48 Hours With Boka Restaurant Group

In this episode of “Food As a Lifestyle,” brought to you by the Foodable Network, we’re giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the lives of two James Beard nominated restaurateurs, Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz of Boka Restaurant Group (BRG) in Chicago.

BRG is a chef-driven restaurant group made up of six chef partners and 12 different establishments.

Watch the full episode as they prepare for the opening of Swift & Sons, a new large-format American steakhouse in Chicago's West Loop, to learn how the business duo came together to form Boka, what Kevin and Rob's day-to-day consists of, and what it takes to be a top restaurateur in a thriving city with plenty of culinary competition.

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Washington's Hama Hama Oysters Unite a Family to Their Community

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On this episode of Food as a Lifestyle, we venture to Hama Hama Oyster Company in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Found on the Hamma Hamma River, the farm is run by Adam James and his sister, Lissa James Monberg. They are part of the fifth generation of family members who decided to help run the sustainable tree and shellfish farm that has been around for over 100 years.

“It’s probably one of the most beautiful places on the planet...” says Adam who acts as operations manager at Hama Hama. “You could be out there, on a clear winter night, and the Olympics are blanketed in snow and the moon’s out, the stars are out and you almost don’t even need your headlamp...”

Lissa, who handles the retail and marketing operations, assures that it was never part of a master plan to end up working for Hama Hama Co. but has found her niche “walking around the beach with a camera, exploring the micro and megafauna and just getting to dig into the ecology of the beach.”

Learn more by watching the episode above!

 
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48 Hours With Four Seasons Executive Chef, Cyrille Pannier

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On this episode of Food as a Lifestyle, we glimpse into the homelife of esteemed Four Seasons Executive Chef, Cyrille Pannier. Part love story, part biopic, and all food porn, this episode illustrates Chef Pannier’s passion both in and out of the kitchen.

We begin with the story of Cyrille and his wife, Callie. Cyrille devised an intricate plan to win Callie over back when they were both working at the Four Seasons. Callie remembers seeing “this white chef’s hat popping into the sales office.” Then, weeks later she was invited to a dinner party... and, well, the rest is history. Today, the two are married and live in Los Angeles with their young daughter, Eloise.

Eloise is a bright, energetic soul who takes after her father in the kitchen. Self-proclaimed “princess chef,” Eloise is the master of tart decorating. You can watch her traipse through the farmer’s market with her parents, smelling the fresh fruits and vegetables to select the best ingredients.

Watch the episode above to learn more about Chef Cyrille and how his kitchen life and his homelife compare!

 
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Orchestrated Chaos at Chef Adrianne's

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On this episode of Food as a Lifestyle, we meet Chef Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar as she begins her day with a little bit of foraging at Paradise Farms. These little adventures that she takes often inspire her menu.

Today’s inspiration comes from double-yolked eggs. Before Chef Adrianne even arrives at the restaurant, she’s outlining the menu.

“Eggs. Bacon. That’s a classic combination! I think I have that Berkshire pork belly... So, perhaps I will do the pork belly, but I’ll do it in, like, a square. Braise it soft…,” says Calvo.

At 22 years old, Chef Adrianne opened her restaurant, which was previously a Spanish Cafeteria. It required renovation to double the size of the kitchen. Though she wasn't entirely sure how to structure it, she's made it work for her team.

Watch the episode above to see how the dynamic between Chef Adrianne, her mom, and her sous chef, Eglis, create an efficient and wildly-fun kitchen.

Hama Hama Oysters Unite a Family to Their Land and Community

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Video Produced by Vanessa C. Rodriguez

“It’s probably one of the most beautiful places on the planet...” says Adam James, operation manager at Hama Hama Oyster Company, referring to the farm bed located at the mouth of one of the shortest, coldest, and least developed rivers in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula: Hamma Hamma River.

“You could be out there, on a clear winter night, and the Olympics are blanketed in snow and the moon’s out, the stars are out and you almost don’t even need your headlamp...”

Adam and his sister, Lissa James Monberg, both joined the family business about a decade ago as managers. They are part of the fifth generation of family members who decided to help run the sustainable tree and shellfish farm that has been around for over 100 years.

Lissa, who handles the retail and marketing operations, assures that it was never part of a master plan to end up working for Hama Hama Co. (In fact, she never even went to school for marketing.) Some of her best marketing efforts include “walking around the beach with a camera, exploring the micro and megafauna and just getting to dig into the ecology of the beach.”

But if someone would have asked her 12-year-old self, there would have been no hesitation when explaining what kind of job she would be doing at 35.

“I always loved this area, very strongly… In middle school, high school, I just really hated having to go into town. Really wanted to be out here,” Monberg explained.

Adam, whose job entails spending most of his time farming and harvesting oysters on the Hood Canal, enjoys working outside. What gets him up in the morning, however, is his goal to produce “the ultimate expression of the bay, as consistently as possible. And then, scaling that up.”

Oysters

“Oysters and their flavor are characterized by their salinity, texture, and taste. Being so far from the ocean… oysters are not as salty as some of the saltier oysters, but they do have nice brine,” James said.

Hama Hama Co. has seen some success recently with their Blue Pool Oyster winning best oyster of the year (2015) in a blind tasting at the North American Oyster Showcase in Alabama.

“We were pretty proud of that moment. It was pretty remarkable,” James recalls.

The Blue Pools were initially farmed as an alternative to Kumamoto oysters, which were really difficult to source seeds for.

Currently, James and his crew are looking to grow an older Hama Hama Oyster and looking to start branching out and farm oysters in different areas with colder waters, outside of their headquarters, in order to meet the demands of the chefs they have partnered with.

Company

As a five-generational family-run company, it can be assumed that Hama Hama Co.’s location and the land surrounding it serves as a home/sanctuary for the family, which has over 100 members.

“We are not trying to build this company to sell it, we are building this company to sustain it and that is so much part of our DNA,” Monberg said.

“That lets us take the long view of the dollar, whether it’s dealing with the customer, who we can treat really well because we want them to come back and back again for the next 20 years.”

It is very important to the company to not sacrifice the health of the environment when making business decisions. “Oysters… their health and the health of the people who eat them is very susceptible to pollution… They taste better when they are growing in a pristine environment,” Monberg assures.

One thing she loves about the oyster industry is the fact that “it’s a very green industry because the economic and ecological forces are intrinsically aligned.”

They really have to stay on top of all the latest findings and science, because “If you do something that is bad for the water quality, the product is going to suffer,” Monberg concluded.