Tag Archives: Chefs
What a lineup! Ludo stars along with two of my long-time culinary heroes… BOURDAIN and NIGELLA!
Four culinary masters get down to what really matters, The Taste! Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre & Brian Malarkey will each coach a team of 4 cooks, consisting of professional chefs and home cooks whom they will hand pick based on a blind taste challenge. Throughout the season, their mentors will prepare them for challenges in creating dishes that will ultimately be judged by the superstar chefs in blind taste tests. One cook will be left standing to take home The Taste trophy along with a new Ford C-Max and $100,000!
Premieres Tuesday, January 22 at 8|7c on ABC!
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Photos via The Taste
Last year, just a few days before the Great Chefs of L.A. event, I came down with a wretched stomach flu. By the morning of the actual event, I felt good enough to attend but my tummy wasn’t fully recovered yet.
Since my husband Peter was out of town on business, I planned on skipping the event altogether. Our $300 donation ($150 each) would still go to the Southern California National Kidney Cancer Foundation, and that was the most important part anyway.
But then I thought about the FOOD, the restaurants, and ALL the celebrity chefs I’d be missing. Could I really have fun at a food event, in the event that I couldn’t EAT the food?
The answer is yes. I made a quick call to my nephew Cody (who thankfully wasn’t working that morning), and an hour later we were strolling the backlot at CBS studio. I took lots of photos and tried a few bites, while Cody ate like only a fire-fighter-in-training could eat. He happily ate EVERYTHING, which of course made me happy too!
For this year’s Great Chefs of L.A., I was honored with a press pass and more importantly, a very hungry (and healthy) tummy! Peter bought a discounted ticket ($75 instead of $150) on GoldStar.com, and we both skipped breakfast to prepare for an afternoon feast.
Basically we tried to have a bite at each restaurant table (starting on the right side of the street) and slowly made our way around the event. We missed a few dishes, but also returned several times to have more of our favorites.
It was fun to run into my friends at the Bazaar. It’s been awhile since I’ve eaten there (since Michael Voltaggio left) but Peter and I will be heading back to the Rojo room this weekend, to try out all the new dishes on the menu.
Chef Marcel Vigneron was also at the event. If you’re not a Top Chef fan (like me), Marcel was runner-up on season two. When I first met him last year at the Bazaar, I told him how much he annoyed me, when I watched him on Top Chef. His confidence came off as arrogance, and he was the “character” that I (as well as most of America) loved to hate.
After I got to know Marcel, I realized that off camera he is NOTHING like how he is portrayed on TV. He’s an absolute sweetheart, and it bugs me that he gets a bad rap. We talked for a bit about current (super exciting but I can’t talk about it) projects he’s working on, and his upcoming guest-chef stint at BreadBar (which of course I can talk about and have linked below).
One of the main reasons I love going to food events (besides donating to charity) is to try out food from eateries I haven’t been to yet. Restaurants that are on my very lengthy “To Do” list, like Saddlepeak Lodge and EAST (which had my absolute favorite bite of the day). The Great Chefs of L.A. event brings together all these things, and it’s one I’ll return to year after year.
Thanks to Nancy Huang, Slife PR
great chefs of L.A. Great Chefs of LA Los Angeles
Details about Great Chefs of LA:
George Lopez Hosts The Great Chefs of Los Angeles
“Go Green, Go Organic” Food & Wine Benefit at CBS Studios
The 23rd Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles brings together L.A.’s top tastemakers for an afternoon of food, wine, music and auctions to benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California. GCLA draws more than 500 people each year, and has raised more than $4.5 million for the foundation since its inception in 1987. The recently introduced “Go Green, Go Organic” theme promotes eco-conscious living and sustainability, utilizing organic foodstuffs and eco-friendly products throughout the festivities.
WHO: George & Ann Lopez
National Kidney Foundation spokesman George Lopez, a kidney disease survivor, and his wife and kidney donor Ann Lopez, will host the afternoon’s festivities as Honorary Chairs. “Usually I don’t eat, but when I eat, I eat GREEN!” quips George Lopez. The actor/comedian will host Great Chefs just a day before the premiere of his late night show Lopez Tonight,” premiering on Nov. 9 at 11/10c on TBS.
Chefs of Honor Neal Fraser (Grace, BLD) and Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (Border Grill, Ciudad) lead a stellar lineup of top toques from Los Angeles. The Chefs of Honor will present awards to their fellow participating chefs to spotlight the use of local, organic and sustainable ingredients. Hostess Chef Candice Kumai, The Stiletto Chef of TLC’s “Cook Yourself Thin,” will serve as emcee for the event and auction.
Featured chefs include:
* Adam Horton, Saddlepeak Lodge
* Akasha Richmond, Akasha
* Andrea Cavaliere, Cecconi’s
* Benjamin Ford, Ford’s Filling Station
* Bob Lynn, La Grande Orange
* Brian Moyers, BLT Steak
* Calogero Drago, Celestino Ristorante & Panzanella
* Celestino Drago, Drago Restaurant, Enoteca Drago, Il Pastaio, Drago Centro
* Chris Moran, Events D’Elegance
* David Linville, Charlie’s Malibu
* Frank Leon, LaLoggia Ristorante & Bokado
* Keven Alan Lee, EAST Restaurant & Lounge
* Giacomino Drago, Il Pastaio
* Govind Armstrong, 8 oz.
* Jason Johnston, Dakota
* Jesse Perez, Fuego at Hotel Maya
* Jimmy Shaw, Loteria Grill
* Joachim Weritz, Moonshadows
* Jonathan Burrows, Mr. Cecil’s California Ribs
* Jorge Chicas, The Bazaar – SLS Hotel
* Josie Le Balch, Josie Restaurant
* Margarito Cid, Harry’s Oklahoma Style Smokehouse BBQ
* Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger, Border Grill & Ciudad Restaurants
* Michael Fiorelli, mar’sel
* Neal Fraser, Grace & BLD
* Paolo Sicuro, Via Alloro
* Roberto Maggioni, Lago
* Sam Marvin & Christopher Goossen, Bottega Louie Restaurant & Gourmet Market
* Simon Dolinky, BLVD 16 at Hotel Palomar
* Steven Fretz, XIV
* Tanino Drago, Tanino Ristorante & Panzanella Ristorante
* Yoji Tajima, SHU – Sushi House Unico
* Leyna’s Kitchen
Wines and beverages will be provided by:
* Barone Fine Winery
* Buttonwood Farm Winery
* Crossings, New Zealand
* Duckhorn Wine Company
* Frank Family Vineyards
* Golden State Wine Co.
* Grgich Hills Estate
* Jaffe Estate Wine
* Jack Wines
* Jocelyn Lonen Winery
* Kunde Estate Winery
* L’Aventure Winery
* Laetitia Vineyard & Winery
* Loring Wine Co.
* Quinta do Castro
* Regal Wine Co.
* Sterling Organics
* Trefethen Family Vineyards
* Vega Sicilia
* Villa Franttina
* Remy Cointreau USA
* Charles Heidsieck
* VeeV Açai Spirit
* Tequila Ocho
* RIGHT Gin
* Budweiser American Ale
* Bud Light Wheat
* Fireman’s Brew
* Leffe Blonde
* Michelob Ultra Light
* Michelob Amber Bock
* Shock Top Belgian White
* Stella Artois
* IZZE Beverage Company
* Lupicia Fresh Tea
* POM Wonderful
* Weaver’s Coffee & Tea
Get Hip Get Green, an eco-conscious leader in producing stylish reusable bags, totes and water bottles, sponsor the GCLA “944 Get Hip Get Green” Lounge, outfitted with environmentally friendly lounge furniture provided by Girari Sustainable Furnishing. VeeV Açai Spirit, a leading distiller in promoting social responsibility in the beverage industry, will pour cocktails at the “Go Green Go Organic” Spirits Bar. Guests will use biodegradable utensils by Sysco’s Eco Company line.
Guests will receive Get Hip Get Green’s reusable gift totes stuffed with $250 worth of goodies from leading green and eco-friendly companies, including LaRocca Skincare, Healing Skin, Utter Cream, Eco-Panda, Herbal Water, Nelson J Salon, Alterna, OPI, Explorer’s Bounty, Celtic Sea Salt, Edward & Sons Trading Co., Pop Chips, Robert’s American Gourmet and Little Laura’s Sweets, among many others.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
12 to 3:30 p.m.
CBS Studio Center
4024 Radford Dr.
Studio City, CA 91604
Featured items for this year’s live auction include a Maurice Lacroix Limited Edition 999 Watch, a private dinner party courtesy of Neal Fraser paired with wine from Frank Family Vineyards, a Border Grill Truck Party for 25, a La Loggia party for 25, two round-trip business class tickets on American Airlines to one of their European destinations, and a five-night stay at Aurelio-Lech, a brand new luxury ski lodge in Austria. The silent auction will include items such as a sports memorabilia, travel packages to international destinations and numerous wine and spirits packages.
About the Kidney Foundation of Southern California
The National Kidney Foundation is the major voluntary health organization dedicated to preventing kidney disease, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation. Through its offices nationwide, the foundation conducts programs in research, professional education, patient and community services, public education and organ donation.
The official dates for the 2009 GOURMET INSTITUTE event in NYC.
SAVE THE DATES: October 23-25, 2009.
Peter and I had a great time when we went, especially mingling with the likes of Eric Ripert and the great Mario Batali!
Check out the promo video from last year. I was totally surprised to see myself and Peter featured on the video! Actually, him more than me… I’m standing behind him (tipsy from wine tasting!) when he’s speaking on camera.
I’m definitely going again this year!
Finally, Domenico Ristorante in Silver Lake is open!
I first met the restaurant’s executive chef last December, when I attended a molecular gastronomy class he taught at Sur la Table (at the Grove). Chef Michael Young spoke about his passion for Italian cooking, but the various classes I took from him were mostly about making groovy foams and far-out spherifications. I was really looking forward to trying his authentic, Italian FOOD, not just the modern recipes we made together in class. And finally, five months later, I got my first taste.
After making the reservation for Saturday night, I suddenly felt a little nervous. What if, by chance, I didn’t like Chef Young’s cooking? Just because I thought he was a great instructor and could make perfect fruit “caviar”, didn’t automatically mean that he’d be a great chef too.
The motto for my blog is: ”If I like it, I share it… If I don’t, I don’t!”. Which means, if I don’t like something I’ve tasted on a restaurant’s menu, then I simply don’t write about that particular dish. Someone once told me that I’m “doing a disservice to the public” if I only write about positive experiences, but that’s just who I am, and I want my site to reflect that. I feel so grateful that I get to eat at all these wonderful places, and my favorite part (besides the actual eating) is sharing all the tasty photos. Plus, I figure with so many bloggers writing about the same restaurants in Los Angeles, it’s easy to figure out what dishes NOT to order.
We had a 7pm reservation on Saturday night, but Peter and I arrived early so I could take a few photos of the restaurant exterior. Our friends Julian and Wendy joined us a few minutes later, and soon we were nibbling on fried olives and sipping glasses of luscious primitivo wine. The restaurant doesn’t have a liquor licence yet, but you can bring in your own wine with no cover charge (for the time being).
A Mano primitivo wine is our favorite Italian red, and we first learned about it from the great Mario Batali himself. He recommended it during a seminar we went to in New York, and it’s been a staple in our home ever since. Not only is it deliciously robust (think zinfandel), but at $10 a bottle we can afford to drink it all the time.
Looking over the menu, I wasn’t sure what to order at first. Domenico Ristorante is so new that I found barely a “yelp” online. One thing I did read about was the “wild boar ragu” so I definitely wanted to try that, but overall I felt lost without my regular “must order” list for the evening. Peter was in worse shape than me, since he never even looks at a menu when we go out. I’ve usually selected what we’re sharing ahead of time, and he actually likes not having the pressure of deciding.
The restaurant’s owner, Domenico Frasca, must have noticed we were a bit perplexed, and asked, “would you like the chef to select dishes for you”? The four of us giggled with anticipation as we handed over the menus. We spent the next three hours happily working our way through Prosciutto Riserva, Fried Parmesan with Balsamic, Crudo of Scottish Halibut, Risotto with Winter Truffle, Rootbeer-braised Kobe Beef, the Wild Boar Ragu and more!
Dinner wasn’t just “great”, the entire evening was exceptional: From the sexy decor (white, leather banquets), to the gorgeous waiters (I only remember Paolo’s name because he wrote it down along with the name of a pasta), to the friendly and cordial Domenico himself. Of course, it’s Chef Michael Young’s cooking that will have me coming back for more, and you can bet I’ll be trying each and every positively delicious bite on the menu!
1637 Silver Lake Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026
Sur la Table Classes (locations & calendar)
Dining in the new Saam restaurant makes you feel special. It’s located behind a secured, nondescript door near Bar Centro, at the Bazaar by José Andrés. Each of the twenty courses (one or two bites each) are brought out on individual plates, while you sit at one of the exclusive, coveted tables. To me, it feels like a sleek and sexy modern-day speakeasy.
The service? Impeccable. I haven’t been to Alinea yet, but I’m guessing the experience is close, or at least as close as we’re going to get here in Los Angeles! It’s like flying first class, where you’re treated like a celebrity and you know it. Especially true for an early dinner on opening weekend. We were one of the first to be seated for the Saturday evening service, and at times there were four staff members looking after the two of us.
The food? It was my ninth visit to the Bazaar and I knew the menu backwards and forwards, so I was pleasantly surprised to find each dish “kicked up a notch”, and thrilled to try a few new bites as well. I found myself mouthing “wow” to my husband Peter, especially when we were served updated versions of dishes we tried on previous visits.
“Saam: The Chef’s Tasting Menu” is printed on top of each take-home menu (rolled up and tied with a little black ribbon), a great souvenir to remember an elegant evening. But throughout our wonderful dinner, I couldn’t help but feel there was something missing. The food was the best I’d ever had at the Bazaar, so that wasn’t it. Our server Charlie was attentive, engaging and throughly knowledgeable. Carolina was nearby in case we had any needs or questions as well. Managers William and Felix stopped by to ensure that we (and later, each and every table) were enjoying the evening, but my dinner still felt incomplete. Why?
Because “Saam: The Chef’s Tasting Room” was missing the one thing I love most about the Bazaar (besides the food), it was missing the chefs.
My favorite tables at the Bazaar are one of the two “Tron” tables in the Rojo room. They’re not officially called “Tron” tables… that’s just what we call them because they have cool laser-like red lights beneath the surface. The few times I’ve been lucky enough to have a seat facing the open kitchen was at one of the these tables. I loved watching Chef Voltaggio warm up the “smoking” gun to finish off the salmon dishes. And as a fan of the show “Top Chef”, could there be anything better than seeing Chef Marcel Vigneron working the foam? By the way, I think the show portrayed him as an arrogant nitwit, because in person he’s a real sweetheart.
After we finished our evening at Saam, we made our way to the Rojo kitchen where the kitchen staff was in full swing. It was busy, crowded and the room was filled with the frenetic energy that I missed. It sort of felt like I had been at the wrong party earlier.
Do I recommend Saam? Absolutely. Especially if it’s your first visit to the Bazaar. It’s quieter and more focused than either the Rojo or the Blanca room, and you’ll be carefully guided through a palate pleasing, high-flying experience. Heck, it’s not that I don’t like flying first class (the few times I’ve experienced it), it’s just that I like watching the crew even better.
Tasting Menu is $120 per person.
Course #4: Olive Oil Bonbon This was such a treat!! I first saw this being made on “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” by Chef Andrés and his Minibar Chefs: Ruben Garcia and Katsuya Fukushima. It’s like a candy shell filled with olive oil. Into your mouth and it crumbles. SO AMAZING.
Course #8: Jose’s Ham and Cheese. I LOVED the Jamón Ibérico with the soft La Serena cheese inside the “air bread”. This was one of the “kicked up” dish updates, similar to “Philly Cheesesteak”. La Serena is a creamy, aromatic (aka really stinky which I love!) cheese from Extremadura in Western Spain.
Course #17: Tournedos Rossinii 2009. Wagyu beef, truffle and foie gras. MORE PLEASE!
Course #18: Dragon’s Breath (caramel popcorn “cooked” in liquid nitrogen). Currently only served in the Saam room, we’ve enjoyed it several times before. It’s FUN!
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 9004
Watch the episode with the Olive Oil Bonbon!
In the kitchen with the chefs
To commemorate “Earth Day 2009″, I officially gave up bringing home plastic and paper bags from the market. Check out the beautiful, reusable bags I picked up yesterday! (read “I’m Doing It” )
Also, I took lots of photos from last night’s “Battle of the Chefs” in Hollywood. It was fun hanging out with my girlfriends, and especially meeting chef Joanne Weir. I’m a big fan of her show on PBS, so it was a HUGE thrill to hear her say she reads MyLastBite! Thanks for the invitation Akasha!
Read “I’m Doing It” (Earth Day)
B Happy Bags Website (SO MANY cute designs!)