Show 450, November 6, 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.

Veteran’s Day is Thursday, November 11th. Chef Andrew is a big supporter of the non-profit Save The Brave assisting Veterans in need. Bastards American Canteen with locations in Downey and Temecula (newly opened) is Veteran owned & operated, and also raises funds for Save The Brave. Two seasonally changing items on the Temecula menu are exclusive Slapfish creations from Chef Andrew (Surf N Turf Burger & Traditional Lobster Roll) with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Save the Brave. Chef Andrew will provide an inspirational overview.

Show 445, October 2, 2021: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group 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.

Chef Andrew details his volunteer efforts in support of Bastards American Canteen (Veteran Owned and Operated) with a location in Downey and soon to open on a grander scale in Temecula. They are sponsors of the non-profit Save The Brave.

Show 296, November 3, 2018: Nick Hirsch, Property Mixologist, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula

Nick HirschWhat’s a destination resort and casino without creative and appealing libations? Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula wine country has just brought on staff a Property Mixologist with a background at high-volume Las Vegas establishments.

He’s already revamped the libation menus at three Pechanga outlets, including Lobby Bar & Grill. Look for the seasonal PSA (pumpkin spice and apple.) A new bar, Corner Bar, is soon on the way near the Pechanga Theater and High Limit Gaming Area. Look for a New Year’s Eve launch.

The Property Mixologist is Nick Hirsch and he’s shaking it up just for us.

Show 294, October 20, 2018: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort Casino, Temecula

Duane Owen of Pechanga Casino and ResortSeasoned Executive Chef Duane Owen oversees all the busy, high-volume kitchens at the Pechanga Resort Casino. He’s coordinating Pechanga’s participation in the “Loaded Fries” competition. Thirteen Pechanga Resort Casino chefs are partnering with third year Career Technical Education (CTE) students at Temecula Valley High School to create their Loaded Fries recipes. The culinary arts students are the executive chefs for the afternoon while the Pechanga chefs function as their sous chefs.

Duane comes from a restaurant family, and was introduced to cooking at a young age through his three uncles, who were all professional chefs at a variety of East Coast restaurants. Duane began his culinary career while working summers in Cape Cod at the famous Chatham Bars Inn. From there, he moved on to some of the top resorts in the country, including the Belleview Biltmore Hotel in Clearwater, FL and The Inn at Mystic in Mystic, CT.

Chef Duane (also serving as a Competition Judge for Battle of the Burgers & Loaded Fries) joins us with the hot and crispy specifics.

Show 275, May 26, 2018: Farmer Cory Shallow, Co-owner & Farm Manager, EcoCulture Farms, Temecula

Cory ShallowTemecula’s EcoCulture Farms’ mission is to use regenerative agricultural techniques in order to utilize and improve the productivity of the environment from which we draw our sustenance. They practice responsible land stewardship in order to harvest from and simultaneously improve our ecosystem.

One of their very satisfied restaurant accounts is Old Town Temecula’s revered E.A.T. Extraordinary Artisan Table and Chef Leah di Bernardo. E.A.T. sources produce and fresh eggs from EcoCulture Farms as well as other products.

“We strive to steward a highly functioning ecosystem in order to produce an abundance and variety of edible and salable products. Closing the waste stream, improving relationships with our local community, spreading knowledge and awareness around food and agriculture are central to the functioning of the farm. Each enterprise of the farm has the ability to stand alone, yet each play a pivotal role in each other’s functionality and efficiency. Our livestock, vegetable production, fruit tree cultivation, and soil building programs feed and support each other in a cohesive and harmonious manner.”

Cory Shallow, Co-owner & Farm Manager has all the 411 for us.

Show 255, January 6, 2018: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula

Duane Owen of Pechanga Casino and ResortJust before year’s end Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula opened their doors to guests for the first phase of their ambitious $285 million expansion, including 568 new rooms & suites. In the new atrium is The Lobby Bar restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also launched on Thursday nights is the all-you-can enjoy Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza at The Pechanga Buffet.

The Lobby Bar restaurant located in the atrium is an inviting, open California bistro and bar serving breakfast, lunch and dinner bringing forth fresh, locally harvested ingredients to create seasonally changing specialties.

Chef Jose Mendoza (who returns to Pechanga from a tour in Las Vegas) melds unexpected flavors and Temecula-area components in a menu that pleases and excites. With many vegetarian dishes available, and cocktails hand crafted using local fruits and herbs, the Lobby Bar stands out among Pechanga’s 13 dining options.

The 2nd new restaurant to open as part of the current expansion is the Pool Bar & Grille at The Cove. Looking for a March launch.

We entice Pechanga’s Executive Chef Duane Owen out of his busy kitchens for the details.

Show 237, August 19, 2017: Phyllis Hinz & Lamont Mackay, The Cooking Ladies Part Two

Phyllis Hinz and Lamont Mackay are the Cooking LadiesAccomplished travel journalists, cookbook authors and chefs, Phyllis Hinz and Lamont Mackay. have taken on a new life chapter as the well-traveled “The Cooking Ladies.” We continue our conversation with them.

The pair of RV-travel companions have decades of culinary wisdom behind them and thousands of miles of blacktop in the rear-view mirror. Their entertaining new cookbook and travel journal is On The Road With The Cooking Ladies – Let’s Get Grilling.

The book chronicles their latest adventure, collecting tales of culinary and cultural encounters from roadhouses to back country smoke pits, with recipes that pay tribute to the do-it-yourself spirit of the classic North American cookout.

Having surveyed a whole continent of grilling ideas, The Cooking Ladies encourage readers to expand their own horizons with regional specialties like Hot Brown and Brined Turkey Breast or Loco Moco, alongside dozens of unbeatable recipes for ribs, roasts, chicken wings, pork loin, grilled veggies, and much, much more.

We discuss some of their nine years of travel adventures in Bar Harbor, Maine, The Big Island of Hawaii, Temecula, CA and Northern Alabama and other destinations which inspired recipes in the book.


Show 228, June 17, 2017: Pechanga’s Assistant Executive Chef, Damian Stanley

The Team from Umi Shushi and Oyster Bar winning the 2017 Peachanga Resort and Casino Chili CookoffLast Saturday was the 9th Annual Pechanga Microbrew Festival & Chili Cook-Off in Temecula wine country. Chef Marlene Moore’s (Temptations Food Walk) back-to-back wins (2015 & 2016) as Pechanga’s resident Chili Champ was again on the line…

Joining us with the outcome of this heated battle for “Best Chili” (and a full-year of bragging rights) is Pechanga’s Assistant Executive Chef Damian Stanley (a two-time Chili Champ himself in 2013 & 2014.)

Only 10 votes separated the top 2 chili creations!


Show 227, June 10, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Hosts Andy Harris and Chef Andrew Gruel

Andy Harris, Andrew Gruel and Ronnel Capacia at the 2017 Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili CookoffNow an intriguing preview of Saturday’s properly effervescent show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

Craft beer enthusiasts rejoice ! We’re live this morning from the 9th Annual Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili Cook-off in beautiful Temecula Valley wine country. VIP entry into The Grand Ballroom is at 12 Noon and General Admission is from 1 to 5:00 p.m.

Chef Marlene Moore of the Temptations Food Walk at Pechanga is the 2-time, defending Chili Champ among the highly-talented chefs at Pechanga. For Saturday’s competition she is showcasing two chili creations including a vegetarian option made with tofu. Bragging rights for the next year are on-the-line. We’ll talk about crowd pleasing, award-winning chili (and more) with the always engaging Chef Marlene.

One of the newest craft breweries in the Inland Empire, Inland Wharf Brewing Co., is part of today’s Microbrew Festival for the very first time. Their specialty is cask conditioned ales dispensed from a beer engine. Owners Commander Robert Durant (retired) and Bill Sutton are our guests.

Ericka Luna is Pechanga’s veteran Director of Catering. She joins us for a status report on the in-progress, ambitious, $285 million expansion project. The new Hotel Tower is on track to welcome guests in December. Just in time for the Holidays.

Chef Damian Stanley is the busy Assistant Executive Chef at Pechanga. The highlight of his achievements to date is the revamping of the restaurant space that has evolved into the highly successful Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar. He’s also a two-time Pechanga Chili Champ but has gracefully retired from competition to let the restaurant chefs shine.

Sciabica’s California Olive Oil has been cold pressed in Modesto, California since 1936. The olive oil is used in the kitchens at Pechanga and Sciabica’s, now in its 4th generation of Family ownership, is part of the Microbrew Festival. Jim Livesay is our guest representing Sciabica’s California Olive Oil.

Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley  is the long-time charitable beneficiary of the Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili Cook-off. The mission of Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley, in partnership with God, is to facilitate the dream of homeownership, as well as improve living conditions for those in the community. We’ll meet long-time Executive Director, Tammy Marine.

Regular listeners of the “SoCal Restaurant Show” know Chef Ronnel Capacia as the master of the grill, smoker and pizza oven at Kelsey’s – Great Food & Drinks. He’s just been promoted to Chef at Journey’s End at Pechanga, the stylish restaurant with incredible views located in the handsome clubhouse of the Journey golf course. We’ll get Chef Ronnel off the links for a chat.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

Show 227, June 10, 2017: Commander Robert Durant (retired) & Bill Sutton, Inland Wharf Brewing, Murrieta

Commander Robert Durant of Inland Wharf BrewingOne of the newest craft breweries in the Inland Empire, Murrieta’s Inland Wharf Brewing Co., is part of today’s Microbrew Festival for the very first time. Their specialty is cask conditioned ales which are served (in the English-style) at a higher temperature of 50 degrees than conventional beers on tap.

“The calling card for Inland Wharf Brewing Co. is the unique and labor intensive, Cask Conditioned Ales served via Beer Engines.  In addition, Inland Wharf serves other beers on regular carbon dioxide and nitrogen regulated draft beer taps. Even though our Cask Conditioned Ales and Draft Beers use the same ingredients and recipes, their processing techniques vary widely.”

“The time-honored brewing and serving methods followed by Inland Wharf Brewing Co. ensures the development of exceptional appearance, aroma, and flavors in both its Cask Conditioned Ales and its Draft Beers.”

Inland Wharf Brewing poured their Murrieta Pride English Pale Ale and their West Pac West Coast IPA at the Pechanga Microbrew Festival.

Owners Commander Robert Durant, Brewer (retired) and Bill Sutton (Director of Operations) are our guests.