MRM News Bites: Groupon and Grubhub Group Up, Arnaud’s to Celebrate 100 and Mad Radish

 Served up for you in this edition of MRM New Bites, a big group hug for food delivery, celebrity chefs making new ventures, using blockchain technology for sourcing meat, a product from BuzzFeed that might give some chef’s a run for their money in the kitchen and the world’s most scenic restaurants. Send news items of interest to Modern Restaurant Management magazine’s Executive Editor Barbara Castiglia at or

Groupon and Grubhub Form Strategic Partnership

This connects two of the biggest players in local commerce.

Groupon and Grubhub forged a strategic partnership to bring food delivery to Groupon customers throughout the United States. As part of the deal, Groupon and Grubhub have entered into a commercial agreement that will allow Groupon to provide users with the ability to order food delivery from Grubhub’s 55,000 restaurant partners via the Groupon platform and is expected to enable people to redeem Groupon deals when they order Grubhub delivery via Groupon.

“We’re thrilled to join forces with Grubhub to vastly expand the number of food delivery options available through our marketplace,” said Rich Williams, CEO, Groupon. “This partnership connects two of the biggest players in local commerce and is a win for both consumers and restaurants by providing people with more savings and access to the food they want, when they want it.”

“As a leader in local delivery, we’re always looking for more ways to make it easier for diners to find and order food wherever they may be,” said Matt Maloney, CEO, Grubhub. “Groupon’s massive, active mobile audience – and great savings opportunities – will help drive new customers and more order volume for our restaurant partners, further enhancing the value of the Grubhub network.”

In addition to the commercial agreement, Grubhub is acquiring certain assets in 27 company-owned OrderUp food delivery markets from Groupon. Grubhub will also power food ordering and delivery for the company’s Groupon To Go markets. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Chef Todd English To Open First Maryland Restaurant At Live! Casino & Hotel

The Cordish Companies’ Live! Casino partnered with Chef Todd English to establish a new dining destination for the flagship luxury Live! Hotel, set to open in early 2018.

Credit: Live! Casino & Hotel / An interior rendering of David’s Cafe by Todd English, named after The Cordish Companies’ Chairman David Cordish, which will feature an eclectic menu of culinary creations inspired by David’s global travels and favorite tastes.

DAVID’S CAFÉ BY TODD ENGLISH, named after The Cordish Companies’ Chairman David Cordish, is the first restaurant in the State of Maryland created by English, featuring an eclectic menu of culinary creations inspired by David’s global travels and favorite tastes.

“I’ve worked with The Cordish Companies to open the Todd English Tavern at their property in Atlanta, and to support charitable causes with them at the Live! Casino, so I’m thrilled to partner with them again on this new venture to create an unforgettable dining experience based on the Chairman’s world travels,” said  English. “I’ve been in the DC area for many years, but this is my first restaurant in Maryland and I can’t think of a more exciting place to establish it than at the new luxury Live! Hotel.”

Credit: Todd English Enterprises Chef Todd English

David’s Café will be open 24/7, providing guests with a luxurious, yet comfortable, atmosphere where Breakfast – David’s favorite meal – is served anytime of the day. The menu will also highlight appetizers and small plates, as well as entrees bursting with flavors from the New World, Pacific Rim(Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean), Mediterranean, and local Maryland delicacies, along with a la carte sides to be shared family-style. Guests can also enjoy hand-crafted cocktails, fine wine, and house-made desserts.

“A long life has brought me the honor of many exciting experiences, but having a namesake restaurant created by one of the world’s premier chefs is just a thrill,” said Cordish. “David’s Café by Todd English is unique, eclectic and the perfect complement to the luxurious new offerings and world-class customer service we promise to deliver at our flagship Live! Hotel. The partnership is just another exciting milestone to celebrate during our 5th Anniversary, as we look forward to the future of Live!”

Chef Robert Irvine’s Public House Flies Into Vegas

Tropicana Las Vegas officially opened its  restaurant in partnership with Chef Robert Irvine – Robert Irvine’s Public House. Irvine arrived via helicopter, where he landed on the Northeast entrance of the property, just off the Las Vegas Strip. 

Irvine was accompanied by Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel W. Williams, as well as his wife, Gail Kim and VP and General Manager at Tropicana Las Vegas, Aaron Rosenthal. Upon arrival, Chef Irvine was welcomed by 30 active-duty military, Tropicana team members and property executives, and together they commenced the celebration with an official ribbon-cutting affair, complete with a brick wall-inspired ice sculpture, which  Irvine knocked down with a sledge hammer – for a one-of-a-kind opening celebration. The military guests were then treated to a first taste of the all-new restaurant hosted by Chef Irvine himself in honor of its opening day.

“After much anticipation, we are thrilled to finally welcome Robert Irvine’s Public House to Tropicana Las Vegas,” said Rosenthal, VP and General Manager for Tropicana Las Vegas. “Chef Irvine will truly redefine the dining experience on property, and we are excited to embark on a new culinary journey here at Tropicana Las Vegas – allowing our guests to enjoy the property as a premier destination on The Strip.” 

Boasting nearly 9,000 square feet, the restaurant features a 275-seat dining room complete with a wraparound bar, open kitchen design, private dining room and views of The Strip. The new restaurant offers a range of comfort food options inspired by  Irvine’s culinary travels from around the world – all in a pub-like atmosphere. Highlights include fork and knife burger (Vermont sharp cheddar fondue, mushrooms, onions, smoked bacon, brioche roll); chicken fried duck confit (maple and sherry vinegar, braised kale and chard, buttery sriracha sauce); stone fired shepherds pie (ground lamb, onion, English peas, mashed potato crust); English banoffee pie (banana, toffee, espresso ice cream); and mason jar apple pie (five-year aged cheddar, vanilla ice cream), to name a few. 

Chef Robert Irvine

“Opening a restaurant in Las Vegas has been a longtime dream of mine and being inside the iconic Tropicana Las Vegas makes Public House that much more extraordinary,” said Irvine. “With this restaurant, I am excited to share my travels through food and beverage, and presenting guests with good food and a great experience, all at a reasonable price. Public House is all about offering something for everyone.”

 The restaurant features over 32 beers on tap, 30 by the bottle, plus a variety of wines by the glass or bottle, and over a dozen signature cocktails – allowing for the perfect night out for any occasion. Signature cocktails include Patron Tequila cocktails featuring Patron Reposada and Anejo barrels hand-selected by Robert Irvine at Patron Hacienda such as El Karma and The Patroni; as well as healthy-inspired cocktails made with Boardroom Spirits such as the Cranberry Caipiroska and Beet Down, and much more.

Fourteen months ago, Chef Irvine made headlines after he rappelled 22 stories (220 feet) down the exterior of the Tropicana Las Vegas to announce his first-ever restaurant concept in Sin City.

Arnaud’s Restaurant In New Orleans To Celebrate 100 Years

In 2018, Arnaud’s Restaurant – one of the oldest family-operated restaurants in the country – will celebrate 100 years of serving authentic Creole cuisine in the heart of New Orleans’French Quarter. The menu, featuring items named after friends and loved ones, contains many items that have remained nearly untouched, along with a handful of options introduced over recent years. Revered as a grande dame ofCreole dining, the restaurant will invite the community and customers, old and new, to celebrate the milestone through special events, new menu items and partnerships with local organizations, to take place throughout the year.

In 2018, Arnaud’s Restaurant – one of the oldest family-operated restaurants in the country – will celebrate 100 years of serving authentic Creole cuisine in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Founded in 1918 by French wine salesman, Arnaud Cazenave, the restaurant has seen only two families of owners, the Cazenaves and current owners, the Casbarians. Today, Arnaud’s success continues under the leadership of the second generation of the family ownership, Katy and Archie Casbarian, children of Jane and the late Archie Casbarian.

“Arnaud’s is a special place. I grew up here and, like many New Orleanians, can remember celebrating holidays and special events at the restaurant since I was a child,” said Archie Casbarian. “To have transitioned into an operating role and to be part of Arnaud’s storied history is truly an honor for Katy and me. We are excited to see what the next 100 years have in store.”

Located on Bienville Street, the restaurant bears its founder’s name with a commitment to providing quality cuisine and unmatched hospitality. Referred to as ‘The Count,’ Arnaud was among the first restaurateurs to reintroduce the art of wine and spirits paired with gourmet food at the end of the Prohibition era. He channeled much of the restaurant’s fortune into expansion, purchasing one adjoining property after another until Arnaud’s 11 buildings covered most of the block. After 30 years of running the restaurant, Arnaud passed the restaurant down to his lively and gregarious daughter, Germaine. Eager to maintain the reputation of Arnaud’s that her father worked so hard to build, she led the restaurant to international acclaim.

In 1978, after Germaine determined she needed to relinquish control of the restaurant, Arnaud’s was acquired by Archie and Jane Casbarian. While many approached Germaine with offers to buy the restaurant, it was the many similarities between Archie and her father that attracted her to pass the reins to the Casbarians. Upon acquisition, the Casbarians sought to return Arnaud’s to its original grandeur from which it had strayed by restoring the property and reinvigorating the cuisine. This brought widespread praise to Arnaud’s Restaurant. Years later, Casbarian identified a need for a casual, family-friendly restaurant on Bourbon Street. It was then that he opened Remoulade – the casual side of Arnaud’s, that continues to serve Cajun-inspired cuisine, along with select Arnaud’s classics.

Katy and Archie Casbarian continue their commitment to running the restaurant by staying true to the vision of their parents, which has brought recent national recognition to the historical institution.

Arnaud’s French 75 Bar – led by head bartender Chris Hannah – was recognized with a 2017 James Beard Foundation Award for “Outstanding Bar Program,” for its commitment to premium spirits and classic cocktails. Tommy DiGiovanni, executive chef since 1997, continues to deliver Arnaud’s classic dishes with unwavering consistency and contributes new innovations that are destined to become Creole classics themselves. The restaurant offers dinner nightly in the main dining room and Arnaud’s Jazz Bistro, featuring live Dixieland jazz. On Sundays, guests flock to the restaurant to enjoy Arnaud’s jazz brunch, again featuring a live jazz trio.  

“Since its inception, Arnaud’s has served as a gathering spot for family, friends and acquaintances to catch up over good food and cocktails,” said Katy Casbarian. “The restaurant is steeped in history – one that we celebrate daily through our consistent culinary offerings and hospitality. As we near 100 years, we’ll continue to honor our legacy by keeping one foot in the past, with another firmly planted in the future.”

Arnaud’s centennial celebration will be made even grander by coinciding with New Orleans’ tricentennial in 2018. The restaurant’s celebrations will include a mix of private and public quarterly events honoring past and current owners:Arnaud Cazenave, Germaine C. Wells, Jane and the late Archie Casbarian, and Katy and Archie Casbarian. Further information will be available closer to the event dates.

fresh&co Acquires 35-Acre Farm

fresh&co acquired a working 35-acre farm that is now known as fresh&co farms. Fresh&co farms will grow produce and raise livestock with the goal of providing hyper-local seasonal fruits, vegetables, and pasture-raised poultry and pork to all of their New York Cityrestaurant locations. A true from farm to desk® experience, fresh&co farms has hit the ground running with the 2017 growing season.

In addition to an apple orchard, fresh&co farms is currently growing broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, parsley, cilantro, basil, corn, strawberries, and brussels sprouts. All of the farm’s produce and fruits are currently being served at all fresh&co locations across Manhattan. Fresh&co farms is also home to a herd of Kiko meat and dairy goats, heritage breed Tamworth pigs, and over 300 Ameraucana chickens as part of a pilot program.

Latham Farms on the North Fork of Long Island has been a long-time local partner growing fruits and vegetables (some exclusively) for the brand for over 5 years. A neighbor and close friend to fresh&co, Dan Latham of Latham Farms, will help supervise the agricultural operations at the brand’s farm. From apples, tomatoes, zucchini to potatoes, basil and onions, fresh&co farms in partnership with Latham will curate specific fruits and vegetables to meet culinary standards and supply the restaurants with the season’s best offerings.

On top of the supply that will come from their own farm, fresh&co will continue their relationships with local partners and purveyors, including Long Islandbased Satur Farms, New York City’s Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Red Jacket Orchards, Hepworth Farms, County Line Harvest, Bald Eagle Farms, FreeBird Chicken and Plainville Farms, among many others.

Since it’s inception, fresh&co has sourced pure foods free from synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, pesticides and other additives from local farmers. As a brand passionate about building a sense of community around food, fresh&co will continue to give back through events at the farm including, tours, dinners, cooking classes, culinary educational programs and a local food and wine festival. Each year, through the Tenedios Family Scholarship Fund, fresh&co supports New York City’s only public culinary high school, Food and Finance High School, and will continue to enrich the lives of students by using its farm to educate, inspire, and mold the next generations of culinary leaders.

Poitín Coming to Sawyer Yards

Restaurateur Ian Tucker has laid the groundwork for his next Bayou City concept in the form of Poitín [pronounced PUTT-CHEEN], a full-service restaurant and cocktail bar slated to become the anchor tenant at Sawyer Yards at the corner of Edwards and Sawyer Streets. Poitín will occupy the 9,500-square-foot space on the east end of the complex and will boast a large outdoor patio with a prime view of the downtown skyline.

Following the recent launch of his first Houston venture in the Heights – Balls Out Burger – the Ireland native plans to dive further into bringing Houston his unique brand of cuisine and cocktails set in an inviting atmosphere at Sawyer Yards. A percentage of the funding for the restaurant will be raised through an offering by crowdfunding platform NextSeed, which allows anyone to invest in small businesses and has  funded 21 deals to date nationwide.

The menu at Poitín will consist of mixed cuisine offerings with Continental, American, and Mexican dishes being at the forefront. The cocktail menu will draw from his background in developing and perfecting craft cocktails. The name Poitín is derived from a traditional Irish distilled beverage with a very potent alcohol content. Tucker’s bar concept The Exchequer was awarded Best Cocktail Experience in Ireland three out of the past five years (2012, 2013 and 2016). The mixologist who cultivated the award-winning bar programs in Dublin will help launch the unique menu at Poitín.

Construction of the project is set to kick off next month, and the space is planned to launch in early 2018.

“I’m incredibly grateful to call Houston my new home; I couldn’t be more excited to launch Poitín in this amazing and diverse city,” said Tucker. “I plan to draw heavily upon my experience with The Exchequer (in Dublin). To that end, Poitín will be highlighted by a world-class cocktail experience. The food will be outstanding; we’re actively engaged in talks with a top-notch Executive Chef to drive an exciting menu. The scene in Houston is ripe for the combination of experiences we’re aiming to deliver. I’m confident in the team we’re assembling, and the location is absolutely perfect.”

Southern Glazer’s Partners with Coravin for On-Trade Sales

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits has become the preferred on-trade sales partner for the Coravin® Wine System, a  technology that enables users to pour a glass of wine without pulling the cork. Restaurant customers in 18 states will now be able to order Coravin Systems and accessories at competitive wholesale prices through their local Southern Glazer’s sales representatives. Coravin uses proprietary patented technology to access and pour wine from a bottle without pulling the cork. For bars and restaurants, this allows them to expand their by-the-glass offerings and provide guests with unique wine tastings and pairings, all without any waste or compromise in wine quality.


“This is an incredible sales tool for Southern Glazer’s restaurant customers,” commented Steve Slater, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Company’s Corporate Wine Division. “By using the Coravin Wine System, our customers can offer tastes and glasses of countless wines that guests otherwise would never expect to see sold by the glass. Offering the Coravin Wine System as part of our broader wine portfolio is one more thing that sets us apart from any other distributor and reinforces our leadership in wine sales.”

As restaurants look for new ways to increase guest satisfaction by providing unique experiences, Coravin allows them to develop creative by the glass offerings that cater to people’s desires to experience a variety of wines in an exclusive and memorable way.

“How many people ever get a chance to taste a ‘perfect,’ 100-point rated wine?” added Mel Dick, Senior Vice President of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and President of the Company’s Wine Division. “Coravin enables wine lovers to expand their palates and experience rare, super premium wines that beforehand, may have been out of reach.”

“Thousands of restaurants have already adopted Coravin to power their wine programs. Southern Glazer’s has an outstanding reputation for sales, service and results which makes it the perfect partner to help bring Coravin wine by the glass lists to even more restaurants all over the country,” said Frederic Levy, CEO of Coravin, Inc.

Restaurant customers who purchase the Coravin Wine System can also work with their Southern Glazer’s sales representatives on selecting the right mix of wines for the Coravin list, training staff on using Coravin to enhance guests’ experiences, and even printing custom wine lists to highlight their Coravin offerings. Coravin products will be available to Southern Glazer’s customers in the following states: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee (Memphis area only), Utah, and Washington.

Southern Glazer’s has more certified wine experts than any other North American wine and spirits distributor. Its employees have successfully completed more than 3,500 wine, sake and spirits education programs, from introductory to master-level achievements. 

OpenTable Reveals 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America for 2017

Those in search of awe-inspiring views during their travels this summer need not limit themselves to trails, lookout points, or observation decks, as OpenTable unveiled the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America for 2017. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 10 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 25,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Our top photo is from Harbor House  in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Celebrated for their stunning vistas, both rural and urban, and sublime settings, forty restaurants return to the list from 2016, while the remaining 60 make their 2017 debut, among them Joseph’s by the Sea in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, and The Restaurant at Gideon Ridge in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. 

The photo above is Salute E Vita Ristorante in Richmond, California. While California once again reigns supreme with the most winning restaurants (13), and North Carolina in second place with six, accolades were more evenly distributed this year among the remaining featured states. Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin each receive five honorees apiece, while Colorado, New Jersey, and Texas each have four. Spanning east to west, from New York to Alaska, and north to south, from Vermont to Georgia, 24 additional states are also represented.

“A meal becomes a moment when it transcends the ordinary and becomes a true feast for all senses,” said Caroline Potter, OpenTable Chief Dining Officer. “This year’s winning restaurants deliver on taste and sight in spades, offering delectable menus and breathtaking surroundings for the ultimate dining experience. They are also a great way for both locals and travelers to immerse themselves in a destination and relish in some of the best views the area has to offer.”

The complete list represents a diverse mix of menus for all palates, including Asian, French, Italian, Latin American, among other top cuisines. The 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America list is generated from more than 10 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners between July 1, 2016, and May 31, 2017. All restaurants with a minimum “overall” score and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the percentage of qualifying reviews for which “scenic views” was selected as a special feature.

Choc•O•Pain Bakery & Café Opens in Jersey City

 Choc•O•Pain Bakery & Café opened its latest facility, a 3,900 square foot commissary bakery kitchen with café and retail boutique on at 330-332 Palisade Avenue, Jersey City Heights, NJ.  The new location joins Choc•O•Pain’s  Hoboken and Jersey Avenue locations.  Almost all baking and food preparation will be moved to the new, larger facility that boasts a state of the art kitchen featuring pastry room with larger sheeter, mixer, retarder, proofer and rack oven for improved efficiency, functionality and increased production. Guests will have a birds-eye view of bakery operations via the large picture window into the bread room.  The kitchen areas at the other two locations, Hoboken and downtown Jersey City will continue to produce items such as croissants and chocopains and will be adding new hands-on baking classes for the public.

LN Photographie by Helene Mcguire

Local Entrepreneur and Owner Clemence Danko explained, “It is an exciting time for Choc•O•Pain. Due to the rapid growth we’ve experienced since opening the first location in Hoboken in 2012, we found ourselves in need of a central location where we can produce our daily, fresh baked breads, pastries and café items to supply our own locations as well as support the growing demand from area businesses to carry our products.” Danko also confirmed that a new café location is slated for Hoboken’s growing “uptown” area by the end of 2017. 

LN Photographie by Helene Mcguire

The Palisades location will evoke a similarly warm, charming Parisian neighborhood café feel as the existing Hoboken and Jersey City locations.  Guests will be able to enjoy the signature house made French breads, pastries, and café dishes seven days a week in the new 12-16 seat café, or take them to-go.  Hoboken-based Lee Levine Architects, PC planned the space which will also boast a 600-square foot retail boutique, selling a curated list of French specialty food items such as macarons, honey and Alain Milliat jams. 

LN Photographie by Helene Mcguire

The Heights area in Jersey City is entering a state of growth, attracting more businesses.  Brian D. DiSalvo, Principal, C6 Real Estate Partners stated, “We are proud be working with Choc-O-Pain Bakery & Cafe. It is exciting to see Palisade Avenue returning to its proud historical roots as a walkable retail corridor. Choc•O•Pain’s commitment to the Heights is at the forefront of this resurgence, bringing new and exciting life to the Heights and paving the way for other restaurants, retail amenities and residential developments throughout the Riverview Arts District.”  

Nando’s PERi-PERi To Open Flagship

Nando’s PERi-PERi, the South African-Portuguese restaurant known for its spicy flame-grilled chicken, will open its flagship Chicago restaurant on September 4 at 155 N. Michigan Avenue. This location, at Michigan Avenue and Lake Street, marks the 12th Nando’s to open in and around Chicago over the past two years. Every Nando’s is unique and painstakingly designed, with earthy textures and bright colors that reflect Nando’s sunny African-Portuguese heritage. With thousands of pieces of original works of art that are a constant reminder of where the restaurant came from, Nando’s has become the largest collector of South African contemporary art in the world.
Vibrant South African designs provide a unifying theme at the new Michigan Avenue restaurant. One feature is a 21-foot installation  crafted from 6,800 repurposed aluminum cans. The cans, ‘upcycled’ from the Warrenville-based Two Brothers microbrewery, are transformed into pendant lights, creating a grand chandelier effect. Suspended over the main stairwell and powder-coated in seven different colors, the fixture was designed by Tulsha Booysen, a 19-year-old student from Cape Town, South Africa, in collaboration with Nando’s Chicago-based architecture firm. The artist, the youngest-ever finalist of Nando’s “Hot Young Designer” art contest, is flying to Chicago in August to oversee installation of her creation.
Supporting South African designers is one of Nando’s core ideals, and the company also worked with a team of artists to bring decorative chairs, lighting and ceiling panels from South Africa to Chicago for an added layer of artisan craftsmanship.

Mad Radish Opens in Ottawa

Can a meal taste as good as it makes you feel? That’s the challenge that has been dogging DAVIDsTEA founder David Segal for years. Constantly on-the-go, he found it next-to-impossible to find healthy dining options that inspired his palate. And so in 2016, Segal left DAVIDsTEA with a mission: create crave-worthy, healthy food for people on the go. The result? Mad Radish, a new chain of salad shops that launches today in Ottawa.

“It’s time to raise the bar on salads,” said  Segal. “We shouldn’t have to choose between food that tastes good and food that feels good. The healthy food category deserves the creativity, respect and investment that have been poured into hamburgers for decades. We’re making those investments – you’re going to see it in our beautiful locations, in our mouth-watering menu, and in our entire dining experience.”

Segal describes Mad Radish as “ingredient-focused and chef-driven”. The company’s Head Chef, Nigel Finley, ran high-end kitchens at some of Toronto’s top fine dining restaurants before bringing his culinary ingenuity to the Mad Radish team.

The result? A seasonal menu that, at launch, includes 12 cold salads, three warm bowls and two soups, along with bread baked in-house and beverages that are made fresh daily. Highlights of the salad offerings include:

Breakfast for Dinner: Inspired by late-night blueberry pancakes, this mix of savoury granola, fresh blueberries, roasted beets, toasted walnuts and creamy goat cheese is the ultimate all-day breakfast.

Tagine Dream: Inspired by a Moroccan tagine, this saffron scented couscous salad is packed with crunchy almonds, fruity cranberries and pomegranates, crisp cauliflower and cool cucumber.

The Brassica: Get in touch with your cruciferous side with this crisp mix of broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and leafy greens, with creamy broccoli puree and savory cashew “parmesan.”

Food will be prepared fresh on-site, from corn cut off the cob in the restaurant to produce prepped fresh every day. Salads can be taken to go or enjoyed right in the salad shop. A Mad Radish app, and online ordering at, will enable pre-orders, for faster service. 

“We’re setting out to change perceptions of what a salad – and a salad restaurant – can be,” Segal concludes. “Eating healthy food doesn’t have to feel like taking your medicine anymore.”

Mad Radish will also invest back into the communities in which it operates. Through a partnership with Community Food Centres Canada, one serving of fresh produce is donated to a local community food centre every time an order is placed through the Mad Radish app or website.

Canada’s first two Mad Radish locations are both in Ottawa, at 100-­116 Albert Street and 859 Bank Street. Expansion to additional markets across Canada will follow.

ACF Presents National Awards

The American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF), the premier professional chefs’ organization in North America, conferred its highest awards on chefs and students, explored culinary innovations and trends and inducted its new board of directors during Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando.

The winners of ACF Regional Culinary Salons competed for the national title in their respective categories during Cook. Craft. Create. and demonstrated their culinary skills, knowledge and commitment to the craft. The ACF national competition award winners are:

U.S.A.’s Chef of the YearTM
Drew Garms, executive chef, The Everglades Club, Palm Beach, Florida, ACF Palm Beach County Chefs Association

ACF Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Plugrá® European Style Butter

Dan Boman, CEPC, chef instructor, Art Institute of Phoenix, Arizona, ACF Chefs Association of Arizona, Inc.

ACF Chef Educator of the Year
Costa Magoulas, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, Dean, Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management, Daytona State College, ACF Central Florida Chapter

ACF Student Chef of the Year

Madeline Black, student, Utah Valley University Culinary Arts Institute, Orem Utah, ACF Beehive Chefs Chapter Inc.

ACF Student Team National Championship, sponsored by Vitamix® Corporation
ACF Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc. Student Team: Nick Norton, Sean Pham, Tim Polacek, Derek Kaliszewski, CC; and Nick Wenz
Coaches: Brian Bernstein and Scott Scheible

Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, sponsored by American Technical Publishers and Vitamix® Corporation
Kendall College: Nikhil Bendre, CC; Brandy Freberg; Benton Givens; and Joshua Ludwig Coaches: Wook Kang, CEC, and Nelia Salvi, CC

Top Culinary Trends Explored at Cook. Craft. Create.

The ACF National Convention & Show offered more than 1,100 chefs, cooks, students, industry professionals and culinary enthusiasts an opportunity to investigate culinary frontiers that will influence innovation in the foodservice industry. Here are the top five culinary trends:

Pop-up restaurants: In an increasingly competitive industry, pop-ups offer entrepreneurial chefs an opportunity to create innovative dining experiences, develop a following and more quickly turn a profit.

Insects as cuisine: Insects have a robust history as a plentiful food source, as well as a bright future with adventurous diners. Crickets, ants and grubs are sustainable protein alternatives and flavor enhancers in food and craft cocktail creations.

Modern Plating: As diners continue to seek inventive and engaging culinary experiences, one tool in a chef’s arsenal is modern plating, using tools such as paintbrushes, record turntables and edible inks.

Sustainably Sourced Ingredients: Sourcing sustainable ingredients and working with local farmers and purveyors can lead to better outcomes for the environment, business owners and today’s modern diners.

“Trash fish”: Underutilized and lesser species of seafood, like lionfish and squirrelfish, can offer chefs new culinary possibilities and entice diners with the promise of meals that are as sustainable as they are delicious.

Industry-leading presenters explored these top trends in depth, including Theodore Kozerski, co-founder, Detroit Ento; Carlos Villanueva, executive chef, Cloud Catering; Matthew Wadiak, chief operating officer, Blue Apron; and Norman Van Aken, owner, Norman’s.

American Culinary Federation Announces New Board of Directors

ACF installed national officers for the 2017-2019 term. The national officers will serve as the organization’s governing body on ACF’s board of directors and will oversee the Federation and its subsidiaries, working with ACF national office staff to guide the organization’s growth.

“We are at a pivotal point in our organization with the introduction of a new board of directors,” said ACF National President Stafford T. DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC. “We will work together to ensure that ACF’s mission remains relevant for today’s professionals while demonstrating the standard of excellence in everything that we do. My personal commitment is to continue to improve ACF for the next generation.”

National officers for 2017-2019 are:

  • President: Stafford T. DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, global culinary consultant, Atmore, Alabama
  • Immediate Past President: Thomas Macrina, CEC, CCA, AAC, Food FanaticsTM Chef, US Foods, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Treasurer: Christopher F. Donato, CEC, AAC, corporate executive chef, Nestle Professional, Solon, Ohio
  • Vice President, Central Region: Brian Hardy, CEC, CCA, AAC, executive chef/director of foodservice, The Gatesworth, Ballwin, Missouri
  • Vice President, Northeast Region: Christopher Neary, CEC, CCA, AAC, corporate executive chef, J Kings Food Service Professionals, East Rockaway, New York
  • Vice President, Western Region: Carlton Brooks, CEPC, CCE, AAC, retired, Mesa, Arizona
  • American Academy of Chefs Chair: Mark Wright, CEC, AAC, chair, hospitality management department, Erie Community College, Buffalo, New York
Blockchain for Meat Sourcing

A group of livestock farmers in Arkansas, supported by Heifer USA, is using cutting-edge technology to let you know where your dinner comes from. The small-scale, forward-thinking suppliers of Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative are the first in the United States to use blockchain technology to trace their products from farm to fork, with the aim of giving consumers more confidence in the origin and quality of the meat they buy.

Already a mainstay in the financial sector, blockchain technology allows for public verification of information in the food chain. Shoppers and diners will be able to scan QR codes on Grass Roots products to learn where the meat came from and how the animals were raised. The “digital history” of the meat will also include stories of the people — from farmer to butcher — who contributed in crafting the final product.

“Americans have an increasing interest in better understanding what they’re eating. According to the 2016 Label Insight Study, 83 percent of consumers want more information about what’s in their food, and I totally believe it,” said Cody Hopkins, Grass Roots general manager and founding member. “When I learned about this technology, I thought ‘this is the solution.’ It’s the perfect way for Grass Roots to offer folks total transparency. [UK-based technology company] Provenance has developed a platform that levels the playing field for small-scale farmers and puts information directly in consumers’ hands.”

Grass Roots embraced technology as a way to boost food quality and customer service. Heifer USA’s Advisory Board Chair, Pierre Ferrari, commented, “Our farmers are innovative, always looking for ways to incorporate the latest technology that ultimately create real value to the consumer. Partnering with Provenance and the Golden Gate Meat Company is another example of how proactive they are in wanting their customers to know where their food originates. It’s only a matter of time before this becomes ‘best practice’ throughout the industry.”

San Francisco-based Golden Gate Meat Company, a purveyor of Grass Roots products, will debut the first trial of this technology today, giving customers the opportunity to use these advanced tools in stores. Additionally, Grass Roots meats are available for purchase online and can be found in restaurants and retailers across the country.

A5 Hospitality Launches Kozu

Kozu, an Asian inspired brasserie, opened earlier this month in the heart of Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal at 500 Rue Rachel E, bringing A5 Hospitality’s portfolio to 15.


Expanding on their previous Asian-themed restaurants such as Kampai Gardens with Chef Antonio Park, Kozu offers a Chinese / Japanese inspired menu signed off by Chef Olivier Vigneault from the renown Jatoba restaurant.  A5 Hospitality partner PJ Goupil (Mayfair, Kampai, Fitzroy, Apt200) and David Schmidt (Tiradito, Datcha, Kabinet, Mal Nécésssaire) joined forces with the chef to create a warm, intimate atmosphere perfect for a date night or just a night out with friends. 

The 2,500 square foot space, well known from it’s previous tenant Rachel Rachel, boasts 70 seats and an open kitchen for the intimate crowd to witness the magic in the kitchen. A5 once again turned to designer Amlyne Phillips of La Chambre Design (Kampai Garden, Jatoba, Apt 200, Mayfair) to bring the Kozu vision to life using her unique design creativity resulting in a  ‘Scandinavian-chic’ look incorporating  luxurious materials such as an electric marble bar, white oak floors and custom wallpaper throughout.

In the kitchen, Chef Olivier Vigneault offers a unique culinary experience sharing style menu showcasing modern techniques, while respecting traditional flavors. Examples of this are the Oven-Roasted Black cod with chogo miso marinade and lotus root or the carefully selected variety of traditional dumplings such as the Sui Jin Bao dumplings.  To complement the food, Kozu will be offering an exotic cocktail list by mixologists Lawrence Picard. Guests can indulge in cocktails such as the Yuzu Please or Emperor’s Mule.

A5 Hospitality’s PJ Goupil commented, “We hope that we’ll be fulfilling a void in the Plateau as there’s a clear need for an upscale restaurant that is refined, yet festive in this area. As we have done with our other venues, we strive to provide quality food and drinks that fit the neighborhood, but most of all to create an atmosphere where locals and visitors can let loose and have fun!”

Spearheading the project is PJ Goupil of A5 Hospitality, which has a  portfolio in Montreal and Toronto including Kampai Garden, Mayfair, Fitzroy and Flyjin. 

BuzzFeed Launches the Tasty One Top

BuzzFeed unveiled its first-ever smart appliance, the Tasty One Top, a Bluetooth-enabled induction cooktop now available for pre-order.  The One Top will connect directly to the all-new Tasty app for iPhone, which is available on the App Store  with nearly 1,700 video recipes.   

The announcement came as BuzzFeed’s Tasty celebrates its second birthday on July 31, marking a two-year rise in which it has grown into the largest social food network in the world. Tasty now reaches one in four Facebook users worldwide and attracts 2.3 billion videos views every month, according to Tubular Labs.

“In two years, Tasty has reimagined the recipe format as a visual, shareable and interactive medium, democratizing food and making cooking more accessible, social and fun in the process,” said Ashley McCollum, General Manager of Tasty. “The Tasty One Top and app demonstrates our commitment to the intersection of content and technology, marking the beginning of the next step in the evolution of our business as we expand into new ways of using technology to bring people together around food.”

The Tasty One Top is now available for pre-order in the U.S. now for $149 at Connecting directly to the Tasty app, the One Top allows fans to tap their favorite recipe and take the guesswork out of cooking.  In one small countertop package, the One Top can be utilized for almost any form of cooking, including: pan cooking, pot cooking, slow cooking, sous vide, and more.

Designed by BuzzFeed Product Labs and brought to life with the help of GE Appliance’s First Build team, the One Top tracks the surface temperature of a pan or pot, as well as the internal temperature of your food, to assure perfect execution of every recipe.  It’s induction technology is faster, safer, and more precise than traditional forms of cooking.

“Tasty’s strong brand and massive fan base give it almost limitless avenues for expansion — from cookbooks to licensing to consumer tech — and we’re excited to take a new big step with the One Top, a product that has the potential to truly make precision cooking widely accessible,” said Ben Kaufman, Head of BuzzFeed Product Labs.

The Tasty app is available now on iPhone (with Android to follow), allowing users to watch the latest videos from Tasty, and explore recipes based on any ingredients they have available in their own kitchens. Recipes can also be searched based on the time of day, social event, difficulty, speed, or dietary needs. The Tasty app offers step-by-step instructions on how to cook every single Tasty recipe, the most user-friendly expression of Tasty’s revolutionary video format yet. For users that live outside the U.S., the Tasty app also provides metric values for every recipe.  BuzzFeed Product Labs was created in October 2016 and is tasked with creating physical products and social commerce experiences, from personalized Tasty Cookbooks to new inventions like Homesick Candles, the Tasty One Top and more. Product Labs hones in on the opportunity to create commerce driven by sharing and human connections, utilizing social media to lead the shift in the commerce space.

Lucille’s Smokehouse Opens

On July 24 Southern California’s favorite family-owned award winning barbeque destination, Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que restaurant will celebrates the opening of its newest location at The Shops at Montebello.

Located at 1870 Montebello Town Center Drive, this Lucille’s restaurant is reminiscent of a Southern roadhouse with a distinctive Southern décor featuring reclaimed wood outlined doors and windows for a rustic yet contemporary look. At the center of this and all Lucille’s restaurants is a Southern Pride smoker where succulent cuts of brisket, tri-tip, ribs and more are smoked low and slow to perfection, and served with a variety of authentic sauces from different regions around the South. 

“We are thrilled to be joining The Shops at Montebello’s lineup of excellent stores and eateries. We cannot wait to bring our down home hospitality and great Southern-style comfort food to the warm Montebello community,” said Brad Hofman, president of Hofman Hospitality group, the family owned parent company of Lucille’s.

The new restaurant seats about 280 and will employ approximately 200 people.

Lucille’s founder, Craig Hofman, opened the first restaurant in Long Beach, Calif., in 1999 but not before a two-year journey through the South to find the best barbeque.  Driven by the philosophy of “Serving the best Bar-B-Que with the finest Southern hospitality,” Lucille’s has won many awards and honors, including dozens of local “Best of” awards in each of the communities where it serves.

There are 23 Lucille’s restaurants throughout California, Arizona and Nevada. Lucille’s is part of the family-owned Hofman Hospitality Group (HHG), which also operates three Hof’s Hut restaurants in Southern California, Saint & Second in Long Beach, California, and Mighty Kitchen in Los Alamitos, California.

Chef Edward Lee on Culinary Genius

Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia and MilkWood in Louisville is the chef judge of Culinary Genius, which premieres August 7 on FOX in select US markets.  Each half-hour episode of Culinary Genius begins with a cooking demonstration by Lee, followed by competition between five contestants, all home cooks. At the end of each episode, the contestants will present final dishes to Lee, who will judge them and decide on a winner to receive the title of Culinary Genius. The show will air daily Monday through Friday for three weeks on select FOX-owned stations across the country. Full episodes will be available on online the day after airing.

Chef Edward Lee with host Samantha Harris and producer Gordon Ramsay

The UK version of the show airs on ITV and is produced by Gordon Ramsay, who is the producer of the US Culinary Genius as well. Ramsay will also appear on the US version of the show.

“It’s an intense competition wherein home cooks have to withstand my criticism but at the same time I’m trying to inspire home cooks to cook their very best,” said Lee.

Lee is the chef/owner of 610 Magnolia, The Wine Studio, MilkWood, and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, KY and culinary director for Succotash in National Harbor, MD and forthcoming in DC.  He has received multiple finalist nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: Southeast.  He appears frequently in print and television and was recently nominated for a daytime Emmy for his role as host of the Emmy-winning series, Mind of Chef on PBS.  Lee’s self-authored best-selling cookbook, Smoke & Pickles, chronicles his unconventional journey from the kitchens of Brooklyn to becoming a lauded Southern chef.  His documentary film, Fermented, follows him around the world as he explores the rich culinary and cultural traditions of fermented food. 

SRG Debuts Torali Italian – Steak

Sage Restaurant Group (SRG)  introduces Torali Italian – Steak, a new Italian concept housed in the Ritz-Carlton, Chicago. Officially opened to the public on July 31, Torali is overseen and led by Chef Gregory Elliott and General Manager of Food & Beverage Steve Serdar. The restaurant specializes in fresh pastas made in-house daily, prime & dry-aged meats, wild fish and seafood and is dedicated to supporting local artisans. Torali is a polished gathering place resolute in providing a cultured, interactive and authentic dining experience.

Torali’s Three Cheese Tortellini
Credit: Kailley Lindman

“We are excited to introduce Torali to Chicago as we have been in love with the city since the opening of Mercat a la Planxa in 2008. We’ve had great success here and are thrilled for what the future holds with Torali,” said Sage Restaurant Group co-founder Peter Karpinski.

At Torali, Chef Elliott focuses on celebrated Italian classics with elevated and refined twists made with locally and internationally-sourced ingredients. Menu highlights include Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms with nduja vinaigrette; Garganelli featuring lamb bolognese, English peas and fiore sardo; a Porterhouse for Twofinished with house sale, olive oil and herbs; and a Seafood Tower fit for royalty with oysters, king crab, lobster, prawns, and crudo.

The space, designed by the San Francisco-based interior design firm BAMO, features plush oversized booths, fine Italian leather and exquisite white Italian marble throughout the dining room. Light woods, blue upholstery and custom lighting installations of brass and glass globes seamlessly tie the space together providing the perfect backdrop for a polished dining experience. The design evokes a refined, yet approachable, nod to Italian modernism.

Adjacent to Torali is Torali Bar, featuring an Old World-inspired beverage program. At Torali Bar, 19-foot walnut fins echo the waves of Lake Michigan, drawing the eye to the copper-clad and white Italian marble-topped bar. The bar showcases a beverage program curated by General Manager of Food & Beverage Steve Serdar and Assistant General Manager of Food & Beverage Raul Carmona. Together, they scoured the city for top talent for Torali’s wine and cocktail program, which highlight local and authentic Italian spirits, handcrafted drinks and innovative housemade infusions. Original cocktails include the Sbagliato made with Hendrick’s gin, Bonal Gentian liqueur, Earl Grey-infused bianco vermouth, prosecco, herbs and citrus; and the Ligurian Riveria featuring Cruzan single barrel rum, Campari, lime, pineapple syrup and a blackstrap rum float. Venture past Torali Bar to the modern rooftop bar and lounge, Rooftop at Torali, for light, shareable plates and breathtaking views. The Café, clad in marble and featuring mosaic floors, boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that curve gently, creating a sun roof that floods the space with natural light. The Café, open all day, offers specialty coffee from La Colombe, fresh-squeezed juices, gourmet sandwiches and decadent desserts and pastries in a relaxed atmosphere outfitted in a palette of cool blues, greys, greens and cerused white oak.

Pei Wei Opens in Apex

Pei Wei opened its first restaurant in Apex on Monday, July 31.  The new fast-casual restaurant, located at 1107 Pine Plaza Drive in Nichols Plaza.

“We are extremely grateful to our loyal guests for making Pei Wei a top dining destination in the Raleigh area, and we’re thrilled to bring Apex a Pei Wei of its own,” said Sherwood Bailey, Pei Wei General Manager. “My team and I can’t wait to open the doors and begin sharing our handcrafted, made-to-order dining experience with the local community.” 

Pei Wei features dozens of Pan-Asian dishes – including noodle, rice and salad bowls, sushi and hand-rolled dim sum. All signature dishes are made to order, using artisan wok cooking methods in an open-concept kitchen. The Apex opening marks the fourth Pei Wei in the Raleigh area and the sixth in North Carolina. 

wagamama opens new location in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood

wagamama opened its newest Boston restaurant in the thriving Seaport neighborhood, overlooking Boston Harbor. This new location at 100 Northern Ave. joins wagamama’s other Boston restaurants at Prudential Center and Faneuil Hall. The wagamama team introduced their noodles to Boston a decade ago in 2007, and it was the first and only city in the U.S. to have a wagamama until the first New York City location opened in 2016. 

wagamama’s newest location in the thriving Seaport neighborhood opened August 2

The menu of Asian food inspired by the flavors of Japan includes bold donburi and teppanyaki, soul-satisfying ramen, colorful curries, gyoza and steamed buns. All dishes are prepared in an open kitchen and served as soon as they are ready—a long-established practice of wagamama. wagamama Seaport will also offer takeout as well as delivery in the coming months. Seaport will be the only wagamama in Boston to serve cocktails, a new addition created for the U.S. Drinks are Asian-inspired takes on classic cocktails such as the whisky sawa with Iwai Japanese whisky and lapsang souchong liqueur and the yuzu mojito with Tanduay rum and yuzu liqueur, in addition to an extensive Asian craft beer range.

The  restaurant was designed by Bergmeyer Associates, Inc. with Focus Design Interiors, and is sleek and modern with exposed brick, pendant lamps and rich wood accents. Minimalist stools and wooden booths offer seating at individual tables throughout, while communal tables—another founding principle of wagamama—seat up to 18 on long benches and establish a sense of equality among diners. The open kitchen serves as a centerpiece of the room, and freestanding marble bars offer separate areas for enjoying cocktails and fresh juices. For views of Boston Harbor, the restaurant has full-length windows along both exterior walls and a sizeable patio for outdoor dining in the warmer months. Interior windows separate a private dining area inside for large parties and special events. 

“We’re delighted to bring wagamama to the beautiful Seaport neighborhood and the growing Harbor area,” said wagamama CEO Jane Holbrook. “Bostonholds a special place in our hearts. The city welcomed us with open arms when we brought the first U.S. wagamama here a decade ago, and we look forward to introducing our noodles, teppanyaki, curries and cocktails to even more Bostonians.” 

wagamama was founded in London’s Bloomsbury district in 1992 with a clear purpose: to create a place for positive eating where the food satisfies the senses and the soul. The company is seen as a pioneer of the communal table, open kitchen and customizable, made-to-order menu, which is overseen by executive chef Steve Mangleshot. 

This ethos has remained for more than two decades, focusing on positivity, freshness and continuous improvement. Kaizen, a Japanese word meaning “good change,” is a guiding philosophy of wagamama. It’s about never resting in the pursuit to be better, and wagamama has practiced kaizen since the beginning. The wagamama of today is the result of constant evolution in the food and brand, keeping the experience exciting and anything but traditional.

Impossible Foods Closed a $75-Million Investment

Impossible Foods closed a $75 million investment this week after achieving milestones in IP, food safety. The lead investor in the round is Singapore-based investment company Temasek. Open Philanthropy Project, Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures and Horizon Ventures will also contribute to the round. The company is not providing additional financial details.

Impossible Foods makes meat directly from plants — with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals. The company uses modern science and technology to create wholesome food, restore natural ecosystems and feed a growing population sustainably.

The company’s flagship product, the Impossible Burger, is made through a simple combination of plant-based ingredients. A key ingredient is “soy leghemoglobin.” Soy leghemoglobin is a protein that carries “heme,” an iron-containing molecule that occurs naturally in every animal and plant. To satisfy the global demand for meat at a fraction of the environmental impact, Impossible Foods discovered a scalable, affordable way to make heme without animals. The company genetically modifies yeast and uses fermentation to produce a heme protein naturally found in plants, called soy leghemoglobin.

The heme in the Impossible Burger is identical to the heme humans have been consuming for hundreds of thousands of years in meat — and while it delivers all the craveable depth of beef, it uses far fewer resources.

The Impossible Burger uses about 75 percent  less water, generates about 87 percent  fewer greenhouse gases and requires around 95% less land than conventional ground beef from cows. It’s produced without hormones, antibiotics, cholesterol or artificial flavors.

Earlier this month, the US Patent and Trademark Office issued US Patent No. 9,700,067 covering Impossible Foods’ technology to use leghemoglobin in plant-based meat. The 200-person startup has more than 100 additional patents pending.

“Our scientists spent so much time and effort studying a single molecule — heme — because heme is what makes meat taste like meat,” said Impossible Foods CEO and Founder Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D. “It turns out that finding a sustainable way to make massive amounts of heme from plants is a critical step in solving the world’s greatest environmental threat.”

In 2014, a panel of leading food safety experts gave the opinion that the Impossible Burger’s key ingredient, soy leghemoglobin, is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). GRAS means a food is safe to be consumed under US regulations.

Additional testing — including a stringent rat feeding study — provided even more objective, scientific data that the product is safe. That 2016 study examined whether consumption of soy leghemoglobin in amounts orders of magnitude above normal dietary exposure would produce any adverse effects. There were none. And a comprehensive search of allergen databases found that soy leghemoglobin has a very low risk of allergenicity, and it’s shown no adverse effects in exhaustive testing.

Later this month, Impossible Foods will provide this study and additional data to the FDA, including the opinion of the expert panel. The FDA publishes such data online, available for public viewing.

“The No. 1 priority of Impossible Foods is the safety of our customers — and we believe that people want and deserve total transparency about the food they eat,” said Dr. Brown, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. A 25-year professor of biochemistry at Stanford University, Dr. Brown is also co-founder of Public Library of Science, a nonprofit publisher founded to provide open access to science, technology and medical journals.

Start Taking ‘Sweetbitter’ to Series

Starz  is developing the half-hour drama series “Sweetbitter,” based on the national best-selling book of the same name written by Stephanie Danler, who has also written the script for the first episode. Plan B Entertainment tapped Stu Zicherman (“The Americans,” “The Affair,” “Six Degrees”) to develop the script with Danler, and both will serve as executive producers along with Plan B.

Stephanie Danler

“Sweetbitter” follows 22-year-old Tess who, shortly after arriving in New York City, lands a job at a celebrated downtown restaurant. Swiftly introduced to the world of drugs, alcohol, love, lust, dive bars, and fine dining, she learns to navigate the chaotically alluring, yet punishing life she has stumbled upon. This is the story of a young woman’s coming-of-age, set against the rich and grimy backdrop of exclusive restaurants, conjuring a nonstop and high-adrenaline world evoking the possibility, beauty, and fragility of being young and adrift.

A writer based in Los Angeles, Danler’s debut novel “Sweetbitter” was selected as an NPR Best Book of 2016 and ranked on the New York Times’ Hardcover Fiction Best-Seller List, reaching #10; the Los Angeles Times’ Best Seller List at #2 and the Paperback Fiction List at #6; Amazon Top 100 at #28 and USA Today’s Best-Selling Books List. It also reached #10 on the Publishers Weekly Hardcover Fiction list and #13 on the IndieBound Hardcover Fiction list.

Senior Vice President of Original Programming Ken Segna and Vice President of Original Programming Patrick McDonald are the Starz executives in charge of “Sweetbitter.” Starz retains all global distribution and home entertainment rights to the series.

Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine spoke with Danler last year about “Sweetbitter.”

Holy Roller Debuts
Photo Credit: Robert Lerma

Chef Callie Speer opened Holy Roller, her brunch all day diner located  at 509 Rio Grande in Austin. Inspired by the spirit of punk rock with a hint of religious kitsch, Speer and all-female team of industry vets are putting out nostalgic food with a bit of whimsy, from early morning until late night.

Starting at 8am, patrons can order daily specials baked by pastry chef Britt Castro from the grab and go counter, or relax over coffee in the restaurant’s lounge area. Families, foodies and the bar crowds can take a seat in the pretension-free dining room after 10am to order brunch-centric fare such as migas kolaches, burgers, sweet tea brined chicken or a Waldorf salad during lunch and dinner. The late-night menu continues until 10pm, and patrons can linger until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays over cocktails at the 24-seat polished bar. During traditional brunch hours on the weekends, guests can order from a menu of house specials, and Holy Roller’s decadent “Sunday School” menu allows diners to choose pastry and cocktail specials from a “seven deadly sins” display.

The bar menu crafted by award-winning beverage director Jen Keyser focuses on drinks that you can “drink all day” and will be changed seasonally to complement the food. Patrons can order from Holy Roller’s curated wine and beer list, or try soon-to-be iconic drinks such as the Heretic, the Lust for Life or the Black Flag. Refreshing Topo Chico-topped shrub sodas and mocktails are also available and can be made alcoholic with the addition of spirit and/or beer. The bubble-heavy wine list which will offer rose, prosecco and champagne at every price range, will be complimented by spritzer and Bloody Mary pitchers on the weekends. The Bloody Mary pitchers will be accompanied by a table side, build-your-own garnish offering.  

Staying true to Austin’s originality, Holy Roller’s coffee program will be the first account in the city to feature local brand Chameleon Cold-Brew’s new organic Whole Bean Coffee, which will be served in-house, as well as available for sale for consumers to take home with them. 

Owned and operated by Speer, Holy Roller brings together an all-star team of women including, Castro, Keyser and general manager Sarah Bevil. Having worked together at such Austin-based favorites as Contigo, Swift’s Attic and Geraldine’s at the Hotel Van Zandt, the Holy Roller team share a mutual respect and admiration that allows them to collectively think outside the box when creating this one-of-a-kind concept.

 “Together, we’re doing something we really like in the most creative way we knew how,” said Speer. “It was important to us that we had something for everybody—from families to partiers, and it was equally important to me to serve a menu of dishes that we really wanted to eat. It plays on the nostalgia with new takes on food you probably ate growing up, but with a little more. Holy Roller is a casual restaurant with really great food and unforgettable cocktails served without any pretension or pomp.”

Chef Callie Speer
Photo Credit Robert Lerma

Holy Roller’s pretension-free vibe extends to the comfy yet effortlessly cool décor. From the original Cothron’s locksmith sign reinvented by neon artist Evan Voyles to breakfast-themed graffiti bathrooms painted by Arts and Rec, the 3,000-square-foot space includes all the “weird, fun and quirky” elements Callie Speer and her staff are drawn to. Inside the restaurant, architect Lee Alexander transformed the floor plan into areas ideal for grab-and-go ordering, lounging over a cup of coffee or doing some serious drinking at the polished 24-seat bar. In the 66-seat dining area, interior designer Jen Dipasquale made an effortless mix of plush sofas and chairs from Briley’s with Roundtop finds. Among the flea market treasures, longtime Austinites will spot the iconic Club de Ville crown, also brought in by Voyles, who is responsible for the restaurants funky indoor and outdoor neon signage.

If there’s a patron saint of Holy Roller, it would undoubtedly be Iggy Pop, who adorns the back wall of the space in the guise of an oversized painting by Drew Nussbaum based on a classic photo of the rock star wearing a crown. Located in the semi-private back room, up to 40 patrons can draw closed the velvet curtains for a cocktail reception under the twinkle lights right by Iggy’s watchful eye.

A longtime Austinite, Speer is best known for her whimsical and inventive pastry creations she has created for the Hotel Van Zandt (Geraldine’s and Café 605) and the Chameleon Group (Swift’s Attic, Delish Bakery, Wu Chow). A 2015 Culturemap “Pastry Chef of the Year” award-winner and 2013 Food and Wine Magazine “People’s Best New Pastry Chef” nominee, Speer has also worked at Parkside under acclaimed Chef Shawn Cirkiel, as well as at other Austin establishments such as Jeffrey’s and Mars. Holy Roller is the first venue where Speer can express the savory side of her considerable culinary talents.

Holy Roller is located at 509 Rio Grande 78701. The downtown diner is open seven days a week with counter service staring at 8am every day. The full menu is available from 10am-10pm Monday through Saturday and late-night options will be available on Friday and Saturday. “Sunday School” brunch takes place every Sunday 10am to 4pm. The bar is open until 1am Friday and Saturday. 

Nielsen-Massey Foundation Funds Endowment Scholarship at The Culinary Institute of America

The Nielsen-Massey Foundation has launched The Nielsen-Massey Foundation Endowed Scholarship with The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), announced the foundation’s board of directors this week.

The Nielsen-Massey Foundation assists disadvantaged children and adults with education and leadership development, especially in the field of culinary arts. The Foundation’s new scholarship, funded in the amount of $100,000, will enable the CIA to award scholarships annually in perpetuity. Scholarships will be available to students enrolled at the CIA’s New York, California, or Texas campuses, particularly for those seeking bachelor’s degrees in Food Business Management and Culinary Science, associate degrees in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts, and the Advanced Career Experience associate degree program.

“Our family has long supported CIA’s programs, and it brings us great pleasure to support a culinary institution with a history as rich as that of Nielsen-Massey,” said Beth Nielsen, Chief Culinary Officer, Third Generation Owner of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas and Board Member of The Nielsen-Massey Foundation. “It is our hope that the students who benefit from this scholarship would find a way to pay it forward as they become a part of the culinary world.”

Having funded scholarships at the CIA in the past, the Foundation has seen how this type of support directly transforms lives. CIA freshman Daejah McCormick has been burdened with much hardship in her life, including the loss of her mother during high school. Were it not for The Nielsen-Massey Foundation’s scholarship this past year, Daejah would never have been able to attend the CIA to pursue her dream of opening a restaurant uniquely designed with diabetics in mind.

“The Nielsen-Massey Foundation’s scholarship has impacted my life immensely,” said Daejah. “They made me believe in my own future and added fire to my ambition. I hope one day I am able to return this favor.”

“The Nielsen-Massey Foundation and the Nielsen family are true champions of the CIA and our students,” CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan said. “This scholarship will help launch the careers of talented, passionate, high-achieving students for years to come. We are grateful the Foundation is supporting our students in pursuing their dreams to become the next generation of leaders in the food world.”

Chefs Market BBQ Sauce

Chefs Colby & Megan Garrelts, the husband and wife chef duo behind Kansas City dining institutions Bluestem and rye, launch Genuine Kansas City BBQ and Hot Sauces. Created by Chef Colby Garrelts and his team at rye, the two condiments debut this summer just in time for grilling season.

 Chef Colby Garrelts presents his take on one of the city’s most famous exports – BBQ sauce. Already featured on the menu at rye, slathering dishes such as the Burnt Ends, this classic representation of the sauce is made with molasses, apple cider vinegar, white wine, Dijon mustard, and spices. The 15-ounce bottles are the same as those featured on the tables of their restaurant, rye, celebrating the very best in Midwestern cuisine. In addition to rye BBQ Sauce, the husband and wife team present an accompanying Hot Sauce. To make their spicy sauce, the team smokes fresno chiles and jalapeños, adding depth and flavor before adding cider vinegar, garlic, and brown sugar. The resulting sauce includes woody, smoky notes as well as a hint of balanced sweetness.

“We are so proud to be able to contribute to the rich food culture of the Midwest” says chef and co-owner Colby Garrelts, the 2013 James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Midwest. “Now, with these two sauces, our guests are able to bring the experience of our restaurants home with them.”

The Garrelts BBQ and Hot Sauces are available for purchase individually or as a saucy set. To purchase the sauces online,  click here

Samuelsson’s Pure Leaf Journey

Chef Marcus Samuelsson has partnered with Pure Leaf Tea House Collection to create an original web series on The “MasterCraft Series” follows Samuelsson on his journey to forever change the way the world defines taste through his collaboration with four New York City craftsmen.

“Pure Leaf Tea House Collection and I share a passion for craftsmanship. As a chef, when it comes to crafting the perfect dish or drink, I think about taste in four elements: texture, temperature, fragrance and aesthetic,” said Marcus Samuelsson, co-owner of Red Rooster Harlem and Streetbird Rotisserie. “In the ‘MasterCraft Series,’ we go on an exploration through collaboration to create the ultimate dining experience that will change the way we think about taste forever.” 

Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson Redefines Taste in the “MasterCraft Series,” an Original Web Series from Pure Leaf Tea House Collection

In the five-episode series, Chef Samuelsson explores each element of taste with the help of four talented New York City craftsmen, chosen for their expertise in connection to one of the elements. In the Fragrance, Aesthetic, Temperature and Texture episodes, Chef Samuelsson meets with each craftsman to discover how the element influences his craft, their craft, and ultimately the dining experience they create together. The featured craftsmen include:

  • Chandler Burr, Scent Expert and Author – Fragrance craftsman, known for his compelling scent dinners wherein he works with master chefs worldwide to create experiences that translate the relationship between scent and taste.
  • Kamil Nawratil, Visual Artist – Aesthetic craftsman, founder ofBrooklyn-based VolvoxLabs, a cutting-edge media and visual design studio that creates digital sculptures and immersive audio-visual installations.
  • Shintaro Okamoto, Ice Sculptor – Temperature craftsman, founder of Queens-based OKAMOTO STUDIO, whose creativity and talent transform crystal ice into frozen masterpieces.
  • Charlie Baker, Designer and Builder – Texture craftsman, founder of Queens-based Baker Structures and a sought-after maker known for his unique, textural designs that incorporate elements from the earth.
Stacy’s Pita Chips and Stephanie Izard Join Forces to Shatter the Glass Ceiling for Female Culinary Leaders

 Less than a quarter of culinary leadership positions today are held by women1. Stacy’s Pita Chips wants that to change and today announced the Stacy’s Rise Project to empower the next generation of women culinary leaders to pursue their dreams through scholarships, mentorship and thought leadership. The first year of the program will provide four $10,000 scholarships to women attending the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at the International Culinary Center (ICC) in New York City.

 Less than a quarter of culinary leadership positions today are held by women.

To announce the program, Stacy’s has partnered with nationally acclaimed restaurateur Stephanie Izard to shine a spotlight on the work to be done supporting the future generation of female culinary leaders. As a James Beardaward-winning chef with vast experience in building a successful culinary brand, Izard has broken down the industry’s toughest barriers for women – and is committed to paying that experience forward. Scholarship recipients will also be mentored by Izard, receiving valuable advice for how to achieve success in the culinary industry.

“As a woman in the culinary industry, I am thrilled to partner with Stacy’s to launch a program focused on giving women the support they need to pursue their passions and accomplish their dreams,” Izard said. “Bringing awareness to the current situation and working toward a solution is an important starting point, and I look forward to helping Stacy’s break down the barriers of the industry and support women as they enter culinary careers.”

The Stacy’s Rise Project celebrates its roots as a female-founded brand by entrepreneur Stacy Madison. Her namesake pita chips became a hit at herBoston sandwich cart and quickly grew into the household name that Stacy’s Pita Chips is today.

“I started Stacy’s out of a passion to make great food,” Madison said. “I am honored to see the legacy of Stacy’s continue, to have been the inspiration for the Stacy’s Rise Project and look forward to seeing the women involved in the program have the same opportunity to access and achieve their dreams.” 

In addition to financial support, Stacy’s Rise Project will connect scholarship recipients with Izard for mentorship opportunities to drive success in the ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program and beyond. According to a recent study, mentorship has proved to be critical to success, with women in mentor programs garnering more promotions, higher salaries, and more career satisfaction overall2. Izard will also join 2016 Culinary Entrepreneurship Program alumna and founder of KaRosie Cakes, Rosemarie McNish, for a panel discussion hosted at the International Culinary Center to advocate for women in the culinary field and share advice for navigating the industry as a female leader.

“Stacy’s has proudly supported the advancement of women and the call for equality, most recently with our ‘Stacy’s Stands with You’ campaign in March – and now with the Stacy’s Rise Project,” said Jennifer Saenz, chief marketing officer, Stacy’s Pita Chips. “The Stacy’s Rise Project is a natural next step in our commitment to women, and we are proud to partner with the ICC and ChefStephanie Izard in this cause.”

To learn more about how Stacy’s Rise Project is starting the journey to shatter the glass ceiling for women in the culinary field, click here. To apply for available scholarships,  visit

CMA Dishmachines President Retires

Filippo Berti, Chief Executive Officer of the Ali Group, announced the retirement of Fred Palmer, President of CMA Dishmachines and the appointment of Chris Arnette as President of CMA Dishmachines effective September 1, 2017.

“It is with personal regret but warm wishes that I announce the retirement of Fred Palmer, President of CMA Dishmachines, after 36 years at the company,” Berti said.

Palmer joined CMA in March 1981 as Controller & Operations Manager, moved up through the company with roles of increasing responsibility and has been the face of CMA for the last decade. He served as President since August 2007. Fred will continue to assist CMA through the end of September 2017. “I would like to personally thank Fred for all that he has contributed to CMA and the Ali Group. It is has been a great joy for Luciano and myself to have worked with Fred. We wholeheartedly wish him all the best,” said Berti.

Effective September 1, Chris Arnette has been appointed as President of CMA. Chris will report directly to Filippo Berti, Chief Executive Officer of the Ali Group. Arnette started his career with CMA as Midwest Regional Sales Manager in October 2003 and was promoted to National Director of Sales in January 2015. In addition to his background with CMA, he also held various roles at Puritan/Churchill Chemical Company where his foodservice career began in 1983. Arnette’s educational experience includes a BS in Business Administration from the University of Missouri. 

Founded in 1976, CMA manufactures professional and commercial dishwashing machines. CMA products are marketed through a vast network of qualified resellers and chemical products distributors to final users primarily in sectors such as hotels, restaurants, fast food chains, hospitals and institutional canteens.