Gordon Ramsay Dishes Out and Dunkin’ Losing Foam

The #WednesdayWisdom of MRM’s Daily Bite features Gordon Ramsay and Ground Control, Ocean Prime, Dunkin’ Donuts, Asian Mint and Monin.

Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at bcastiglia@modernrestaurantmanagement.com.

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Let Gordon Ramsay Insult Your Dish

For those that caught Amazon’s Super Bowl ad, they saw a glimpse of what it would be like if celebrities and personalities like Gordon Ramsay took over for Alexa. Fans of Ramsay will be pleased to learn that they will get their own chance to be critiqued by the chef thanks to a new interactive skill available now for Alexa.

Created in partnership with interactive audio company, Ground Control, the Gordon Ramsay skill is free to enable on Amazon Alexa devices and allows users to hear what it feels like to work in Chef Ramsay’s kitchen and listen to him review whatever dish they’ve made. Ramsay has become infamous for his prolific insults on his TV shows and social media, from calling someone an “Idiot Sandwich” and a “*Bleep* Donkey,” to roasting fan’s photos of their food.

“I can’t wait for everyone to have fun with this new skill for Amazon Alexa. I’ll review any dish you throw at me.” said Ramsay. “We all need to lighten up in the kitchen sometimes, don’t we?!”

Ocean Prime in Chicago

Ocean Prime, the modern American restaurant and lounge from Cameron Mitchell, and Oxford Capital Group, LLC will open a Chicago location next year at the Shops at LondonHouse located at the corner of North Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. 

Future Home of Ocean Prime

“We’re thrilled to open an Ocean Prime in Chicago, a city we’ve had our sights set on for quite a while,” said  Cameron Mitchell, Founder and CEO of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. “When we toured the dramatic, beautiful space, looked out across the Chicago River through its floor-to-ceiling windows, and felt the energy of the neighborhood, we knew the time was right.”

The Shops at LondonHouse are now more than 50 percent leased including Ocean Prime and Corner Bakery, which will be introducing a first of its kind prototype store later this year on the ground floor on Wacker Drive. 

The restaurant, designed by Mark Knauer of Knauer, Inc., is slated to be 12,350 square feet. Knauer and his team will create an ambiance that pays homage to the city: Large scale photographs with a nod to iconic local personalities of the past will wrap the entryway, transparencies of Chicago architecture will be featured throughout, and beautiful black and white paintings by local artist Lydia Cash will lend a soft elegance. Metallic pillars, glistening chandeliers and marble bar tops will punctuate the dramatic atmosphere.

To bring the energy of the city into the dining room, Knauer embodied a voyeuristic spirit. “Because the restaurant is on the second floor, we gave a lot of thought about how to connect it to the activity on the street below,” says Knauer.

“The unique design and positioning of this flagship restaurant we are confident will do justice to this truly iconic space,” says Sarang Peruri, Principal, Oxford Capital Group, LLC and Oxford Hotels & Resorts, LLC. “It will be a fantastic amenity to hotel guests, existing and future retail tenancy, and the vibrant neighborhood at the epicenter of the North Michigan Avenue shopping district, the Chicago Riverwalk, Millennium Park, and the Central Business District.”

“LondonHouse is one of Chicago’s most perfectly positioned lifestyle destinations – at the convergence of both the Magnificent Mile and the Millennial Mile,” says RKF Vice President Anthony Campagni. “Oxford Capital Group and Angelo, Gordon & Co.’s transformative investment in this unique property has created a wonderful opportunity for a world-class restaurant — and Ocean Prime is sure to thrive there.”

“We are delighted to welcome Ocean Prime to Chicago and look forward to working with Cameron Mitchell and his team to execute our collective vision for this one-of-a-kind space,” says John W. Rutledge, Founder, President and CEO of Oxford Capital Group, LLC and Oxford Hotels & Resorts, LLC.

Dunkin’ Will Toss Polystyrene Foam Cups

Dunkin’ Donuts plans to eliminate all polystyrene foam cups in its global supply chain beginning in spring 2018, with a targeted completion date of 2020. In U.S. restaurants, Dunkin’ Donuts will replace the foam cup with a new, double-walled paper cup. The majority of Dunkin’ Donuts’ international markets are currently using paper cups, and the brand will work with its franchisees to eliminate foam cups from the remaining international markets by the 2020 goal.

The move complements Dunkin’ Donuts’ earlier commitments in the U.S. to have 80 percent of fiber-based consumer-facing packaging certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard by the end of this year; eliminate artificial dyes from its menu; build new, more energy-efficient restaurants; and partner with the Rainforest Alliance to source certified coffee.

The new, double-walled paper cup is already in use at Dunkin’ Donuts’ next generation concept store, which opened in mid-January in the company’s birthplace of Quincy, Mass. It will be introduced at all Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in New York City and California in spring 2018, and will be phased in across the U.S. as supplier manufacturing capabilities ramp up.

The double-walled paper cup is made with paperboard certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard and will feature the current re-closable lid that Dunkin’ customers know and love. Like Dunkin’ Donuts’ current hot beverage offerings, the new double-walled paper cup will come in four sizes — small, medium, large and extra-large — and will be used for all of the brand’s hot beverages, including coffee, lattes, macchiatos, tea and hot chocolate. With heat retention properties equal to the company’s foam cup, the new double-walled paper cup will keep beverages hot while keeping hands cool, without the need for a sleeve.

According to Karen Raskopf, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer, Dunkin’ Brands, “With more than 9,000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the U.S. alone, our decision to eliminate foam cups is significant for both our brand and our industry. We have a responsibility to improve our packaging, making it better for the planet while still meeting the needs of our guests. Transitioning away from foam has been a critical goal for Dunkin’ Donuts U.S., and with the double-walled cup, we will be able to offer a replacement that meets the needs and expectations of both our customers and the communities we serve.”

In 2011, Dunkin’ Donuts announced that its number one sustainability goal was to find an environmentally friendlier coffee cup. Over the past several years, the brand has worked extensively to find a suitable replacement for the foam cup that met criteria for performance, environmental impact and cost.  Dunkin’ Donuts’ transition to paper cups will remove nearly 1 billion foam cups from the waste stream annually.


Nikky Phinyawatana, chef and owner of Asian Mint, is introducing a new restaurant concept to her Asian Mint restaurant group: EnjoyMint, designed to be fast, casual, high tech and affordable. 

When asked why she was adding a new concept, she noted that when looking at the Dallas/Ft. Worth marketplace there is a void in the Asian food segment that offers fresh, healthy, innovative food with a fast and casual dining experience.

“I grew up in Bangkok, Thailand, and recently spent time in my homeland where I fell in love all over again with the spices, freshness and culinary selections,” said Phinyawatana. “Bangkok has this high tech, millennial friendly atmosphere when it comes to fast and casual dining and we want to bring that to our home in Texas.”

EnjoyMint will allow guests to order at an easy to use visual kiosk and then receive a meal prepared with the freshest ingredients and comfort flavors that Dallas has come to love from the Asian Mint restaurants delivered to their table or ready for take-out. The fast and casual atmosphere is perfect for professionals or students grabbing lunch and dinner for families to enjoy take-out at home. The pricing will be very affordable, ranging from $10$12 per meal, and delicious a la carte options will be available.

The newest location will be at 300 W. Campbell Road, Ste. 140 in Richardson, Texas, between Torchy’s Tacos and Snuffer’s. EnjoyMint plans to open this spring in 2018.

“I am so excited to bring all the things I love about my homeland to my home, family and friends in Texas – the delicious spices and fresh ingredients in a high tech atmosphere,” said Phinyawatana. 

 Asian Mint currently operates three locations within the Metroplex and will continue to expand with the addition of EnjoyMint in the spring of 2018.

2018 Flavor Trends from Monin

Monin Americas announced its 2018 Flavor Trends identifying five emerging trends that will influence food and beverage menus this year and beyond.

The Monin 2018 Flavor Trends were developed by a full time team of Monin Consumer Insights Specialists, Beverage Innovation Directors, Chefs and Flavor Technologists dedicated to identifying and tracking new flavor trends though analysis of both proprietary and secondary research.

  • Thirst for Adventure – Customers prefer to curate new experiences over material things. When it comes to food and beverage, anything goes including emerging global flavors and Wonka-esque flavor combinations. Operators can take advantage of this trend by offering safe experimentation. That is combining a familiar flavor with a unique one, therefore creating an approachable yet exciting taste adventure. Additionally, telling a background story about the sourcing or sustainability of the ingredients elevates consumer interest and satisfaction.
    Bugs on the Windshield
  • Let’s Get Social – Customers seek socially shareable moments that look amazing and deliver on incredible, craveable taste. This trend is spurring next level innovation in food and beverage flavors, colors, textures, vessels and overall “wow” presentations.
    Coconut Rootbeer Freak Shake
  • Going to Extremes – Balancing extremes is now a lifestyle and consumers expect the same for their food and beverage choices. There is a desire for indulgences to be clean label, sweets to be low sugar, and complex builds to be of the best quality. Expect a rise in sophisticated mocktails and low ABV cocktails as consumers balance their alcohol intake. This trend also addresses increased interest in extreme technique and delivery styles such as cold brewed, nitro, and culinary mixology where chef influenced preparation styles become the star of the bar.
  • The Empowered Customer – Customers demand customization, personalization, transparency and authenticity. Reach them by creating an emotional connection through flavors that evoke comfort, nostalgia and escapism. Consumers want it all, and they want it all now. Delivery and to-go options continue to rise as convenience remains a motivating factor while choosing a dining establishment.
    Old Fashioned Breakfast
  • Farmer’s Market Mentality – The health and wellness megatrend drives demand for fresh and natural ingredients in vegetable-centric meals and garden to glass beverages. Operators can capitalize on this trend by offering veggie based juices and cocktails. Expect to see more unique, exotic fruits emerge this year as well.