THIS SEASON, let’s toast the folks who raised our spirits. Sending you and yours a HAPPY & HEALTHY holiday.
H O L I D AY THYME
1 3 1 2 2
½ oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka oz sparkling water ½ oz cranberry juice tsp lime juice thyme sprigs
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Add Tito’s Handmade Vodka, juices, and thyme to a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a glass. Top with sparkling water and garnish with a thyme sprig.
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Contents December 2021 Inside this issue 06
Crazy Tastes | Cover Story
Welcome to Silk Road Saffron
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Mychel "Snoop" Dillard
Soul Food Fuels The American Dream
Alice Carbone Tench: At the Corner of Decadent and Healthy
Best Restaurants - Dallas, Texas
The Truth That Sets Chefs Free
Bollinger and Ayala Luxury Champagne
Jobbio - Hiring Company Highlight
It's Working Project - Reneta Jenik
INDUSTRY NEWS PAGE 20
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FOODGOD PREMIERS NEW SHOW EXPANDING HIS CULINARY PALATE
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FOODGOD by Debbie Hall
What started as a first job delivering food at age 16, Jonathan Cheban, now legally known as Foodgod, has become a lucrative influencer with over 11 million followers on Instagram and Twitter. He currently stars in his own television show, Foodgod, from Food Network streaming on Discovery Plus. “The show adds a whole new dimension to my favorite pastime: finding the hidden gems of the food world and letting everyone else in on them,” Foodgod said about the show in a press release. The debut season includes four episodes chronicling the star’s culinary travels across the country, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City, and Miami. During the show’s intro, Foodgod explains that he has always been obsessed with getting the word out about the coolest foods. He also admits he eats out almost 365 days a year. “For me, it’s all about the visual experiences at the hottest places with the most over-the-top foods, which I love sharing with everyone,” he says during his opening. While in Las Vegas, Foodgod hung out with Food & Beverage Magazine’s publisher and author, Michael Politz, dined with singer and songwriter Taylor Dayne, and tasted Jersey-style pizza at Criss Angel’s restaurant. During the Las Vegas episode, he invites Dayne to dinner to discover one of the “craziest places” in Las Vegas. “I love coming to Vegas. The whole place is a show, especially when it comes to dining out. X Pot at the Venetian is a blend of traditional and futuristic cuisine using the 1,000-year-old hot pot tradition and twisted it into an immersive and extravagant dining experience.” Through visual mastery and commentary, its style, tastes, and textures are showcased to give the audience a glimpse into the extraordinary culinary style. Checking out Criss Angel’s new place, Cablp, “I heard you and Jersey Pizza, and I am here,” exclaims Foodgod, “I am a Jersey guy, so I know pizza really good.”
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THE SHOW ADDS A WHOLE NEW DIMENSION TO MY FAVORITE PASTIME FINDING THE HIDDEN GEMS OF THE FOOD WORLD AND LETTING EVERYONE ELSE IN ON THEM
As quoted from his first cover story in Food & Beverage Magazine, “My whole life is about the food. Even years ago, when every day always revolved around school, I would plan my schedule in college so I could enjoy incredible meals. My mom knew I would get hungry and that sometimes I would circle for an hour in the car before I knew what I wanted to eat. It was almost like cracking a safe to go in search of the perfect tasting food.” He started his PR career with publicist Penny Siegal and developed relationships with their celebrity clients, including Paris Hilton and the Olsen Twins. After that, Foodgod created his own business, Command PR, with celebrity clients following him. After meeting Kardashian West, he was propelled into the world of reality television, appearing on 27 episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and 15 episodes of its spinoff shows like Kourtney and Kim Take Miami. He also made other television and movie appearances, including Celebs Go Dating and Celebrity Big Brother. Catch his new show, Foodgod, on the Food Network streaming on Discovery Plus. Follow him on Instagram @foodgod and Twitter @foodgod.
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MY WHOLE LIFE IS ABOUT THE FOOD. EVEN YEARS AGO, WHEN EVERY DAY ALWAYS REVOLVED AROUND SCHOOL, I WOULD PLAN MY SCHEDULE IN COLLEGE SO I COULD ENJOY INCREDIBLE MEALS. MY MOM KNEW I WOULD GET HUNGRY AND THAT SOMETIMES I WOULD CIRCLE FOR AN HOUR IN THE CAR BEFORE I KNEW WHAT I WANTED TO EAT. IT WAS ALMOST LIKE CRACKING A SAFE TO GO IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT TASTING FOOD. - Foodgod
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CONSTANT CHANGE COMPANIES SUCH AS GRUBBRR TRANSFORM THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY.
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Technology changes constantly and this is especially true for the food and beverage industry. While some might believe that the restaurant industry was reluctant to adopt technology and digital solutions, that changed in 2020. Restaurants and bars adjusted to the “new normal” during the pandemic with even more changes in 2021. HOW HAS TECHNOLOGY CHANGED? According to EHL Insights, restauranteurs and operators in the food and beverage industry looked beyond traditional methods, changing its model to contactless technology. This includes online ordering, self-checkouts, delivery, and touchless payments for delivery and pick-up. There was an unexpected labor shortage this year and new technology was implemented for this new business model. As a result, self-ordering kiosks have become standard. According to SMB Management Blog, over 65 percent of customers surveyed said they would visit the restaurant more often if they had self-service kiosks. In fact, 30 percent said they prefer to order from a kiosk. One of the latest technology, GRUBBRR (grubbrr.com), powers the all-new Samsung self-service kiosk, increasing customer satisfaction with a custom-designed experience built on GRUBBRR’s technology. This technology allows restaurants to operate with a smaller and more efficient team. In addition, customers can order directly from the self-service kiosk, ensuring both order accuracy and speed. The kiosk addresses and improves the customer experience, and implementing kiosks allows restaurants to streamline efficiency, reducing average transaction time. In addition, kiosks always show up, don’t call in sick, and are ready to work 24/7.
CUSTOMERS HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS NOW AND EXPECT THEIR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS TO DELIVER PERSONALIZED OFFERS WHILE INTEGRATING THE LATEST IN TECHNOLOGY.
experiences that nurture customers through a restaurant loyalty program. A customized restaurant reward program empowers restaurateurs and operators to feature personalized experiences and offers that drive value and increased sales. Cash registers (and cashiers) are being replaced by tablet POS systems and going cashless. Kitchen Display Systems (KDS) is a digital order board so kitchen staff can keep up with orders. KDS can assist with inventory management by displaying priority orders, signal dwindling stock items, and flagging special dietary requests. Digital menu boards can display rotating images and videos of products that entice the senses in innovative ways. The boards can be updated immediately and visually appealing to patrons waiting to place an order. WHAT ABOUT TRENDS IN 2022? Online ordering systems and delivery apps will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the customers who now expect to order from all restaurants. Contactless payment will be the preferred method using a smartphone, smartwatch, or smartcard via an app or touchless device. Experts predict that contactless payments will triple from $2 trillion to $6 trillion worldwide by 2024. Online table reservation technology gives customers the freedom to see the available times, book their own reservation, and not require any staff. Apps also allow restaurants to upsell unique culinary events and dining experiences. QR codes, a must this year, will continue to be used in 2022. Best of all, no app is needed. While changing, the food and beverage industry remains viable since people love to eat and drink. Companies such as Samsung powered by GRUBBRR and Punchh integrate the latest technology with a suite of products to help generate revenue, streamline operations, and improve the guest experience creating loyal customers.
GRUBBRR’s self-ordering kiosks also minimize human contact, eliminate ordering errors, and allow businesses to implement integrations, such as loyalty programs. GRUBBRR now integrates with the loyalty platform Punchh which enables a restaurant marketing team to help carefully curate a customer journey. GRUBBRR’s loyalty integrations provide businesses with an opportunity to capture data intelligence about consumer history, including most recent orders, to execute suggestive selling and use discount codes that reward consumers for communicating more efficiently. Customers have high expectations now and expect their favorite restaurants to deliver personalized offers while integrating the latest in technology. It is the standout
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Help yourself. Our solutions are built to work Learn more at GRUBBRR.com/samsung
Reimagine labor and increase revenue with the All-In-One Samsung Kiosk powered by GRUBBRR Learn more at GRUBBRR.com/Samsung or call (855) 547-8227 Copyright © 2021 GRUBBRR. SAMSUNG Trademark owned by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd
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SAVORY SPICE MAPLE ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES AND QUINOA SALAD
INGREDIENTS For vegetables: 2 Tbsp. orange juice 2 Tbsp. maple syrup 0.5 tsp. Marjoram 0.75 tsp. Summer Savory 1 medium sweet potato, peeled, and diced into 1/2-inch pieces 2 large parsnips, diced into 1/2-inch pieces 1 small onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces 2 Tbsp. olive oil Salt & pepper, to season 8 cups chopped kale For quinoa: 2 cups water 1 cups quinoa 2 cloves garlic, minced 3/4 tsp. Summer Savory 1/2 tsp. Marjoram For dressing and assembly: 0.25 cups Dijon mustard 2 Tbsp. orange juice 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 Tbsp. maple syrup 1 green apple, cored and diced 0.25 cups dried cranberries Page 15 | Food & Beverage Magazine v November Issue 2021
DIRECTIONS For vegetables: Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a small bowl, stir together orange juice, maple syrup, Marjoram, and Summer Savory. In a large bowl, toss sweet potato, parsnips, and onion with oil, salt & pepper, and half of the orange juice mixture. Spread vegetables on prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 min. Pour remaining orange juice mixture over vegetables and gently toss with a spatula to coat. Roast for an additional 20 min., then add kale on top of vegetables. Roast for a final 10 min., or until kale is bright green and slightly crispy at the edges. For quinoa: Combine all ingredients in a small pot. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 min., stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. For dressing and assembly: In a small bowl, mix Dijon mustard, orange juice, olive oil, and maple syrup until combined. Spoon roasted vegetables over quinoa and drizzle with Dijon dressing. Sprinkle with diced apple and dried cranberries and serve. www.fbmagazine.com
SAVORY SPICE GARAM MASALA SPICED CASHEWS
SAVORY SPICE CHAI CRANBERRY FIZZ
INGREDIENTS 4 cups cashews, raw and unsalted 1 large egg white, lightly beaten 1/4 cup sugar 4 tsp. Garam Masala 1 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Chile Powder DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, coat cashews with egg white. Add remaining ingredients and stir until thoroughly coated. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread nuts in a single layer on the sheet. Roast, stirring every 5 to 10 min. until golden brown (about 25 to 35 min. total). Break up any clumps, cool and serve.
“Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.” - Wolfgang Puck
INGREDIENTS For Chai Simple Syrup: 1 cups sugar 1 cups water 2 Tbsp. Chai Spices 1 Tbsp. honey For one Cranberry Fizz cocktail: 1 slice mandarin, tangerine or orange ½ oz. Chai Simple Syrup 2 oz. chilled cranberry juice 4 oz. chilled club soda 1.5 oz. white whiskey or brandy (optional) 6 fresh or frozen cranberries for garnish (optional) DIRECTIONS For Chai Simple Syrup: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve sugar and honey. Reduce heat and simmer 15 min. Strain and cool completely before use. For stronger syrup, leave the Chai Spices in for up to 2 weeks before use. Store sealed in the refrigerator. For one Cranberry Fizz cocktail: Squeeze the orange slice into a cocktail glass for juice; place what remains of the slice in the bottom of the glass with the simple syrup and muddle with a wooden spoon. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Top with a few ice cubes if desired. Garnish with cranberries if using. December Issue 2021 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 16
“Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people eat together.” - Guy Fieri
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Welcome to Silk Road Saffron Silk Road Saffron is a women-owned and operated farm offering Super High Negin Grade A Stigma that has a beautiful natural aroma. Our saffron is perfect for all of your cooking needs. What is the difference between our saffron and others? Simply, it is our desire to help women in our region and bring you the worlds best. Silk Road Saffron is carefully handpicked from the beautiful crocus flower (crocus sativus). Literally, the three tiny and fragile stigmas are plucked by hand with tweezers by local women, then we dry the stems over heat and pack them. Silk Road Saffron grows our own saffron, while many competitors source their saffron. All of our saffron is packaged in California in glass bottles to preserve and keep the saffron fresh, we do not use metal or plastic. Why do you want to cook with Saffron? Saffron is rare and considered to be the world’s most expensive spice, that is why you only use a pinch. It takes 75,000 flowers to produce 1 pound of saffron. Sought for because of it’s delicate earthy taste, great in paella and bouillabaisse, but it also contains crocin, safranal and picrocrocin - three compounds which are responsible for imparting the beautiful golden red color and distinctive aroma. This precious spice is also high in elements such as copper, magnesium, potassium, manganese, selenium, calcium, zinc, and iron.
SAFFRON IS RARE AND CONSIDERED TO BE THE WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE SPICE
Help us empower the women of Afghanistan who produce the world’s most precious and desired spice, support Silk Road Farms. https://silkroadsaffron.com/
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Mediterranean Sauteed Saffron Chicken INGREDIENTS: 2 lbs chicken breast (cut into ½” cubes) 1 large pinch of Silk Road Saffron (¼ tsp) 1 medium onion (sliced thin) 1/4 cup olive oil 1 teaspoon chopped garlic 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste) 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste) 1 cup green peas 2 cups cored seeded sweet red and/or yellow peppers, (cut into thin strips) 1 cup water Finely chopped parsley (for garnish)
DIRECTIONS Sauté onions in pot with oil until lightly caramelized. Then add chicken and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and cover the pot with lid and let cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking for additional 10 minutes or until chicken is tender and sauce is to a consistency of your liking. Top with parsley and serve over basmati rice. Serves 4
SNAX-Sational Brands’ COOKIE POP and CANDY POP Debut Two New Original Seasonal Flavors For #GIVINGTUESDAY and The Holiday Season
Cookie Pop Popcorn Iced Gingerbread and Candy Pop Popcorn Peppermint Hot Chocolate are Introduced by SNAX-Sational Brands’ SNAX-Sational Brands’ Candy Pop and Cookie Pop introduced two new original flavor profiles for the holiday season -- Cookie Pop Popcorn Iced Gingerbread and Candy Pop Popcorn Peppermint Hot Chocolate -- released ahead of #GivingTuesday. The limited edition seasonal flavors are available in 5.25oz size bags and available for purchase at Kroger Co. doors inclusive of Kroger, QFC, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Dillons, King Soopers, Smiths, Ralphs, Roundy’s / Mariano’s division, plus various other retailers, and on e-comm as of November 15th, 2021.
leader combining everyone’s favorite things - ready-to-eat popcorn featuring America’s cookie and candy favorites, yielding the perfect, must-have snack creation. The better-for-you-snack is made 100% in the U.S. with non-GMO corn, is low in sodium and only 150 calories per serving. The popular, low-calorie, cookie or candy-coated line was named a “Top 20 Snack of 2020” by Buzzfeed and continues to garner attention amongst consumers, media and celebrities, from Cardi B. to Lance Bass to Robert De Niro to Ashley Greene to Mario Lopez to Cedric the Entertainer.
Having kicked off on #GivingTuesday, the annual global generosity movement that unleashes the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world, SNAX-Sational is thrilled to launch its annual #SnackGiving campaign to raise funds for the Ryan Seacrest Foundation (RSF). November 1st - January 31st, it is all about Snackgiving, with a portion of the proceeds of retail sales PLUS ALL proceeds of e-comm sales giving back to the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, benefiting their Seacrest Studios within children’s hospitals across the United States.
“We are incredibly grateful to SNAX-Sational Brands for their ongoing support of the foundation and our 11 Seacrest Studios across the country,” notes Meredith Seacrest, Executive Director & COO for RSF. “Brands like theirs help in our mission to bring positive and uplifting experiences to young patients and their families while in the hospital, as well as aid in maintaining current studios and looking to build new ones.”
The two new seasonal flavors are inspired by signature holiday treats and desserts - Frosting, Gingerbread Cookies, Peppermint Candies and Hot Chocolate. The indulgent combinations of Iced Gingerbread and Peppermint Hot Chocolate, combined with Cookie Pop and Candy Pop’s delicious non-GMO popcorn, makes for the perfect holiday season snack offering to family and friends. AND, it remains guilt-free at only 150 calories per serving.
“We are so thrilled to launch the two new original holiday flavor profiles and continue supporting the incredible efforts of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, in addition to the Seacrest Studio at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children which is right in our company’s backyard. Giving back is a continuous mission of SNAX-Sational Brands and as a family brand we are honored to work with such an incredible nonprofit.” - Adam Cohen, Chief Marketing Officer, SNAX-Sational Brands Group
Cookie Pop and Candy Pop are not only delicious on their own, but make for a perfect addition to elevate your holiday treats and beverages. With dessert creations like White Chocolate Peppermint Candy Pop Bark, Holiday Popcorn Cake Pops and Gingerbread Shortbread Blondie Bars to Spiked Frozen Hot Chocolate and Frozen Ginger Chai Chocolate Shakes, these custom Cookie Pop and Candy Pop recipes will be sure to win over friends and family this season. Check out the full recipe details here: https://www.cookiepopcandypop.com/pages/recipes In November 2020, Candy Pop and Cookie Pop unveiled its exciting new relationship with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation (RSF), a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring today’s youth through entertainment and education focused initiatives. RSF’s first initiative is to build broadcast media centers, named Seacrest Studios, within pediatric hospitals for patients to explore the creative realms of radio, television and new media. SNAX-Sational Brands’ premiere power duo Cookie Pop and Candy Pop, continues to be the innovative popcorn snacking
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Aegean Exporters’ Associations Elevates Turkish Tastes in the US
With the entire food industry going through unprecedented challenges last year, Aegean Exporters’ Associations took decisive steps to elevate the exposure of Turkish Tastes in the US, starting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
WHAT IS TURKISH TASTES AND WHO IS AEGEAN EXPORTERS’ ASSOCIATIONS? Turkish Tastes is the brand all Turkish food and beverage exporters, under the umbrella of Turkish Exporters Assembly, are to promote in international marketing efforts. Aegean Exporters’ Associations, as a regional subsidiary of the assembly based in the coastal side of western Turkey, is leading a 4-year project in which Turkish Tastes is expected to receive exposure by large groups of American consumers and foodservice professionals.
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FACTS & FIGURES ABOUT AEA The establishment of the organization goes back to 1940s. Today, it consists of 12 associations, 6 of which are food exporters. With more than 3000 member companies, the product groups represented the through the associations are: 1. Dried Fruits & Nuts 2. Seafood 3. Olive & Olive Oil 4. Cereals, Pulses, and Oil Seeds 5. Processed Vegetable & Fruits 6. Herbs & Spices Although we may hardly recognize Turkish brands in retail stores, the total export volume of the member companies to the US is worth billions of dollars yearly. And, guess what? You are most likely already using Turkish ingredients in your kitchen or incorporating them in your menus such as dried apricots, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil.
the guests which were a combination of Professors / Educators within the Hospitality Profession, Vice Presidents of Food and Beverage Operations, Sales Directors of major Distributors/Purveyors along with many Casino Chefs. 2. A partnership with UNLV College of Hospitality for the next five years creating educational content promoting Turkish Foods. 3. Introducing and conducting the 1st Annual Turkish Taste Culinary Competition in Las Vegas. Contestants were premiere casino executive chefs in Las Vegas, owner/chef of catering business, educators/chef Instructor from UNLV College of Hospitality and more. 4. A package of creative digital content to increase the awareness, share the health benefits of the ingredients, and engage with the consumers.
WHAT LIES AHEAD IN 2022 AND BEYOND? The future of Aegean Exporters and the branding of Turkish ingredients look promising. As the organization has started a buzz in Las Vegas, the plans for 2021 and moving forward include: • Host two major Food Events where professional food service operators and retail operators directly engage with Turkish manufacturers to test products, taste products, and engage in establishing relations for potential business opportunities. • Aegean Exporters, partnered with UNLV and the Nevada Restaurant Association, will publish a Turkish Cuisine reference book, the first of its kind. The book’s focus is to provide consumers and hospitality professionals comprehensive content on Turkish cuisine, ingredients, and the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. As a bonus the book will include 30 great tasting Turkish recipes. • The organization offering continuing education through Nevada’s Restaurant Association and engaging directly with restaurants and food service operations themselves. If you would like more information on the products and upcoming events, please reach out to email@example.com. Also, you may follow Turkish Tastes Official on Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. In the following issues of F&B Magazine, you will be able to get detailed information on ingredients and their top manufacturers.
WHAT DID AEA ACCOMPLISHED FOR TURKISH TASTES LAST YEAR DESPITE THE PANDEMIC? Before going through the accomplishments, you must understand the philosophy and the strategy AEA built. The organization seeks to establish a long-lasting Turkish Tastes brand through strong partnerships, engage with foodservice professionals, and create awareness in consumer groups. In this regard, the organization accomplished the following: 1. A series of 6 live cooking events at UNLV’s Hospitality Kitchen where Turkish manufacturers featured food products. During the cooking event an educational presentation live from Turkey was presented by the manufacturer to include nutrition information, history of the ingredient and recipe ideas. The presentations were warmly received by
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You are most likely already using Turkish ingredients in your kitchen or incorporating them in your menus such as dried apricots, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil.
DID YOU KNOW Turkey is… 1. The largest supplier of dried figs, dried apricots, and raisins. 2. The largest supplier of branzino (Mediterranean sea bass) and dorade (sea bream). As well as a major supplier of bluefin tuna. 3. The world’s 2nd largest olive and 4th largest olive oil supplier. 4. The world’s 2nd largest pasta manufacturer. 5. The largest tomato sauces, roasted eggplant, roasted pepper supplier cumulatively. 6. Home to more than 4500 herbs and spices where oregano, thyme, bay (laurel) leaves, cumin, and sumac are cultivated and manufactured more than anywhere else in the world. Page 23 | Food & Beverage Magazine v December Issue 2021
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MYCHEL “SNOOP” DILLARD
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RUNNING A CELEBRTYBACKED RESTAURANT: Mychel “Snoop” Dillard of Dillard Hospitality
Combining the business savvy of Mychel “Snoop” Dillard with the celebrity of Tauheed “2 Chainz” Epps has been a recipe for success in the lives of two Atlantans. Together, they own four restaurants in the Atlanta area with an eye on expansion. Partnering with a celebrity the likes of rap artist 2 Chainz, known for a string of hits such as ‘No Lie,” “Birthday Song” and “I’m Different,” has had its moments, but after seven years, the duo is going strong and looking to sell franchises in its fourth co-owned restaurant, Esco. Dillard was familiar with 2 Chainz’ music before their introduction seven years ago. “I was just hearing about him when I first moved to Atlanta -- he was a really big name here,” she recalls. “I actually had celebrated one birthday, where they gave me a cake, and it was the year that his ‘Birthday Song’ came out, so some people were performing that, so yeah, it’s very ironic that a few years later I’d end up opening up a restaurant with him. And now we’ve got four of them together.” In addition to their first enterprise, Escobar Restaurant and Tapas, the partners own Esco South, Members Only Lounge and Restaurant and they’re latest collaboration, Esco Seafood.
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“WE HIT IT OFF RIGHT AWAY, YOU KNOW, LIKE REALLY QUICKLY, AND WE DECIDED TO GO INTO BUSINESS TOGETHER...” DILLARD SAYS. Page 29 | Food & Beverage Magazine v December Issue 2021
Suites, a company that leases spots to beauty professionals, and is a business consultant for those wanting to pursue entrepreneurial careers. Epps brings to the table his celebrity. Born in College Park, Ga., he gained recognition as half of the hip-hop duo Playaz Circle. Rapper Ludacris took note and signed the group to his Disturbing the Peace label. Epps went solo in 2012, signing with Def Jam Recordings, a move followed by a number of hits on the top-50 Billboard Top 100 chart. The partners were introduced at a meeting set up by their realtors. Dillard was looking for a space to open another restaurant, building on the popularity of her Hookah Hideaway. Epps was looking for a tenant to occupy an empty building he owned on Peters Street in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill neighborhood. “We hit it off right away, you know, like really quickly, and we decided to go into business together,” Dillard says. The partnership has been a good one. Epp’s celebrity has been good for marketing; Dillard’s business acumen has been good for growth of their restaurant empire. “We have a very good personal relationship,” she says. “I’m very familiar with his family. We’re friends -- definitely more than just business partners. “Partnering with a celebrity has its plusses and minuses,” Dillard says. “I won’t lie and say that it’s been all peaches and cream, you know, any partnership’s like that,” she says. “One of the minuses of being owned by a celebrity is that everything’s under a microscope, and the media picks up on any issues that they generally would not otherwise.” But there are benefits.
But is partnering with a celebrity for everyone? Just ask Dillard. “That just depends on what the celebrity will bring to the table because being in the restaurant industry is a lot of hard work.”
“Anytime you have a partnership, you have two different people who bring different ideas and things to the table,” Dillard says. “Of course, there are going to be some differences from time to time, but we definitely think a lot alike. We really balance each other out with our thoughts and in our ideas, so it definitely makes for a great partnership.” Dillard brings to the table a history of success in the restaurant industry. She started her hospitality career in Nashville with the opening of The G Spot, a bar targeted toward the LGBTQ community. When she moved to Atlanta, she started a popular party bus, Party Bus Kings, and followed that with the opening of Hookah Hideaway, a popular neighborhood pub, now closed, that offered karaoke and hookah. She also owns Remedy Salon and
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Larry “Lo-Lo” White expands his family legacy
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by Debbie Hall
With every bite, every guest can taste the heart and soul of Larry “Lo-Lo” White, who was born to continue his grandmother’s legacy of cooking and serving great food in a warm, homelike atmosphere. Today, he celebrates 24 years in the food and beverage industry as the owner and operator of Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles with locations in Arizona, Texas, and Nevada and popular Phoenix eateries Brunch & Sip and Monroe’s Hot Chicken. Lo-Lo’s recently opened its newest location close to the famous Las Vegas Strip, and already lines are waiting out of the door. It took over 10 years, but White has tirelessly perfected his now-famous fried chicken and homemade waffle recipes. He has developed his own waffle mix, seasoned salt, maple syrup, and hot sauce. In fact, the question “Which came first, the chicken or the waffle?” has been asked. As far as White is concerned, “it doesn’t matter because one just isn’t the same without the other.” His obsession is cooking the juiciest, most flavorful fried chicken and the fluffiest, most melt-in-your-mouth waffles. This has created something of an underground soul food revolution. In addition to its famous chicken & waffles, a full menu of scratch-made soul food favorites is available. Another choice is Uncle Brotha’s Shrimp & Grits, seven fried jumbo shrimp sautéed with mushrooms, scallions, bacon, a zest of lemon, a splash of hot sauce, and topped with cheddar cheese served over a bed of grits. ABC’s Shrimp Mac & Cheese is a classic mac & cheese served with seven grilled jumbo shrimp, bacon, caramelized onions, and a homemade buttermilk biscuit.
“FOOD ISN’T JUST OUR BUSINESS; IT’S OUR LIFE” December Issue 2021 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 34
As a child, White was put to work bussing tables in his father’s and grandmother’s soul food restaurant, Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Café, still serving Southern and soul food since 1964 in Phoenix. The experience sang to White’s being, and it wasn’t long before he would start experimenting with his own recipes. White would greet guests, run back to cook the food, and then don a chicken outfit and distribute flyers to potential clients. As a young man, White first followed a dangerous path. After finding his way back, his father and grandmother gave him the opportunity to showcase what is now known as Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles on the weekends. “My grandmother made the most amazing pancakes from scratch,” explains White. “I bought a waffle iron and tried her pancake batter as a waffle. It was just as good, but I needed to make it my own, adding spices. My waffles are so delicious; you can eat them without syrup.”
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Since Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Café was closed on the weekends, White would reopen the eatery at 9 p.m. on Friday and work until the early morning hours and did this for over five years. When he opened his first brick-and-mortar, it was only 800 square feet and could only seat 20 customers and operated that restaurant for over 10 years. It started to gain traction in the community. It garnered the attention-turned-devotion of folks like Charles Barkley, Shaq, and Muhammad Ali, turning Lo-Lo’s into a destination for authentic soul food in Phoenix. As for Brunch & Sip, White and his wife wanted to create a unique brunch experience. “Food isn’t just our business; it’s our life,” explains White. “My partner in life and business is no stranger to the kitchen, either. I rely on her taste and honesty to create the recipes you see on our classic brunch menu.
December Issue 2021 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 36
...NOTHING GOES IN THIS PLACE THAT DOESN’T GET HER SEAL OF APPROVAL... If she doesn’t like a recipe, it’s back to the drawing board until I find something that’s taste-tester-approved and restaurant-ready. Nothing goes in this place that doesn’t get her seal of approval. As brunch lovers ourselves, we started to notice that restaurants seemed to compete with one another to figure out who could make the strangest variation of breakfast foods.” “So, together, we set out to build a better brunch spot, one with a menu stacked with unfussy favorites made with fresh ingredients and a whole lot of heart. We pride ourselves on cooking up soulful sweet and savory classics that taste homemade but better. Each of our menu items is made with the utmost attention to detail, from our signature biscuits and gravy to our fruit-infused butter to our spicy Bloody Marys. Our comfort classics are made for lazy Sundays, celebrations, family get-togethers, and the morning after a long night out.” Monroe’s Hot Chicken is all about the chicken Nashville style with temps from no heat to What the Cluck! Photos line the walls of his restaurants. His grandmother Elizabeth White lives in San Diego, enjoying life at age 98. His great-great-great grandparents are featured, and generational photos honor his family. His great aunt is 107 years of age, and his great uncle is 94. For more info, visit loloschickenandwaffles.com, monroeshotchicken. com, and brunchnsip.com.
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!"#$%&' WINTER 2021
AT THE CORNER OF
Decadent and Healthy by Alice Carbone Tench The holidays, and winter in general, for someone like me, who has struggled with an eating disorder most of her life, have always been a trigger, a sweet and sour treat, filled with ideals wrapped in red ribbons, Panettone and glitter, and a reality that doesn’t always match it.
Let’s start with the appetizer, Italian chicory panzerotti, my take on deep fried dough traditionally filled with mozzarella and tomato sauce, typical of the region of Puglia, where my father is from. Oh, how I still remember those rich bites from 1989, on a hot summer night in Bari, where my father aunt, Maria, lived.
Winter, to me, is synonymous with baking, with warmth and rich dishes, with lush and creamy soups, polenta, buttery cookies and cakes, tarts, caramelized nuts, warm pastry for breakfast to brighten a foggy day, or make even more magical a snowy one.
“But deep fried isn’t healthy,” you may be thinking.
“Is it worth the calories?” I ask myself, echoing Prue Leith, after each episode of the Great British Bakeoff. For even today, that I am on a journey of recovery, that I am a chef, and that I love food, culinary pleasure doesn’t always come naturally to me. In fact, there are times when I don’t think about a dish twice, others; however, when I count the calories in the flour and the butter, or in a dessert at the restaurant. Progress, I learned, not perfection. So, since I began to put together my upcoming cookbook, Eating Again (out February 2022 with Heliotrope Books), I have worked toward the creation of meals and recipes that are at once indulgent and healthy. It turns out it’s something that works miracles for both my career as a chef and a cookbook author, and my mental and physical health as a woman and a mother who wants to shield and protect her young daughter from the suffering of the past. My mission, making healthy indulgency the new black, seems to have been working magic on my Instagram community as well. And it is with pure joy that I read their stories after trying the recipes we make together, live, every Monday, on Instagram, at 5:00 pm PDT (@alicecarbonetench). So, here’s my indulgent and healthy go-to menu for a festive holiday weekend, for a romantic dinner, or a birthday celebration:
And you are right, that’s why I sauté the dough rather than dipping it in hot oil. And I substitute the cheese for another ingredient traditional of Puglia, chicory. There is something about the salty and lightly pan-fried dough and the bitter greens that is irresistible. This dish will be a crowd-pleaser, and even the little ones will ask for more. My 4-year-old daughter did, at least. Yes, she ate chicory, and I even put one in her lunch box.
“...Progress, I learned, not perfection...” Would you believe me if I tell you that at the first bite of my vegetarian Panzerotti you will fly to Italy with your imagination, first class? The main course won’t disappoint: a traditional baked pasta (pasta al forno) made with tomato sauce and the addition of fennel seed, peas, and butternut squash, as well as the dessert, another healthy play on the indulgence of winter: a (vegan) buttermilk English scone with cranberries, white chocolate, and orange zest. It is taking me a long time, but I am slowly becoming comfortable with a new concept of self-care, of indulgence, of culinary ease. And sharing it, for me, is part of the journey, one that keeps me hungry for more and fit for every new challenge.
December Issue 2021 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 40
Italian Chicory Panzerotti INSTRUCTIONS:
Drain the greens and set aside.
Cut the ends of the chicory, rinse it thoroughly and blanch it, in boiling unsalted water for a good 5 minutes. This will get rid of some of their bitterness. I always boil it in unsalted water because I like to drink the water after draining the greens. As my mother and grandmother would always remind me, in fact, that water is rich in vitamins and detoxifying. And it tastes fantastic!
Pit the olives and sauté in extra-virgin olive oil with the garlic and the capers for a few minutes in a non-stick, large skillet. With kitchen scissors, chop the long-leafed chicory, then add it to the olives and capers. Salt to taste and cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove the garlic and set aside.
Prepare the dough in a mixing bowl by combining flour, water, and salt. Form a ball and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Divide the dough in 8-9 portions. INGREDIENTS FOR 8-9 PANZEROTTI FOR THE DOUGH: 300 gr. all-purpose flour 200 ml. room temperature water 10 gr. sea salt FOR THE FILLING: 2 bunches of Italian chicory 1 clove of garlic (whole) ¼ cup olives (Taggiasca or Mediterranean olives are the best, full of flavor) 2 tbsp capers in vinegar Extra-virgin olive oil and salt to taste Salt flakes to taste
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On a floured surface roll the first portion of dough (it should be very elastic) until very thin and seethrough (as if you were making a strudel). Now brush the thin sheet with extra-virgin olive oil and add a spoonful of chicory filling. Tightly wrap the dough, delicately stretching it. Repeat for the remaining 7-8 portions. In the same skillet you have used to cook the chicory, add some extra-virgin olive oil, and cook your panzerotti until golden brown on each side, using kitchen tongues. Remove from heat and salt with salt flakes. Serve warm. These are also great the day after, simply heated up in a toaster oven, but not in the microwave.
Italian Baked Pasta (Pasta al forno) with fennel seed, Butternut Squash, and Green Peas INGREDIENTS FOR 6 PEOPLE: 500 gr. of your favorite short pasta 2 ½ cups of homemade tomato sauce (I make mine by using quality crushed tomatoes, olive oil, basil, salt, and a pinch of sugar and slowly cooking it for 2-3 hours. The longer you cook the tomato sauce, the better it will taste, and the more tomatoes will lose their acidity.) 1 tsp fennel seed 1 cup of cubed butternut squash (I cook mine cubed, in the oven, with olive oil and salt for 45-60 minutes at 400F) 1 cup organic canned peas 1 cup of vegan shredded mozzarella 2 tbsp oat milk (optional) 1 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano (or vegan parmesan cheese), grated Extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste Chili flakes (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS: Make the tomato sauce (or use store bought). You can make this ahead of time. I usually make a big batch and freeze it. Cook the butternut squash (also this can be made ahead of time, and these two vegetables can easily be substituted with green beans). Pre-heat the oven to 425 F. Grate the Parmesan cheese (either vegan or dairy) Cook the pasta al dente in boiling salted water. Take a big baking dish, add 3-4 tbsp of tomato sauce and spread it Drain the pasta and pour into the baking dish, add more tomato sauce until it reaches your desired richness, add the butternut squash, the peas (drained and rinsed), the fennel seed and the shredded mozzarella (or your favorite vegan cheese). Toss, add some oat milk to prevent from drying too much, salt to taste and top with a generous amount of grated Parmigiano. Bake for 15 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. This will make a great leftover, it can be frozen, and remember: it is all about how flavorful you tomato sauce is. December Issue 2021 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 42
INGREDIENTS FOR 6 PEOPLE: 500 gr. all-purpose flour 300 ml. almond milk 75 gr. vegan butter (frozen or very cold) 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice ¾ cup frozen cranberries 5 tbsp brown sugar + 1 tbsp for sprinkling 3 oranges (zest) 2 tsp baking soda 2 tsp cream of tartar 1 pinch of salt ¼ cup white chocolate chips 1 egg (or vegan option) for the egg wash Cinnamon to taste, ginger, and cloves to taste (optional) 1 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
INSTRUCTIONS: The first step is making the vegan buttermilk by adding the lemon juice in the almond milk and stirring. Let it curdle for 10-15 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 425 F. In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, the orange zest, and the white chocolate chips When 15 minutes have gone by, add the vanilla paste to the vegan buttermilk Take the vegan butter out of the freezer and cut it small cubes; then add to the dry ingredients.
Vegan Buttermilk English Scones with Cranberries, Orange, and White Chocolate Page 43 | Food & Beverage Magazine v December Issue 2021
Take the frozen cranberries out of the fridge and sprinkle some flour on them, then add to the dry mix with the vegan butter. Work the butter and dry mix with your fingertips until it forms small crumbs, then finally add the vegan buttermilk. Combine with your hands, but do not overwork the dough. As soon as the buttermilk has been absorbed, transfer the dough to a floured surface, lightly kneed it, and roll it out to a thickness of approximately 2 inches Start cutting out 2-inch scones (this will make 15-16) Arrange the scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush with the egg wash, sprinkle some brown sugar on each one, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 425 F. These scones need a little more time than regular English scones and won’t be as light in weight when cooked, because of the cranberries and the white chocolate in it. Allow to cool down on a rack before serving. You can freeze these, and thaw overnight.
December Issue 2021 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 44
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Page 45 | Food & Beverage Magazine v December Issue 2021
what we consider one of the highest forms of French culture: the art of conversation.”
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Original ChopShop www.originalchopstop.com
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“Eating well on a consistent basis can be challenging. Meetings, school, traffic, morning workouts, soccer practice and social
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Body. We threaded Original ChopShop together with bits and pieces of our hearts – and we think that food should not only taste good, but should make you Feel Good, too.
December Issue 2021 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 46
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THE TRUTH THAT SETS CHEFS FREE
(+ How Restaurant Owners Can Get Theirs Too) by Holly Powers-Verbeck Here’s a headline worth reading: The National Restaurant Association’s 2021 Restaurant Trends Report just came out. Sitting at number two on this list is “an overwhelming shift to off-premise dining”. While at first glance this appears to be a measure of the number of take-out meals restaurants are now make, behind this trend lies a hard truth restaurant owners and chefs alike should sit up and take notice of.
with an eye on profit margins that exceed alcohol sales can offer premiere off-premises chef services to their top clients who desire restaurant-quality dining experiences for the medium to large size inhome dining events. It’s true chefs can do this without a restaurant. It’s also true restaurateurs can use this added income stream to retain their top talent by developing their skills and creating a profit center which gives chefs the freedom of both worlds.
The Truth Will Set You Free But First It’ll Piss You Off! is a fiery phrase often attributed to Gloria Steinem (though Apostle John would argue rights to his original version). What’s certain is no one in the food and beverage space can argue, nor could anyone have predicted how prescient those words are for restaurateurs and chefs today. Here are two truths that will set restaurant owners and chefs free, right after they get over pissed off at the message.
Truth #1: Dear Restaurant Owner: Chefs Don’t Need You Anymore The truth is chefs can go out on their own. I’m not talking about restaurant ownership or commercial kitchen activities like catering, either. It’s now easier than before to freelance and make more money working as an independent chef. Not only that, the demand for domestic chef services is skyrocketing, not just as daily live-in or live-out, but as independents serving groups of clients, specializing in private events. Chefs who desire creative expression, more reasonable schedules in addition to greater appreciation and credit for their work can leave formal employment in restaurants and spend their back-breaking hours building their profits instead of yours.
Truth #2: Dear Chef: Restaurants Don’t Need You Anymore The truth is restaurant owners don’t need you, chef. They only need one chief. Their chief needs to be at least as strong in leadership, management, finances and systems, and training and accountability as they are at cooking because that’s what kitchen chiefs spend their time doing. A restaurant owner doesn’t need your creativity. If you can’t handle all the business portions of running their kitchen, they don’t need your culinary talent. They need you to cook. The restaurant owner only needs one awesome chef. The rest are cooks who are expected to show up, put up food and do their job. Restaurant owners still reading this are likely abuzz with colorful thoughts like: “Oh yeah, so you think you can run a business, chef? Then go ahead, let’s see you do it!” At the same time chefs are reeling and screaming “All my talent is going to waste in a dead-end kitchen job where the boss just needs me to flip burgers all night!” Thankfully, there’s a solution, and it will set you free. Right now the need for independent chefs is so large solutions actually exist for both restaurant owners and chefs. Chefs with an entrepreneurial spirit can freelance and go independent on their own. Keen restaurant owners
Nowadays, chefs who work in private homes enjoy a work environment that includes luxury lines of professional equipment
Holly PowersVerbeck Columnist Holly Powers-Verbeck, founded and continues to operate Lake Tahoe’s premiere culinary staffing company HeyChef! since 1997. In 2018 she formed MakeYourBusinessCook! to help chefs launch private chef businesses and guide owneroperators who want to add private chef services to create revenue beyond their restaurant walls. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
December Issue 2021 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 48
It’s the time of year for gifting and entertaining and as your readers reach for something bubbly for the holidays, I’d love to put Champagne Bollinger and Champagne Ayala on your radar. Champagne Bollinger and Champagne Ayala are both run and operated by the Bollinger family and have been creating the region’s finest champagnes for generations. These exceptional cuvees are perfect for elevating all your reader’s holiday celebrations. Whether served at a holiday party, as a housewarming gift or popped to ring in the new year, these champagnes are sure to add a touch of French elegance to your holiday fêtes.
Whether served at a holiday party, as a housewarming gift or popped to ring in the new year, these champagnes are sure to add a touch of French elegance to your holiday fêtes.
Page 49 | Food & Beverage Magazine v December Issue 2021
Champagne Ayala Brut Majeur NV SRP $55 Brut Majeur is the epitome of a non-vintage brut from a great, historic House and is the finest ambassador for the House’s freshness and elegance. A blend of Pinot Noir (40%), Chardonnay (40%) and Pinot Meunier (20%). Pinot Noir and Chardonnay bring vinosity and delicacy together in a harmoniously balanced blend. The complement of Pinot Meunier adds a touch of fruitiness and liveliness.
Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvée NV SRP $79 From vineyard to bottling, Special Cuvée sees such an extraordinary level of care and attention that it is a Champagne that stands apart. In 1911, Georges Bollinger’s British agent gave him the idea for the name Special Cuvée - “special” written the English way, without an accent. He thought the French expression “Brut sans année” was no match for such a subtle champagne. A combination of structure, length and vivacity gives way to bubbles like velvet, notes of pear and fresh walnut with brioche and spicy aromas.
Le Blanc de Blancs 2014 Champagne SRP $110 Right from the start, this wine is fresh and lively, followed by a broad and appetizing palate of white fruit and acacia honey with subtle pastry and brioche overtones. The finish is long and persistent, revealing a touch of chalky minerality, a signature of the Côte des Blancs, along with hints of grapefruit, blood orange and a delicate salinity. Ayala’s Le Blanc de Blancs 2014 is 100% Chardonnay, produced in small quantities in exceptional years only and fully expresses the superb caliber of great Chardonnay from the best Crus of the Côte des Blancs.
Champagne Bollinger R.D. 2007 SRP: $300 A signature since its inception, R.D. has had a lasting impact on the Bollinger style. This vibrant Champagne takes the pillars of what makes Champagne Bollinger so unique – mastery of time and rarity – and pushes the craft to its ultimate level. The 2007 vintage offers an extraordinary contrast of freshness and complexity from age. As an homage to that legendary first vintage edition of R.D., the newest bottling bears a redesigned label, harkening back to the original 1952 bottle edition with the same material and mythical lettering and font.
Champagne Ayala Rosé Majeur SRP $72 Rosé Majeur is the perfect embodiment of the originality and finesse of the House’s wines. Made predominantly from Chardonnay, it is crafted with the addition of a small proportion of still Pinot Noir from the best crus of the Montagne de Reims. A low dosage enables it to express the House style, both feminine and generous, with great elegance. The very high proportion of Chardonnay and the aging process result in a Champagne with remarkable finesse.
Champagne Bollinger Brut Rosé NV SRP $110 This wine begins its life with the same meticulous vineyard and harvesting processes as the Special Cuvée but diverges in the cellar with the addition of 5-6% still Pinot Noir. This small addition becomes symbolic of Bollinger’s specialty as the Pinot Noir house; the still red wine is so powerful that only half of what is normally used in a typical Rose champagne is required. The house’s signature style takes the center stage: red fruits join the wine’s conversation and dance vibrantly into a finish that has just a hint of perfectly ripe tannin and the deep complexity of the wine shines through transparently.
December Issue 2021 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 50
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Page 51 | Food & Beverage Magazine v December Issue 2021
Julia Beck of It's Working Project interviews
Reneta Jenik Foodom, Founder What is one piece of advice you wish you could offer your former, expectant self? [Reneta] The most significant lesson I learned in my life is that I choose at every moment how to look at things, how to respond and how to navigate my emotions. Learning this changed my life, the relationships with my family and all other relationships. The advice I would give to my former, expectant self is to take full responsibility on what I do, accept people the way they are with and forgive, even when it’s painful. And add to it also love and gratitude, when you are ready for it. You left a robust and thriving career - over a decade in semiconductors. Yet, you found the motivation to redirect you passion, energy and smarts to launching foodom. How did you know it was “time” to move into this brave new world of launching and running a business? Any regrets? Things you might do differently? [Reneta] In a strange way, it was like a pregnancy. In the “first trimester”, while I was still at Intel, I started to get the itch to do build something on my own. I looked around me to find inefficiencies and pain points in huge markets, something that will touch people every day in their life. One evening, I walked to the car with a friend from work. He was complaining that he has to cook dinner, and it’s already very late, and it will end up being another delivery dinner. I told him that I have a chef in my kitchen as we speak that cooks dinner for the whole week, she will be done by the time I get home, and it costs me only $150 per week. He was shocked and made me realize that there is something big here. I did a very long research on all the aspects of it, then it took me a long time to figure out how to built it. I did it before for others and felt that I was ready for the leap, to start my own startup. I saved enough money to be able to live 2 years with no income, and left Intel. I just had to do it, Foodom was growing inside of me and when the time came, I launched a no-code Alpha version to test if the model and product work. After 100 orders, I bootstrapped and invested in our MVP. The main 2 lessons I learned is that corporate jobs are always there, the door is open if you live on good terms and it’s easier to raise funds before you have a product in the market.
December Issue 2021 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 52
There is so much about foodom that strikes a postive chord and thus keeps you in the success lane. Through your vision, foodom addresses.: Personal nutrition, ease of use, reduced food waste, lower food bills, convenience for working parents and more. It is about as close to the answer to the macro and micro needs of growing families have at the moment. It also keeps a population of talenting chefs working. Wow! What are you most proud of in the way your vision is shifting the food realities of communities? I am excited to create a wide variety of healthy and delicious food on our menu, so that families can enjoy food even when they have nutrition restrictions, diets or allergies. More over, I personally believe in living healthy balanced life, and most of the dishes on the platform are designed to be healthy. We use healthy oils, and other ingredients to support this. What I am proud of is being able to support and boost people’s health and wellbeing, even if they don’t care about health. Our culinary executive and I had lots of passionate debates on what dishes to upload, should it be dishes that restaurants have on menus or dishes that my grandma and mom used to prepare. The outcome is that we have both, but we use healthy ingredients that the clients fully control and can customize it fuehrer to their needs.
You work long hours and obviously pour your dedication into all you do. It is a huge commitment, yet you look stunning and bring smarts as well as humor to the table - day in and day out. How do you reset yourself? How do you keep yourself rested and well? Thank you for your kind words! First of all, I eat Foodom’s food, and choose a clean diet, low carb and low fat. I prefer to eat vegetables, fish, and some chicken. To balance all this healthy, from time to time, I do eat a juicy burger with fries and I practice mindfulness and meditate. One thing I learned in the busy entrepreneur life is that the to-do list is endless and it’s important to put at the top what what we care about most. I call myself a minimalist entrepreneur, focus on the most important things that will get Foodom to the next milestone, and the rest drop to the bottom of the list. Then I carve out time to have quality time with my hubby, kids, friends, and spend time outdoors over the weekend to recharge. I love forest and beach therapies, and if there is not enough time, than hot tub and sauna therapy are awesome too. For workouts, I love triathlons and before the pandemic completed half Ironman. My dream is to finish a full Ironman, and I am still trying to figure out how to do that, time-wise, maybe in a few years. What were your biggest covid learnings? Though your children are teens, there is still a wild amount to do. How did you handle being a mother to four during these long months? Did you have the benefit of days off or even moment to rest? Did you feed and enjoy your friendships? How about your marriage? What is different about you now? COVID was a huge lesson for me in many ways. My kids are older and amaze me in how independent they are. They were able to adjust to the new situation relatively quickly and I noticed that they even saw some benefits in studying at home, a little less social drama and more focus on academics. They kids also developed their friendships with their friends through local communities online, which filled their socialization needs. Thinking about it, there was a lot of drama too, that they managed while being with Pjs.
I personally believe in living healthy balanced life, and most of the dishes on the platform are designed to be healthy.
The other impact was closed cafes at school and I left Intel so no cafiteria for lunch, we were on our own. I was even more motivated than ever before to get Foodom up and running faster so we can have lots of tasty food for the family, eating now at home breakfast, lunch and dinner! My dream is to create many Blue Zones around the world, helping people live long and happy life, being healthy and vibrant centenarians. The path to achieve this is by healthy great food, sourced locally and naturally, connecting the community by creating jobs for local chefs and having them cook for families, and the families doing food pods with their friends and neighbors. We have a chef come over on Tuesdays to our home and I love having friends over to connect through food, try new dishes and take with them boxes of food home to enjoy it for a few days. Last but not least, moving the body, even if just walking to a few neighbors to pick up tomatoes and zucchinis for their next meal, will boost personal wellbeing.
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Back then, when it started, I worked from home, I turned the laundry room to my office. After a few months of non stop laundry and the kids running into my office with random requests (mostly asking urgently for money), while I was on calls with investors, or in accelerators, I decided to move to a co-working space to have some piece of mind for a few hours. That worked out amazing, and I met one of our key team members in the new office. My husband kept on working regularly, very busy as usual, so it felt almost like normal days, other than being stressed when we ran out of toilet paper. Thanks to our kind community, we shared and helped each other with it.
The biggest impact on my life with the pandemic was launching our early platform for in-home chef services in March 2020, 3 days before the world shutdown. It was the one of the toughest challenges I experienced in my business life, but made a decision to keep on going, in a safe way, adjusting our operations to protect the chefs and clients and to keep on improving our product. Thinking back to your semiconductor days, was your biggest challenge as a new mother working? If not, what? That was some time ago, and the main thing that changes once the kids are out in the world is that I never stop worrying about them, it’s like a switch that turned on and broke, no way to turn it off. The main challenge was the sicknesses that the kids would pick up in day care/school and get everyone else in the house sick. I figured out a solution for that and once I started doing this, we all were less sick and if someone had fever, it hawwppened on Friday evening or over the weekend (I consider this part as magic ;-)). What I did is give everyone in the morning a teaspoon of local raw honey (that is also great to prevent allergies) and if someone would get a tickle in the through, I would add a fresh lemon squeezed and drank along with the honey. Then, I explained the kids that we are all bionic, and heal super fast. We had a few books about the human busy and the immune system as well as a TV show that showed how the immune system works, and I told them that our immune system is very strong and heals fast. They believed me. Call it plassibo, but it worked. The only time I was down since I remember myself was after I got my 2nd COVID vaccine, for 8 hours! Another big challenge was around feeding
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holiday weekend, for a romantic dinner, or a birthday celebration:
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