Hidden Hills Magazine • Summer 2022

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MARC SHEVIN | 818.251.2456 HANNA SHEVIN | 818.205.2089 THESHEVINS.COM ©2022 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS. DRE #01317331 Marc: DRE #00559629 Hanna: DRE #02099901 11891 BRAND NEW CUSTOM ESTATE - FOR SALE 25057 Lewis and Clark Road | Offered at $12,950,000
MARC SHEVIN | 818.251.2456 THESHEVINS.COM ©2022 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS. DRE #01317331 Marc: DRE #00559629 Hanna: DRE #02099901 11891 MODEL SHARP CUSTOM ESTATE - FOR SALE 5376 Round Meadow Road | Offered at $15,750,000 HANNA SHEVIN | 818.205.2089
MARC SHEVIN | 818.251.2456 THESHEVINS.COM ©2022 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS. DRE #01317331 Marc: DRE #00559629 Hanna: DRE #02099901 11891 FIRST TIME ON THE MARKET - IN ESCROW 5350 Round Meadow Road | Offered at $5,995,000 HANNA SHEVIN | 818.205.2089
MARC SHEVIN | 818.251.2456 THESHEVINS.COM ©2022 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS. DRE #01317331 Marc: DRE #00559629 Hanna: DRE #02099901 11891 SOLD 5985 Annie Oakley Road Offered at $6,295,000 SOLD 24100 Hidden Ridge Road Offered at $15,995,000 HANNA SHEVIN | 818.205.2089
TOMER FRIDMAN AND ISIDORA FRIDMAN DRE 01750717 | 01192964 INFO@THEFRIDMANGROUP.COM 310.919.1038 5521 PARADISE VALLEY, HIDDEN HILLS $27,450,000 0 C a l a b asas Pe a k, 2 8 Acres $ 3 , 9 5 0,0 0 0
25304 Prado De La Felicidad, The Estates at The Oaks $20,500,000 25511 Prado De Las Flores, The Oaks of Calabasas $6,875,000 Ca labasas

LightYUpour Listing

with Michelle Gracie

If you have no time to do anything else before you list, remember this... LIGHT and BRIGHT. Light fixtures can be art installations throughout your home. They set the mood, tell a story though design, and brighten your space.

Customize your focus

The kitchen is often the heartbeat of every home. Remembering bright and light overhead lighting is a must, however we want to layer different fixtures. A grand Chandelier over the table, pendants over the island, and wall sconces above shelving create depth and warmth. Stacking your light fixtures are crucial in the design element of your home.

The art of control

Layers of light are key to setting the room’s ambiance. It will illuminate the setting while your friends and family gather in your kitchen, cooking and chatting. Then, a dimmer or smart control can help cue a warmer mood when it's time to gather at the table to eat, sip some wine and make some memories.

Choose your fixture

So many types of fixtures: Chandeliers, Pendants, Ceiling lights, sconces, etc. How do you decide which to use? Consider function and focus. Chandeliers will add design elements, and set focal points while anchoring seating areas.

GRACIE 818.967.8295





CA 91302


Sherman Oaks | $2,750,000 | Represented Buyers

4 Beds | 3 Baths | 3,100 Sq. Ft. | 12,847 Sq. Ft. Lot JUST SOLD



Studio City | $2,000,000| Represented Sellers

3 Beds | 2 Baths | 2,078 Sq. Ft. | 6,998 Sq. Ft. Lot


Woodland Hills | $1,890,000

4 Beds | 3 Baths | 2,460 Sq. Ft. | 17,374 Sq. Ft. Lot


Woodland Hills | $1,858,000 | Represented Buyers

4 Beds | 3 Baths | 2,200 Sq. Ft. | 17,000 Sq. Ft. Lot



Thewarming nights and days of summer are always a cue to slow down a bit and take time to enjoy that which our beautiful community has to offer.

With the constant tug of our phones and the endless information that springs from them, we appreciate that you appreciate the value of sitting back, unplugged, and flipping through some pretty pages. Thank you for taking the time to read Hidden Hills (hopefully pool or beach-side). We hope you have a safe and memorable SoCal Summer!

Lonna Weber & Joe Bellissimo





Elyse Glickman’s work as a journalist and editor spans the globe and topics including gastronomy, wine and spirits, wellness, business profiles, interior design and fashion. She served as a Senior Editor for business/executive lifestyle magazine C-Suite Quarterly (CSQ) magazine, covering food and travel.


Lonna Weber

Joe Bellissimo


Joe Bellissimo

Copy Editors

Linda Raznick

Carly Fentress

Advisory Board

Linda Raznick

Steve Weber


Advertising: Lonna@Longvalleymedia.com

Editorial: joe@Longvalleymedia.com

Hidden Hills Magazine is published four times a year by Long Valley Media. LLC. It is mailed to residents of the city of Hidden Hills, California as well as distributed at commercial and retail locations in the greater Los Angeles and Ventura County areas.

Long Valley Media, LLC 5115 Douglas Fir Rd. Suite C Calabasas, CA 91302

All Rights reserved. No article illustrations photographs or other editorial matter or advertisements herein may be reproduced without permission of the copyright owner (s). Long Valley Media, LLC does not take responsibility for the claims provided herein. Printed in the U.S.A.


Britt moved to Hidden Hills in 2008 and quickly became involved in community activities like CERT, the Valentines Musicale, and as a Calabasas Library Commissioner. She practices yoga & meditation daily, and loves living adjacent to the Santa Monica Mountains where she can be found when she is not walking the bridle trails in the neighborhood.


Elle Rama graduated with a BA in Business from the University of San Diego and has been helping emerging brands grow through strategic marketing and graphic design branding. She currently works full-time as a volunteer at the Labelle Foundation and is dedicated to helping spread awareness to save the lives of animals in need. In her spare time she sews for her swimwear brand and practices fine art oil painting.


Nicola is a British fine art and commercial photographer, with a distinct and unique storytelling style. Evoking more than just a visual experience, her images have a keen eye for detail. Her work has been published by the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post as well as other publications and she has worked on marketing content for major corporate clients. Fine art trained, Nicola has also exhibited in group shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco and London. She works closely with the local charity Heal the Bay photographing events and educational content.

Jake Warner is a Photographer and Entrepreneur from Calabasas, CA. His background in design and content creation have allowed him to spread his talents across multiple industries and he is now dedicating the majority of his time innovating the Digital Publishing market. Although working full time on his company, you can still find Jake on the beach in Malibu with his camera and surfboard in hand. If you would like to see more of his work or get in touch with him you can visit his Instagram @JakeTheWarner.

from the


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Caitlin McHugh Stamos' new podcast is helping others to help others.



The long awaited and much buzzed about Annenberg Wildlife Crossing is under way.



Matan Shaibi has dedicated his life's work to one thing, empowering his clients to be able to say "good dog" (and mean it).



Stacy Poitras' lifetime passion for sculpting is all channeled through one powerful power tool...and the results are stunning.



Ama Waterways new Amasiena reinvents river cruising for a new generation.



Calamigos Guest Ranch shares some of their most delectable dishes...for you to try at home!



Chef Danny Amirian brings an eclectic mix of great wines and culinary creations to Thousand Oaks.



Baby goats abound! Meet the cute new 'kids' in town.

42 48 55 62 62 30 25
2022 features 18
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Caitlin McHugh Stamos with husband, John Stamos

How Can You Help?


It doesn’t take a cynic to believe that we are living in an increasingly cynical world. Bombarded by media, where negativity begets engagement— which rewards media companies with dollars—it’s easy to feel helpless in the quest to stay positive and do good. So many societal challenges are presented to us each day, not only in the news, where matters of compassion and common decency have become political hot-buttons, but also in our daily lives. Homelessness, immigration, sensible gun laws, the state of the global environment—all have become minefields within our

collective conversation that make it more and more difficult for us to bridge our ideologies, come together, and get "good" done. But Caitlin McHugh Stamos doesn’t see it that way. In fact, she views the barrier between feeling helpless and actually becoming helpful as one that can be easily overcome...if one only knows where to look.

How Can I Help, the podcast series that Caitlin recently created and hosts, brings these issues to the forefront and features the dedicated people and organizations that are already making a difference. Delivered with a sincerity that is remarkably disarming, Caitlin is

able to move listeners past the rhetoric and straight to the humanity of each of the social challenges she covers, guiding them deftly to the realization that we don’t have to go to great lengths to impact the lives of others in a positive way. “My hope is that when I talk about these causes, that I give people who don't have either much time or resources, the opportunity to do something,” says Caitlin. “I try to name specific, small things that most anyone can do to make a difference.”

This philosophy of small action making a measurable difference is one instilled in her from a very early age

Summer 2022 | Hidden Hills Magazine 19
PODCAST IS HELPING OTHERS, TO HELP OTHERS. Joe Bellissimo | Photos Courtesy of Caitlin McHugh Stamos

by a family that did not begin in this country with what one might consider “much.” “My grandfather grew up in the Philippines in a level of poverty most of us have never seen. He joined the U.S. Navy and immigrated to the states after WWII, but he never forgot where he came from,” Caitlin recounts. “So, he decided to start an organization to help bring things like books and medical and dental supplies from here, back to his really poor, very rural community in the Philippines... And then he started a scholarship program for Filipino immigrants to be able to further their education. Philanthropy is really generational, it comes from him.”

Raised in Pasadena, California, by parents who both worked behindthe-camera in film and television, Caitlin attended Catholic school grades K-12 where service was also a big part of her upbringing. She would regularly volunteer with her parents for Meals on Wheels, a tradition of giving back that followed her throughout her twenties, which she spent living

in New York City. “Every week I was volunteering at the Ronald McDonald house. It was just part of my life,” she says. “It’s balancing. I get something out of it too...to spend some time with other people who could use a helping hand.”

So the idea for How can I Help grew organically from a combination of these core values and timing. The world had shut down in the face of COVID and Caitlin had started doing Instagram Live broadcasts to help share philanthropic organizations. It started to catch on... "And that's when this production company, Citizens of Sound reached out to me and said, 'Hey, this should be a podcast." At the time, she was very busy with a "pod" of children at her house, where remote schooling and playdates could happen safely. But after a year, and with their son, Billy, starting at school, she finally found the time to give it a large share of her attention because she felt she could be doing more.

"For me, thinking about something, praying about something, talking about something, whether on social media or person-to-person, it is good and it's something, but we can do more. Action is better, right?"

And where today, many in a place of privilege or visibility might actually limit their action to the "pray, post and move on" approach, Caitlin makes it a point to volunteer and experience first-hand the realworld efforts of the organizations she covers. "I feel like with the more privilege that I have, the more responsibility I have to do something good with it, and we've been very blessed and any chance that I have to be able to use that and channel it into something good, I will," says Caitlin. "And because I'm asking my community of listeners to take action, I take action with

20 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022
ABOVE: Caitlin with a group of This Is About Humanity volunteers in Tijuana, Mexico, working to assist separated refugee families. BELOW: Working with at-risk kids at a recent Childhelp event.
23650 Long Valley Road Hidden Hills Price Upon Request 7 bed | 8.5 bath | 50K Lot Ziv Gabay 818.825.8704 zgabay@mac.com DRE 01971047 thelongvalleyroadestate.com Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. License Number 01991628. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only and is compiled from sources deemed reliable but has not been verified. Changes in price, condition, sale or withdrawal may be made without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate.

everyone I interview and every organization I feature."

Since How Can I Help's inception, Caitlin has gone out into the field and worked with organizations like ChildHelp (exists to meet the physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs of abused, neglected and at-risk children), Illumination Foundation (provides targeted, interdisciplinary services for the most vulnerable homeless adults and children in order to disrupt the cycle of homelessness), and This Is About Humanity, where she has traveled to Tijuana, Mexico to assist in their mission of reunification and support of separated families seeking asylum. "I'm hoping I can take these experiences and then phrase everything in a way that everyone can hear," says Caitlin. "To humanize these issues instead of politicizing them. And just to recognize that we are all people who want to be able to have a family in a safe environment to be able to house and feed the people we love."

Taking action and making a difference doesn’t necessarily mean you have to travel to Tijuana. Another way to support causes you care about is by calling or emailing your Congressmen/women. In her last episode of the season, Caitlin tells the story of how advocates, not lobbyists,

are changing the lives of ALS patients just by having contacted legislators. And in her episode, Help Pass Responsible Gun Laws, she learns from Kristin Song how grass roots support of Ethan’s Law (named after Kristin’s son who died on a playdate because of an unsecure gun getting into the wrong hands), has led to saving lives. Shortly after its debut, the podcast already began to generate feedback from listeners who have been inspired to take action. Across the country, people have helped homeless mothers connect with the Illumination Foundation, volunteered to put together bags for Skip1.org, and have gone even further to get friends and neighbors involved. It is a ripple effect that aligns well with Caitlin's core philosophy behind How Can I Help... any little thing we can do to help others is never really actually little.

To listen to How Can I Help and learn more about all of the organizations featured, visit HowCanIHelpPod.com, or just scan with your smartphone camera below.

22 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022
THIS PAGE: In Tijuana, Mexico, where This Is About Humanity brought a "Yes We Can" mobile school to refugee children. Because of the state of peril many of the children are in, their faces have to be obscured to protect them. With Candace Cameron Bure and Shelene Bryan at the taping of the episode featuring Skip1.org
Melissa Improta Estate Agent missy@improta.com 310.597.1914 DRE 01265975 Compass is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. License Number 01991628. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only and is compiled from sources deemed reliable but has not been verified. Changes in price, condition, sale or withdrawal may be made without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. Jason Improta Estate Agent jason@improta.com 310.597.1915 DRE 01432200
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“Wildlife Crossings restore ecosystems that have been fractured and disrupted. They reconnect lands and species that are aching to be whole. I believe these crossings go beyond mere conservation. Toward a kind of environmental rejuvenation that is long overdue.”

Just a few miles from Hidden Hills' Round Meadow Gate, along the eastern side of Ahmanson Ranch lie the gentle rolling hills of

Liberty Canyon in Agoura. On Earth Day in April 2022, hundreds of community members assembled to commemorate the start of construction of the largest wildlife crossing in the world. The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing Bridge has been in development for over 20 years with the cost totaling $90 million to complete a crossing bridge over ten lanes of the Ventura Freeway at Liberty Canyon Road. The long awaited project is an attempt to reconnect to nature and is estimated to be completed in 2025. This is an important step forward for species preservation and connectivity on our highways as it will allow mountain lions, coyotes, deer, and other

wild animals to be able to cross the Ventura Freeway safely to continue their trek though the Santa Monica Mountains.

Scientists have identified the best location for a wildlife crossing along Liberty Canyon because it is situated within one of California's largest national parks. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area includes publicly owned and protected acres, making this spot ideal for establishing connectivity between two large suburban areas with growing populations: Los Angeles County and Ventura County. Residents, hikers, mountain bike riders, and equestrians

Summer 2022 | Hidden Hills Magazine 25

enjoy the panoramic mountain views, secluded canyons, tall oaks, and a little bit of local history found in these hills. The Santa Monica Mountains are an essential home for native wildlife, covered by hundreds of local plant species but the Ventura Freeway has become one of their barriers. Over 45 mammal species can be found ranging in size from shrews, which weigh less than one ounce, to mountain lions weighing up to 150lbs. Most of these are smaller mammals such as squirrels, gophers, mice, rats, rabbits, and insectivores such as bats, shrews, and moles.

The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing is a public-private partnership of monumental scope that has leveraged the expertise and leadership of dozens of organizations and institutions from across the state, country, and the world. Many very special guests walked the “cougar red-carpet” before the start of the groundbreaking ceremony. Director of the National Wildlife Federation Beth Pratt and its partners celebrated at the junction of the Simi Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains with speeches by Governor Gavin Newsom; U.S. Senator Alex Padilla; State Senators Fran Pavley, Henry Stern, & Ben Allen; U.S. Congress Members Julia Brownley, Brad Sherman, Ted Lieu & Adam Schiff; State Assembly members Richard Bloom & Laura Friedman; and Agoura Mayor Deborah Klein-Lopez, and other local transportation, political and conservation leaders.

The core project partner team includes Caltrans, the National Park Service, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy / Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority, Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, Save L.A.

Cougars, and the National Wildlife Federation. The project partners also added a world-renowned design team led by a landscape architectural practice, Living Habitats, that collaborates with Caltrans and coordinates with a broad team of wildlife crossing experts in the planning and design of the crossing to provide a lasting benefit to mammals and vegetation for generations to come.

Dr Seth Riley is the Wildlife Branch Chief of the National Park Service and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Adjunct Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA and he welcomes the much anticipated bridge that will ultimately be 210 feet long and 165 feet wide spanning all lanes of the Ventura Freeway at Liberty Canyon in Agoura Hills. He earnestly states “We have been studying wildlife, including bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions, in the park and in the Liberty Canyon area for more than 25 years now, and we have

documented the major barrier effects of the freeway, in terms of movement and gene flow. But it is incredibly exciting to see this research turn into conservation action. It is also inspiring to think of the hundreds of thousands of people who will drive under this overpass every day and realize what is possible, even across one of the busiest freeways, and in one of the largest urban areas, in the world.”

Band of Mission Indians Elder

Alan Salazar Fernandeño Tataviam

reverently described to the gathering that “Indigenous people have used the animals as teachers for thousands of years.” He thoughtfully blessed and saged the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing for the next century to respect and honor its location on the homelands of the Chumash. More than two decades of study by the National Park Service in the Los Angeles area has shown roads and development are not only proving deadly for animals trying to cross, but have also created islands of

26 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022
Photo by Ye Rin Mok

habitat that can genetically isolate all wildlife, from bobcats to birds to lizards. The Santa Monica Mountains have been a genetic isolate for many years because there is not enough diversity in their population. This means that if nothing changes, all possible options will be exhausted, leading us toward the extinction of mountain lions and other wildlife in the area. Newcomers would bring new genetic material into this area where the lack of variation poses severe threats to long-term survival.

Of all the area roads, multiple research and planning efforts have identified the 101 Freeway as the most significant barrier to the ecological health of the region. Animals cannot easily cross into southern California's Simi Hills because the freeway acts as a barrier between them and other areas, reducing numbers significantly. According to National Park Service records, twelve mountain lions have been struck dead by vehicles on these sections since 2002, when they started studying animal collisions with cars. In a devastating coincidence, the 18 month old mountain lion named P-97 was killed by a driver on the 405 freeway near Brentwood the night before the groundbreaking ceremony. This serves as a horrifying reminder that the species most immediately at risk, the mountain lion, could vanish from the area within our lifetime.

The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing Bridge will reconnect an entire ecosystem that has long been fragmented by an almost impenetrable obstacle for wildlife: the 101 Ventura Freeway. By building a wildlife crossing over the ten lanes and an access road, this project will re-establish ecological connectivity for a multitude of native plant and animal species in the Santa Monica Mountains ecosystem. Perhaps the greatest reminder comes from Linda Parks, Chair of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy & Ventura County Supervisor who gratefully emphasized that “This is more than a bridge that will thankfully protect local species from extinction. It is also a reflection of our values. It tells the world that we treasure nature.”

At top, a rendering of an animal's perspective when crossing the bridge, the 101 Freeway mostly obscured and only natural terrain to navigate. The groundbreaking's commemorative booklet, was given out to the hundreds of citizens who attended the historic ceremony.

28 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022
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30 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022
Matan Shaibi, with trusty trainee "Ben."


Welcoming a new furry family member is incredibly exciting, but it comes with substantial responsibility. Setting your dog up for success looks different for each and every dog and is crucial to their longevity and happiness. Training your pup not only builds a trusting relationship but serves in keeping your dog safe as they look to you for guidance in uncertain situations. Just over the hill in Thousand Oaks, trainer Matan Shaibi has

dedicated his life to helping dogs and people alike and has spent the past several years building an environment conducive to growth for both his employees and the dogs in their care.

Finding stray dogs as a boy in his small farming community in Israel is where Matan first discovered his passion for helping animals in need. After serving in the Israeli army, he worked in security and became a handler of the protective dogs at his agency. He began studying


animal communication, animal body language, and working dogs for two years under renowned trainer Amos Shiboli, focusing his efforts on training protection dogs for the army and police force. In 2013 he moved to the United States, fearful his language barrier would leave him unable to continue his work. After working for a short time with a training facility nearby, he found that his shared language with animals was all he needed.

Currently Matan offers a robust training program that he tailors to each individual dog. He explained that “training begins with knowing and understanding the animal’s nature, needs, and essence” so he can best serve the dogs under his care. He does not subscribe to any specific category of training but combines all the techniques he has learned in his lifetime in order to optimize

results and maximize his resources. Much of his training practices are rooted in his experience with working dogs where he concentrated on the intense relationships between dogs and handlers. In this environment, it is crucial for the dogs to have high confidence levels so the handler can have the trust and therefore complete control of the dog. From puppy training to basic obedience to addressing aggressive behavior, Matan teaches dogs of all ages, sizes, and temperaments and is dedicated to ensuring each pup he guides develops healthy habits that foster growth and stability. His facility offers private sessions to teach the most basic and important tools and encourages owners to show off their skills in group sessions that also serve as a form of socialization.

Matan’s determination and faith in his practice have even saved the lives of many suffering animals. Known for his generosity and spirit, he said that strangers would abandon dogs in front of his home for him to rescue. One of his greatest success stories is of a beautiful purebred bulldog named Luba. Her previous owners decided they wanted to surrender her because she had become reactive to the other dog in their home after months of neglecting her needs. Though the vet recommended euthanasia, Matan knew all she needed was compassion. A year and thousands of dollars worth of training later, Luba transformed into a completely different dog. Seeing that the root of her aggression stemmed from fear and insecurity, Matan worked with her daily to build up her confidence. Slowly incorporating various mental and physical exercises over time, Matan gave her proper exercise to relieve excess energy, desensitized her from loud noises, socialized her with other dogs, and

32 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022
ABOVE: Matan with Hidden Hills Resident, Lonna Weber's dog. Buzzy. RIGHT: Matan uses a scooter to work with "high prey drive" dogs, helping them to learn control of their chase instinct. The blower is an added noise distraction. OPPOSITE: Matan takes a break with Gino, the German Shepherd.
Summer 2022 | Hidden Hills Magazine 33

engaged her mind to reduce stress. Once so close to the end, now Luba is incredibly playful, gets along with almost every dog at the facility, and has an amazing forever home with one of the trainers that fell in love with her in the time she spent there. While Matan is confident he can overcome any challenge as a trainer, the last piece of the puzzle lies with the owner. Commitment to the long-term structure is the best indication of whether the animal will thrive and pet parents should be prepared to have an open mind, willing to learn and maintain the tools they learn in

training. Matan believes the reason he was put on this earth is to create harmony in the homes of other animal lovers so that dogs and their parents can make the most of the amazing connection that comes with having a dog.


Matan Dog Training


Text or Call : 805-501-9793


742 Hampshire Rd. Thousand Oaks, CA 91361

Summer 2022 | Hidden Hills Magazine 35
ABOVE: Matan doing some agility work with Ben. RIGHT: Luba, around the time Matan rescued her to prepare her for a forever home; Luba with her "fur-ever" parents. BELOW: Matan with Thunder, Panda, Ben and Buzzy.

Hills for

than 40 years, I have

understanding of how our community, and the homes

has evolved into something almost beyond imagination. There is an intangible here within our gates that ads value to anyone looking to redefine their lifestyle and become part of this great and ongoing story. I love telling that story, and helping people to understand what it means to live here, and I love being able to communicate the potential of every home.



Founder and CEO Mauricio Umansky, Calabasas Managing Partner Emil Valley Sales Manager Jason Galardi are proud to welcome Micheal Bloom

“We are thrilled that Michael has joined our Calabasas Office Family. He touches the hearts of everyone he encounters. With many years of Real Estate Hidden Hills, Michael brings a level of sophistication, knowledge and personal that is unmatched by most. We are delighted to welcome Michael to The celebrate his growth and success.”

Emil Hartoonian, Managing Partner and Jason Galardi, Sales Manager

A longtime Hidden Hills resident, Michael brings a strong work ethic, genuine knowledge of Calabasas, Woodland Hills and Hidden Hills. Fluent in Spanish deeply involved in the community, serving as an Ambassador to the Calabasas a Board Member for the Foundation for the Las Virgenes Schools and Commissioner

“As a resident of Hidden
a unique
in it,
It is the greatest of compliments when those who have known you the longest believe wholeheartedly in what you can accomplish.”
24929 JIM BRIDGER $3,450,000 SOLD IN TEN DAYS 5395 JED SMITH $4,495,000 5565 JED SMITH $2,995,000 5697 HOBACK GLEN $7,950,000 REPRESENTED BUYER SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD


at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

An idyllic oasis hidden away in the Topatopa Mountains, the historic Ojai Valley Inn continues to redefine luxury and wellness travel, welcoming travelers since its opening in 1923 to the serene setting known as “Shangri La.” Located 90 minutes north of Los Angeles in the chic bohemian enclave of Ojai, the resort balances the relaxed glamour of Southern California with reverence for the unspoiled natural beauty of the region for an unrivaled experience that embodies the authentic spirit of Ojai.

From the moment visitors step on property, there is a sense of calm—whether it’s the spiritual vortex that envelops Ojai; the idyllic grounds sprinkled with fresh citrus trees,

lavender, and rosemary; or the ever-present wellness touches across the property, from the recently renovated spa to the Artist Cottage & Apothecary and quiet trickling of nearby streams. Ojai Valley Inn has solidified its nearcentury reputation as the pinnacle of wellness destinations in Southern California.

At the center of Ojai Valley Inn’s wellness offerings is Spa Ojai, the recently renovated, 31,000-square foot wellness center that was recognized this year as a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Spa. Located at the heart of the 220-acre property, Spa Ojai boasts 24 newly refreshed treatment rooms with fireplaces, state-of-the-art wellness treatments, a gym , quiet areas, two pools, a whirlpool, and more. Guests at Spa Ojai pass through a tranquil courtyard with a trickling fountain before

entering the iconic spa. Once indoors, guests can choose from a variety of relaxing treatments to refresh and rejuvenate the body and mind. In addition to the latest trending spa treatments and therapies, Spa Ojai also offers spiritual wellness experiences include cleansing sage rituals, reiki and sound energy healing. One of the resort’s most sacred wellness offerings is the signature Kuyam experience, a detoxifying treatment with selfapplied desert clay infused with essential oils, dry heat, and inhalation therapy inspired by the ancient traditions of the local Chumash Native American tribe.

New to Spa Ojai this year is an exclusive partnership with Marie Veronique, a clean skincare brand founded by chemist and Ojai Native Marie-Veronique Nadeau. The Spa Ojai

38 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022

Menu now features two deeply healing and nourishing skincare treatments featuring Marie Veronique products, including a Lift & Tone Microcurrent Facial and a Micronutrient Repair & Resort Facial.

Beyond the spa, Ojai Valley Inn celebrates a holistic approach to wellness that touches every aspect of the guest experience, from healthy and inclusive menus across each dining

venue, wellness talks and chef dinners at The Farmhouse culinary center, a world-class golf course and tennis program, poolside relaxation, and more.

After all, the city of Ojai is known as a modern-day Shangri-La, and Ojai Valley Inn is a historic reflection of the Southern Californian enclave.

CLOCKWISE, FROM OPPOSITE PAGE: Even the California Spanish architecture of Spa Ojai instills a sense of calm. One of Spa Ojai's private treatment rooms, complete with a wood burning fireplace. The theraputic mud and dry heat of a treatment in the Kuyam Room. Spa Ojai's Wet Area. The Kuyam Room.

TREE BE like a Stacy Poitras - Chainsaw Artist

The Giving Tree is the story of the developing bond captured between a boy and a loving apple tree. Throughout the boy’s life, the kindhearted tree is generous for the reason that “the boy loved the tree... very much. And the tree was happy." Even though many have debated its complex underlying meaning, the book's main lessons are fairly simple: it highlights the importance of the gift of giving and the acceptance of another's capacity to love in return.

Whereas The Giving Tree ends with the magnanimous tree content to be a stump for the elderly man to rest, this is where Stacy Poitras’ story begins. Poitras has been an artist since the time he was a young boy growing up in Plymouth, Massachusetts; however it wasn't until he was a 17 year old painting major attending the prestigious School of

the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, that he was first spurred to transform trees into art. One day on his drive to art school he saw a man with a chainsaw standing next to a large log by the side of the road. On his way home, there was a carving of a wooden bear in its place. He stopped to speak to the artist and was astounded after hearing the piece had been shaped and sold in the time he had sat in his classes.

Introduced in the 1950’s, the dangerous art of chainsaw carving combines the modern technology of the chainsaw with the ancient art of woodcarving. Chainsaws are portable saws used traditionally in utilitarian activities such as tree felling, trimming, pruning, wildfire suppression, and the harvesting of firewood. Woodcarving began out of necessity, not out of creating fine art. As technology improved and new carving tools developed,

40 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022
Stacy's wood sculpture from Alexander McQueen‘s show ‘La Dame Bleue’
- 'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein

woodcarving for function and art began to appear.

Stacy Poitras' relationship with trees began when he decided to carve them into sculptures. His first piece was an eagle followed by a series of “Welcome Bears,” soon giving him enough money to quit art school and move to California. His first “gallery” was by the side of Kanan Dume Road where he sold his sculptures out of the back of his truck in the shade of the Malibu hills. Evolving his craft into a deftly honed art, his custom sculptures preside in hundreds of collectors' homes, not to mention having been admired internationally in numerous newspapers, magazines, TV shows, and commercials, including a Super Bowl advertisement.

Art comes in all forms and Poitras’ paintbrush of choice is a chainsaw and his canvas is unwanted tree trunks. Calabasas is the home for his Deadwood Tree Sculptures & Chainsaw Art workshop which sits isolated above a tree trimming company with a panoramic view & landscaping that he likens to Florence, Italy. He is inspired by the multitudes and proportions of the

company’s excess tree stumps that line the driveway. His unique interdisciplinary style is figurative realism influenced by 15th and 16th Century Renaissance artists like Michelangelo, Bernini, and DaVinci..

Observing Poitras’ create is a multisensory experience including loud destructive sounds, tastes and scents of burning wood & flying sawdust, and the processing of violently fabricated yet highly elegant pieces. For 95% of the carving, he uses no other tools than a chainsaw to convert the logs into stunningly realistic works of art. He has spent decades mastering how to swiftly cut delicate details in the forgiving medium of wood with a high impact instrument. Steeped in the lessons of anatomy, mathematics, and

his fine arts education, every precision cut is highly premeditated and measured. Poitras covets the energy Michelangelo felt looking at blocks of marble that “all that he had to do was chip away the parts to reveal the sculpture.”

42 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022
Young artist at work at making clay sculptures in 1971 Stacy at Deadwood Tree Sculptures & Chainsaw Art Workshop in Calabasas

The power of a successful artist lies in the imagination and effort taken to connect to what inspires them. Poitras’ most recent installation was sparked by the famed English fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who was head designer of Louis Vuitton & Givenchy before starting his own line. McQueen was known for his dramatic style of clothing and for producing nontraditional shows with

flair and passion. His bold styles and fascinating spectacles exhilarated the world of fashion. Poitras was moved to bring to life models and their garments from Alexander McQueen’s runway collections. The process for completing a sculpture can take months because of the planning, his unique carving style, and desire to perfect the sculpture. The finished female figures appear to float

above a catwalk adorned in McQueen’s couture dresses, combining a wide variety of genres, techniques, and themes to evolve the chainsaw carving into the fashion world.

Poitras has completed other large-scale projects with his concept of the Seven Deadly Sins, a commentary on society and humanity. Seven figures were carved out

Father in law Clint Eastwood making some cuts

of Redwood and placed in seven different locations around Los Angeles, each protesting a different human condition in a yearlong exhibition that was featured in his documentary "Chainsaw Artist." In addition to being a sculptor, Poitras is the creator, producer, and star of a television show called Chainsaw Gang, which averaged one million viewers per episode on the Country Music Television network.

When Poitras is not at his workshop, he can be found walking dogs, cleaning cat boxes and transporting animals to assist his actress and director wife Alison Eastwood’s rescue animal organization. The Eastwood Ranch Foundation is celebrating their 10th anniversary as a nonprofit animal welfare and rescue organization providing care for animals saved from high kill shelters until a home is found

for them. Poitras and Eastwood are dedicated to increasing pet adoptions through fostering, education, and events which will be assisted by a new rescue facility and adoption center they are constructing in Agoura Hills.

The power of a master woodcarver lies in the techniques acquired to better understand how to apply tools to timber. Poitras continues the altruistic parable in The Giving Tree, evolving a craft into his life's passion and nurturing a lifelong love of trees in their many forms. Poitras finds a groove carving beauty and giving another existence to trees.

Stacy Poitras Deadwood Tree

Sculptures & Chainsaw Art


Please sign up for the Eastwood Ranch Foundation Newsletter at www.eastwoodranch.org

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@PEDALERSFORK - PEDALERSFORK.COM 23504 calabasas rd. - calabasas, ca - 91302
Sculpture of a model wearing the oyster dress from Alexander McQueen‘s show ‘Irere’


After our long stretch of COVID-19 restrictions and cabin fever, it is nice to fly across the ocean to experience a different kind of cabin—one outfitted with vibrant décor, fragrant organic bath amenities, and an outdoor deck that reveals views of impressive castles, vineyards, cityscapes, and adorable villages. You can find all of this and more aboard the just-debuted AmaSiena, which made its debut along Ama Waterways’ “Captivating Rhine” (Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland) route this past September.

While this unplug-and-play itinerary is the stuff dreams are made of...(more so if you add extra days in Amsterdam on the front end and/ or Lucerne and Zurich on the back end), you can now do it aboard this sparkling, just-

christened AmaSiena ship. Along the Rhine, one of Europe's most storied waterways, renaissance and medieval architectural marvels fill in the chronological and physical space between notable German towns and small cities (including Cologne and Heidelberg, a university town surrounded by wineries).

A little past the midway point, the ship docks near the center of sophisticated Strasbourg and, later, stops near the intentionally storybookscaped Riquewihr, France (inspiration for the original animated Disney picture “Beauty and the Beast.”) Both border towns expose one to hearty-but-elegant Alsatian delicacies along with the visual fusion of French and German aesthetic sensibilities. Strasbourg’s streets are also lined with a bevy of artisanal chocolate

shops interspersed with curated boutiques and charming outposts of Parisian retailers.

For many of us who grew up with the “Choose Your Adventure” books, the itinerary has a bit of that spirit. With a mix of generations on board, from well-traveled Baby Boomers to increasingly younger and world-savvy travelers, there’s a nice cross section of active options. Instead of eating your way through Riquewihr. you could opt for a morning bike ride through a vineyard or a hike in the Black Forest. History buffs might love a local specialty museum or two, often off the beaten path. Depending on the location, sometimes you’ll have the option of simply getting off the boat and walking around the city or renting a bike to cruise the riverfront at a leisurely pace—provided you

46 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022
Summer 2022 | Hidden Hills Magazine 47

BELOW: Stops along the Rhine include fairytale inspiring villages such as Riquewihr, France and exciting smaller cities such as Strasbourg, France and Heidelberg, Germany.

BOTTOM LEFT: Offering more active excursions in addition to the traditional historic walking tours is a point of pride for AmaWaterways’ management in its efforts to making cruising relevant to a new generation of travelers.

and the bike are back on the boat before the (strictly enforced) departure time.

What also sets AmaWaterways’ excursions apart from other river cruise lines is that they do not operate like a hyper-chaperoned school field trip. Should you stumble into an overbearing guide, the ship’s cruise manager (such as the AmaSiena’s warm and attentive Martina Valachova aboard the debut cruise) will encourage you to discuss your likes and dislikes about the experience, as well as provide recommendations for other activities and must-see sites based on your personality and interests.

“The goal throughout our 20-year history has been to create a river cruise experience that we ourselves would love, with elegantly appointed ships, the freshest locally-sourced food and wine, immersive tours, and an astute crew,” said Kristin Karst, co-founder and Executive Vice President, about the importance of keeping cruising relevant for younger travelers. “We have stayed true to our vision while continuing to pursue innovation and sustainability whether on board or on shore. We are just as excited about new itineraries and destinations, such as our recently announced Seven River Journeys and expansion to the Magdalena River in Colombia in 2023, as on July 1, 2002, when we launched AmaWaterways.”

Like other crafts in the Calabasas-based AmaWaterways fleet, the AmaSiena is at its heart a floating boutique hotel. However, in contrast to other high-end ocean and river cruise ships with a signature interior design style that extends throughout its fleet, each AmaWaterways ship has its own aesthetic and identity based on

the geography where it will sail. It is also designed with the tastes of Gen-X and Millennials in mind—bold yet uncluttered, allowing passengers appreciate the castles, cityscapes, wine country expanses, and other points of interest on the top deck, the lounge’s floor-to-ceiling windows, or a stateroom’s outdoor deck.

Culinary Director Robert Kellerhals, meanwhile, is not only responsible for implementing AmaWaterways president/ co-founder (and Karst’s husband) Rudi Schreiner’s vision for the fleet (no more buffets!), but making sure the dishes developed or adapted for vegetarian and vegan guests will appeal to every guest while being in alignment with AmaWaterways’ new emphasis on health and wellness.

Kitchen highlights aboard AmaSiena’s inaugural sailing included perfectly executed vegetable soups, fresh fish mains and eclectic appetizers that match up with the food culture of each port-of-call. A vegetarian falafel plate served at lunch sailing out of Amsterdam (vegan with the omission of a honey mustard drizzle) was one of the cruise’s culinary standouts. The “Chef’s Table” tasting dinners and “Chaîne des Rôtisseurs” night (the marquee AmaWaterways culinary offerings) are even more boundary-pushing and impressive.

While COVID safety is now a part of the itinerary, kudos to the entire crew for working the precautions in so seamlessly. Valachova and hotel manager Romeo Luchian use humor laced with honest to set the tone in enforcing the necessary rules and providing information about sanitation practices in the public and private areas. Valachova’s delivery in her PA announcements positions the necessities of masking up, pre-meal temperature checks, and pre-departure COVID tests as extensions of the safety protocols that existed in the “beforetimes.”

Wellness director Teodor Leta, who has to limit the number of people per class, makes sure everybody who wants some sort of coaching gets it. He deftly juggles

48 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022

the responsibilities of communicating the cruise line’s wellness emphasis equation and adhering to safety in his bouncy repartee. While his daily on-board fitness classes lean towards beginner-to-intermediate, he also participates on some of the more difficult hike and bike land excursions and provides fitness tips for the asking.

“We have started implementing a variety of new wellness options on our newer ships, such as the AmaMagna, which features an expansive Zen Wellness Studio complete with a large exercise area with an outdoor “spinning with a view” exercise area, group classes led by a professionally trained Wellness Host, a juice bar, two massage rooms and manicure, pedicure and hair services,” details Karst on what travelers can expect on other new and existing itineraries and ships. “In 2019, we debuted new guided wellness activities inspired by the culture and heritage of Vietnam and Cambodia aboard the AmaDara, including an introduction to the traditional way of making organic teas, a beginner’s guide to yoga, tai chi and guided meditations.”

The new “MyAmaCruise” app, meanwhile, nicely ties the whole experience together as it simultaneously helps make cruising more sustainable and connects to younger guests in a tangible way. While saving paper and cutting down on stateroom clutter is a nice benefit, the app puts the whole itinerary and each day’s activities into a manageable format, while its GPS feature proves to be useful offshore. Although AmaWaterways’ complimentary postcards and postage for guests is still available, the app shifts that idea into an e-postcard/social media format.

In keeping with Karst and Schreiner’s proactive approach to cruising vacations, AmaWaterways is not your grandparents’ cruise line...but they’re confident your grandparents will appreciate the changes, too.

For more information, visit AmaWaterways.com.

FROM TOP: A locally-sourced trout main course enlivened with bright vegetables and Asian-inspired sauce and seasonings; Timeless surf-and-turf, prepared to order, during the “Chaine De Rotisseurs” evening; Cologne, Germany (topright); Strasbourg, France is the hub of the Alsace region with some of the best urban bike trails in Europe. You can cruise by the city’s historic highlights in the morning and by afternoon, enjoy incredible chocolate boutiques, artisanal bakeries and shopping; The traditional Rüdesheimer coffee as enjoyed during a nighttime stop in the drink’s birthplace; Heidelberg City.

Summer 2022 | Hidden Hills Magazine 49

Garner Gerson, the owner of Calamigos Guest Ranch, previously dabbled in the culinary arts. Gerson oversees the food and beverage program at the Calamigos property, incorporating seasonability and fresh local produce into all of the ranches signature dishes and crafted cocktails. It is important for Gerson to source only the most natural products, to insure that flavors are at their peak for the Calamigos Guest Ranch guests.


Summer 2022 | Hidden Hills Magazine 51
PHOTOS BY NICOLA BUCK and a cocktail

scallop crudo


• Scallops

• Sweet Soy

• Thai Basil

• Mint

• Peanut Nam-Pla (below)

For Nam-Pla, nix the following into a small bowl until sugar dissolves.

• 1 Thai chili, thinly sliced

• 1 Teaspoon garlic, chopped

• 4 Tablespoons lime juice

• 2 Tablespoons fish sauce

• 2 Tablespoons sugar

• A pinch of kosher salt

Then add...

1 Tablespoon peanuts, toasted, chopped

Set aside


52 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022
1. Slice scallops thinly and arrange on the plate creating a ring. 2.Pour about ½ to 1 TBSP. of sweet soy to the center of the ring of scallops. 3. Next, dress the scallops with the peanut nam-pla. (Instructions at upper-left) 4. Finally, top the dish with picked leaves of thai basil and mint.


1/4 oz Lime

1/4 oz Lemon

3/4 oz Ginger syrup

3/4 oz Turmeric syrup

1.5 oz Reposado tequila


Shake with ice like you mean it. Strain, pour and garnish with crushed cardamom and an edible pansy.

bangkok to jalisco chilled spring pea soup


• 2 oz. Shallots, sliced

• 2 oz. Leeks, sliced

• ½ oz. Garlic, chopped

• ½ cup White wine

• 2 cups Vegetable stock

• ½ cup Dairy-free cream

• 2 ½ lbs. Fresh peas

• ½ Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil

• Kosher salt to taste


• Raw Hen of Woods mushrooms

• Lemon oil

• Mint leaves


1. In a medium pot add extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots, leeks, and garlic. Sweat out vegetables, continuously stirring as to not add color to vegetables.

2. Once shallots, leeks and garlic are cooked, deglaze with white wine. Reduce by half or until alcohol is cooked out.

3. Next, add vegetable stock and dairy-free cream and bring to a boil then reduce heat.

4. Add fresh peas to the pot and cook until peas are tender. Be careful not to overcook peas because it will cause

the soup to turn brown and lose it’s beautiful spring color.

5. Once tender, remove from heat. Strain off peas and set aside the liquid.

6. Place peas in a blender, using the reserved liquid to blend to the desired soup consistency. Add kosher salt to taste.

7. Remove soup from blender, placing in a container and chill soup immediately.

little gem wedges

Little Gem Lettuce - Cherry Tomatoes - Bacon

Bay Blue Cheese - Pickled Shallots - Apple Cider Vinaigrette


4 Large Shallots, sliced 1/8 inch

2 cups Apple cider vinegar

1 cup Water

3 Tbsp. Sugar

1 tsp. Kosher salt

4 Sprigs Thyme


Slice shallots and place into a mason jar.

Add remaining ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, remove from heat and pour over shallots and close mason jar and leave out for 2 hours. Refrigerate.

½ cup Apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. Shallot, diced

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. Whole grain mustard

1 cup Blended oil

Kosher salt to taste


In a blender, add apple cider vinegar, shallots, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard. Set blender low to medium speed. Slowly add blended oil to emulsify ingredients. Be careful to not add oil too fast for it will cause vinaigrette to separate. Season with kosher salt to taste. Remove from blender and store.

Quarter little gem lettuces lengthwise with stem end attached to keep wedges intact.

Cut cherry tomatoes in half.

Add little gem wedges to a mixing bowl coating generously with apple cider vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper.

Place dressed lettuce wedges onto a plate and garnish with your desired amounts of cherry tomatoes, bacon, Bay Blue cheese and pickled shallots.


54 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022
A Local Tradition Since 1970, Our Family’s Special BBQ Recipe is Legendary. INDOOR FIRESIDE OR PATIO DINING CATERING LARGE PARTIES 4923 Topanga Cyn Blvd. Woodland Hills RibRanchBBQ.com

CORK DORK pushing the boundaries of excellent taste


Some young chefs dream of making their mark at a high-profile Michelin Star restaurant. Daniel Amirian, who honed his culinary skills with some of Los Angeles’ best chefs, has a slightly different idea about how to connect with people through food. Although he came of age in Russell Park, an unassuming section of Westlake Village in a working-class family, it says a lot that he’s accomplishing his restaurateur dreams through

his almost two-year old Cork Dork, minutes from where he grew up.

Amirian dares to show ambitious, refined dining can also be approachable as well as fun for everyone involved. Clues to his approach lie within the restaurant’s quirky name. While the “cork” part signifies that a curated collection of wine is available to be paired with food or served in flights, the “dork” is a playful allusion to the fact that he and his own

well-curated team (co-anchored by sommelier Aaron Horwitz and fellow owner Debbie Margolis) take their knowledge of food and wine seriously but not their egos. On any night of the week, you can witness the kitchen team having a great time pulling menus and meals together with the intent of getting reactions from the guests.

58 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022
By design: Cork Dork is a modern spin on the neighborhood wine bar, with just the right amount of rustic.

It’s the little restaurant that could...and does on many levels.

“We signed the lease in January 2020, right before the pandemic really went into effect,” said Amirian, who is known by regulars as “Chef Danny.” “We were a little nervous, but we just kept trucking along. “We worked with purveyors from Camarillo, and they guided us through the process of preparing the restaurant for opening that would happen in spite of what was going on with lockdowns. It was a huge undertaking, as this space hadn't been occupied for about five years, and even with the extra risk, we saw the promise. I've opened a lot of restaurants from the ground up, and when you're picking out all the little details, specific lighting, decorative elements, countertops and flooring types, you want to get it right.”

Amirian pauses for a moment to contemplate the aesthetic results of the whole. At first glance, it could be perceived as rustic or industrial chic—or a mix of the two. However, he differentiates Cork Dork by explaining the ambiance is bright and a touch more feminine than other wine bars, which he describes as “dark and cavernous.” Lynda, his interior designer wife meanwhile, embraced the opportunity to apply several techniques and decorative approaches that she wasn’t able to do in other projects through her day job. The location came to our attention when Amirian was considering opening a barbecue concept built to appeal to a wider range of guests—especially non-pork eaters—as well as cocktails before it evolved into his version of a classic California wine bar.

“Our approach to our interior design is better suited for what we want to do on a day-today basis,” he continues. “We also did not want to spend a ton of money on making the restaurant look crazy-trendy. After considering the flooring types, we decided to keep it simple. We like to say that we built the concept from foundation up. We ripped up everything that was sitting on the concrete, and then found what was underneath is really

gorgeous. We just added some polish and went from there.”

The surroundings are also a perfect metaphor for Amirian’s creations, which carefully integrates modern twists and ingredient swaps to familiar favorites. His approach takes full advantage of locally sourced produce and proteins while finding subtle ways to bring out the natural flavors of each element of the finished dish. The plating of the dishes is clean and contemporary, as many wine-driven restaurants are. However, his interesting and complex background (growing up in a home headed by a Persian-Jewish father and a Jewish-American mother raised in Cajun Country) informs almost everything that comes out of the kitchen. Although he doesn’t keep kosher these days, Amirian credits his upbringing for instilling his resourcefulness (specifically, going without certain non-kosher ingredients to this day), business acumen and keeping an open mind.

“When I was 5, I was diagnosed with epilepsy, which affected my ability to attend school,” he explains. “When I was 13, my dad became more religious, and both these things changed how we moved forward as a family as well as my outlook toward food. While my early

education was not traditional, I still loved learning and trying new things through a variety of odd jobs, including a barista at a branch of the local Java Edge coffee bar chain. Here, I met David Baldus, the creative baker for four or five, seeing first hand how he expanded the basic menu until it became a full-on sandwich bar with interesting, original items. This inspired me to create one-of-a-kind drinks, even though I wasn’t really a coffee drinker. I enjoyed the process of messing around with the different ingredients to see what would come together.”

By 21, Amirian found himself working at a bank, and his father observed he was not as happy and decided to drop a few hints “I bet we could use a dairy-kosher restaurant around here,” his father said, From there, they set their sights on Pizza Mia, conveniently located across the street from a store/restaurant called Kosher Connection which served the Conejo Valley but did not have the variety many people in the Jewish community craved. A fast casual kosher dairy pizza shop seemed like a natural fit, especially as the location had all of the shuttered restaurant’s equipment.

“For the first couple of years, running this pizza place as a business was really exciting,

Summer 2022 | Hidden Hills Magazine 59
Owner, Danny Amirian (Left) with key members of the Cork Dork culinary Team.

especially as it supported our family and many family members were involved,” he recalls. “However, while we were a hit with kosher audiences, we realized we hit a wall when it dawned on us that only kosher diners were coming in. At a certain point, I wondered how we were going to change this, and how was I going to grow as a restaurateur and cook. This is when we started to look into adding more vegetarian and vegan options to our menu. I ended up hopping into the kitchen and started messing around with different recipes. From there, things became more fun and challenging, coming up with all of these crazy pizzas, barbecue chicken and other things that at that time didn't exist in the kosher world as good vegan meat substitutes. The deeper I went to address simple problems, the more happy I was.”

At 28, Amirian enrolled at the Culinary American Academy at The Art Institute in North Hollywood. While he was going to give things a try for the first quarter, he excelled in his studies and stayed, surprised that he was making the Dean’s List based on his early academic issues. He was so committed that he recalls attending five days a week from 6:00 a.m. until “whenever they kicked me out.” From there, he honed his skills with such notables as Daniel Rossi of Sunset

Restaurant in Malibu, Celestino Drago and Evan Gattanda of Drago, and Massimiliano Blasone and Salvatore Sodano of Nikita Malibu.

The cumulative experience, in turn, served Amirian when piecing together the Cork Dork concept back in 2020. Although it was not developed as a kosher restaurant, he attests his strengths as a chef were solidified by working with limited ingredients (i.e. no pork) and making up for it with a wider selection of spice and seasonings through the Cajun

side of his family. This manifests in appetizers, salads and mains orders that are perfect foils for an eclectic 40-plus wine list with selections from France, Italy, California and even Lebanon.

To this day, Amirian is fueled by perpetual change, and not only changes the menu seasonally, but also makes adjustments based on what specific ingredients are in season as well as feedback from his purveyors about what items are particularly flavorful. However, he admits there are a handful of dishes like his “Baba's Chicken” or variations on his burrata salad that will remain on the menu based on popular demand.

“I found the popularity of Baba's Chicken surprising because a chicken dish is not something I would personally order when dining out,” he says. “However, what sets it apart from similarly simple dishes is the unique blend of spices and seasonings. Perhaps people are finding it a delightful surprise because it is unusual to find a dish that bridges the gap between Persian food, Jewish food and bistro-type dishes. I can say for sure, however, that almost everything else is subject to change...even more so than I originally plan. At one point, I have made over a dozen changes over the last two to three weeks and I'm about to overhaul the full menu again.”

60 Hidden Hills Magazine | Summer 2022
As one can see in his popular salmon dish, Chef Danny sets out to showcase local ingredients without allowing some elements to overpower the others. Tomato and basil is not the only way to adorn fresh burrata. Here, fresh squash adds an earthy and velvety layer of flavor.

Although the pandemic allowed Cork Dork to mature properly under the care of Amirian and his staff, he admits the hardest thing about the lockdown and slow reopening was not interacting with customers as much as he would like. However, as the restaurant scene as a whole is nearly back up to full speed— even with recent supply chain issues, he is ready to meet his public and take on whatever challenges they throw his way.

“I love doing this because I believe that this industry is not just cooking,” he says. “It's also about interacting with our guests, especially people in the community who come out to support us. I know it may still be a little bit different as there is more shaking hands and less hugging. I'm really looking forward to seeing them again as well as those who know me but who haven’t seen me since I was a kid. I am eager to hear what they have to say about what we’re serving.”

Although many chefs describe their crew as a family, Amirian’s wife (whom he describes as his “rock”) and sons are also involved with the restaurant even if they’re not on the premises.

“Even as we are closed Sundays, we're usually running around checking things out. When I go to a farm to source ingredients, I'll take my kids with me because it is a perfect opportunity to teach them about what Daddy does, as well as what foods are nutritious, and what life skills they may need to learn to prepare their own food at home when they grow up. On one hand, while going to work with Daddy has been exciting for them, I will admit it sometimes scares me when they tell me they want to be chefs because the lifestyle is not easy. On the other, it moves me that my sons are so into what I do as not every kid is interested in his father’s job. It will sometimes bring tears to my eyes when my youngest is wearing a chef’s hat and coat, playing in his

little kitchen and pretending like he's serving people, or when he writes little menus, hands one to me and asks me to order something.”

1125 Lindero Canyon Rd, Thousand Oaks corkdorkwinebar.com

lovely selection
crafted with the same innovative and seasonal touch as the food items.
While Cork Dork has everything an oenophile could want, from awardwinning vintages to champagne to surprising hidden gems, there is a
of cocktails


These little piggies, looking for a home.

These two little brother and sister mini pot belly pigs, born on May 17th, are looking for a home with lots of room to run around. Although a total pig sty would be preferred (ha ha) they are already house

broken and use pee pee pads...but they can be indoor or outdoor pets. They are very friendly and loving and their final size is somewhat determined by their diet. The mom and dad weigh about 80-90 pounds. They just love to

be part of the family and love massages and kisses. They can be leash trained and love baths.

Contact Shannon: (818) 620-4378.

Summer 2022 | Hidden Hills Magazine 63

24961 kit carson road


This stunning, newly constructed 6 bedroom, 8 bath Hidden Hills modern estate is situated on an elevated 1+ acre lot overlooking pastoral hillside and natural state park land. Custom iron/glass double door entry opens to an impressive light filled interior featuring volume ceilings and grand scale throughout. This spacious open concept design showcases white oak plank flooring, volume ceilings, and floating stairs with iron balustrade. Large iron framed picture windows and walls of sliding glass doors are a natural extension of our natural California Lifestyle. The Chef’s delight center island kitchen with La Cornue Range and TRUE commercial full size refrigerator/freezer opens to a sunny breakfast area and spacious great room with fireplace, beverage bar and views of the expansive entertainer’s yard. The second floor offers four generous sized ensuite bedrooms and a sumptuous primary suite with fireplace, balcony and spa style bath with soaking tub, steam shower and dual walk-in-closets. Private entertainers backyard complete with outdoor living room, fireplace, built-in BBQ, inviting pool with underwater speaker system, spa, poolside fire pit, multiple decks. An adjacent pool house offers additional living space perfect for a gym or separate office with kitchen, bedroom and bath. Ample grassy play area plus two stall barn with easy access to riding trails bath flanks the rear of the property. Expansive four car garage and circular driveway.

Dana Olmes & Jeff Biebuyck I 747.888.0508 I danaandjeff@frontgaterealestate.com I DRE# 00944676 I 01383921

A Selection of our Listings

24901 Paseo del rancho, calabasas 5 Bed I 5 Bath I $3,395,000 15 round up road, bell canyon 5 Bed I 5 Bath I $1,950,000 4626 morrow drive, woodland hills 2 Bed I 3 Bath I $1,490,000

hidden hills cape cod estate

This stunning reimagined Hidden Hills Cape Cod Estate presides over a sweeping corner lot with commanding city light views. Superbly crafted & designed (completed in 2019) to allow seamless indoor outdoor living & embrace natural light & views beyond. A two story foyer reveals an extraordinary spacious interior flow highlighted by wide planked wood flooring & soaring ceilings. Open concept gourmet kitchen boasting professional series appliances, custom cabinetry & stone countertops opens to a dramatic entertainer’s great room. Gracious living room, banquet sized formal dining, office, game room & gym complete the main level. The second floor offers 5 en-suite bedrooms & private master suite w/ fireplace and sumptuous his/ hers baths, oversized shower, soaking tub & custom dual walk-in closets. Park like grounds include sparkling pool & spa w/ baja shelf, covered dining patio, BBQ center, rolling lawns & professional sports court. Unsurpassed forever mountain, valley and city light views.

7 BEd I 9 Bath


747.888.0508 danaandjeff@frontgaterealestate.com frontgaterealestate.com DRE# 00944676 I 01383921
Dana Olmes & Jeff Biebuyck
5887 annie oakley rD. hidden hills
Frontgate/Side is a licensed real estate broker (00944676) in the State of California and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdraw without notice. To reach the Frontgate main office call 747.888.0508
Your local real estate office serving Hidden Hills for over 40 years Dana Olmes + Jeff Biebuyck 747.888.0508 I DanaandJeffluxuryhomes.com I DRE# 00944676 I 01383921 23500 Long Valley Rd, Hidden Hills, CA

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