Show 462, February 19, 2022: Chef & Co-Host Andrew Gruel of Slapfish with “Ask the Chef”

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and Casino

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries.

Chef Andrew has some thoughts on a controversial, but spreading, new trend at some restaurants where they aren’t reachable by phone. No listed phone number…The guest communicates exclusively through their online reservation system, social media or email. This emerging trend was first reported in the Food Section of The New York Times.

Chef Andrew’s perspective as a restaurateur is this trend started as a response to the current staffing shortage in restaurants. Restaurants spend a lot of time on the phone with distracting, nuisance calls. Chef Andrew’s point is that if a restaurant during service responds quickly to an email or social media inquiry that reasonably accommodates the potential future guest. Meanwhile the patrons then dining at the restaurant are properly taken care of.

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Show 459, January 22, 2022: Restaurateur Sylvie Gabriele, Love & Salt, Manhattan Beach, 10 Days of RE:Her 2022

Sylvie Gabriele of Love and Salt

“Women restaurateurs from across Los Angeles have created a new charitable organization called RE:Her. Its debut 2021 initiative, a food festival called 10 Days RE:Her, featured 10 days of unique collaborations, thematic menus, and one-on-one conversations between female industry leaders. 10 Days RE:Her kicked off on January 21, 2021 the anniversary of the groundbreaking Women’s March of 2017, and ran through Saturday, January 30. Over 100 restaurants and collaborators were involved. 10 Days RE:Her 2022 will launch on Friday, March 4th and continue until Sunday, March 13th.

Restaurateur Sylvie Gabriele (a 2nd generation Restaurateur) of Manhattan Beach’s Love & Salt is one of the organizers of the upcoming Festival as well as serves on the active RE:Her board. Sylvie takes a break from her restaurant to preview the upcoming “10 Days RE:Her 2022” events and report on all the ongoing philanthropic activities of Regarding:Her.

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Restaurateur Debbie Thomas, Thomas Hill Organics, Paso Robles

Debbie Thomas of Thomas Hill Organics

“Deemed one of the best restaurants in Paso Robles since its launch in 2009, Thomas Hill Organics is a farm-to-table restaurant dedicated to serving creative, organic cuisine and highlighting unique wines from the Central Coast.” Serving Lunch, Dinner and Sunday Brunch.

“With a dynamic menu reflecting Paso Robles’ local abundance, Thomas Hill Organics sources a vivid array of fresh ingredients to concoct bold, imaginative dishes. What began as a humble organic CSA showcasing the Central Coast’s bounty quickly evolved into a popular destination for creatively prepared, honest food.”

“Thomas Hill Organics believes in the significance of organic, regionally-produced food, working with California purveyors for their poultry, fish, beef, lamb, and exotic meats. Nearby farmers provide their fruits and vegetables, which are always straight-from-the-earth fresh, and the breads are crafted by local bakers who are celebrated artisans of their trade.”

Proprietress and Founder Debbie Thomas joins us.

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Show 433, July 10, 2021: Restaurateur Mike Smith, Chicken Ranch, Palm Springs

Mike Smith of Chicken Ranch

For proprietor Mike Smith at Palm Springs’ Chicken Ranch (a locals’ favorite) preparing good food is simple. “It starts with great ingredients sourced from local farms who apply sustainable, eco-friendly standards to their craft. Chicken Ranch’s rotisserie chicken, crisp, delicious salads and savory, succulent sides are prepared carefully and artistically, with respect to seasonal ingredients, flavors and seasonings. Chicken Ranch is committed to keeping it fresh; bringing farm-fresh produce and free-range poultry from local farms to every guest’s plate.”

Chicken Ranch offers full-service with shaded patio seating with misters. Also a full bar with beer, wine, cocktails and spirits. It’s dog friendly.

The ruler of Chicken Ranch’s roost, Mike Smith, joins us.

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Show 425, May 15, 2021: Restaurateur Jerry Keller, Lulu California Bistro, Palm Springs Part One

Jerry Keller of Lulu California Bistro

Lulu California Bistro (founded in 2011) offers daily dining in the heavily foot-trafficed downtown Palm Springs area (on S. Palm Canyon Dr.) with a savory all day “favorites” menu, 3-course feast, Weekend Brunch and expanded patio seating.”

“There’s always a party at Lulu, and the party has returned with the official re-opening of restaurants in Palm Springs. Lulu offering daily dining from a delicious all day “favorites” menu on its expanded patio, in the bar area and in main dining rooms with socially-distanced tables.”

“Lulu California Bistro combines talent, expertise and a passion for great food to produce a captivating California Bistro dining experience. The menu options are many, varied and value-priced, and the quality is always high. The generous portions are prepared with the freshest ingredients available and a dash of innovation from their award-winning chefs.

“Lulu California Bistro first opened its doors on August 22, 2011 and has served their delicious California cuisine to over two and one-half million guests since the opening. Owner Jerry Keller (in concert with his wife, Barbara) have made very careful choices in creating “Palm Springs hippest restaurant”. From the design of the decor to the meticulous choice of incredible dishes on the menu, everything is designed to give Lulu’s guests the experience of gracious dining in the “hot spot” in the Coachella Valley.”

Proprietor/Founder Jerry Keller joins us with the details of what’s on the ample Lulu menu.

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Show 416, March 13, 2021: Restaurateur Brad Johnson, “Corner Table Talk with Brad Johnson” Part One

Govind Armstrong and Brad Johnson

“Following a successful career as a hospitality entrepreneur owning and operating well known restaurants, bars and nightclubs in New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Brad Johnson (most recently the founder of Post & Beam in Los Angeles) has launched his podcast, Corner Table Talk with Brad Johnson which debuted on February 25th.Through a behind-the-scenes lens intended to inform and entertain, Brad now delves into wide-ranging talks with his corner table guests about food, drink, and culture from the perspective of a person of color.”

“During his career Johnson established a reputation for cultivating a diverse multi-ethnic clientele and staff. “One of the best parts of having spent the better part of my life operating venues is the people I’ve been fortunate to meet,” Brad Johnson says.”

Johnson grew up in the restaurant business beginning in the mid ’70s. “My first job was working as a dishwasher in my dad’s popular restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, The Cellar, where I’d glance into the dining room and marvel at the ‘Black is Beautiful’ crowd of the period that packed The Cellar nightly,” said Brad Johnson. “I’ve bussed tables, pulled out chairs for countless guests over the years, shaken many hands, struggled through slow nights, and co-hosted Oscar parties.”

“Corner Table Talk guests share their unique experiences in careers that run the gamut, including restaurants, clubs, fashion, finance, publishing, sports, and entertainment, all highlighting their passion for business, social and cultural commentary.”

Brad Johnson joins us from the Corner Table.

Oxford American is a quarterly literary magazine showcasing Southern writing. The current issue (Spring 2021) is The Food Issue. One of the cover story, featured pieces is from Brad entitled, “Peasant Food – Notes from a life in restaurants.”

Post & Beam Hospitality (the co-producer of Corner Table Talk) is helmed by Brad Johnson, a 2nd generation restaurateur who has built a reputation owning and operating acclaimed restaurants, bars and clubs in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. In 2019, Johnson sold his latest restaurant, Post & Beam, in South Los Angeles after having operated it for almost a decade. Post & Beam was awarded the prestigious Los Angeles Times Gold Award in 2020. Post & Beam Hospitality offers a variety of services ranging from hospitality consulting and diversity strategy to media content creation.

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Show 375, May 30, 2020: Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels with Kimberli Munkres and Hotelier Karina Castenda Part One

Kimberli Munkres of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels“Under the cooling umbrella of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels Palm Springs is home to almost 80 extraordinary small boutique hotels of exceptional architectural & cultural diversity. “From quaint inns and quietly secluded bungalows to hip and modern poolside-hangouts, they cater to the spectrum of Palm Springs travelers’ tastes. Whether you want to disappear for a couple of days, or dive into the Palm Springs adventure of a lifetime, the visionary hoteliers make it their mission to get to know their guests and create a memorable stay in this distinctly fashionable desert oasis.”

“And as Palm Springs locals, they have dedicated themselves to creating a home away from home for each guest, infused with a sense of community.”

With the boutique hotels in Palm Springs poised to reopen and again welcome guests we’re joined by Kimberli Munkres (Director of Marketing) and hotelier and restaurateur Karina Castenda of Los Arboles Hotel and El Mirasol Mexican Restaurants.

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Show 375, May 30, 2020: Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels with Kimberli Munkres and Hotelier Karina Castenda Part Two

Karina Castenda of Los Arboles Hotel“Under the cooling umbrella of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels Palm Springs is home to almost 80 extraordinary small boutique hotels of exceptional architectural & cultural diversity. “From quaint inns and quietly secluded bungalows to hip and modern poolside-hangouts, they cater to the spectrum of Palm Springs travelers’ tastes. Whether you want to disappear for a couple of days, or dive into the Palm Springs adventure of a lifetime, the visionary hoteliers make it their mission to get to know their guests and create a memorable stay in this distinctly fashionable desert oasis.”

“And as Palm Springs locals, they have dedicated themselves to creating a home away from home for each guest, infused with a sense of community.”

With the boutique hotels in Palm Springs poised to reopen and again welcome guests we continue with Kimberli Munkres and hotelier and restaurateur Karina Castenda.

Karina Castenda is part of the family (2nd generation) who owns Los Arboles Hotel (a Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel) and the pair of El Mirasol Mexican restaurants. The original (and still operating) El Mirasol opened in 1985. The original (and still operating) El Mirasol opened in 1985. The 2nd El Mirasol is on the spacious grounds of Los Arboles Hotel.

“A charming, historic boutique Palm Springs resort and home to the iconic El Mirasol Mexican Restaurant and bar, Los Arboles Hotel features 21 well-appointed rooms, heated pool, Jacuzzi, room serviceand is located walking distance from downtown shopping, dining, and nightlife.”

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Show 370, April 25, 2020: Restaurateur Ron Salisbury – El Cholo Family of Restaurants

Ron SalisburyEl Cholo is L.A.’s very first surviving Mexican restaurant. Since first opening its doors in 1923, El Cholo has operated as a family-owned business and today, the restaurants are run by Ron Salisbury, grandson of the founders. The legacy at El Cholo lies in its commitment to quality ingredients, long family history, loyal employees (some with us nearly 40 years) and their devoted and loyal clientele. Through prohibition, the L.A. Riots, true Hollywood glamour and into the 2000’s, El Cholo continues to bring back memories for their guests and create new ones.”

Also part of the El Cholo Family of restaurants is The Cannery Seafood of the Pacific and Louie’s By The Bay both in Newport Beach.

Family patriarch Ron Salisbury (with 66 years of hands-on Hospitality Business experience) is our guest.

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Show 362, February 29, 2020: Chef Restaurateur Dean James Max, James Republic, Long Beach Part One

Dean James Max of James RepublicChef Restaurateur Dean James Max likes to characterize James Republic in downtown Long Beach as “a body of persons engaged in a savory pursuit to celebrate locality and sustainability, and cultivate community through the dining experience.”

“James Republic combines modern sensibilities with old-world principles to afford a genuine gathering place for the neighborhood and a distinctive dining destination in the heart of Long Beach.”

“Our style is what we like to call “modern California coastal” dining, highlighting the season’s vibrant, locally sourced bounty from both land and sea. Our kitchen is a chef-driven, farm-to-table workshop where we create ever-changing menus dictated by the season’s finest products of time and place.”

We reel in Chef Dean James Max for a preview of his upcoming quarterly Dinner Bell Series evening on March 15th. It’s a very special Sunday evening family style supper with ingredients hand-selected by Chef Dean & his team from the Long Beach Farmers Market that morning.

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