CHEF SAMBRANO Food Articles Video Recipes




Sunday, September 25, 2011


If your every in Lahaina, and traversing on Front Street, hit the Wharf Cinema Center, located right across the Banyan Tree, you'll find good food, from juicy burgers, Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai, pizza, and...........Custom woven hats made by brother Dave. He's been weaving hats out of palm leaves for years. He has a kiosk filled with hats and other items.

"Business is slow, but I'm surviving," says Dave, with his famous guitar hanging from his neck and shoulders. Dave is located  in the rear of the shopping complex, on Luakini street, so head towards the back side of the center, you'll find him right outside of Jay's Pizza.

The kiosk looks like this picture, filled with hats, and bags, and bowls. This is made on Maui, the real deal, not brought in from China or the Philippines, the real deal. So if you're visiting Maui this is something to consider. Buy a few from Dave, get a picture taken with him, and walk to the post office a few blocks away and mail these home eliminating the travel hassles with the airlines.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

JAMES "JK Foodie" KUDLICH Went to Eat At?

James "JK Foodie" went to Kahana Gateway to eat at Maui Brewing Company and ate a pepperoni pizza, one slice, and a few Bikini Blonde Beers. He said it was affordable, the pizza was delicious, the sauce was really good.

"I like my girls like the beer, blonde in a bikini," says J.K. Foodie. "Nah brah, da food was good, for a late night eats and a relaxing pau hana, it's the best. Simple brah."

James "JK Foodie" is part of our foodie clan, we are in the process of trying to produce James's food show, he'll go around town trying different foods from different restaurants to see how it tastes.
James "JK Foodie" Kudlich

You might find James at Maui Brewing Company, located in Kahana at the Kahana Gateway, just minutes north of Kaanapali, just look for the Mc Donald's on the left side of the highway at the stoplight. It's in that mall there in the corner.

James "JK Foodie" Kuldich loves food and drink but James says this, "Don't be drunk as a skunk and drive, get a cab or have a designated sobered driver, it ain't cool to drive drunk."


If you want to make soup, it can be very simple utilizing canned broths, and utilizing a wok. In the classic way to make soup, like a beef soup, chefs would roast beef bones for hours to get the rich flavors out of the bones and bits of the meat, and then the bones would be added to liquid such as water and some vegetables to make the soup itself or the base for it.

Asian influence soups are much easier to make and quite frankly more to the point. Here's a simple beef soup with cabbage and some onions, and carrots.

1/4 lb. of thinly sliced flank across the grain, seasoned with salt and pepper. In a bowl, place 2 tbsp. of soy sauce, 1 tsp. of sesame oil, and 1 tsp. of oyster sauce. Mix the meat together real well and let it stand at room temperature.

Slice a small onion into thin strips, set that aside.

Grate a half a small carrot and set that aside.

Thinly slice 3 cups of cabbage set that aside.

1. Heat up a wok (10 inch) over medium high heat with about 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil, when hot add in 1 tsp. of minced ginger and 1 tsp. of minced garlic, stir for about 20 seconds. Add in the flank steak slices. Cook for about  3 minutes, then add in the onions and carrots and cook for about 2 minutes.
2. Add in 2 cans of low sodium beef broth, bring to a boil, then lower to simmer, cook for about 10 minutes. Add in the cabbage and off the heat.
*Season with soy sauce, salt and pepper if is too weak. The flavors for marinating the meat at the beginning should add flavor.

This makes about 3 servings of 6 oz. bowls.

To make this a Thai or Filipino dish, add Nam Pla (Thai fish sauce) or Patis (Fish sauce of the Philippines) to the soup, and add rice noodles for a noodle soup. Asian soups are very popular these days and very quick to make, unlike French influenced or Euro soups where there's a lot of roasting bones going on, Asian soups really cuts to the chase, it may not have rich flavors as their Euro/French counterparts, but it can be very delicious nonetheless.

If you are making your own beef stock/broths, then you'll have to roast them bones, but with some fine products out on the market for home chefs, you don't need to do that, heck I don't, there's some very good products out there, and yes, pro chefs at some of the finest restaurants use these items to cut cost, and really, you can't taste the difference too much. Use low sodium broths all of the time so that you can really adjust the flavors, remember too much salt can ruin a dish and also bad for your blood pressure.

But for your culinary purist, okay roasting bones is the only way to go, there, did that make you happy?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Napili Kai- Sea House, Sunsets & George Kahumoku

Napili Kai sits on the North West side of Maui, a beautiful layout, the Napili Bay is right in front of the resort, Kapalua and the Ritz Carlton is just next door, the Maui Bus stops right there, it's got lots of beauty, sunsets, and great food at the Seahouse Restaurant, Tuesdays got lobster tails specials, and call them for Grammy Award Guitarist George Kahumoku, he performs there, and ask about the keiki (kids) hula shows, it is awesome, a very Hawaiian kind of resort.
Happy Hour 2-5 pm; Early Bird 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Tuesday's Special was LOBSTER TAILS.

Standing on the bridge that leads to the Sea House Restaurant, the sunsets in betweeen Lana'i island and Moloka'i island. If this isn't beautiful, someone tell me what is.

For their menu and info

Mexican Grinez Lahaina

Not bad for under 10 dollars, Casa Maya in the Cannery Mall, get a Chicken Taco, Chicken Enchilada, rice, refried beans and a smile from the counter girl. They got fish tacos, beef tacos, nachos, and pretty decent salsas mild to pretty hot. The Cannery Mall is a good place to cool off in the hot months of August and September.

The food is alright, but the chicken was kind of on the dried side, maybe too over cooked, but all in all places like this that's what happens when they prep foods like that, it is just reheated most of the time. But it was okay, the enchilada sauce tasted like it was from a can, and probably was for watching the bottom line on the business, it's probably cheaper to buy a can instead of paying an employee to slave in the kitchen making sauces these days. On a scale of 1-5, five being totally great, for what it was I'd give it a 3.7; I'd eat there again for sure, if this plate cost me 18.99 forget it, but less then 10 bucks I can handle that for what it is.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

LAHAINA MAUI Foods to Check Out

Planning a trip to Lahaina, Maui? Here's some places you have to go and check out to get a local fix.

Nobu's Lunch Wagon- local style plates, look for the pink truck at the NAPA parking lot by the Pizza Hut.

No Ka Oil Deli- local plates, salads, sandwiches, very reasonable, and they aren't open past the afternoon rush. Located on Wainee St. across Mc Donald's.

Zushi- Japanese hole in the wall, famous for the tempuras and chicken teri, very good, small menu but quality is there, run by a one woman crew, located in the Lahaina Square off of Wainee St,

Aloha Mixed Plate- local plates, beer, run by the Old Lahaina Luau, Front St. back side of the Lahaina Cannery Mall.

Fu Lin- Chinese food across the ocean, across of Safeway north end of Front St.

Nagasako Okazu Ya- local plates, simple stuff but delicious, located in the Lahaina Shopping Center, go there early they sell out fast.

Lulu's- local style plates, sandwiches, salads, bar, and live entertainment on certain days and eves. Night club on weekends.

Honu & Mala- Chef Mark Ellman's two unique dining places, ocean front behind Safeway, great spot to hang out and eat.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why Are Restaurants Closing?

Restaurants are closing in record numbers in the United States, and we all know why. The big E. The sluggish economy is why a lot of eateries are closing. By observing what is happening to the closings of restaurants there are several factors where if the owners or operators could shift with the times, I honestly believe they could be in business today.

One of the factors I have noticed is this, the owners and operators are not food service professionals, though they have business skills and management skills, they do not understand the food concept, what sells and what doesn't. When owners believe in a certain style or cuisine that doesn't work is when these people can kiss their restaurants good bye forever.

Example, people don't understand the word demographics, which means what a certain group of people are into, or their buying habits, in a particular town or city. There's a few restaurants I've seen that have wonderful food, say Spanish. But, is this type of food a money maker, or a type of food that will just be a lukewarm thing. And are these folks selling it as a product that is value driven for the customer, or is it a high end type of thing with a wait staff taking the order creating higher overhead.  For instance, a 1 pound beef burrito in a full serve restaurant might go for 18.99 with the fixings, then the customer needs to factor in a tip. This is where a lot of restaurant owners are sucking shit, overheads are too high and their profits aren't there. Now that same burrito in a hole in the wall, where there's a counter helper and a cook, this burrito can be sold for 7.99 with the fixings because of the lower overhead creating a wider profit margin. Too many idiots are going too big too fast in these times, simply put, they haven't done their home work.

And there's the egotistical chef that won't listen to customers or his own staff, he may be a world traveler and feel that his way is the only way because he's seen it all, and cooked it all. Bad kind of business partner if you have one like this dude get out, plan that exit strategy get out! These guys may have had success in the past, but that's the past, now is now. I've seen it myself first hand, a chef will say, "I got this awesome concept, there's nothing like it, homemade fresh everything, with a classic French touch with hints of Asia." Well? Great. Who the fuck is going to eat your shit Einstein? Huh?

So the chef opens up his fusion place, it does great in the beginning, but his prices are too high because he's using all those ingredients that cost too damned much. Again, he did not do his homework. I'd say to this Bozo, "Look, I can appreciate your skill level chef, but if you wanna be a successful fucking businessman, look around you where you have this eatery, what do people here want? And you gotta give it to them, you're new, in this town, get to know what the locals love and cater to them, and then add in your own thing. Chef brother man, look, see, talk to people, find out what the average salary is like. And by the way, your concept isn't new man, look around you, there's like five famous chefs that did this shit twenty years ago, so this ain't new man!"

Yeah rents or leases are high in lots of areas, so with that said, shouldn't these people try and find a better place to stick their eateries so they can make money and not lose it? I'd say, wait don't just jump in and open up a place because you have an awesome idea. Wait and see first, be of a strategic nature. A friend of mine told me this story of this local guy on Oahu that wanted to open up a fine dining restaurant, he mortgaged his home, and in these times of economic roller coaster rides. Long story short, he opened his restaurant, and it failed, because most people aren't looking for fine dining these days, especially a new fine dining dig, not now junior, not yet. Why? The established fine dining restaurants in certain locales have their roots secure and any new competition in that arena, well, let's just say the odds are not in favor of the newbie succeeding. 

Do your homework if you are itching to show off your foods. You may have a great concept and great recipes, but the plan is for success period. If you don't have deep pockets, or a team of investors to make your dream come true, I'd say chill out first. Do not mortgage your home yet junior. Find a hole in the wall kind of place, make your food rock, start simple, give the people what they want, and build from there, Don't get into business so you can be a fucking tax write-off, be in business to make fucking bank! Fools never succeed, wise people do. Do your homework before venturing in the restaurant business. Remember, even if you graduated out of Le Cordon Bleu, and traveled the world and cooked every kind of food known to man, people will still buy a juicy cheese burger. Get it? Make money and put your egos and stupidity away, unless you got a huge bank to back your ass up for the next 5 years, do your homework and chill out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


A woman emailed me the other day, apparently she just started to cook in her home, she's married and doesn't have kids, but she feels that her mommy in-law is always too critical of her meals that she cooks when they all get together once a month.

I replied with some questions:

1. Is your mother in-law a great cook herself? Answer, Yes
2. What is it do you feel the most comfortable cooking? Answer, Pasta

I asked her where she lives, and her response was she lives outside of the city, and her profession is she's a hair stylist. Well, I also asked her how she learned to cook since she just started, her reply was her sister who's a few years older than she is taught her to make pasta and salads and a few soups. She picked up cooking pretty easily because she's good with her hands, and she's a quick learner.

Here's what I told her to do.
1. Keep practicing, watch some food shows, read food magazines, be current with what is happening, but also read traditional cookbooks, like those how to make stuff from scratch books.
2. Take a few cooking classes from other cooks or chefs and keep practicing.
3. Learn to make something new, try asking her mother in-law if she ever tried Indian food for example, if she hasn't, then this will be new to her, and when my e mailer friend will do something new, her mommy in-law wouldn't know if it's bad or good. Always keep the enemy guessing.
4. Invite over some friends that understands food, maybe some good compliments from others will make mommy in-law feel like she's a jerk for acting the way she does,

In other words, just keep practicing, learn to take criticism, have thick skin and a sense of humor, sometimes, one should not just sit back and take too much from anyone, you gotta stand up for yourself, snap back if you have to. But as far as cooking is concerned, I truly believe it'll all come together if you don't quit.

Learn the basics, I keep telling friends that want to learn to cook, is learn the basics, learn how to boil water, how to cook an egg, how to grill a steak, how to bake and roast, how to stir fry, just learn the basics and you'll do good.

If my friend knows how to make pasta, she's on her way to becoming a great home cook to her family. I'd suggest during the week, do one moist cooking dish, and do a couple of dry cooking dishes. Moist meaning poaching, boiling, steaming, or a combination dry and moist in braising or stewing. Learn to do these right, you'll be very very comfortable in the kitchen. :)

Suggested book The French Chef Cookbook by Julia Child, this book can teach you many things about cooking great food.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Started out at Barnes and Noble, met my production man Sascha Bauml, had nothing better to do, so he decided to trek on out to Kapalua to get some sushi at the Ritz Carlton, where his significant other is working, had good sushi, talked about any ideas that can possibly make some money, then headed back to Lahaina, where I'm at writing this blog.

Bad news for the Village Cafe and Sweet Shoppe at Kapalua, they closed down for good it seems. Or maybe they'll open up again? Don't know for sure, but it closed as of 2pm yesterday. 

Not much to write or blog about, got blogger's block. Or is it too much shit going on? Got to be the latter.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

BRAISE By Daniel Boulud

Man I love working part-time at Barnes and Noble Book Sellers, I get to lick my chops every time I'm in the FOODIE section! Take for instance this book that was published in 2006 by Chef Daniel Boulud and Melissa Clark entitled BRAISE A Journey Through International Cuisine, and let me tell you if you love comfort foods, and you like different foods from all over the world, this book is fantastic, great recipes for the home cook and apprentice chefster. 

After reading the intro to this book Chef Boulud explains that when he hires his employees for his kitchens, he made them cook the foods from their homeland. Since his background was French cuisine, he was inspired and learned from people from other parts of the world that would cook a vegetable a different way, for instance on page XVI INTRODUCTION he carries on in his own words, defining an Indian dish that was braised, it was a lamb curry with spinach and mustard greens. An Indian cook prepared the meal for Chef Boulud, when the braised lamb curry was done, the chef was slightly stunned because the colors of the spinach and greens did turn into a green olive color, totally contrasting to his French cooking where the French try to keep all the vegetables in true colors, this dish didn't seem very appealing at first but Chef Boulud did learn from this Indian cook that after braising for a long time, the lamb, and the greens along with the other Indian influenced ingredients made that meal very rich and flavorful. This coming from Chef Boulud means something, like he doesn't have something stuck up his ass, to me this is a true chef that continues to learn and explore other cultures besides his own. I'm telling you this is a book that you should have in your library. 

It retails for $32.00, but if you got a Barnes and Noble membership you pay 10 % less.

I want to try the Chicken Basquaise with Artichokes, Mackerel with Herb Curry, and for sure because I like Master Chef Boulud grew up eating foods such as Pig's Feet, I want to make this dish called Stuffed Pig's Feet En Papillote. Papillote is French for (parchment) and is a cooking method where the food being cook is wrapped in parchment paper and then braised. Well, I know I can pull this recipe off it is on page 104 in the book.

Well FOODIES, that's my book tip for the night. Good cookin, Peace, Love and Happiness eh?

Friday, September 2, 2011

TIP ON PAN SAUCES by Ron Sambrano

Okay it is yours truly me Ron Sambrano here to give y'all a tip on pan sauces, these sauces are easy to make, my grasshoppers, what is a pan sauce? Why its a sauce made in a pan of course what 'd ya thinks?

As you can see in the photo of myself in our kitchen studio in Lahaina, I got my frisky whisky going full blast and I got some Korean influence sauce running around in a stainless steel pan. (Can't make a pan sauce in a nonstick)

On a recent video cooking show, my job was to make a Korean Style Pork Chop. I seasoned a couple of chops with salt and pepper, heated the pan to medium high heat, and then put some oil inside the pan, and cooked the chops for about 4 minutes on each side. I then plated the chops and covered it with foil. In the pan I left the bits of meat that was left behind, I did not clean it after frying the chops, the bits of meat are all full of flavor. Although if I'm searing a well marbled rib eye, I don't put any cooking oil into the pan.

So into the pan I added a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sugar, and some minced green onions, put it into the pan and reduced its content to about half, what resulted is a very well formed glaze that I topped over the cooked chops. This is called a pan sauce, and by whisking the fond or bits of meat in the pan, the flavors came together very well. Another culinary term for this method is termed deglazing the pan, you can use any liquid concoction to deglaze a pan, wine is very useful, and broths.
2 cooked chops (tent it with foil to keep warm)

Plated Korean Style Pork Chop

Thursday, September 1, 2011


A kind woman asked me the other day, "Sir do you live here?" I replied, "No I live on Molokai, and I swim across the Pailolo Channel every morning to work, and return the same way back home. Mam of course I live here." She giggled, I nice lady from outside of Chicago.

She has a condo for a week in Kaanapali, and to save money she asked me what kind of stuff we locals would cook for breakfast, my response was pretty quick, like a gunslinger in a western movie, POW! Your dead! My quick response, "Oh mam, Portuguese sausage and eggs, hands down, a local fave, cook that and you're set for the rest of the day, eat that with a couple scoops of sticky white rice, that's it."

I had to explain to her that since she was from the Chicago area, she no doubt was an Italian sausage or Polish sausage lover, or some kind of sausage or wiener freak. And she was, she was a brat freak, and Italian sausage lover. So when I explained to her that the Portuguese sausage was tasty and spicy and came in mild or hot flavors she went nuts. I had to calm her ass down.

So I told her go to any supermarket and find any locally made brand, since she was on Maui I informed her that she should get Uncle Louie's. This is the recipe I gave her.

Feeds her 6 family members who all looked like offensive linemen from the Chicago Bears.

2 dozen eggs scrambled and cooked (maybe more?)
60 oz. of Uncle Louie's any flavor sausage, that's 10 logs one for each person!
4 medium to large Maui onions, sliced and sauteed
Since they wanted bread, I told them go ahead and buy whatever they wanted and exclude the white rice.

Simple: Slice all the Portuguese sausage into 1/4 inch thick slices, put it into a roasting pan, heat up the oven to 400 deg. f. and a roast the sausage pieces for about 15 minutes giving it some crust, then add in the sauteed onions to the roasting pan and mix it up, turn off the stove, serve it with the eggs and bread.

I have yet to receive a comment from her, but that is one killa easy local style breakfast.