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Chef Bruce Kalman creates an unforgettable UCLA breakfast after a trip to an artisanal flour mill; Chef Tin Vuong throws down an epic Thai tailgate at USC.

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Transcript

- Hey, I'm Jax, and welcome to The Grill Iron. We track the best culinary trailblazers to step into our Tastemade kitchen at the Hyundai Field House and redefine the art of tailgating. While the teams fight it out on the grid iron, our chefs turn up the heat on The Grill Iron. The Rose Bowl has been a Pasadena landmark for nearly a century. It's seen its share of epic tailgates, and let me tell you, this is a town with some impressive palettes. When the game starts early, so does the party. That means frying pans full of eggs, omelets, carne asada, and bacon. So much glorious, crackling bacon. And leave it to LA to turn a Bruins game day into a glittering affair. I'm talking an airstream packed with all kinds of homemade delights. Mmm. It's like a happy bomb for my gut. We found an amazing chef just a short pass from the stadium in Old Town Pasadena. Today, we're turning over The Grill Iron to a true local-born food genius. I'm Bruce Kalman, executive chef and owner of Union restaurant, Pasadena, California. Welcome to The Grill Iron! So, here at Union, what's important to us is working with local farms and sustainability, thereby giving our guests the best experience possible. I don't sit down and just write a menu. I go to the farmers market. I get inspired by ingredients, and my juices just start flowing. I feel like it's such an awesome, creative process. And I get to express myself through food. Our main influence is Northern Italy. That's where my heart is, that's where my passion is when it comes to cooking. The idea of our menu is that everything on the menu is going to knock your socks off. Everything is made from scratch here. We do everything from the ground up. We have such a really great connection with Alice Waters, basically the godmother of the slow food movement. It's such an important thing to us. We buy whole pigs and butcher in-house from a local farm. It's about working with those smaller farms and humanely treating animals. It's about respect. Tailgating is just one of those things that you know, it's tradition and it's excitement, and you can't sleep the night before. You're almost more excited about tailgating than about the game. So, this is an early morning tailgate, so we're gonna be putting on the best breakfast tailgate the Rose Bowl has ever seen. Hey! - Hey hey, chef! - How you doing? - So good to see you. - Good to see you too, Jax. - I'm so happy to be standing next to this man. Not only is he a James Beard award nominee and a winner on Chopped, but also, he has just one of the most amazingly soulful food ethos I've ever seen, so. - Thank you. - I'm going on an adventure with you today. - You have no idea what you're in for. The food gods shine on Chef because just down the street from his restaurant is a one-of a kind artisan whose craft is only practiced in a handful of places in the entire country. - She has something that I can't get anywhere else. It's an integral part of my restaurant, and it's a key ingredient in my dish tomorrow. All right, this is it. What? - Check it out. So, this is undoubtedly the coolest artisanal thing happening, not only in LA, but in the entire country. - This is the heart and soul of Grist & Toll, my custom-built mill from Austria. The fact that we are milling on authentic stones is very different from commercial production of flour these days. So, I wanna show you, because it's really important and really special. - [Jax] That means each milled ingredient touches your lips in its purest, most wholesome form. - We feed the grain into the hopper, and then it goes down in between the two stones, and I raise or lower that runner stone depending on how fine or how coarse I need that grind to be. - We're gonna make some polenta. - Mmm! - Some creamy, Grist & Toll polenta. - Your polenta has a reputation. I've heard about this polenta. - My polenta has a better reputation than I do. So, check this out. This is our grist here, okay? This corn, you've never seen anything like this before. - Wow. - What's special about this is it was California-sourced, so it was ground here in our state, certified organic and non-GMO, and that's actually not an easy thing to find. - Yeah. Look how gold and beautiful, and fresh they look. - Gorgeous. - So, it has beautiful color, amazing flavor, and the kernels are really, really plump. - Yeah. - So it means we get a lot of fabulous product for Bruce to cook up for this game day dish. - For the polenta, we grind it coarse because anything that cooks slow and low is gonna end up tasting the best. You look at it, it goes kind of from fine to coarse, and it's like, it's perfection in its imperfection. - Yeah. - That's what rustic food is all about. - I love that you can tell what this was before we put it through the mill. Like, even here, you can see it was beautiful, golden corn. - That means we're preserving absolutely everything about that grain: color, texture, nutritional value, and most importantly, flavor and aroma, so what goes in comes out just in a much more cookable and delicious form. - And there you have it, freshly milled Grist & Toll game day polenta. Coming up, Bruce throws one of the most delicious breakfast tailgates UCLA has ever seen. - Who's ready to smoke some ducks? - [Unison] Go, UCLA, fight, fight, fight! - Welcome to The Grill Iron here at the Hyundai Field House. This is Chef Bruce Kalman. - Who would've thought breakfast for a tailgate? We got some awesome polenta that still tastes like corn. Some vegetables that we grilled. The eggs are from the farmers market. It's topped with a slice of lardo, and then buried inside of there is the smoked duck. Who's ready to smoke some ducks? Take a look at this. - Mmm, looks good. So, what have we done to those so far? - They've been smoked for five hours, and what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna cut it in half. We're gonna throw it in the grill. What I'm doing now is just getting that extra layer of flavor. - They're just sort of like, sweating, bubbling, golden, and juicy. Oh, look at that. It looked good before it went on the grill, and now, it's like, golden. It's like a work of art. Mmm! - Nailed it. - 1000% nailed it. They're just perfect. - It is. It kind of is. - You know what you're doing. - A little bit. So, I picked up these veggies at the farmers market the other day, just beautiful, seasonal, - Yeah. - Summer squash, end of summer, some awesome eggplant, and everything in season's always gonna taste the best. And when you buy at the farmers market, they harvest the day before. So now, we're gonna season. We use salt, pepper, really great extra virgin olive oil, and some fresh rosemary and sage. - Nice and simple. I love it. 'Cause especially with vegetables, we're cooking these right on the surface that the ducks were, so they soak up all that beautiful fat flavor. Look at those grill marks. - Look at this. Beautiful, right? - Yeah. - Caramelization. It's just all the natural sugars coming out and caramelizing, and it just intensifies the flavor. - Mmm! It's the most flavorful squash I've ever had. I remember this Grist & Toll, this beautiful bag of polenta. - Amazing polenta. - That we ground ourselves. - Yup. We gotta heat up some cream and milk first. - It's thick, it's creamy. It's luscious. It's like, a giant vat of deliciousness. - And it's just another example of starting with an awesome, simple ingredient, and making a great dish. - Mmm! You can really taste the corn. That's the spirit of breakfast right here, mmm! Time to build our tailgate breakfast of champions. - That's right! We gotta start with an awesome base, that delicious polenta you tasted a minute ago. - Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. - We're gonna put some veggies just to make it sound healthy. - Pretend like we're healthy. - Pretend, yeah, exactly. - Yes. - Remember our smoked duck? - Oh, I sure do. Let's just pull some of this awesome duck meat off of here. All right, so this is a start. Now, we gotta fry an egg. Can't have breakfast without an egg! - That's right. This is gonna top off our breakfast in such an amazing way. - [Jax] You kept that yolk nice and runny. - Oh yeah. So, we're gonna add one last touch to this amazing dish right here. - Of course, there's more. - This is house-cured lardo. This is just cured pork fat. So there's breakfast tailgate! - Oh! it's like a breakfast cake. You could see the egg, but underneath it is layers and layers of amazingness. And look at the lardo, it's actually melting. I love that when you break open the egg, the yolk sort of creates a sauce that gets soaked up by the duck and the veggies and the polenta. Pasadena's officially heaven. This is the best thing I've ever eaten. - Happiness! Happiness! - I gotta move this. I can't help it. Who's ready for the most amazing breakfast of their life? Let's go make some tummies happy. Couch service. - You know, getting out here on The Grill Iron, it's just the energy, it's intense. These guys are eating smoked duck, getting ready to smoke those ducks on the field. It just, it gets me going, you know? I get to do my thing out here with these incredible ingredients. It's awesome. - Up next, I'm heading to the other side of Los Angeles, where Chef Tin Vuong is cooking up some of the best food in the city, and letting me in on his top-secret special ingredient. Oh, wow! Here in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Saturdays belong to a different kind of star: the one that shines cardinal and gold. Tommy Trojan presides over game day, ready to galvanize the crowds and fight on, as they say around here. V for victory! Two legs or four, it is all about that famous Cali sunshine, decades of storied tradition, and that smoky, sweet smell of barbecue. And around the clock, it ain't really a party unless it ends with one of these. Oh, yes! I know these guys. These are my salvation after a long night. This hotdog, wrapped in crispy griddled bacon is a late-night staple. I love this, look at that! That's what fun tastes like. Mmm. The Trojans fight the good fight on the field, and we have our own warrior behind the grill, adding Asian flavor to the all-American tailgate. - Hey, what's happening? My name's Tin. I'm the chef at Little Sister in Manhattan Beach. I'm ready to get down with The Grill Iron. It's all about building flavors for me, but there's always a balance of flavors being sweet, salty, spicy. When you get the right combination of flavors, it just brings out the product so well. Finding the right balance between different spices, it's like dating, you know what I mean? Sometimes, it doesn't work, sometime it does, but you just kind of fall in love with cooking again and again. It's just amazing. You cook as how you feel. It really depends on what I'm into at the moment, things that remind me of my childhood. Food that's really inspirational. Sometimes, the best recipes come out of that. Trojan football in LA is a must. It's tradition. The nostalgia of being at Old Coliseum, all the school pride. This is phenomenal. Tailgating's America's pastime. There's a sense of community, be with friends, be with family, and eat awesome, delicious food. When I step into the Grill Iron kitchen, I'm gonna try to bring as many different type of flavors, ingredients, show what's Southeast Asian food into the tailgate. It's like Trojan football, everyone's gonna love it. - We're a block from the ocean in Manhattan Beach, and it's time to meet Chef. - Hey, what's happening, Jax? - Hey. So nice to meet you. - Nice to meet you. - Now, you have five restaurants in Los Angeles. - We do, we do. - All incredibly popular, if I could toot your horn for a sec. - Thank you. - But this restaurant, Little Sister, it's one of the hardest tables to get in LA. I am so stoked 'cause you're actually letting me in on your secret ingredient today. - My secret ingredient is actually walking out right now. - Whoa, that looks like trouble. What are you getting me into? - Alex is my partner in crime when it comes to curating new products. Alex, this is Jax. - Yeah, I need to know what's in that ASAP. The briefcase has arrived. Dun, dun, dun! You're taking me on-- - Yes. - Some sort of like, clandestine food adventure. - So, I just got back from LAX. - Oh, wow. It's amazing. I mean, this is beautiful. As it turns out, that shady suitcase over there held all of the best flavors and scents from like, every corner of the world. I love this, Chef. This is so rad. You got a guy, he's got a guy. - I got the guy, the spice doctor. He makes house calls for me anytime I need anything special that I'm working on, especially this awesome Trojan tailgate. - Game day for a lot of people means like, salt, pepper, and a grill. You're actually crafting a custom blend for us. - So, I'm doing a Trojan spice. It needs to be bright in color, spicy, earthy, and has a good citrus finish. - What do you recommend? Where do we start? - [Alex] We start first with the Sichuan peppercorn. Oh man, that's good. - Now, he wants something little bit smokey. Cubeb pepper, this is originally from Indonesia. We have Aleppo pepper. Very similar to like, paprika. - That is definitely a front of the tongue spice. - So grinding, you bring out the essential oil. - Yeah. - That's when you get the aroma. - And the color looks pretty good. - Yeah. - Spoon coriander back down to that. Some cumin, a must in any good curry. Cardamom, I love cardamom. Just has that floral scent. A couple of cloves, just for that aromatic. - I can't wait to see the reaction on our tailgaters' faces. All the work that goes into this one spice. Oh, yeah. Chef? - Almost there. You just need a little bit of savoryness. I have this one secret ingredient, golden vadouvan, fermented curry, and we're gonna add a little bit of this because it's very strong. - Look at that gorgeous color. - [Alex] Very labor intensive to make, but the flavor profile is amazing. - That's a flavor explosion. - Yeah, throw it in there. It's perfect. - All right, Chef, please sign off? - Looks fantastic. That's the Trojan spice. - We have our game day spice. We've pulled the best from every part of the world. Did a little mad scientist-ing, and here you go. We've got our Trojan spice blend. You ready for game day? - Let's roll! - To the coliseum! Next up, we're taking our custom spices to the tailgate where Chef Tin is cooking up five dishes to wow our hungry tailgaters. A thousand flavors are hitting me at once. Mmm! Welcome, everybody, to the Hyundai Field House. This, all of this yummyness, is The Grill Iron. Trojans! - What's happening, guys? Today, we're gonna do some lamb banh mi, Indonesian shrimp satay, some chicken satay, char siu pork ribs, some vegetarian salad, and a lemongrass beef. - Three cheers for meat! We've got these gorgeous shrimp, a rainbow of spices, which I know is your jam. For these type of prawns, I like doing a dry curry. We're gonna start with some green curry, and then some white pepper, they'll like that. - Oh my gosh, this smells so good already. - Then, we do some of this peanut oil, just a little bit. Oh, you know, we'll just do some of this. Game day spices. - Some of that game day spice, why not? - Giving them a little spice bath. - The best kind of bath. - And... - Look at that! It's a lollipop of yum. - We got lollipops here. - I love this. - Right on. - You gotta see this. Prawns covered in all kinds of delicious spice. Thank you, Chef, thank you, Alex. To the grill! - The reason why I'm using this habachi grill is because it has this great intense heat. When it hits the grill, it's gonna get the smokiest flavor. We'll brush on a little-- - Pure butter. Look how quickly they cook. Oh! That smells so good! They are golden and pink and buttery. - This is the wet side of the curry. This is cashew curry. Finish off with some scallions and some cilantro. - Oh, but it's not done yet. Trojan spice blend, custom made for game day. A thousand flavors are hitting me at once. Mmm! More meat on a stick, yes please. So now, we've got chicken skewers, and they get the same royal treatment. - Chicken thigh meat has a lot more fat to it, so we're gonna treat it just a little bit different. It needs to be on a lower temperature. - The chicken needs tender love and affection. - Yes. That, that look-- - That, look at that. - What happens when I put the butter on top? I really want it towards the end 'cause I want some of that smoky flavor going through it. - [Jax] So the butter ignites the flame. - Yes. And they're chicken marshmallows. S'mores. - That is gorgeous. - Oh, wait. We're not done yet. - Wait. Shiny and golden and-- - We're gonna take some of this Indonesian sauce, some Thai basil, some more scallions. - Don't forget, we got our Trojan blend. - I am a lucky lady. I just fell in love with a platter of meat. - Mmm! - Oh, money. - That is money. This is awesome, Chef. Elbows. - Oh, thanks. - I can't give you a high-five 'cause I don't wanna stop eating. Now, banh mi, it means bread, and you can pretty much put anything between bread, but you've gone fancy for us yet once again. Lamb. - I gotta bring it. - You gotta bring it. - You gotta bring it. - [Tin] It's so soft, look at that. - I barely even have to chew that. That is so amazing. - [Tin] Now, we're gonna take all this lamb fat. - Oh. Oh my goodness. - [Tin] Now, we're gonna add some shredded cucumbers, some julienned red onions, Fresno chilies, some pickled daikons and carrot, fried garlic. - That is the best slaw I've ever seen. - [Tin] Trick is, press down the ingredients, fold. - And fold. That is a sammich. - I know. - That's a sandwich. Mmm! THat's a game changer sandwich. I might never need a burger again. Mmm, damn! Who's ready for some of the most delicious food you've ever eaten? Who's hungry? Y'all are in for a treat. - Ooh. - Success! The most mind-blowing cuisine I have ever had in my life, and you guys get to taste the best of it today. - [Tin] When people enjoy your food and they get it, you can always tell on their face. It's just amazing.

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