Show 420, April 10, 2021: Chef Isaias Hernandez and Josh Bentrem, Smoke & Fire Social Eatery Part Two

Josh Bentrem of Smoke and Fire Social Eatery

Isaias Hernandez and Josh Bentrem (the co-founders of Smoke & Fire Social Eatery with locations in La Habra and Paramount) began their journey as hospitality associates for top dining institutions. Ranging from local eateries to billion-dollar restaurant groups, the partners specialize in all thing’s food and beverage. With almost two decades of experience in operations and senior leadership, Isaias and Josh had the privilege of opening restaurant concepts across the United States before venturing off on their own with Smoke & Fire.”

“Smoke and Fire is a prime example that when a business operates correctly, you don’t create a company, you start a family. We are a family turned restaurant group that provides the ultimate food experience in a quick-service format. The goal is to produce full-service standards in a quick service capacity.”

Menu specialties include a Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich (with the guest’s choice of heat,) a Smash Burger (double patty with cheese,) Brisket Grilled Cheese, Brisket Tacos and a Brisket Quesadilla. The appealing selection of Loaded Fries are generous portions of battered waffle fries with proteins (Nashville Hot Chicken, Smash Burger, and Texas Style Brisket) added in.

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members. Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much. At Smoke and Fire Social Eatery, we understand that it takes a village to raise a child so we honor all of those hardworking mentors, teachers and community servants with discounted meals and sponsorships.”

New Smoke & Fire Social Eatery locations are set to open in the coming months in Pomona and Bellflower.

Proprietors Isaias Hernandez and Josh Bentrem continue with us with spatulas in hand.

Play

April 10: Taste Hungary, Smoke & Fire Social Eatery, California Restaurant Association Foundation, dataTV Web Design for Restaurants

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Gabor Banfalvi of Taste Hungary & Tasting Table Budapest Part One
Segment Three: Gabor Banfalvi of Taste Hungary & Tasting Table Budapest Part Two
Segment Four: Chef Isaias Hernandez and Josh Bentrem, Smoke & Fire Social Eatery Part One
Segment Five: Chef Isaias Hernandez and Josh Bentrem, Smoke & Fire Social Eatery Part Two
Segment Six: Alycia Harshfield, Executive Director, California Restaurant Association Foundation
Segment Seven: Web Designer and Developer Adam Bell of dataTV
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

“Taste Hungary: Food & Wine Experiences in the New Old World founded by the husband and wife team of Gabor and Carolyn Banfalvi, is a multi-tiered company dedicated to showcasing Hungarian cuisine and wine. Their experiences educate travelers about the region through its cuisine and wine, history, culture, and context in the larger world. The Banfalvis draw on their experience, research, and deep personal connections to craft their tours, and choose the Taste Hungary wines. Taste Hungary is also committed to making Hungarian wine accessible to their followers by offering services such as shipping in the EU, retail, importing to the US, and wine clubs.” Gabor Banfalvi provides us with an overview of the wines and foods of Hungary.

“Isaias Hernandez and Isaias Hernandez (the co-founders of Smoke & Fire Social Eatery with locations in La Habra and Paramount) began their journey as hospitality associates for top dining institutions. Ranging from local eateries to billion-dollar restaurant groups, the partners specialize in all thing’s food and beverage. With almost two decades of experience in operations and senior leadership, Isaias and Josh had the privilege of opening restaurant concepts across the United States before venturing off on their own with Smoke & Fire.”
“Smoke and Fire is a prime example that when a business operates correctly, you don’t create a company, you start a family. We are a family turned restaurant group that provides the ultimate food experience in a quick-service format. The goal is to produce full-service standards in a quick service capacity.”

“It’s estimated that one million restaurant jobs have been lost in California alone as a result of COVID-19. To provide support for independent restaurant owners across the state, the California Restaurant Association Foundation (CRF) has partnered with California’s energy companies to launch the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund. The $1.25 million fund, which includes generous donations from SoCalGas, PG&E and SDG&E, will provide grants up to $3,500 to single-unit restaurants in select counties across the state, with priority given to woman – and person of color-owned restaurants.” Applications for the Resilience Fund will be open from April 11-18 only. The California Restaurant Association Foundation’s Executive Director, Alycia Harshfield, is our guest to explain the Resilience Fund’s purpose and program details.

Adam Bell, the founder of dataTV established in 1996, is the “SoCal Restaurant Show’s” accomplished, long -time web designer, webmaster and all-around social media guru. He relocated to Los Angeles from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As restaurants are slowly regrouping and reestablishing their enterprises Adam has some sound (and non-technical) advice to share regarding the importance of having a useful and easy to navigate website with speedy page loading. Social media is vitally important and genuinely useful but it doesn’t replace the need for an inviting website.

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 is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants during the early stages of recovery which remains a genuine concern. Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to operate for outside/patio dining and inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. Shifting the conversation to food we’ll ask Chef Andrew about what’s happening with the crazy pricing of fresh lobster. It’s priced at a premium and in short supply once again.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

“For Gabor and Carolyn Banfalvi travel has been a part of their lives together from the time they met working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean more than two decades ago. They share a special passion (and an appetite) for the food and wine of Central Europe, as well as the people, places, and stories that make this region so fascinating. The Banfalvi’s founded Taste Hungary—their Budapest-based food and wine tour company—in 2008, and ever since have loved doing this deep dive into the foodways and wine culture of Hungary.”

“After spending years researching and writing Carolyn’s culinary guidebook to Hungary—Food, Wine, Budapest (Little Bookroom, 2008)—the Banfalvi’s started Taste Hungary with the intention of sharing their passion for Hungarian food and wine with like-minded travelers who want to experience the region’s authentic flavors and experiences. At their independent wine shop and tasting cellar in Budapest’s Palace District, The Tasting Table Budapest, their team of sommeliers (in post Covid 19 times) leads daily wine tastings, introducing wine lovers’ to the (often unknown) treasures of Hungary.”

“We believe Hungary and Central Europe are undiscovered culinary gems—a culinary paradise which is slowly being (re)discovered. Hungarian food and winemaking have deep traditions, and a complex (and complicated) history. Decades of Communism caused many of these unique food traditions and industries to suffer terribly. But these days Budapest is a hot restaurant city (it even has four Michelin-starred establishments); local food artisans and growers around the country are reviving old traditions; and Hungarian wines are increasingly available around the world.”

“Our ultimate goal is to show guests that there is plenty of good food and wine here. We want to break down the language and cultural barriers that could make people feel uncomfortable. We want our guests to go home feeling like they discovered things they didn’t even know existed, and that it was well worth their while to dig deeply into new flavors, a new country, and meeting new people.”

Gabor Banfalvi joins us from Budapest to pull the cork on the joys of Hungarian wine and cuisine for us.

Josh Bentrem of Smoke and Fire Social Eatery

Isaias Hernandez and Josh Bentrem (the co-founders of Smoke & Fire Social Eatery with locations in La Habra and Paramount) began their journey as hospitality associates for top dining institutions. Ranging from local eateries to billion-dollar restaurant groups, the partners specialize in all thing’s food and beverage. With almost two decades of experience in operations and senior leadership, Isaias and Josh had the privilege of opening restaurant concepts across the United States before venturing off on their own with Smoke & Fire.”

“Smoke and Fire is a prime example that when a business operates correctly, you don’t create a company, you start a family. We are a family turned restaurant group that provides the ultimate food experience in a quick-service format. The goal is to produce full-service standards in a quick service capacity.”

Menu specialties include a Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich (with the guest’s choice of heat,) a Smash Burger (double patty with cheese,) Brisket Grilled Cheese, Brisket Tacos and a Brisket Quesadilla. The appealing selection of Loaded Fries are generous portions of battered waffle fries with proteins (Nashville Hot Chicken, Smash Burger, and Texas Style Brisket) added in.

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members. Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much. At Smoke and Fire Social Eatery, we understand that it takes a village to raise a child so we honor all of those hardworking mentors, teachers and community servants with discounted meals and sponsorships.”

Proprietors Isaias Hernandez and Josh Bentrem join us with spatula in hand.

Alycia Harshfield of the California Restaaurant Association

“It’s estimated that one million restaurant jobs have been lost in California alone as a result of COVID-19. To provide support for independent restaurant owners across the state, the California Restaurant Association Foundation (CRF) has partnered with California’s energy companies to launch the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund. The $1.25 million fund, which includes generous donations from SoCalGas, PG&E and SDG&E, will provide grants up to $3,500 to single-unit restaurants in select counties across the state, with priority given to woman- and BIPOC-owned restaurants. Applications for the Resilience Fund will be open from April 11-18 only.

“Grants given by CRF’s Restaurants Care Resilience Fund are intended to be used on payroll and related expenses so the restaurant operator can free up funds for other expenses such as rent, technology upgrades and outdoor dining retrofitting. Additionally, restaurants that receive a Resilience Fund grant will also receive support services and resources to improve their business for the long-term. Over the past year, through the non-profit’s Restaurants Care® program, CRF has helped more than 1,200 restaurant workers, their families and businesses and believes that by investing in the lasting success of these restaurants, we can also preserve jobs and communities throughout California.”

“What’s really unique about our Resilience Fund is that it supports the business as well as individual restaurant workers,” said Alycia Harshfield, Executive Director of the California Restaurant Association Foundation. “A portion of the funds raised will provide grants for cooks, servers, dishwashers and more who face unforeseen hardship and have nowhere else to turn and the rest will go to the restaurant. So yes, we’re helping restaurants keep their crew on payroll, while also offering a safety net for when things get tough. While we’re delighted to see restaurants opening up and COVID cases drop, the recovery will take years and we’re doing what we can to help.”

“Resilience Fund applications will be open from April 11-18, 2021 and can be found at www.restaurantscare.org/resilience. Grants will be available to single-unit, California-based restaurants in the following counties: Alameda, Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Joaquin with a staff of 50 or fewer employees. To qualify, the restaurant must currently be open and have experienced a revenue loss of at least 20% from 2019-2020.”

The California Restaurant Association Foundation’s Executive Director, Alycia Harshfield, is our guest to explain the Resilience Fund’s purpose and program details.

Adam Bell of dataTV

Adam Bell, the founder of dataTV established in 1996, is the “SoCal Restaurant Show’s” accomplished, long -time web designer, webmaster and all-around social media guru. He relocated to Los Angeles from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

As restaurants are slowly regrouping and reestablishing their enterprises Adam has some sound (and easy to follow) advice to share regarding the importance of having a useful and easy to navigate website with speedy page loading. Social media is vitally important and useful but it doesn’t replace the need for a informative website.

There are now also new and affordable means for restaurant patrons to order online without engaging the mega delivery apps.

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 is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants which is a genuine concern as recovery slowly starts to happen.

Restaurants in Southern California are finally again allowed to again operate for outside/patio dining and limited inside dining at reduced capacities with all the requisite COVID 19 safety precautions. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”

Shifting the conversation back to food we’ll ask Chef Andrew about the pricing of fresh lobster. It’s, again, a bit pricey and in short supply.

Chef Andrew also updates us on the inspiring progress for the grass-roots, 86 Restaurant Struggle campaign to benefit out-of-work and struggling restaurant workers. Chef Andrew and his wife, Lauren, have already distributed over $380,000 in small grants to deserving restaurant workers in serious need. All applications are carefully vetted by the Gruels. The substantial need, and fundraising, continues…

Remember the juicy and delicious Community Burger (more than a mouthful) is available at all Southern California locations of Slapfish. The worthy burger is free with any donation to “86 Restaurant Struggle.” 100 per cent of that money goes to benefit struggling restaurant workers.