MRM News Bites: JBF Casts ‘Smart Catch’ and Canada Strives to be Culinary Desitination

This edition of MRM New Bites includes James Beard Foundation’s “Smart” commitment to seafood sustainability, Meatless Monday’s new download, a summer “club car” in New York City and ProStart® Educator of Excellence Award winners. Send news items of interest to Modern Restaurant Management magazine’s Executive Editor Barbara Castiglia at

James Beard Foundation Launches ‘Smart Catch” 

At the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Seattle, the James Beard Foundation (JBF) announced the national launch of Smart Catch – a program created by chefs for chefs with the purpose of increasing the sustainability of the seafood supply chain. More than 60 chefs representing more than 100 restaurants have already committed to the program, including a number of James Beard Award nominees and winners, such as:

  • Mario Batali’s Batali and Bastianich Hospitality group of restaurants
  • Michael Cimarusti’s Providence in Los Angeles
  • Renee Erickson’s Seattle restaurants
  • Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s Border Grill restaurants in Los Angeles and Las Vegas
  • Bill Telepan and Oceana in New York City
  • Ryan Prewitt and Pesche in New Orleans
  • Hari Pulapaka’s Cress in Deland, Florida

The idea for Smart Catch is simple and powerful: the program provides training and support to chefs so they can serve seafood fished or farmed in environmentally responsible ways. And, by earning a Smart Catch emblem, consumers have a simple way to identify and support their restaurants. With more than 90 percent of the world’s fisheries either fully fished or overfished, preserving marine life to assure stable fishing stocks and promoting sustainably farmed options is more important than ever.

Chefs have the influence to educate our palates and our views.

“Chefs have the influence to educate our palates and our views,” said Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation. “Through Smart Catch, they are becoming new environmental heroes, as they use their influence to lead industry efforts to maintain healthy, sustainable food sources both now and for future generations.”

Smart Catch works to increase the amount of sustainable seafood sold through U.S. restaurants by addressing the many barriers to getting sustainable seafood on a diner’s plate — from reliable sources to chef training and consumer awareness. The program also seeks to engage the chef community in efforts to improve seafood production both domestically and abroad.

Chefs who commit to serve more than 80 percent sustainable seafood on their menus earn the Smart Catch emblem for their restaurant. Those who achieve more than 80 percent receive designation as a Smart Catch Leader. All Smart Catch restaurants are provided with menu consultations, staff training materials, up-to-date online sustainability assessments powered by, marketing support, and guidance in working with their suppliers so they can make smart, environmentally responsible seafood choices.

Smart Catch’s sustainability criteria uses data from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program and NOAA Fish Stock Sustainability Index. The criteria is based on wild and farmed seafood production and includes the health and abundance of fish stocks and impacts on the surrounding environment.

Developed by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen to make change on the water, Smart Catch piloted in Seattle in 2015 with almost 50 local chefs representing 80 Seattle restaurants taking part, including Renee Erickson, Ethan Stowell, Tom Douglas, Thierry Rautureau and Brendan McGill.

“The future of the world’s oceans depends on all of us choosing sustainable seafood,” said James Deutsch, conservation director for Paul Allen. “James Beard Foundation’s announcement of their national rollout of Smart Catch represents a giant step in that direction. We couldn’t be more proud of the continued growth of this pioneering program we piloted in Seattle.”

The new national pilot is one of James Beard Foundation’s Impact Programs, which aim to establish a more sustainable food system through education, advocacy, and thought leadership. In addition to running Smart Catch, the historic James Beard House will also become a Smart Catch participant.

For more information on the Smart Catch program and a list of participating Smart Catch restaurants, visit   If you would like to join this initiative, please email

NYC Hospitality Alliance Awards

On May 8, the 2nd NYC Hospitality Annual Alliance Awards were held at TAO Downtown. Awards, nominees and winners include: 

Philanthropy Served Here Award – Goes to a charitable organization whose work helps to make the neighborhoods of NYC a more hospitable place- with a focus on working with the restaurant and hospitality industry. 

Honoree: City Harvest 

The Next Generation Award presented by TouchBistro – Goes to an up-and-coming or established mover and shaker who is still early in their hospitality industry career 

Winner: Michael Stillman (Quality Branded) 

Nominees: August Cardona (Epicurean Group); Brice Jones (Freehold Brooklyn) 

The Determination Award – Goes to an individual who started at an entry-level job in the hospitality industry and is now in a leadership role  

Winner: Pierre Siue (DANIEL) 

Nominees: Brandon Fay; Carlos Lazo

Hearts of Hospitality Award presented by Fox Rothschild LLP – Goes to an individual who is recognized for excellence in the profession of human resources in hospitality  

Winner: Kelly Perkins (NoHo Hospitality) 

Nominees: Jackie McMann-Oliveri (Bold Food); Maren Calloway (Quality Branded) 

I Love Boroughs – Goes to a favorite restaurant in each borough as chosen by hospitality industry professionals 

I Love Brooklyn Award 

Winner: Roberta’s 

Nominees: Junior’s on Flatbush; Lilia

I Love Bronx Award

Winner: Dominick’s 

Nominees: Zero Otto Nove; The Original Crab Shanty 

I Love Manhattan Award presented by Imperial Bag & Paper

Winner: Gotham Bar & Grill 

Nominees: The Nomad; Rao’s 

I Love Queens Award

Winner: Bohemian Beer Hall & Garden 

Nominees: Mu Ramen; Trattoria l’incontro 

I Love Staten Island

Winner: Mario’s 

Nominees: Bocelli; Enoteca Maria

True Taste of NYC Award – Goes to an iconic dish served at an iconic NYC restaurant 

Winner:  Katz’s Delicatessen (Pastrami Sandwich) 

Nominees: Nobu (Miso Black Cod), Sylvia’s (Fried Chicken) 

City That Never Sleeps Award – Goes to the important and/or influential club and/or operator  

Winner: The Box 

Nominees: House of Yes; La Marina

Raising The Bar Award – Goes to the important and/or influential bar and/or owner 

Winner: Jimmy’s No. 43 

Nominees: Pegu Club; The Dead Rabbit 

Back Of House Award presented by United Airlines – Goes to a person who has achieved respect and excellence working in one or more jobs in a restaurant kitchen  

Winner: Bill Telepan 

Nominees: April Bloomfield; Missy Robbins 

Front Of House Award – Goes to a person who has achieved respect and excellence working in one or more jobs on the dining room floor of a restaurant  

Winner: Katie Bell (Agern) 

Nominees: Chrissa Yee (Loring Place); Danny Collins (Smith & Wollensky)

Operations Award – Goes to a person who has achieved respect and excellence working in one or more operation level jobs for a single unit or restaurant group 

Winner: Bill Bonbrest (TAO Group) 

Nominees: Jennifer Kay (NYC Best Bars); Sam Goldfinger (The ONE Group) 

#HospitalityGuruAward – Goes to the restaurant (or chef/restaurateur) with the best food Social Media presence – makes you drool, laugh and captures your attention 

Winner: By Chloe 

Nominees: Barbuto; Sugar Factory 

Hospitality Technology Award – Goes to a technology platform enhancing the way the hospitality industry operates  

Winner: SevenRooms 

Nominees: SendaGuy Now; xtraChef 

Event Sponsors included Presenting Sponsor – United Airlines; Four Star – E.B. Cohen, Fox Rothschild LLP; Imperial Bag & Paper; TouchBistro; Valiant Solutions; Three Star – BankUnited; BHB Pest Elimination; El Media; CohnReznick CCL; Four Roses Bourbon; Howard Goldstein, LUTCF for Hospitality Health Select; Manhattan Beer Distributors; Micros Retail Systems, Inc.; Palm Bay International Wine & Spirits; SevenRooms; SendaGuy Now; Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort Develops Two New Restaurant Concepts

Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort, top photo,  is developing two new restaurant concepts, as part of its $25 million resort transformation. Managed by Mount Prospect, IL based The Bricton Group, and home to the Marriott Theater, the Chicagoland resort’s new lakefront dining destinations are set to open late fall 2017.  

Three Embers, the resort’s signature restaurant, celebrates Midwest cuisine with simple, locally sourced, farm-fresh ingredients, while integrating influential flavors from various regions throughout southern Europe. Local diners, hotel guests, and theater-goers can anticipate an intimate and innovative dining atmosphere headlined by a dramatic wood-burning grill placed prominently in the lakeside dining space. Outdoor seating will also be available seasonally, on the Lakeside Plaza, with breathtaking views overlooking the resort lake.  

“Steak and seafood houses are a dime-a-dozen in the Chicagoland area, and we have made it our primary goal to breathe fresh life into the Northshore dining scene through unique ingredients, an upscale atmosphere and unparalleled service,” said Pierre Daval, Executive Chef of the Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort. “Three Embers will honor the simplicity, versatility and quality of Midwest cuisine, while integrating southern European flair – making it unlike any other dining destination offered in Lake County.”

When available, Three Embers ingredients will be sourced from the resort’s on-site farm, greenhouse and apiary, as well as from local produce, livestock and dairy farms.

For patrons looking for a more casual dining atmosphere, Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort will serve rotating local craft brews and bistro fare in Wright’s Brew & Bistro. Located adjacent to Three Embers and sharing similar views through its floor-to-ceiling windows, Wrights Brew & Bistro looks forward to offering familiar favorites like grass fed burgers, artisan cheese and Honey Badger Beer. Wright’s Brew & Bistro will be the perfect gathering spot for individuals, couples, and groups on-the-go looking to relax with their favorite beer and Midwest comfort food. As the bistro’s beverage program will be at the heart of the Wright’s Brew experience, Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort has partnered with local breweries and distilleries to bring truly local beverage options to guests’ tables.  Wrights Brew & Bistro will be open to the public, resort guests, Crane’s Landing Golfers, and theater-goers.

Leading the exciting new concepts is Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort’s executive chef, Pierre Daval. Chef Daval has been with the resort for more than two years and brings nearly three decades of global experience to the kitchen. Chef Daval not only manages the kitchens and develops and oversees the resort’s culinary programs, but he also plays a key role in maintaining the resort’s on-site two-acre farm, greenhouse and 15-beehive apiary.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge of creating a new dining legacy and unforgettable memories with guests in our year-round, lakefront dining concepts,” said Chef Daval.

Three Embers and Wright’s Brew & Bistro will release additional details, such as opening dates, venue décor, and finalized food, cocktail and wine menus in the coming months.

Meatless Monday Restaurant Implementation Download Available

The new Meatless Monday Restaurant Implementation Guide provides restaurants — whether fine dining, quick-service, or fast-casual — background and guidance to help start and promote a Meatless Monday program, while keeping meat on their menus.

To develop the guide, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future, a scientific adviser for the Meatless Monday movement, gathered feedback from organizations that have implemented Meatless Monday and learned that customers respond well when they realize the many health and environmental benefits of going Meatless Monday.

By implementing Meatless Monday, restaurants can attract new customers, help diners move towards healthier eating habits as well as show their commitment to food sustainability and the health of the planet. The guide covers topics, such as: Meatless Monday benefits; how to get started; strategies for success; talking points to train staff, and evaluation criteria to assess how well Meatless Monday performs.

In addition to the implementation guide, restaurants can download a ZIP file to access a new promotional kit which includes posters, signs, table tents and graphics. The kit and guide are available at

ProStart Winners

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced  winners of the 2017 ProStart® Educator of Excellence Awards for outstanding achievement in high school culinary and restaurant management education. 
ProStart® is the NRAEF’s nationwide high school program that unites classroom and industry to develop the talent of tomorrow’s workforce. The program reaches nearly 140,000 students in more than 1,700 high schools across 50 states, the Territory of Guam, and at Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and the Pacific.
“Every year I am amazed at the wonderful educators who make our ProStart program possible, and we are excited to honor the best of the best who go above and beyond to inspire the next generation of foodservice leaders,” said Rob Gifford, Executive Vice President of the NRAEF. “Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners. We are lucky to have you on our team.”
Selected from the 2017 ProStart Educator of Excellence Award winners, the NRAEF and Golden Corral Corporation are also proud to announce that the 2017 recipients of the James H. Maynard Excellence in Education Award are Mike Chrostowski of Olathe Public Schools (Kansas) and Steven Oubre of Woodlawn High School (Louisiana).

From left to right: Rob Gifford, Lance Trenary, Judy Irwin, Steven Oubre, Mike Chrostowski, and Greg Hamer.

Established over a decade ago as a tribute to Golden Corral’s founder, James Maynard, the James H. Maynard Excellence in Education Award honors two select ProStart educators for their tireless dedication to providing remarkable experiences to their ProStart students. Both honorees received a plaque and a gift of $5,000, presented by Judy Irwin, Vice President of Human Resources and Training for Golden Corral, and Lance Trenary, President and CEO of Golden Corral, at a special gala dinner.
“Golden Corral has been a longtime supporter of the ProStart program and we are thrilled to honor these incredible educators who help students make their dreams a reality,” said Lance Trenary. “This year, Golden Corral’s founder James Maynard donated an additional $200,000 to the NRAEF so programs like ProStart can continue to grow and succeed.”
The 2017 Educator of Excellence Award Winners were honored at a gala dinner in Chicago, Illinois in conjunction with the 2017 National Restaurant Association’s Hotel-Motel Show® that takes place May 20-23.
See below for a complete list of winners.
The 2017 ProStart Educators of Excellence Awardees are:

Joy Anderson – C.S. Monroe Technology Center (Virginia)

Andrea Aragon – Early College High School – Career Pathways (Colorado)

Jocelyn Aventurado – Foster High School (Texas)

Lindsay Baker – Middletown High School (Delaware)

Kelly Biggs – Southwestern Randolph High School (North Carolina)

Kyndal Bockelman – Glendale High School (Missouri)

Glee Brechler – James Madison Memorial High School (Wisconsin)

Willie Chatman – North-Grand High School (Illinois)

Mike Chrostowski – Olathe Public Schools (Kansas)

Andrew Dager – Kaiserslautern High School (DoDEA-Europe)

Scott Engle – Mercer County Technical School (New Jersey)

Kimberlie Foksett – Iosco RESA Career and Technical Center (Michigan)

Thomas Grant – Carver Center Career (West Virginia)

Kasie Hairrell – Calhoun County Career Academy (Alabama)

Kimberly Hertz – Legacy High School (North Dakota)

Charles Hoffmeister – Oneida Herkimer Madison Boces (New York)

Tracey Hulme – Waterloo West High School (Iowa)

Katherine Hutchinson – Park Center Senior High School (Minnesota)

Jenny Joyes – Lander Valley High School (Wyoming)

Steven Kalble – Newport Area Career and Technical Center (Rhode Island)

Amanda Lydon – Academy for Technology and Academics (South Carolina)

Amanda Matdies – Whitefish High School (Montana)

Sherry McCranie – Lincoln Southwest High School (Nebraska)

Carissa McCrory – Whitney High School (California)

Robert McIntosh – Concord Regional Technical Center (New Hampshire)

Brad Nehrt – J. Everett Light Career Center (Indiana)

Joshua Ogrodowski – Enfield High School (Connecticut)

Steven Oubre – Woodlawn High School (Louisiana)

Max Pananen – North Pole High School (Alaska)

Jennifer Park – Conway Area Career Center (Arkansas)

Sarah Perez – Madison Center High School (South Dakota)

Joan Pringle Jones – Mt. Spokane High School (Washington)

Sarah Samaros – Greater Lowell Technical High School (Massachusetts)

Robert Schley – Westover High School (Georgia)

Jaime-Lyn Schmidt – Southwest Career Development Center (Vermont)

Curtis Serata – Northeast High School (Florida)

Jeffrey Smith – Sollers Point Technical High School (Maryland)

Carla Smithers – Walton-Verona High School (Kentucky)

Genevieve Wertz – Deming High School (New Mexico)

Candace Wilson – Westlake High School (Utah)

Valerie Zeno – Sentinel Career and Technology Center (Ohio)

Molly Ziegler – Bend High School (Oregon)

Canada as a Culinary Destination

The Government of Canada has issued a request for proposals on making Canada a top destination for tourists seeking world-class culinary experiences.

“Whether they involve visiting a restaurant or food festival, culinary experiences are as essential today to a tourist’s experience as climate, geography and accommodations,” said the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism. “With our wide range of food specialties and a great diversity of international cuisine, Canada has so much to offer. I look forward to working with tourism operators, agricultural producers and culinary industries to spread the word about Canada’s great reputation for being a must-visit for foodies around the world.”

With this request for proposals, the Government of Canada is seeking expert advice on a path forward to making Canada a destination of choice for international tourists looking for world-class culinary experiences. Proposals will be accepted until 2 p.m. EDT on July 5.

According to Statistics Canada, approximately one fifth of spending ($3.56 billion) by international travellers in Canada is on food and beverages. Both domestic and international spending totals $15.35 billion. Canada’s food service industry generates $75 billion in annual sales and employs more than 1.2 million Canadians.

Canada’s restaurants provide more first jobs than any other industry: 22 percent of Canadians get their career start in a restaurant or food service business.

“Many of the best restaurants in Canada are serving food, beverages and products made and produced by Canadian farmers and food processors,” said The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Canada’s agriculture and food products are in high demand around the world for their quality, taste and value, and we must keep finding innovative ways to showcase them. I’m ready to get to work with Minister Chagger to leverage our world-class agri-food products to help attract more tourists to Canada, create new jobs and grow the economy.” 

Sunny Street Cafe Expands

Sunny Street Café recently opened its newest restaurant in Columbus, OH, close to the Polaris Fashion Place Shopping Center. Located at 8461 Sancus Blvd., this restaurant is the eighth breakfast-lunch café in Central Ohio.

“The feedback and excitement from our guests have been awesome,” says Mike Stasko, Vice President of Brand Strategy. “We are so grateful for the Columbus community, and this new area near Polaris, at the crossroads of Worthington and Olentangy, has been a perfect fit.”

Sunny Street Cafe

The design of the store represents a new layout and decor package throughout the interior. It also features a private dining room with A/V presentation capabilities, and a community table for opening seating.

During the first month of operations, this newest Sunny Street Café has partnered with the Columbus Diaper Coalition to collect diapers and monetary donations. The Columbus Diaper Coalition works with 18 different Columbus area food pantries and social service organizations to help those families. Since they began in 2013, the Coalition has delivered over 500,000 diapers to families in need. For more information about Sunny Street Café’s fundraiser visit

“It’s been really great getting to meet our new neighbors,” says Brandie Smith, General Manager of Sunny Street Café. “The new restaurant is close to a lot of businesses, houses, and apartments. We already have a fantastic group of regulars coming in for their morning cup of coffee or grabbing lunch around Polaris.”

Peak 365 Debuts

Guests of Courtyard Lake George are enjoying new food and beverage offerings, including a full-service restaurant, Peak 365, and a rooftop terrace perfect for private events, group meetings, or intimate evenings spent in the open air.

In place of the hotel’s former Bistro is Peak 365, an American restaurant with a locally inspired menu. Peak 365 seats up to 80 guests and much of the menu, down to cocktail ingredients, is locally sourced. Spirits from nearby Springbrook Hollow Farm Distillery are featured in the Muddled Mission, Foxy Lady, Howl at the Moonand High Rye.

On track to open this month is Courtyard Lake George’s new rooftop terrace. The space will accommodate 150 guests or more, and feature lounge chairs and other dynamic seating. Providing guests with a stunning view of the lake, and food and beverage service during select hours, the rooftop terrace will provide an ideal setting for social and professional functions alike.

Bandito Latin Kitchen Opens

Bandito Latin Kitchen & Cantina located in the Hughes Center at 325 Hughes Center Dr., suite 100, Las Vegas, NV 89169) will open its doors on Monday, June 5.   The restaurant is the first from Owner/Operator, Kent Harman, a local hospitality professional with more than 30 years in the industry.

Bandito Latin Kitchen & Cantina

The 4,000 square feet restaurant was designed by Harman along with Punch, the architect of record.  Its décor is a mix of rustic and modern, with plenty of finished metal, hand-distressed wood and vibrant colors, all bathed in natural light that fills the restaurant through its 30-foot tall glass windows.  As guests enter the restaurant they are greeted by a hand-pressed tortilla station that anchors the open kitchen.  Its rectangular bar is surrounded by distressed butcher-block counters, hand-laid tile and backed by a 30-foot steel shelving structure that houses a variety of liquor bottles and a pair of 60-inch television sets.  Two larger-than-life murals by local artist, Brett Rosepiler, depicting “Bandito” and “Rosie” create eye-popping visuals within the main dining room.  Bandito will cater to locals, tourists and large groups alike, with seating for 150 available both inside the cantina and dining room, and also on its outdoor patio that provides stunning nighttime views of the Las Vegas Strip. 

Mural at Bandito Latin Kitchen & Cantina

The kitchen, led by Executive Chef Chris Kight, turns out dishes inspired by the food of Latin America, with a heavy emphasis on Mexico. The cantina program, led by Jair Bustillos, will work in harmony with the kitchen to create a line of creative cocktails that not only stand on their own, but also compliment the cuisine. Bandito will also offer a thoughtful selection of interesting wines and craft beer, including a rotating handle from Las Vegas-based Big Dog’s Brewing Company, plus a variety of signature margaritas, agua frescas and micheladas. 
“While Bandito has physically been in the works for the past several months, it’s been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember,” said Harman.  “The entire team at Bandito has been working around the clock to bring this concept to life and we can’t wait to share it with Las Vegas as a gathering place for friends to enjoy fresh food and creative cocktails in a fun, friendly atmosphere.”

The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) Wraps Up Celiac Awareness Month

The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), the leader in the certification of gluten-free products and food services, has issued its State of GIG report in conjunction with Celiac Awareness Month, recognized every year during the month of May. The report recounts the non-profit organization’s extensive efforts to positively affect the quality of life for those living gluten-free. While Celiac Awareness Month is a time of unification, collaboration and togetherness for those with celiac disease and for the gluten-free community, GIG recognizes a continuous effort is required to fulfill the needs of those living gluten free. Since 1974, GIG has been empowering the gluten-free community through consumer support, advocacy and education to make sure that celiac and gluten intolerance-awareness is something that is recognized throughout the year.

In addition to its outreach efforts, more than a decade ago GIG created the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), a program that has become a global leader in the verification of quality, integrity, and safety of gluten-free products. The certification label of the GFCO program stands as the symbol of trust for the gluten-free community and can be found on more than 40,000 gluten-free products worldwide. To assure that food service locations are held to the same standards as manufacturers of products, GIG also founded the Gluten Free Food Service program (GFFS) to help establish best practices for facilities offering gluten-free options.

Highlights from the projects GIG has embarked on in the past year include:

  • At the beginning of May’s Celiac Awareness Month, GIG and the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) announced a partnership to improve the services provided to all persons living gluten-free
  • GFCO attained ISO/IEC 17065:2012 (ISO 17065) accreditation from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, the international quality standard for organizations certifying products, processes and services. The accreditation differentiates GIG from certification organizations that only focus on a company’s management and processes
  • Two important food safety research studies conducted by GIG. A first of its kind, GIG pilot study, “The Celiac Patient Antibody Response to Conventional and Gluten-Removed Beer”, was published online by the Journal of AOAC International, and a second study, the “Definition of the ‘Purity Protocol’ for Producing Gluten-Free Oats” was published by AACC International (formerly the American Association of Cereal Chemists)

“We are proud to always participate in Celiac Awareness Month, as it raises awareness for the millions of people worldwide who are affected by celiac disease and for the gluten-free community as a whole,” said Cynthia Kupper, CEO, Gluten Intolerance Group. “In an environment with multiple influencers, it is our commitment to be the voice of the gluten-free consumer. However, no matter what month it reads on the calendar, GIG will stay true to our mission to provide continual program improvements and explore new opportunities that will positively affect the quality of life for all persons living gluten-free.”

For more information on GIG’s activities, you may view its State of GIG report here.

McKittrick Hotel Introduces The Club Car

The McKittrick Hotel at 542 West 27th Street introduces The Club Car, limited-engagement dining concept and residency by renowned chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr. The Club Car officially opened on June 1.

The Club Car Cuisine

While the pair has been quietly consulting for The McKittrick Hotel for the past year, The Club Car marks their public debut. The former executive chefs of Balthazar and Minetta Tavern have created a prix-fixe surf-and-turf concept that combines their extensive French technique and chophouse expertise with a New Orleans spirit of excess and accessibility. The centerpiece of the three-course meal is a dry-aged boneless ribeye topped with one of four decadent seafood offerings.

“The menu is inspired by our mutual love and appreciation of the popular steak joints that used to dot Manhattan, like Beefsteak Charlie’s, combined with the brilliant simplicity of French chophouses such as Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte,” said Nasr.

To pair with the menu, a selection of classic cocktails with a seasonal twist are offered alongside The McKittrick Hotel’s international wine, beer, and spirit list. Highlights include the new signature Sleep No More #2 (Smith & Cross rum, Mezcal, Campari, pineapple, Amontillado, lime and walnut bitters), The Pullman (Ketel One vodka, lemon, honey syrup and prosecco) and the namesake Club Car Collins (Plymouth gin, celery, yuzu, lemongrass, soda and Peychaud’s bitters).

The Club Car space, which has been meticulously designed specifically for this summer-only experience, is inspired by iconic New York oyster bars and chophouses. Evoking a bygone golden age, the dining room has been outfitted with cozy corner banquettes, tables for two and low lighting that tinkles with seashell accents overhead.  A custom-made mirrored wall, overlaid with an oak fish scale pattern, is framed by an arch of marquee lights in the center. Rotating resident DJs provide a chill, funky vibe courtesy of authentic vinyl turntables. To provide a singular dining experience in true McKittrick style, seating is available in intimate, 1930’s-inspired train cars as well as the 120-seat main dining room.

TFI Teams with Chef Curtis Stone

Thomas Foods International USA launched a partnership with chef, restaurateur, TV personality and New York Times bestselling author, Chef Curtis Stone, at the 2017 National Restaurant Association (NRA) show in Chicago. Thomas Foods International USA, a provider of high-quality imported meat products to some of the largest retailers and foodservice companies in the USA, aims to enhance their reach by engaging Stone’s global culinary, trade, and business expertise within both the commercial and foodservice markets.

In addition to meat supply chain consulting through his business Stone’s Food Inc., Chef Stone has recently made a name for himself in the meat category. With his brother, and business partner, Luke Stone, Curtis opened Gwen Butcher Shop and Restaurant in Hollywood in mid-2016. Their dedication to curating a rotating offer of best-in-class meat and poultry products through the butcher shop, and as the core of the menu at Gwen, has landed them national and international acclaim.

The first importer of chilled Australian lamb and beef products in the US and a leading supplier of grass fed beef and lamb, Thomas Foods International USA chairman, Greg Bourke sees the partnership as a natural fit.

“As industry leaders, we must continue to push ourselves and through working with Curtis, we will be able to combine our supply and distribution with his culinary, meat advocacy, and consumer market acumen.” said Bourke. 

Chef Curtis Stone sees the partnership as a way to work with a supplier who is equally passionate about quality, fresh, and ethically-produced products.

“Luke and I first gained our appreciation for meat from the namesake of our restaurant: Gwen, our grandmother who grew up on a farm in Australia, and we both worked in butcher shops as our first jobs. Throughout my career as a chef, consultant, and now as a butcher shop owner, I’ve been inspired to find the best meat products and in order to do so, you really have to understand your suppliers and distributors,” said Stone. “Especially now that consumer demand is increasing for quality, ethical, natural meats, I’m so excited to have the chance to work with TFI USA, including their grass-fed, no antibiotics and no added hormone products.”

Blended Burger Battle Begins

Here is your chance to make a difference by re-imagining the iconic burger to create an incredibly delicious menu item that is healthier for your guests and more sustainable for the planet. The James Beard Foundation Blended Burger Project™ asks chefs from around the country to mix ground meat and mushrooms together — The Blend — make a burger, and menu it for the summer, and you could win a trip to cook at James Beard House. Learn more about the Blended Burger Project™ and sign up at:

Ardagh Awarded three ENERGY STAR Certifications

Ardagh Group, Glass – North America, a producer of glass containers for the food and beverage industries in the United States, was awarded three ENERGY STAR® plant certifications for superior energy performance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – the only U.S. glass container manufacturer to earn this recognition. 

The three Ardagh Group manufacturing facilities, located in Bridgeton, N.J.; Dunkirk, Ind.; and Madera, Calif.; have demonstrated best-in-class energy performance and perform within the top 25 percent nationwide for energy efficiency when compared to similar plants across the country. This is the third consecutive year for Bridgeton, the fourth consecutive year for Madera, and the fifth consecutive year for Dunkirk to be awarded ENERGY STAR plant certifications.

“Ardagh Group is honored to remain the only U.S. glass container manufacturer to earn the prestigious ENERGY STAR plant certifications,” saidJohn Riordan, President and CEO of Ardagh Group, Glass – North America. “Through this achievement, we have demonstrated our dedication to the environment by continuing to maximize the use of recycled materials at our facilities and optimizing our manufacturing operations to improve energy performance.”   

Meeting strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA, Ardagh Group’s three recognized glass facilities have improved in four key areas:

  • energy performance by upgrading and optimizing furnaces; 
  • utilizing recycled glass; 
  • installing energy-efficient lighting fixtures; and 
  • repairing air compressor leaks. 

Since 2010, nine Ardagh Group, Glass – North America facilities have received 29 ENERGY STAR plant certifications.

Slanted Door Will Join The Forum Shops

 Simon, a global leader in premier shopping, dining and entertainment destinations, has announced that The Slanted Door will be joining The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, opening in 2018. A modern Vietnamese restaurant with roots in San Francisco’s Mission District, The Slanted Door will open its first location outside of California, an 8200 square foot restaurant to be situated on Las Vegas Boulevard.

“When we think about elevating the consumer experience, restaurants like The Slanted Door are the kinds of brands Simon looks for,” said Vicki Hanor, Senior Executive Vice President of Leasing at Simon. “With its first floor, high visibility location, we are certain that it will become an instant favorite for our shoppers and visitors to Las Vegas in search of exceptional and unique dining venues.”

The Slanted Door, which opened its first restaurant in 1995, uses the finest and freshest local ingredients and Vietnamese cooking techniques to create a menu that has been recognized with the exclusive James Beard Outstanding Restaurant award (2014), given to only one restaurant nationally a year. 

“We are excited to expand into the Las Vegas market,” said The Slanted Door Owner and Executive Chef, Charles Phan. “The Forum Shops will provide unparalleled access to residents, tourists and shoppers and we look forward to creating the kind of dining ambiance that has been so warmly received in San Francisco for the last twenty plus years.”

Waxman Eyes First L.A. Spot

Jonathan Waxman’s NYCA Restaurant Group will be bringing the world renowned chef’s signature cuisine back to Southern California with a restaurant to open in Spring 2018. Waxman first gained fame by pioneering and then popularizing California cuisine together with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley—and then subsequently made his mark at such prestigious kitchens as Michael’s in Santa Monica and Jams in New York City. Today, he is the chef and owner of Manhattan’s  Barbuto restaurant, where his ability to make “sophistication seem simple” earned him the 2016 James Beard Award as Best Chef – New York City.

Waxman and NYCA Restaurant Group have now made the decision to open their very first restaurant in Los Angeles at Westfield Century City. The self-described “neighborhood restaurant” will be located alongside the property’s front façade on Santa Monica Boulevard.

“I have been looking for the right venue for my return to LA,” said Waxman. “The location at Westfield Century City is the perfect spot and has everything – great street access, instantaneous valet parking and some of the best shopping in the world coupled with AMC Theatres and exciting new offerings like Nordstrom, Eataly, Shake Shack and Equinox. Our location is steps from Santa Monica Blvd and in close proximity to Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Culver City, Westwood and Santa Monica. All in all, this makes for a stellar location where I’m greatly looking forward to feeding folks in LA again.”

“This is going to change the very nature of the food landscape on the westside of Los Angeles,” said William Hecht, Westfield’s Chief Operating Officer.  “Jonathan Waxman is widely credited with bringing California cuisine to the world and—in the process—reinventing the way America eats, cooks, and seeks out farm-fresh ingredients. He is a native of California—he first made his mark here—and we’re excited to welcome him back home.”

The announcement of Westfield’s partnership with NYCA Restaurant Group comes as the center prepares for its Grand Opening in Fall 2017. The redeveloped center will include over 200 stores and restaurants including a new Nordstrom, new Macy’s, completely remodeled Bloomingdale’s, and a luxurious Equinox fitness club.  

In addition to the new restaurant (which has yet to be named), other new dining options at Century City will include the West Coast’s first Eataly, Din Tai Fung, Javier’s Finest Foods of Mexico, Petros Benekos (Petros fine Hellenic cuisine, The Kafe and Kafe Bugatsa), as well as Tender Greens, MidiCi Neapolitan pizza, Wexler’s Deli, Asian Box, Big Fish Little Fish, La Colombe Coffee Roaster, Minamoto Kitchoan, Randy’s Donuts, and Compartes Chocolatier. These new offerings will complement Century City’s existing food and dining options, including Shake Shack, Meizhou Dongpo, RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen, the elegant Italian trattoria Toscanova, authentic Italian mozzarella bar Obicà and Gelson’s gourmet supermarket.  Among the property’s many new nutritious food and probiotic juice bar options will be Pressed Juicery, Lifehouse Tonics + Elixirs, and Beaming Organic Superfood Café.

Royal Range Picks Up More Accolades

Royal Range of California, Inc.’s  High Efficiency Deep Fat Fryer Model RHEF-45-CM has been selected to receive a National Restaurant Association Kitchen Innovations (KI) Award at the NRA Show. The KI Awards recognize products that meaningfully improve restaurant operations through innovations in areas such as technology, safety and energy efficiency. Royal will receive its award in a private ceremony on May 20th.  
The RHEF-45-CM is the first fryer to utilize an innovative heat exchanger whose flue makes three  passes through a series of round tubes as the heat is transmitted to the oil. The tubes are progressively reduced in size/volume to increase the velocity of flow as it exits through an induced draft blower. This results in very low carbon emission and heat output through the flue due to low gas consumption, both during idling and cooking periods.  
The new model was tested by a prominent restaurant chain for months, to great satisfaction. It met and exceeded the Energy Star requirements for gas savings and cooking efficiency. The even heat transfer in the cooking zone resulted in rapid and consistent product output. With zero recovery time, the fryer is ideal for high production.  

Royal Range

“We are extremely proud of our RHEF-45-CM,” said L. Vasan, President, Royal Ranges. “The annual gas savings can be as much as 55-60 percent compared to base fryers and as much as 18%-20% compared to average energy efficient fryers currently on the market. We are thrilled to be recognized by such a distinguished organization as the National Restaurant Association for the innovations we’ve worked so hard to implement.”  
The 2017 KI Award® recipients reflect the trends and topics most important to foodservice operators. The selected innovations address operator concerns from labor, energy and water efficiency to food safety, sanitation, cross-functionality and space-saving. The KI Awards Program is judged by a panel of respected third-party experts from across foodservice who represent some of the industry’s best-known brands and organizations.

JD Food Opens News Distribution Center

Mark Ford, President of JD Food, with City of Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, Fresno County Supervisor Sal Quintero and others to commemorate the opening of its 65,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art food distribution center. 

Mark Ford, President of JD Food, with City of Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, Fresno County Supervisor Sal Quintero and others to commemorate the opening of its 65,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art food distribution center.

Independent, family-owned food distributor, JD Food officially opened its new 65,000 sq. ft. distribution center in Southeast Fresno, part of a multi-phase expansion plan that will add more than 144 jobs, bringing its total workforce to 288 by 2025. Over the past six years, the company has tripled in size, a growth pattern that is poised to continue as the company focuses its attention on growing its client base and signature locally-owned, farm to table food sourcing.

“Today marks an important step towards increasing our distribution footprint, permitting our third generation, family-run company to better address the unique service needs of regional accounts throughout California,” stated Mark Ford, President of JD Food. “Our new state-of-the-art facility is ideally located for California distribution and offers our team the added space needed to nurture and grow our existing customer base.”

The new distribution center features state-of-the-art technologies related to climate control, docking systems and energy-efficient power systems. Additionally, JD Food has acquired The Print District, who will operate out of the new facility to provide graphic design and printing needs exclusively for JD Food clients.

The official opening of the distribution center was marked by a ribbon cutting and formal dedication in front of over 100 attendees who joined Mark Ford, President of JD Food and Jimmy Maxey, Chairman of Certified Meat Products, including the City of Fresno Mayor, Lee Brand; City of Fresno Economic Development Director, Larry Westerlund; and City of Fresno Director of Strategic Initiatives, H. Spees, along with JD Food employees, family members, suppliers and nonprofit leaders.

The dedication of JD Food’s state-of-the-art facility was the culmination of more than two years of work established as a collaborative agreement with the City of Fresno that includes a development investment of $10.5 million and supports job creation of over 144 employees over the next 10 years. JD Food is a longtime supporter of the Fresno Food Expo, an economic development and food celebration movement born out of a collaboration with the City of Fresno to increase economic growth and elevate the profile of the Valley’s food industry as a whole.

JD Food is a third generation, family-owned and operated food distributor based in the agricultural heart of California. Led by the Maxey and Ford families, the company distributes more than 5,000 products from more than 250 suppliers comprised of national and locally-owned brands throughout California. JD Food is a member of UNIPRO Foodservice Distributors of America, the largest food service cooperative in the world.

Beyond Zero Introduces Frozen Liquor System

Beyond Zero Inc. introduced the industry’s first frozen liquor ice system at the 2017 National Restaurant Association Show. Comprised of an ice maker capable of freezing liquor into cubes and a specialized storage freezer to hold liquor ice, the Beyond Zero Ice System enables the creation of entirely new kinds of cocktails.

“We’re putting the liquor “in the rocks” rather than “on the rocks,” said Beyond Zero founder and inventor Jason Sherman. “Our breakthrough technology now makes it possible to freeze liquor into solid ice so there is no more watered down drinks, consumers can now enjoy chilled drinks with the full intensity of flavor intact.”

Capable of automatically freezing pure liquor, wine, or mixed cocktails into ice in a matter of just minutes, the Beyond Zero Ice Maker is the first commercially available device of its kind. It’s now possible to serve cocktails that stay cold yet aren’t diluted with melting ice. Beyond Zero also offers other creative new cocktail possibilities such as combining more than one liquor together in ice, making ice in different colors or providing drinks that get stronger – not weaker – as the ice melts. Using it, establishments that serve alcohol can profit from delivering a fun, novel and deliciously different experience to their customers.

Together as a system, the Beyond Zero Ice Maker and Storage Freezer are plug-in appliances designed to operate in commercial environments. There is no refillable chemical or gas expense required to use the machines.  Once frozen by the ice maker, the liquor ice may be stored until served in the specialized Beyond Zero Storage Freezer.  The liquor ice storage freezer also gives users the ability of freezing alcohol into custom shapes and sizes using various ice molds. The system gives bartenders a quick, efficient way to make cocktails colder, smoother, and stronger in contrast to a cocktail served or shaken over traditional ice.

“Beyond Zero machines open up entirely new creative possibilities for restaurants and bars to make exciting new signature drinks, which increase their profits and popularity” said Sherman. “In its simplest form, Beyond Zero improves any neat or straight spirit with the addition of frozen cubes of the same kind of liquor because it’s not diluted and cold, which results in a smoother taste profile. It’s so amazing that you can also make a cocktail that transforms into another cocktail as the liquor cubes melt, and more. The only limit is your own imagination!”

The Beyond Zero Ice System is a solution for a complete cocktail ice program at commercial venues that serve alcohol.  The ice maker and storage freezer are available for pre-order and manufactured units are expected to ship early August 2017.