Thursday, August 5, 2010

8/6 - Octavio Becerra, Frank Glaser, Steve Evans,

 Octavio Becerra  Chef / Principal  "Palate Restaurant"
Octavio’s culinary career was inspired by a chance meeting with chef Joachim Splichal during the summer of 1984. After that profound encounter, Splichal mentored his young protégé, first in the kitchen of Max Au Triangle restaurant in Beverly Hills, and then in France and Spain, where Splichal arranged for Becerra to work for two years in some of Europe’s two and three star Michelin restaurants. Shortly after Becerra’s return to the US, Splichal opened Patina Restaurant and Becerra again joined his mentor. Just one year later, he was named executive chef of the renowned restaurant. Together, they then opened the first of the Pinot restaurants, Pinot Bistro in Studio City, with Becerra as the executive chef and partner. Since then, Becerra has been instrumental in the success and growth of The Patina Group, playing a major part in the launches of each new restaurant. As Vice President, Chef and Co Founder of The Patina Group, Becerra supervised the daily operations of 12 of the 30 plus Patina Group restaurants. Becerra’s fingerprint on the culinary identity and brand of The Patina Group played a vital role in the evolution of The Patina Group.Becerra has also accumulated accolades from the critics. The James Beard Foundation nominated him twice for “Rising Star Chef Of The Year”, he has been featured in Bon Appetit magazine, and Nations Restaurant News featured him as one of the nations “50 New Taste Makers.” After sixteen years, Becerra departed The Patina Group to pursue his own venture.

Frank Glaser - Owner -  James Candy & Fralinger's Salt Water Taffy
Legend has it that Salt Water Taffy received its name by accident. A young candy merchant, opened a taffy stand on the first Atlantic City Boardwalk - then just two steps above sea level. One night a generous tide brought in a lively surf which sprayed sea foam over his establishment and dampened his stock of candy. The next morning, the merchant was dismayed to find his merchandise wet and responded to a girl's request for taffy with a sarcastic but witty, "you mean Salt Water Taffy." The name, stuck! At the same time Joseph Fralinger, a former glassblower and fish merchant, opened a retail store on the Boardwalk. Within a year, Fralinger had added a taffy concession and spent the winter perfecting the Salt Water Taffy formula, first using molasses, then chocolate and vanilla, eventually reaching 25 flavors As Fralinger's grew to six locations, he decided that Salt Water Taffy should return home with resort visitors. Using experience from his fish merchant days, he packed one pound oyster boxes with Salt Water Taffy, making it the first "Atlantic City Souvenir." The one pound box still remains the most popular souvenir almost 125 years later. By 1899 Salt Water Taffy had become a household word across America!  Meanwhile, confectioner Enoch James and his sons claim to have been making Salt Water Taffy before they introduced it on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in the 1880's. After many years of working for large candy companies throughout the country, Mr. James brought his family to Atlantic City to sell their "original" Salt Water Taffy.  Enoch James developed a high quality recipe that would not pull out one's teeth. He also eliminated the stickiness that made the taffy and its wrapper inseparable. The result was a smooth, rich, wholesome taffy available in a variety of flavors and a new "Cut-to-fit-the-mouth" shape. The James' product line soon extended to chocolate dipped Salt Water Taffy, filled centers, chocolate taffy pops, macaroons and boardwalk fudge. Enoch James' packaged his confections in seashore novelties such as the "barrel" and "satchel" that are still popular today.  In the 1880's, Salt Water Taffy was cooked in copper kettles over open coal fires, cooled on marble slabs, and pulled on a large hook on the wall. Pulling the taffy was designed to add air to the corn syrup and sugar confection. By draping 10 to 25 pounds of cooled taffy over the hook and then pulling it away from the hook, the taffy stretched. When the taffy reached five or six feet in length, the puller looped the taffy back over the hook, folding it onto itself and trapping air between the two lengths. An accomplished taffy puller would work quickly and listen for the familiar swish sound, then the smack or slap sound of the two lengths as they joined as one. This process of aeration helped to keep the taffy soft and prevented stickiness. The pulled taffy was then shaped by hand rolling it on a marble or wooden table into ¼ inch diameter snake. It was then cut to the proper length with scissors. And finally, the taffy was wrapped in a pre-cut piece of paper with a twist at both ends. All of this was done by hand and usually within the sight of Boardwalk strollers who were eager for entertainment.  By 1907, the James' family had updated the manufacturing process to include taffy wrapping machines, the first candy pulling machines, electric tempering ovens, and vacuum cooking kettles. These machines made great strides for the taffy manufacturing process and are the basis of how taffy is still made today. Whoever was the originator of Salt Water Taffy, Enoch James' and Joseph Fralinger's original recipes and excellence in candy making have been preserved through the sands of time. Although Salt Water Taffy may have gotten its name by "accident," the millions who enjoy Salt Water Taffy from James' and Fralinger's, can attest that our quality is no accident!   We still make all of our candy the old-fashioned way using the original recipes and finest ingredients. As a fifth generation family-owned business, we're proud to continue the candy making tradition began by James' and Fralinger's.

Steve Evans - "The Movie Guy"
Tips on the best & worst this weekend at the Box Office. Steve reviews and comments on all the latest from Hollywood and gets the story behind the film.A veteran of the industry, "The Movie Guy" says exactly how he feels about the movies that you will be watching this weekend. Mike Horn comments on the lineup of big screen offerings but does not always agree with what Steve has to say. This is the movie review program to listen to every week and get the "real deal".