTop Chef: Texas.”

The food has never been better at The Wilshire and Chef Arrington is a big supporter of the nearby Santa Monica Farmers Market.

Greg Daniels of Haven GastropubGreg Daniels is the well respected executive chef for the busy Haven Gastropubs in Orange and Old Pasadena. It’s innovative pub-grub fare that’s elevated. They feature a great beer list and now brew their own proprietary line of seasonal craft beers.

An Orange County craft brewer of note established & operated a well-stocked gourmet specialty food shop directly across the street from the original Haven Gastropub in Orange. They recently decided they just didn’t have the time available to properly maintain (the brewery is expanding) it so it was going to close. Haven Gastropub came to the rescue and their revamped food emporium, Provisions, will now be supervised by Chef Daniels. Happy ending for all…

Comme Ca is well-known, highly successful French bistro in West Hollywood so it was no surprise when owner/chef David Myers opened a branch in the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

What is very surprising is that instead of bringing in a chef de cuisine to simply execute David’s established recipes he recruited a young executive chef with imagination who has expanded the concept with his own creations for Las Vegas. He has an unusual amount of creative freedom in the kitchen.

Brian Howard of Comme Ca in Las VegasExecutive Chef Brian Howard will join us to talk about the freedom he has been given and why this has made the spot the most highly regarded French bistro in Las Vegas.

Great specialty cocktails, too.

Podcasts

Segment One: Dean McDermott, Actor, “The Gourmet Dad, and contestant on Season 2 of Food Network’s “Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-off”
Segment Two: Chick Marshall of Mr. Stox Restaurant, Anaheim
Segment Three: Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. Author of Yes, Chef, his biography
Segment Four: Nyesha Arrrington the Executive Chef of The Wilshire in Santa Monica
Segment Five: Greg Daniels – Executive Chef & Partner of Haven Gastropub in Orange and Old Pasadena
Segment Six: Brian Howard, Executive Chef of Comme Ca by David Myers in the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas