Notable L.A. Chef and Restaurateur Ben Ford is Paired with Grgich Hills Estate for 2012 Master Chef Series Finale at The Strand House®

Violet Grgich to Personally Present Wine Pairings
The Strand House® in Manhattan Beach has partnered with Los Angeles chef-restaurateur

Ben Ford

Ben Ford to create the fifth and final of its fall 2012 five-course Master Chef Dinner Series, Monday, November 12.

Violet Grgich

Grgich Hills Estate co-proprietor Violet Grgich will share the culinary spotlight, bringing Napa Valley wine selections from the legendary winery that will ensure a highly festive and memorably flavorful food and wine experience.
Presiding over the wines, Grgich will announce the pairings prior to the serving of each course. The dinner will be jointly hosted by The Strand House Owner Michael Zislis, Executive Creative Chef Neal Fraser, and Executive Chef Greg Hozinsky.

“We’re excited by the gastronomical feats we have been able to accomplish and share with our guests through our Master Chef series, and to be winding up on an amazing high note by welcoming Chef Ben Ford and Violet Grgich to The Strand House to help create a truly unforgettable feast,” said Zislis. “Neal, Greg and I are gratified by the overwhelmingly positive feedback and appreciation our series has gotten, and through which we have been able to bring vastly different epicurean events to share with our guests, right here in Manhattan Beach.”

Ford’s and The Strand House’s shared affinity for creating culinary celebrations, using fresh, seasonal ingredients, are evident in the menu for this extraordinary evening. Guests will enjoy the following:

Strand House Dinning Room

– Passed Hors d’oeuvres
o    Smoked Fish Dip torn crouton, pickled shallot
o    Chili Verde Tostada crispy smoked pigs ears, carrot- fresno chilie escabeche
o    Lamb Meatballs lardo, rosemary, spicy tomato chutney

o    Oyster Stew leek cream, smoked bacon
§  Paired with Grgich Hills Estate 2010 Fume Blanc, Napa Valley
o    Grilled Monterey Bay Squid bulgur wheat, griddled tomato, meyer lemon aioli
§  Paired with Grgich Hills Estate 2009 Chardonnay, Napa Valley
o    Lamb Sirloin seared lamb sweetbread, baby peas, smoked tomato, ham hock gelatin
§  Paired with Grgich Hills Estate 2008 Zinfandel, Napa Valley
o    Rabbit Paella
§  Paired with Grgich Hills Estate 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
o    Cappuccino Cookie Sundae cappuccino ice cream, chocolate cardamom cookie, chantilly cream, chocolate sauce
§  Paired with Grgich Hills Estate 2009 Violetta Late Harvest Dessert Wine, Napa Valley
At a half-hour pre-dinner reception, beginning at 7 p.m., guests will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with Ford, Grgich, Fraser, Hozinsky, and Zislis, while enjoying passed hors d’oeuvres and a glass of sparkling rosé. Dinner is $100, excluding tax and gratuity. Wine pairings are $50. Seating is limited and is expected to sell out quickly. For more information or for reservations, please call 310-545-7470. The Strand House is located at 117 Manhattan Beach Blvd. in Manhattan Beach.
About Ben Ford
Proclaimed Cochon 555 winner, restaurateur and future author, Ben Ford is known not only for his creative techniques in the kitchen, but also for his innate understanding of the ingredients in his dishes, which celebrate the cycle of life and freshness of the earth. Ford earned his kitchen stripes at The University of Dijon in the heart of Burgundy, France and the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. He also worked at a number of distinguished Los Angeles-area eateries including: The Farm of Beverly Hills; Opus; and Campanile.
Recently, Ford opened Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City to return to the basics of cooking he enjoys so much. Ford’s Filling Station is based on the fundamentals of cooking, teaching and foraging and, along with The Spotted Pig in New York City, is one of the first regional American “gastropubs.” At the end of 2012, Ford plans to publish his first cookbook focusing on adventurous outdoor cooking and festive events.
About Violet Grgich
Co-proprietor of Grgich Hills Estate, Violet’s passion for wine began at an early age, as she literally grew up accompanying her father, winery founder Miljenko “Mike” Grgich in the vineyards and cellar, spending her summers at the winery, doing everything from bottling line work to laboratory analysis and working in the tasting room.

Attending the University of California, Davis, Violet earned a BA in music while taking classes in biology, chemistry, and enology.  After graduation, she returned home to Grgich Hills to continue her education in the wine business, learning about daily operations of the winery from Mike. She received her Master of Music in harpsichord at Indiana University, and then joined the winery fulltime in 1988. She’s now responsible for daily management of the winery, as well as sales and marketing. Involved with every aspect of the wine business, Violet learned from her father that in order to lead the winery, she needed to work at every position, starting from the bottom. As a result, she says that she enjoys wearing many different hats, often at the same time, learning something new each day, and following her grandfather’s and father’s philosophy of “Every day do something just a little better.”

About Grgich Hills Estate Wines
Miljenko “Mike” Grgich first gained international recognition at the celebrated “Paris Tasting” of 1976. Then, in a now-historic blind tasting, a panel of eminent French judges swirled, sniffed, and sipped an array of the fabled white Burgundies of France and a small sampling of upstart Chardonnays from the Napa Valley. When their scores were tallied, the French judges were shocked: they had chosen Mike’s 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay as the finest white wine in the world. The results stunned the international wine establishment and immediately earned Mike a reputation as one of the greatest winemakers in the world.

The Paris Tasting served notice to the world that the California wine industry was on the move, and it laid the groundwork for the creation of Grgich Hills Cellars. After his victory in Paris, Mike sat down with Austin Hills and his sister, Mary Lee Strebl, from the Hills Brothers Coffee family, and on Independence Day 1977, they founded Grgich Hills. The partnership effectively combined Hills’ ownership of premium vineyards in Rutherford, in the heart of the Napa Valley, and his extensive business background in business with Mike’s fierce commitment to making wines of the highest quality. In addition to producing Chardonnay, its signature wine, Grgich Hills also produces Fumé Blanc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and a dessert wine named “Violetta,” in honor of Mike's daughter, Violet.

Now 89 years old, and still sporting his signature blue beret, Mike was inducted into The Vintner Hall of Fame in 2008. Mike, along with daughter Violet, and nephew Ivo Jeramaz prefer Grgich Hills to remain small. Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, the five estate vineyards are farmed without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, relying on wild yeast fermentation and the art of winemaking to handcraft food-friendly, balanced and elegant wines. Since the 2003 vintage, all Grgich Hills wines are labeled “Estate Grown.” In recognition of that important milestone, the winery changed its name in 2007 to Grgich Hills Estate.

About Neal Fraser
Neal Fraser is The Executive Creative Chef at The Strand House in Manhattan Beach, California.  He brings more than 20 years of culinary experience to his position.  Prior to joining The Strand House, he served as Executive Chef at Grace, in Santa Monica, and BLD, in Los Angeles.
An alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Fraser quickly gained experience while working with prominent chefs including Thomas Keller at Checkers Hotel in Los Angeles and David Burke at the Park Avenue Café in New York. He also worked at Wolfgang Puck’s Eureka Brewery and Restaurant and Spago.
Fraser also ran the kitchens at Boxer, in Los Angeles, Jimmy’s, in Beverly Hills, and Rix, in Santa Monica.
He has received noteworthy accolades that include “Hot Tables” from Conde Nast Traveler, and “LA’s Best 25 Restaurants” from Los Angeles Magazine, Los Angeles Times and Angeleno Magazine. In 2006, Fraser competed in Food Network’s Iron Chef America competition and became the first Los Angeles chef to win the contest.
About The Strand House
The Strand House, reminiscent of an elegant yet welcoming beach house with stunning ocean views, is a modern, multi-level venue where guests feel special whether they want to enjoy a romantic sunset dinner, a spirited sporting event or live entertainment, or even a private event in the restaurant’s spectacular wine cellar.  Featuring new American cuisine, an exceptional wine list and house specialty cocktails inspired by the restaurant’s resident mixologist, The Strand House is highly regarded for using fresh, local ingredients.  Passionate about his craft, Chef Neal Fraser is a regular visitor to local farmers’ markets, where he carefully collects ingredients for his discerning menu and cocktails. The Strand House is completely devoted to using organic and sustainable methods when purchasing and cooking.  The farm-driven menus change seasonally.  Since its opening in August of 2011, The Strand House has received abundant attention in the media and has been recognized by the Los Angeles Times and Zagat, and the restaurant is a 2011 Open Table Diners’ Choice Award winner.

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