Show 297, November 10, 2018: Chef / Proprietor Craig Strong, Ocean at Main, Laguna Beach

Craig StrongIn early October Chef Craig Strong (ex-Studio at Montage Laguna Beach) debuted Ocean at Main, fulfilling a long-time career dream to open his own restaurant. The location in a classic 40s Spanish revival building is exceptional – 222 Ocean Avenue near Main Beach in Laguna Beach, steps from the oceanfront. The 126-seat, 4,500-square-foot eatery with a spectacular shaded patio, is open daily for lunch and dinner.

After nearly 25 years of working at luxury hotels and resorts around the globe, Strong has come full circle to his native Southern California roots with the opening of Ocean at Main. From growing up in San Diego and cooking with produce from the family garden, this chef/owner is now sharing his Coastal California cuisine with the Laguna Beach community he has embraced for the last 10 years.

“Everything from its name, Ocean at Main, to the last drop of a favorite California wine is designed to provide guests with the quintessential Southern California dining experience. Here, Chef Craig Strong continues his devotion to sourcing the finest products available from local purveyors and suppliers as he creates approachable contemporary Coastal California cuisine and a convivial ambiance to please the nearby community and beyond.”

“I want to cook for our guests the way I cook for my family and friends at home. At Ocean at Main, I will celebrate the diversity, freshness and healthy lifestyle of Southern California. We will procure our ingredients from the local farmers and meat, seafood and specialty vendors whom I have been working and collaborating with for years. Coaxing the true flavors from exceptional products is always my goal.” Chef Craig Strong

Chef Craig escapes his busy kitchen for a chat.


Show 294, October 20, 2018: Chef Instructor Ivan Flowers, Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation, Temecula Valley High School

Ivan Flowers of Top of the MarketRegular listeners will remember Chef Ivan Flowers as a past show guest when he was overseeing the creative, seafood-centric menu at Top of the Market in San Diego.

Chef Instructor Ivan is now part of the Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation program at Temecula Valley High School. The teaching classroom is a $5.2 million state-of-the-art kitchen facility. All of the proceeds from the $10 admission price for “Battle of the Burgers” goes directly to the purchase of the needed food handler cards for the culinary students.

“Battle of the Burgers” is a benefit for Chef Ivan’s culinary students.


Show 279, June 30, 2018: “A Gringo in Mexico’s” W. Scott Koenig, Seven Days in The Valle: Baja California’s Wine Country Cuisine

W Scott KoenigNewly published is Seven Days in The Valle: Baja California’s Wine Country Cuisine by W. Scott Koenig. Koenig is known for his blog and alter ego, A Gringo in Mexico, where he reports on food and culture in the state of Baja California — just across the US Mexican border. In Seven Days in The Valle, he focuses his camera lens and writing on the cuisine of the Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s main wine-producing region.

“Chefs in Baja California have been experimenting with recipes combining Mediterranean, Asian and Mexican influences with local ingredients for nearly two decades, creating a unique cuisine.” Koenig explains. They often grow their own vegetables and herbs, source meat from area ranches and enjoy a supply of fresh seafood from the nearby Pacific.

Koenig conceived Seven Days in The Valle while assisting the Culinary Institute of America on a seven-day trip through Baja California as they filmed a documentary. “I had hundreds of images from that experience and a backlog of past photos and interviews; I felt it was time for a book on the Valle de Guadalupe. My goal was to tell the story of this magical place through the experiences of its chefs – whose restaurants are some of my favorites anywhere.”

A Gringo in Mexico’s Scott Koenig joins us.


Show 264, March 10, 2018: JC Clow, Founding Managing Partner, The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar

Andy Harris, Andrew Gruel and JC Clow of the Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar at the SoCal Restaurant Show 5th AnniversaryThe Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar has opened its third Southern California location at San Diego’s Westfield UTC in La Jolla. The Winery Restaurant La Jolla provides guests with the same rich experience as its Orange County locations at The District in Tustin and overlooking the marina in Newport Beach.

In the coming weeks, The Winery will also open a separate 1,300-square-foot wine bar within Westfield UTC, called The Wine Bar by The Winery, meant to provide a rich experience at a casual pace, perfect for enjoying a glass of wine or tasting flight and small bite.

“At The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar, we pride ourselves on really focusing on our guest experience. Our third location now open in La Jolla provides the same level of service, with highly skilled Chefs orchestrating a warm and passionate menu created by our award-winning Chef Yvon Goetz, and a team of Certified Sommeliers to oversee an incredible wine program,” explained JC Clow, Founding Partner of The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar. “It’s exciting to join a group of retailers that are among the best in their respective fields. We anticipate endless possibilities, with something to suit every palate.”

Managing Partner JC Clow is our hospitable guide.


Show 260, February 10, 2018: Executive Chef Bernard Guillas, The Marine Room & The La Jolla Breach & Tennis Club, La Jolla

Bernard GxuillasThe globetrotting Chef Bernard Guillas is the long-time, beloved Executive Chef of the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club and The Marine Room (oceanfront) in La Jolla. He’s also San Diego’s energetic culinary ambassador to the World. He just back from the 10th Annual Cayman Cookout with Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert.

Since 1941, one symbol has stood for the most exquisite dining experience in San Diego. The Seahorse symbol of The Marine Room.

“During this time, The Marine Room has earned countless accolades. Renown critics have described its privileged setting on La Jolla’s finest beach and the thrill of being “eye-level” with the crashing surf at high tide. The culinary artistry of Executive Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef de Cuisine Ron Oliver has been called “world-class” for its devotion to fresh seafood, seasonal variety, hand-selected local ingredients and award-winning desserts. Others have defined the experience as “sophistication with a sense of delight.” But our greatest satisfaction comes simply from serving our guests – who come to celebrate the joy of life with good company, a perfectly-prepared meal, and a golden Pacific sunset to call their own.”

We’re long overdue for a chat with Chef Bernard. He also generously shares the La Jolla & San Diego restaurants he personally recommends.


Show 241, September 16, 2017: Catalina Offshore Products 40th Anniversary

Tommy GomesForty years ago, Catalina Offshore Products owner Dave Rudie spent most of his days diving for sea urchins and seaweed in the kelp beds of Catalina Island, selling his harvest right off his boat. Eventually he opened a small processing facility in San Diego, making local deliveries throughout the region and later exporting to Japan. Catalina Offshore Products has since grown steadily into one of the region’s premier seafood purveyors and one of the largest seafood buyers in San Diego.

Catalina’s Choice Solid Pack Tuna in Olive Oil (new product) features U.S. hook-and-line bigeye and yellowfin, both also referred to as “ahi”.

This premium, responsibly harvested tuna is wild caught in the Eastern Pacific by U.S. fishing vessels, landed in San Diego and processed and packed in the USA. Hand-cut and cooked once, it is all natural, with no additives or preservatives.

Though Catalina Offshore Products fresh, local, sustainably sourced tuna has always been a big seller, canning any unsold product enables them to ensure the precious resource is even more well-managed. Additionally, it celebrates San Diego’s beloved history. The city was once known as the “Tuna Capital of the World”!

Tirelessly passionate about seafood, Catalina Offshore Products resident fishmonger, Tommy Gomes, is our guest. Tommy also oversees COP’s busy Seafood Nutrition and Education Center, which includes the retail fish market!


Show 228, June 17, 2017: Brandon Hernandez, Food, Wine & Craft Beer Journalist, San Diego

Brandon HernandezBrandon Hernandez is a savvy local beer, food & wine journalist based in San Diego. He contributes to a bevy of publications including Celebrator Beer News, USA Today, San Diego Union Tribune and San Diego Magazine. Brandon joins us with an expert’s overview of the dynamic and evolving San Diego craft beer scene.

We’ll tap the keg on the new Urge Common House in San Marcos, San Diego’s first organic brewery, the best beers to pair with chili and lots more.



Show 207, January 21, 2017: Anita Lau, “Diary of a Mag Hungry Woman” Blogger

Anita Lau of Mad Hungry WomanOur regular Contributor on the San Diego dining scene, Anita Lau, The Mad Hungry Woman blogger, joins us. She will provide us with the tempting highlights of her Best Meal” of 2016.

Surprisingly (because Orange County is her regular beat) It turns out to be the destination restaurant in a boutique hotel in Downtown San Diego! A new executive chef is stirring the pot there with the unexpected addition of some Filipino ingredients.

Think Venison Tartare…

“Venison Tartare ($16) catches my eye, and rightly so! The tartare is meticulously seasoned with horseradish, grain mustard and mustard flowers. Rye croutons, and barrel-aged Worcestershire sauce add another flavor dimension, but it is cured egg yolk grated into the venison mixture that enhances ever so subtly. Hands down one of the best tartares I’ve ever eaten!”


Show 202, December 17, 2016: Chef Bernard Guillas, Executive Chef. Director of Food & Beverage, La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

Bernard GxuillasThe Dean of French Chefs in San Diego is Maitre Cuisiner de France Bernard Guillas the executive chef of the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, the Shores Restaurant at the La Jolla Shores Hotel, and the landmark AAA, 4-Diamoind Award Marine Room Restaurant. His new book (with The Marine Room’s Chef de Cuisine Ron Oliver) is Two Chefs, One Catch – A Culinary Exploration of Seafood. Chef Bernard is our guest.

Following the success of their self-published, IACP award-winning Flying Pans: Two Chefs, One World, Chefs Bernard and Ron Oliver are back at it again with this stunning cookbook. This useful compendium of more than 120 delectable fish, shellfish, and crustacean recipes is organized by species and accompanied by expert tips on selection and preparation. Engaging anecdotes and stories convey the chefs’ culinary expertise and insatiable culinary curiosity.

With this impressive cookbook Chef Bernard promises seafood cookery in your home kitchen will be both easy and rewarding. The recipes are high in nutrition, low in fat, and astounding in flavor. “You can now sail the seven seas without needing a passport.”


Show 196, November 5, 2016: J.M. Woody Van Horn, General Manager, Javier Plascencia’s Bracero Cocina de Raiz, San Diego

JM Woody Von HornFor James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist Javier Plascencia, the U.S. – Mexico Border is not a barrier between two countries, but rather the inspiration for his signature Baja Peninsula cuisine.

On September 30th Chef Javier presented his Bracero Cocina de Raiz dinner at the James Beard Foundation in Manhattan. On Tuesday night, Nov. 1st. Chef Javier recreated that special 5-course menu at Bracero in San Diego as a benefit for the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Wine & Food. Chef Javier was actually there in the kitchen working the line. Each course was paired with a Palloni wine from Baja.

Bracero’s GM J.M. Woody Van Horn (a previous AIWF scholarship recipient) shares that incredible evening with us.