Show 461, February 12, 2022: Filmmaker Antonio Diaz, Director, “Broken Bread with Roy Choi” Season 2

Antonio Diaz

“Modern media company Tastemade and Southern California’s PBS station have launched Season Two of the Emmy® and James Beard Award®-winning series “Broken Bread – hosted by restaurant entrepreneur and acclaimed chef Roy Choi. Co-produced by Tastemade and KCET, the new season explores the future of the restaurant industry, highlighting diverse, expert perspectives and features notable names including Chef Wolfgang Puck, Restaurateur & Food Activist Alice Waters, Artist & Activist Chuck D. and more.”

““Broken Bread” follows Choi as he explores complex social justice issues through the lens of food – including gentrification, cultural erasure, and the corporate takeover of food and farming – and celebrates the people who are making big changes to the current food landscape, what is eaten and where communities gather. He meets inspiring individuals and organizations who challenge the status quo and use food as a platform for activism and a catalyst for change. As the connector, Choi teams up with those making a difference and thus, fuels his deep love for the food community and the players who fight to transform it for the better.”

The Emmy Award-winning Director of “Broken Bread,” Antonio Diaz is our guest. Antonio is also the Executive Producer of “The Migrant Kitchen” now airing it’s 4th season locally on KCET and PBS SoCal.


Show 358, February 2, 2020: Executive Chef Eric Klein, Senior Vice President, Culinary, Wolfgang Puck Catering – Previewing the Oscars Governors Ball

Eric Klein of Wolfgang Puck CateringFor the 26th year Wolfgang Puck Catering will create the exquisite cuisine for the 92nd Oscars Governors Ball at Hollywood & Highland in the Ray Dolby Ballroom which is held after the conclusion of the Oscar broadcast in the Dolby Theater. For this year the menu will be 70 per cent plant-based with the remaining 30 per cent of the menu vegetarian, meat and fish selections. The standout menu was developed by Wolfgang Puck and Eric Klein, Senior Vice President of Culinary & Partner, Wolfgang Puck Catering.

The incredible menu includes Amuse Bouche, Tray-Passed Hors d’Oeuvre, Passed Small Plates (Hot & Cold,) Chef Action Station, Sweets, Boozy Milkshakes, Housemade Valrhona Chocolate Bars, and a Dessert Chef Action Station featuring scooped to order Sorbets on Chinese Donuts.

Since 2013, the Governors Ball has been dedicated to sustainable farming, with more than 50 per cent plant-based and vegetarian dishes offered. The extensive menus have taken into account a number of food allergies and lifestyle eating choices.

Chef Eric Klein takes a brief break from his incredibly busy kitchens to join us.


Show 353, December 28, 2019: Olive Pit Mediterranean Grill with Chef Yianni Koufodontis

Yianni Koufodontis of the Olive Pit Fresh Mediterranean GrillChef Yianni Koufodontis of the Olive Pit Mediterranean Grill (Brea & Huntington Beach) prepares his dishes with a careful eye on healthy, low fat, low cholesterol and always-natural ingredients.

“For Chef Yianni, cooking is more than an art form; it is a way of life. Eating is the focal point of all Greek family gatherings, and Yianni grew up cooking daily with his mother and grandmother. His talents in the kitchen were unmistakable, even as a young man.”

“Yianni obtained his formal culinary training at the prestigious California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After graduation he worked under his first culinary mentor, Chef Daniel Boulud, a James Beard Award-winning chef, cookbook author and restaurateur at Restaurant Daniel Manhattan.”

“Just two years later, Yianni was asked to join Chef Wolfgang Puck’s team at Spago in Beverly Hills, where he worked closely with world cuisine chef Lee Hefter, and Wolfgang Puck.”

“In 2005, Yianni was brought in to open Petros Greek Cuisine, where he served as Executive Chef. With much press and praise for Petro’s Greek, and his knowledge and passion for Mediterranean foods rekindled, Yianni decided it was time to open a restaurant of his own.”

“In 2008, together with his partner George Makridis, Yianni opened the first Olive Pit Grill in Brea, California. The restaurant’s success was immediate, and in order to keep up with demand, they opened their second location in Huntington Beach, California two years later.” This year the Brea restaurant moved to a new, expanded space in Downtown Brea on S. Brea Blvd.

“For many generations our family has been dedicated to serving the best Mediterranean cuisine. We serve Greek and Italian classic dishes prepared old-world style… but toss in Chef Yanni’s inspired personal touches, and what you end up with is uniquely Olive Pit Fresh Mediterranean Grill.”

We spirit Chef Yianni out of his busy kitchens for a chat.


Show 274, May 19, 2018: Executive Chef Govind Armstrong and General Manager Will Holt, The Lobster, Santa Monica

Chef Govind Armstrong of Post and BeamThe Lobster is the long-running, fine-dining restaurant located on the land side of the landmark Santa Monica Pier. Recently installed there as executive chef is culinary celebrity Govind Armstrong.

Situated at the corner of Ocean Boulevard and the Santa Monica Pier, The Lobster seafood restaurant is an internationally recognized dining destination that is as much a part of Santa Monica’s history as the pier itself. Originally opened in 1923, it wasn’t until dishwasher-turned-owner, Mateo Castillo took the helm in 1950 that The Lobster became the quintessential “seafood shack,” so beloved by LA residents and tourists alike throughout the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.

The Lobster shut its doors for several years in the 1980’s and 90’s, before again being reinvented, expanded and reopened by a family of new investors in 1999. While the original structure was incorporated into the new building’s main entrance, The Lobster as it stands today is a modernly appointed, two-story cantilevered building with glass walls and seating for hundreds.

Chef Govind Armstrong comes to The Lobster with a background that includes training in some of the most famous restaurants in the world. California-born, raised in Costa Rica, and educated in Los Angeles and Europe under culinary legends including Wolfgang Puck, Mark Peel and Susan Feniger, Chef Govind is a master of California Cuisine. As an advocate for food sustainability, Chef Govind is committed to serving dishes that are crafted with only the freshest, locally sourced, and responsibly farmed ingredients.

Chef Govind’s menu takes the seafood dishes at The Lobster in a culinary direction that is sophisticated, yet approachable. With the focus on flavor and a perfect balance of taste and texture, his dishes are updated daily to account for ingredient availability, quality and creative license.

Of course the grilled and butterflied Maine lobster is a standout!

Chef Govind joins us along with the new General Manager, hospitality veteran Will Holt.


Show 239, September 2, 2017: Restaurateur & Chef Michael McCarty, Michael’s Santa Monica & Michael’s New York Part Two

Michael McCartyWhen Chef & Restaurateur Michael McCarty opened the landmark Michael’s in Santa Monica back in 1979 I’m not sure he even suspected that he would become one of the pioneers of what is known as California cuisine along with Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck. He pioneered having museum quality art on the restaurant’s wall with not a hint of pretention.

Michael is also known for mentoring rising, young culinary talent that have gone on to open their own successful restaurants. This distinguished alumni club includes Jonathan Waxman, Nancy Silverton, Brooke Williamson, Mark Peel, Ken Frank and Sang Yoon.

Just about a year ago Michael (working with his son, Chas) totally rejuvenated Michael’s Santa Monica by bringing-in a 28-year old rising-star chef with avant-garde ideas. Chef Miles Thompson is already earning deserved accolades from food critics and bringing in a younger crowd of new guests. Michael shares the entertaining story of how he and Chas came to select Chef Thompson.

Dining in the lush, shaded garden patio at Michael’s all these years later remains a uniquely L.A. experience.

Michael, usually, has a hillside vineyard on his residential property in Malibu. Just now he’s harvesting his Pinot Noir grapes for the 2017 vintage of The Malibu Vineyard.

If you’d like to see what Chef Miles Thompson is like away from Michael’s (and where he eats) take a look at his Chef’s Night Out video from Vice.


Show 226, June 3, 2017: Bella Lantsman, General Manager & Partner, Chinois on Main, Santa Monica

Belle LantsmanLongevity for a restaurant in the highly competitive Los Angeles restaurant arena isn’t an easy thing. Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Pucks 2nd fine-dining restaurant in the Los Angeles area after Spago was Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. It launched in 1983 and is still a landmark dining destination in Santa Monica that consistently delivers with memorable food and polished service. Many of the professional servers have, unusually, been there for years.

Chinois on Main boldly combines Chinese tradition and fresh California ingredients with contemporary French techniques. The restaurant pioneered Asian fusion cuisine in the United States. Today, Chinois remains a culinary icon with its timeless interior design by (Partner) Barbara Lazaroff, an open kitchen, full-service bar, and extensive (and expertly crafted) wine list.

The Executive Chef is Rene Mata. He started at Chinois on Main as a line cook in 1987.

GM & Partner Bella Lantsman has, extraordinarily, been there since almost the beginning. We’ll meet her.


Show 226, June 3, 2017: Bella Lantsman, General Manager & Partner, Chinois on Main, Santa Monica Continues…

Belle LantsmanLongevity for a restaurant in the highly competitive Los Angeles restaurant arena isn’t an easy thing. Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Pucks 2nd fine-dining restaurant in the Los Angeles area after Spago was Chinois on Main in Santa Monica. It launched in 1983 and is still a landmark dining destination in Santa Monica that consistently delivers with memorable food and polished service. Many of the professional servers have, unusually, been there for years.

There is a hidden (and very exclusive) private dining room with all the amenities at Chinois accommodating up to 40 seated guests. It even has its own kitchen.



Show 212, February 25, 2017: Executive Chef Eric Klein, Vice President, Culinary, Wolfgang Puck Catering

Eric Klein of Wolfgang Puck CateringFor the 23rd consecutive year the celebrity chef to the stars Wolfgang Puck will set the stage for the Oscars’ Governors Ball menu pairing classic Hollywood glamour with culinary whimsy. It’s for 1,500 VIP guests including Oscar winners and Nominees in the Ray Dolby Ballroom on the top level of the Hollywood & Highland Center. It starts immediately followiing the Oscar telecast. Talk about a hungry crowd…

Working alongside Chef Puck is Wolfgang Puck Catering’s Executive Chef and Vice President, Culinary, Eric Klein (formerly Executive Chef & Partner of Spago Las Vegas, Wolfgang’s first restaurant in Las Vegas.)

The culinary team creates more than 50 imaginative dishes from one-bite hors d’oeuvres to small-plate entrees that will be passed throughout the evening.

Some 32,000 plates of food will be enjoyed by the guests served by a team of 10 maitre d’ staff, 950 service and support staff and 300 culinary staff.

On the order list for the Governors Ball is 350 pounds of Atlantic Bigeye tuna, 10 kilos of American, farm-raised caviar, 250 Maine lobsters, and 800 stone crab claws.

The guests will toast with 1,400 bottles of Piper-Heidsieck (more than 12,000 glasses) and 2,200 bottles of fine wine from Francis Ford Coppola Winery.

Favorite guest comfort foods are Smoked Salmon Oscar Matzo, Chicken Pot Pie with Black Truffle, and Baked Potato with Caviar. New for this year is Vegan Gnocchetti (fresh) with Braised Mushrooms and Cashew Cream.

We’ll have an exclusive kitchen chat with Chef Eric.


Show 141, October 10, 2015: Bracero Cocina de Raiz and General Manager JM Woody van Horn

JM Woody Von HornThe “Wolfgang Puck” of Northern Baja is acclaimed Chef Javier Plascencia. Savvy Southern Californians have enjoyed dining at both Romesco in Bonita and Mision 19 in Tijuana. His newest restaurant, Bracero Cocina de Raiz is located in San Diego’s Little Italy.

He’s been all over Food TV in recent years including visits with Anthony Bourdain and Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern. He’s also been profiled in The New York Times.

Chef Javier will be preparing a special 9 course wine-paired tasting menu on Monday evening, Oct. 19th at Bracero for American Institute of Wine & Food – San Diego Chapter’s members and guests. Distinguished Winemakers from Northern Baja will be there, too.

Javier Plasencia’s General Manager and Sommelier at Bracero, JM Woody van Horn is our guest.

Woody is a past recipient (twice) of an AIWF-San Diego culinary education scholarship. The San Diego Chapter of the AIWF is one of the most active chapters in the United States. They host a creative series of ongoing culinary events and activities for their members including visits to wineries and artisan food purveyors in Northern Baja. They were very early in recognizing the promise of Chef Javier Plascencia.


Show 139, September 26, 2015: Executive Chef Eric Klein of Wolfgang Puck’s Spago Las Vegas

Eric KleinExecutive Chef Eric Klein of Spago Las Vegas is no stranger to the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” In the last couple of weeks he has cooked a private dinner for The President, been the celebrity guest chef aboard Holland America Line’s ms Maasdam on a 7-day Northeast Canada Discovery voyage, and been at-the-stoves with Wolfgang Puck as the host chef at one of the most prestigious annual charity funds-raisers in Las Vegas.

We’ll chat about his incredible five-course, farm-to-table lunch Chef Eric cooked on the fly in Bar Harbor, Maine at The Looking Glass Restaurant there with Host Chef Matt McPherson. The Chefs had never cooked together previously. The Captain of the ms Maasdam was one of the fortunate attendees.

Last week Chef Eric was the host chef for Chef Wolfgang Puck’s 3rd annual “Sip & Savor” benefit at Spago Las Vegas. It benefits Keep Memory Alive.

It’s a mix-and-mingle, wine-and-dine event which gave the guests the opportunity to indulge in an interactive culinary affair sampling the signature cuisine of each of Puck’s six Las Vegas restaurants, paired with a number of Chef Puck’s favorite wines.

We’ll catch-up with Chef Eric. He’s at the Saturday morning Downtown Summerlin Farmers Market. Spago Las Vegas is selling limited-production artisan bread there (baked in their own kitchen) as part of their local community outreach.