Hello and greetings to the JH culinary force,
Kevin Gries here at the Cowboy Steakhouse sharing my experience from recent travels to the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival in sunny and HOT California.
I was invited by my friend, Sam Choy, to attend and to be a member of his culinary team, including the corporate Facebook chefs. Over the years Sam and I have become great friends due to being paired as a host chef for him and his teams for the Grand Teton Music Festival food and wine auction here.
We were stationed at the JW Marriot Live LA Station in downtown LA. I was picked up by Jeffery Mora, who is a partner with Sam in the Pineapple Express food truck in Cali. The truck offers traditional Hawaiian fare from the classic “Loco Moco,” which we served 844 portions Friday evening at the Asian Sreet Food event hosted by Andrew Zimmern of Bizzare Foods on The Food Network. It was awesome!!
Sam always seems to have the busiest and loudest booth due to the fact of the energy from the crew he brings. This was the event of all events. Everyone included chefs and friends from The Buffalo in West Virginia, us at The Cowboy Steakhouse, the Facebook Chefs as well as his LA crew from Pineapple Express. I was able to taste food from about 12 of the 18 food booths after we had run out of the Loco Moco around 9:45 p.m.
From Chef Ming Tsai, who I had met earlier in the summer here in JH at our event, Charles Phan of the famed Slanted Door in San Fran, Susur Lee famed Chef out of Toronto, Canada dishing out a killer Panko Foie Gras Burger Dish, UNREAL!! This was the event of all events. Drew Nieporent, an old good friend from the JH event for the last 15 years was there killing it as usual with new Tribecca Grille Chef Kamal Rose, who was awesome and cranking out the smallest farfalle pasta packed with a punch of peas, lump crab and killer pesto as well as herbed goat cheese stuffed shrooms and a couple other delectable other veggie yum yums.
Moving us into Saturday evening’s event after being up for literally 21 hours of work and fun it was back at it at 6 a.m. to butcher 120-pounds of the freshest tuna you could imagine that we turned into some of the best poke ever, including Sam’s special seasonings as well as ogo and some heirloom cherry tomatoes and as always in great food LOTS OF LOVE! Also on Saturday’s menu was tuna cakes with spicy aioli, which was a bonus dish as we waste nothing so the first 200 people were treated to that the last dish was a spicy salmon dish with sticky rice in which Sam taught me the real Japanese preparation and some salmon “bacon.”
We dished out a couple 1,000 dishes easily breaking down 2, 80 pound tunas on line to show the people how fresh this was from Sam’s sons Chris and Sam Jr. from wherever they were being the pro fishing folk they are all over the world, I heard Australia and San Diego. Tons of Celebrity Chefs, four different locations all over LA one of the cooler Chefs I met was Yo Bu from China, who we worked next to due to open a restaurant in Beverly Hills next year awesome guy had a bunch of family with him hand peeling garlic cloves Saturday a.m. VERY IMPRESSIVE!!! I was able to meet countless Rockstars, from Dean Fearing Mansion on Turtle Creek Texas icon , Stephan Pyles and one of my first few rockers Chef Paul Prudhomme and The Original Chef to the stars Chef Wolfgang Puck and a huge thanks to my friend and mentor in cooking and life, The Honorable Chef Sam Choy Hawaii’s Ambassador to ALL good things Food, Family and Friends we hope to see you next year thanks for the opportunity!
Cheers and good food, Kevin Gries