Month: February 2019

Mark Your Calendars: The Sixth Annual OC Chef’s Table

From Dining Out, Thurs, Feb. 28th

Notable chefs Rich Mead of Farmhouse at Roger’s Garden, Ernie Alvarado of URBANA, Joseph Tripi of Trevor’s at the Tracks, and many more will gather for an evening of food, fun, and, most importantly, charity. Welcome the return of OC Chef’s Table.

Dubbed the “Premier Chef’s Event of Orange County,” the sixth annual OC Chef’s Table will draw over 40 phenomenal chefs from across Southern California for one spectacular night. On March 3, these seasoned chefs will gather at the Disneyland® Hotel and cook alongside one another for charity. Preparing their favorite recipes tableside, guests can experience all the culinary magic up close and personal. (Speaking of magic, you may even catch Mickey and Minnie Mouse on-site, too!)

Chef Peter Lai of The Blind Rabbit, chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish, celebrity chef and Food Network personality Jet Tila, and more are on this year’s roster. “I’ve been involved in a number of charity events and dinners, but OC Chef’s Table has really had an impact on me,” said chef Tila. “People are coming together with this heightened sense of community to be involved in something that is such a crucial issue for our fellow human beings. There’s really nothing like it.”

Answering the call in the name of charity, a number of LA-based chefs will land in OC to lend a helping hand, including Jason Neroni of Rosé Cafe in Santa Monica and chef Tyler Gugliotta of Baran’s 2239 in Hermosa Beach. World-renowned chef Martin Molteni—winner of the acclaimed cooking competition Bocuse d’Or—will also be in attendance, cooking alongside his award-winning brother and chef, Mariano Molteni.

But beyond the glitz and glamour, giving back is at the heart of the event. Partnering with the Illumination Foundation since its inception, the gala’s purpose is to break the cycle of homelessness. Founded in 2007, the Illumination Foundation provides permanent housing and services for homeless adults and children in Orange County and L.A. Basin. As of March 2018, the charity has raised an unprecedented 1 million dollars for the cause. “It is extraordinary to see these amazing chefs offer so much time and effort and culinary talent to our annual OC Chef’s Table,” says Illumination Foundation co-founder Paul Leon. “Their partnership allows us to touch and change literally thousands of homeless adult and children’s lives. It’s really very humbling for all of us.” The funds will directly benefit multiple programs of the Illumination Foundation, including mental and physical health services, career counseling, and a tutoring center for children. In addition, the proceeds of the evening will go toward building the country’s first-ever recuperative care center, providing a refuge for homeless children and teens to recover after being hospitalized.

OC Chef’s Table will be held March 3 at the Disneyland® Hotel. To reserve your tickets or look into sponsorship opportunities, visit occhefstable.com.

Illumination Foundation’s OC Chef’s Table To Honor Anaheim Emergency Shelter’s Leadership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – ORANGE, CA. – Feb 19, 2019 – The 6th annual Illumination Foundation OC Chef’s Table returns this year on Sunday, March 3rd, 2019. Presented once again by the Disneyland® Resort, the event will be Illumination Foundation’s largest yet with 41 of the most acclaimed chefs from Orange County and L.A. eateries participating.

As the OC Chef’s Table gala seeks to raise funds for more emergency housing for homeless individuals and families, the event is also honoring the four gentlemen behind the rapid completion of the temporary Anaheim Emergency Shelter, which opened on Dec. 21st and will be closing shortly when the nearby permanent shelter opens its doors.

OC Chef’s Table special honorees include:
Bill Taormina, CEO & Founder of Clean City
Dan Young, CEO & Founder of Camino Enterprises
Todd Ament, CEO of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce
Mayor Harry Sidhu, who insisted on this enterprise even before being sworn in as Anaheim’s new Mayor

From a vast, empty warehouse, the 200-bed Emergency homeless shelter was constructed in less than three weeks with kitchen and restroom facilities and semi-private rooms offering new beds and nightstands.  It provided the county’s first around-the-clock shelter with Illumination Foundation’s personnel providing wrap-around services that included three daily meals, healthcare assistance, mental and substance abuse assistance, work force counseling and more.

“What these gentlemen did as a team literally changed the whole culture of Orange County and how it deals with homelessness,” said Illumination Foundation Co-Founder Paul Leon.

“This was an undertaking that just about everyone said would be impossible to do in such a short timeframe,” Leon continued. “In the end, it proved that public and private interests can work together and, as a collective community, we can make miracles happen.”

Popular Restaurateur and Chef Maro Molteni to Operate Royal Hawaiian

Popular Restaurateur and Chef Mariano (“Maro”) Molteni has announced plans to operate the iconic Laguna Beach-based restaurant, Royal Hawaiian at 331 N. Coast Highway.

The restaurant closed temporarily on Tuesday, Jan. 22nd, with plans to re-open shortly after Maro and his brother, Martin, participate in March 3rd’s renowned OC Chef’s Table for the Illumination Foundation. The two are joining 40 other top-ranked Orange County and L.A. chefs to raise funding to help the non-profit break the cycle of homelessness.

Royal Hawaiian’s storied history
An iconic landmark since 1947, Royal Hawaiian most recently changed ownership in 2015 when Mo Honarkar purchased the commercial block that includes the restaurant. A management team within the Honarkar ranks re-opened the restaurant at that time, and has since been operating the well-known “tiki bar” concept.

In the new agreement, Honarkar’s company will act as landlord while Molteni owns and operates the restaurant’s business.

“When we acquired the famed tiki bar and restaurant in 2015, we worked hard to restore its status as a beloved local hangout,” said Hasty Honarkar, Vice President of Concept Creation for Laguna Creative Ventures.

“Over the last three years we’ve made a lot of wonderful memories with our Laguna and Tiki ‘ohana,” she continued. “We look forward to having a Lapu Lapu when the Royal Hawaiian reopens soon!”

A long road and a short drive from Maro Wood Grill
After years of success and accolades at his Laguna Beach restaurant, Maro Wood Grill, Chef Maro Molteni sold his restaurant in July 2017, allowing the new owners to keep his moniker. He and his family returned to Argentina, where he worked with older chef brother, Martin, on completing and debuting a number of large culinary projects.

Upon returning to Laguna Beach a year later, Molteni was determined to find a larger restaurant space in Laguna. In late October he connected with Honarkar, whose own Laguna commercial properties house a few ideal restaurant spaces. After waiting through the busy holiday season, the two entities made it official.

Four week countdown to re-opening begins
While Maro Molteni has already begun work on interviews, hiring, and  interior and kitchen changes, his older brother, Chef Martin Molteni, is helping with kitchen management decisions and the revised Polynesian menu.

Martin Molteni, officially deemed “The Best Chef of Argentina,” will be joining his brother in the new venture. The two brothers have independently collected a host of awards and accolades regionally and internationally, but have decided to devote “the next decade ahead” to collaborating and creating successful concepts together.

Chef Martin will return in February for an extended stay. Over the next year, he plans to travel regularly between Laguna Beach and the culinary empire he has created in Argentina.

A return of more than just vintage drinks
Born and raised in Argentina, the Molteni brothers will continue to pay homage to Royal Hawaiian’s Polynesian culture, particularly as wood-grilled beef, chicken, pork and seafood is so much a part of that world. For centuries, Hawaiians have crafted their meals over open wood fires in the great outdoors, a culinary skill that syncs beautifully with similar Argentinian heritage. “

“After the Royal Hawaiian opened in 1947, it enjoyed decades as the “go-to” place for the greatest steak and freshest fish around,” said Chef Maro.

“Of course, the Lapu Lapu drink is never going to go away, but the real ‘nostalgia’ we’re interested in has to do with creating that amazing Polynesian steakhouse again,” he said.