Show 449, October 30, 2021: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group

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. 

Lobster prices have gone sky high. Chef Andrew provides his informed perspective on this as well as insight on the increases in fresh seafood pricing in general. He shares the best value in seafood right now is domestic flash frozen product. It’s almost indistinguishable from fresh product when properly prepared and has the added benefit of being sustainable.

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Show 423, May 1, 2021: Winemaker Alex MacGregor, Saracina Vineyards Mendocino Part One

Saracina Vineyards Mendocino is a Certified California Sustainable (CSWA) winery and vineyard located in Hopland, in the southern part of Mendocino County about 30 miles north of Healdsburg. This 250-acre ranch, which includes a winery and sustainably farmed vineyards, is also home to 140-year-old olive trees, vegetable gardens, beehives, and all manner of bird and wild animal life. The handcrafted, limited production Saracina wines reflect a conscious sense of this beautiful estate in Mendocino County.”

“Originally founded by the husband and wife team of John Fetzer and Patty Rock in 2001, Saracina has always been defined by a strong sense of family. In 2018, Marc Taub took on stewardship of Saracina, upholding the spirit of family ownership that has defined this iconic Mendocino County winery since its inception.”

“Saracina cultivates 40 acres of vineyards on six different parcels. The soils vary greatly from rocky to black clay and gravelly loam, allowing for the cultivation of numerous varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. This area has wet winters and dry summers with very warm days and cool nights providing for ripe, plush fruit to be balanced by firm acidity. Winemaking is led by Alex MacGregor.”

“At Saracina, the modern, eco-friendly tasting room and winery facility blend comfortably into the rural landscape. Saracina’s openness and unspoiled yet well-tended beauty is unique in the Mendocino County, as are the wine caves, the first of their kind in the county dug out of solid rock over a two-year period. By prior appointment throughout the year, the winery also offers Wine Cave Tours, Private Tastings with the Winemaker, and last but not least, Estate Tours in a motorized “Mule.””

The Saracina Vineyards estate is again fully open for visitors with all health and safeky oroticols being observed.

Long-time winemaker Alex MacGregor joins us to gently pull the cork on Saracina Mendocino.

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Show 423, May 1, 2021: Winemaker Alex MacGregor, Saracina Vineyards Mendocino Part Two

Saracina Vineyards Mendocino is a Certified California Sustainable (CSWA) winery and vineyard located in Hopland, in the southern part of Mendocino County about 30 miles north of Healdsburg. This 250-acre ranch, which includes a winery and sustainably farmed vineyards, is also home to 140-year-old olive trees, vegetable gardens, beehives, and all manner of bird and wild animal life. The handcrafted, limited production Saracina wines reflect a conscious sense of this beautiful estate in Mendocino County.”

“Originally founded by the husband and wife team of John Fetzer and Patty Rock in 2001, Saracina has always been defined by a strong sense of family. In 2018, Marc Taub took on stewardship of Saracina, upholding the spirit of family ownership that has defined this iconic Mendocino County winery since its inception.”

“Saracina cultivates 40 acres of vineyards on six different parcels. The soils vary greatly from rocky to black clay and gravelly loam, allowing for the cultivation of numerous varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. This area has wet winters and dry summers with very warm days and cool nights providing for ripe, plush fruit to be balanced by firm acidity. Winemaking is led by Alex MacGregor.”

“At Saracina, the modern, eco-friendly tasting room and winery facility blend comfortably into the rural landscape. Saracina’s openness and unspoiled yet well-tended beauty is unique in the Mendocino County, as are the wine caves, the first of their kind in the county dug out of solid rock over a two-year period. By prior appointment throughout the year, the winery also offers Wine Cave Tours, Private Tastings with the Winemaker, and last but not least, Estate Tours in a motorized “Mule.””

The Saracina Vineyards estate is again fully open for visitors with proper social distancing and all safety protocols in place.

Long-time winemaker Alex MacGregor continues with us artfully pulling the cork on Saracina Mendocino.

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Show 418, March 27, 2021: Victor Gallegos, Vice President & General Manager, Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard Part One

Victor Gallegos of Sea Smoke

“For years, vintners have coveted a stretch of land in the western end of Santa Barbara’s Santa Rita Hills AVA known to have the perfect microclimate, soils, and exposure to grow world-class Pinot Noir. In 1999, fulfilling a long-held dream of owner Bob Davids, this sought-after stretch of land became Sea Smoke Vineyard.”

“At Sea Smoke, our objective is to produce the best Pinot Noir possible from our unique vineyard site. Located on south-facing hillside bluffs, our estate vineyard benefits from excellent sun exposure – producing grapes with optimum flavor, color and tannin development. The heat generated during the day is moderated each evening by a marine fog layer (sea “smoke”), which travels up the Santa Ynez River canyon, cooling the vines and resulting in a longer ripening period. This extended ‘hangtime’ allows the grape tannins to fully ripen prior to harvest, creating wines that are rich and supple.”

“Our pursuit of great Pinot Noir can also be seen in the meticulous management of our estate vineyard. We strive for low crop yields and small grape clusters of intense flavor. To this end, our rich clay soils are planted with ten, top-quality Pinot Noir clones on vigor reducing rootstocks. While we employ the latest technology in the vineyard to help us achieve vine balance and vigor reduction, we also recognize that technology is no replacement for skilled people.”

“Every one of our vines receives personal handling from our vineyard crew seven to eight times each year – every vine. As stewards of this remarkable piece of land, we are also dedicated to its long-term wellbeing. In this spirit, we have been farming Sea Smoke sustainably since 2003, and now farm 80 acres biodynamically, including the blocks destined for our Sea Smoke Chardonnay and Sea Spray Blanc de Noirs.”

When you log on to the Sea Smoke website the first introductory image is a short video featuring a sweeping aerial panorama of this magnificent vineyard estate.

Victor Gallegos, Sea Smoke’s long-time Vice President and General Manager gently pulls the cork on Sea Smoke for us.

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Show 386, August 15, 2020: Executive Chef Rich Mead, Proprietor, Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens Part Two

Rich Mead of Farmhouse at Rogers GardensRich Mead, Owner and Executive Chef of Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens, offers guests patio seating on a lush, garden setting for lunch and early dinner with an all-day menu. With over 4,000 square feet of al fresco dining, guests can relax outdoors while responsibly enjoying an award-winning cocktail or a seasonal, sustainably sourced meal.”

“Also available is a robust menu of takeout offerings including a Curbside Market with local ingredients and pantry staples, nourishing Family Meals and weekly Farmers Market Produce Boxes. Classic and signature cocktails are available for dine-in or curbside pickup courtesy of Chef de Swigs, Anthony Laborin and his team.”

Please note hours for Dine-in are currently 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily and for Takeout 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Dinner Dine-in service set to resume shortly. Phone is 949.640.1415 for Reservations and Takeout.

“During his 35 plus years of culinary expertise, Chef Rich Mead has cultivated relationships with the highest regarded, local sustainable farms, allowing him to create the freshest menus using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and specially grown vegetables. In 2016, after years of planning, Chef Mead unveiled a unique and sustainable field-to-fork dining experience at Farmhouse, located within Roger’s Gardens. Nestled on over 6 acres in the garden-like setting, Farmhouse features exclusive wines, craft beers, signature cocktails, artisan refreshments and a healthy inspired seasonal cuisine.”

Chef & Proprietor Rich Mead continues with us.

 

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Show 378, June 20, 2020: Donato Poto, Co-Proprietor, Providence Restaurant, Hollywood

Donato Poto of Providence plus Connie and Ted'sFor 15 years, Providence in Hollywood has elevated the standard of modern American seafood restaurants with exemplary service. Newly reopened for dine-in you can again experience Chef Michael Cimarusti’s award-winning cuisine in the heart of Los Angeles, welcomed by one of L.A.’s legendary hosts, co-owner Donato Poto.

“Chef Cimarusti is completely dedicated to procuring the finest sustainable seafood—from regional coasts and international waters—and treats those ingredients with uncompromising respect and sophisticated technique. “First and foremost, what guides us here is sustainability,” Cimarusti says. “We use only wild-caught, sustainable products, mostly from American waters, and look to highlight their finest qualities.””

Restaurateur Donato Poto is with us to reminisce, celebrate the 15th Anniversary and look to the future.

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Show 340, September 7, 2019: Executive Chef Jason “Chicken Wang” Montelibano of Chapter One: the modern local

Jason Montelibano of Chapter One: The Modern Local“Our eclectic food and spirits at Chapter One: the modern local fuse the exotic with the traditional, always created with our own playful twist. Our kitchen, led by executive chef Jason “Chicken Wang” Montelibano, features local, sustainable, seasonal and all-natural ingredients. The atmosphere blends the pleasures of elegant dining with the relaxed conviviality of a local pub.”

“Our cocktail list, highlighted by our award-winning, fresh ginger Moscow Mules, also features over 200 whiskeys from around the world.”

Chef Jason was the winning chef from the original Bracken’s Kitchen’s Hunger Games in 2018.

Executive Chef Jason “Chicken Wang” Montelibano is our guest.

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Show 321, April 27, 2019: Tom Bean, General Manager, Merriman’s Waimea – a Pioneer of Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Tom Bean of Merriman's Waimea and Andy HarrisTom Bean is acclaimed Chef Peter Merriman’s General Manager at the iconic Merriman’s Restaurant Waimea. This was Chef Merriman’s first solo venture with modest expectations.

Last year Merriman’s celebrated their 30th anniversary and is consistently the highest rated restaurant on The Big Island. Chef Merriman is one of the original pioneers of Hawaii Regional Cuisine.

“Merriman’s Waimea is the flagship establishment from award-winning Chef Peter Merriman who maintains a single vision “Do the right thing”—for local farmers, for the islands and for you—our guest.”

“Thirty years ago, no one dreamed of growing vine ripened tomatoes, fresh sweet corn or crisp baby lettuce in Hawaii. Sugar cane and pineapple plantations dominated the farming landscape, and most food was shipped to Hawaii from thousands of miles away.”

“Chef Peter Merriman had a vision for the growth of local agriculture and the potential of Hawaii’s rich volcanic soils. He along with twelve other prominent chefs encouraged farmers to grow local produce, raise meats locally, and start a healthier more sustainable Hawaii.”

“Peter Merriman has been as a culinary pioneer in Hawaii for over 30 years. Known as the original “locavore,” Peter is a vocal champion of Hawaii’s farmers, ranchers and fishermen. His restaurants showcase island grown and harvested foods through simple preparations that reflect the myriad flavors of Hawaii’s multiculturalism. Dubbed the “Pied Piper of Hawaii Regional Cuisine” by The Los Angeles Times, he is a continuing inspiration to Hawaii’s thriving culinary scene.”

We’ll talk story with Tom.

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Show 303, December 22, 2018: Kyle Meyer, Wine Exchange, The 411 on screw caps on wine bottles

Kyle Meyer of Wine ExchangeOur esteemed wine expert, Kyle Meyer of Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange joins us for two commentaries. You’ve been seeing them on the wines from Australia and New Zealand for awhile and now screw caps on premium wine are becoming more common on domestic wines for very sound reasons.

Wines sealed with screw caps can actually age with grace. A cork is perhaps more romantic but it proven not to be the best closure for wine.

It’s not sustainable, either.

There is also a shortage of premium natural cork worldwide.

 

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Show 288, September 1, 2018: Chef Andrew Gruel, Founder, Slapfish Restaurant Group

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at Cabana 14 at the Cove at Pechanga Resort and CasinoChef Andrew Gruel, the founder of The Slapfish Restaurant Group, joins us with another installment of Ask the Chef.”

When it comes to shellfish, clams are probably more of a staple on the East Coast. There are some 150 edible species. They are sustainable.

Clams are high in protein and versatile in the kitchen. Simply steaming them with garlic and butter couldn’t be easier. Since their ocean home is in the sand and mud the only caution is to properly clean them. Live clams should always have a closed shell.

What do you use clam juice for, anyway? Also does a clam really belong on a pizza? Chef Andrew will provide the tasty basics.

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