The Next Generation of Hospitality and K-FISH

This TGIF version of MRM’s Daily Bite has news from The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and Oracle Hospitality, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, K-FISH,  San Antonio’s culinary heritage and Margaritaville.

Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at 

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Innovative Concepts in the Future of Hospitality

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and Oracle Hospitality present “A Look Inside the National ProStart Invitational.” The report showcases the innovative restaurant and culinary concepts developed by high school students who are enrolled in ProStart®, a two-year career and technical education program in secondary schools nationwide that teaches culinary arts and restaurant management skills and fundamentals.

“Oracle Hospitality is extremely proud to be supporting the 2017 National ProStart Invitational – it gives the students a life-changing opportunity to find a career in this exciting industry of ours, while simultaneously helping our customers, restaurant operators, in finding new talent for them to recruit,” said Brett R. Smith, Senior Director, Food and Beverage Solutions Management, Oracle Hospitality. “This report offers us a glimpse into the creative innovative minds of the next generation foodservice industry.”

Nearly 400 students who participated in this year’s National ProStart Invitational presented concepts to a panel of industry judges. Based on qualitative data collected from the students’ submitted materials, the NRAEF tracked methods, ingredients used, restaurant concepts and students inclusion of technology and innovation to determine the core themes of the competition and ultimately the report findings.

This year’s report unveils themes of sustainability, philanthropy and efficiency. It also showcases innovation, not only with food ingredients and various culinary concepts, but students’ desire to use technology to enhance the food service experience overall.

“Once again, we’re proud to partner with Oracle to highlight insights from students at our National ProStart Invitational,” said Rob Gifford, Executive Vice President, NRAEF. “The report showcases how much students learn from ProStart, and the students’ dedication to coming up with new and creative concepts and possible trends in the restaurant and foodservice industry.”

Report highlights include:

Students incorporated innovative technology into their restaurant concepts:

  • Students used restaurant floor planning software to design a layout of their concepts, designed websites as a marketing technique, created social media campaigns, ideated smartphone applications, and allowed ordering through tablets
  • Teams employed different point-of-sale systems, allowing customers to place orders through tablets, kiosks, or mobile applications
  • The use of technology was not simply limited to the customer and employee experiences – teams leveraged solar panels, biogas generator, and geothermal energy to sustain restaurant operations

Students showcased their culinary skills through new techniques:

  • Seafood was the overwhelming favorite ingredient used for appetizers
  • Standout ingredients included wakame seaweed, quail eggs and game meats
  • Teams exercised pickling techniques across starters, entrees and desserts – from chicken wings to lemon curd
  • Required to showcase certain knife skills, students chose chiffonade, julienne, small dice, brunoise and rondelle

Students promoted sustainability, philanthropy and efficiency across concepts:

  • Concepts centered on locally-sourced, health-conscious and fusion cuisine; more than half of the menus featured gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options
  • Concepts presented were classified as either casual dining, quick casual/fast casual or quick service, which illustrated a critical trend in the industry – a shift away from traditional, sit-down, in-restaurant dining
  • Nearly 50 percent of management teams’ concepts promoted community engagement and contained a philanthropic component, such as a culinary internship for at-risk youth, a book donation drop, a pay-it-forward giving model, and a weekly fundraising night for local non-profits
  • Concepts also incorporated unique food delivery services at popular on-the-go venues, such as the airport or gym, to effectively reach target audiences

Reaching nearly 140,000 students annually, ProStart is offered in more than 1,800 high schools and career and technical education centers in all states, Guam and Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and the Pacific. For more information on the ProStart program, visit

The Tour de Burrito

Moe’s Southwest Grill®  is letting people in the inner circle get to see what they do in every restaurant, every day. They’re inviting a select number of fans on the Tour de Burrito – a traveling restaurant that seats groups of 10 at a time for a one-on-one experience with the Moe’s culinary team.

Fans will customize the freshest burrito or bowl they’ve been craving and try never-before-tasted seasonal salsas that bring the heat. From slicing and dicing to spicing – this is a special experience to see how our fresh ingredients are made in-house at Moe’s. Each day, roadies cook all-natural proteins on the grill and chop nearly 25,000 pounds of tomatoes, 10,000 pounds of onions, and almost 3,000 pounds of jalapenos and cilantro across our 700 restaurants!. To showcase the daily preparation of these fresh ingredients, they are allowing our fans to see, touch, smell and taste what goes into making their Moe’s favorites.

“At Moe’s, we take pride in serving the freshest ingredients made in-house at each of our restaurants across the country including seasonal salsas, roasted corn pico and handcrafted guac,” said Bruce Schroder, President of Moe’s Southwest Grill®. “In true Moe’s style, the Tour de Burrito is an exciting opportunity to boldly show our fans a never-before-seen view into our kitchen and how we craft the delicious menu items they love.”

Each day, our roadies cook all-natural proteins on the grill and chop nearly 25,000 pounds of tomatoes, 10,000 pounds of onions, and almost 3,000 pounds of jalapenos and cilantro across our 700 restaurants! To showcase the daily preparation of these fresh ingredients, we’re allowing our fans to see, touch, smell and taste what goes into making their Moe’s favorites.

Follow the Tour de Burrito journey on social media via #madeatmoes.

Introducing K-FISH to Global Market

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (Minister: Kim Young-choon) of the Republic of Korea announced the global launch of K·FISH, Korean fishery exports national brand. This exclusive introduction to the global market will be held on November 9 in Los Angeles.

In an effort to promote the quality of products from the Korean sea, the Ministry has developed K·FISH, a globally competitive premium seafood brand. K·FISH is the first government-certified fishery exports national brand of premium marine products selected based on strict management regulations, meticulous quality control, and systemic evaluation standards. The K·FISH logo was created by modifying the Taegeuk symbol that stands for Korea, in which the three primary colors represent the clean ocean (blue), good texture(yellow) and quality control (red), respectively.

At present, 11 categories are available: Fresh Flatfish, abalone(fresh and processed), Gim/ laver(dry and seasoned), sea cucumber(dry), oyster(frozen), red snow crab, fish cake(steamed, grilled, fried and fish meat sausage), squid(seasoned), conger(fillet), tuna(canned and pouched), Miyok/sea mustard(dry). The K·FISH trademark is registered as of September, in 36 countries including the U.S., EU, Japan, and China. The trademark application process is currently in review in 16 countries including Russia and Vietnam.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries plans to expand the export of K·FISH gradually, starting with the U.S., a key fishery trade partner, then to Asian countries including China and finally moving on to Europe, South America, and the Middle East in 2018.

A ministry official said, “K·FISH represents seafood produced from the seas of the Republic of Korea, clean and clear enough for local Haenyeo to collect seafood by diving without any special diving gear. He added, “The launch of K·FISH in the U.S. market is expected to help the American consumers to recognize Korean seafood products as premium food items that are clean, safe, and reliable.”

Haenyeo are traditional Korean female divers who dive for fish and other seafood without the use of oxygen tanks. They maintain the environment by ‘staying underwater as long as they can hold breath and collecting as much as the sea gives’ and also avoid harvesting seafood during the breeding season. The value of the culture of Jeju Haenyeo has been recognized around the world by its official entry in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2016.

San Antonio Named Creative City of Gastronomy

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated San Antonio, top photo, a Creative City of Gastronomy, making the city part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). San Antonio is only the second city in the U.S. to earn this distinction, and the first in Texas.

San Antonio’s culinary heritage is significant for its confluence of many world cultures such as Mexican, Spanish, German and French, as well its geology and geography.

Drawn to San Antonio’s river running between the coastal plains and hill country, for 13,000 years indigenous people foraged roots, harvested pecans and hunted game. Trails and river ways brought trade with other groups who introduced gulf coast game. In the 1700s, Spanish colonists and Canary Islanders introduced new traditions and tastes. Other new flavors, spices and ingredients from Europe, Asia and Africa came with German and other European settlers in the 1800s.

Today the city’s culinary scene has since blossomed in its richness, with chefs honoring and celebrating its culinary heritage through preservation and innovation. Beyond the famous River Walk and historic walls of The Alamo, San Antonio’s culinary scene has historically been firmed planted in blends of Tex-Mex, but has now progressed to “Tex-Next.”

The third campus of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA) is located in San Antonio. Dedicated to the foundations of culinary instruction as well as specializations in Latin cuisine, this campus takes advantage of San Antonio’s cultural influences and access to indigenous ingredients. The CIA campus is located at Pearl, a 22-acre indie food haven in a repurposed German brewery built in 1883. With 18 concepts, including a robust weekend farmers market and the city’s first food hall, Pearl is a destination onto itself.

UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network promotes international cooperation and encourages the sharing of experiences and resources to promote local development through culture and creativity. The local food movement and enthusiasm for sustainable programs spurred the dramatic evolution of San Antonio’s culinary landscape and inspired a comprehensive effort to apply for the UNESCO designation in June 2017.

“This designation is a great honor for San Antonio,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “As a Creative City of Gastronomy, we will seek to strengthen and expand international connections, share our culinary arts and heritage globally and introduce San Antonio as an international culinary destination. We look forward to actively participating in the Network, which is aligned with our dedication to sustainable and equitable urban planning.”

“Travelers are increasingly seeking a destination with a robust culinary scene as a way to really get to know the heart of a city,” said Casandra Matej, President & CEO of Visit San Antonio. “The UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy designation confirms what millions of visitors have known all along—San Antonio’s cuisine is truly unique and authentic to our region.”

“One of San Antonio’s most important identities comes from its deep culinary traditions which began with the innovative agricultural techniques of the Native American peoples who lived here for thousands of years,” said Richard Perez, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO. “These have evolved and mixed with many others to create a unique and burgeoning food scene. The San Antonio Chamber is honored to have been part of the UNESCO Creative City application process, and we are eager to learn from and share information with other Creative Cities on a global level to enhance the culinary arts.”  

“This is an exciting time for the culinary arts in San Antonio—the designation reinforces the creativity and hard work of every individual who participates in and supports the local culinary community and the philanthropy of so many groups, like the Chef Cooperatives and our chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier,” Chef Johnny Hernandez of Grupo La Gloriasaid. “From showcasing our culinary heritage to sharing local innovations and leading the way with San Antonio’s brand of culinary diplomacy, the opportunities afforded us as a City of Gastronomy are all reasons for San Antonio to celebrate today.”

The UCCN covers seven thematic areas: Craft and Folk Arts, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music. UNESCO announced this week that 64 cities have joined the Creative Cities Network. The UCCN is now comprised of a total of 180 cities from 72 countries.

Margaritaville’s First Cookbook

St. Martin’s Press and Margaritaville Holdings announced the publication of MARGARITAVILLE: The Cookbook: Relaxed Recipes for a Taste of Paradise, the first cookbook for the global lifestyle brand. Co-authored by Margaritaville concept chef Carlo Sernaglia and food writer Julia Turschen, the book features dishes that keep Margaritaville fans coming back for more translated into easy-to-prepare, do-it-yourself recipes. The book will be available in hardcover and e-book versions beginning May 1, 2018.

 “Our team is thrilled to partner with Margaritaville, a fun and authentic lifestyle brand that truly is synonymous with paradise,” said Jennifer Enderlin, Executive Vice President and Publisher of St. Martin’s Press. “This first-of-its-kind cookbook will provide a unique and entertaining way for readers to enjoy the flavors and stories of Margaritaville in the comfort of their homes.”

From breakfast recipes that set a laid-back pace for the day ahead to dinner favorites like Margaritaville’s signature Cheeseburger in Paradise® and Seared Grouper with Mango Salsa, to side dishes like Lobster Hash Browns with Jalapeno Cheese and desserts such as Baked Florida, MARGARITAVILLE: The Cookbook features an array of appetizers, soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, main dishes, sides, and dessert recipes fit for any taste at any latitude and time of day. And, because it’s always 5 o’Clock Somewhere, the cookbook is complete with recipes for the perfect cocktail, including Jimmy’s Perfect Margarita, Paradise Palomas and more.

With more than 60 food and beverage locations worldwide – and concepts including Margaritaville restaurant, 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill, LandShark Bar & Grill and award-winning JWB Prime Steak & Seafood – Margaritaville celebrates the flavors of island life and provides a taste of paradise.

“Our goal with this cookbook is to bring something fresh to readers – not just fresh ingredients, but a fresh approach to cooking at home, at the beach or on a boat with friends and family,” said Sernaglia.  “We worked hard to provide simple, step-by-step instructions to recreate some of Margaritaville’s signature recipes at home or wherever your adventures take you, along with new dishes that create the feeling of a tropical escape.”