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.


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

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.

Chicken Poblano Enchiladas (a favorite from Border Grill) have been added to the menu. Also returning to dinner dine-in is Baja Seabass and Lamb Birria.

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, a rarity in Santa Monica, is available.

Border Grill Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay is again welcoming guests for dine-in both inside and with expansive patio seating overlooking Mandalay Beach. Until Mary Sue’s and Susan’s adjacent BBQ Mexicana fast casual spot reopens its menu standouts are available on the Border Grill menu.

We continue our chat with Chef Susan highlighting what’s currently available for guests at Socalo Santa Monica.



Show 378, June 20, 2020: Chef Nick Shipp of The Upper West, Santa Monica

Nick Shipp of the Upper WestLocally owned and operated, The Upper West opened its doors in 2010 and not long after its arrival on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica has emerged as a consistent local favorite. Upper West’s ever-changing menu draws inspiration from around the world while maintaining eclectic flavors of Chef Nick Shipp’s very own.

“Our dinner menu (currently served Tuesday through Sunday from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) is always evolving and includes ingredients sourced locally from the Santa Monica Farmers Market as well as local farmers such as Weiser Farms, Niman Ranch, Jimenez Family Farm and Harry’s Berries. Our chef, Nick Shipp, has been described by food critics as a “mad scientist, where no two dining experiences are ever alike.”

“Our wall decor changes regularly, as we host one local artist for each season of the year.”

Dine-in has returned at The Upper West. As the kitchen regains its capacity a new dish is introduced to the menu each Tuesday. Think Ahi Tuna Tacos… Happy Hour is back, too, with beverages only served Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 7:00 p.m.

Curbside To-Go continues to be available, too. Menu selections include Food for 2, Family-style Dinners, Large & Small Plates, sandwiches, desserts and libations.

We entice Chef Nick away from his newly reopened kitchen for a chat.


Show 357, January 25, 2020: Chef Jason McClain, McClain Chophouse and Philly Jay’s Steaks

Jason McClain of the Jonathan Club and Philly Jay's SteaksAfter 8 years as the popular Executive Chef at the prestigious Jonathan Club (Downtown Los Angeles and on the beach in Santa Monica) Jason McClain has amicably departed to pursue some culinary adventures on his own. At Jonathan Club Chef McClain took traditional club fare in the elevated direction of fine dining at a highly rated, independent restaurant.

On the horizon is McClain Chophouse, an ingredient-focused premium steak house and, just for fun, an authentic Philly Cheesesteak food truck (Philly Jay’s Steaks.)

“Chef McClain received his formal training at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY and honed his skills under the tutelage of some of the USA’s great culinary talents in Philadelphia and Miami. He has evolved his menus by focusing on one thing : ingredients.”

“At Jonathan Club Chef Jason joined forces with a local urban farming company to plant a 42-bed rooftop garden. Four times each year he used his expertise to contribute to the surrounding neighborhood by inviting underprivileged youth to visit the Club to learn the value of growing fresh ingredients firsthand.”

We’ll get an “a la minute” update from Chef Jason.