Category Archives: Chefs

Siena’s patio will open this weekend

Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, the fine dining restaurant that opened in January inside the Ambassador Hotel at 104 S. Broadway, is adding a patio.

The gated off area, which has room for about 24 seats, is right on Douglas and looks at over the bustling intersection of Douglas and Broadway. It should be ready to go by Friday, said executive chef Marshall Roth.

The patio is pretty close to Douglas, and during daytime hours, it’s pretty traffic-noisy. The Ambassador staff will be adding tall plants that should help cut down a bit on the noise. The patio also is on the north side of the hotel, meaning that it’s shaded during lunch and dinner hours.

I made him do this.

Another recent addition is a “Chef tasting menu,” which Roth introduced last week. The option allows diners to sample a multi-course menu, which changes every day on Roth’s whim. Five courses are $75, or $110 with wine pairings. Eight courses are $95, or $145 with wine pairings.

For a reservation at Siena, call 316-440-5300.

NBA legend cooking at Taste and See

Febres, far left, standing next to NBA legend Charles Oakley

Chef Jason Febres likes to offer the unexpected at his Taste and See restaurant, and tonight, he’s cooking with an unlikely partner.

NBA legend Charles Oakley, who played with teams such as the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks and who also is a restaurant owner. Febres was put in touch with him through a local contact and invited him to Wichita to help him cook as part of one of his famous demonstration dinners.

Oakley will be at Taste and See tonight (Friday, July 28) and will help Febres prepare a six-course tasting menu. Spots are left and cost $45 a person. Wine pairings are available for an extra $20 a person.

For a reservation, call 316-771-7393.

Celeb chef Josh Marks at Ciao tonight, Thursday

First Fabio. Now this?

Another celebrity chef is making a stop in Wichita this week. Josh Marks, who finished second on the third season of Fox’s show “MasterChef, is in town right now and cooking at Ciao Italian Kitchen, 1720 N. Webb Road.

Marks, a 7-footer who played basketball in college, will be at a meet-and-greet from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight at the restaurant. Then, on Thursday, he’ll cook a four-course fundraising dinner that costs $70 a person. Spots are still available for that dinner and can be claimed by calling 316-613-2426 .

The restaurant will only be serving the four-course meal from 7 to 9 p.m. It will raise money for the Make a Sound project, a suicide-prevention program that Marks supports.

Celeb chef will visit Kansas Star Casino

Fabio Viviani

Fabio Viviani, the Italian chef and restaurant owner who gained notoriety a few years ago when he competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” is coming to the Kansas Star Casino.

Viviani will put on a cooking demonstration from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, when he will show how to prepare gnocchi. Then, from 4:45 to 6 p.m., he’ll be at a meet and greet, where he’ll sign copies of his new cookbook, “Fabio’s Italian Kitchen,” or copies of head shots.

To celebrate his visit,  two casino restaurants – The Kitchen Buffet and Woodfire Grille — also are featuring some of Viviani’s  recipes, including a four cheese penne pasta with sausage, his grandmother’s meatballs, an apple tart, ricotta cheese and chocolate chip cookies and minestrone soup. At Woodfire Grille, they are featuring his blue cheese fillet and lamb chops.

Admission is free.

Many courses of Metro Grill news

I finally was able to reach Chef Michael Gonzalez, the owner of Metro Grill III at the Waterfront, who recently closed his popular Towne East Mall location.

He’s putting all his focus now on his Waterfront restaurant, which opened last June at 10096 E. 13th St., suite 122. He’s also planning a VIP Night for March 30, featuring a five-course meal he’s preparing himself. Attendees will be allowed to bring their own alcoholic beverages with no corkage fee. There will be live music, and Gonzalez’s plans for the menu include Chilean sea bass, beef carpaccio, strawberry flambe and more.

Gonzalez used to put his VIP nights on regularly when he briefly owned the Metro Grill in Andover.  He plans to start offering them at the Waterfront on the last Saturday of every month. He has two seatings available for March 30 — one from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and one from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. The price is $50 a person.

Gonzalez also talked a little more about the reason he decided to close his sandwich cart at Towne East, a popular spot he had operated in the food court since 2005.

He got an offer, he said, from a former customer who was interested in moving the cart to a mall in Arkansas. He hadn’t been looking to sell, Gonzalez said, but the man offered him a good price, and Gonzalez decided he could use the extra time to focus on some new ventures — namely a consulting gig in New York City and the possibility of a downtown Metro Grill.

The spot he’s pondering now, Gonzalez said, is in the Union Station building at 725 E. Douglas that used to house Cox Communications. Occidental Management recently acquired that property and plans to fill it with shopping and dining.

For more information or to make a VIP night reservation, call 316-631-1454.

Team Hyatt brings the best loaf

Chef Paul Freimuth, left, and his Hyatt staff were the winners at Saturday’s Loaf Off.

I have the results of Saturday’s fifth annual Loaf Off, a meatloaf cooking competition that doubles as a fundraiser.

The event drew 175 people to The Anchor and raised $1,725 for Children’s Miracle Network. It also drew 12 teams who cooked a variety of loaves.

The panel of judges, which included local foodies Joe Stumpe and Barbara Baan, chef Chris Collier and two-time Loaf Off champ Don Lucero, chose the loaf created by Hyatt chef Paul Freimuth. Their “Top Loaf” was a sort of  meatloaf  Wellington, wrapped in pastry. I’m glad Chef Freimuth won, not only because he is a great cook but also because he almost never fails to donate his time to charity cookoff and food events.

The People’s Choice winner was Team Rico, made up of mother and son Eric and Diana Wittman. The team, which has won People’s Choice once before, made a rich, blue cheesy loaf.

Best of show went to the ICT Roller Girls, who arrived to compete in funky derby garb and brightly colored hair.

Organizers are already planning next year’s Loaf Off, so start formulating your recipe.

Chef Febres schedules Spike TV watch party

The episode of Spike TV’s show “Bar Rescue” that features Chef Jason Febres of Taste & See is tentatively scheduled to air on March 24.

So Febres and his staff at the restaurant are tentatively planning a big watch party.

They plan to open up the restaurant at 3825 E Harry plus the new adjoined banquet room and put the show on big screen TVs. Febres will serve tapas before the 6 p.m. show, and then he hopes to offer a buffet patrons who want to stay can purchase once it’s over.  He also promises a seafood ice bar, live music and “sexy cocktails.”

Febres was selected to fly to Los Angeles in January to be part of the show, in which gruff host Jon Taffer and a team of experts go to a struggling bar and try to turn it around.

The restaurant is asking for RSVPs. Call 316-771-7393 if you want to attend. The watch party date will change if Spike TV changes the show’s air date.

New chefs Cooking at Bonnie’s Place

Bonnie Aieschliman regularly schedules local chefs to lead classes at her Cooking at Bonnie’s Place at 9747 E. 21st St., and she’s had several loyal teachers over the years, from Bocconcini’s Nathan Toubia to Carrabba’s Joe Parten.

Now, Bonnie has persuaded a new batch of chefs to come share their skills.

YaYa’s chef O.J. Moore will lead a cooking class at Cooking at Bonnie’s Place on Thursday.

The first class will be led on Thursday night by O.J. Moore, who took over last summer as executive chef at YaYa’s Euro Bistro, 8115 E. 21st St. N. 

He will be demonstrating how to make several of the dishes he’s recently added to the YaYa’s menu, including a pan-seared diver scallop with saffron orzo and lemon beurre blanc as will as a brined Yoder pork chop over spatzle.

Then, regular guest teacher Adrian Prud Homme DeLodder from Bella Vita Bistro at 120 N. West St. will do an Italian menu featuring seafood crepes at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

And at 6:30 p.m. on  March 12, Pietro DeFazio, owner of DeFazio’s at 2706 N. Amidon, will show how to make dishes such as potato gnocchi and beef braciole.

Each of the classes cost $50 a person and includes food.

Visit Bonnie’s website or call 316-425-5224 to make a reservation.

Lots of food fun at the Women’s Fair

The 15th annual Women’s Fair this weekend at Century II will, as usual, offer several opportunities to nibble, sip and gather cooking tips.

On Friday, local chef Tanya Tandoc of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen will put on a 6:30 p.m. cooking show, where she’ll demonstrate how to make two of her most popular soup recipes: tomato basil bisque and chicken tortilla. She’ll also be selling sets of her recipe cards.

Also on Friday: Both the  Crown Uptown and Fox and Hound will offer food samples during Friday evening’s “Girls Night Out.” Wine expert Guy Bower will put on a tasting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

At 2 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday, cookbook author and spokeswoman for Southwest Dairy Farmers “Kitchen Kimberley” will show how to make creamy chicken tortilla soup and fiesta salad with ranch dressing. At 11:30 a.m. Saturday, she’ll demonstrate the construction of creamy pasta salad, chocolate chip raspberry tarts and an easy cheese platter. And at noon on Sunday, she’ll be showing off a brunch menu featuring a three-cheese quiche.

New this year is the Pork Inspiration Cafe sponsored by the Kansas Pork Association.

It will feature ongoing cooking demonstrations, recipes, coupons, giveaways and more.

Chef Joe Parten of Carrabba’s will be on the pork stage at 3 p.m. Sunday showing how to make red pepper stuffed pork loin. He’ll also take the stage at 1:30 p.m. Sunday to demonstrate a recipe for Sicilian chicken soup.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, Mr. April from the 2013 Kansas Firefighters calendar will show the crowd how to make Fire House chili.
OH! And I almost forgot. I’ll be at the Wichita Eagle booth from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday if you want to stop by and talk restaurants.

Women’s Fair hours are noon to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8.25 for adults, $7.25 for seniors and $5.25 for children 6-12. Children 5 and under are free. The Party Bus will provide free doorside transportation from Lawrence-Dumont Stadium parking lot.

Well-known chef will staff schwarma truck

Melad Stephan has hired Roni Attari to cook in his new food truck.

Old Town Square restaurateur Melad Stephan’s long-awaited food truck should hit the streets sometime next week, and it’ll be staffed by a familiar face.

Roni Attari, who has owned several restaurants in town over the years — most recently Pitas & Paninis at 602 N. Tyler — left a job working in the kitchen at Lakeside Club to cook in the yet-to-be-officially-named truck.

The truck will specialize in authentic Lebanese fare, Attari said. It will have schwarma, hummus, Lebanese soups and rotating specials, among other things. Once launched, the truck will be stationed at a different spot around Wichita every day.

At the moment, Roni and Stephan’s son, Jordan, are working on final details for the truck. They’re designing logos and trying to choose a name from three finalists.

I’ll let you know when the truck is ready to roll.