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Category: Television

3 Food Events You Should Know About: KCET's 'Uncorked'; 'Kings of Pastry' airs on PBS; berry picking at Underwood Family Farms


This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.

KCET at Bouchon: KCET's "Uncorked" and acclaimed chef Thomas Keller team up for a fundraising event to support KCET programming. Sixty guests will sit down to a six-course dinner (Keller will join each table of 10 for one course); there will also be a tour of Bouchon and a live auction. 5:30 p.m., June 13. Tickets are $2,500 per person. For more information call (323) 953-5357, or visit www.KCET.org/tickets.

For the record, 5:04 p.m. June 8: An earlier version of this post said that tickets for the June 13 Uncorked event are $250 per person. An event starting at 7 p.m. on June 12 is $250 per person, featuring Bouchon bistro dishes, wine from Jorian Hill, a Bouchon tour, cooking demos and a silent auction.

Pastry competition: "Kings of Pastry" is a documentary from filmmaking team Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker that depicts the intensity of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, the most prestigious pastry competition, through the eyes of three competitors. The film will air at 10 p.m. on June 21 on PBS as part of its "Point of View" series.

Let's get picking: Underwood Family Farms is offering berry picking at its Somis and Moorpark locations, complete with tractor rides. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and even olallieberries are available -- olallieberries for just the next two weeks. Prices range from $1.99 to $3.75 per pound depending on the berry. For more information, visit www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com. 


The Project: Budino di cioccolato (chocolate-caramel pudding) 

Father's Day dining guide 2011

The Taste food and wine festival is coming

-- Leah Rodrigues 

Photo credit: David Karp/Los Angeles Times

Vote: Does LAUSD deserve a #FAIL?

I wonder whether the Los Angeles Unified School District wishes it had handled things differently.

Even though the second season of Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" debuted to less-than-stellar ratings, the LAUSD found itself in the principal's office explaining its actions. The district initially turned down the British celebuchef's request to bring cameras in to examine what schoolchildren are eating -- and explore ways to improve it -- because it didn't want the hoopla and the drama.

But that's precisely what the district got after the first episode portrayed Oliver as a man on a mission to bring in healthful food and combat childhood obesity, and portayed the LAUSD as standing in his way. A David versus Goliath, if you will.

Within hours of the show's airing...

L.A. Unified moved swiftly to defend itself Wednesday. The district invited reporters to its food processing facility in East Los Angeles. It's an assembly line where food — chicken wings on this day — is sorted and wrapped with the help of both human workers and robots. ("It's not processed and chopped meat," said David Binkle, deputy director of food services, pointing to wings on the line. "It's real chicken.")

You can read the rest of the fallout in today's story by Rick Rojas, BUT before you go, what do you think? Did LAUSD blow it? Is Jamie Oliver exploiting it all for the cameras? Do the media also deserve a detention slip in all of this? Do you just wish Jamie Oliver would go back home?


LAUSD can't escape controversy 

Does 'Food Revolution' trample personal freedom? 

Is Jamie Oliver's campaign to shame LAUSD working?

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Students at Bravo Medical Magnet High School in line for their lunches. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha /Los Angeles Times

3 Food Events You Should Know About: 'Cheese Rules' debuts online; Cakes for a Cause at La Monarca Bakery; for St. Patrick's Day, chilled lettuce soup?


Cheese TV: Barrie Lynn, also known as the Cheese Impresario, has launched a guide to all things cheese with a Web video series on the Small Screen Network titled "Cheese Rules." Several episodes are online, including "Organic Pinot Noir and Cheese with Shaun Phillips" -- yes, Shaun Phillips the starting linebacker for the San Diego Chargers and apparently a passionate cheese connoisseur. Says Phillips, "You know how I love cheese." He's featured in three episodes including one that pairs Lynn’s peanut brittle and Gorgonzola grilled cheese sandwich with a Manhattan. Go to www.smallscreennetwork.com

Green day: Nothing says St. Patrick's Day like ... chilled lettuce soup with smoked salmon and dill? Well, it does at the Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills. At least according to their St. Patrick's Day menu, which also includes corned beef and cabbage with roasted potatoes and sticky toffee pudding with malt ice cream and Irish whiskey jelly. The three-course menu is available for lunch on Thursday for $35, or for dinner for $45, at the hotel's Belvedere restaurant or in the Club Bar or Living Room. I'm a sucker for celebrating a holiday in the Peninsula's Living Room, but St. Patrick's Day? Maybe.... 

9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 551-2888, www.peninsula.com. 

Cakes for a Cause: La Monarca Bakery in Santa Monica is celebrating its official grand opening with the launch of its Cakes for a Cause campaign. From Saturday to June 30 the bakery will donate 20% of revenue from all cakes to the ECOLIFE Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the aim of protecting the endangered habitat of the monarch butterfly. The bakery is hosting its official grand opening party Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., featuring free pan dulce and Mexican beverages, live mariachi, a ribbon cutting and more. From Saturday to the end of the month, Twitter followers who post “I support @LaMonarcaBakery and #CakesforaCause!” will be entered to win a 7-inch cake of their choice.

1300 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 451-1114; www.lamonarcabakery.com.

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Cheese connoisseur Shaun Phillips of the San Diego Chargers. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images

Are you ready for prime time?

It sometimes seems that by now everyone who is at all interested in cooking must have appeared on a reality television show. Just in case you somehow missed out, there are two new opportunities coming.

  • An outfit called RIVR Media is looking for people "who love to cook but hate their kitchens and are willing to compete for a complete kitchen renovation. You can also nominate a friend if they fit the bill. If you're interested, contact kitchenmakeovershow@gmail.com . The only hitch is that they have to live within an hour of Los Angeles, Costa Mesa, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Seattle, Miami or Atlanta.
  • If you'd rather go with something tried and at least somewhat true, Fox's "Kitchen Nightmares" is looking for a few bad restaurants. Think you're ready for the Full Ramsay or know someone who is? You can reach the show at kitchennightmares@theconlincompany.com.

-- Russ Parsons

Photo: Gordon Ramsay. Credit: George Holz / Fox

Media watch: Jamie Oliver calls Sarah Palin a 'froot loop'; Ludo's pop-up TV show; Anthony Bourdain in Haiti

Jamie Oliver fights fire with fire: In an interview with the Associated Press, Jamie Oliver countered the barrage of finger pointing by conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin against the Obama administration's healthful eating agenda, claiming that Palin was a “froot loop” when it came to the nation’s food issues. Oliver, who is currently filming the TV show "Jamie's Food Revolution" in Los Angeles, lamented that the nation is in a “really dark moment” regarding childhood health and nutrition, insisting that the lack of healthful eating options and awareness in the U.S. bears the significance of a “civil rights issue.” Then there’s Rachel Ray’s take: "How could you criticize the idea of children playing in the sunshine and eating healthy food?"

Ludo on the Sundance Channel: Ludo Lefebvre has parlayed his pop-up restaurantconcept into a television show on the Sundance Channel. Set for July, the mini-series takes place in six different cities. Lefebvre and his wife/business partner, Kristine Lefebvre, will set up pop-up dinner events within a six-day time frame that revolve around the local community’s regional cuisine. Ludo and his wife are no strangers to the camera, having appeared on "Top Chef Masters" and "The Apprentice," respectively. With the circuit starting up in Alabama, Texas and South Carolina, all eyes will be fixed on how the French chef will merge his high-end repertoire with local comfort foods such as BBQ and fried chicken. Don’t blink, it's a short run -- just six episodes. As ever, Ludo is here today and gone tomorrow.


Anthony Bourdain in Haiti: Kicking off the seventh season of "No Reservations," Anthony Bourdain broke with his more familiar landscape of sunny beaches and Mai Tais for hard-hit Haiti. Following Sean Penn around at the sprawling tent city of his J/P HROPétionville camp, Bourdain avoided painting any fuzzy pictures of joy among the rubble. Encounters were often uncomfortable and intense, including somebody getting whacked with a belt when Bourdain tried to hand out food purchased from a street vendor. Nonetheless, the episode had a strong impact on viewers, causing the website of Penn’s relief organization to crash at one point from the flood of responses.  Selecting locations that include Nicaragua and Cambodia for the new season, Bourdain has certainly grasped the notion that venturing to emotionally charged locations can raise awareness beyond his typical media antics.

-- Max Diamond 

Photo of Jamie Oliver by Pat Carter/Associated Press; photo of Anthony Bourdain by Tom Pelling.

Small Bites: Il Sole reopens in West Hollywood. JDate launches JPicks.com, 'the chosen deals.' Casey's Cupcakes wins 'Cupcake Wars.'


 'The Chosen Deals': Earlier this month JDate, the online community for Jewish singles, launched JPicks, a website featuring a different discount (from 50% to 90% off) at Los Angeles shops, retaurants and entertainment venues every day. Since selling out its first offer, JPicks has had success with its "Chosen Deals," ranging from Jewish- and date-themed deals in line with its direct demographic, to more general ones that people who aren't single or Jewish can also enjoy. See www.jpicks.com. 

The new Il Sole: In the heart of West Hollywood, chef Isaac Rivera has updated the menu at Los Angeles staple Il Sole to go along with the reopening and new design of the restaurant. Rivera is focusing on regional Italian favorites such as eggplant Parmigiana “Napoli style”; manila clams sautéed with white wine, garlic and olive oil; and spaghetti with Tuscan ragu. Il Sole will also feature a special crudo menu. It’s cooking that’s meant to go with the new vibe, described as stylized trattoria mixed with a romantic atmosphere.

8741 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 657-1182. 

Cupcake coup: With sugar diamonds, rice paper feathers and some chocolate crunch balls, Casey's Cupcakes won the Food Network program "Cupcake Wars" last night. Having just opened a second location (with one already in Riverside) in Laguna Beach this month, owner Casey Reinhardt -- whom you may recall from MTV's "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County" -- is celebrating. With cupcakes. She'll be making appearances at both locations on Saturday with live music and, most importantly, packs of cupcakes for sale featuring the four winning flavors: white chocolate cherry, white Russian, chili chocolate and lavender.

303 Broadway St., Laguna Beach; 949-715-8245; also at the Historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, 3649 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; 951-328-6908; www.caseyscupcake.com.

-- Emma Wartzman

Photo: Cupcakes from "Cupcake Wars"/Food Network


Martha Stewart facing a do-or-die moment

Martha Stewart is not a sentimentalist. True, she became this country's first female self-made billionaire by pinpointing the very things many people feel most sentimental about: home-cooked meals, handmade Christmas wreaths, a warm bed with tightly tucked sheets. But she's always used those ideas to promote a lifestyle — one that can be achieved with Martha Stewart-brand products. After a reputation-damaging jail stint and a subsequent billion-dollar loss to her company, that lifestyle has become a tougher sell. Her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, reported a $14-million loss in 2009.

On the eve of her annual Christmas special bonanza — "Martha Stewart's Holiday Open House," guest-starring Jennifer Garner and Claire Danes, airs Monday on the Hallmark Channel — America's No. 1 Working Mom knows she's facing a do-or-die moment. In order to promote her merchandise, which is sold at Macy's, Home Depot and PetSmart, she needs television. And unlike her flawless croquembouche recipe, her TV ratings haven't been the very best they could be. Read the rest of the story in Sunday's Calendar:

Martha Stewart at her Manhattan taping studio in New York. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Chef Gordon Ramsay wants YOU: Casting begins for Season 2 of 'MasterChef'

Did you watch Season 1 of "MasterChef" and think: "I could do that!"

Then listen up: Fox is bringing back its summer hit starring chef Gordon Ramsay as he goes about highlighting the unsung heroes of the culinary world -- home cooks.

Tryouts are being held in Los Angeles on Nov. 6, and will then move on to Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; New Orleans; New York City; Orlando, Fla.; and Portland, Ore. No word on prizes yet, but Season 1 winner Whitney Miller, 22, walked off with $250,000 and her own MasterChef cookbook deal. We do know this much: Joe "Death Stare" Bastianich and Graham "Ain't My Glasses Funky?" Elliot will also return. Click here for more details.

What do you think? Will you audition? What's your signature dish?

--Rene Lynch
Twitter.com / renelynch

Photo: Season 1 of "MasterChef." Credit: Fox

For your viewing pleasure: 'Feed Your Head' Ep. 4

FEED YOUR HEAD - "Ghormeh Sabzi: Herb Workout" from Spirit Animal on Vimeo.

Tune in: Street Gourmet L.A. on 'Bizarre Foods'


Just a reminder that the one and only Bill Esparza of the blog Street Gourmet L.A. will appear on Monday's episode of the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern," and he's celebrating with a viewing party at Guelaguetza. The coming "Bizarre Foods" episode features Baja, Mexico, and the peninsula's culinary pleasures, bizarre and otherwise (hello, manta ray soup), are hardly unknown to Esparza, who served as the episode's fixer, location consultant and as an on-screen guide.  

The party starts at 6 p.m.; the show airs at 7. There will be $5 appetizer and drink specials, and on the menu are chapulines, or grasshoppers, as well as clayudas, taquitos and mezcal cocktails. 

Guelaguetza (Olympic location), 3014 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 427-0608, www.guelaguetzarestaurante.com

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Dishes at Mariscos Ruben in Tijuana/"Bizarre Foods" 


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