Show 434, July 17, 2021: Diego Aguirre, Co-Proprietor, FINCA restaurant, Paso Robles

Diego Aguirre of Finca Paso Robles

FINCA Paso Robles is a casual restaurant which highlights Baja and Sonora style Mexican food with an emphasis on wood-grilled seafood and carne asada. Located in the historic farmhouse of the Old Hometown Nursery of Paso Robles adjacent to the Paso Market Walk comes the latest project from the owners of La Taquiza – a casual Napa based Mexican restaurant launched in 2006 that has been in the Michelin Guide over the years.”

“With over 20 years experience in the service industry, co-owner Patrick Aguirre has worked under the likes of Thomas Keller at Bouchon Bakery and Suzanne Goin of A.O.C. His business partner and wife Stephanie, has managed multiple businesses, from aiding in her family’s seafood distribution company to running restaurants in both Napa and Los Angeles.”

“Accompanying them in opening FINCA is son, Diego, and daughter-in-law, Cecilia, who both graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and have been in the area since 2013. With a combined 15 years experience in the wine and service industry between them, they are excited to bring their passion and love for their community to this home-grown venture.”

Everything on the menu that can be scratch-made, is. Also hand-selected wines and beers.

Diego Aguirre, a 3rd generation restaurateur, is our guest.


Show 337, August 17, 2019: Greg Rowen, Managing Partner, Foundation 10 Creative, Palm Springs

Greg Rowen of Foundation 10 CreativeSeasoned hospitality veteran Greg Rowen oversees the restaurants for Foundation 10 Creative as Managing Partner. In San Francisco he was previously General Manager of Traci des Jardins’ acclaimed Jardiniere and later the opening General Manager for Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Beverly Hills.

Mr. Lyons is the newest addition to the F10 family, opened in 2015 as a reimagining of Lyons English Grille. We’ve taken steak and created a “New Classic” giving it a conscientious modern update, with a menu that puts local, small farms first.”

“Our grand dining room is pure old Hollywood glamour with a steak-centered menu boasting infinite sides and the kind of table side service that instantly transports you to a by gone era. Our classic cocktail hideaway, Seymour’s, offers something a little more relaxed, where you can savor a true classic cocktail or something seasonal and new. Mr. Lyons is steak done right!”

We’ll chat with Greg about the revitalization and repositioning of Mr. Lyons Steakhouse. There is more on the plate there than just another premium steakhouse.


Show 279, June 30, 2018: Steve Sando, Rancho Gordo

Steve SandoIn a few short years, Steve Sando has taken the lowly bean from a healthy but neglected, over-bred member of the vegetable family to a near superstar-status ingredient. Sando’s company Rancho Gordo, grows heirloom and heritage varieties and works with influential chefs like Thomas Keller, Deborah Madison, Paula Wolfert and Annie Sommerville. His new book is The Rancho Gordo Vegetarian Kitchen – Everyday Cooking with Heirloom Beans, Vegetables, Greens, and Grains.

“My first harvested heirloom bean was Rio Zape. They were pretty and easy to grow but I had no idea what to expect when I cooked them. They were similar to the pintos I liked but there was so much more going on. “Hints of chocolate and coffee mixed with an earthy texture made my head spin. I was blown away by Rio Zape and the other heirloom beans I was growing, but also really confused why they were such a big secret. I took the beans to the farmers market, organizing things on my kitchen table. Soon there was a warehouse, followed by more markets and mail order. It seems we had struck a nerve. People agreed that heirloom beans were worth saving, growing and cooking. Currently our warehouse, a retail shop and offices are in Napa, California and a stop here is part of many tours of the wine country. We were asked to open a store at the Ferry Building in San Francisco and as you can imagine, we jumped at the chance.”

“All of my agricultural pursuits have been based on being someone who likes to cook but gets frustrated by the lack of ingredients, especially those that are native to the New World. One of the things that originally drew me to beans was the fact that they are indigenous to the Americas. It seems to me these indigenous ingredients should be familiar, if not common. American cuisine is re-inventing itself and I’d love to include ingredients, traditions and recipes from north and south of the border as part of the equation. I love the concept of The Americas. I feel as if it’s just as important as the European heritage many of us share.”

On Sunday, July 8th, Rancho Gordo will hold is first-ever supper in Southern California at Alta Baja Market in Santa Ana. The event is “Rancho Gordo Goes to Alta Baja with More (Culinary) Stars than in the Heavens!”

The special event will feature three courses prepared by Steve Sando’s favorite SoCal chefs and restaurateurs. Two seatings for the supper at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Optional Valle de Guadalupe wine pairings available.

All the food is donated by Rancho Gordo. All proceeds go to the arts program at Valley High School in Santa Ana.

Reservations a must. Call Alta Baja Market @ 714.783.2252.

We’re shelling heirloom beans with Steve Sando.


Show 277, June 16, 2018: Noelle Carter, Test Kitchen Director, Los Angeles Times Continues…

Noelle CarterThe iconic Test Kitchen located at the historic Los Angeles Times building in Downtown Los Angeles is truly a wonder. It was built, state-of-the-art, in 2000 when that floor was extensively remodeled after the paper’s printing presses were moved to a new production facility on Olympic Blvd. It’s a space steeped in local history.

Every recipe appearing in The Los Angeles Times is thoroughly tested on home equipment in the Test Kitchen. Famous chefs ranging from Thomas Keller to Nancy Silverton have spent time in there. You’ve also seen the Test Kitchen on the KTLA 5 Morning News during the time Russ Parsons (the previous, long-serving Food Editor) did weekly segments from the facility.

All the details are not finalized yet but the current Test Kitchen is about to be phased out. The Times will soon be moving to new, modern quarters in El Segundo. We have it on good authority that a new Test Kitchen will soon be on the way that will be state-of-the-art for 2018! When Noelle has all the exciting specifics she will be back to share them with us!


Show 273, May 12, 2018: Aaron Pannell, General Manager, Bouchon Las Vegas and Bouchon Bakery

Aaron PannellThomas Keller’s Bouchon Las Vegas is a truly special dining experience. General Manager Aaron Pannell who is responsible for managing all aspects of the restaurant and related Bouchon Bakery joins us.

It’s a spectacular location for Weekend Brunch on the lushly landscaped patio looking over the rooftop pool in the Venezia Tower.

Known for its artisanal breads and traditional French desserts, Bouchon Bakery (3 locations at The Venetian) offers handmade viennoiserie, confections, pastries, tarts and cookies, as well as sandwiches and salads made in-house daily. The flagship location is right off the busy main ground floor elevator lobby at The Venetian. Talk about incredible food traffic…!

Espresso drinks and coffee custom-blended by Chef Keller’s longtime partner Equator Coffees & Teas, are offered year-round.


Show 229, June 24, 2017: Anne Marie Panoringan, OC Weekly’s “On the Line” Columnist

Anne Marie PanoringanWhat’s it like to experience a very special $310 per guest meal (and it’s a tough pre-paid reservation to even secure) at California’s celebrated The French Laundry in Yountville in the Napa Valley?  Chef’s daily nine-course tasting menu and nine-course vegetable tasting menu highlight French technique and the finest quality ingredients available.

There is also a magnificent new $10 million state-of-the-art kitchen where your repast is artfully prepared. If you ask politely you can also get a tour of it. Very few restaurant kitchens of its equal in the world. Impressive…

OC Weekly’s “On the Line” columnist, Anne Marie Panoringan was just there and provides the salivating commentary. It’s not her first meal at The French Laundry either…


Show 211, February 18, 2017: Young Yun, Executive Director, ment’or BKB Foundation

We’ve been enthusiastically following Team USA’s progress (backed by the ment’or BKB Foundation) in the bi-annual Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition for the last five years. Late last month Team USA achieved the impossible – Gold in Lyon.

Young Yun“We knew the world was watching ever since Chef Philip Tessier made the podium for the first time in 2015, and expectations were very high for Team USA this year. Nine years ago, our Founding Chefs Boulud, Keller and Bocuse, made a promise to Monsieur Paul Bocuse that we would win Gold and we are so proud of this team for realizing his dream. They carried quite a weight on their shoulders and carried it with exemplary grace, strength, and leadership.” – Young Yun

Team USA’s primary backer and inspiration, ment’or BKB Foundation (represented by Executive Director Young Yun), joins us to savor this tremendous achievement for the culinary arts in the United States and also discuss the other programs ment’or sponsors and organizes to encourage young culinary talent and the Team USA competitors of the future.

Congratulations Team USA 2017!

Go Team USA 2019 !


Show 199, November 26, 2016: Sebastien Silvestri, Vice President, Food and Beverage, The Venetian / The Palazzo, Las Vegas

Ultimo A Weekend ExcellenceThey always do it B-I-G in Las Vegas. What’s billed as the culinary event of the year, Ultimo – Le Grand Voyage, hosted by The Venetian and The Palazzo, will take culinary extravagance to new levels, December 9th through the 11th.

The highlight of the festivities will be the exclusive Grand Banquet with lead Chef Thomas Keller and a team of international culinary all-stars including Curtis Stone of Gwen (Hollywood) and Maude (Beverly Hills) fame. $2 million in Lalique crystal (flown in from France just for this dinner) will decorate the long table. Incredible premium wines will be paired with each course presented by the winemakers themselves. It’s also a benefit for the Ment’or BKB Foundation, the backers of Team USA at the upcoming biannual Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition in Lyon.

Ultimo – Le Grand Voyage is already at capacity for the 140 lucky guests. Check The Venetian’s website for the updates on Ultimo Weekend 2017.

Sebastien Silvestri, Vice President of Food & Beverage for The Venetian and The Palazzo is our guest with a tantalizing preview.


Show 197, November 12, 2016: Chef Vincenzo Loseto, The Nomad, Ment’or BKB Foundation’s 2016 Young Chef Competition Winner

Vincenso Loseto of Team USA at the BOcuse D'orThe Ment’or BKB Foundation (founded by Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Jerome Bocuse) supports Team USA at the Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition and mentors up-and-coming culinary talent in the USA. Earlier this year Chef Vincenzo Loseto of The Nomad in New York won the prestigious honors as the 2016 Young Chef. He’s been on quite a ride since then. We’ll meet him.

Vincenzo’s winning presentation was Veal Tenderloin with Oyster Mushroom and Herb Mousseline. The judges included Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Jerome Bocuse and Team USA 2015 alum, Chef Philip Tessier.

Since then Chef Vincenzo has staged at Noma in Copenhagen, one of the World’s most acclaimed restaurants. He was also just with Team USA in Lyon in advance of the 2017 Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition. Currently he’s assisting Team USA 2017 (Chef Mathew Peters and Commis Harrison Turone) in the intense training for the upcoming competition in the USA replica kitchen suite of the Bocuse d’Or in Yountville.

Chef Vincenzo will also preview the Bocuse d’Or 2017 Team USA VIP Experience. There is the extraordinary opportunity for discriminating food tourists to accompany Team USA to the Bocuse d’Or in Lyon with VIP status at every stop. Talk about the ultimate gift for a very special foodie…


Show 186, August 27, 2016: Ron Mathews, Vice President, Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo

Western Foodservice ExpoThe largest annual gathering of foodservice executives, chefs and restaurateurs in the West is the 2016 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo on August 28th to 30th at the Los Angeles Convention Center. There will be over 8,000 attendees and 500 exhibitors. It’s for the trade, only.

It’s 3-days of menu trends, state of the art design and décor, and the best in business education.

Thomas Keller of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group is receiving The Torch Award as part of the gathering.

Ron Mathews, Vice President of the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo joins us with a preview.