Show 436, July 31, 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 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 continued survival of restaurants during the initial, highly fluid stages of the hoped-for recovery. Genuine concerns remain…

The plant-based faux meat producers (a fast-growing consumer market) are now trying to replicate the bite and fatty mouthfeel of chicken in the form of nuggets and strips. (They seem to have meat burger substitutes perfected.) The products are being promoted as a healthier alternative to the real bird and also gentler on the environment. Chef Andrew has experience with both serving premium chicken and truly tasty plant-based menu items that are created from-scratch. He also is a steward of the environment. We’ll “Ask the Chef.”


Show 431, June 26, 2021: Dr. Shica Little, Dr. Shica’s Bakery, Westfield Culver City Part Two

Doctor Shica Little of Dr Shica's Bakery

Dr. Shica Little, known to many as “Southern Sweet Maker to the Stars” as she channels her love of baking and her Southern upbringing into her signature Southern sweets and custom creations, is now showcasing her Southern hospitality at her first official Dr. Shica’s Bakery retail bakery location at Westfield Culver City which opened last month. Her irresistible treats are brownies, cookies, cakes and custom creations.”

“Dr. Shica has always enjoyed her small bakery business as a fun side project in hopes that one day it would grow beyond her home kitchen. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, Dr. Shica, a Doctor of Education and college professor in the educational services industry was laid off from her corporate job and she knew right then that it was time to turn her dream into a reality, so she created Dr. Shica’s Bakery online in Los Angeles.”

“Dr. Shica’s Bakery creates gourmet, Southern-style desserts using only the freshest premium ingredients. Dr. Shica also knew she wanted to expand her baked goods to meet the growing demand for vegan treats, so she developed and is introducing a new line of mouth-watering, plant-based Vegan Desserts that satisfy those sweet cravings and allow her plant-based customers to maintain their vegan lifestyles all while continuing to indulge and enjoy.”

“Reinventing her family’s recipes, Dr. Shica brings old favorites into the modern era featuring desserts with the taste of home and the sophistication of a gourmet bakery, including Signature Sweets such as Dr. Shica’s CookiesSprinkle Delight, Hot Chocolate, Gigi’s Chocolate Chip, Vegan Chocolate Chunk, Lemon Drop, Red Velvet; CakeDebra’s Red Velvet Cake; BrowniesAlmost Famous Brownies; full line of Vegan DessertsVegan Almost Famous Brownies, Vegan Cookies, Vegan Red Velvet Cake, and Signature Boxes including Dr. Shica’s Spring Gift Box, Gourmet Dessert Box, Vegan Gourmet Dessert Boxes, and Traditional and Vegan Birthday Boxes. Also, not to be missed are Dr. Shica’s Custom Creations as Dr. Shica’s Bakery will bring joy to any celebration and if you dream it, they will make it!”

Dr. Shica joins us with whisk in hand.


Show 338, August 24, 2019: Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Andy Harris and Andrew Gruel at the Fifth Anniversary of the SoCal Restaurant ShowOur always on the go Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel of The Slapfish Restaurant Group,” joins us with another installment of “Ask the Chef.” Chef Andrew responds to your questions.

Plant-based seafood substitutes are coming into the consumer marketplace. It’s a huge subject of spirited conversation and has been in the news recently. Chef Andrew shares his thoughts.


Show 336, August 10, 2019: Zama Tea & Kombucha, Old Town Tustin Part One

Leanne Herrera of Zama Tea and KombuchaZama Tea & Kombucha is a community-focused, brick and mortar tea and Kombucha bar and wellness café serving many tasty vegan and healthier food options. Zama celebrated its Third Anniversary in Old Town Tustin in June.

“Observing the demands of a healthier beverage, Zama Tea opened one of the first Kombucha On Tap locations in the OC at the Packing House’s lower level. That location has since moved to Old Town Tustin, Ca. Kombucha [Kawm-Boo-Cha ] a non-alcoholic, probiotic tea is gaining popularity among foodies who favor organic beverages with a very low sugar content and lots of health benefits.

All the Kombuchas are house-brewed and at any given time a rotating selection of ten flavors options (from a master recipe library of 70 flavors) are available to enjoy on tap at the 12-foot Kombucha Bar. It’s housed in a carefully restored, historic building in Old Town Tustin (the site of the first Doctor’s Office in Tustin.) It’s also the home of the Three Pug Bakery, a local artisan enterprise.

Zama Tea & Kombucha provides a welcome, holistic respite from the stresses of everyday life. An unexpected feature is a tranquil, shaded back patio.

Proprietress Leanne Herrera pulls the tap for us.


Show 336, August 10, 2019: Zama Tea & Kombucha, Old Town Tustin Part Two

Leanne Herrera of Zama Tea and KombuchaZama Tea & Kombucha is a community-focused, brick and mortar tea and Kombucha bar and wellness café serving many tasty vegan and healthier food options. Zama celebrated its Third Anniversary in Old Town Tustin in June.

“Kombucha is a very popular topic in the beverage industry these days. While very well-liked, it is also quite controversial. The main reason for this is the many claims of health benefits, arguments over the best ingredients to use, and especially whether “raw” or pasteurized versions are better for you. Don’t let the controversy bother you, though; it is still a beverage that you should consider drinking and enjoying!”

Kombucha is a beverage made of fermented bacteria and yeast in tea. Its routes have been traced back to 221 B.C. in China, but may go back even further! While the drink is called various things including “Manchurian mushroom,” the tea fungus is not made with any mushrooms. (The reason for this name comes from the appearance that is created during the fermenting process.)

Proprietress Leanne Herrera continues the conversation and taps a fresh keg of Kombucha for us.


Show 285, August 11, 2018: Tony Yanow, Brennan’s in Marina del Rey, Artisanal Brewers Collective

Tony YanowBrennan’s in Marina del Rey has been a friendly, locals’ institution in the area since 1972. It is particularly known for their Thursday night Turtle Racing and potent libations. It was never about the food. In recent years it had become pretty divey.

The Artisanal Brewers Collective came to the rescue last year and after a lengthy, top-to-bottom restoration reopened Brennan’s in time for St. Patrick’s Day 2018. The food is now something to talk about (including Vegan specialties) as well as the potent libations. Happily the turtle racing is back twice a month on the traditional Thursday evenings.

The Bomb Brunch happens on Weekends with specialties including Almond Ricotta Toast, Breakfast Pizza and Smoked Salmon Benedict. Every Friday afternoon from 4 to 7:00 p.m. is the Free Pizza Party Power Hour. It’s free pizza and live music on the Brennan’s patio.

“Combining the traditions of the past with a few new ideas, Brennan’s strives to be the premier beach city restaurant for entertaining visitors, grabbing a drink with friends for the game or dining with your loved ones. We promote the improvement of our community and the people in it. We pride ourselves on presenting a menu and environment for locals, visitors and everything in between. Best of all, we do it with the perfect pint, one turtle race at a time!”

Proprietor Tony Yanow (ex-Golden Road Brewing) is our guest.


Show 278, June 23, 2018: Chef Ricardo Zarate, Rosaline in West Hollywood

Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica and PiccaWe chatted with Chef Ricardo Zarate recently about his new restaurant in Las Vegas, Once, located at The Palazzo Resort. His new flagship in West Hollywood on Melrose Ave. (launched last June) is Rosaline. It’s dinner and Sunday Brunch.

Here Chef Ricardo takes his guests back to his roots with a menu of classic Peruvian dishes alongside “street-food” fare updated with a California sensibility. Also a ceviche bar.

The restaurant is named after Chef Ricardo’s mother, Rosaline. It’s what he calls the “next phase of Peruvian dining.”

All the menus include vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free-options.

Chef Ricardo Zarate joins us.



Show 230, July 1, 2017: Chef Jean-Christian Jury, Vegan: The Cookbook

Jean Christian JuryVegan: The Cookbook is newly published by the well-traveled, Chef Jean-Christian Jury, a leader in the international vegan community. In the weighty volume the reader will discover a wide range of accessible and appealing plant-based dishes (designed for the home kitchen) that will excite and satisfy vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike. It features an impressive 450 recipes from more than 150 countries around the world.

The book presents dishes from countries ranging from Albania to Zambia. It showcases the culinary diversity of vegan cuisine, highlighting regional fruits and vegetables, traditional cooking techniques, and universally delectable flavors.

Home cooks will discover sweet and savory starters, soups, salads, mains, and desserts for all to enjoy, accompanied by straightforward instructions and gorgeous color photography. Chef Jury’s recipes have been meticulously tested for accuracy and ease of use.

Jean-Christian Jury is a vegan and raw-food chef from Toulouse, France. In 2008, he opened La Mano Verde in Berlin, Germany, his first vegan restaurant, and received praise from Saveur and Rodale’s Organic Life, and many international publications

A DealChef Jean-Christian has extended our listeners a special 30 per cent discount on this book. Go here to order the book and enter offer code to get the discount is VEGAN30.

We’ll meet Chef Jean-Christian.


Show 219, April 15, 2017: Dave Peters, Founder & CEO, Veggie Fries (Farmwise)

Dave Peters of Veggie Fries“Our story is probably your story; a family searching for healthy and delicious food for our three daughters. We achieved the best of both worlds in some of America’s most iconic foods. Our whole family loves French fries and tater tots, so we made them healthier; blending in our favorite vegetables to make a tasty nutritious treat. We experimented with over 300 recipes to create perfect fries and tots –extra crispy on the outside, fluffy and tender on the inside using a delicious blend of vegetables, legumes, and potatoes. We hope your family loves them as much as we do.” Dave Peters, Founder, Veggie Fries / Farmwise

Veggie Fries are genuinely tasty frozen French fries made from a blend of all-natural, farm grown vegetables, legumes, and potatoes, chopped and blended together with herbs, spices, and just a pinch of sea salt. Veggie Fries are vegan, Non-GMO certified and free of the top 8 allergens including gluten, soy, dairy, and wheat.

Each batch of Veggie Fries provides a crispy texture on the outside, fluffy and tender on the inside. Every variety has at least 27% of non-potato vegetables and legumes, containing 9 vegetable servings and a substantial amount of vegetable nutrition in every14 oz. bag.

We’ll pull Founder & CEO Dave Peters out of the veggie patch for a chat.



Show 194, October 22, 2016: Tal Ronnen, Chef/Proprietor, Crossroads, Los Angeles

Tal Ronnen of Crossroads KitchenTal Ronnen, a classically trained chef and New York Times bestselling cookbook author, is redefining the concept of contemporary vegan cooking by concentrating on what makes food enjoyable in the first place. His new cookbook, Crossroads – Extraordinary Recipes from the Restaurant That Is Reinventing Vegan Cuisine, is inspired by his cooking at his stylish Los Angeles restaurant of the same name.

In the cookbook Chef Tal reveals his sophisticated and satisfying new approach in 100 Mediterranean-inspired recipes that are an indispensable resource for mindful eaters. “This is the first vegan cookbook with recipes you’ll want to serve at a dinner party.”

Reinventing plant-based eating is what Tal Ronnen is all about. At his Los Angeles restaurant, Crossroads, the menu is vegan, but there are no soybeans or bland seitan to be found. He and his executive chef, Scot Jones, turn seasonal vegetables, beans, nuts, and grains into sophisticated Mediterranean fare—think warm bowls of tomato-sauced pappardelle, plates of spicy carrot salad, and crunchy flatbreads piled high with roasted vegetables.

In Crossroads, an IACP Cookbook Award finalist, Ronnen teaches readers to make his recipes and proves that the flavors we crave are easily replicated in dishes made without animal products. With accessible, unfussy recipes, Crossroads takes plant-based eating firmly out of the realm of hippie health food and into a cuisine that fits perfectly with today’s modern palate.

The recipes are photographed in sumptuous detail, and with more than 100 of them for weeknight dinners, snacks and appetizers, special occasion meals, desserts, and more, this book is an indispensable resource for healthy, mindful eaters everywhere.

We’ll meet Chef Tal Ronnen.