Joseph Johnson is on his way to becoming “Almost Famous” as the winner of San Pellegrino’s Almost Famous West Regional Competition.  As a judge, it wasn’t easy to decide whose signature dish would make the cut.

But for us, we had to go beyond the competitors culinary creations.  It was a tough battle, and this Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles student wowed us with more than his roast and mashed artichoke potatoes.

This weekend, Johnson is heading to Napa for the finals competition at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. Happy Cooking!

“The Farm” overlooking Canyon’s Resort Village and Ski Beach is the most fantastic one I have ever been to.  It perfectly pairs country cuisine with sophistication. Executive Chef John Murcko creates mouth-watering dishes with locally sourced ingredients from farms within 200 miles of Park City, Utah. The restaurant calls itself rustic yet refined, and that it is!  With each course out doing the other, it’s difficult to narrow down my favorites.  The first is Farm Rockefeller, a delectable twist on the original oyster dish using pork belly, spinach and aged local parmesan cheese. I wish there were a dozen!  Then we enjoyed the crispy braised rabbit leg with creamy cheddar grits and gravy. The meat was moist and tenderly coated with a crunchy coating.  What Chef calls “Pasties”… is better known as a pirogue like you’ve never had before stuffed with short ribs, cheese and sage.  Finally it’s time to dig into the entrée’s.  There is a juicy medallion of espresso rubbed beef tenderloin in addition to  king salmon with light and fluffy gnocchi, hen of the woods and spinach.  By the time we sank our teeth into the  trio of the desserts,  I barely had room!  But, I made space for the warm apple crisp and chocolate fudge brownie topped with a homemade toasted marshmallow.  I guess we’ll have to go back!

Making her Carribbean debut this weekend, Celine Dion hit the stage looking stunning as ever at the 16th Annual Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival. The 43 year old superstar glowed with excitement as she wowed the tens of thousands of fans.

I was so impressed with her encouraging words for jammin and juggling… a career and kids. And, it was no surprise to me that the international sensation gushed about being hooked on the soul of the country and its people, from their musical roots to their magic with jerk chicken.

The famous Scotchies was tasty!  Yet, the best we found at Secrets Resort being offered off a traveling cart to those sun bathing on the beach and by the pool. Bursting with the flavors of island spices and a touch of heat and smokiness, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. The chicken was moist, juicy and perfectly done. The only thing missing was a side of festival, a delicious donut like bread that’s soft and warm with a crispy crust.

LA Food and Wine was a feast for the senses. We nibbled on creations by some of the best chefs in the world! Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud and Francois Payard were just a few. And did I mention, these guys know how to throw a party? Backstage with LAFW Co-founder Dave Bernahl and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, we exchanged our favorite “bites” and danced with our new favorite DJ, Randy Jackson!


Dave Bernahl and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

A Triple Threat

Food, fun and friends! LA Food and Wine had it all. You never knew who you might bump into on this red carpet.

Chef Hubert Keller, Victoria Recaño, Randy Jackson and Giada de Laurentiis




It’s the 4th Annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine!  Here’s a hot app for you just recently discovered.   As an unusual and daring way to use an 80’s candy, try Foie Gras coated in Pop Rocks!  The sweet, savory, crackle is a wild treat.  It was just like the weekend!  

Here’s your chance to pick up the “Take Home Chef…” Check out my latest Star Byte with Curtis Stone in Gourmet Live…   http://live.gourmet.com/

Download it today!  YUM.

For the full interview check out Gourmet Live!
If you can’t imagine your life without meat, maybe you should?
Read all about some of the most delicious recipes that have convinced me … (well, maybe I could do it for a few weeks!)

A Drink with Dan!

I sat down with comedian Dan Aykrord and sampled his specially crafted Crystal Head Vodka. It is smooth and delicious. He describes it as the way vodka should be, “a touch of vanilla on the nose, sweet dry crisp and a kick of heat off the finish!” All we needed was some Caviar! Thanks to Chef Perfecto at The Blvd at The Beverly Wilshire, we got it!
Now that’s no joke! For all the juicy details, go to www.gourmetlive.com

The pineapple Dum Dum might be her treat of choice after the show, but don’t be fooled! This little “fashionista” feasted on french fries and focaccia the entire trip! Oh yes, and she loved the attention on The Spice Market patio and the gnudi (ricotta filled dumplings in a butter cream sauce) at The Spotted Pig!