On the Line: Juan Carlos Olvera Of The Sky Room, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Dustin Ames
No limits!

Chef Juan Carlos reminds us that cooking comes from more than just schooling. It's a passion, a desire to be in the kitchen. While he might not have a lot of free time, his family values and dedication to his craft are all that matters.

Read our interview with Juan Carlos of The Sky Room, part one.
And now, on to part two . . .

When you're not in the kitchen, what are you doing in your free time?
I spend as much time as possible with my family, especially my daughter. I also like to run and ride my bike.

Where did you grow up?

San Jose Iturbide, Guanajuato, Mexico.

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On the Line: Juan Carlos Olvera of The Sky Room, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Photo by Dustin Ames
What a view!

While some chefs explore other restaurants in their free time, some are content with relaxing and cooking at home. Juan Carlos is one of those chefs. With a bird's eye view of Long Beach, he runs the long-standing kitchen inside The Sky Room.

What do you recommend for first-timers?
I recommend the martinis, the beet salad and my exquisite rack of lamb.

Most undervalued ingredient:
For me, every ingredient is valuable.

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We Want to Take a Bite Out of Nadia G...In a Good Way

Categories: On the Line


Whether Nadia G. is cooking up a storm preparing extraordinary meals or looking hot to death in those stilettos of hers, it's safe to say that she really knows how to bring the heat to the kitchen. Coming off the success of her previous show Bitchin' Kitchen, chef and funny gal Nadia is back and taking her skills across the country with her newest venture (and adventure), Bite This with Nadia G. Before the big premiere show kicks off on the Cooking Channel July 14th, we chatted it up with this rock-n-roll and culinary aficionado to get the goods on what's in store for this season.

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): So what came first for you, the cooking or the style?
Nadia G.: Well growing up in an Italian family, I gotta say the food came first, but just in a literal way. You know, I was stuffing my face full of ravioli before I was getting realistic tattoos of jewelry. [Laughs.] For me, I wouldn't do one without the other though.
Well I'm a fan of both yours and of tattoos so it's really cool to see that on TV. I know you have a lot of tats but, do you have one that stands out as your favorite?
Yeah! I couple of favorite ones but my newest one I'm really enjoying. I used to wear this stack of bracelets all of the time on Bitchin Kitchen because they were kind of like my "go-to" everyday stack. So, I just got them tattooed on my wrist. Now I don't have to fuck with jewelry anymore!

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On the Line: Tim Gonzales of TJ's Woodfire Pizza, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Photo by Dustin Ames
One more time!

Fans of TJ's are in for a treat as Tim and the crew work on the forthcoming pasta menu and a regional pizza. For now, chew on our remaining Q & A with this family guy.

Read the first part of our interview with Tim here.

And now, on to part two . . .

Did you always plan on being a chef? If not, how did you end up on TJ's?
My grandparents owned restaurants when I was younger, and it was a silent seed living inside that has slowly blossomed. When I was younger, I loved making dinner for my family.

What's your favorite childhood memory?
Hanging with the family in the mountains. Snowboarding, fishing, etc.

What were you up to five years ago?
Having our first child changed my life.

Hardest lesson you've learned:
I am in it. Raising children is amazing and challenging.

Last thing you looked up/searched online:
Ingredients to add to a new pizza. [Editor's Note: Tim hinted that it would be inspired by the flavors of New Mexico. Expect a little kick in this one.]

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On the Line: Tim Gonzales of TJ's Woodfire Pizza, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Ready to make some pies!
Photo by Dustin Ames

One lazy Sunday, I swang by my local farmers market to visit Tim over at TJ's Woodfire. Fresh produce, hot lunch and live music are the perfect combo with our pizza as we grab a bench to go over his responses.

Let's talk about your Neapolitan wood-fired pizza oven; how quickly does it bake a pizza?
Once the oven is nice and hot, cooking time is 90 seconds.

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Q & A With Adam Gertler: Dog Haus Sausage Pimp

Categories: On the Line

Gertler's (brat)wurst, looking its best

Vacation happens so few and far between that I'm happy to leave home and not have to make my bed. Striking up a conversation is second nature when I travel, and somewhere between a barefoot bar and dinner at Pappadeaux inside DFW, I hung out with new friend Adam Gertler. You may recognize him from Kid In a Candy Store, Will Work for Food or The Next Food Network Star. Cinephiles like me also know his humor from FX Movie Download.

So what is Adam's relevance to Orange County? Gertler's Wurst, his line of sausages, is being featured at Dog Haus restaurants. Once I noticed Santa Ana's spot was under construction, the reason to interview Adam was obvious. In a condensed version of On the Line, I grill him on anything and everything. Take it away, Gertler.

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On the Line: Ryan Smith of Massey Honey, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Photo by Angi Welsh
No sudden movements, please

I was excited to learn about Massey's collaboration with TAPS Fish House in Brea. A raw honey beer, MJoe will be featured as our Drink of the Week. Stay tuned for more on this summer ale.

Read our interview with Ryan, part one.
And now, let's start part two . . .

How are the responsibilities divided up?
My father and I do the majority of the beekeeping and beehive rescues. My mother runs various craft fairs and shows for the company. My brother develops new cocktails and recipes with honey for our blog. And my wife runs the day-to-day business operations.

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On the Line: Ryan Smith of Massey Honey, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Photo by Angi Welsh
Don't mess with a man and his bees

My interview with Massey Honey's Ryan Smith was a little backwards, as he spent the first part of our meeting interviewing me. When you consider the number of questions I asked him, it was only fair. I used the jar of orange blossom honey he brought to sweeten my oatmeal, and all was good in the world.

How did Massey Honey get started?
I have always been drawn to bees and honey. While I was in college, I attended a field trip to the beehives with an entomology class I had snuck into and became fascinated with the complexities of these insects. When I had finished school, I purchased a beehive as a hobby and it grew from there. I began to rescue feral hives which would otherwise be exterminated by the county or city, and relocated them to safe locations to help with the declining bee population. We now manage close to 100 hives throughout Orange County.

Do you have a favorite pairing?
Wildflower or orange blossom honey with Pecorino Romano cheese.

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On the Line: Jim Walker and Louie Feinstein of The Bungalow, Part Two

Categories: On the Line

Dustin Ames
Feinstein and Walker keeping it classy in CDM

Our second piece of good news also explains why Louie has been the primary responder to our line of questioning. At the time of this meeting, Jim Walker was a week away from tying the knot! As any reasonable reporter might do, we cut him a little slack and wished him congratulations. Now, where were we?

Read our interview with Jim and Louie, part one.
And now, on to part two . . .

How did the two of you meet?
Louie Feinstein:
Met through the industry [Editor's Note: Technically, they met playing golf many years ago at a charity event.]

Hardest lesson you've learned:
To be patient; good things come to people who are patient.

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On the Line: Jim Walker and Louie Feinstein of The Bungalow, Part One

Categories: On the Line

Dustin Ames
Now offering lunch!

Two big things were brewing as we sat down to interview Jim and Louie. The second topic can wait until tomorrow, but we were there to celebrate the launch of lunch at The Bungalow. What I liked most about their new service was the option to order ahead. Get your hands on the menu, call when you're about to leave work, and by the time a beverage reaches your table-- lunch should be ready to plate. Convenience and service during the busiest part of your day. Not too shabby.

One food you can't live without:
Louie Feinstein: Turkey. As a kid, I just loved turkey . . .especially turkey legs. Thanksgiving was something always big at our house.
Jim Walker: I probably would say that I'd be disappointed if I didn't have bacon. It's a good vehicle to put on almost any food. I also like crunchy peanut butter.

How would you describe The Bungalow to a potential diner?
L.F.: A great classic steak house with a New American twist. Dishes that have taken on some great flavors and style.

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