Italian

Los Angeles Chocolate Salon

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Los Angeles Chocolate Salon is HERE!

LA Chocolate Salon

Chocolate Lovers… The 9th Annual Los Angeles Chocolate Salon takes place Saturday, September 26 in Pasadena. Immerse yourself in everything chocolate at this one-day event featuring world-class Chocolatiers, celebrity guest speakers, tastings of artisan and premiere chocolates, chocolate liqueurs, and enjoy chocolate demonstrations by noted Los Angeles Chefs and Pastry Chefs.

Participating Chocolatiers will be judged in this prestigious event based on flavor, artistic style, design, overall quality and more judging categories.

chocolates at the LA Chocolate Salon

No stranger to the prestigious Chocolate Salon is Amy Jo (Valenza) Pedone, founder of Valenza Chocolatier, who shares that luxury chocolates are a true art form that takes a lot of patience. Recently, Amy Jo stopped by Bikini Lifestyles for a chat about all things chocolate and her recent success at the International Chocolate Awards.

Amy Jo Valenza Pedone

Amy Jo Valenza Pedone

BL: Why chocolate, Amy Jo?

AVP: Passion. It comes from passion. In 2008, I was working in a corporate job that wasn’t “me”, I lost my cousin to ovarian cancer and my world just caved in. I remembered the times I cherished most were making chocolate truffles and holiday cookies with my mom. Chocolate comes from my soul.

BL: That’s a good soul to have. What did you do?

AVP: I had no kitchen or culinary experience so I studied with an accredited chocolate program for one year and then journeyed back to my roots to Italy for my apprenticeship. From Milan to Torino, I worked with master Chocolatiers in the Piedmont region of Italy which is known as the capital of chocolate. I also learned to make traditional Italian chocolate pieces from the areas largest Italian chocolate maker ICAM Choco Scuola. [For Amy’s full story, read ABOUT at ValenzaChocolatier.com]

BL: Your chocolates are amazing. What is your favorite part about it?

AVP: Seeing the expressions on people’s faces when they taste my chocolate… that is the ultimate satisfaction. Each of my chocolates has a story behind it. They are hand-rolled, made to order with no preservatives, no additives, no machines… just quality ingredients including the finest Italian ingredients and a lot of love.

Valenza signature chocolates

Valenza signature chocolates

BL: What tips do you have for the home-chef?

AVP: There is a science and skill behind chocolate. The easiest to make at home is to make a Dark Ganache because there is no tempering required. Use a 2 : 1 ratio; 2 dark chocolate, 1 heavy cream. You can steep the heavy cream in fresh herbs, citrus to get different flavor profiles.

BL: A lot of home-chefs get frustrated when they do everything the same but their chocolates come out differently. Any tips?

AVP: Many factors are involved in getting chocolate tempered just right. Room temperature, humidity, quality of the chocolate are just a few of the elements that can vary and must be on target to get consistently good results. And, patience. If there is anything chocolate has taught me, it’s patience.

Amy Jo’s Valenza Chocolatier chocolates took “Best of Salon” at the 2014 Los Angeles Chocolate Salon. This year she will be showcasing some of her Italian specialties. Stop by, taste some of her incredible chocolates and say hi to Amy Jo at the 2015 LA Chocolate Salon on Saturday. And, visit ValenzaChocolatier.com for more on where to buy Valenza Chocolatier chocolates.

Valenza chocolates logo

Valenza Bon Bons of Gold are the signature artisan chocolates for the Golden Foodie Awards and recently advanced to the World Finals of the esteemed International Chocolate Awards. Her one-woman chocolate business will compete as the only United States company in a nut-based category next month, taking place October 17 in London on the main stage at The Chocolate Show at Olympia National Hall. With the submission of only this product from their collection, Valenza Chocolatier® was awarded SILVER for their Gianduiotti Maximo in the Nut/Gianduiotto category in the 2015 Americas Competition of the International Chocolate Awards. Made with 100% imported Piedmontese hazelnuts and 61% dark single bean Venezuelan chocolate, their Gianduiotti are truly authentic, based on the traditional Italian rules dating back to 1865 in Torino, Italy from the shape, percentage of Piedmontese hazelnuts, method of forming and foil wrapping by hand. With this win, a formal invitation was granted for these handmade chocolates to journey across the world to compete at the World Final, against the Italians who are known for award-winning Gianduiotti (Gianduia).

“To have the opportunity to compete against the Italians in this category is truly an unbelievable honor. This brings a high-level of authenticity and validation for my business mission, which is to create Italian inspired artisan chocolates and confections in the United States” said Amy Jo.

Valenza Chocolatier® was awarded the 2015 Six Star Grand Master Award for Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America by The International Chocolate Salon and TasteTV based on cumulative awards during the 2014 year, included Gold Award for Best Salon at LA Chocolate Salon plus twenty-two other awards.

tastings at the LA Chocolate Salon

The Los Angeles Chocolate Salon this weekend… Celebrating chocolate lovers in Southern California, meet Amy Jo Valenza Pedone and other participants including chocolatiers, confectioners, and culinary artisans, among these:

Get your tastebuds salivating with a look at participants here, LAChocolateSalon.com (go to PARTICIPANTS)

•Marco Paolo Chocolates
•Valenza Chocolatier
•Amara Chocolate & Coffee
•Mignon Chocolate Boutique
•Taza Chocolate
•Sweet Milalani
•Choctal
•Droga Chocolates
•Copper Cauldron Candy Co
•Chocxo Bean to Bar Chocolatier
•Marti Chocolatt
•Tequila Alquimia
•Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts
•Meetup.com
•Chocolate Television
•Chocolate-themed art creations from Eye Heart Art
•and more…
•Amano Artisan Chocolate
•Amella Caramels
•The Tea Room Chocolate Company
•David Bacco Chocolatier
•Truffles N Toffee
•Fera’wyn’s Artisan Chocolates
•Pacari Chocolate
•Chocolatier Eve
•Les Beaux Chocolats
•Dove Chocolate Discoveries
•Gourmet Blends
•Monterey Chocolate Company
•The Gourmandise School
•New Orleans Bill
•TasteTV

Guest Speakers, Authors, and Presentations:
• Demonstrations from Le Cordon Bleu instructors
• Award-winning KABC Radio Host and creator of The Bikini Chef® Susan Irby on healthy eating and chocolate
• The Gourmandise School from Santa Monica.
• Lee Scott Theisen Ph.D.
•Amy Reiley, Author Fork Me, Spoon Me & Romancing the Stove
•Dave Shelton, Actor/Screenwriter
• Jessica Ferraro, Bar Cacao
and more!

Just what is a salon? SALON:
1.An assembly of guests in such a room, esp. an assembly, consisting of the leaders in society, art, politics, food, etc.
2.A hall or place used for the exhibition of works of art.
3.A shop, business, or department of a store offering a specific product or service, esp. one catering to a fashionable clientele
4. Or, a fabulous place to taste gourmet, luxury, award-winning chocolates!!!!

Chocolatiers at the Los Angeles Chocolate Salon

Chocolatiers at the Los Angeles Chocolate Salon

WHEN:
Saturday, September 26, 2015
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m
Full details at: LAChocolateSalon.com

WHERE:
The Pasadena Center, Conference Building
300 Green Street
PasadenaCenter.com

TICKET INFORMATION:
*All Tasting & Events Included with Entry*
Adults: $20 Advance Purchase
Adults: $25 Door
Children under 6: Free*
Children, 6 to 12: $10
*Applies to 2 children per adult. Each additional child under 6: $10

Follow us on Twitter @ChocolateSalon


The Palm West Hollywood Closes Its Doors…

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

The Palm West Hollywood Closes Its Doors… but don’t fear, it will re-open soon in Beverly Hills. Here’s my story. Bar beginnings at The Palm West Hollywood

The time is New York City, 1926. Two Italians from Parma, Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi, opened their first restaurant at 837 Second Avenue in Manhattan. Immediately, The Palm restaurant was a hit with the New York elite attracting journalists and cartoonists from the New York Daily Mirror, Hearst and King Features, among others. It was the cartoonists who set the stage for the caricatures on the walls as Bozzi and Ganzi had no money to decorate their new restaurant. In exchange for meals, cartoonists would draw cartoons and caricatures of the restaurant regulars and successful cartoons such as Popeye, Batman, and Beetle-Bailey. It wasn’t long before the caricatures became tradition at every Palm restaurant to follow.

Caricatures at The Palm West Hollywood

The original menu featured crowd-pleasing Italian meals and fine cocktails, yet staying true to their philosophy – treat guests like family, serve great food, and always exceed expectations – just as family would do. Bozzi and Ganzi added steak and in later years, lobster, to the menu by request. The restaurant was such a huge success the duo decided to expand. First to D.C. and then to the west – West Hollywood that is. Opening October 1975, Hollywood stars and studio execs embraced the beloved dining establishment. The walls began to fill up with caracitures of celebrities, studio executives, and loyal patrons alike, which has served as a tribute to stories of Hollywood past and present.

Everybody is welcome at The Palm

It was these esteemed Hollywood drawings that first intrigued me upon my inaugural visit in the mid-90’s. As a new arrival to Los Angeles, I had never heard of The Palm restaurant nor sunk my teeth into the now famous three-pound lobster, my favorite dish, of course. Dimly lit with a modest and welcoming bar, I felt like I had stepped into someone’s home drawing room or library. Dining with friends had never been more spectacular. The food was some of the finest I had ever eaten. I sat in a booth absorbing the ambiance like a neophyte Angeleno. It was exciting and comfortable, all at the same time. That’s the way The Palm in West Hollywood will always be remembered, even as the restaurant served its final meals on Tuesday, September 30th.

The Palm Established 1926

I recently stopped in to enjoy my final meal at what will go down in my personal culinary history as one of my favorite restaurants of all time. It’s not just that my friend, the former good-looking leading guest-star actor of the 70’s, Dennis Cole, and I shared chardonnays and filet mignon there together and that his caricature is right in the front of the restaurant next to his former wife and Charlie’s Angel, Jacquelyn Smith. Nor is it the memories of eating 4 of the three-pound lobsters and enjoying 2 bottles of champagne with my second husband (and luckily neither having to drive). Nor the dinners with clients and friends and nightcaps after a local play. It’s more than just those memories. It’s the hospitality, the inviting personalities that greet you when you walk in the door no matter if you are an A-list celebrity or the guy or gal who loves LA and chooses to live there. It’s the servers that have been a part of The Palm family some for 10, 20 or 30 years. It’s the way they aim to please and welcome special requests like extra char on a filet, and asking the chef just how does he get those lobsters grilled to perfection yet not overdone? What a thrill to be invited into the kitchen — pre-professional-culinary-expert-days — to view his technique firsthand. It’s not just those memories; it’s the feeling of being in a place where you belong with perhaps a hundred other diners you don’t know. Those are the memories I will treasure.

I miss my friend, Dennis Cole

On my last visit, I sat down, in true Palm fashion, with my friend, Genevieve Morrill of the West Hollywood (WeHo) Chamber of Commerce and asked her to share what The Palm in West Hollywood has meant to her and to the City of WeHo. Right out of the gate she blared, “they are making a huge mistake, huge!” which I immediately flashed on another icon, Julia Roberts, in the film “Pretty Woman”. You know the scene. “The Palm is such an institution,” shares Genevieve. “All this nostalgia is going away.” I agree. Even though generations will be able to enjoy the new Palm in Beverly Hills, there is no re-creating the nostalgia experienced in West Hollywood. “This is the Melrose Triangle”, states Genevieve. The Melrose Triangle, she explains, is one of the most significant gateway developments between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, both signature cities within the Los Angeles community, and both well loved by celebrities, visitors from around the world, and locals alike. “The Palm West Hollywood has been a relevant part of that era,” states Genevieve. “It will surely be missed.”
Crabcakes at The Palm

“But I don’t expect West Hollywood to crumble when The Palm closes,” Genevieve continued. “There is a big demand for locations here. West Hollywood is exploding with notable stars like Oprah, Drew Barrymore, and Will Ferrell establishing offices and more.” Add to the celebrity factor, high pedestrian traffic, spurring economic growth, and more parking development makes WeHo a community to contend with. West Hollywood is not just holding its own among dining and retail establishments but making its mark as a true destination for everything hip, tasty, and fun.”

The Three Pound Lobster at The Palm

While we will miss The Palm in West Hollywood, we will look forward to crossing through the Melrose Gateway into Beverly Hills to make new nostalgic moments at their new location. But, for Genevieve and others like me, we will hold dear to our hearts our memories of the first “west” palm location – The Palm West Hollywood. When I asked Genevieve what her favorite meal was at The Palm WeHo, a broad smile came across her adorable face as she replied, “lobster, of course! And the waiters – their professional career is to be your server! Where can you get service like that?!” And so, The Palm has closed and yet, lives on.

Bar beginnings at The Palm West Hollywood

Visit the new The Palm restaurant in Beverly Hills opening November 2014. >> ThePalm.com


Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” Promo 3

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Bikini Lifestyles Videos

Internationally acclaimed cookbook author and an award nominated radio host, Susan Irby The Bikini Chef is joined by co-hosts, Denice Fladeboe and Steve Valentine during the 6-episode, half-hour television series Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” launching on National Public Television and independent cable networks April 2012.

In its first season, Bikini Lifestyles heads into the kitchens of celebrity chefs to cook healthy, delicious “bikini cuisine”~ foods that make you look and feel confident. When these entertaining and energetic hosts have wined and dined, they head to the gym, Pilates, and the outdoors for workouts with top fitness experts. Susan, Denice and Steve share fashions from internationally acclaimed designers to finish off the show with a champagne toast sending “gourmet wishes and flattering waistlines.”

Bikini Lifestyles season one features: 2011 CNN Hero Chef Bruno Serato, Anaheim White House, Iron Chef contestant Victor Casanova, Culina Modern Italian at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, Food Network champion Chef Richard Ruskell, Montage Beverly Hills, James Beard nominated Chef Brendan Collins, Waterloo and City, and Award-winning Chef Celestino Drago, Drago Centro. Top fitness experts include: author Dr. Levi Harrison, celebrity trainer Marco Reed, Skinnylates creator Amy Cady, internationally acclaimed fitness expert JJ Virgin, tennis pro Randy Myers, and celebrity trainer Paul Jurevich. Bikini Lifestyles is underwritten by Fortun Finishing Touch Sauces, visit: http://www.fortunfoods.com


Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” Promo 1

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Bikini Lifestyles Videos

Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” Promo 1

Internationally acclaimed cookbook author and an award nominated radio host, Susan Irby The Bikini Chef is joined by co-hosts, Denice Fladeboe and Steve Valentine during the 6-episode, half-hour television series Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” launching on National Public Television and independent cable networks April 2012.

In its first season, Bikini Lifestyles heads into the kitchens of celebrity chefs to cook healthy, delicious “bikini cuisine”~ foods that make you look and feel confident. When these entertaining and energetic hosts have wined and dined, they head to the gym, Pilates, and the outdoors for workouts with top fitness experts. Susan, Denice and Steve share fashions from internationally acclaimed designers to finish off the show with a champagne toast sending “gourmet wishes and flattering waistlines.”

Bikini Lifestyles season one features: 2011 CNN Hero Chef Bruno Serato, Anaheim White House, Iron Chef contestant Victor Casanova, Culina Modern Italian at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, Food Network champion Chef Richard Ruskell, Montage Beverly Hills, James Beard nominated Chef Brendan Collins, Waterloo and City, and Award-winning Chef Celestino Drago, Drago Centro. Top fitness experts include: author Dr. Levi Harrison, celebrity trainer Marco Reed, Skinnylates creator Amy Cady, internationally acclaimed fitness expert JJ Virgin, tennis pro Randy Myers, and celebrity trainer Paul Jurevich. Bikini Lifestyles is underwritten by Fortun Finishing Touch Sauces, visit: http://www.fortunfoods.com


Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” Promo 2

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Bikini Lifestyles Videos

Internationally acclaimed cookbook author and an award nominated radio host, Susan Irby The Bikini Chef is joined by co-hosts, Denice Fladeboe and Steve Valentine during the 6-episode, half-hour television series Bikini Lifestyles “Wine, Dine, and Workout” launching on National Public Television and independent cable networks April 2012.

In its first season, Bikini Lifestyles heads into the kitchens of celebrity chefs to cook healthy, delicious “bikini cuisine”~ foods that make you look and feel confident. When these entertaining and energetic hosts have wined and dined, they head to the gym, Pilates, and the outdoors for workouts with top fitness experts. Susan, Denice and Steve share fashions from internationally acclaimed designers to finish off the show with a champagne toast sending “gourmet wishes and flattering waistlines.”

Bikini Lifestyles season one features: 2011 CNN Hero Chef Bruno Serato, Anaheim White House, Iron Chef contestant Victor Casanova, Culina Modern Italian at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, Food Network champion Chef Richard Ruskell, Montage Beverly Hills, James Beard nominated Chef Brendan Collins, Waterloo and City, and Award-winning Chef Celestino Drago, Drago Centro. Top fitness experts include: author Dr. Levi Harrison, celebrity trainer Marco Reed, Skinnylates creator Amy Cady, internationally acclaimed fitness expert JJ Virgin, tennis pro Randy Myers, and celebrity trainer Paul Jurevich. Bikini Lifestyles is underwritten by Fortun Finishing Touch Sauces, visit: http://www.fortunfoods.com


BIKINI LIFESTYLES to Debut on PBS – LAdineNclub.com

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Press

We all love to wine and dine, and with that pleasure is the need to workout and make sure we don’t fall into a dangerous gluttony cycle. That’s where Bikini Lifestyles: Wine, Dine and Workout comes in handy. Debuting April 15 on PBS, the show will focus on eating healthy, feeling better and working out.

Bikini Lifestyles

Internationally acclaimed cookbook author Susan Irby, known around the world as The Bikini Chef, will team up with personalities Denice Fladeboe and Steve Valentine as hosts of the program. The six-episode, half-hour series heads into the kitchens of celebrity chefs to cook healthy, delicious “bikini cuisine”, i.e., foods that make you look and feel confident. When the wining and dining is over, the show’s entertaining and energetic hosts then workout with top fitness experts, whether that means heading to the gym, doing Pilates, or simply getting fit outdoors.

Susan, Denice and Steve will share fashions from internationally acclaimed designers to finish off the show with a champagne toast sending “gourmet wishes and flattering waistlines.” This is the show to watch for gourmet bikini recipes, kitchen and fitness tips…all the tools you need to live your very own Bikini Lifestyle.

Bikini Lifestylesseason one features 2011 CNN Hero Chef Bruno Serato, Anaheim White House; Iron Chef contestant Victor Casanova, Culina Modern Italian at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills; Food Network champion Chef Richard Ruskell, Montage Beverly Hills; James Beard nominated Chef Brendan Collins, Waterloo and City; and award-winning Chef Celestino Drago, Drago Centro.
Bikini Lifestyles
Top fitness experts include author Dr. Levi Harrison; celebrity trainer Marco Reed; Skinnylates creator Amy Cady; internationally acclaimed fitness expert JJ Virgin; tennis pro Randy Myers; and celebrity trainer Paul Jurevich.

Chef Susan Irby, The Bikini Chef, is an eight-time cookbook author helping people obtain their healthy “bikini” goals by focusing on a lifestyle change rather than a short-term diet. She is also the host of the well-loved Bikini Lifestylesprogram on 790 KABC radio Los Angeles with listeners spanning the globe from Italy to Australia, Canada and beyond. Denice Fladeboe is president of Fladeboe Automotive Group of Irvine, one of Southern California’s largest dealerships. Celebrity public relations expert Steve Valentine is founder of Valentine Group L.A., which handles high profile clientele, such as Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Los Angeles Magazine, and Sofitel Beverly Hills. Valentine has been an integral part of the Bikini Lifestyles team for two years.

Listen to The Bikini Lifestyle with Susan Irby every Saturday on Talk Radio 790 KABC at 7 p.m.

Bikini Lifestyles