Modern Fusion Bites Paired With Chef Inspiration

by Tanaya Ghosh | TanayasTable.com

TEMP tempo octo

Marinated Grilled Octopus (all photos by Tanaya Ghosh)

These days, the novelty and excitement when the words “modern American” and “fusion food” come to mind have pretty much worn off, at least compared to a few years ago. However, let me tell you about a great spot in Brea, CA doing something very different from your average New American restaurant. Something that’s worth getting excited about again.

Tempo Urban Kitchen does New American fusion food on shareable plates, using modern techniques and interesting flavor combinations. At the Gigasavvy Social Club dinner, we enjoyed a tasting menu of memorable bites prepared for us by accomplished Chefs Chris Tzorin, Charlie Medina & Salvador Carrillo, all age 30 and under.

Chef Chris Tzorin, a recent winner of Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, is a friend of mine whose story inspires me and many others to keep striving for success, despite the cards you are dealt in life.

Chef Chris grew up in the fine dining industry, as his dad was a chef. “My dad would cook at home, my mom too, and we would sit together at the table and talk about how the week was together as a family,” he reminisced.

“My dad always told me I’d be better than him one day, and now I tell Armani (his young son) the same thing, so he can take it to the next level when he grows up. He hangs out with me in the kitchen.” Indeed, Armani was right there with his dad that night at the tasting, wearing his own little personalized chef’s coat!

However, when the accomplished chef lost his other son, Chris, it changed him forever. He teared up as he spoke of little Chris, and said that after going through such a dark and trying time, “That’s why you hardly see me upset. Life could be so much worse. I want to be able to experience a lot in life, and meet as many people (as I can) and inspire them.”

I suppose I especially wanted to share Chef Chris’s story because I see a lot of myself in the way he’s grown from his personal tragedies, and how he’s transformed it into something that drives him every day to do the most with the life he’s been given. And although the two losses are not comparable, as no two losses are, I share a similar outlook on life after losing my best friend, my mother, much too early. Chef Chris’s story inspires me, as I hope it will inspire many of you, to always keep pushing forward with the best attitude possible, to accomplish great things.

Chef Chris explained that it was his two boys for whom he brought his A game to win Guy’s Grocery Games on Food Network. “(After) two divorces and losing a child, after all the things I’ve been through… the blood, pain and tears, I’m still here.” And thank goodness, since he not only inspires people now, but makes amazing food in the kitchen, day in and day out.

Now that Chef Chris’s expansive career has led him to Tempo Urban Kitchen, he says he’s open to learning some newer techniques from the two younger chefs, Chef Salvador & Chef Charlie, who are big on molecular gastronomy.

“Here, we’re bringing more urban-style, outside-the-box food. Some will say, ‘No, you’re not supposed to do that,’ I’m gonna do it anyway…. I just want people to recognize me for who I am, and why I cook. It’s my life on a plate,” he concluded.

And with that, here’s what Chef Chris, Chef Charlie and Chef Salvador created for us at the coursed dinner:

Upon arrival, after a tour of the kitchen, we took a seat with fellow influencers who were also invited to this delightful dining experience. We started off with an Old Fashioned and a refreshing Mango Serrano Margarita with a Tajin rim.

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Then, it was time to eat! The first course was Marinated Grilled Octopus, made by Chef Chris Tzorin. The octopus was plated on a wooden plank, as were all the dishes. The menu items are meant to be shared, to encourage more social interaction at the table, as Chef Chris explained. The tender, charred octopus was served with guajillo chili oil, creamy serrano chili sauce, lime cream and chipotle mayo, along with a garnish of fresh microgreens. All the different sauces made for a customized experience, as we could choose which bit of sauce to dip our octopus into.

TEMP temp pork belly

Next up was a Korean-inspired, succulent Slow Roasted Pork Belly by Chef Charlie Medina. The soy lime glaze imparted a great tangy, savory flavor, and the tortilla puree it rested on was a unique element that brought the dish together as a “deconstructed Korean taco,” as Chef Charlie described it. The red cabbage kimchi and crema sauce completed the dish, along with a thin slice of rolled mango for a bit of sweet freshness. What made the pork extra juicy was its slow cooking in a traditional Caja China roasting box.

TEMP tempo steak

Our last savory dish was the Slow-Cooked Short Rib by Chef Salvador Carrillo. This brightly colored dish was created with yellow mustard seeds (what they called “vegan caviar”), pickled carrots wrapped in thin New York-style ham, and a bold brush of beet sauce across the plate. When Chef Salvador said “slow-cooked,” he really meant slow, as the cooking of the short rib for 28 hours made it extra tender.

TEMP temp ice cream

After the drinks and three shared protein dishes, a cart rolled out for tableside ice cream! We watched in anticipation as the ice cream fully froze right before our eyes. Minutes later, as wisps of liquid nitrogen lifted, vanilla ginger ice cream emerged! The liquid nitrogen technique made the ice cream extra creamy in texture, and the mini cones they rested in gave a great crunch to the dessert. What a fun way to end a great dining experience!

Thanks to Tempo Urban Kitchen and Gigasavvy Social Club for having us. Go here for more information on visiting for a unique and memorable dining experience!

Until next time, let’s connect on social media!

Instagram: @tanayas.table

Twitter: @TanayasTable

TanayasTable.com

Cheers!

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VIDEO: Sneak Peek At Knott’s Boysenberry Festival

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You know the main reason I was so excited to attend the Knott’s Berry Farm media preview a couple days ago? It’s because I pass it on my way to the gym EVERY DAY. Well, every day I go to the gym, that is ;).

Although I really love my MMA kickboxing class, every time I pass by Knott’s I kind of secretly wish I were going there instead. I mean, who wouldn’t pick a theme park over the gym, right? What a tease.

I was also excited because I LOVE boysenberry, and I geek out over creative ways to incorporate a particular ingredient into a variety of sweet and savory dishes. The chefs at Knott’s executed that concept very well, with over 70 boysenberry-infused bites of theme park gastronomical glee. Here’s a glimpse into some of the bites you can expect to have, along with more below:

So yes, that Fun Bun is indeed a gigantic cinnamon roll dipped in funnel cake batter and deep fried… then slathered in boysenberry cream cheese! It was absolutely gooey and delicious on the inside, with a nice tanginess to the cream smothered on the outside. I highly recommend getting one and sharing… or not!

Whether you love roller coaster thrills or not, if you’re a foodie thrill-seeker you’ll appreciate the crispy alligator bites with a creamy boysenberry aioli to dip your reptile nuggets into. Check them out in the video, and shoutout to my buddy Nick of @grubfiend for being my alligator hand model and dropping some funnel cake “knowledge” in there.

I decided to try the gator bites on Snapchat (find me at TanayasTable) with a couple of my foodie friends, Yohana of @foodnvibes and Naomi of @xodaydreamers, with Brenda filming! The conclusion we came to is that it does taste like chicken, but it has a chewier texture. So I suppose you could say it tastes like if a chicken and a squid had a baby… and then you ate that baby?! Ah, never mind! Well you know what I mean, right? 😉

Other bites we tried (ALL in the video above) include boysenberry BBQ short ribs, boysenberry BBQ meatballs on a stick, pulled pork sandwich with boysenberry bread & BBQ sauce, and the Fun Stick… which is a slice of creamy boysenberry cheesecake on a stick, dipped in funnel cake batter and slathered with boysenberry sauce. SO GOOD!

Tanayas Table Knotts Boysenberry Cheesecake

Meet the Fun Stick: Funnel-cake battered boysenberry cheesecake on a stick. How adorable is that Snoopy topiary in the back??

In addition to food, we also got to taste boysenberry beer, wine and other libations. If you decide to go, please let me know what you think of all the berry-infused drinks and bites. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Not only did I have a blast photographing, filming and tasting all the boysenberry things, but I enjoyed doing all of the above with my foodie friends.

To find out more and to attend the Boysenberry Festival this year,  go here. Wishing you a *berry* wonderful spring season… ha ha. Stay tuned for lots more food adventures to come!

Cheers! ❤

SNEAK PEEK: Inside U Jelly + Crafted Donuts

Happy New Year, guys! I know it’s a time for resolutions, but can’t we just resolve to enjoy anything we love in moderation instead of restricting ourselves? Because I love donuts, and I’m not giving them up.

Yesterday, I got the chance to head over to Fountain Valley to preview not one, but TWO new donut shops set to open this Saturday, 1/9 to the public! And yes, both media previews were on the very same day as well. What can I say… when donuts call, I must answer!

Tanayas Table U Jelly Taro Donut

This is me, answering the donut call with U Jelly’s taro donut. 😀

Thanks to Jed of @dailyfoodfeed and Andy & Scott of @tryitordiet for the opportunity for me to be here (on a sugar high) to tell you that both places have super creative concepts, unique flavors and a distinct flair of their own.

Here are some details on both places, plus video features to highlight some of the epic treats you’ll find inside each spot:

First, I checked out U Jelly. With their colorful, visually impressive donuts, I was especially drawn to the adorable green Baymax donut, since the flavor of pandan takes me back to my adventures in Malaysia a couple years ago.

After saying hi to some foodie friends and shooting tons of video (see below) plus photos for Instagram, I bit into the taro cream-filled donut to photograph the inside (I swear!)… and ended up devouring it all after shooting! I regret nothing. 😉

I also liked the coconut flan donut… because FLAN! And the warm, oozy pizza-stuffed croissant had me wanting another one, stat (more on that below).

Grand opening: 8 p.m. on Saturday, 1/9 at 16051 Brookhurst St. Fountain Valley, CA. The owners of U Jelly are Scott Afters and Andy Nguyen, a.k.a. the Afters Ice Cream guys… so you know it’ll be an awesome grand opening for a super innovative concept, as always. Heads up: The first 50 people get a special gift!

By the way, thank goodness for that pizza croissant (see video above), because it’s the only savory thing I had time to eat before driving a few miles down the road to the next new donut stop.

For providing me with savory goodness, this croissant will always hold a special place in my heart. The ooey gooey cheese and meaty pepperoni just oozed out thanks to the help of my hand model extraordinaire and U Jelly co-owner, Scott Afters. When Foodbeast featured it, they added in the PERFECT soundtrack to complete the entire experience. Here’s the shot… enjoy. 😉

Up next on my donut spree that very same day was Crafted Donuts!

Formerly known as OC Donut Bar, it recently reinvented its donuts with different shapes and flavors, such as a square Cracker Jack donut and more. Here’s how beautiful these donuts look… plus they’re pillowy soft and gigantic — almost the size of my face!

Tanayas Table Crafted Donuts box

The newly reinvented spot also kept some popular classics from the popular older location, such as the pink Homer Simpson Donut. See it in action (along with other beautiful treats) in this quick video sneak peek. And yes, that IS a cereal and milk frosted Fruity Pebbles donut!

Grand opening: Saturday, 1/9 (yes, both donut places are opening the same day but have totally different concepts!) at 8 a.m. with a free donut for every single customer, as well as a $10 gift certificate for the first 100 people.

Both donut spots are equally incredible in their own unique merits. Hope you guys get to enjoy all the grand opening excitement, now that you have the scoop. Let me know what you think!

Cheers 🙂

Fall Treat: Family & Friends Tickets To CAKE EXPO!

copyright Tanaya Ghosh

As most of you know, I’ve got a major sweet tooth. It’s not the healthiest so I don’t do it often, but I could totally eat a small meal or an appetizer just to have room for a proper dessert!

That’s why I’m so excited that CAKE Expo is coming to the Orange County Fair & Event Center this Saturday… and I bet a lot of you are, too, if you enjoy all the dessert pics on my Instagram.

Here’s what you can expect this weekend at the first CAKE Sweets & Party Expo:
  • Tons of sweet samples from talented vendors
  • Demos on the main stage every hour
  • Win prizes on the main stage every hour
  • Classes & private demo tickets available to learn tricks of the trade
  • VIPs get 2 exclusive hours 9am-11am Saturday morning, and get access to the VIP Lounge
  • A meet-and-greet and book signing by author Gemma Touchstone
  • A special Kids Create Zone hosted by Club MomMe
  • Check out the Cake Expo official website for the full schedule
If you want to check out the biggest sweets party happening this weekend and discover some cake tricks, I’ve got a major early Halloween treat for you! Here’s a Friends & Family ticket link to get your regularly priced $45 tickets for $5 a (cake) pop. Just scroll down and choose the Friends & Family ticket option here.

It’s going to be a sweet weekend for sure. Stay tuned for realtime updates on social media, on the Tanaya’s Table Instagram and Twitter accounts. Hope to see you there, my sweet-toothed friends!

VIDEO: Best New OC Fair Foods + FLASH Ticket Giveaway!

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It’s that time of year! Food festivals are in full swing, and it’s your turn to get in on the gastronomic fun. Check out the details below on how you can enter to win a pair of tickets to this year’s epic Orange County Fair!

First, if you needed a reason (or many deep-fried reasons) to go this year, it’s all right here below. I was lucky enough to get an invite to check out the most unique new foods at the OC Fair, and let me tell you… you’re in for a treat! Check it out:

One of my favorites is the deep-fried pickle stuffed with peanut butter, which works surprisingly well thanks to the tartness of the pickle, the creamy sweet-saltiness of the peanut butter, and the fluffy batter surrounding it all.

If you’re looking for a more substantial meal, try the Cubano Fusion Burger from Tasti Chips. It’s filled with savory goodness and is layered with texture and flavor.

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For dessert, I highly recommend Texas Donuts’ gigantic Fireball whisky-infused caramel donut. They’ve also got a Samoa giant donut, for you Girl Scout Cookie lovers.

Speaking of dessert, you see that caviar-topped Twinkie in the video, right? Although a $125 caviar Twinkie might sound a little crazy — or a even a lot crazy — it’s all for charity. If you have the means, the heart and the curiosity to try it, I highly encourage you to do so, because all proceeds go to CHOC – Children’s Hospital of Orange County. You can find this bite at Chicken Charlie’s.

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Other unique new items you’ll find this year include Kool-Aid brined pickles, Wasabi Bacon Bombs, Frosted Flakes chicken strips, bacon-wrapped pork belly on a stick, and even a gigantic funnel cake burger.

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As for the more classic battered and deep-fried innovations, try the the deep-fried Starbucks, deep-fried birthday cake or the Australian Battered Potatoes with their special Outback sriracha sauce.

There’s also a deep-fried SlimFast, for those who prefer a side of irony along with their fair food.

Bottom line is, there’s something for everyone. Unless you’re on a raw diet, of course. Now, how do you win?

Here are two ways to win your pair of tickets:

Instagram

  1. Follow me on Instagram (@tanayas.table) so I can direct message you to redeem your prize
  2. Comment on the image with the Krispy Kreme triple cheeseburger (yep, there’s that too!) saying why you want to win, and tag whom you want to take
  3. Entry closes at noon on Sunday, 7/26. This is a flash giveaway, so act fast and spread the word so if your friend wins, they’ll (hopefully) take you! 😉
  4. Wait for the winner (chosen at random, to keep it fair… since I want you all to win!) to be announced that same afternoon. Good luck!

Twitter

  1. Follow me on Twitter (@TanayaG) so I can direct message you to redeem your prize
  2. Retweet this tweet to enter to win, and reply to the tweet tagging whom you’d want to take with you
  3. Entry closes at noon on Sunday, 7/26. This is a flash giveaway, so act fast and spread the word so if your friend wins, they’ll (hopefully) take you! 😉
  4. Wait for the winner (chosen at random, to keep it fair… since I want you all to win!) to be announced that same afternoon. Good luck!

Also, heads up – there’s another foodie event giveaway coming up very soon!

You can get your tickets to the OC Fair here, or enter on Instagram or Twitter (see above for entry rules) to win!

On a quick side note, I’m about to go abroad and cover a month of food and travel in Hong Kong and India to share with you all. The Tanaya’s Travels section will be in full effect soon!

Check out what you can expect to come by visiting the travel section here, or from the navigation bar on the left. Also feel free to follow my travels on Twitter and Instagram to see the photos and videos while I’m on the road. I’d love to have you join me virtually!

More updates to come, as well as videos and giveaways. Cheers!

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