Show 427, May 29, 2021: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

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

Executive Chef Kenneth Williams is an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, Chef Ken brings a wealth of professional expertise to overseeing Agua Caliente Resort Rancho Mirage’s diverse dining options.” “Chef Ken believes in utilizing the best, highest quality products, and he considers it a part of his job to inspire and educate his culinary staff to produce delicious dining experiences on a consistent basis. His arrival at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage (in early 2019) coincided with the opening of 360 Sports, with its full-service dining and bar menu options, and the property’s new dining marketplace, The District, offering an array of regional cuisines from Mexican to a selection of Asian and delicatessen foods. These new eateries joined the existing, casual Waters Café, and the fine-dining flagship, The Steakhouse.” Chef Ken is our guest.

“2021 marks Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery’s 50th year (located on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley) and it is still family owned and operated. Founders Bob and Sue Brakesman’s three children, Heather, Brian, and Danny were all raised at Summit Lake and have worked hard to continue their parent’s legacy. Sue passed away in 2003 but you can still find Bob working hard repairing equipment and tending the vineyards. Brian has taken over the winemaking, Heather is the general manager and Danny caretakes the property. In addition to Zinfandel, Summit Lake Vineyards produces estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel Port, Petite Sirah, a red blend and rosé. All are named for Bob and Sue’s granddaughters; Emily Kestrel, Clair Riley, Sophia Lynn, and Blythe Susan and grandsons Ben and Shane.” Heather Griffin and Brian Brakesman join us to gently pull the cork on Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery.

Gasolina Café launched in 2015 on Ventura Blvd. in Woodland Hills under the direction of Chef/Proprietor Sandra Cordero. It’s Spanish influenced food with a fresh approach. The menu is seasonally driven and foodstuffs are sustainably raised and grown, and locally sourced. Gasolina Cafe always takes pride in honoring Chef Sandra’s Spanish heritage.” Newly opened for Dinner on Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.” Open for Breakfast and Lunch on Wednesday through Sunday. Chef Sandra Cordero joins us paella pan in hand.

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 continually updating us on the real 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, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery which remains a genuine concern. It’s the first big grilling weekend of the unofficial start of Summer. Chef Andrew shares some valuable tips. Chef Andrew is in Texas on his annual Texas BBQ tasting road tour. What distinguishes BBQ in the Lone Star State ? Chef Andrew will point us in the right direction.

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

Play

Show 427, May 29, 2021: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style Pizza

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 continually updating us on the real 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 initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery.

It’s the first big grilling weekend of the unofficial start of Summer. Chef Andrew shares some valuable tips for success on the grill.

Chef Andrew is in Texas on his annual Texas BBQ tasting road tour. Just as we were about to discover what distinguishes BBQ in the Lone Star State from other regions we lost the connection with Chef Andrew. We’ll regroup and pick up this conversation next week.

Keep in mind 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.

Play

May 29: Agua Caliente Resort Rancho Mirage, Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery, Gasolina Cafe

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Kenneth Williams, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage Part One
Segment Three: Executive Chef Kenneth Williams, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage Part Two
Segment Four: Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, 50th Anniversary Part One
Segment Five: Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, 50th Anniversary Part Two
Segment Six: Chef /Proprietor Sandra Cordero, Gasolina Café, Woodland Hills Part One
Segment Seven: Chef /Proprietor Sandra Cordero, Gasolina Café, Woodland Hills Part Two
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

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

“Executive Chef Kenneth Williams is an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, Chef Ken brings a wealth of professional expertise to overseeing Agua Caliente Resort Rancho Mirage’s diverse dining options.” “Chef Ken believes in utilizing the best, highest quality products, and he considers it a part of his job to inspire and educate his culinary staff to produce delicious dining experiences on a consistent basis. His arrival at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage (in early 2019) coincided with the opening of 360 Sports, with its full-service dining and bar menu options, and the property’s new dining marketplace, The District, offering an array of regional cuisines from Mexican to a selection of Asian and delicatessen foods. These new eateries joined the existing, casual Waters Café, and the fine-dining flagship, The Steakhouse.” Chef Ken is our guest.

“2021 marks Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery’s 50th year (located on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley) and it is still family owned and operated. Founders Bob and Sue Brakesman’s three children, Heather, Brian, and Danny were all raised at Summit Lake and have worked hard to continue their parent’s legacy. Sue passed away in 2003 but you can still find Bob working hard repairing equipment and tending the vineyards. Brian has taken over the winemaking, Heather is the general manager and Danny caretakes the property. In addition to Zinfandel, Summit Lake Vineyards produces estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel Port, Petite Sirah, a red blend and rosé. All are named for Bob and Sue’s granddaughters; Emily Kestrel, Clair Riley, Sophia Lynn, and Blythe Susan and grandsons Ben and Shane.” Heather Griffin and Brian Brakesman join us to gently pull the cork on Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery.

Gasolina Café launched in 2015 on Ventura Blvd. in Woodland Hills under the direction of Chef/Proprietor Sandra Cordero. It’s Spanish influenced food with a fresh approach. The menu is seasonally driven and foodstuffs are sustainably raised and grown, and locally sourced. Gasolina Cafe always takes pride in honoring Chef Sandra’s Spanish heritage.” Newly opened for Dinner on Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.” Open for Breakfast and Lunch on Wednesday through Sunday. Chef Sandra Cordero joins us paella pan in hand.

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 continually updating us on the real 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 initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery which remains a genuine concern. Chef Andrew is in Texas on his annual Texas BBQ tasting road tour. What distinguishes BBQ in the Lone Star State ? Chef Andrew will point us in the right direction.

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

Kenneth Williams of Aqua Caliente Resort Casino Spa

“Executive Chef Kenneth Williams is an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, Chef Ken brings a wealth of professional expertise to overseeing Agua Caliente Resort Rancho Mirage’s diverse dining options. Early in his career, Chef Ken worked at the prestigious Four Seasons hotel luxury properties in Newport Beach and Beverly Hills, where he learned the essentials of five-star and five-diamond food service. He then was associated with Wolfgang Puck Catering, assisting in ultra-high-end catering events that included the Academy Awards Governor’s Ball.”

“Chef Ken has served as a progressive professional chef for corporate gaming, food management companies, and tribal gaming from Las Vegas to the mid-south and throughout California. In Las Vegas he worked in culinary operations on a large scale at Mirage Resorts and was involved in the opening of the Bellagio, a Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond property. Prior to joining Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage in February of 2019, Chef Ken was Executive Chef of theme park operations at Universal Studios Hollywood.”

“Chef Ken believes in utilizing the best, highest quality products, and he considers it a part of his job to inspire and educate his culinary staff to produce delicious dining experiences on a consistent basis. His arrival at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage (in early 2019) coincided with the opening of 360 Sports, with its full-service dining and bar menu options, and the property’s new dining marketplace, The District, offering an array of regional cuisines from Mexican to a selection of Asian and delicatessen foods. These new eateries joined the existing, casual Waters Café, and the fine-dining flagship, The Steakhouse.”

Chef Ken joins us tongs securely in hand.

Heather Griffin and Brian Brakesman of Summit Lake Vineyards

“2021 marks Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery’s 50th year (located on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley) and it is still family owned and operated. Founders Bob and Sue Brakesman’s three children, Heather, Brian, and Danny were all raised at Summit Lake and have worked hard to continue their parent’s legacy. Sue passed away in 2003 but you can still find Bob working hard repairing equipment and tending the vineyards. Brian has taken over the winemaking, Heather is the general manager and Danny caretakes the property.”

“In addition to Zinfandel, Summit Lake Vineyards produces estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel Port, Petite Sirah, a red blend and rosé. All are named for Bob and Sue’s granddaughters; Emily Kestrel, Clair Riley, Sophia Lynn, and Blythe Susan and grandsons Ben and Shane.”

“The story of Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery began some 50 years ago when Bob and Sue Brakesman, the original owners and operators, met at Jordan Junior High in Palo Alto, CA. In college Bob began brewing his own beer when a neighbor suggested he try “brewing” wine. After liberating some grapes from the surrounding areas and crushing fruit in open-top fermenters (new plastic garbage cans), their winemaking days had begun.”

“Post college Bob began to question if he wanted to be an engineer or to explore his growing passion for wine and winemaking. On Nov. 12, 1971 Bob put a deed to a property in Sue’s birthday card. It described 28 acres of land, eight planted in pre-Prohibition Zinfandel (their favorite varietal), fruit trees in the orchard, a chicken house, garage, redwood barn, and a house built in the 1880’s. Sue thought she was getting paradise!”

“On Christmas Eve, Bob and Sue packed up their lives and travelled to the new ranch. As they entered the gate and drove down the driveway, her heart sank. The deed had failed to mention the property had been abandoned for over 30 years, was completely overgrown and in disrepair. The next morning, they awoke to a fresh coat of snow which had transformed the place into a beautiful wonderland. They rolled up their sleeves and went to work on top of Howell Mountain in Napa Valley.”

“The gradual transformation and revitalization of Summit Lake couldn’t have taken place without the help of family, friends, and neighbors who rallied to help with planting, harvest, bottling and finally coming together to build a new winery in 1985.”

“In 1978 Summit Lake Vineyard’s first commercial release won the coveted double gold medal at the California State Fair. It sold out in just eight days. Summit Lake has 18 acres planted from which it now produces about 2,000 cases a year.”

Heather Griffin and Brian Brakesman join us to pull the cork on Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery.

Sandra Cordero

Gasolina Café launched in 2015 on Ventura Blvd. in Woodland Hills under the direction of Chef/Proprietor Sandra Cordero. It’s Spanish influenced food with a fresh approach. The menu is seasonally driven and ingredients are sustainably raised and grown, and locally sourced. Gasolina Cafe always takes pride in honoring Chef Sandra’s Spanish heritage.” Newly opened for Dinner on Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.” Open for Breakfast and Lunch on Wednesday through Sunday.

“Gasolina Café is more than a physical space where you can get your belly fed, or your thirst quenched…For us, it’s an extension of a lifestyle as much as anything. In other words, we’re simply looking to be the best at what we do, have a damn good time doing it, and grow our merry band of friends along the way.”

Chef Sandra Cordero joins us paella pan in hand.

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style Pizza

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 continually updating us on the real 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 initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery.

Chef Andrew is in Texas on his annual Texas BBQ tasting road tour. What distinguishes BBQ in the Lone Star State? Chef Andrew will point us in the right direction.

Keep in mind 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.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Executive Chef Kenneth Williams, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage Part One
Segment Three: Executive Chef Kenneth Williams, Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage Part Two
Segment Four: Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, 50th Anniversary Part One
Segment Five: Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, 50th Anniversary Part Two
Segment Six: Chef /Proprietor Sandra Cordero, Gasolina Café, Woodland Hills Part One
Segment Seven: Chef /Proprietor Sandra Cordero, Gasolina Café, Woodland Hills Part Two
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 122, May 16, 2015: Sterling Ball of Big Poppa Smokers

Sterling BallIt’s always a good time for classic regional barbecue. Last Saturday the Queen Mary hosted their 4th annual West Coast BBQ Classic (WCBC) which featured over 60 different SoCal-based champion grill masters and BBQ teams competing for the coveted title of West Coast’s Best BBQ along with cash prizes.

This BBQ competition is California-State-Certified and Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS)-sanctioned. The competition highlighted various grill styles from across the nation including slow-cooked hickory Texan and southern Memphis-style barbecue.

The Grand Champion of chicken, pork ribs, pork and brisket, Sterling Ball, of Big Poppa Smokers in Newport Beach and La Quinta joins us. He was Number One overall with a 1st Place Finish (a perfect score) in Chicken and a 3rd Place Finish in Brisket.

Big Poppa Smokers also has an on-line barbecue supply store. They are particularly known for their award-winning rubs.

Play

Show 76, June 14, 2014: Executive Chef Ben Ford, Ford’s Filling Station, Culver City, CA

Ben Ford of Ford's Filling StationYou’ve seen Chef Ben Ford on Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods America” on Travel Channel and are probably familiar with his landmark Culver City Gastropub, Ford’s Filling Station. His new book is Taming The Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide To Adventurous Cooking.

The mantra of the book is: “Cook Big. Play with Fire. Get your Hands Dirty.”

“Chef Ben Ford is known for wowing crowds with his handcrafted feasts of enormous proportions – a whole pig roast, paella for eighty, burgers for the block. Now, in Taming The Feast (Atria Books), Ford divulges his secrets for nine jaw-dropping feasts for the adventurous home cook and DIY enthusiasts in this complete guide to outdoor grilling, smoking, and roasting. It even includes creative recipes to make use of the leftovers you’re sure to have.”

“From mouthwatering Texas-style barbecue to Wood-Fired Paella, these entertaining blueprints can be used to throw a party for the whole neighborhood or an intimate dinner for four. A culinary MacGyver, Ford also provides unique complete do-it-yourself primers for making simple custom outdoor cookers that coax the ultimate flavor out of salmon, pig, rabbit, burgers, bratwurst, turkey, and lamb. Taming The Feast includes easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions, drawings, and timelines for constructing a baking barrel, cinder-block oven, smoking shed, and roasting box in your own backyard.”

Play

June 14: Ben Ford, Kuniko Yagi, Barbara Fairchild, Providence 9th anniversary, Belle Chevre

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer Andy preview the show
Segment Two: Barbara Fairchild, Restaurant & Travel Editor, grapecollective.com
Segment Three: Donato Poto, co-owner, Providence, Hollywood, CA
Segment Four: Tasia Malakasis, Proprietress & Cheesemaker – Belle Chevre, Goat Cheese from Alabama
Segment Five: Executive Chef Ben Ford, Ford’s Filling Station, Culver City, CA Part One
Segment Six: Executive Chef Ben Ford, Ford’s Filling Station, Culver City, CA Part Two
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Kuniko Yagi, Hinoki & The Bird, Century City
Segment Eight: Guest Host Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, The Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Orange County Magazine

Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer Andy preview the show.

Barbara Fairchild, the well-traveled Restaurant & Travel Editor for grapecollective.com, is back with us to share some inspired and practical travel tips. Also a profile of a big deal celebrity chef restaurant in London.

It’s the 9th Anniversary of Chef Michael Cimarusti’s and Donato Poto’s Providence in Hollywood. The Los Angeles Times’ restaurant critic, Jonathan Gold, recently named them the Number 1 establishment in his annual listing of the “101 Best Restaurants – 2014.”

One of the foremost goat cheeses available in the United States, Belle Chevre, is made in a tiny town located in northern Alabama. It’s quite a success story!

You’ve seen Chef Ben Ford on Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods America” on Travel Channel and are probably familiar with his landmark Culver City Gastropub, Ford’s Filling Station. His new book is Taming The Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide To Adventurous Cooking.

Hinoki & The Bird, hidden in a luxury high rise condo tower in Century City, features pan-Asian cooking. We’ll meet executive chef Kuniko Yagi.

Guest Host Kedric Francis has been doing some traveling up the Central Coast. Some inspired dining and lodging tips are on the way.

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Barbara FairchildBarbara Fairchild, the well-traveled Restaurant & Travel Editor for grapecollective.com, is back with us to share some inspired and practical travel tips. Also a mini-profile of dining at Gordon Ramsay in London.

Food journalist Barbara Fairchild is an editor, writer, speaker and sought-after consultant. She was the long-time Editor of Bon Appetit Magazine before the publication relocated to New York.

Providence RestaurantCelebrate nine years of Providence

“June marks our ninth anniversary at Providence and we are on…well…Cloud 9! We would like to take this opportunity to thank you, our loyal guests, for your enduring support. “We feel so fortunate to be part of the ever-evolving Los Angeles food scene. At times, I look back and can’t believe it’s been nearly a decade. It feels like we just opened yesterday!”, says consummate host and co-owner of Providence, Donato Poto. In honor of this auspicious occasion, Providence is providing some incentive for you to celebrate along with us. Beginning on our May 28th reopening, we are offering our four-course tasting menu for $80 a person, during the entire month of June. We look forward to celebrating with you!”

The Los Angeles Times‘ restaurant critic, Jonathan Gold, recently ranked Providence as the Number One Restaurant in the annual Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants 2014.

Providence was closed last month for about two weeks for a freshening of the dining rooms. The patio located off the main dining room was enclosed.

Tasia MalakasisAmerica’ most-awarded goat cheese, Belle Chevre, is lovingly made in small batches in the tiny hamlet of Elkmont, Alabama. It’s all hand-work.

Meet cheesemaker and proprietress, Tasia Malakasis

There is even an award-winning Belle Chevre cheesecake !

Goats’ milk is the most consumed milk on the planet.

Ben Ford of Ford's Filling StationYou’ve seen Chef Ben Ford on Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods America” on Travel Channel and are probably familiar with his landmark Culver City Gastropub, Ford’s Filling Station. His new book is Taming The Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide To Adventurous Cooking.

The mantra of the book is: “Cook Big. Play with Fire. Get your Hands Dirty.”
“Chef Ben Ford is known for wowing crowds with his handcrafted feasts of enormous proportions – a whole pig roast, paella for eighty, burgers for the block. Now, in Taming The Feast (Atria Books), Ford divulges his secrets for nine jaw-dropping feasts for the adventurous home cook and DIY enthusiasts in this complete guide to outdoor grilling, smoking, and roasting. It even includes creative recipes to make use of the leftovers you’re sure to have.”

“From mouthwatering Texas-style barbecue to Wood-Fired Paella, these entertaining blueprints can be used to throw a party for the whole neighborhood or an intimate dinner for four. A culinary MacGyver, Ford also provides unique complete do-it-yourself primers for making simple custom outdoor cookers that coax the ultimate flavor out of salmon, pig, rabbit, burgers, bratwurst, turkey, and lamb. Taming The Feast includes easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions, drawings, and timelines for constructing a baking barrel, cinder-block oven, smoking shed, and roasting box in your own backyard.”

Kuniko Yagi of Hinoki and the BirdHinoki & the Bird is an imaginative dining concept that pushes modern California cooking to vibrant new bounds. Taking cues from travels through the Silk Road, the restaurant serves as a colorful kaleidoscope where bright flavors, a healthy sensibility, and technique harmoniously collide. The Milo Garcia-designed indoor/outdoor space is housed on the ground floor of Related Companies’ luxury condominium tower, The Century.”

The Executive Chef of Hinoki & the Bird is Kuniko Yagi. Previously she was the sous chef at Sona and Executive Chef of Comme Ca in West Hollywood. She had no formal culinary training but the artistic drive was always with her.

In preparation for the opening of Hinoki & the Bird she traveled and conducted research in many of Japan’s top-rated Michelin–starred restaurants.

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineOur always debonair man about Orange County, Kedric Francis, did a little recent vacation swing down the Central Coast. Kedric spotlights the notable food and accommodations. Also some breaking OC restaurant news…

Podcasts

Segment One: Guest Host Kedric Francis and Producer Andy preview the show
Segment Two: Barbara Fairchild, Restaurant & Travel Editor, grapecollective.com
Segment Three: Donato Poto, co-owner, Providence, Hollywood, CA
Segment Four: Tasia Malakasis, Proprietress & Cheesemaker – Belle Chevre, Goat Cheese from Alabama
Segment Five: Executive Chef Ben Ford, Ford’s Filling Station, Culver City, CA Part One
Segment Six: Executive Chef Ben Ford, Ford’s Filling Station, Culver City, CA Part Two
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Kuniko Yagi, Hinoki & The Bird, Century City
Segment Eight: Guest Host Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, The Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Orange County Magazine