Food Rescue, DineTime and Social Gastronomy

MRM’s Daily Bite returns after MRM Staff’s crazy-busy week. In this edition we feature news from DoorDash and Feeding America,  QSR Automations, General Mills Foodservice, Cochon555, Cargill, James Beard Foundation and Paytronix.

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Partners in Food Rescue

DoorDash and Feeding America announced a partnership centered on DoorDash’s logistical expertise and expansive network of restaurants to expand Feeding America’s food rescue efforts. Each year 72 billion pounds of food are wasted across the United States, while 41 million people face hunger.

“Our technology provides an opportunity to solve real problems in the community, which has been part of our company’s ethos since day one, and our partnership with Feeding America is a natural extension of those values,” said Tony Xu, co-founder and CEO of DoorDash. “The work Feeding America does to combat one of the largest issues facing our country is impressive and DoorDash is proud to work together to support this massive effort.”

DoorDash will introduce a pilot program that pairs the company’s logistical expertise with Feeding America’s MealConnect platform. MealConnect serves as a hub for food donations, linking surplus food with local nonprofits that can use it to feed hungry people. Through MealConnect, the company will provide last-mile delivery expertise and support between restaurants, smaller shelters and food banks, adding a valuable transportation component to the MealConnect platform. DoorDash will use its logistics expertise — specifically DoorDash Drive, the enterprise-fulfillment arm of the business — to help reduce food waste and power deliveries to food banks.

Through the month of January, DoorDash will donate one meal* through Feeding America for every order placed on DoorDash’s website, Android, or iOS app. To amplify this effort, DoorDash will leverage the company’s national merchant footprint and invite one restaurant partner per month through the end of the year, with plans to extend further, to join them in the “one-meal for one-meal” initiative. One in eight Americans face hunger and DoorDash’s meal donation and meal match will help ensure that Feeding America is able to help those families and individuals put food on their tables.

“DoorDash’s network of restaurants and extensive national footprint puts us one step closer to our mission of eliminating hunger in this country,” said Nancy Curby, Senior Vice President, Corporate Partnerships and Operations at Feeding America. “We are are thrilled to be working with a partner that has a keen interest in addressing the core issues of hunger relief, as well as the technology and operations to make a difference.”

QSR Automations Updates DineTime

QSR Automations introduced new features and enhancements to their guest management platform DineTime, to help restaurants implement off-premise dining. DineTime 6.2 features include a takeout tab, with real-time data pushed directly from the kitchen, to allow for a more streamlined and intuitive carryout or delivery experience. These DineTime enhancements target business optimization needs for restaurant operators who are integrating off-premise business to their concepts.

DineTime’s advanced functionality has the ability to filter carryout and delivery orders on customizable tabs like “takeout” in the DineTime application. The tabs support showing when an order starts cooking in the kitchen, how long the order has been cooking, and what time the order is ready in the kitchen. Operators will be able to create different tabs based on carryout, delivery, or online orders. Hosts have access to order insights without having to walk away to a kitchen to see the status of an order, providing them with better knowledge to serve guests. DineTime is integrated with QSR Automations kitchen display system, ConnectSmart Kitchen (CSK), which allows the order information, from start to finish, to be pushed to the front of house.

“As the demand for non-traditional dining and off-premise services continue to grow, restaurants need to leverage technology offerings to maximize on the new industry standard. DineTime provides a critical foundation for off-premise success,” said Lee Leet, CEO of QSR Automations. “With real-time kitchen updates pushed to the front of house from CSK, operators will not only enjoy a more automated and intuitive front of house experience but dramatically improve their guest experience for diners.”

“It’s all about providing that quick glance information to the front of house employees so that they can be knowledgeable when the guest or delivery partner walks in the door. This way restaurants are not having to sacrifice great quality and a great experience for any customer, even if they are off-premise,” Leet continued.

The new update to the platform not only displays real-time order information but has the ability to show guest’s vehicle information for operators looking to implement a curbside to-go strategy. When a guest or third-party delivery partner arrives at the restaurant, hosts can check in the party, mark the order as picked up, or no-show the party if they have not arrived at the scheduled pick up time. DineTime guest management platform is a front of house solution that provides table management, waitlist and reservation management, and restaurant analytics that helps managers gain valuable insight into their operations.

Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest

The Neighborhood to Nation™ Recipe Contest is back, giving independent family or “neighborhood” restaurants and food trucks the chance to win up to $80,000 in cash and prizes and bring hometown pride to their own communities. For the fourth year, General Mills Foodservice is celebrating independent restaurant operators and seeking out recipes for the one-of-a-kind dishes that showcase their local flavor.

The only foodservice recipe contest of its kind, the 2018 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest will honor five Regional Recipe Winners who will each receive $5,000 in cash and an additional $1,000 to share with a charity of their choice in their community. One of the five regional winners will also be named the Grand Prize Recipe Winner and receive an additional $25,000 in cash and $5,000 to share with a local charity as well as a three-day trip for two to the 2018 New York City Wine & Food Festival, the premier food and wine event that celebrates America’s favorite foods.

General Mills will travel to each of the Regional Recipe Winners’ hometowns to bring the contest excitement to their doorstep. The winners’ staff, customers and community will all be invited to a special check presentation/celebratory event that will take place at their restaurant in August after the winners are announced.

“Independent restaurants are the heart and soul of their communities, so we couldn’t be more delighted to host a big hometown celebration in their honor! ” said Alyca Judge, senior marketing manager for General Mills Foodservice. “We look forward to bringing the national spotlight to the winners’ neighborhoods to celebrate these much-anticipated award-winning dishes.”

The contest is open to foodservice operators, chefs and line cooks who develop and prepare recipes for menu items served at independent, commercial restaurants or food trucks. Beginning March 1, participants may submit their original recipes using at least one ingredient from General Mills’ list of eligible foodservice products.

“General Mills is proud to work with restaurants and help them serve up their customer’s favorite menu items, but it is the independent operator’s talent, creativity and local flavor that are truly the ingredients to success,” said Judge. “The Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest was created to shine the spotlight on the amazing cuisine that is served up on independent restaurant menus in neighborhoods across the nation as well as the important role these restaurants play in our communities.”


From March 1 to April 30, participants may log on to to submit recipes for an appetizer, entrée or dessert. They must use one ingredient from General Mills Foodservice’s participating brands: Pillsbury™ (biscuits, puff pastry and pie dough), Gold Medal™ (baking mixes), Yoplait® (yogurt) and Mountain High® (yogurt).

PRESS Bistro’s Strawberry Cornbread Panzanella

Recipes will be judged based on taste, appearance, creativity and foodservice viability. Five Regional Recipe Winners (representing the West, North Central, South Central, Northeast and Southeast) will be announced in August as well as the Grand Prize Recipe Winner.

Cochon555 Champs
© Max Flatow Photography ( for COCHON 555.

After an  afternoon feasting on more than 1,500 pounds of heritage breed pork raised on family farms, almost 500 guests, including chefs, somms, barkeeps, and notable judges gathered with full glasses to toast New York City’s Princess and Prince of Pork, Ginger Pierce and Preston Madson of Jams by Jonathan Waxman, for the utilization of an entire Mulefoot cross raised by Heather Sandford of The Piggery. Cochon555 founder Brady Lowe bestowed the pair with the regional title in addition to  an amazing four-day wine and gastronomy experience in Rioja, Spain’s most prominent wine region.  The duo secured a seat to  represent New York City at Grand Cochon, the national finale on September 30 in Chicago. The event also raised $3,800 for Piggy Bank, a start-up farm in Missouri that serves as a kickstarter for new family farms and a safety net for those in the wake of a disaster (flood, fire and disease). 

Over 36 dishes were presented by this year’s competing chefs including Bryan Hunt of Temple Court, Marc Murphy of Benchmarc Restaurants, Fabian Gallardo of La Esquina, and Matt Abdoo of Pig Beach. The winning menu by Ginger Pierce and Preston Madson featured a Mulefoot cross from The Piggery. The aspects of the breed (qualitymeat and flavor) worked in tandem to create six winning dishes. The menu included Charcoal Roasted Chilled Loin, Pimento “Head Cheese”, Pigs Blood Tortilla Chip “Nachos”, Mulefoot Cracklings, Fried Bologna Sandwich and the Bourbon Maple Bacon Push Pop to end on a sweet note.

© Max Flatow Photography ( for COCHON 555.

Additionally, winners were named in our Somm Smackdown — best wine paired with heritage breed pork — and Punch Kings — a whole-bottle punch bowl competition featuring Breckenridge Bourbon. Kristen Goceljak of Little Park won Somm Smackdown with her selection; Parusso, 2013 Langhe Nebbiolo Spumante from Piedmont, Italy. Cochon555 thanks Amy Racine of Dovetail, Nicole Hakli of Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Carrie Lyn Strong of Casa Lever and Stefanie Schwartz of Le Coucou who rounded out the Somm Smackdown competition. VIP guests enjoyed a show-stopping lineup of hand-crafted punches from five of the city’s top barkeeps, including Alli Torres of Jams by Jonathan Waxman, Bryan Santos of La Esquina, Jane Danger of Mother of Pearl, and St John Frizell of Fort Defiance. Tom Walker of Pig Bleecker won Punch Kings with his “Confederate Punch”, combining mint-infused Breckenridge Bourbon, lime, sugar, absinthe, cucumber, sparkling water and bitters.

© Max Flatow Photography ( for COCHON 555.

“The national competition gets more intense and dynamic every year, and the performance of New York City’s chefs, somms, and barkeeps shows precisely why the city is now synonymous with landscaping a responsible culinary excellence in this country,” said Cochon555 founder Brady Lowe. “Ginger and Preston’s winning dishes were bold, modern, thoughtful, and full of the kind of flavors that enhance what heritage breed pigs have to offer.”

Communal feasting is an integral part of Cochon555; the events are theaters for innovative spirit, wine, and cocktail experiences — all in, a 40-course gourmet tasting menu taken standing up with endless wines and hand-crafted cocktails from some of the best bars in New York City. The Welcome Lounge ushered guests into the Buffalo Trace Punch Bar followed by the Signature Starter Bar and Cheese Experience featuring Cello, Cypress Grove and local cheesemonger Formaggio Essex Market.  Guests sipped sparklers from Topo Chico; enjoyed a signature Gin Cocktail Experience presented by Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin; and The Manhattan Project featured premium bourbon from Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, and Breckenridge PX Cask Finish topped with Luxardo cherries. Guests learned about pairings at the TarTare Bar showcasing chef Garrison Price from il Buco Alimentari & Vineria and the wines of Antica Napa Valley; stunning wines from the portfolio offerings of Codorniu and The Lineage Collection paired with organic pates from Les Trois Petits Cochons, and the racy Wines of Germany paired with a culinary pop-up spotlighting a “Taste of New York City” with Chef Stefano Marracino or Paola’s.  Cochon555 debuted a new experience called Trompo “Hora de Familia” hosted by Danny Mena of La Loncheria in celebration of its first Global Cochon555 event in Mexico City later this year. Just before awards, guests received a sweet ending via an Innovative Dessert Pop-Up spotlighting celebrity pastry chef Zac Young of Craveable Hospitality and Cat Schimenti of Baked by the Ocean and Gelso & Grand working with The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley in a#SprinkleBae spin-off.

This year’s judges included local luminaries such as Adam Kaye of Blue Hill at Stone Barn, Brad Farmerie of Saxon + Parole, Matthew O’Neill of Craveable Hospitality Group, Thomas Schneller of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, well-known Emcee Billy Harris, as well as our headline all-star butchers, Erika Nakamura and Jocelyn Guest from White Gold Butchers.

Social Gastronomy

Cargill and Brazilian non-profit Gastromotiva and Cargill are teaming up to globalize the Social Gastronomy Movement, which uses the power of food to address social inequality, improve nutrition education, eliminate food waste and create jobs. Cargill has signed on as a founding partner, which includes a three-year, $1.5 million commitment to scale the community-based approach to tackle these urgent societal challenges across the globe.

“This partnership brings together two organizations focused on driving social and economic change through food,” said David MacLennan, Cargill Chairman and CEO. “By combining Gastromotiva’s community focus with Cargill’s global footprint and experience, we can scale the Social Gastronomy Movement to have a positive impact on nourishing individuals around the world.”

Chef David Hertz founded Gastromotiva to create opportunities for those living on the margins of society, while also working to reduce food waste. Currently, they provide vocational kitchen training, entrepreneurial classes and nutrition education in communities across Brazil, El Salvador, South Africa and Mexico. The organization’s impact is on full display at Refettorio Gastromotiva, a community kitchen in Rio de Janeiro that serves as both a school and a restaurant. There, students receive free vocational training and help prepare delicious, healthy meals made from food surplus that would otherwise go to waste. The meals are served restaurant-style to people in need, in a space that encourages dialogue and companionship.

“Cargill and Gastromotiva are joining forces to make something much bigger than ourselves—to accelerate a movement that will reach the masses,” said David Hertz. “By training people to work as chefs, feeding those in need and using food that would have otherwise gone to waste, we generate opportunities, lift up those who are struggling and empower the world through service.”

Cargill’s three-year partnership, announced this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, was forged to take this model to scale. The partners will focus on launching an online platform and establishing new Social Gastronomy hubs in communities around the world.

“Food is the great connector—and the Social Gastronomy Movement can serve as an equalizer—restoring dignity and respect for anyone in need of a meal or in need of a job,” said Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Cargill corporate vice president. She noted that the partnership aims to address the same challenges underpinning the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. “Through hands-on education and training, Social Gastronomy helps the world address some of our greatest challenges, from hunger to unemployment and economic disparity to food waste.”

“In a fractured world, Social Gastronomy can bring us all together, to a shared table. It can build the bridge between grass root solutions, policy makers and business leaders. This fast-changing world requires joint actions and solutions more than ever,” said Nicola Gryczka, CEO of Gastromotiva.

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In other news, with the rapid rise in consumer demand for plant-based protein, PURIS,  the largest North American producer of pea protein, and Cargill have signed a joint venture agreement to accelerate a new wave of great tasting, sustainable and label-friendly plant-based foods.

“PURIS is a game changer in terms of taste and vertical integration in pea protein,” said David Henstrom, vice president, Cargill Starches, Sweeteners and Texturizers. “Cargill is excited to expand into the emerging pea protein space while continuing to support our conventional agricultural crops. It’s clear that PURIS is in alignment with Cargill’s vision to meet the growing demand for protein globally and to help customers deliver label-friendly products without sacrificing taste.” 

“Cargill’s financial backing and market reach will power significant expansion of our operation globally. We will add substantial capacity, including a second plant, while maintaining our focus on U.S. production,” says PURIS President Tyler Lorenzen. “Cargill is investing in everything PURIS stands for, from our vertically integrated non-GMO pea seed development to our proprietary technologies and our commitment to U.S. Certified Organic pea farmers.”

JBF’s America’s Classics

The James Beard Foundation announced  five recipients of its 2018 America’s Classics award, which is given to restaurants that have timeless appeal and are cherished for quality food that reflects the character of their community. The 2018 honorees join the ranks of nearly 100 restaurants that have received the award since the category was first introduced in 1998. This year’s winners will be celebrated at the annual James Beard Foundation Awards Gala on Monday, May 7 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. This year, TABASCO® Sauce is  the presenting sponsor for the America’s Classics Award.

“As a partner of the James Beard Foundation for decades, we have a longstanding appreciation for the role that culinary professionals play in making America’s food culture more vibrant, sustainable and accessible to all,” said Tony Simmons, CEO & President of McIlhenny Company, the makers of TABASCO® Sauce. “On the occasion of our 150th Anniversary, we are honored by the love and loyalty that have brought us to this incredible milestone and are thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize these restaurant institutions that have made such a meaningful and lasting impact on their communities.”

The winners are:

Sun Wah (5039 N. Broadway Street, Chicago; Owners: Kelly Cheng, Laura Cheng and Michael Cheng)

Eric Cheng began his career in New York City in Chinatown. In 1986, he and his wife, Lynda Cheng, opened a B.Y.O. storefront in Uptown Chicago, then as now the city’s most ethnically diverse neighborhood. In 2008, three out of their four children, Michael Cheng (barbeque chef), Kelly Cheng (general manager), and Laura Cheng (executive chef), took over the business and moved the restaurant to a bigger space around the corner. People travel from across the city for their famed three-course Beijing Duck Feast (so famous the family doesn’t bother listing it on the menu), carved tableside and served with duck fried rice and duck soup. Sun Wah got its liquor license years ago, but in a nod to its history and loyal supporters, permits B.Y.O. for a ludicrously low corkage fee.

Galleria Umberto (289 Hanover Street, Boston, MA; Owners: Paul Deuterio and Ralph Deuterio)

North End used to be a neighborhood of winding cobblestone streets. Italian immigrants began arriving here in the 1860s from Genoa, then Campania, Sicily, and Abruzzo. Umberto Deuterio founded Galleria Umberto in 1974. Sons Paul Deuterio and Ralph Deuterio run it today. The interior is straightforward, dominated by a counter and a hand-painted wall map of Italy. The Deuterios make arancini and calzones, but the main draw is crisp-edged squares of Sicilian pizza. When the pizza runs out, the shop closes for the day. They also close Galleria Umberto in July to maintain the business and spend time with family. Much has changed in the North End, but $1.85 here still buys you a slice and a taste of the old neighborhood.

Los Hernandez (3706 Main Street, Union Gap, WA; Owner: Felipe Hernandez)

Union Gap is the retail hub of rural Yakima County and home of Los Hernandez, where hand-made tamales are the sole menu items. In 1957, Felipe Hernandez immigrated from Piedras Negras in Coahuila, Mexico, to eastern Washington to work in agriculture. Some 40 percent of U.S.-grown asparagus is cropped in Washington, much of it by Hispanic farmworkers in the Yakima Valley. He opened Los Hernandez in 1990, using a recipe adapted from his sister Leocacia Sanchez’s tamales. Today, Hernandez and his wife June, along with daughter Rachel Wilburn and her husband Dion Wilburn, begin by milling dried corn to make masa. Chicken and pork tamales are available year-round. From mid-April to June, production shifts to a pepper jack and asparagus combination that makes the most of the short-lived local crop.

El Guero Canelo (5201 S 12th Avenue, Tucson, AZ; Owner: Daniel Contreras)

The Sonoran hot dog evinces the flow of culinary and cultural influences from the U.S. to Mexico and back. Decades ago, elaborately dressed hot dogs began to appear as novelty imports on the streets of Hermosillo, the Sonoran capital. Today, Tucson is the American epicenter, and Daniel Contreras is the leading hotdoguero. A Sonoran native, Contreras was 33 in 1993 when he opened El Guero Canelo. The original stand is now a destination restaurant, outfitted with picnic tables and serviced by a walk-up order window. Fans converge for bacon-wrapped franks, stuffed into stubby bollilos, smothered with beans, onion, mustard, jalapeno sauce, and a squiggle of mayonnaise. Contreras operates three branches in Tucson, one in Phoenix, and a bakery to supply the split-top buns.

Dong Phuong Bakery (14207 Chef Menteur Highway, New Orleans, LA: Owner: Linh Tran Garza)

The Vietnamese community in New Orleans dates to the end of the Vietnam War, when refugees moved to Louisiana, where they relished a climate reminiscent of their home. De Tran and Huong Tran settled in New Orleans East. In 1982, they opened Dong Phuong, one of the area’s first Vietnamese bakeries. They became known for their banh mi, sandwiches variously stuffed with pâté, Chinese sausage, and barbecue chicken, slicked with aioli and topped with pickled vegetables and fresh herbs. Now run by Huong Tran and daughter, Linh Tran Garza, Dong Phuong exemplifies how thoroughly the Vietnamese community has become a vital part of the local culinary landscape. The bakery now supplies dozens of cafes and shops with thin, crackling-crust bread with a pillowy interior, ideal for building the city’s iconic po-boy sandwiches.

To qualify for the America’s Classics award, establishments must have been in existence at least ten years and be locally owned. The honorees are selected each year by the James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant & Chef Awards committee, a group composed of restaurant critics, writers, editors and other experts. The selection process begins each fall with a public call for entries, allowing anyone the opportunity to suggest candidates for the awards.

The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala will be held at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 7, 2018. During the event, which is open to the public, awards for the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Design Icon, Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country. The 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards are proudly hosted by Choose Chicago and the Illinois Restaurant Association as well as the following partners: Premier Sponsors: All-Clad Metalcrafters, American Airlines, HMSHost, Lavazza, S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, TABASCO® Sauce; Supporting Sponsors: Breville®, Hyatt, Robert Mondavi Winery, Skuna Bay Salmon, Valrhona, Windstar Cruises; Gala Reception Sponsors: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Ecolab, Front of the House®, Kendall College; with additional support from: Chefwear, Emmi Roth and VerTerra Dinnerware. 

Paytronix Secures Funding

Paytronix Systems, Inc., has received a $65 million growth equity investment from Great Hill Partners. Founded in 2001 by Andrew Robbins and Matt d’Arbeloff, Paytronix serves more than 330 customers and 16,000 store locations generating $18 billion in guest spend. Great Hill’s investment represents the first institutional capital in Paytronix.

“Restaurant and convenience store operators are seeking more efficient and scalable ways to engage with their customers in real-time to increase foot traffic and sales,” said Nick Cayer, Partner, Great Hill Partners. “Paytronix is the clear market leader, providing its robust platform to brands such as Panera Bread, California Pizza Kitchen, Thorntons and Bloomin’ Brands.  Great Hill’s investment model is to partner with strong founders and management teams of high growth companies.  We are excited to work with Andrew Robbins and the entire Paytronix management team to help with the next stage of growth.”

“To fully execute the vision we’ve set for the company, we needed a financial partner that could quickly scale with us,” said Robbins, the president of Paytronix. “With its expertise in growing tech companies, Great Hill Partners fits our needs perfectly. I look forward to accelerating the development of our technology to redefine the guest experience and perpetuate our strategic advantage.”

Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton acted as legal counsel for Paytronix, and Vista Point Advisors acted as its financial advisor.  Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal counsel to Great Hill Partners.