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Saturday, November 23, 2013

11/25 - An Evening with Chef Ken Frank

A chef of many talents, Chef Ken Frank of the acclaimed La Toque in Napa, will be our guest this evening to talk Thanksgiving, Truffles (the real kind), Foie Gras and more.  Tune in, pour a glass of wine and sit back for an entertaining hour of all things culinary!

Ken Frank
Executive Chef and Owner of La Toque

Acclaimed Chef Ken Frank is entirely self-taught and brings a distinctive, personalized touch to his contemporary French cuisine at La Toque restaurant.

Frank’s love of French cooking began when his father moved the family from California to Yvoire, France. Frank chose to remain in France and began his culinary career as a dishwasher. After returning to California and refining his skills, Frank first achieved national acclaim at age 21 at the Los Angeles restaurant La Guillotine. In 1979, he opened the first La Toque on the Sunset Strip.  After a 14-year run, Frank sold the restaurant and in 1995 to open the award-winning Fenix at the Argyle.

In 1998, the second incarnation of La Toque made its debut in Rutherford, California at The Rancho Caymus Inn. La Toque was awarded a Michelin Star in 2007, the first year the organization published a San Francisco Bay Area guide.

In 2008, Frank moved the restaurant to The Westin Verasa Napa.  La Toque has continued to be well-received by the nation’s top critics and reviewers.  In 2008, La Toque earned a three-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer and in October 2009 was honored again with a Michelin Star, which it still retains today.

For more information on Ken's truffle menu go to, and for the Truffle Festival he hosts each year at

If you would like more information in Ken's upcoming cruise program with Silversea - go to

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11/11 - From the Source - Cocoa Beans and Matcha

Our two  guests this week on Slow Living Radio, make the term, "getting your hands dirty" trite.  They are both so passionate about their culinary "art", they have travelled the world to get to the ultimate source of their ingredients. 

Chris Kollar, of Kollar Chocolates, recently traded his chef coat for workers overalls and worked with the bean pickers in the Dominican Republic to learn the essence of their trade. Eric Gower, who owns Breakaway Matcha Green Tea, became so deeply interested in Matcha that he scours the globe to find the very best sources.

Chef Chris Kollar, Kollar Chocolates
Chef Kollar’s Trip to The Dominican Republic Cocoa Plantations

Chef Kollar just came back from his exclusive trip to the Dominican Republic where he was invited by the Michel Cluizel chocolate company to tour the Rizek family cocoa plantation. Five other pastry chefs from New York City came along, including the executive pastry chef from TriBeCa grill NYC, the executive pastry chef from Oceana Restaurant (Livanos restaurant group), the pastry chef from One If By Land, Two If By Sea, the pastry Chef from Bouchon Bakery New York and the executive Pastry Chef of The Four Seasons Restaurant.

The cocoa plantation was established in 1898 when Salím and Altagracia Rizek left behind their home in Nazaret to establish themselves in the flourishing birthplace of the New World. Today, Nazario Rizek owns vast plantations and has over 9,000 small affiliated producers. It has placed him as the largest and the best quality cocoa producer and exporter in the country. Chef Kollar walked the plantation with the owners, met the farmers and learned more about the process of making chocolate from the bean. It is harvest time in the Dominican Republic and Chef experienced working with the local farmers, hand-picking pods and shoveling dried beans. Those dried beans are shipped all over the world where a few companies process the beans into premium quality chocolate that we then use to make our confections. All the Chefs invited to this exclusive trip participated in a competition where they used local ingredients to make chocolate and this one-of-a-kind event was covered by national press and media. Chef came back from the Dominican Republic with a lot of great memories and creative energy and can’t wait to share his new ideas with you!

Kollar Chocolates is located in V Marketplace at 6525 Washington St, Yountville, CA, 94599. For additional information, you can contact them at or 707-738-8353.

Eric Gower

Breakaway Matcha was founded in 2010 by author and chef Eric Gower. Breakaway Matcha specializes in sourcing, custom blending, and distributing the highest-quality matcha on earth. They also design and offer special matcha ceramics and other teaware to enhance the enjoyment of this very special tea, and provide ongoing support and training in matcha preparation to many of the most respected and emulated restaurants in the world. 
The main goal of Breakaway Matcha is to make great matcha accessible to anyone who would like to experience a green tea that rivals great wine in  omplexity, nuance, and flavor, and whose health properties are legendary.
About Eric Gower
Eric is an author, ghostwriter, editor, cooking instructor, and private chef. He writes a popular column for the San Francisco Chronicle called "The Breakaway Cook," maintains a popular blog of the same name, and is the author of four cookbooks: The Breakaway Vegetarian Cook, The Breakaway Cook, The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen, and Eric’s Kitchen. He lives and works in Marin County, just north of San Francisco.
Eric brings a lifetime of unusual experiences to his unusual cooking. Stints include:

· columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle

· founder and principal of Breakaway Matcha, purveyors of the highest-quality artisanal matcha (Japanese ceremonial green tea)

· editor and principle writer for the popular and lively Breakaway Cook blog

· judge on the Food Network hit television series, “Iron Chef”

· columnist for Yahoo! Food

· assistant winemaker, Judd’s Hill (premier Napa vintner)

· founding "vook" contributor (cooking videos for popular video publisher)

· editor and speechwriter, Prime Minister's Office, government of Japan

· coordinator for foreign legal scholars at the Osaka Bar Association 

· voice work for dozens of Japanese commercials

· founder and editor of NIRA Review, a quarterly journal of opinion on issues concerning public policy

· researcher and editor at the National Institute for Research Advancement, Japan’s leading think tank on public policy

· assistant editor (to James Fallows) at The Atlantic Monthly

· nonstop traveler – 20 years of extended travel to every country in Asia

Monday, November 4, 2013

11/4 - Twenty Years of One Market Restaurant - A Celebration with Chef Mark Dommen and his Food and Wine Friends.

Slow Living Radio celebrates the 20th anniversary of One Market Restaurant in San Francisco with Chef Mark Dommen.  He brings with him two guests who have become a part of the One Market family with their food and wine.  Valentin Humer creates a range of Grapeseed Oils that Mark incorporates throughout the menu, and Jamey Whetstone is the founder and winemaker at Whetstone Wine Cellars who are proud to be showcased on the restaurant wine list.  Sit back and be inspired by these very entertaining guests.

Mark Dommen (centre) with Valentin Humer (left) and Jamey Whetstone

Mark Dommen,
One Market Restaurant, San Francisco

Chef/Partner Mark Dommen is a unique talent who has spent more than 20 years in the kitchen. After years of classical training with some of the world’s most eminent culinary masters, Dommen’s move to head One Market Restaurant in 2004 marked his exciting return to the San Francisco dining scene. His modern take on American cuisine earned the restaurant a 3 ½ star review from San Francisco Chronicle critic Michael Bauer,  Dommen was named a 2007 “Rising Star,” and the restaurant has held a consistent presence on the Chronicle’s “Top 100” restaurant list.

Dommen’s contemporary, seasonal American fare developed through his work in some of the world’s most distinguished restaurants. His career began at Fleur de Lys in San Francisco, where Chef Hubert Keller became Dommen’s mentor in the art of contemporary French cuisine. Dommen later spent four years in New York, honing his craft with one of his largest influences, Gray Kunz at Lespinasse and also with David Burke at Park Avenue Café. By the time he opened Palladin as Sous Chef for the legendary Chef Jean-Louis Palladin, his immersion in the art of French cuisine was well advanced. Dommen was next invited to join Julia’s Kitchen in Napa Valley as the opening Executive Chef. While he was at the helm, the restaurant was named one of Esquire magazine’s “Best New Restaurants.”

Dommen describes his approach to cooking as “blending the freshest, seasonal ingredients from California, while using the classic French techniques I have honed from my previous experiences.” His seasonally changing menu includes inventive farm-fresh dishes such as Lightly Smoked Tasmanian Trout Mi Cuit with potato rösti, organic chicken egg and pancetta vinaigrette; Dungeness Crab with green apple water and jalapeño sorbet; and Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with dandelion “persillade,” salsify and natural jus. “I truly enjoy experimenting with the freshest of produce, seafood and meats to create entirely new and unexpected dishes,” says Dommen. “I make a point each day to ensure that the menu is a reflection of the finest raw materials prepared in a unique, delicious and artistic way.”

Some of Dommen’s favorite dishes to make when not in the kitchen at One Market Restaurant include pizza and barbecued beer-can chicken cooked over apple wood chips. He lives in Napa with his wife and two daughters and enjoys skiing, golf and fishing in his spare time.

 Jamey Whetstone


Award-winning Napa Valley winemaker Jamey Whetstone crafts outrageous wines and quests.   Jamey grew up in the deep, deep Southeast. Before his restaurant career could grind all the sweet edge off life—like surfing and, well, living—Jamey quit and turned his enthusiasm for wine into a life where working and passionate edge are one in the same. From the bottom rung as a “cellar rat” at Turley Wine Cellars, Jamey quickly found his footing in the wine world. He became assistant winemaker at Turley, worked at one of Burgundy’s leading wine houses, Domaine Dujac, planted 30 acres of hillside vineyard, learned Spanish, became a pilot, founded Whetstone Wine Cellars and Whetstone Consulting, and co-founded Manifesto! Wines. His wines have been praised by the likes of Eric Asimov from The New York Times, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator and acclaimed critic Stephen Tanzer.

Jamey’s journey of winemaking is a perfect blend of insider and outsider, connecting with many of the world’s wine greats and top chefs, garnering critical praise.  All along the way, he’s never lost his connection to the down-home, man-of-the-people values he learned in the South.

Though he might not look the part, beneath Jamey Whetstone’s sun-bleached curls and laid-back exterior beats the heart of a serious winemaker. A surfer and native of Charleston, South Carolina, he developed his palate eating all manner of homegrown, home-caught, and home-cooked Southern food.  Working in some of the city’s best restaurants, he also learned to love wine. Today, he makes excellent Pinot Noir, Syrah, Viognier, and Chardonnay under his own Whetstone label, as well as some very affordable blends under his Manifesto! label. And while he still surfs on both coasts as often as he can, it’s his wine that’s now making waves.




Whole Foods recently featured Manifesto!’s Sauvignon Blanc as one of its Top 10 wines. Asimov spun Jamey’s Manifesto! label slogan as “Simple Wine in a Complex World” in May 2009 for his column “The Pour.” NBC’s Today premiered Manifesto! as a 2009 Holiday Wine to buy. Jamey has also recently been featured in Wine & Spirits and Food & Wine, which also launched their iPad app highlighting Jamey as their star winemaker.



Valentin Humer
Food and Vine Inc.
Salute Santé! Grapeseed Oil

Trained in his home country of Austria, European chef and hotelier Valentin Humer is the force behind Food & Vine Inc. and the American grapeseed oil industry. For the past 15 years, Humer has championed grapeseed oil, a versatile and ecologically sound product that is made from the seeds of grapes after wine is pressed. A healthy alternative to vegetable oils, grapeseed oil is high in antioxidants, low in saturated fat and has been known to improve cholesterol. In 2008, Humer earned Green certification for Food & Vine Inc. from Green America. As a by-product of the wine industry, there is no need for hybrid or genetically engineered crops, nor does it require new farmland, crops or water to produce grapeseed oil.

Humer’s vision has come to fruition as he continues to forge an industry for the healthy, unique product. In addition to producing the highest quality natural grapeseed oil, Food & Vine, Inc. has created five award-winning flavored oils, each of which is infused with all-natural, fresh herbs and spices: Basil, Lemon, Chili, Rosemary and Roasted Garlic. The company has also recently introduced two more limited-production oils, Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Unfiltered and Chardonnay grapeseed oils.

To hear more interviews with Valentin Humer, click here.