Category Archives: Chefs

Birds on the Roof Restaurant: New name, new chef, new approach

Among the pretty new dishes being served by chef James Risner at Birds on the Roof Restaurant: Eggs Benedict.

Among the pretty new dishes being served by chef James Risner at Birds on the Roof Restaurant: Eggs Benedict.

The owners of Birds on the Roof have found a new chef, and they’re also taking a new approach with their whimsically pretty restaurant, which opened in August at 550 N. Rock Road.

The new chef is James Risner, who most recently worked at Taste & See. He’s been revamping the restaurant’s menu, adding new breakfast, lunch and dinner items such as eggs Benedict with salmon, seafood crepes, omelettes,  filet mignon and more. (Chef Nathan Toubia, who had spent several months working at the restaurant, recently took a new job at the Wichita Country Club.)

Owners Jimmy Nguyen and his wife, Thao Luu, also changed the name from Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe to Birds on the Roof Restaurant and want to focus more on “romantic, French-style dinners.”

The owners also have lowered prices, they said, and retrained the staff. Anyone whose food takes longer than 20 minutes to arrive gets 50 percent off.

To celebrate its grand reopening this weekend, diners on Thursday and Friday evenings will get 50 percent off the dinner menu. (Reservations are required to get the deal.)

Saturday’s grand-reopening activities will include live music and giveaways.

For more information, call the restaurant at 316-558-8288 or 316-708-9799.

Taste & See Chef announces new T.V. spot

1973338_10153059309244041_1270937673_oChef Jason Febres is going to be on television again.

The chef, who owns three locations of his Wichita restaurant Taste & See, announced on his Facebook page today something he’s been hinting at for months: He’ll appear on an episode of the Food Network show “Cutthroat Kitchen” hosted by famous food personality Alton Brown.

According to Febres, the episode he appeared in will air on the network, channel 40 and 2040 in Wichita, on May 4.

This will be Febres’ third go-round with televised food shows.

jason2

Febres

Last MarchFebres appeared as a kitchen coach on an episode of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue.” Then, in December, he was on “Guy’s Grocery Games”  hosted by food celeb Guy Fieri.

“Cutthroat Kitchen” premiered on the network in August, and each episode pits four chefs against each other cooking gourmet dishes for a celebrity judge. But there’s always an element of kitchen sabotage to keep things interesting.

The show airs Sundays at 9 p.m.

Nathan Toubia accepts sous chef job at Wichita Country Club

cropped-nathan1-191x300Popular local chef Nathan Toubia is making another career move.

He’s left Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe, where he has been working since November as head chef, and today accepted a job working under Chef Damian Lehman as the sous chef at Wichita Country Club. He starts on Friday.

Meanwhile, Birds on the Roof, which is at 550 N. Rock Road, is closing its doors for at least two weeks while it hires a new chef, said owner Thao Luu. The restaurant will, however, open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday to test out new menu items.

In other Toubia news, he has sold his Bocco Deli, 3010 E. Central, which he opened on his own in 2010. A longtime employee now will take it over.

Toubia, the son of the late Latour founder Antoine Toubia, closed his Bocconcini Italian Eatery in August.

Jason Febres’ Food Network moment happens Sunday

1471910_740311169331376_1116565259_nThe episode of Guy Fieri’s new Food Network Show featuring Wichita chef

Jason Febres, who owns the new Taste & See in Old Town, airs on Sunday, a network spokesman said.

“Guy’s Grocery Games” is set in a grocery store, and each episode pits four chefs against each other to compete in cooking challenges with levels of difficulty thrown in. Febres filmed the show last summer.

It airs at 7 p.m. Sunday on Food Network, Cable Channel 40 in Wichita.

The episode is called “Holly Jolly Meals,” and judges include Richard Blais of “Top Chef” fame.

Meanwhile, Febres has traveled back to California to participate in another Food Network show, though he’s not saying which one yet.

He has, however, been hinting about it repeatedly on the Taste & See Facebook page.

Guy Fieri, host of “Guy’s Grocery Games.”

These aren’t his first T.V. gigs, either.

Back in March, Febres appeared as a kitchen coach on an episode of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue.”

Toubia the new chef at Birds on the Roof

Chef Nathan Toubia, who closed his popular Bocconcini Italian Eatery in August has a new job — working for someone else.

The interior of Birds on the Roof Cafe and Bakery.

The interior of Birds on the Roof Cafe and Bakery.

Toubia has accepted a job as the head chef at the new Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe, a beautifully decorated bakery and restaurant that Thao Luu opened in August at 550 N. Rock Road.

Luu has been rethinking her menu since opening, and Toubia is going to focus right away on breakfast, lunch and brunch. He plans to make some of the items he used to serve for brunch at Bocconcini, such as ricotta pancakes and duck hash. He’ll also have a lunch menu with sandwiches such as Italian roast beef.

Luu also wants him to develop a dinner menu, but they’ve agreed to work on the daytime meals first.

Toubia

Toubia

Toubia has been running his original restaurant, Bocco Deli at 3010 E. Central, since closing Bocconcini. He says he plans to leave that restaurant in the hands of his staff — as he did when Bocconcini was open — so that he can focus on his new job. He says he will have to end the weekend dinners he recently started serving at Bocco Deli.

Luu said she is excited about her hire.

“I want something unique and nice,” she said.

Toubia will officially start his new job at Birds on the Roof next week.

Birds on the Roof is closed until Thursday. Regular hours are 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 316-558-8288.

New lineup of chefs at Bonnie’s Place

Chef Kevin Gillenwater of Crown Uptown will be Cooking at Bonnie’s Place.

Bonnie Aeschliman, who owns Cooking At Bonnie’s Place at 9747 E. 21st St N., has signed up a new batch of chefs to offer classes at her cooking school.

Among them is well-known local chef Kevin Derks, who heads the kitchen at Newport Grill, 1900 N. Rock Road. His class, scheduled for Tuesday, is called “A Taste of Provence Ala Newport Grill” and will include a demonstration of French cooking skills. The menu will include Provencal scallops, and Derks also will make banana pecan bread pudding.  Admission is $55, and the class starts at 6:30 p.m.

Aeschliman also has added Kevin Gillenwater, who leads the kitchen at the Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre, to her roster. His class is called “Four Season Dinner” and will include a four course dinner with one course representing each season. His class is $50 a person and starts at 6:3o p.m. on Nov. 12.

O.J. Moore also will return to Bonnie’s on Nov. 10 for a class focusing on tips and techniques he uses in his roll as executive chef at YaYa’s Euribistro at 8115 E. 21st St.. His class is at 6:30 p.m. and is $50.

The school also is offering a long list of classes that Aeschliman will cook herself focusing on topics such as appetizers, making hot rolls, Christmas dinner and Thanksgiving dinner.

To make reservations for any of the classes, call 316-425-5223.

Chef Febres back on national television

Febres

UPDATE: Here’s a clip from this morning’s “Good Morning America” in which Fieri discusses the show and Febres makes a brief appearance.

Charismatic Latin chef — Taste & See’s Jason Febres — is about to make his second national television appearance.

Febres, who back in March appeared on an episode of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue,” is about to appear on Guy Fieri’s new show on Food Network.

It’s called “Guy’s Grocery Games,” and it premieres at 7 p.m. Sunday on Food Network.

It’s a game show set in a grocery store, and each episode pits four chefs against each other, competing in cooking challenges with levels of difficulty thrown in.

Wichita’s Chef Jason Febres will appear on an episode of the new Food Network show “Guy’s Grocery Games.”

Food Network’s publicist said they don’t yet know when Febres’ episode will air but said he would let me know when it was scheduled.

Meanwhile, Febres said he’s in the casting process for yet another cooking show. He’s also about to open his new restaurant in Old Town — Taste & See Global Cuisine.

Taste & See Global opens Oct. 21; old spot will have lunch, events only

Chef Jason Febres gave me a tour of his under-construction Taste & See Global Cuisine at 255 N. Washington (inside the former Doc Howard’s space) this afternoon, but he wouldn’t let me take any pictures that showed much of the restaurant. He wants customers to be surprised by the custom-designed interior on opening day, which is scheduled for Oct. 21. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week as well as brunch on Sundays.

The space is big — 4,536 square feet — and it will feature lots of seating, a big bar, a large outdoor patio, a tapas area and a set of wine lockers, where regular customers can store their stash.

It’ll also have an open kitchen prep area and a giant projection screen so that diners always can watch what’s going on in the kitchen. “I call it interactive reality cooking,” Febres said.

Oct. 20 will be the last day that Febres’ original space, the Taste & See inside Office This at 3825 E. Harry will be open for dinner. Once the new restaurant opens, the original will serve lunch only and also will be used for private events.

Febres has hired two sous chefs, and the three will split their time between both restaurants, he said.

The new restaurant will feature several of Febres’ classic dishes, including ceviche, paella and gaucho steak. But he also plans to add several dishes and plans to utilize his “molecular gastronomy” skills.

The dishes he has planned will use touches like truffle foam. One dish he described fro the new menu is a flash-seared ahi tuna with plantain hash browns with hydroponic watercress, tamarind reduction, fried tofu and wasabi texture.

Nathan Toubia teaching Italian cooking series

Nathan Toubia

He closed his Bocconcini Italian Eatery at 4811 E. Central, but chef Nathan Toubia is still cooking.

In addition to his Bocco Deliwhich is still operating at 3010 E. Central, Toubia is putting on a series of Italian cooking classes this month at Cooking at Bonnie’s Place, 9747 E. 21st St.

The first one is on Oct. 17 and is a hands-on class during which Toubia will teach participants to make fresh pasta and ravioli. The second class is on Oct. 24 also is hands-on. It will cover pasta and cannelloni making.

And on Oct. 30, Toubia will put on a demonstration class in which he prepares an Italian dinner featuring spinach and shrimp scampi flan, braised beef risotto and red wine poached pears with pistachio Mascarpone.

All three classes start at 6:30 p.m. and are $60 a person. To make reservations and get more information, call 316-425-5224 or visit Bonnie’s website.

It’s Iron Chef time at the Old Town Farmers’ Market

Chef Paul Freimuth

This weekend is Labor Day weekend, meaning that it’s time for the annual Iron Chef Competition at the Old Town Farmers’ Market. The event, now in its 11th year, is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the market at First and Mosley.

The competition pits local chefs against each other, cooking live with a secret ingredient they learn about just as the competition begins.

This year’s contest has an interesting twist. Instead of chefs from several different restaurants competing, Harvest Kitchen/Bar’s executive chef Paul Freimuth will compete against his executive sous chef and two assistant sous chefs. The restaurant inside the Hyatt is known for its use of local ingredients. Freimuth was a competitor last year and worked his way deftly around the secret ingredient: long beans.

Celebrity judges Guy Bower and Joe Stumpe will choose a winner around 10 a.m. It’s free for spectators to watch the showdown.

The Old Town Farmers Market is open from 7 a.m. to noon.