February 22: UNLV, Coffee Bean, Five Crowns, West Coast Prime Meats, Grill ‘em All Burgers, DOMA Beverly Hills

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Stowe Shoemaker, Dean, William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Segment Three: Jay Isais, Senior Director, Coffee Roasting & Manufacturing, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Segment Four: Jim Colombo, General Manager, Five Crowns and SideDoor, Corona del Mar
Segment Five: David Wicker, Managing Partner and Vice President of Sales & Marketing, West Coast Prime Meats
Segment Six: Ryan Harkins, Executive Chef & Co-owner, Grill ‘em All Burgers
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Dustin J. Trani, DOMA Beverly Hills
Segment Eight: Jet Tila with your questions and his answers

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Jet Tila and a heritage pig at Cochon 555 in 2013Remember the L.A. tour stop of Cochon USA is Sunday, February 23rd at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica from 4 to 8:00 p.m. Ray Garcia of Fig Restaurant is the host chef. It’s a celebration of heritage pork raised on family farms. Our own Jet Tila will be there cooking an additional late-night heritage pig for the After-Party.

UNLV in Las Vegas has the most respected hospitality management program in the West. The Dean of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration there joins us to profile the prestigious program. Unusual cuts of beef are finding their way onto fine dining restaurants menus. We’ll be speaking with a meat expert to better understand these cuts. A coffee authority is with us to talk about the current trends in roasting coffee. You’ll also hear about a relatively new contemporary Mediterranean/Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills with an energetic young chef in the kitchen and an exciting pastry chef with impressive credentials. Orange County Restaurant Week launches February 23rd. We’ll have a preview with the GM of one of the classic participating restaurants. Also on the menu is an award-winning and high profile food truck (with an edge) that graduated to opening an even more successful brick and mortar location in an unexpected location.

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

Stowe Shoemaker is the Dean of the William F Harrah College of Hotel Administration at University of Nevada Las VegasThe most distinguished hospitality and restaurant management program in the West is the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at UNLV in Las Vegas. Stowe Shoemaker (a Cornell University School of Hotel Administration alum) is the Dean. Before joining UNLV, Dean Shoemaker spent 19 years as an educator at Cornell. Food Network’s Guy Fieri is a graduate of UNLV’s program.

Las Vegas serves as one of the world’s largest hospitality and tourism laboratories. The school provides valuable internships and mentors. The hospitality-management bachelor’s-degree program provides a broad educational approach to a career in the hospitality industry.
Students can select a concentration in gaming management, meetings and conventions, professional golf management, or restaurant management.

The school is ranked #4 in the world by the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research.

Jay Isais of the Coffee Bean and Tea LeafWe had such a great response to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s Jay Isais ( eye-zay-us) from last year that we’ve invited him back to share another steaming cup of brew. This time the discussion is on the roasting of coffee beans and how that impacts flavor. Jay is the Senior Director, Coffee Roasting & Manufacturing for the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Jay also provides insight into the three major coffee growing areas of the world and what the flavor profile of the resulting coffee is.

Orange County Restaurant WeekThe OC’s most anticipated, and delicious, dining event, Orange County Restaurant Week, returns from February 23rd to March 1st. Diners will have the opportunity to enjoy the wide spectrum of dining options in the County at special prices for prix-fixe menus for both lunch and dinner.

Over 100 restaurants are part of Orange County Restaurant Week.

The iconic Five Crowns, a Corona del Mar landmark, is one of the participating restaurants. General Manager Jim Colombo (also a chef by background and training) joins us to preview his special menu.

West Coast Prime MeatsWest Coast Prime Meats really knows the meat business as only an insider can. Most of their seasoned, senior executives have an extensive background in the restaurant business or are master butchers. If fact West Coast’s key master butcher has more than 30 years experience in the field.

Dave Wicker, WCPM’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing and Managing Partner, is with us to talk beef. What’s prime beef? An explanation of the process of aging of beef is on the menu. We’ll discuss previously uncommon cuts which are now attracting attention including the Teres Major and the Flat Iron Steak.

Ryan Hankins of Gril Em All BurgersOne of the very first “better burger” food trucks in Los Angeles County, Grill ‘em All Burgers, rolled onto the scene in 2009. As unusual as it sounds it was a heavy metal devotee’s take on the ample burger meal. The founders are Chef Ryan Harkins (a Cleveland native) and Matt Chernus, a former professional wrestler.

The stars were in alignment for them as they were inexplicably cast for the first season of Food Network’s cross-country “Great Food Truck Race.” This was the only season where the competitors were required to have actual food truck experience.

Although the Grill ‘em All guys were on the threshold of elimination on multiple episodes (and expected by the Producers to be out in the early going) they scrappily hung in there and came out on top at the conclusion of the high octane finale in New York! Once the season aired business was such that they needed to secure a second truck.

The gameplan was always to eventually move into the right (affordable) brick and mortar location. That happened last January (2013) when they opened in the Renaissance Theater Plaza in Alhambra in a former (failed) chain 50s diner location. Chef Ryan and Matt have made an odd location work. Grill ‘em All had lines down the block for their anniversary celebration last month. Nights and Weekends are their really busy times.

Future plans include a second location. Down the road Chef Ryan’s goal is to open a burger restaurant in his hometown of Cleveland where the dining scene is now really happening.

The remaining Grill ‘em All truck will soon be back in action for private events.

Dustin TraniDoma Beverly Hills opened rather quietly at 362 N. Camden Dr. in Beverly Hills in 2012. The address is well-known as the long-standing former home of Prego.

What’s creating a lot of excitement there with foodies is the young executive chef, Dustin Trani. He’s all of 29 years-old. He has worked at a Michelin starred restaurant in Italy, cooked at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, and was chosen by the Governor to represent California in a prestigious national seafood competition in New Orleans.

He’s a 4th generation Los Angeles area Italian chef who started working at age 11 in his family’s restaurant, J. Trani’s, in San Pedro which opened in 1925. He’s also a C-CAP alum. His food is contemporary Mediterranean/Italian with an emphasis on seafood.

His talented pastry chef is Marissa Sharon previously at Scott Conant’s Scarpetta in Beverly Hills. Her mini-cannoli are a real standout.

KnivesWe get questions…

Chef Jet responds to an assortment of inquiries from the overflowing e-mailbag. Jet talks about safety concerns with raw chicken, the selection process for proper knives in the home kitchen, and the quality of frozen fish.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Stowe Shoemaker, Dean, William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Segment Three: Jay Isais, Senior Director, Coffee Roasting & Manufacturing, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Segment Four: Jim Colombo, General Manager, Five Crowns and SideDoor, Corona del Mar
Segment Five: David Wicker, Managing Partner and Vice President of Sales & Marketing, West Coast Prime Meats
Segment Six: Ryan Harkins, Executive Chef & Co-owner, Grill ‘em All Burgers
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Dustin J. Trani, DOMA Beverly Hills
Segment Eight: Jet Tila with your questions and his answers

Show 60, February 8, 2013: Caroline Styne, Wine Director and Partner, Lucques, A.O.C., The Tavern, and The Larder

Caroline StyneCaroline Styne had an extensive background in specialty food products, catering, and restaurant management before partnering with Chef Suzanne Goin to open Lucques in 1988. In December of 2002, Goin & Styne opened their second restaurant, A.O.C., where the concept of small plates and fifty wines by the glass was born out of their shared passion for going out and sampling a variety of appetizers and intriguing wines. A.O.C. relocated to the face-lifted former Orso space about a mile West on 3rd Street in late 2012. Styne is the Wine Director for all the restaurants.

Tavern, in Brentwood, followed in May of 2009. It offers fine dining all day along with The Larder which has gourmet prepared foods and packaged goods. There is a new Larder at Burton Way in the luxury 8500 Burton Way Apartments on the border of L.A. and Beverly Hills as well as at LAX.

Styne contributed the helpful wine notes to Suzanne’s The A.O.C. Cookbook.

“And because wine and cheese are at the heart of A.O.C. there are two exciting additions. Caroline Styne presents a specific wine pairing for each dish. Styne explains why each varietal works well with the ingredients and which flavors she’s trying to highlight, and she gives you room to experiment as well – showing how to shape the wine to your own palate. Whether you’re just grabbing a glass to go with dinner or planning an entire menu, her expert notes are a real education in wine.”

Play

February 8: Caroline Styne, San Antonio Winery, Andrew Gruel, Brad A. Johnson, Paul Gstrein, Linda Kissam

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Caroline Styne, Wine Director and Partner, Lucques, A.O.C., The Tavern, and The Larder
Segment Three: Allan Stark, San Antonio Winery, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Andrew Gruel, Executive Chef & Partner, Slapfish
Segment Five: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, Orange County Register
Segment Six: Paul Gstrein, Executive Chef, Bayside Restaurant
Segment Seven: Linda Kissam, Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA
Segment Eight: Jet Tila on Manhattan Dining

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

Valentine’s Day is next week so get moving and don’t panic. It falls on a Friday this year. Friday is an especially tough day for restaurants due to Valentine’s Day anxiety so if you want to be a bit more relaxed make your plans for Saturday or Sunday instead. Still the Valentine’s Day orbit but a bit less crazed for the restaurant. You’ll definitely have better service…

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownFood Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” with host Alton Brown is back on Sunday nights for Season 2. Our own Chef Jet Tila is the most frequently appearing solo judge on this tough competition show that requires strategy as well as cooking chops. Look for Jet’s new episodes starting in February.

It’s the Winter Olympics in Sochi and a classic Newport Beach restaurant is serving a special Olympics-themed menu for the duration. We’ll go inside the menu with the creative executive chef. Caroline Styne is the partner and Wine Director (with Chef Suzanne Goin) in Lucques, A.O.C. and Tavern in West Hollywood and Los Angeles. We’ll talk with her and get insight on how you keep a firmly established and growing restaurant group fresh for the dining public. We’ll also hear the story of Slapfish which started as a modest food truck and now is a growing international empire. Did you know there is an emerging wine region in Northern Baja? You’ll learn about a promising winery in the Guadalupe Valley founded by Italians. Brad A. Johnson, the restaurant critic for The Orange County Register, joins us to talk about letter grades for restaurants. We’ll also have a visit with travel journalist Linda Kissam, who was recently in Spain touring the wineries representing the 50 best Cavas produced there.

All of that and lots more incredible deliciousness on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.”

Caroline StyneCaroline Styne had an extensive background in specialty food products, catering, and restaurant management before partnering with Chef Suzanne Goin to open Lucques in 1988. In December of 2002, Goin & Styne opened their second restaurant, A.O.C., where the concept of small plates and fifty wines by the glass was born out of their shared passion for going out and sampling a variety of appetizers and intriguing wines. A.O.C. relocated to the face-lifted former Orso space about a mile West on 3rd Street in late 2012. Styne is the Wine Director for all the restaurants.

Tavern, in Brentwood, followed in May of 2009. It offers fine dining all day along with The Larder which has gourmet prepared foods and packaged goods. There is a new Larder at Burton Way in the luxury 8500 Burton Way Apartments on the border of L.A. and Beverly Hills as well as at LAX.

Styne contributed the helpful wine notes to Suzanne’s The A.O.C. Cookbook.

“And because wine and cheese are at the heart of A.O.C. there are two exciting additions. Caroline Styne presents a specific wine pairing for each dish. Styne explains why each varietal works well with the ingredients and which flavors she’s trying to highlight, and she gives you room to experiment as well – showing how to shape the wine to your own palate. Whether you’re just grabbing a glass to go with dinner or planning an entire menu, her expert notes are a real education in wine.”

LA Cetto WinesDid you know there is a burgeoning wine industry in Mexico? Finally some of these affordable wines are finding their way into the United States. Shouldn’t a fine Mexican restaurant also offer premium Mexican wines?

One of the premier grape growing areas of Mexico is in the Guadalupe Valley (and adjacent valleys) located in Northern Baja California. It has the rural feel of the flat areas of Sonoma County from 40 years ago.

The predecessor wine interests of L.A. Cetto were established in Baja by Italians in the late 1920s. In 1960 L.A. Cetto acquired their first vineyards in the Guadalupe Valley. Today they have some 2,500 acres in the Valley under the stewardship of the 3rd generation of the Baja-based Cetto Family. They are the largest producer of table wines in Mexico.

L.A’s own San Antonio Winery (dating to 1917) is the distributor of L.A. Cetto wines in Southern California. Allan Stark, a 25-year veteran of San Antonio Winery joins us to tell the L.A. Cetto story and discuss some of their premium reserve wines including Nebbiolo, Chardonnay, and a Brut Sparkling wine.

Andrew GruelFood trucks have proven to be a worthwhile testing ground for innovative food concepts. A great example is Slapfish with a limited service, fast-casual restaurant in Huntington Beach located in a strip center. A new Laguna Beach location will launch later this year.

The partners started with one food truck serving the OC in 2009. By 2011 they had three trucks serving both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Executive Chef Andrew Gruel is with us to fill us in on the Slapfish tale. They have just signed a franchise agreement to open 75 full service restaurants in the Middle East over the next 5 to 7 years.

They like to characterize Slapfish as a modern seafood shack. It’s a real American seafood experience that revolves around fresh, sustainable fish, prepared simply, but delivering big flavors.

Letter Grades at RestaurantsLast month The Orange County Register’s James Beard Award-winning restaurant critic, Brad A. Johnson, was looking to review a Newport Beach restaurant. Instead all of the members of his dining group came down with severe cases of food poisoning. When Brad checked the Health Department records of this restaurant he was surprised to learn that they had received a serious violation on each of their previous inspections since they opened two years ago.

Brad is with us to discuss his campaign for Orange County restaurants to receive Letter Grades as a result of their Health Department inspections as is practice in Los Angeles County and other areas of California.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi is underway. Russia is on peoples’ minds.

Paul Gstrein of Bayside RestaurantPaul Gstrein, the long-time (Austria-born) executive chef at Bayside Restaurant in Newport Beach has been inspired by Russia, too. For the duration of the Games Paul will be featuring Russian dishes as appetizers, entrees, and even desserts. How about Beef Short Rib Borscht and Berkshire Pork Tenderloin Stroganoff?

Please note that not every appetizer or entrée on the special Russian menu will be available each night.

Linda KissamThe very well-traveled Linda Kissam is a respected food, wine, and travel writer who is on the go most of the time. She serves as the 1st Vice President of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association. She is also an author and the Global Wine & Travel Editor-at-Large for Luxe Beat Magazine.

Late last year Linda was invited to Spain to tour the Penedes wine region, the heart of cava sparkling wine production. Her mission was to taste and evaluate 50 fine cavas over an intensive five day period. Linda shares the highlights of this very special experience with us.

Le BernardinChef Jet has been in New York twice over the last two weeks and has enjoyed some standout dining adventures along the way. Jet shares the details of his truly exquisite meal at the classic Le Bernardin. It’s expertly prepared French seafood from Chef Eric Ripert at a very high level.

Jet also visited Ippudo, a well-known Japanese ramen shop.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Caroline Styne, Wine Director and Partner, Lucques, A.O.C., The Tavern, and The Larder
Segment Three: Allan Stark, San Antonio Winery, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Andrew Gruel, Executive Chef & Partner, Slapfish
Segment Five: Brad A. Johnson, Restaurant Critic, Orange County Register
Segment Six: Paul Gstrein, Executive Chef, Bayside Restaurant
Segment Seven: Linda Kissam, Food, Wine & Travel Journalist, 1st Vice President, IFWTWA
Segment Eight: Jet Tila on Manhattan Dining

Show 55, January 4, 2013: Chef Jesus Sanchez CEC, Culinary Arts Institute, Los Angeles Mission College

Where can you go to culinary school locally, get a solid foundation, and not be in debt for the rest of your life?

Jesus Sanchez of the Culinary Arts Institute at Los Angeles Mission CollegeCertified Executive Chef Jesus Sanchez, a Culinary Instructor at the Culinary Arts Institute at Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar for 11 years, is with us with all the key 411.

Their Culinary Arts Institute is housed in a new 85,000 sq. ft. building with 6 classrooms, a demonstration lab/classroom and 7 impressive kitchen lab classrooms.

They offer both an Associate in Arts Degree in Culinary Arts and an Associate in Arts Degree in Restaurant Management. In addition there are Certificate Programs for Achievement in Culinary Arts, Baking & Patisserie, and Restaurant Management.

Play

January 4: Bill Esparza, Brian Thorson, Sean E. Brown, Ivan Orkin, Jesus Sanchez, Robert Schueller

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Bill Esparza, The Mexican Food Maestro and Street Gourmet LA Blog
Segment Three: Brian Thorson, Brewmaster, Haven Gastropub + Brewery
Segment Four: Sean E. Brown, Executive Chef, ESPN Zone of Anaheim
Segment Five: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority Part One
Segment Six: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority Part Two
Segment Seven: Chef Jesus Sanchez CEC, Culinary Arts Institute, Los Angeles Mission College
Segment Eight: Robert Schueller, The Produce Guru, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce

We’re starting off 2014 with a bang. Tune-in…

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

We have the fascinating story of a middle-aged chef from New York who ventured to Japan to find himself, opened a modest ramen shop in a Tokyo suburb, and became a huge culinary celebrity in Japan! Bill Esparza is also with us, the Mexican Food Maestro and the unofficial Ambassador to the foods of Baja. Also a look at the truly affordable culinary arts program at Los Angeles Mission College, part of the Community College system.

Bill EsparzaThe 16th Annual Los Angeles Times Travel Show returns to the West Hall of the L.A. Convention Center on January 18 & 19. Our favorite Mexican Food Maestro, Bill Esparza, of the Street Gourmet LA blog is with us to preview his activities at the show.

Bill has cooking demos on the Flavors of the World Stage on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. The Sunday demo he is doing with Mariana Oviedo who represents the 2nd generation of the acclaimed Guerrerense food cart in Ensenada, Mexico started by her mother, Sabina Bandera in 1962.

Brian Thorson of Haven Gastropub and BreweryHaven Gastropub + Brewery in Old Pasadena has a new brewmaster, Brian Thorson, who has been with them for a year now gaining significant acclaim from area craft beer enthusiasts. Previously in Northern California Brian created quite a following at Drake’s and Trumer Pils.

Brian brews for both Havens as well as a few select wholesale accounts. There are typically some 12 Haven styles at any given moment but that varies by season.

A current standout is El Barista Rojo brewed with Portola Coffee Lab coffee (added during conditioning.) Also of particular note is the Hops, Inc. This IPA showcases hop flavor and aroma without bitterness.

Sean Brown of the ESPN Zone in AnaheimThe ESPN Zone in Anaheim in Downtown Disney is the last of the ESPN Zones so it’s a special place. ESPN television and radio is owned by Disney and its an enormous profit center for the parent corporation.

Besides being the primo sports viewing complex of choice in the area there is a welcome new direction in the food. The new executive chef, Sean E. Brown, is committed to serving the best in homestyle American comfort food. Let’s talk about the brined pork chop special for instance.

Chef Sean spent ten years cooking in Hawaii before returning to the mainland so fresh and local is part of his repertoire! He wants to be part of the community and especially welcomes Orange County locals to stop-by and say hello.

Look for a new lunch menu in the near future. Currently they offer an all-day menu.

Ivan Orkin of Ivan RamenIn 2007, Chef Ivan Orkin, a middle-aged Jewish guy from Long Island, did something crazy. In the food-zealous, insular megalopolis of Tokyo, Ivan opened a ramen shop. He had never launched a restaurant previously.

He was a foreigner trying to make a name for himself in a place that is fiercely opinionated about ramen. At first customers came because they were simply curious. Word then spread quickly about Ivan’s handmade noodles, clean and complex broth, and thoughtfully prepared toppings.

Soon enough Chef Ivan became a culinary celebrity in Japan. Fame in Japan begat his own best-selling brand of premium instant ramen.

Ivan Ramen in New York City and TokyoToday there are two busy Ivan Ramen locations in Tokyo and the new Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in Manhattan. Ivan Ramen New York, a full-service Japanese restaurant, will open in the next couple of months.

International food authority Anthony Bourdain (CNN’s “Parts Unknown”) had this to say about Ivan Orkin :
“What Ivan Orkin does not know about noodles is not worth knowing.”

Ivan Orkin has told his story in the newly published Ivan Ramen – Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint. It’s both a memoir and a cookbook. Chef Ivan shares more than forty recipes including the complete, detailed recipe for his signature Shio Ramen.

Celebrity Chef David Chang of the Momofuku restaurant empire in New York wrote the hilarious forward.

Where can you go to culinary school locally, get a solid foundation, and not be in debt for the rest of your life?

Jesus Sanchez of the Culinary Arts Institute at Los Angeles Mission CollegeCertified Executive Chef Jesus Sanchez, a Culinary Instructor at the Culinary Arts Institute at Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar for 11 years, is with us with all the key 411.

Their Culinary Arts Institute is housed in a new 85,000 sq. ft. building with 6 classrooms, a demonstration lab/classroom and 7 impressive kitchen lab classrooms.

They offer both an Associate in Arts Degree in Culinary Arts and an Associate in Arts Degree in Restaurant Management. In addition there are Certificate Programs for Achievement in Culinary Arts, Baking & Patisserie, and Restaurant Management.

With the new year what’s in season with local fruits and vegetables?

Robert Schueller of Melissa's World Variety ProduceOur resident produce guru, Robert Schueller of Melissa’s World Variety Produce, is back with us to highlight what’s best of the season right now.

We’ll talk Korean Pears, Cocktail Grapefruit, Meyer Lemons, Key Limes, Dutch Yellow Potatoes, Padron Peppers, Baby Brussels Sprouts and Kale Sprouts.

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Bill Esparza, The Mexican Food Maestro and Street Gourmet LA Blog
Segment Three: Brian Thorson, Brewmaster, Haven Gastropub + Brewery
Segment Four: Sean E. Brown, Executive Chef, ESPN Zone of Anaheim
Segment Five: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority Part One
Segment Six: Chef Ivan Orkin, The Ramen Authority Part Two
Segment Seven: Chef Jesus Sanchez CEC, Culinary Arts Institute, Los Angeles Mission College
Segment Eight: Robert Schueller, The Produce Guru, Melissa’s / World Variety Produce