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Monday, November 28, 2016

11/28/2016 - The Chocolate Show

What better way to celebrate the holidays than showcasing the world of chocolate.  We feature two renowned chocolatiers, both self trained, and both breaking boundaries when it comes to flavors and presentations.

Michael and Jacky Recchiuti 
San Francisco-based Recchiuti Confections was founded in 1997 by husband and wife team, Michael and Jacky Recchiuti. Committed to meticulously sourcing ingredients and hand- crafting small batches of product, using traditional European techniques, Recchiuti Confections has become renowned for its inventive and unparalleled quality. Modeled after the long-standing European chocolate houses, Recchiuti strives to offer excellent, elegant, and complex chocolates without pretense.
At the forefront of the “artisan” chocolate movement, self-trained chocolatier Michael Recchiuti lives by the philosophy that once someone is introduced to truly exquisite chocolate, they will be won over instantly and forever. As such, Recchiuti continues to source the finest ingredients available, partnering and using Valrhona Chocolate and family-owned Guittard Chocolate throughout its creations. Additionally, Michael was one of the first American chocolatiers to design a custom couverture with Valrhona based on his own discerning palette.
Deriving inspiration from the bounty of fresh herbs available at farmers’ markets, like lavender and lemon verbana, Recchiuti uses local fare to create signature infusions, and blends single origin chocolates to create complex and unique tasting experiences. All of Recchiuti’s confections are made by hand in the company’s production facility, and the company is proud to offer product lines spanning from classic boxed chocolates and caramels to burnt caramel and chocolate sauces, chocolate bars, Pâtes de Fruits and dragées, and baked goods such as the S’Mores Kit and Vanilla Bean Marshmallows.
Recchiuti’s flagship retail store opened in 2003 in San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building Market, followed by Little Nib, a boutique shop in Dogpatch, in 2011. In 2014, Michael and Jacky opened theLab, an experiential space for food and craft artisans to come together, located next door to Little Nib. In November 2016, Recchiuti renovated theLab to créate a new and larger retail shop to showcase its confectionary creations; this space took the place of the Little Nib boutique which is now closed. Recchiuti products are also available to chocolate lovers nationwide online at

Michael Recchiuti Founder and Owner
Michael Recchiuti, a self-made chocolatier, has been experimenting in the kitchen all his life. A Philadelphia native, Michael got his start baking Italian wedding cakes alongside his grandmother as a boy, then creating plated desserts as a young man at the renowned restaurant Le Bec Fin, and even training with Alain Tricou (Maxim’s, Déjà Vu) for three years in sugar and chocolate.
Drawn to San Francisco in 1987 by an exciting culinary, music, and arts scene, Michael found new inspiration in the year-round availability of fresh, local ingredients and international influences. Especially fascinated by the way traditionally savory flavors took on new dimensions and depth when combined with chocolate, his now famous chocolate flavors Tarragon Grapefruit, Lemon Verbena, and Star Anise & Pink Peppercorn were among his first “experiments.” An ongoing fascination along with a nostalgic nod to the tastes of his youth continue to inspire his more recent creations, like Peppermint Thins, Peanut Butter Pucks, and Vanilla Bean Marshmallows.
In 1997, after years in the test kitchen, Michael founded Recchiuti Confections with his wife Jacky. Known for using traditional European techniques and equipment; and for hand-selecting every ingredient, Michael sources local California farmers’ markets for bundles of fresh herbs and fruits to create signature infusions and blends single origin chocolates together to create complex and unique tasting experiences.
Taste and technique only tell part of Michael’s story. A life filled with art, music, and lots of friends has influenced the look of his chocolates, which act as a show-and-tell of his favorite things. Over the years, collections have showcased artwork from Creativity Explored, a San Francisco non-profit close to the Recchiuti’s heart, while others have been adorned with Japanese block prints, tiny love letters to his Hawaiian wife, Jacky.
In 2005 Michael’s book Chocolate Obsession (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), co-authored with renowned pastry expert Fran Gage, was released to wide acclaim. The book was a finalist at the 2006 James Beard Awards and won high honors for photography and design at the 2006 International Association of Culinary Professionals annual conference.
Currently, Michael keeps busy with Recchiuti’s three locations, the Ferry Building Marketplace, Little Nib, and theLab, always finding new ways to make the chocolate consuming public happy, and obsessed.

Jacky Recchiuti

Jacky Recchiuti hails from Hawaii, but was drawn to San Francisco in 1985 after falling in love with the city during a family trip. Michael and Jacky were married in 1991, and moved to Vermont to work at Twin Farms. It was in 1997 that the couple was able to conceptualize their dream of starting a confections business in San Francisco, one modeled after traditional French chocolate houses in both the techniques and methods used to craft its confections. Having previously held managerial roles at several luxury boutique hotels and high-touch service restaurants, Jacky’s foundation in the hospitality industry has continued to drive the look and feel of Recchiuti Confections, even touching the standard in which the company values service. In her own words, “Recchiuti models itself around Michael’s Italian-American upbringing of warmth and welcoming, and my background in Hawaii, translating the ‘Aloha’ spirit, into the San Francisco culture.” A vital player in the success of Recchiuti Confections, Jacky oversees the sales, business, and design aspects, most recently spearheading the redesign of theLab retail space in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood.

Chris Kollar
Kollar Chocolates

From classic European-style chocolates, to new world flavors, Chris Kollar has brought a taste of something new to Yountville in the heart of Napa Valley, California. Surrounded by wineries and world-renowned restaurants, a visit to Kollar Chocolates perfectly rounds out the Napa gourmet experience.

Artisan Chocolatier Chris Kollar welcomes customers to watch and learn about quality handmade chocolate through a glass show kitchen, where he produces his small batch confections. On the other side of the glass, the Kollar Chocolates team offers pre-packaged and to-order chocolates, Gelato, and Espresso coffee.

Kollar Chocolates' packaging is recyclable and uses fair trade and local seasonal ingredients whenever possible. For instance, lavender and fennel pollen truffles are made with flowers from certified organic Peter Jacobsen’s Orchards in Yountville.

Chris Kollar is a chef with a particular passion for chocolate. Trained as a savory chef, Chris is a self-taught chocolatier. His inspiration is European classic chocolate making. He has traveled Europe extensively, particularly Switzerland, France, and Italy to study and learn about classic chocolates, bringing this knowledge back to his own practice. Before Kollar Chocolates, Chris had worked in kitchens across the country and beyond for 19 years, starting with his hometown of Atlanta, then working around the country and the Cayman Islands. In 2001 he settled in the Napa Valley and worked at Domaine Chandon, Tra Vigne, Pinot Blanc, and Go Fish and ultimately at Peter Michael Winery in Calistoga as Executive Chef, where his passion for chocolate flourished.

Monday, November 21, 2016

11/21/2016 - A Glimpse into One&Only Resorts: Emirates Wolgan Valley and Hayman Island, Australia

We are thrilled tonight to go armchair traveling with One&Only resorts to two world leading iconic Australian properties, each with their own totally unique terroir and showcasing some of the extreme wonders of this majestic island continent.

Hayman Island has s long been one of Australia's "must go" destinations for those wanting a real getaway amid the tropical tranquility, azure blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef with all it's activities and amazing seafood.  And Emirates Wolgan Valley is newer to the scene but leading the world as an environmental hotel destinations, set in one of Australia's most extremely panoramic locations, the Greater Blue Mountains UNESCO Heritage Listed Region.


The name Wolgan Valley is derived from the Aboriginal word 'wolga' used for the vine commonly known as Old Man's Beard, found throughout the region.

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is the first hotel in the world to achieve internationally accredited carbon-neutral certification by CarbonZero, a distinction it continues to receive every year.

In 1836, Charles Darwin was amazed
by the sheer beauty of Wolgan Valley.

A scenic 2.5 hour drive from Sydney, located on Australia's Great Dividing Range between the Wollemi National Park and the Gardens of Stone National Park, within the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains. The resort occupies just one percent of its own 7,000 acre conservancy. The Wolgan Valley is approximately 26 kilometres long and seven kilometres wide. The Wolgan River cuts a deep gorge through the sandstone in part of the valley, forming a bottleneck that is only one kilometre wide. Steep cliffs contrast with the gentle curve of the valley floor and a picturesque road winds along the river to reach the resort on the eastern end.



James Wyndham, General Manager
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

James is responsible for the operation of Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley where he will lead the continued innovation of extraordinary guest experiences that celebrate The Blue Mountains.   “James’ international hospitality experience combined with his deep knowledge of the Australian market and commitment to service excellence make him the perfect fit for this job” commented Mark DeCocinis, President and Chief Operating Officer of One&Only Resorts. “I know he is excited to return to Australia.”

James joined Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley as Resort Manager earlier this year following his transfer   from   Atlantis, The   Palm, the   flagship   entertainment   destination   resort of Kerzner International. At Atlantis, James successfully held the position of Vice President, Guest Relations of the iconic resort for 4 years. He started his career in hospitality over two decades ago and has worked for multiple international hospitality groups. James was also involved with the opening of One&Only Hayman Island where he played a key role as part of the pre-opening task force.  Prior to James joining the Kerzner International portfolio
of resorts, he worked with Accor, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, and Jumeirah Group, and he has held roles in various areas, including Food and Beverage and Sales.  In addition to his hospitality experience, James also held the position of Director of Trade and Investment, and as Trade Commissioner and Deputy Consul General for Australian Government entities based in the United Arab Emirates.

Chef Nancy Kinchela
Executive Chef

Nancy Kinchela, an award-winning Australian chef with over 20 years’ experience, has been appointed as the Executive Chef at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, where she will lead a dedicated Food & Beverage team with an ongoing commitment to showcasing the very best in regional produce.

Ms.  Kinchela began her career at the Sofitel in Melbourne before moving to London where she worked at The Savoy and Lindsay House.  Kinchela’s global career has also taken her to Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai and the Heritage House in Northern California, The Club at The Saujana in Kuala Lumpur and The Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas and Spa in Johannesburg. Nancy Kinchela has also been widely recognized by her peers and the industry over the years, awarded “Chef of the Year” at the Chain De Rotissuer in Malaysia, Gold Medal (Best in Class, British Cuisine) at London Olympia and “Les Grand Dames” as one of the Top 10 Female Chefs at a ceremony in Switzerland.

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley prides itself on delivering a world-class culinary experience showcasing the very best local produce from across regional New South Wales. From the vineyards of Mudgee, Bathurst and Orange to the artisan producers in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury catchments, the ever-changing menu and wine list at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is reflective of the season as well as simple ingredients beautifully executed.



Swim. Dive. Explore the sea. You have entered an enchanted natural world on a private island – a land alive with vividly coloured birds, wallabies, and the magnificent variety and beauty of sea life in the Great Barrier Reef. Take a seaplane or a helicopter over lush islands where the plaintive cry of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorikeets can be heard in the trees. Marvel at the shades of a thousand different shimmering fish – like the yellow-tailed fusiliers that brush close enough to touch. As the sky begins to glow with myriad shades of pink and orange, slip into a private pool where your eye is again drawn to the Whitsundays. Perhaps this will be your moment to indulge in an Ocean Dreaming Massage – perched on the surface of tranquil waters amid gentle tides and warm tropical breezes.

Scott Williams
General Manager

Mr. Williams joined One&Only with over 13 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, including extensive experience in the Asia Pacific region.  He started his career in 2003 at the Crowne Plaza Melbourne in Australia where he worked until he was promoted as Acting General Manager/Hotel Manager at the Crowne Plaza Fudan in Shanghai, China.  He continued to develop within IHG, with further roles in Shandong and Beijing.  

In 2010, Mr. Williams moved to InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa, leading the Team to over 10 awards.  He significantly improved the guest experience at the resort and played an instrumental role with the community, expanding the School Community Fund and developing the SanaSana Village Hospitality Academy.  Most recently, Scott was General Manager of InterContinental Wuhan where he also oversaw the Wuhan International Convention Center.  

Justin Dingle-Garciyya
Culinary Director

Justin brings to One&Only Hayman Island over twenty years of industry experience. Beginning in his native Australia, Justin has worked across Europe and Asia Pacific for famed establishments such as The Iguana Australia, The American Clubs in Hong Kong, Le Manoir Aux Quatres Saisons UK, Park 97 Shanghai, The Chedi Ubud and The Grand Mirage in Bali Indonesia, gaining himself vast experience and knowledge in culinary arts. Justin Dingle-Garciyya trained under Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons before being Area Chef for Aman Resorts in India followed by Culinary Director with Morgans Hotel Group, covering The Mondrian in London, Miami and Qatar, Sanderson in London and Hudson in New York, and cooking for the likes of Madonna, Mick Jagger, Beyonce and members of the British royal family. Justin is highly skilled in concepts and presentations of Asian, Continental, modern French, Italian and New World cuisine.

About One&Only Resorts
Created exclusively for the ultra-luxury resort market, One&Only Resorts are conceived as hallmarks of excellence.  Set in some of the most beautiful locales in the world, each award-winning resort offers guests a distinctive style and personality borne of its local culture, a genuine hospitality and a lively energy that is unrivalled.   These properties include One&OnlyReethi Rah in the Maldives; One&Only Le Saint Géran in Mauritius; One&Only Royal Mirage and One&Only The Palm in Dubai; One&Only Ocean Club in The Bahamas, One&OnlyPalmilla in Los Cabos, Mexico, One&Only Cape Town in South Africa and One&Only Hayman Island, Great Barrier Reef and Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in The Blue Mountains in Australia.  One&Only has also announced plans to develop and operate five new One&Only resorts, in Sanya, Hainan, China; in Montenegro, which will be the first property for the collection in Europe, Bahrain and two new resorts in Mexico. More information on One&Only is available at

Kerzner International Holdings Limited, through its subsidiaries, is a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts, ultra-luxury hotels and residences and innovative entertainment and gaming experiences.  Kerzner’s flagship brand Atlantis, includes Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, a 1,500-room, water-themed resort on The Palm, overlooking the Arabian Sea and mainland Dubai; and Atlantis, Sanya Hainan in China, under development, as well as The Royal Atlantis Resort and Residences in Dubai.   Under the One&Only brand, Kerzner manages nine of the top-rated luxury resort properties in the world, located in The Bahamas, Mexico, Mauritius, the Maldives, South Africa, Dubai and Australia.  Additionally, Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort, a 500-room destination golf and casino resort in Morocco, is also operated by Kerzner.  For more information concerning Kerzner and its operating subsidiaries, visit