Part 2 of our conversation with the Actor/Musician/Writer/
Special Guest: Jeff Elmassian
Wines Enjoyed: Thomas-Hsi THV Red 2012
Strauss and Phelps welcome Ahmet Zappa and Musician/Composer/Producer Jeff Elmassian to talk about Ahmet’s journey from child actor, musician, performer, to movie writer and producer to new-found wine-nerddom…Strauss challenges Ahmet’s claim that he can “taste the price of any wine” within five dollars. Track through some of Ahmet’s favorite wines, growing up “food, wine and Zappa" as well as one of his latest gigs as CEO of Zappa Records and Co-Trustee of the Zappa Family Trust where he’s managing, curating and promoting the rich legacy of his brilliant and prolific father, Frank, whose work in so many ways both defied and defined the idea of the "independent" recording artist…guitar-god, iconoclast, composer, and...chef???
What’s life like for an actor who loves great food and drink? From "starving-actor" to “starring-actor," Strauss and Phelps sit down with television’s Christopher Rich, star of Murphy Brown, Boston Legal, Another World, Reba and more to talk TV Comedy, the “ins and outs” of eating both on camera and off, cooking dinner for the cast of “Reba," Chris’s perfect omelet and "quaff-able wine."
Recipe - The “Perfect” Thin-style French Omelet
Day Drinking: Squall Red Blend (discussed but not consumed) and Forks on the Left 2013 “Mixed Blacks” from Longtable Wines.
Chris Rich Twitter, Instagram
Chef Neela Paniz’s food journey spans a lifetime and tens of thousands of miles. After growing up in India in the years following the fall of the British Raj, she landed in the US in her twenties having never cooked anything and by the time Strauss and Phelps sit down at her kitchen table, she’s a veteran chef who’s launched three restaurants including Bombay Cafe, LA’s pillar of modern-Indian street food; she’s a “Chopped” champion, a cookbook author and one of the most articulate and knowledgeable voices in cuisine.
Neela welcomes us into her home kitchen and not only cooks for us, but also gives us a cooking lesson with a great recipe for the killer-ketchup replacement - her incredible and not-hard-to-make Sweet Tomato Chutney. Strauss reveals that it is this chutney and Neela who cost him a hilarious trip to the ER and a small part of himself. Neela talks about learning to cook watching Julia Child and their eventual meeting. She takes us on an intercontinental adventure of her life from being a schoolgirl in India to owning and running restaurants in Napa and Hollywood. We learn secrets of “blooming” spices to maximize their flavor and impact. And of course, there's a little Indian-food-friendly Day Drinking with Taj Mahal Lager and Meyer-Nakel Rose of Pinot Noir.
Recipe - Neela’s Sweet Tomato Chutney