New & Notable: World Pizza Games, Eating Banana Peels and Reinventing the Water Fountain

Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine’s New & Notable column features new products and services as well as restaurant, food-service and hospitality company news and events. 

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Fernandez Wins Daniel Boulud/C-CAP Scholarship

After a heated competition at Café Boulud, Master Chef Daniel Boulud named Chef Kelvin Fernandez, recently the Executive Chef at Strand Bistro Restaurant at Marriott Vacation Club’s Pulse Hotel, the winner of the Daniel Boulud/C-CAP 2018 Full-Tuition Scholarship to attend the Intensive Culinary Program at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France, as well as a two-week stage at a restaurant in Lyon, France. Competitor Marc Heller, Banquet Chef at The Public Hotel, was awarded a one-week stage in the kitchens of Café Boulud and DANIEL.

Kelvin Fernandez and the Judges

“This year’s theme was a celebration of French cuisine, specifically dishes inspired by Paul Bocuse’s chicken with tarragon vinegar,” said Chef Daniel Boulud. “Both candidates demonstrated passion, talent, and creativity. While this signature chicken recipe saw two different interpretations during the competition, the two chefs did a great job capturing the essence and importance of the sauce. Kelvin won by a small margin as his preparation really stood out as the most satisfying and balanced dish, and we look forward to guiding him through his stage in Lyon.” 

The competitors presented their dishes to the judging panel: Chef Daniel Boulud; Chef Aaron Bludorn, Executive Chef at Café Boulud; Recipient of the award in 2013, Sous Chef Cesar Gutierrez of Daniel; Richard Grausman, C-CAP Founder and Chairman Emeritus, and C-CAP President Karen Brosius.

The Daniel Boulud/Paul Bocuse Institut Scholarship was established 13 years ago when Boulud received a birthday grant of $100,000 from his business partner, Joel Smilow. He continues to obtain funding for this scholarship from Ment’Or, a not-for-profit, devoted to inspiring culinary excellence in young professionals and preserving the traditions and quality of cuisine in America. The scholarship includes tuition, transportation, room and board, uniforms and cookbooks, a two-week stage at a restaurant in Lyon, France.

Together with C-CAP, Daniel Boulud has sent a number of talented young chefs to Lyon, who have returned to attain prominent positions in restaurants all over the United States, including DANIEL.

Born in New York to Dominican parents, Kelvin Fernandez never dreamed he’d become a chef. In fact, he never showed an interest in food – despite the fact that his dad was a chef – until he enrolled in a cooking class at Long Island City High School in order to impress his high school sweetheart. That class ignited a passion for all things culinary. Through C-CAP he earned a scholarship to attend The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. Now at age 32, Fernandez has made a name for himself as the youngest executive chef ever in NYC’s fine dining scene and was listed on the prestigious “30 under 30” list by Forbes Magazine for food and wine in 2015. He was also a runner-up on Food Network’s Chopped and won competitions on FYI Network’s Man vs. Child and Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay.

Through C-CAP, Fernandez earned a scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America and has graced notable kitchens, such as Water’s Edge, Aquavit, Gotham Bar and Grill, and Café des Artistes. Chef Kelvin moved to Latin cuisine when opening Blend on the Water in Long Island City and at La Marina, the 70,000 sq. foot operation in Washington Heights. Chef Kelvin recently helmed the kitchen at the Strand Bistro Restaurant at Marriott Vacation Club’s Pulse Hotel in NYC where he served American food with a Latin influence.

Heller has been affiliated with C-CAP since 2006 when he attended Tottenville High School and participated in the C-CAP Cooking Competition for Scholarships. The judges recognized his talent and he was awarded a scholarship to attend the New England Culinary Institute (NECI). Combining his talent for cooking and his passion for traveling, he made his way to Orvieto, Italy, where he learned rustic Italian techniques at Zeppelin Ristorante. Marc went on to intern at a hotel in Israel, where he lived and worked for over a year. From Israel, Marc landed a six-month opportunity to work at the decorated Depot Oyster Bar in Auckland, New Zealand, to learn the Kiwiana-style cuisine.

Rotolo Takes Home Pizza Honors

Rotolo’s Craft & Crust’s Vice President of Research & Development Mitch Rotolo Jr. has trained under pizza masters in Italy so it comes as no surprise that Rotolo Jr. won more events than any other competitor and for the third consecutive year he won the Fastest Dough Stretch Competition during the World Pizza Games.

Representing the Baton Rouge-based pizzeria, he competed against pizza connoisseurs from across the world and won honors in three of the five competitive events:

  • Pizza Triathlon (Gold)
  • Fastest Dough Stretch (Gold)
  • Fastest Box Folding (Silver)

The World Pizza Games are an Olympics-style competition for Pizzaioli. It’s a two-day battle that brings energy and excitement to the International Pizza Expo® – the largest pizza show in the world.

“I’ve been competing in the World Pizza Games for six years, so it’s always something that I really look forward to each year,” said Rotolo Jr., member of the World Pizza Team. “I train for these events throughout the year because I’m representing my amazing city, so it’s important that I succeed. This year, I had the honor of representing our new prototype – Craft & Crust – which was exciting because it created great brand exposure. It’s an awesome experience because you get to meet people from all over the world that share the same passion for pizza. I look forward to continuing to compete for many years to come.”

Changes at McAlisters and Cinnabon

Joe Guith has been promoted to brand president for McAlister’s Deli.

“We are thrilled to have Joe step into the role as president of McAlister’s and are excited to see him guide the brand through its continued growth,” said FOCUS Brands® COO and President, North America, Kat Cole. “Joe’s skills in developing brands, driving businesses forward, and leading large franchise systems make him a great fit for this vibrant brand.”

Joe Guith joined FOCUS Brands, parent company to McAlister’s Deli, in 2014 as Chief Operating Officer for Cinnabon®, and quickly assumed the role of brand president in 2015.  In the three years Guith was president, he drove significant P&L results through strong performance management, application of process-driven improvements and building collaborative, high performing teams.  Prior to joining FOCUS, Guith held roles in general management and strategy with Coca-Cola, where he served as vice president, Global Business Development and vice president, Vending Operations, and Yum! Brands where he served as general manager, KFC, South Territory.

Joe Guith, President of McAlister’s Deli

“I am honored to have the opportunity to join McAlister’s at such a pivotal time for the brand,” said Guith. “McAlister’s is poised for tremendous growth and I look forward to working with the McAlister’s team in shaping the future.”  

Cinnabon Inc.®, promoted Kristen Hartman to Brand President. In her new role, Hartman will be responsible for the brand’s strategy and continued business growth.

“We are thrilled to have Kristen step into the role as President of Cinnabon. With her business expertise, love of the customer and passion for the brand teams, we are excited for her to lead Cinnabon through its continued growth,” said FOCUS Brands COO and President, North America, Kat Cole.

After a 16-year career with Burger King, Hartman joined FOCUS Brands in 2012 as Vice President of Marketing, where she oversaw brand marketing, menu innovation and consumer engagement strategies for Cinnabon. Her leadership was instrumental in the brand’s resurgence as a global icon. In 2015, she advanced to SVP of Global Marketing for the Snack Brands where she developed unique, multichannel marketing solutions in support of FOCUS Brands’ strong global footprint. Most recently, as SVP Brand Marketing Strategy, Hartman led social media, public relations, and new concept development for all brands, and was a key contributor to marketing strategy for licensing and the Global Channels division.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to return to Cinnabon and, most importantly, reconnect with the franchisees who have contributed so much to the brand’s accomplishments.  I’ve enjoyed watching them flourish and am excited to contribute to their future success,” said Hartman.  “It’s a wonderful feeling to be part of a brand that brings a smile and so many special memories to mind whenever it’s mentioned.” 

MOD Pizza Plans Expansion

MOD Super-Fast Pizza Holdings, LLC  made three executive-level promotions to help position the company for its continued, rapid expansion. Paul Twohig, who joined MOD in 2017 as Chief Operating Officer  will assume the dual role of President and COO. Additionally, Lisa Luebeck will become Senior Vice President of Legal and General Counsel and Megan Hansen will be elevated to Senior Vice President of People. These appointments are effective immediately.

“As we continue our journey of building the world’s leading fast casual pizza brand, we will continue to rely on the enormous contributions of Paul, Lisa and Megan. Each of them has been integral to our success over the past few years,” said Scott Svenson, MOD Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder. “Most importantly, they each exemplify MOD’s core values and are strong champions of our mission to use the business to make a positive social impact.” added Ally Svenson, MOD Chief Purpose Officer and Co-Founder.

As President and COO, Twohig will continue to oversee daily company operations while also leading store development (domestic and international real estate, design and construction), culinary, supply chain, innovation, and international and franchise operations. Twohig has served on the Company’s advisory board since 2008 and formally joined MOD in July 2017. He came to MOD from Dunkin’ Donuts where he served as President, leading US and Canadian operations, franchising and store development for more than 8,500 locations at the time. Twohig was also previously Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Panera Bread and spent a total of 14 years at Starbucks in executive roles in the US and UK.

Luebeck, MOD’s Senior Vice President of Legal and General Counsel, joined MOD in January 2016 as Vice President of Legal and the Company’s first general counsel. At MOD, she has built a strong and scalable legal foundation to protect and grow the brand. Her prior roles include both in-house and outside counsel positions, including serving as an attorney with Dorsey & Whitney for approximately seven years where she obtained vast experience as a corporate and securities lawyer representing a wide range of clients. Luebeck has been named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers.

Hansen, Senior Vice President of People, joined the company in November 2016 and leads all elements of human resources and talent management for MOD and has successfully built a team capable of managing the incredible growth and development of the MOD Squad across the U.S. Megan will continue to lead the team that handles recruiting, hiring, training, development, compliance, performance management, benefits, people systems and community engagement. Prior to joining MOD, Megan spent four years at Outerwall, where she was Vice President of Talent Management for the Coinstar and Redbox brands, and seven years as Human Resource Director for Frog Design.

Reinventing the Water Fountain

PepsiCo has created an innovation pipeline that is “reinventing the water fountain” to be more in line with how consumers are hydrating on-the-go today. As consumer water consumption and the use of refillable bottles continues to increase –particularly on campus and in the workplace– the test of Aquafina Water Station is an effort to learn more about  consumer preferences and needs in these channels.

Aquafina Water Station enables consumers to dispense customized water options, including flavors like peach or raspberry lime, sparkling or still water, into refillable personal containers. We are thrilled to collaborate with Penn State to give consumers access to the new equipment and to gather learnings that will enable us to ideally make it accessible to more consumers in the future.

Voltea, the global leader in electro-desalination water treatment technology, is seeing strong interest from hotels, restaurants and cafes in its new, point-of-use DiUse® system for coffee, fountain drink and drinking water applications.

With DiUse, incoming water is “tuned” to the ideal salinity to match the application, and remains perfectly tuned even through variations in incoming water characteristics.  DiUse is considered point-of-use because the system is installed at the point where the water source is connected to the equipment.

“Even municipal water quality varies, so the ability to deliver water that is pure with a consistently tuned taste profile regardless of these variations is tremendously valuable,” said Voltea CEO Bryan Brister. “DiUse water is perfectly suited to the application, such as water for consistently great coffee, tea or fountain drinks. We’re proud to see world-renowned establishments in Europe, the United States and beyond use DiUse to improve the quality of the beverages they serve.”

DiUse is a miniaturized version of Voltea’s industrial and commercial CapDI© systems, which run with patented CapDI technology. The system monitors incoming water quality in real time, and self-adjusts performance to ensure it delivers consistent, precise water quality with improved taste.

The salt-free, chemical-free technology is a simple, two-step process wherein water flows between electrodes. The electrode surfaces are separated from the water by ion-selective membranes that allow positive or negative ions (salts) to pass. The system is tunable, allowing adjustable salt removal and continually adjusts to account for any fluctuations in feed water characteristics.

“Best-in-class hotels, restaurants and cafes are notoriously demanding when it comes to consistency of the customer experience—whether that is the perfect cup of coffee or tea, or a refreshing fountain beverage. Their embrace of Voltea’s DiUse system is proof positive of its efficacy,” concluded Brister. 

Other applications for Voltea’s DiUse system include:

  • Personal use water in smaller residential spaces, such as apartments
  • Grocery store misters
  • Mist cooling systems
  • Spot-free rinse for solar panels, vehicles and dishwashers
CIA Teaching Kitchen

 The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Copia is now offering hands-on cooking experiences for home cooks and professionals in its new 9,000 square-foot state-of-the-art kitchen. A much-anticipated part of CIA at Copia, the teaching kitchen serves as a hub for public hands-on cooking classes, interactive dining events, industry conferences, and private events.  

Located on the second floor of CIA at Copia, the gleaming new kitchen is outfitted with six Hestan cooking suites and equipment. The custom-made Hestan cooking suites were designed in pairs so that two suites comprise one cooking area. Each cooking area can accommodate 16-20 people at a time for a hands-on cooking exercise, with maximum capacity set at 125 for a dining event.

“We could not be happier with the design of the space and the inaugural event with Food & Wine Magazine,” says Thomas Bensel, managing director of the CIA’s California campus. “We hope to see many more happy faces experiencing this unique teaching kitchen.”

Since opening in March, hands-on cooking experiences ranging from two to five hours in length have been offered in the kitchen. One of the signature classes is the CIA Skillsseries, where guests learn basic cooking skills and how to cook varying cuisines from a CIA chef-instructor, then enjoy a meal of everything they created with their instructor and classmates. Class topics include A Beginner’s Guide to Sushi Rolls, Healthy Cooking, Exploring Brazilian Cuisine, Grilling Like a Pro, and more.

The kitchen is also available for private events and team building programs, as well as programs for professionals through the CIA’s consulting division and Strategic Initiatives Group, including Flavor Summit, reThink Food, and Healthy Kids Collaborative.

 A complete list of class descriptions can be found  here. Classes are priced per person. More classes are added monthly. In addition to attending classes and demos, visitors will find much to do at the CIA at Copia, including food and wine events, dining, book signings, and browsing culinary and wine collections. 

Embassy Suites by Hilton New York Midtown Manhattan Debuts

The Buccini/Pollin Group, Hidrock Properties and Embassy Suites by Hilton celebrated the opening of the 310-room Embassy Suites by Hilton New York Midtown Manhattan with a ribbon cutting. Guests of the ribbon cutting ceremony enjoyed a celebratory champagne toast at SkyLawn, the hotel’s stunning seasonal outdoor lounge and event space, escorted hotel tours, and innovative, New York-centric refreshments. The 40-story hotel was transformed into an English Garden, with remarkable floral arrangements, rosé tasting stations, a cotton candy machine and a St-Germain cart.  Guests took in panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline throughout the event.

Managed by PM Hotel Group, Embassy Suites by Hilton New York Midtown Manhattan is the only Embassy Suites by Hilton in all of Manhattan. The hotel provides business and leisure travelers a refreshing accommodation option when visiting New York City.

SkyLawn Bar & Social

“We’re thrilled to bring the Embassy Suites concept to New York City travelers and residents with an entirely new and energetic, lifestyle twist – it’s the first and only one of its kind in this market,” said Joseph Bojanowski, President, PM Hotel Group. “The Embassy Suites in Midtown is the primary accessory the Garment District has been missing.”

The hotel offers several food and beverage options, including:

  • SkyLawn Bar & Social is a large, well-landscaped exterior space with open-air seating featuring hand-crafted cocktails and an American Fare menu with a unique twist to satisfy the most discerning palates. Guests can enjoy spirited refreshments curated by Allen Katz, one of the nation’s leading experts on distilled spirits. Signature cocktails include Dorothy’s Ruby Red, made with Dorothy Parker NY Gin, Makers Mark Bourbon, Lemon, Simple Syrup & Grenadine; the Perfect Cut, made with Casa Noble Crystal Tequila, Lemon, Combier, Apricot and Orange Bitters and The Thief’s Mojito, made with Bacardi 8 Year Rum, Lime, Mint, Angostura Bitters and Ruffino Prosecco.
The Heist Bar & Lounge
  • The Heist Bar & Lounge serves Italian fare and chef-led concepts through lunch and dinner. In a playful tribute to the greatest jewel heists in history, the menus are designed for guests to learn and discover throughout their dining experience. The beverage menu features a series of cocktails, each named after an infamous heist with a short description of the historic caper. Mixologist Allen Katz of New York Distilling Company curated the cocktail menu, which is complemented by a selection of local craft beer and international wine selections. The Heist Burger with all the “Crown Jewels” is expected to be a crowd favorite.
  • The Embassy Lounge serves complimentary, made-to-order breakfast favorites daily.

SkyLawn can host events for more than 200 people in a dramatic outdoor setting. The Empire room is a 900-square-foot meeting space with natural lighting and views of SkyLawn. The hotel’s boardroom, atrium and event spaces are flexible and can accommodate intimate get-togethers or events for up to 150 people.

Donations for the non-profit organizations Dress for Success and Food Bank for NYC were accepted throughout the night. Through these partnerships, the hotel will maintain an ongoing food donor program for Food Bank for NYC and staff-led group volunteer activities with Dress for Success.

Parker’s Baked Inclusions

Parker Products is launching a line of baked inclusions for the dairy, bakery, confection, beverage, and QSR segments. The product line will feature brownies, cookies, cakes, and more, with rotating varieties.

“We have a long history of collaborating with customers to create specialty ingredients that enhance and differentiate their products,” said Greg Hodder, president. “The baked inclusions will add appealing textures and exciting flavors to our customers’ foods and beverages, and we look forward to working with them to create innovative applications.”

Parker Products’ baked inclusions were designed to add appeal to cupcakes and donuts, deliciously chewy pieces to dairy and specialty beverages, and decadent nostalgia to chocolate confections. Application possibilities are endless, from fruit-filled cupcakes garnished with sugar cookie pieces to cinnamon spiced lattes with whipped topping, caramel drizzle and snickerdoodle crumble.

Parker Products is introducing the new product line following customer requests for the ingredients. In order to further help customers meet consumer needs, all baked inclusions meet Kosher Select guidelines, with some varieties available in all natural, vegan, and non-GMO formats. The introduction of the baked inclusions line is made possible by the opening of Parker Products’ new production facility, which offers three times the capacity of the company’s previous location and new bakery equipment. 

Sodexo Named a Top Business for Diversity

Sodexo was named to Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s (WBENC) 18th annual list of America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) for the first time. This is the only national award honoring corporations for world-class supplier diversity programs that reduce barriers and drive growth for women-owned businesses.

Theresa Harrison, Board Chair & Director, Diversity &; Inclusiveness Procurement, EY with Sodexo’s Ted Monk, VP, Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility and Pamela Prince-Eason, President & CEO, WBENC

“We are committed to diversity and inclusion at all levels of our business,” said Rohini Anand, PhD, SVP, Corporate Responsibility & Global Chief Diversity Officer, Sodexo. “We want to support growing diverse businesses and establish long-lasting relationships with like-minded, mutually-beneficial companies.” 

Currently, Sodexo partners with nearly 2,400 vendors that are led by minorities, women, service-disabled veterans, LGBTQ or people with disabilities across the U.S. As part of Sodexo’s Better Tomorrow Plan the organization has a global commitment to support both diverse and local businesses; the goal is for 25 percent of Sodexo’s global spend to be with small businesses in local communities, with a focus on women and other under-represented groups as defined by country, by 2025. Companies interested in partnering with Sodexo must be 51 percent diverse-owned, controlled and managed and certified by National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), Women’s Business Enterprises National Council (WBENC), National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN), city or county certification, or state certification or Small Business Administration (SBA).

“As we launch the next decade of WBENC, we are so proud to honor WBENC’s Top Corporations for WBEs, including Sodexo, for choosing to set the standard for access and increase opportunities to women suppliers in new markets – both domestically and internationally,” said Pamela Prince-Eason, President and CEO of WBENC, the nation’s leader in women’s business development. “WBENC-Certified WBEs in turn are able to fuel innovation, and empower communities through economic growth and job creation.”

The selection of America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) is conducted annually by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). The list of Top Corporations is designed to recognize organizations who are choosing to integrate policies and programs across the corporation to enable growth and reduce barriers for women-owned businesses; increasing opportunity in new markets – both domestically, and international; fueling innovation; and empowering communities through economic growth and job creation.

Rubino Joins Jane Q 

Philip Rubino has been appointed chef de cuisine of all-day Hollywood eatery Jane Q. Bringing 10 years of culinary experience to the Beachwood Canyon restaurant, Rubino will collaborate with Executive Chef Bryan Podgorski, working to continually evolve Jane Q’s seasonal menu of farm-fresh breakfasts, house-made pastries, rustic Californian dinners and indulgent desserts. Additionally, Dan Rook has been promoted from Lead Bartender to Beverage Manager of The Kimpton Everly Hotel. In this new role, he will oversee menu direction and all beverage operations for Jane Q, Ever Bar, and the hotel’s catering and in-room dining.

Chicago native Rubino began his career at his family’s bakery, later attending culinary school at Illinois Institute of Art. Starting as a line cook at Chicago’s acclaimed BIN 36, he worked his way up to sous chef, followed by tenures at Spiaggia and A Mano. In 2008, he played an instrumental role in helping Chef Laurent Gras achieve three Michelin stars at L2O. He continued honing his skills at BIN Wine Café, Café des Architects, Acadia, and as executive chef at Moderno. Accolades include the 2013 recognition of “Rising Star Chef” nominee by Jean Banchet’s awards for culinary excellence. Rubino was also integral to the high-profile team that launched Chicago’s critically acclaimed Cicchetti.

Also hailing from Chicago, newly appointed Beverage Manager Rook is a Kimpton Restaurants veteran, with the company moving him from his post as Lead Bartender at Kimpton’s South Water Kitchen to Los Angeles in 2017 to helm the bar programs for Jane Q and Ever Bar. Since the restaurant and bar duo opened last August, Rook’s inventive cocktail menus have earned both local and national acclaim, with Ever Bar voted “Best New Bar” in L.A. Weekly’s Readers’ Choice Awards in 2017. Recently, his Academy Awards-themed cocktail menu drew widespread local interest and cemented Ever Bar’s status as one of the most creative cocktail programs in the city. He was previously named “Best Bartender of the Year 2015” by the Chicago Tribune’s Redeye and named to Zagat’s “30 Under 30 List” in the same year.

Lollicup USA’s Commitment to Eco-Friendly

Lollicup® USA, Inc. is helping their customers and distributors prepare for the impending plastic bans by offering alternative products. Some of the products include hinged containers, paper and plant based (PLA) plastic straws, utensils, food containers, cups, etc. Lollicup has had an eco-friendly line called Karat Earth™ for over ten years and they have been adding products to their existing line to meet the changing needs of their customers and the marketplace. 

CEO and Lollicup founder Alan Yu said, “I saw the need in the disposable food industry, and how these products could lessen our carbon foot print.  That is why we started producing products that were responsibly sourced and could be recycled or composted. With all of the plastic bans springing up, the industry is now ready for the line we have been carrying for almost a decade.”

Yu is referring to the more than one hundred twenty-six cities that have banned expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) across the nation in an effort to eliminate the ever growing amounts of waste.  The bans directly affect the foodservice industry because of the Styrofoam food containers, cups, and other items they use to serve customers daily. 

Styrofoam is only the beginning of the bans. The next items that will be affected are plastic straws and plastic utensils. So far, four cities have banned the straws, and Malibu has banned the plastic utensils. It is only a matter of time until other cities follow. This is due, in part, to the domino effect that is occurring over banning plastics and all the attention plastic straws are receiving on social media with campaigns such as the “Last Plastic Straw Movement” and the “No Straw Challenge.”

“The bans will continue and we are prepared and have been informing our distributors and customers about the products they can use that will serve their needs, comply with the bans, and most importantly be better for our environment,” said Yu.

Martinez Gets Enchantment

Sedona, Arizon’s Enchantment Resort appointed Jose Martinez Executive Chef. Set on 70 acres of panoramic natural terrain, Enchantment Resort is known for its fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, sophisticated menus, and award-winning wine lists.  Martinez discovered his love of cooking nearly two decades ago while leading the culinary vision and running the kitchen at his family’s celebrated seafood restaurant, the Crab House, in his native Puerto Rico.

Chef Martinez

At Enchantment Resort, Martinez will lend his distinctive point of view to Che Ah Chi, the resort’s signature modern American restaurant, Tii Gavo, a casual Southwestern eatery, and View at Che Ah Chi, which serves light fare and small plates set against unparalleled red rock views. He will also lend his expertise to the culinary programs at the world-renowned Mii amo destination spa and Seven Canyons Golf Club. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Jose to the Enchantment Resort family,” said Stan Kantowski, Managing Director of Enchantment Resort. “His drive, dedication, and appreciation of our region’s native ingredients will undoubtedly serve to elevate our culinary offerings, catering to the resort’s discerning clientele.”

Martinez most recently served as the Executive Chef at The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria hotel, where he oversaw the entire culinary operation of the iconic hotel, including the acclaimed Blue Room and Sazerac Bar. Prior to The Roosevelt, Martinez held chef positions at a variety of luxury hotels around the country, including The Broadmoor, the Arizona Biltmore, and the PGA National Resort and Spa. He is a graduate of both the Caribbean and Florida Culinary Institutes.

Waterbar and EPIC Steak Announce New Culinary Staff and Promotions

Waterbar and EPIC Steak, top photo, named four people to pivotal roles in both the food and beverage programs.  At Waterbar, Francisco Bazo was named beverage director, and Erica Land accepted a role as the restaurant’s new executive pastry chef.  At EPIC Steak, Jessica Penner has been promoted to executive pastry chef, and Valentina Moya has joined as beverage director and sommelier working alongside Wine Director Petra Polakovicova.  Opened in 2008, the restaurants have become treasured mainstays in the ever-changing culinary landscape of San Francisco.  In January 2018, Waterbar and EPIC Steak celebrated their 10th anniversary in the San Francisco restaurant scene. 

Francisco Bazo

“As Waterbar and EPIC Steak continue to lead the way in offering fresh, sustainable seafood, top-quality steak, and exceptional wine and spirits selections, I’m confident Francisco, Erica, Valentina and Jessica will greatly contribute to the success of both food and beverage programs,” said Pete Sittnick, managing partner at Waterbar and EPIC Steak.  “We look forward to utilizing their knowledge, expertise and innovation at both venues.”

As beverage director, Francisco Bazo brings more than 20 years of industry experience to Waterbar. Bazo was raised in Lima, Peru where his mother first introduced him to the culinary arts and nurtured his interest by teaching the importance of fresh ingredients, honoring the local bounty, and taking the time to make dishes from scratch.  He moved to San Francisco in 1997 and began his career at One Market as a dishwasher before quickly rising through the ranks to a role as bartender.  After five years, he then took on a managerial role in the beverage program at Lark Creek Restaurant in Walnut Creek before returning to One Market as bar manager.  In 2010, he accepted a role at Waterbar where he has served as an integral member of the beverage program.  He is also a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Erica Land joined the Waterbar team as executive pastry chef having previously held roles as bakery manager at Kara’s Cupcakes and as executive pastry chef at Stateside Treats LLC in Berkeley.  She also served as production manager and chocolate maker at San Francisco-based artisanal chocolate factory, Dandelion Chocolate, as well as pastry chef at La Folie and Lafitte in the San Francisco Bay Area and at Westside Tavern in Los Angeles.  She received her training at the renowned California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.  Land looks forward to leading Waterbar’s pastry program and collaborating with the existing culinary team.

photo by Matt Wron

At EPIC Steak, Jessica Penner now serves as executive pastry chef, bringing 15 years of experience to the role.  At a young age, Penner demonstrated a skill for baking, a beloved family pastime.  She attended San Francisco State University, earning a degree in Hospitality & Hotel Management while also completing an internship at W San Francisco where she realized her true passion for the art of pastry making.  She then trained under the tutelage of Chef Paul John Padua at the Majestic Yosemite Dining Room in the Ahwahnee Hotel before returning to San Francisco in 2014 to work under Terri Wu, who was then pastry chef at Farallon.  Later that year, Jessica accepted a role at EPIC Steak, under the direction of former Pastry Chef Sarah Principe, where she found where she belonged.  Penner set herself apart by putting a modern spin on traditional desserts.  She is excited to continue developing new techniques and finding new ways to express herself as EPIC Steak’s new pastry chef.

Valentina Moya joined EPIC Steak with more than 15 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, beginning her career as a sommelier and server at the famed Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur.  She later held positions at Pasta Moon in Half Moon Bay and Bacchus Management Group where she served as a sommelier for four years before accepting a role at Golden State Wine Company as an account sales representative.  Moya’s relationship with EPIC Steak began eight years ago when she joined the service team. After showing initiative and passion for wine, she was promoted to sommelier in 2016 and now assumes the responsibility for the entire spirits and beer program at EPIC Steak.

Southern Glazer’s Funds Alcohol Safety Initiative 

The Youth Alcohol Awareness and Education Foundation, Inc.—established by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits to fund programs that support alcohol safety and underage drinking prevention—today announced that 26 Miami-Dade and Broward high schools have implemented the EVERFI’s AlcoholEdu® for High School online curriculum. The alcohol safety education initiative, funded by the Foundation in partnership with Step Up For Students, has now positively impacted more than 1,500 students in South Florida since the kickoff of the program in 2017.

AlcoholEdu® for High School is a 1.5 hour, interactive course that engages students with science-based alcohol education and interactive exercises, providing an individualized experience that changes perceptions, motivates behavior change and supports healthier decisions regarding alcohol. EVERFI’s AlcoholEdu® for High School is made available to public and private schools in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties for free, with the support of grants from The Youth Alcohol Awareness and Education Foundation, Inc.

“April is Alcohol Awareness Month and what better time to recognize the importance of making this important content available to high school students in our community,” commented, Terry Jove, Charitable Director, Southern Glazer’s. “We are thrilled that so many teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors have implemented this program and thank them for their support of our efforts to prevent underage drinking and empower young people to make healthier choices about alcohol. Congratulations to all of the schools that have implemented the AlcoholEdu® for High School program in the 2017/2018 school year.”

High school students who complete the course have demonstrated a meaningful knowledge gain and report that the course prepared them to: avoid riding in a vehicle driven by someone who’s been drinking; stop a friend from driving drunk; establish a plan ahead of time to make responsible decisions; resist social pressure to drink alcohol, and identify when someone has consumed too much alcohol. Teachers, guidance counselors, and school administrators in Miami-Dade and Broward counties who are interested in implementing this program for the 2018/2019 school year should contact Emily Moloney at

“Ensuring that every single secondary school addresses this issue is critical,” said Louis Lazo, Health Curriculum Support Specialist for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. “Funding is extremely important and sponsorships like the one provided by the Youth Alcohol Awareness and Education Foundation and Step Up For Students can facilitate school districts with financial assistance needed by so many public educational entities.”

Save the Peels

When is the last time you ate a banana peel? If you’re thinking that’s just for monkeys, think again. In the U.S. alone, we eat more than 3.2 billion pounds of bananas each year – that’s 304 bananas every second – and the discarded peels add an extra 780 million pounds to our landfills. All of this waste wreaks havoc on our health and environment. Decomposing produce is one of the leading causes of harmful methane gas emissions, and we miss huge health and culinary benefits by tossing them away.


That’s why eatCleaner® announced the launch of the “Save The Peels” challenge to help redirect over 18 million pounds of food waste while showcasing the many ways peels can enhance your health and add mega flavor to any meal. eatCleaner® inventor, founder, and CEO of Grow Green Industries, INC., “The Fit Foodie” Chef Mareya Ibrahim, aims to shift America’s thinking by raising awareness around smarter, cleaner eating habits.

The first step, however, is to ensure that all peels are properly cleaned with a produce wash like eatCleaner® to remove agricultural sprays, waxes, chemicals and debris that can carry harmful bacteria. “We created a full, patented line that allows you to spray, soak or wipe your fresh fruit and vegetables so you can take advantage of eating the whole produce item safely – peels and all,” Ibrahim explains.

April is Earth Month, making this the perfect time to focus on eco-friendly health solutions – which happen to be Ibrahim’s specialty: “We are going to provide people with a whole myriad of ways to consume peels for the benefit of their health and the planet.”

Here are a few creative ways that Ibrahim consumes fruit and veggie peels:

  • Use a ripe, clean peel in a smoothie, banana bread or muffin recipe for enhanced fiber, amino acid, and antioxidant benefits. The riper the peel, the sweeter the product – and less added sugar needed;
  • Add peels to your juicer and give fresh-pressed, raw juices a big nutrient and enzyme boost;
  • Infuse grated orange, lemon, and grapefruit zest into olive oil for use in salad dressings and to instantly boost flavor and antioxidant power of cooked veggies, fish and chicken.

Text SAVETHEPEELS to 22828 or visit

Cayson’s Kramer Collection

Cayson launched The Kramer Collection, a design collaboration with Michael Kramer, executive chef and partner at Jianna, a modern Italian restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina.

Kramer apron

Chef Kramer approached Cayson President Karie La Mountain in 2017 with some functional, practical, yet revolutionary apron design ideas.  Proudly handmade in the USA, The Kramer Collection is available in navy 10-ounce canvas with a reinforced panel, a unique, angled, custom double pen pocket on the bib with a natural webbing tweezer holder, and one inch wide cotton webbing adjustable neck and waist ties.  The collection is offered in a Bib apron at $46, the Bistro at $33, and the Short Waist at $23.

“Over the last few months the designs have come to life, and we are honored to present The Kramer Collection, “said La Mountain. “Chef Kramer’s meticulous details and keen sense of garment usability make this collection a standout.”

The collection can be purchased without minimums as a single apron purchase or as an entire front-of-house or back-of-house apron program.  In partnership with Southern Foodways Alliance on behalf of Chef Michael Kramer, Cayson will donate five percent of all the Kramer Collection sale proceeds to the program.

The introduction of The Kramer Collection aligns with Cayson’s goal to meet the growing demand for new categories, including fashion-forward finishes like custom leather harnessing, vests and French Server Jackets, as well as the uptick in requests for canvas styles.  Catering to the need for unique wears and signature style, Cayson also offers custom embroidery and monogramming for all designs. 

Chef Elevado Named Chief Culinary Officer for Prep Kitchen
The team behind Prep Kitchen, San Diego’s locally driven, multi-location restaurant, elevates their distinctive culinary experience with the appointment of Chef Joseph Elevado as Chief Culinary Officer. In his new role, Chef Elevado will oversee the entire Prep Kitchen culinary team at the brand’s four locations, curate signature menu items, and provide cohesive vision and direction for the restaurants dining experience.
Chef Elevado

“We will be creating dishes that complement the restaurants’ approachable style, while integrating fun, innovative techniques and flavors,” explained Chef Elevado.

Chef Elevado was a key creator as an Executive Chef in the Nobu Empire under Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, first in New York City and later in Las Vegas. He has earned multiple Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond and Mobil Four and Five Star accolades in his culinary career. Chef Elevado has also been the Executive Chef at the award winning Social House in Las Vegas, L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, and most recently the highly lauded Andrea’s Restaurant at Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas.  

IAM Hospitality purchased the three existing Prep Kitchens in January 2018 and announced a fourth location in San Marcos, California, opening in April 2018. IAM Hospitality owners, David and Deborah Krause are committed to bringing a fresh point of view to the brand through menu updates under Chef Elevado’s close guidance, modernized interior design, and continued expansion.

Bates-Walsh Named Executive Chef for The Copper Grouse

The Copper Grouse, a comfort-driven tavern located in the Kimpton Taconic Hotel, has appointed Michael Bates-Walsh as its new executive chef. Chef Michael will continue to expand the menu with local flair at the contemporary, yet elegant Vermont restaurant.

Michael Bates-Walsh


Drawing on his passion for local cuisine, Chef Bates-Walsh specializes in creating seasonal menus based on regional, locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients and enjoys catering those menus to specific dietary needs. Chef Michael will ensure there’s a balanced flow in each menu that catches the attention of many tastes and pulls inspiration from seasonal ingredients and current culinary trends.

Alongside General Manager Seth Dunne, he will oversee the signature restaurant, which celebrates the bounty of Vermont’s four seasons, in addition to room service and events held throughout the hotel’s various meetings and banquet facilities.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Michael to our team,” said Seth Dunne, General Manager of The Copper Grouse. “His experience and dedication working with local ingredients is second to none. We know he will be instrumental in helping us elevate the hotel’s dining experience, both by expanding our core business and bringing in new visitors and locals.”

A Certified Executive Chef, Chef Bates-Walsh began his culinary career in high school, making bagels before his classes and working other restaurant jobs. He originally aspired to be a high school history teacher, but once he got a taste of the culinary world, he was hooked. He fell in love with the fast-paced environment and team mentality. Drawing from his passion for hospitality, his grandmother taught him about the excitement of entertaining.

Over the years, he worked his way through the ranks, gaining exposure at a variety of different restaurants, inns, and resorts – broadening his skills and qualifications at each location. He joins the Copper Grouse from the Beauport Hotel in Gloucester, MA, which he helped open in 2016. Prior to that role, he was the Executive Chef at the Cohasset Harbor Resort in Cohasset, MA and spent time in Portland, ME, where he opened the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel. Earlier in his career, Chef Bates-Walsh spent five years at The Equinox, a Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa in Manchester.

“I’m excited to return to the quintessential town of Manchester and experiment with all of the fresh ingredients Vermont has to offer,” says Chef Michael. “I’m thrilled to bring my experiences throughout New England to the Copper Grouse’s kitchen in order to create a true Vermont culinary experience.”

The Copper Grouse features an exhibition-style kitchen, thoughtful touches like a wrap-around porch, and a diverse blend of updated yet unpretentious classics sourced from local farms.

GemX™ IntelliFresh® Coffee Brewing System

That is until now, with the latest advancement from the Wilbur Curtis Company: the GemX™ IntelliFresh® Coffee Brewing System with FreshTrac®

GemX IntelliFresh Coffee Brewer with FreshTrac

Sitting atop a ineage stretching back almost 40 years to the introduction of their famed Gemini® Satellite Brewing System, the GemX brewer represents the new pinnacle of Curtis innovation, officials said. It combines “brains” and brilliant design elements to power a superior coffee program, helping C-stores, hotels, restaurants, roasters and specialty coffee houses maximize coffee freshness, reduce labor and deliver a better customer experience. The FreshTrac™ technology takes the guesswork out of serving fresh coffee while also streamlining labor.  It replaces often distracting audible alarms and mechanical timers with a simple, intuitive and customizable system of three LEDs that glow and flash, letting operators track coffee freshness from across the room.

Because over- or underheating can kill coffee flavor, GemX is also engineered with a Curtis’ exclusive IntelliFresh™ technology. A “gentle” heating system that keeps coffee at its ideal temperature regardless of the volume in the satellite.  IntelliFresh delivers digitally controlled pulses of heat, and features encapsulated “brains” inside each satellite with four sensor points to monitor brew level and status.  What’s more, GemX satellites on remote stands carry the same freshness “intelligence” as when on the brewer. 

Operators can choose from two proven Curtis technologies:  G3 GemX with its universal control module and easy-to-read, true-green LED display; or G4 GemX with its large 4.3-inch icon-driven interface, onscreen instructions for fast, intuitive training and real-time feedback on the brewing process, and a USB port that lets operators easily transfer recipes from store to store.

EKTOS Named Vendor Partner of the Year

EKTOS®, the energy management provider catering exclusively to restaurants, has been honored by Red Lobster®, the world’s largest seafood restaurant company, as Vendor Partner of the Year for 2018. Red Lobster determines its Vendor Partner of the Year through an internal selection process. The facilities team nominates vendors that help the restaurant chain provide world-class facilities support to customers. Nominees are then voted on by the department to decide the winner.

EKTOS members receive Vendor Partner of the Year Award from Red Lobster during the RFMA Annual Conference (L to R): Ali Kazemian; Larry Barich; Karli Barich; Delane Bartoo; Rustin Barich

EKTOS was recognized for helping the restaurant chain manage energy consumption and performance of its heating, ventilation and air conditioning units (HVACs) and water heaters. Since 2012, nearly 150 Red Lobster locations have implemented EKTOS Evia solution to monitor equipment and maximize cost savings.

“Our entire EKTOS team is grateful to be selected for such a prestigious award,” said Larry Barich, President. “Red Lobster is a great partner – we enjoy collaborating with the company’s outstanding facilities team toward energy saving solutions that help support their business and serve their customers.”

Jack McNertney, VP Real Estate and Facilities for Red Lobster, commented, “EKTOS customer service is truly remarkable and their reporting metrics enable us to address issues before they become major problems.” He continued, “Recently, they assumed project management of installs and did so seamlessly. They not only help drive energy costs lower, they provide reporting that is beneficial to our system. We are proud to partner with such value-adding vendors.”

First Guard Coatings Announces Territory Expansion For Slip and Fall Prevention Services

First Guard Coatings is growing into multiple new territories, representing a significant footprint expansion for the company.  First Guard’s super grip non slip eco-friendly floor coating has been embraced by the restaurant industry and the industrial community as a highly effective way to reduce slip and fall accidents due to wet surfaces.

“We started this Company in Fort Worth, Texas where we grew our operations and perfected our product and service.  We then grew to cover all of Texas, and rapidly added New Orleans, the Phoenix area and Las Vegas to our service areas.  Today we are so pleased to announce that we are expanding our slip and fall prevention solutions to Atlanta, Orlando, and South Florida including West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami,” said Pat Forbes, Founder of First Guard Coatings.   

According to the National Safety Council approximately 25,000 people a day are victims to slip and fall accidents with claims related to these accidents amounting to over $30 Billion per annum.  In fact, according to the National Floor Safety Institute, America’s supermarkets spend over $450 Million per year defending slip and fall claims.  “At First Guard our number one mission is safety.  Slip and fall is always on the mind of our restaurant group clients.  It is an ever-present risk and a problem for which we strive each day to be a part of the solution.  As our restaurant industry partners can attest, our product works,” Forbes added. 

First Guard Coatings is a proprietary eco-friendly floor coating that applies clear, without any harmful fumes or chemicals.  The application of First Guard can increase the slip coefficient of a wide array of surfaces including tile, concrete and wood, which may significantly decrease slip and fall incidents.

TGI Fridays’ Snack Line Grows

The TGI Fridays® snack line expanded its Party Bites and Potato Skin product lines.

The additional products, created by Inventure Foods, Inc., include Chipotle Cheese and Cheddar Bacon Party Bites and Sriracha Ranch Potato Skins.

“Innovation in indulgent snacking continues to be our number one goal,” said Steve Sklar, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Inventure Foods. “We have the unique opportunity of being able to offer ultimate snackers the trendy flavors they crave through our TGI Fridays product lines. We are able to get creative and pack new varieties with flavors that are quickly becoming favorites and staples in consumer’s kitchens, while also providing a tasty snack perfect for any party.”

Largely inspired by original Friday dishes, the new varieties feature delicious twists on the classics:

  • Chipotle Cheese Party Bites Full of cheesy goodness with just the right amount of chipotle spice to give consumers a kick of heat, these extruded bites are perfect for on-the-go snacking.
  • Cheddar Bacon Party BitesFeaturing two of consumer’s favorite things – cheese and bacon – this savory extruded snack is packed with traditional favorites in a non-traditional bite-sized form.
  • Sriracha Ranch Potato SkinsIs it getting warm in here or is it just us? Featuring the wildly popular flavor, Sriracha, with cool ranch, this snack is sure to be a fan favorite. Each spicy bite makes these snacks make even harder to put down.

Inventure Foods first introduced the licensed TGI Fridays® snack line more than 17 years ago.

ZoomEssence Adds to Team

ZoomEssence, Inc. (Zoom) welcomes Jeff Stopa to its creative and applications team and Duncan Fader joins its commercial group. Stopa, a Certified Research Chef®, will lead Zoom’s culinary innovation efforts to showcase the superior performance of DriZoom® powder flavors in bakery, savory, snack and foodservice applications. As vice president of strategic accounts, Fader will continue the expansion of Zoom’s commercial efforts to the foodservice, snacks, bakery and confectionary markets. These key additions demonstrate Zoom’s commitment to culinary innovation using DriZoom powder flavors.

Jeff Stopa, ZoomEssence Research Chef, CRC®

Stopa joins Zoom from Wild Flavors, where he was a senior scientist and research chef focusing on the optimization of flavor and color applications in sweet and savory finished products. A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Stopa brings nearly three decades of industry experience to his role.

“Jeff’s practical understanding of wholesale bakery operations, product development in foodservice and prepared foods adds a valuable skillset to Zoom’s technical team enhancing our capabilities to deliver consumer preferred DriZoom powder flavors,” commented Robert Corbett, Zoom’s CEO.

Duncan Fader, ZoomEssence VP, Strategic Accounts

Most recently, Fader’s responsibility as vice president of sales at Coffee Flour included spearheading the acquisition of distributors and sales partners for a new sustainable coffee flour product. Fader previously was regional sales manager at Matsutani America where he was instrumental in expanding the sales of specialty food ingredients, with particular emphasis on foodservice accounts. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of Prince Edward Island and has over 10 years of experience in marketing and sales of products to the food and beverage industries.

“Duncan’s entrepreneurial experience in developing new customers as well as managing sales at existing key accounts will be extremely beneficial as Zoom expands its efforts into new market segments. We are excited to have him as part of our commercial team,” Corbett explained.

ZoomEssence, Inc. develops custom flavors for leading food and beverage brands.

Spoon Guru Debuts

Sixty-four percent of the world’s population now excludes foodstuffs from their diet. This means consumers are seeking the most trusted and accurate route to find food and recipes, and retailers are also trying to meet the growing demand for a tailored shopping experience. Cue Spoon Guru – a UK based technology startup that champions consumer needs – which is launching in the US with its free app and exclusive TAGSTM technology, providing a more bespoke approach to help that 64 percentof consumers find food safely and easily.

An advisory panel of world-leading health and nutrition experts work with Spoon Guru to ensure the latest scientific knowledge is integrated into the technology’s DNA. This includes two US-based experts: Dr. Marc E. Rothenberg MD, PhD, Director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology and Director of the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders, and Dr. Carina Venter (PhD, RD Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine).

Available via iTunes and Google Play, users of the app create a profile by selecting from 120+ dietary tags – offering the broadest coverage of dietary profiles across the market – to establish what intolerances they have (gluten, eggs, nuts etc.), and/or lifestyle diet categories they follow (vegan, low carb, low sugar etc.).

Using a unique combination of AI, machine learning, nutritionist expertise and consumer insights, the savvy search engine delivers hundreds of thousands of food products relevant to the individual, along with 1000s of tailored recipes. When shopping, the app’s powerful barcode scanner identifies what the consumer can eat, making accurate grocery shopping enjoyable instead of a chore.

Spoon Guru TAGSTM – which was launched in 2017 – instantly searches thousands of food products relevant to individual customers who are shopping online.

Spoon Guru TAGSTM features 180+ dietary tags and works with the premise that there is zero margin for error in its process. Spoon Guru’s algorithms analyse 14 billion data tags daily to help people find food that perfectly matches their unique requirements. The Spoon Guru database so far includes over 20,000 recipes and over 7,600 different retailers and manufacturers, including Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh, Wegmans and Safeway.