Show 487, August 13, 2022: Executive Chef / Partner Brendan Collins, Dono, Santa Monica Part One

Brendan Collins of Greco Entertainment Group

Dono in Santa Monica is the third restaurant from Greco Entertainment Group (GEG). Led by Chef / Partner Brendan Collins, Dono celebrates bold and passionate flavors from Spain. Long known for his deft hand with global cuisines, this foray into pan-Spanish traditions ushers in prized ingredients from the Iberian Peninsula such as Jamón Ibérico and premium conservas, melding them with farm-fresh, locally-sourced produce.”

“The menu features a variety of tapas (small plates), as well as large-format dishes including paella, whole grilled Sea Bass, and Piri-Piri chicken. The bar showcases a variety of house-made sangrias and a craft cocktail program from industry veteran Gabriella Mlynarcyzk. Leaning into the laid-back Spanish lifestyle, expect gin & tonic riffs, as well as well-rounded classics. The Dono wine program highlights Spanish grapes from the Iberian Peninsula and California.”

“Dono is GEG’s newest addition to its corner hub at Wilshire and 25th in Santa Monica. The moniker was conceived in Donostia-San Sebastián, where partners Michael Greco and Brendan Collins completed their research sojourn across Spain. Dono is named in honor of St. Sebastian, continuing a GEG tradition of naming their restaurants after saints. Their original concepts, Fia and Fia Steak, are named in honor of St. Fiacre, patron saint of gardens. Dono is open for dinner Tuesdays to Sundays, happy hour ‘SaMo Siesta’ Tuesdays to Sundays and brunch Saturdays and Sundays.”

Chef Brendan Collins takes a break from his busy kitchens and joins us.

Show 487, August 13, 2022: Executive Chef / Partner Brendan Collins, Dono, Santa Monica Part Two

Brendan Collins of Greco Entertainment Group

Dono in Santa Monica is the third restaurant from Greco Entertainment Group (GEG). Led by Chef / Partner Brendan Collins, Dono celebrates bold and passionate flavors from Spain. Long known for his deft hand with global cuisines, this foray into pan-Spanish traditions ushers in prized ingredients from the Iberian Peninsula such as Jamón Ibérico and premium conservas, melding them with farm-fresh, locally-sourced produce.”

“The menu features a variety of tapas (small plates), as well as large-format dishes including paella, whole grilled Sea Bass, and Piri-Piri chicken. The bar showcases a variety of house-made sangrias and a craft cocktail program from industry veteran Gabriella Mlynarcyzk. Leaning into the laid-back Spanish lifestyle, expect gin & tonic riffs, as well as well-rounded classics. The Dono wine program highlights Spanish grapes from the Iberian Peninsula and California.”

“Dono is GEG’s newest addition to its corner hub at Wilshire and 25th in Santa Monica. The moniker was conceived in Donostia-San Sebastián, where partners Michael Greco and Brendan Collins completed their research sojourn across Spain. Dono is named in honor of St. Sebastian, continuing a GEG tradition of naming their restaurants after saints. Their original concepts, Fia and Fia Steak, are named in honor of St. Fiacre, patron saint of gardens. Dono is open for dinner Tuesdays to Sundays, happy hour ‘SaMo Siesta’ Tuesdays to Sundays and brunch Saturdays and Sundays.”

Chef Brendan Collins takes a further break from his busy kitchens and continues with us.

Show 479, June 18, 2022: Alex Weiser, Weiser Family Farms, Tehachapi, CA Part One

Alex Weiser of Weiser Family Farms

Weiser Family Farms began in 1977 when Sid Weiser, a chemistry teacher and counselor at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles decided to pack up the family and follow his dream of working off the land. Sidney and his wife Raquel laid down roots in Tehachapi, California. There, they learned to tend to the fruit trees… apples, peaches, and pears. In the ensuing years, they acquired farmland in other locations where they branched out into a variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.”

“In 1982 their son Alex jumped in to assist the family in selling at local Farmers’ Markets. There he encountered chefs, the public and specialty produce buyers who wanted seasonal, high quality and superior tasting produce. Listening to this input, Alex began to focus on creating a bio-diverse farm dedicated to applying sustainable farming techniques. His overriding desire was to supply people with unique fruits and vegetables at their peak, rather than picked for commercial usage. Today, Weiser Family Farms grows in the Greater Bakersfield area, Tehachapi and the Lucerne Valley, cultivating a tapestry of high- quality produce year round.”

“Older brother Dan joined the family business in 2001, after a long stint with The Walt Disney Co. Dan, a graduate of USC’s Marshall School of Business, brought with him a real-world business sensibility to the farm that has helped bring the overall operation to the next level. Not long after Dan came aboard, older sister Esther left her established teaching career to help keep her knuckle-headed brothers in line. Her common sense approach and no nonsense communication style help to keep everything in focus and moving forward.”

Weiser Family Farms is, and has always been, a family farming entity in the true sense of the word. When you buy from Weiser, you are truly buying from The Weiser Family.

Weiser Family Farms’ seasonal produce is available at their stands at area Farmers Markets including Santa Monica on Wednesday and Saturday, and on Sundays in Beverly Hills and Mar Vista.

Alex Weiser is our guest with Purple Majesty Potatoes in hand.

Show 455, December 11, 2021: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel 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. This week’s (Holiday Cooking) question is from Marcella of Santa Monica. She is the lucky winner of the prize package of premium USDA Prime Steaks from West Coast Prime Meats. Be listening in January for another opportunity to be awarded a package of six USDA Prime Streaks from West Coast Prime Meats.

The Winning (multi-part) Holiday Cooking Question:

“I’m going to make a prime rib for Christmas dinner and I’m undecided on how to cook it. Looking into different cooking methods, rubs, etc. I came across this one – Reverse Sear.”

“What is a reverse sear? Don’t know much about it. When is it appropriate to use a reverse sear and would it apply to steaks, roasts, pork, chicken? Or ?”

“Would I want to reverse sear my prime rib? What’s the best way to cook a prime rib roast? We like it rare with lots of au jus and all the sides!”

Show 438, August 14, 2021: Chef & Partner Dominique Crisp, Saso, Pasadena Part One

Dominique Crisp of Saso

Saso in Pasadena, (launched earlier this year) draws inspirations from three coast regions treasured by Chef Dominique Crisp: his home in Los Angeles, his upbringing in the Pacific Northwest, and his travels within Basque Country. Throughout the menu, his dedication to the slow-food movement shines with hyper-local ingredients and French-taught cooking techniques. Previously he helmed the kitchens at the beloved seafood restaurants, L&E Oyster Bar in Silver Lake, CA and Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica, CA.”

“At Saso, a passion for coastal cuisine is met with Dominique’s deep appreciation and understanding of farming. Born on his family’s vineyard in Wren, Oregon – raising livestock, fishing, and harvesting has always been an essential part of his life. A respect for the land, sea, and supporting those who are sustainably harvesting the bounty is an integral ethos that flows through Saso.”

“I want coastal cuisine from Baja to Alaska to shine by showcasing farmers, fishermen and butchers we work with,” says Dominique Crisp. “We need to reconnect with food as much as we need to reconnect with each other.”

“Dominique’s goal is to emphasize the relationships he’s built with artisanal purveyors to continually develop Saso’s narrative. Not entirely a “Basque restaurant,” Saso aims to bring the energetic nature of Basque Country dining to Los Angeles with a foundation of sustainable Pacific coastal cuisine.”

“Diners can expect rotating local whole fish options, a variety of niche oysters, dramatic bar creations, flaming Spanish coffees, and an extensive reserve wine list sourced from all over the globe.”

“A charcoal Josper oven imported from Barcelona gives life to dishes such as a Navarra-style Bone-in Wagyu Tomahawk and Alaskan Mussels with fennel, charred leek, and chistorra. The ‘Rolls Royce of charcoal ovens,’ the Josper features a unique enclosed-bbq design, which offers varied levels of heat and char for a distinct wood-fired flavor without sacrificing moisture.”

On August 24th (Tuesday) Saso will be serving Dinner nightly Tuesday through Sunday. (Closed on Monday.) Lunch is Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Happy Hour on the menu those same days.

Chef Dom takes a break from prep in his busy kitchen to join us.

Show 430, June 19, 2021: Restaurateur and Chef Geraldine Gilliland, Lula Cocina Mexicana, Santa Monica

Geraldine Gilliland

Chef Geraldine Gilliland, dog lover, animal activist, Chef, and owner of Lula Cocina Mexicana in Santa Monica is celebrating Lula’s 30th anniversary this year on the evening of July 2nd. Geraldine’s lifelong love affair with Mexican cuisine culminated in 2019 with the publication of “The Lula Cookbook”, a collection of her favorite recipes in traditional Mexican cuisine and modern interpretations of classics, and of course some original dishes as well. Witty and charming with a commonsense approach to cooking, Geraldine takes the reader through a few of her favorite recipes in each section of the book and explains tips, tricks, and short cuts the modern home Cook can employ in their own kitchen to execute some of these dishes as well as improvise and put a personal spin on the dishes.

“Being originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and from a family of plain home cooking, it’s safe to say Geraldine entered a whole new world with Lula. It’s been a wonderful journey. Her love of Mexican cuisine started when one of the cooks at her original Gilliland’s Café would cook their own meals. That is what first attracted her to the flair and flavors of traditional Mexican cuisine.”

“One day, as Geraldine was casually flipping through the latest edition of Bon Appétit magazine, she stumbled upon an article that profiled the best female Mexican chefs of the time, including Lula Bertran. So, she called up the editor and asked her which of these chefs she would recommend to teach her true Mexican cooking. Without missing a beat, she told her to call Lula. The rest (as they say) is history!”

Friends of Lula’s are invited to the evening anniversary festivities on Friday, July 2nd. Reservations are limited to ensure the comfort of all guests. Please call Chuck at 310.392.5711 for availability info & reservations.

Geraldine joins us with a house Margarita in hand.

Show 419, April 3, 2021: Restaurateur and Nightlife Impresario Brent Bolthouse, The Bungalow Kitchen

The Bungalow Kitchen is James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina’s and hospitality veteran Brent Bolthouse’s freshly debuted joint partnership in Southern and Northern California. The Bungalow Kitchen is a new social dining experience and community clubhouse with two waterfront locations, one in Long Beach, California at Belmont Shore (2nd & PCH) with its second location in Tiburon (5 Main Street), California. The Bungalow Kitchen brings a chic and bohemian atmosphere, and features creative California Cuisine heavily inspired by local, seasonal ingredients with a robust wine list and custom cocktails.”

“The Belmont Shore location is designed by local Venice, CA based design firm Studio Collective.

The 10,000 square foot venue has an eclectic, residential vibe rich in custom furnishings and layered with unique artwork. Designed with the intent to create an atmosphere of attending a fabulous dinner party, The Bungalow Kitchen Belmont Shore is unlike anything loyal fans of The Bungalow (Santa Monica and Huntington Beach) brand have seen previously.”

“This specific venue gives the nod to the rich architectural history and the punk-rock edge of the Long Beach community. It puts a unique and utterly contemporary spin on the traditional Craftsman bungalow, maintaining certain classic structural elements (wood plank ceilings, large fireplaces, a covered porch) while simultaneously taking a sledgehammer to others and exposing what remains (wood stud and plywood walls, concrete floors, select structural members) and adds the sort of hip, eclectic furnishings one might expect to find in a local musician’s home lend this location an ambiance that is at once comforting and industrial, with a rock-and-roll twist.”

Brent Bolthouse joins us.

Show 417, March 20, 2021: Restaurateur & Chef Dave Beran, Pasjoli, Santa Monica

Chef Dave Beran

“The international dining scene is a vast, ever-shifting landscape, and Today’s Special – 20 Leading Chefs Choose 100 Emerging Chefs (Phaidon) is perfectly positioned to help readers navigate it. Twenty of the globe’s leading chef-curators — 10 men and 10 women — have each selected five emerging chefs from around the world, showcasing a variety of styles of food, restaurants, and personalities. Each of the 100 selected chefs is profiled, with recipes, photographs, and menus, plus original commissioned essays that shed light on what makes a standout star in today’s culinary realm.”

An L.A. area featured “Emerging Chef” in Today’s Special is Dave Beran of Pasjoli in Santa Monica and the now departed, Dialogue (up to a 20-course, seasonally changing nightly Tasting Menu) which was highly praised. He was nominated for Today’s Special by New York-based Chef Daniel Boulud (Daniel.)

“Pasjoli is an elevated French bistro from award-winning chef Dave Beran. The restaurant pays homage to French cuisine utilizing the bounty of produce available in Southern California. Rooted in classic French cuisine and inspired by Parisian markets, Pasjoli reflects Beran’s thoughtful cooking style, showcasing his creative touches on bistro fare.”

Prior to moving to California, Beran was the chef de cuisine at Alinea and executive chef at Next in Chicago where he received a James Beard Award for Best Chef Great Lakes and was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2014.

We’ll meet Chef Dave Beran of Santa Monica’s Pasjoli and the Founder of Dialogue (which introduced Chef Dave to the tastes of Santa Monica diners.)

Show 415, March 6, 2021: Gourmandise Cooking School with Chef Clemence de Lutz

“Consistently regarded as one of the best cooking schools in Southern California, The Gourmandise School in downtown Santa Monica at Santa Monica Place offers hands-on recreational cooking and baking class for beginners to professionals, now exclusively online… until further notice! You learn classic techniques from their instructors in your very own home. Gourmandise has classes for adults, kids (6 and over), and teens.”

Classes are conducted via Zoom. Most sessions are 75 minutes to 2 hours long. The Gourmandise School sends class participants recipes, equipment needs and shopping lists.

“Together with co-founder Chef Clémence de Lutz’s culinary expertise, and partner Sabrina Ironside’s marketing and operations background, The Gourmandise School has a new vision to expand the consumer’s education and experience of how to create amazing meals and treats out of locally sourced, sustainable ingredients, using the very finest techniques.”

The virtual cooking classes have been so successful (and serve an appreciative audience of cooking enthusiasts outside of Southern California) that once in-person classes are again permissible at Gourmandise the virtual program will continue.

Chef Clemence de Lutz joins us whisk in hand.

Show 380, July 4, 2020: Celebrity Chef Susan Feniger, Socalo Santa Monica and Border Grill DTLA & Las Vegas Part One

Susan Feniger wearing a mask at Socalo in Santa MonicaCelebrity chef and restaurateur Susan Feniger is best known for creating Border Grill (Los Angeles & Las Vegas) with her business partner Mary Sue Milliken. She was also one of the first stars on Food Network. The partners have made their return to Santa Monica with the launch of Socalo in the Gateway Hotel which has just reopened for expanded patio dining for lunch, dinner & Happy Hour on Tuesday through Saturday.

Curbside pickup is available, too. A range of Family Meals are available by Tock. Also Margarita Kits, Wines by the Bottle, and Craft Beers.

Complimentary on-site parking is available.

We corral Chef Susan for a chat on what’s currently available at Socalo Santa Monica.