“You are starting a magazine for the service industry … Why?” It was funny how often we came across with this sentiment over the last year. If not stated directly then implied. But while it is true that there are literally hundreds of service industry magazines out there, our design editor Elliot and I saw a niche … if you can call it that. Because it seems the only group left out of these publications was everyone.
BAR would also like to thank the following individuals: Trevor Hewitt - Pizza Rock Shannon Mengel & John Fogal the The Las Vegas Rescue Mission Jim Kleiss - Tommy Rocker’s Jolene Mannina - Back of the House Brawl Jason Adimoolah - The D Jason Hallikainen, John Wood & Chaz Mulkey - Syndicate MMA Scottie Godino & Jason Saylor at Born And Raised Greg Bird - LA & SF Specialty Chef Shirley Chung Tom Portanova - Sin City Dogs Laurie Dorough - The Gold Spike Justin Meigs - Fireball Ryan Magarian - Aviation Gin
Sure there are dozens of monthlies for sommeliers, foodies, mixologists and all the rest, but what about the 99% of industry people who do not fall into one of these categories? I am referring to the everyday employees, operators and patrons who make this industry go. This is for them, and this is for you … all of you. Because while our content is confined to the industry our readers are not, and I challenge anyone to find someone that does not enjoy bars and restaurants in some capacity. And to all of you who are members of the niche categories listed above, remember that while every member of the service industry is not a sommelier, every sommelier is a member of the service industry. So enjoy, thanks for reading and please feel free to help us grow by sharing. Cheers,
Issue 001 How Did We Live Without It: The D-Capitator There is no reason not to use the first ever hand strap bottle opener The Best Bar in the World: The Barage Joe Brooke explains why the best bar is the one your friends are in Fancy Bartender Corner: Raul Mendoza Because life is too short to drink vodka & soda The Drunk Tank: Hum Spirit A spotlight on the cause and cure of all life’s problems with mixologist Adam Seger Uniform Check: Barbara Bell Making sure everyone is properly dressed for work with the uniform designer of Hakkasan Las Vegas Getting to Know Your Pizza Maker The “let’s talk about anything besides work” interview with International Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani What?! What people are saying in and about the industry Something Different ... Venues attempting to prove there is such a thing as an original thought Your Restaurant at Home: Deb Perelman Bringing a little professional grade avant-garde to your kitchen World Food Champion An explanation of the phenomenon that is the World Food Championships with host Ben Vaughn Scotch with Rosemary Rosemary Gallagher of the Scotch Whisky Association teaches us everything we thought we already knew about Scotch The Jedi Bartender Tobin Ellis explains what does (and does not) constitute the title of “Jedi” behind the stick Inside the Operator’s Studio: Phil Siudak 3 rules for dealing with employees, by the GM of Chicago’s top steakhouse Trends on the Table The Cuisinerd, Kristin Guy, takes us through 5 designer place-setting fads served up with style
How Did We Live Without It?
THERE IS NO REASON NOT TO USE THE FIRST EVER HAND STRAP BOTTLE OPENER
he D-Capitator was conceived when creator Darryl Phelps noticed a local bartender repeatedly searching for their bar key during a shift. That moment ignited two years of tests and prototypes, culminating in the first ever hand strap bottle opener.
he product is as simple as it is useful, with the ergonomic bands affixing a lever directly to the userâ€™s palm. The result is a bottle opener that bartenders can literally keep onhand while carrying out all other essential functions (pouring, cash handling, etc).
ngineered for performance, bottle caps need only be slightly hooked in order to break their seal, requiring no more than a pound of pressure. The result is faster opening by a 3:1 ratio. Not to mention the time and money saved by never again losing or misplacing your bar key.
eighing less than an ounce The D-Capitator becomes unnoticeable when worn. And with the construction combining die-cast aluminum with polyester webbing that is both antimicrobial and mildew resistant - your health inspector will like it too.
The Best Bar In The World: The Barage
Joe Brooke explains why the best bar is the one your friends are in.
here are lots of homes bars, few if any boast a collection of over 100 rare bottles and can be credited with some of the best cocktails on the west coast. Then again, few are owned by Joe Brooke. One of the top mixologists in the country, Joe holds a list of accolades that includes winner of NBC’s On The Rocks, LA’s Best Bartender 2011 and regular expert on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue.
His “Barage” began with a simple dream shared by most if not all bartenders, to have a bar in his house. A place to entertain, train and quite frankly “get up to no good.” Unfortunately, living in some of the finest shoeboxes of Manhattan and Hollywood for most of the past decade, he could never manage more than a bar / kitchen counter / dinner table, a situation in which it became increasingly difficult to house his ever expanding liquor collection. It wasn’t until he exchanged his apartment for a house in Mid City that the possibility of fulfilling this dream
became a reality. With a separate garage that was used as a gym by the previous owner, a home bar was now not only an option … but practically an obligation, as this “venue” could not only exist, but do so without completely compromising the sanctity of his home. This was of course tremendously appealing to Joe’s wife Jennifer. Not the bar so much as getting the bar and its unruly guests (and manager) out of the house during operation. Taking cues from the craftsman style of the home, which was built in 1914, Joe sourced mahogany and red oak for both the bar and wainscoting. He also rewired the entire space, a process that took a little over a year. The culmination was a unique room that is not only perfect for entertaining, but pursuing his own mixology efforts and training his many pupils, effectively serving as a home office. While not the highest profile venue in Los Angeles, an argument could be made that it is the most exclusive. Good luck getting on this guest list. . .
Watch Joe make this Rye Manhattan on instagram @fortheindustry.
Photos by Elliot Glass
SIDEBAR THE RANT Customers who ask for diet tonic. No bar or restaurant in existence caries diet tonic water. Not even sure that is an actual product. And to save you the trouble, we also donâ€™t have root beer, apple juice or diet Dr. Pepper.
Fancy Bartender Corner
If you want an intro to rye whiskey and a few other classic liqueurs, but aren’t sure how to go about it, try “The Pledge” created by deathtosourmix.com founder Raul Mendoza:
.5 oz Averna Amaro .5 oz Yellow Chartreuse 1.5 oz Bulleit Rye 2 dashes of Angostura Lemon peel garnish (squeeze the oils onto the cocktail then dip it in)
For the full recipe check out: http://www.deathtosourmix.com/the-pledge/
the Drunk Tank A SPOTLIGHT ON THE CAUSE AND CURE OF ALL LIFE’S PROBLEMS with mixologist Adam Seger
Hum Botanical Spirit
Spotlight Hum Botanical Spirit
mixologist’s staple. Inspired by the French Caribbean and modeled after the great Amaros of Italy, creators Adam Seger and Joe McCanta use a cold tea maceration to infuse fair trade hibiscus, organic ginger root, green cardamom and kaffir lime into a hand crafted pot still rum. The result is both balanced and incredibly unique. At 35% ABV this sturdy liqueur is truly in a class of its own in terms of versatility. One of the few spirits which can be drunk straight, blended with literally any spirit and even supplement more delicate ingredients such as tea and white wine. Deemed a “mixologist’s staple” by the Beverage Testing Institute, Hum is also one of the few products which is left unfiltered, maintaining the full flavors and properties of the botanicals.
THE MAGENTA MULE Hum and homemade ginger beer topped with cucumber, pomegranate seeds, Thai basil and edible flowers. Custom made and served by Adam Seger for the wrap party of Oprah’s 25th Anniversary celebration.
Uniform Check making sure EVERYONE is PROPERLY DRESSED FOR WORK
with Barbara Bell the uniform designer of Hakkasan Las Vegas
A collaboration of desires; this Barbara Bell design combines the ultra sexy intentions of Angel Management Group, who runs the Hakkasan megaclub, with the sophistication of Hakkasan International, who runs the Las Vegas chapter of this Michelin-rated restaurant brand. This was accomplished through elegant black lace, a form fitting silhouette and dropped neckline. The electric blue provides the pop while the three inch
mandarin collar maintains a strong Asian influence. A trending high-waisted leather belt completes the ensemble. You canâ€™t help but notice this uniform as it passes you by (it does help that the club hired the most beautiful girls in Las Vegas to wear them). Comfortable, sexy and sophisticated - nothing less would have been appropriate for one of the the most highprofile nightclub openings in the world to date.
Hakkasan Nightclub - Cocktail Server
“I was tasked with blending the Asian influence of Hakkassan and the sexiness of the nightlife environment”. – BARBARA BELL Lead designer of Bell Uniform Design.
the “let’s talk about anything besides work” interview
Getting to know
your pizza maker with International Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani
Getting To Know Your Pizza Maker To describe Tony Gemignani as a pizza maker is to describe Michael Jordan as just a basketball player. Tony is the first American to win World Pizza Cup in Naples Italy, a feat which has been compared to the 1976 Stag’s Leap coup in Paris. He currently owns and operates the International School of Pizza, six Italian restaurants including the recently launched Pizza Rock Las Vegas, and is a regular food expert on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue.
I think it is safe to say we know what your first favorite food is … what your second favorite food?
any particular kind. As long as it’s done right I can enjoy it.
I think I share that passion. That could be almost On a similar note, what’s with Tony Gemignani anything - I just love food. your favorite non-alcoholic Asian cuisine … Korean beverage? bbq, Thai, Chinese. I go that route or to the latin side. I One of my favorites is eat both of those at least just an old-school grape once a week. I love all food soda, that would be one. so it hard for me to not like Then Thai iced tea is great.
I drink Red Bull when I work. Another would be a Vietnamese coffee. So many random things. Something that would surprise people to learn about you? I collect almost everything... from baseball cards to comic books to antiques. I also have a ‘50 Merc and a
Getting To Know Your Pizza Maker
‘48 Desoto. I cherish certain things and it’s hard for me to let them go. From the first baseball card I ever bought (which I still have) I just love collecting. Do you have a PG-13 guilty pleasure? For example mine would be Keeping Up With the Kardashians. . . Mob Wives with my wife... it’s horrible but it’s good times. And Big Ang (a character from Mob Wives) has her own show now. She is opening up a bar or something called Miami Monkey. It’s not the greatest but you could have caught me watching it the other night. So I am not alone, thank you for validating me. Your last non-industry job? Never been one. But people may not know I worked at McDonald’s for
with Tony Gemignani
like 3 hours when I was 15. They were paying almost 4 bucks an hour and back then that was a big deal. I also grew up working on a farm … 30 acres. It was a family thing … we grew apricots, lima beans and cherries then sold them to fruit stands. The job you would have if pizza did not exist? I’d be trying to make it exist. Favorite country other than your nationality? I would say Thailand. I toured with Thai acrobats for a long time. It’s amazing, so beautiful.
Favorite number and why? 8 because it’s lucky. Worst number is 4, which means death in some Asian cultures. There are no 4s on any of my menus, and I try to get 8s in my phone numbers and on all my accounts. I am very superstitious. Your entire philosophy on life in one sentence or less. You can always make it better. Sometimes in life you get content, but at the same time I think you can always make it better. Those are words I live by.
For audio clips from this interview check out the web extras at BandR.com. Here we cover Tony’s first baseball cards, the pinnacle of “making it better”, and why Tony really left McDonald’s ... Pizza Photo By: bnilson (Flickr) Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
SIDEBAR THE BOOKS
7 of the 10 top grossing US nightclubs
ARE LOCATED IN
Topping the list is XS at The Wynn, grossing between 80 and 90 million dollars annually.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING IN & AROUND OUR INDUSTRY
finding the happiness and finding the satisfaction and
finding fulfillment in continuously serving somebody else something good to eat. MARIO BATALI
“I gain five pounds every time I go in there.”
ON WHAT MAKES A TRULY GOOD RESTAURANT
MICHELLE OBAMA “Even if we give parents all the information they need and we improve school meals and build brand new supermarkets on every corner,
ON HER FATHER’S RESTAURANT
Lady Gaga Photo: Jimmy Johansson, Mario Batali photo: Lance Cheung, Jason Biggs photo: Eva Rinaldi (Flickr) Attribution 3.0 Generic (CC BY 3.0), Trey Parker photo: Angela George (Flickr) Attribution 3.0 Share-Alike (CC BY 3.0)
none of that matters if when families step into a restaurant, they can’t make a healthy choice.”
where you come up with the funny stuff is usually at a bar TREY PARKER
CREATOR OF SOUTH PARK ON THE SECRETS OF HIS CREATIVE PROCESS
The idea of regretting not doing this seemed insane to me. Sitting in the corner at a bar at age 60, saying: ‘I could’ve been Bond. Buy me a drink.’ That’s the saddest place I could be.
At least now at 60 I can say: ‘I was Bond. Now buy me a drink.’ DANIEL CRAIG “A girl came up to me in a bar and said she wanted to be my apple pie...”
“I wish I’d said something cool, but I was stunned.” JASON BIGGS
ACTOR (AMERICAN PIE)
Photo By: alastc (Flickr) Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Dinner in the Sky various locations
If you are like most people, you have always dreamt of an activity that combines the luxury of fine dining with the adrenaline rush of bungee jumping. Well thanks to Dinner in the Sky this experience is now a reality. Through this unique all-inclusive meal service, which can occur anywhere in the world with 50m of open space (both horizontally and vertically), your entire dinner party is lifted via crane into the atmosphere. The views are unlike any other, but if you are worried about getting bored an additional crane can be used for to provide live entertainment. With all 22 guests and 3 chefs firmly secured to the table, the only real problem is getting to the bathroom.
Hobbit House Manila, Philippines
Founded by Peace Corps volunteer Jim Turner, The Hobbit House was inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Complete with a circular front door and a huge mural which can be seen from the street the integrity of the theme is maintained despite the venue’s ulterior identity as a live music venue. Featuring your standard mix of folk, rock, blues, jazz and reggae, this place is unique to say the least. But the most interesting performances come from the staff, which consists entirely of “little people.” Friendly, charming and always smiling these individuals represent the venue’s most significant attempt at recreating The Shire and are the real real reason tourists flock.
Canary Islands , Spain Deep in the Timanfaya National Park on the Spanish island of Lanzarote there is a restaurant which uses a unique method for cooking food … volcanoes. Although dormant, they continue to emit a significant amount of heat from below. One such hole in the ground has a constant temperature of of 450 to 500 degrees Celsius, perfect for the massive cast iron grill which El Diablo (“The Devil” in English) uses to cook many of their dishes. If you are wondering why this is not more common, it is because the consistent temperatures of this particular hole is a complete geothermal anomaly. And for those worried about contamination due to underground gas, note that the food has been tested and there are no dangers … other than the obvious threat of eternal damnation.
Berlin, Germany Klo Bar has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Berlin, and for good reason. “Part flea market, part zoo and part theme park”, this establishment has also chosen a unique concept to base their operation upon - bathroom humor. With sausages served in cute miniature toilets, water (at least we hope it is) sprinkled on customers as they walk through the door, and gusts of wind blown upward to target ladies skirts this place is one of a kind. Not surprisingly it is said that most of the features of Klo, which means toilet in German, were based on an actual trip to men’s room.
De Kas Amsterdam, Holland
De Kaas is a repurposed greenhouse which harvests the herbs, vegetables, and edible flowers used in its cuisine. The unique glass structure was built in 1926 and was set to be demolished before Jan Hagerman resurrected it into a restaurant and nursery. The on site harvest occurs each day before sunrise, giving guests the freshest possible ingredients. The fare is then supplemented by local farms, some of which the venue also owns. Both Hagerman and his wait staff tend to the grounds each day, and opportunities for guests to participate are also available. Although unfortunately for the droves of collegiate backpackers hungry from coffee shops and reeling from hostel food, no work for meals program has been established as of yet.
Mahiki Mano: The Hammock Cafe Tokyo, Japan
In case the title left any questions, this venue is all about one thing: hammocks. Arguably one of the only true “lounges”, this bustling venue has been forced to enact time limits on customers due to both volume and, one can expect, napping guests. But even when cut short the experience is nothing less than sublime. Offering a wide variety of delicious beverages and vegetable focused snacks, this cafe will have you wondering why you have been wasting so much of your life in chairs. And if that wasn’t enough the venue also doubles as a gallery for … you guessed it … hammocks! Here you can try out all the cutting edge innovations at the forefront of the exciting industry that is hammock technology.
SIDEBAR PUBLIC OPINION
65% leave a tip that is a percentage of the total bill
35% leave a flat amount per beverage
Photo courtesy of smittenkitchen.com
your restaurant at home. thought you didn’t need a recipe for
GRILLED CHEESE? well you’ve never tasted
THIS VERSION by DEB PERELMAN the creator of smittenkitchen.com Frisco Grilled Cheese 2 slices bread (preferably hearty country wheat but not too thick or it’s hard for the cheese inside to melt)
top with second slice, so that the buttered side faces out
2 teaspoons butter, salted or unsalted .5 cup (2 ounces) coarsely grated cheddar
sprinkle 1 tablespoon cheese roughly in center of skillet then place sandwich on top
spread butter on one side of each piece of bread
cook until golden underneath and cheese browns and crisps
scatter all but 2 tablespoons of cheese on the unbuttered side of one slice
heat skillet over low-to-moderate heat
lift melted (frisco-ed) cheese and bread onto spatula, sprinkle remaining cheese into skillet and repeat for other side
For the full recipe check out: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2013/10/frico-grilled-cheese-sandwiches/
WORLD FOOD CHAMPION An explanation of the phenomenon that is the World Food Championships with host Ben Vaughn
very November over five hundred seasoned cooks and chefs gather in Las Vegas for the World Food Championships. Last year this food extravaganza was hosted by food celebrity Adam Richman and featured some
of the nation’s most promising culinary talent. Located on the strip it is hard to believe this “food fight” could get any more grand. Yet it continues to gain momentum, growing so much that it will now take over the entire downtown district.
Cover photo by Corina Marie Howell. Article photos courtesy of World Food Championships.
WORLD FOOD CHAMPION with Ben Vaughn
city in the world that could handle this type of sensory overload: Las Vegas.
The World Food Championship is comprised of eight categories; barbecue, chili, burgers, desserts, sandwiches, bacon, recipes (a home creation competition), and chefs (a skills exhibition). Each of the competitors must compete in a local qualifying event to win a spot on this massive stage. To get an understanding of what we are dealing with, visualize downtown Las Vegas packed with hundreds chef competitors, tens of thousands of spectators and dozens of Kenmore kitchens built right into the street. While you’re picturing this, imagine the smell of the smokers. As they start to billow, the chili competitors begin browning the perfect amount of onions, garlic and ground chuck. The smell gets your mouth watering. Now listen to the noise of the teams working through a plan of action, similar to a football team in a huddle. Then, like a symphony as the music crescendos, the sauté pans start clanking, knives begin chopping, and pilot lights ignite.
THE COMPETITORS There has always been an unspoken but understood mindset among chefs. I refer to it as the “I’m better than you” mentality. This is of course meant in the kindest way possible, insinuating not actual superiority so much as “I have the ability to create food that tastes better than yours.” It’s this competitive nature that necessitates a center stage food battle with the world watching. The variety of the challengers is shocking. Walking through the event you can literally hear the diversity, from descriptions of the smoking process via a Texas BBQ team, to learning the perfect method of creaming cake mix with a stay-at-home mom, to getting a quick lesson on preparing a sous vide quail breast from a top chef. These competitors share a similar passion, but each from a very different school.
“It’s exciting. But for competitors this dash of excitement is blended with eight cups of anxious.”
The scale may be tough for some to comprehend. But it’s amazing and happening at a real event with real stakes, including a cash purse of almost half a million bucks. It’s the Super Bowl of Food and it has partnered with the only
The thread that binds them is the love of food. And they are all worthy of competing at the level of World Food Champion.
It’s exciting. But for competitors this dash of excitement is blended with eight cups of anxious. The anxiety is the good kind, as this is what fuels them. If you’re competing on this scale of food challenge and you’re not nervous there is something seriously wrong.
WORLD FOOD CHAMPION with Ben Vaughn competitions to the mainstream.
THE EVOLUTION OF COMPETITIVE FOOD Although the the WFC is in only its second year, food competitions are nothing new. Here is a brief history of how these competitions evolved over the years. REGION/FOOD SPECIFIC EVENTS From the religious festivals of ancient Egypt to La Tomatina (the world’s most famous tomato themed food fight in Bunol, Spain) food has always had a place in our celebrations. Whether it was simply functional, or the inspiration for the event, these clearly set the stage for comparative cooking. There are currently thousands of such gatherings covering every type of food imaginable, with the oldest on record being the Conwy Honey Fair which began over 700 years ago. INTERNATIONAL TEAM COMPETITIONS Beginning with the International Exhibition of Culinary Art in Germany a number of formal industry competitions have been created to showcase the skills of the worlds best chefs. In most cases these events are held every few years with entrants being primarily made up of official national teams. THE FOOD TV EXPLOSION In the year 2000 Master Chef debuted on PBS. Since then there have been literally hundreds of food competition shows, headlined by such perennial hits as Top Chef, Iron Chef, Chopped and Hell’s Kitchen. With ratings from these shows soaring this trend can be credited with bringing food
WFC & THE NEXT GENERATION Capitalizing on newfound public interest and incorporating existing regional competitions, events such as World Food combine the scale of national exhibitions with the passion and accessibility of local festivals. Merge this mass appeal with party-like atmospheres and you have a the next wave of competitive food.
SCORING When I first heard of the WFC format I wondered how anyone could score chili against casserole, barbecue against bacon, sandwiches against desserts. But somehow it works, and the reason is that everything is based on skill, not the ingredients or concept. For scoring, we use the EAT system. Created specifically for the World Food Championships, this brilliant method brings out the most important aspects of each competitor’s performance, namely “E”xecution, “A”ppearance and “T”aste. For execution the evaluation takes into account the dish structure, edibility, design and preparation. Appearance then focuses on both the product being tasted as well as the overall presentation platter. Taste should be self-explanatory. A number score is given for each category, combining to provide each dish with a single overall rating. These are what is used to determine who is most deserving of the “World Food Champion” title. At least until next year…
WORLD FOOD CHAMPION with Ben Vaughn
THE FINAL TABLE To get to the point where a single champion can be crowned the playing field must eventually be narrowed to a field of ten competitors. These individuals meet at what is referred to in the WFC as the final table. Representing each of the food categories, the final table at the World Food Championships is what happens when the best sandwiches, barbecue, burgers, pasta, chili, and more go head to head. By the time a competitor has made it to the final table they have already battled through hundreds of other food fighters. This means their nerves are already shot by the time their dish passes before an A-list panel of food celebrities, receiving a judgement that runs as deep as the sand in the Vegas desert. Last year the panel consisted of Adam Richman, Myron Mixon, Robin Leach, Tim Love, Antonio Lafaso, Coleman Andrews
and myself. An outrageous group of culinary egos to say the least. With our palates peaking, we gravitated toward the simple while avoiding the overly complex. The competition was tight, as we all agreed each of the items presented was worthy of the title, but only one competitor could walk away as a World Food Champ. Last year it was Las Vegas local Robert Butler, who created a sandwich using Asianflavored braised pork butt crisped in duck fat, stacked on a French loaf with an aioli that contained Dijon mustard, jalapeno, ginger, Chinese mint and brown sugar. The final table is what makes the WFC as celebrated as it is. It’s a bunch of guys and gals that have cooked their way through one of the toughest industries in the world ... demanding big flavors to match even bigger personalities.
“...what happens when the best sandwiches, barbecue, burgers, pasta, chili, and more go head to head.”
WORLD FOOD CHAMPION with Ben Vaughn
The World Food Championships isn’t the only international stage for competitive food. Here are a few of the other main events... INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF CULINARY ART (IKA)
military teams, 10 national junior teams, 10 collective catering teams.
Also known as the Culinary Olympics, this is the largest exhibition in the world and is held every four years. Conceived by a group of German chefs in order to promote and develop German cuisine, the event now involves 54 nations with 1,600 participating chefs.
EXPOGAST - THE CULINARY WORLD CUP Also held every four years, this Luxembourg competition ranks second in size to the IKA. Associated with the Expogast International Gastronomy Fair, this consists of 25 national teams, 10 national
Organized by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), the group which sanctions most international competitions, this showcases the top ten national teams according to the world rankings. Attracting more than than 80,000 visitors this event is held once every six years in Basel, Switzerland. BOCUSE D’OR The Bocuse d’Or is a biennial championship named after Paul Bocuse. Taking place in Lyon, France, it is accompanied by the World
Pastry Cup and World of Bread Contest. Intended to be “by professionals for professionals” this event has qualifying competitions in Asia, USA, and South America. This is also one of the first competitions to have its contestants cook for a live audience. NEW TANG DYNASTY’S INTERNATIONAL CHINESE CULINARY COMPETITION With qualifying events in the USA and Asia this competition resembles World Food in that it takes place in open air public kitchens built directly into Times Square, building a Chinese architecture inspired stadium specifically for the event.
As a chef, I’m always asked if I can cook vegetarian. Unfortunately, I can’t ...
GOOD ONE …
... they are too stringy and can’t be sliced thin enough.
Rosemary Gallagher of the Scotch Whisky Association teaches us everything we thought we already knew about Scotch
Scotch with Rosemary by William Fanning
cotch. Long held up as the pinnacle of whisky by both patrons and professionals alike. Unfortunately, despite being one of the most analyzed spirits, the product knowledge of the average Scotch drinker is surprisingly low. The result is a casual connoisseur culture featuring misquoted talking points and recycled half truths. A vicious circle that is responsible for its own miseducation.
For most, membership into this infamous category occurs naturally. The process usually looks something like this: Step 1. You begin drinking Scotch because you like it. Step 2. When you drink it often enough you start talking about it. Step 3. Talking about it eventually leads to verbal entanglement with the above-mentioned wannabe aficionados. Step 4. In order to keep up you absorb whatever â€œfactsâ€? you can, then without knowing it you become one of these pseudo-experts.
Images courtesy of the Scotch Whisky Association
Scotch with Rosemary by William Fanning
ortunately there is a remedy - it is called education. And to help with ours we contacted Rosemary Gallagher of the Scotch Whisky Association. Rosemary graciously agreed to guide our quest for understanding, culminating in not only a new apprecitation of Scotch Whisky, but an explanation of why so many of us had it so wrong for so long. When I first reached out to Rosemary I was convinced that all I needed were a few “brush-up” answers. I have been drinking Scotch for a number of years, done (what I thought was) my due diligence researching the terms, and knew the all major classifications, producers, etc.
But as one email turned into two, and two turned into six, it became clear my questions were breeding more questions than answers. It was at this point I realized I was one of the individuals described above. Hopefully not as bad as some, but a pseudoconnasseur none the less. Upon this realization, I was left no choice but to swallow my pride and start from the beginning. At about this time Rosemary began to “suggest” that she would be willing to fact check the final draft of the article. Undoubtedly this was at least in part to ensure I didn’t drag the good name of the SWA through the mud, and this was a more than fair concern, as I was
more confused than ever on a subject I previously thought myself to be somewhat knowledgeable of. Realizing my final work would be evaluated in this manner, I began to feel a surprising but familiar sense of academic obligation (that hadn’t been around since, well … a long time). Like a student not wanting to let down an admired teacher, I was now on a mission for an “A”. And I would accept nothing less than to produce the quintessential assessment on why Scotch is so confusing for many of its admirers. My report is as follows . . .
What is Scotch? However rudimentary it may seem for some, it is important we start at the absolute beginning. That being said, Scotch is a type of whisky from Scotland. All whisky by definition must be made from grain and stored in wood for an extended period. And while this is true for all genres (Irish, North American, etc), Scotch specifically must be at least 40% alcohol (80 proof), aged at least three years in oak casks, contain at least some malted barley and of course, be made entirely in Scotland. For the vast majority this simple answer will more than suffice. But for those who would like a more complete explanation, a deeper analysis is necessary.
WHISKY v. WHISKEY
he absence of an ‘e’ from the term Scotch whisky is one of the first talking points of the pseudo expert. And while the correct spelling should always be used in context, it should be noted that this is simply one example of the many official variations that exist between different
English dialects, which occurred due to a lack of standardization prior to the birth of the United States. Honor the intended nomenclature, but to say the that the use of the “e” is a misspelling or that “whisky” is unique to Scotland is simply not correct, as Canada and Japan also use this spelling.
Scotch with Rosemary by William Fanning THE TERMINOLOGY AS IT WAS INTENDED
THE SINGLE BIGGEST PROBLEM
All Scotch Whisky is given a two-word description. The first refers to the number of distilleries that contributed whisky to the final product, defining whether it is a single or a blend.
One misconception regarding Scotch Whisky terminology is the use of the term “single”. This is often thought to refer to a single grain source, while in actuality this refers to the product coming from a single distillery. The reason this is so confusing is because single malts, which are by far the most analyzed type of Scotch, do in fact contain only one type of grain. But ironically it is the term “malt” which indicates this, not single. Thus, Scotch dubbed single can in fact be made from multiple types of grain. grain. This is known as Single Grain Whisky.
single Contains product from only one distillery blend Contains product from multiple distilleries (usually between 15-40) The second term refers to the grain source and the type of still used for production (note a still is the device used for distillation, which is the process used to increase the alcohol content in spirits). This will dictate whether the product is a malt whisky or a grain whisky. malt Made entirely from malted barley using traditional pot stills (which use a slower, less efficient process known as batch distillation) grain Made from any number of grains, in addition to a small amount of malted barley, using more efficient column stills (also known as patent, continuous or Coffey stills)
from the amount of peat to the time and location of storage. To further explain this Rosemary Gallagher of the Scotch Whisky Association offers the following example: “The distiller may have produced a peaty whisky, a non-peated whisky and a whisky matured in a sherry cask. Each is a different expression in its own right. However, they could all be mixed together to produce a fourth expression. In each one the product is a Single Malt because it is produced at a single distillery.”
THE TALES OF TWO BLENDS Another misconception has to do with the term “blend”. Using Webster’s definition this means “to mix a substance with another substance”. While this seems fairly straightforward it must be understood that the definition of the word and the Scotch Whisky classification are not necessarily the same. In actuality almost all Scotch is blended to some extent. Even products dubbed “single” are made by mixing various batches within the distillery, which can vary significantly by everything
the SINGLE-SINGLE Note that an extremely small number of single distillery, single barrel products do exist . These are the only truly unblended whiskies, referred to as “single-singles” and often highly sought after. Many of these are even bottled with a particular vintage .
Scotch with Rosemary by William Fanning
In 2009 the U.K. Parliament passed a series of laws covering all aspects of Scotch Whisky. The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 cover everything from production to labeling, standardizing the many unofficial classifications into the following five categories: single malt, blended malt, single grain, blended grain and blended Scotch. We cover the most important features and misconceptions of each below. SINGLE MALT Undoubtedly the en vogue style of the last half-century. However, it should be known that single malts make up only a small percentage of the Scotch Whisky production and while this moniker is
often mistaken as a label of superiority, all it actually indicates is the use of a single distillery. The reliance on just one recipe does make most single malts distinct, but all Scotch is made to high standards, with the only real deciding factor being personal preference.
BLENDED MALT Formerly known as pure malts or vatted malts, this distinction is important since it ensures that the product is made entirely with malted barley using pot stills. Most blends are created when producers
LUCK OF THE IRISH
he recent rise in popularity enjoyed by single malt Scotch is especially ironic for the Irish. According to Lance Mayhew who writes on the topic for About.com, Irish whiskey was the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world following the French phylloxera outbreak in the 1880s, which devastated wine exports. But once the column still was Irish Flag Photo By: Tom Raftery (Flickr) Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
invented the number and quality of their competitors soon increased drastically, as the preferred style of the time was the smoother flavor it afforded. The inability of the Irish to adapt led to their eventual demise, but now it seems they were a century too early as pot still produced Single Malt Scotch are dominating many markets around the world.
Scotch with Rosemary by William Fanning use a number of single malts in bulk, combining them to make an entirely new product. The recently discontinued Johnnie Walker Green Label is still one of the most well known examples.
aging process. In fact, an alternative opinion of this neutrality is that it allows the hand of the distiller to be even more evident. One fine example is Cameron Brig Single Grain Scotch Whisky.)
produced only when spirit of sufficient quality can be sourced and combines anywhere from 8 to 15 casks, all aged between 14 and 29 years in American oak.
The prevailing belief regarding grain whiskies is that they are lighter and more neutral, as they are produced using column stills which aveive a distillate lighter in aroma than most malt whiskies. But while it is true that these products are innately less flavorful it is important to understand this is not necessarily a bad thing, as they are still more than capable of achieving complex aromas from the
Like their single counterparts Blended Grains are also commonly underappreciated. Ironically, due to the fact that market demand is so much lower, most quality productions realize they must work even harder to get noticed, a perspective which can yield fantastic results. One of the most notable examples is Compass Box “Hedonism” Blended Grain Scotch Whisky, which is
Blended Scotch is a combination of one or more malt whiskies with one or more grain whiskies. The utilization of both grain and malt makes these products capable of a wide range of profiles, balancing the characteristics of each. As a result of this versatility, 90% of all Scotch whisky falls into this genre, including many of the most well-known brands such as Dewar’s, Chivas Regal and Johnnie Walker Black Label.
What this means to you. So now that we have a clear understanding of the terminology, the question is how do we use it? It is unlikely there will be a Scotch quiz at your local watering hole any time soon. But there are a few specific lessons you can take with you into most conversations. CLASSIFICATIONS DO NOT EQUAL STYLES he most important thing to understand about Scotch is that the official classifications are simply a statement of production, not flavor, aroma or taste. And while it is true that singles utilize the unique recipe of a particular distillery, even these can vary widely, with some being aromatic and flavorful while others are extremely smooth.
Likewise, although blends will often be lighter due to the balance that occurs when many different products meld together, there is no guarantee of this. The same open-endedness is true for grain products, which although lighter due to production in column stills, are more than capable of complex flavors from the aging process. All these factors considered, anyone who delivers a blanket statement indicating they do or don’t like an entire classification of Scotch simply does not understand the product.
Scotch with Rosemary by William Fanning MONEY DOES NOT EQUAL QUALITY rice is not an indication of quality. This insinuation was created by the producers of high-end products and perpetuated by those who sell it. The truth is that when it comes to quality product (and again, ALL Scotch is held to extremely high standards) there is no better or worse, only different. These differences have different cost factors, and this is what drives variations in price. If you prefer more affordable Blended Scotch over the high priced Single Malts then congratulations; that is the best type of Scotch as far as you are concerned and you may just have saved yourself a few bucks.
BECOMING AN “EXPERT” The result for the casual connoisseur is unfortunately that there is no such thing as a casual connoisseur when it comes to Scotch whisky. In order to truly comprehend the complexities of this spirit, products must be evaluated on a case by case basis. This includes not only tastings, but learning what creates the particular aromas. Sadly for those who are better at proclaiming their expertise rather than earning it, this process requires a significant amount of time and research. BECOMING AN EXPERT The good news about the Scotch learning process is that you get to drink Scotch the entire time (in moderation of course). This should remind us of the reason we are embarking on this journey in the first place - because we love the product. That being said it is important to have fun with this experience instead of being intimidated by it. Just remember that while simple generalizations may sound smart to some, they are anything but. So instead of memorizing buzzwords start taking on individual products, mastering each one before moving to the next. This will result in actual knowledge rather than the appearance of knowledge, fostering a true appreciation of your favorite spirit. From Rosemary:
“Thanks again ... very detailed! You get an ‘A’ of course. But you can still strive to do better and get an ‘A+’!”
Scotch with Rosemary by William Fanning
Flavor Country Use the following variables to help you understand how different types of aromas and flavor profiles.
Those who say water has no flavor are simply wrong. Water has flavor and the type of water used affects the final product in
The type of grain(s) used and how they were dried after germination affect the aromas, especially since the grains in many types of Scotch are allowed to sit under peat fires which impart a signature smokiness.
The use of column stills vs. pot stills will dictate the base profile of the spirit, with pot stills allowing more flavor and column stills balancing it out.
STORAGE & AGING
SKILL OF THE MASTER BLENDER
On the most basic level barrel aging is what gives the whisky its color and wood related aromas. This, however, is barely scraping the service in terms of the factors involved. Too numerous to name here, the full list includes everything from the amount of time to the previous use of the container to the timing of blending and the tightness of the seal (which dictates the level of environmental interaction).
The temperature, air and even flooring of the storage environment all have profound effects on the final product (note earthen floors are considered premium as they allow for the ideal amount of humidity). For those who donâ€™t believe this look no further than products from Islay, which have a distinct saltiness created only by their proximity to the sea.
These individuals oversee every step of the production process, which is crucial for creating a consistent flavor profile over time. Due to the long term nature and high level of skill required these individuals often work with one distillery for an extremely long period, succeeded only by the apprentices who work alongside them. The longest serving example is David Stewart who has been with William Grant & Sons since 1962.
Scotch with Rosemary by William Fanning
CONVERSATIONS WITH ROSEMARY
hroughout numerous correspondences with Rosemary Gallagher at the Scotch Whisky Association, an entirely new world of understanding was revealed. Here are the Top 10 facts that all aspiring Scotch aficionados should know:
1. No neutral grain spirit is permitted in any classification of Scotch whisky 2. Distilleries either produce grain whisky or malt whisky, never both 3. The 7 grain distilleries outproduce the 101 single malt distilleries by approximately 60 million litres per year 4. Malts are traditionally aged significantly more than grain whiskies, and while this is often expected it is not legally required 5. While the grain distilleries are all very large, malt distilleries vary widely with production, ranging from 100,000 to 10,000,000 litres per year
6. Blending always occurs after maturation, in some cases just a short period before bottling 7. Most grain whiskies contain only a small amount of malted barley, with the majority of the grain being corn or wheat 8. Different expressions of a single malt can be produced simultaneously within the distillery 9. The official Scotch classifications are in no way meant to be a hierarchy of quality, all Scotch is held to extremely high standards 10. no whisky is produced in Scotland that does not adhere to the Scotch Whisky regulations
Web Extras: Scotch Tasting In 97 Words â€“ bandr.com
Scotch with Rosemary by William Fanning
Must Be The Money H
opefully you can now stop evaluating quality by cost. To further explain what necessitates cost heed the following:
Malting Malting is the process of placing the grain in water and allowing it to germinate (grow) in order to increase starch (sugar) output. Sugar is the substance that is converted into alcohol during fermentation. This is a fairly intricate process which requires additional resources, space, manpower and time. This is why malts and are generally more expensive.
Distillation In addition to being less efficient, the pot stills required for the production of single malts utilize batch distillation, which is much slower than the continuous distillation process of column stills. This is another reason why malt whiskies are more expensive.
Smoke & Peat Many Scotch whiskies are dried using peat fires. Peat is decomposed vegetable matter, and while its use is not part of Scotch production by definition, the flavor that is imparted from the burning process has come to define many products. This additional step incurs additional costs.
Aging Aging is one of the single costliest actions in the production of spirits. It not only requires a significant amount of time and space, but as time goes on a portion of the product evaporates. This is called the angelâ€™s share and is usually about 2% annually. The vessels used for storage can vary in cost as well, with old Sherry and Bourbon barrels being two of the common examples of receptacles which must be imported.
Miscellaneous Any number of other factors can also be added that increase costs, from the product being part of a limited run (which decreases the overall yield) to the use of a premium bottle. A perfect example is Johnnie Walker Blue King George V, which is simply crystal bottled Blue Label made using only casks and distilleries that were operating when Johnny Walker was first granted its royal warrant from the King in 1934.
are you a
Jedi Bartender? by Tobin Ellis
TOBIN ELLIS explains what does (and does not) constitute the title of “JEDI” BEHIND THE STICK. I’ve been seeing more and more Jedi references about bartenders … s someone who remembers waiting in line to see both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back on opening day, (yes, I’m older than Yoda), I have a few thoughts on the subject.
If you only know how to work in one type of bar (nightclub, dive, fine dining restaurant, craft bar)… you are a long ways away from becoming a Jedi.
The Jedi, while loosely based on the Samurai, are fictional. I realize this may come as a shock to many of you, and in fact seem heresy, but George Lucas invented them. Moving past that, for those excitedly wondering “Am I a Jedi?,” I offer the following self-evaluation:
If you don’t know the difference between Cachaça and Rhum Agricole, primary and malolactic fermentation or what IBUs have to do with beer . . . guess who is not a Jedi? Hint: you.
If you take 8 minutes to make a round of 5 drinks or less, no matter how complicated . . . also not a Jedi.
The Jedi Bartender by Tobin Ellis If you “don’t make cosmos” or can’t make a scooby snack, sorry, you’re not a Jedi. Bartenders who aspire to be as revered as Jedi Knights have extensive knowledge, including not just pre-prohibition cocktails and mashbills, nor just college shooters and the roster of the 1979 Steelers. (Franco Harris? Jedi.) If you don’t think there is an art and a science to pouring a proper pint, you are Jediless. If you have never broken a sweat behind a bar (because of the pace, not because you’re out of shape). . . also not a Jedi.
In fact, like the Samurai, they only use them when the situation requires it. Jedi never show off. Think about that. And holster that sh-t unless the moment calls for it. If you can’t tell someone “that’s not the Tequila you’re looking for,” and with a simple smile and a wave of your hand and steer people to drink what you want them to drink . . . you are definitely not a Jedi.
“Throwing a few bottles in the air or blowing fire in no way makes you a Jedi”
If you can’t do any kind of flair (I don’t mean bottle juggling, I mean simple things every bartender with experience should be able to do, like put a half spin on a tin or pour two bottles with one hand) . . . . you are definitely not a Jedi. C’mon: have you seen a Jedi wield a lightsaber? That’s not mixology, that’s flair. Accept it. Oh, and on the the other side of things, throwing a few bottles in the air or blowing fire in no way makes you a Jedi. That makes you coordinated and possibly entertaining, but Jedi do a lot more than swing their lightsabers around.
Been behind the stick less than a decade? Under 30? No Jedi for you.
If you’ve never outrang everybody on your bar and out-pulled them in tips . . . the force is not strong in you. If you cannot carry on a conversation, light a cigarette (properly), notice who just walked in the door, make a round of 9 drinks with 3 more in your head, SMILE, figure out where you’re going to lunch tomorrow and what specifically you’re going to order . . . all while singing along to the music and and deciding if that guy six back has plugs and or if his 25 yearold girlfriend’s are “real” . . . you my friend, are not a Jedi. If you cannot make crowds laugh,
The Jedi Bartender by Tobin Ellis members of the opposite sex swoon, and members of the same sex jealous of your simple energy… stay in the academy a little longer. The jedi bartender excels at all of these. Basically, if you cannot kick ass and take names effortlessly in any situation behind any bar, no matter what the circumstances . . . you’re just not a Jedi. You are at best, a Padawan learner. Embrace your place. Always the apprentice thinks they are a master and the master realizes they are forever an apprentice. Which is why they are the master. Read that thrice. Stop disrespecting George Lucas and
all the real, drink-slinging Jedi and just be patient. It will come . . . if you let it come to you. But perhaps most important: realize that no self-respecting Jedi would ever want the attention of being pointed out. These cats wear simple robes with hoods, move and speak quietly. They have a mission to spread peace through the universe and defend against evil. Which is Cupcake Vodka. A Jedi may have ambition, passion and drive but never ego. If you read this and feel miffed… again, not a Jedi. Keep practicing, studying, humbling yourself and just remember Master Yoda’s wisdom:
“A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things.”
And may the force be with you. And the Tobala.
Bartender. (not a Jedi: I can’t pick an olive to save my life)
Inside the Operator’s Studio Phil Siudak The GM of Chicago Cut, rated in the top 5 steakhouse in the US, takes us through his three rules for dealing with employees. 1. Employee Empowerment I believe that giving your employees some empowerment to do what they think is right for the guests goes a long way. People are capable of doing so much more than they are ever asked, by giving them the ability to take those actions everyone wins.
2. It’s All About the Guest aving pretty much lived in the restaurant business for the last 16 years I have seen which practices make restaurants successful and the negatives that can poorly reflect on our business. That being said there are three simple rules for the way I approach managing my staff.
I instill into all of my employees that the guest, and their experience, is the sole reason we are all here, both in terms of this venue and this shift, as well as our industry as a whole. Getting my staff to understand this and anticipate customer needs keeps their focus in the right place and customers coming back.
3. Focus on The Good The problem I see in a lot of operators is that they are always looking to find the negative things their staff does. Instead, I try to hone in on the positives they do, really expanding on the” job well done”. This is the key to employee retention, which is a huge part of a successful operation. Plus, the more loyalty and confidence your employees have towards you as an operator, the more that reflects on the guest experience and ultimately on the longevity of your businesses success.
n e d r s T
5 DESIGNER PLACE-SETTING FADS Being served up with style by THE CUISINERD
Trends on the Table by Kristin Guy randing and designing a restaurant is no easy task, every detail right down to the color of dishware to the napkin textile of choice are finalized with meticulous care.
That being said, if you’ve visited any newly debuted restaurants in the past 6 months (and whoa there are a ton of new spots out there) you’ve most likely noticed a few recurring design trends making the tabletop rounds. These days more establishments are letting loose with these smaller details and adding in hints of
personality to their table-scapes. Heck, even veteran locales are upgrading their look with minor adjustments and swapping out the commonplace with a little extra panache. Out with the standard square white china and in with quirky accents, mismatched sets and loads of texture. Needless to say, these days the standard dining table is getting served up with some serious style. We have identified the five major themes that seem to be trending. We suggest trying a taste of one of these industry trends and wrap up a few ideas to-go.
Stone Cold Board from Brookly Slate Co.
Heath Ceramics Setting
Stoneware is making a huge comeback this year with a variety of organic shapes, colors and glazes. Pottery leaders such as Mudd and Heath Ceramics have been spotted on many tables around the country creating an effortlessly relaxed yet modern dining experience. Bowls and plates aren’t the only dishes getting the update; Charcuterie boards are also being revamped with other rockin’ materials such as slate and marble slabs.
Trends on the Table by Kristin Guy
Rustic Nostalgia A tip of the hat to a past frontier, amber glass, enamelware and even salvaged wood boards are popping up in even some of the sleekest of dining rooms. Imperfections introduced to the dining space, especially when paired with a rustic menu, make for a comfortable and unpretentious meal. This is Americana design at its finest and we’re not seeing this handsome look trotting off anytime soon.
Boards from American METALCRAFT, Inc.
The Re-mix Why have a full matching set of dinner and glassware on the table when mixed vintage pieces can evoke a different kind of setting? Mismatched china patterns, random pairings of etched crystal goblets … we’re not talking granny glam! We’re talking eclectic style pairings, the cherished feeling of family dinners and an overall communal vibe that has the ability to translate as much love as the food being served with each perfectly contrasting pacesetting.
Trends on the Table by Kristin Guy
Heavy Metal Two-toned metals are making quite the clash both on the table and behind the bar. Where the dissonance of color and texture might seem distracting with some executions, the look comes together when utilized in the table’s smaller design details. From copper paired with silver to tarnish finishes mixed with polished shine, this flatware and cocktail tool trend is sending mixed messages … and it couldn’t be more stunning. West Elm Gold Flatware
Wooden clipboard by JK Creative from Gift ofHappiness
Even your bill is getting a makeover. Say goodbye to cheap run-of-the-mill plastic credit card folds and hello to a landslide of personalitydriven receipt transporters. We’ve seen tabs delivered with the minimalist flair of wooden clothespins and clipboards to a more colorful approach of vintage food tins and hand bound journals encouraging guest’s notes. Either way your ticket is delivered, what a stylishly genius way to distract from the dinner damage at hand.
Published on Nov 7, 2013