Food and Beverage Magazine - January Issue 2024 Celebrity Cover

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“Great wines show their full potential only with age.” Ernst Loosen, Founder, Appassionata Estate

Appassionata wines begin with passion, develop with patience, and reward you with a fully realized expression of their unique place in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. CURRENT RELEASES

2019 Allegro Pinot Noir 2017 Andante Pinot Noir 2012 Fortissimo Pinot Noir

Passion. Patience. Place. | Newberg, Oregon

JANUARY ISSUE 2024 COVER IMAGE Jason Momoa and Blaine Halvorson

Photo Credit: Renan Ozturk at Expedition Studios


We honor and remember the support of Chef Kerry Simon, Gary Cantor, Robin Leach, Chef Paul Prudhomme, & Gary Coles

Food & Beverage Magazine® is owned and published electronically by Beautiful People, LLC. Copyright 1995-2016 Beautiful People LLC. All rights reserved. Food & Beverage Magazine® and distinctive logo are trademarks owned by Beautiful People, LLC. “” is a trademark of Beautiful People, LLC. No part of this electronic magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of Food & Beverage Magazine. Requests for permission should be directed to: The information contained has been provided by such individual, event organizers or organizations. The opinion expressed in each article is the opinion of its author, organization or public relation firm. Food & Beverage Magazine is not affiliated with any other food and beverage or hospitality publication.



Contents January 2024 Inside this issue 5

Cover Feature: Jason Momoa and Blaine Halvorson


Recipes: National Popcorn Day


Trends Forecast: Three Trends Shaping Consumer Palates in 2024


International: Italian Cheeses


Trends Forecast: Adult Beverage Trends To Raise A Glass To In 2024


Beverage: Five Non Alcoholic Options For Dry January


Trends Forecast: AI Maximizes Profitability and Elevates the Dining Experience


Hospitality News: New Restaurant Spotlight: RDEN

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Event Highlight: Sommsation Wines


Hospitality News: Jenna Fredde


Chef of the Month: Chef Thomas Ricci


Chef Highlight: John Delucie


Industry News: Food Equipment Representatives


Industry News: Trends Shaping the Food and Beverage Industry in 2024


Hospitality News: The Marquis in Park City, UTAH,


Editor’s Top Pick Products to Watch 2024


Brand Cover Feature: Where to Eat and Drink at Durango Resort




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AN EXTRAORDINARY VODKA WITH A STORY IN EVERY SIP. As the vodka market has continued to grow, its reputation as a flavorless spirit intended for mixing has remained the same. Typically, the taste is described as bitter or briny in character, making Meili even more of an anomaly. Meili, pronounced MAY-lee, is guaranteed to change the way people perceive vodka. Made to be enjoyed neat, the quality and purity of the ingredients used produce an unexpected sweetness. Inspired by the storytelling aspect and lore behind moonshine, longtime friends Jason Momoa and Blaine Halvorson set out on a journey to create a vodka with its own narrative that they could genuinely enjoy drinking. “In the past 5 to 10 years, tequila and whiskey have expanded and we wanted to put vodka into that category of sipping alcohol,” said Halvorson. “We saw it as a great opportunity to disrupt a stagnant market.” The fact that vodka is 60 percent water was also a significant factor in their decision to forego making

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a different type of spirit. Momoa and Halvorson liked the challenge and complexity of not being able to hide behind the ingredients because when it comes to vodka — water is everything. Long before Momoa got into filmography and landed the role of Aquaman, he was an advocate for taking care of the environment and keeping the oceans clean. This made it all the more meaningful that water is the foundation upon which Meili was built. SEARCHING FOR THE SOURCE. Partnering with one of the world’s top expedition leaders, Momoa and Halvorson traveled the globe from Antarctica to Greenland to Chile, studying countless iconic water sources to determine what made them unique. They worked through thousands of iterations, testing the minerality and discovering how it interacted with their homegrown grains. Amidst their search for this H20 unicorn, Halvorson’s father called to tell them he had discovered an amazing body of water not far

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HAVING RACKED UP HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF MILES FLYING TO COUNTLESS DESTINATIONS, IT FELT BOTH IRONIC AND SERENDIPITOUS THAT WHAT THEY HAD BEEN LOOKING FOR ALL ALONG WAS A SHORT HIKE AWAY FROM THE PLACE WHERE BLAINE GREW UP. from their home in Montana. He was adamant it was really something special and insisted they come out to see it for themselves. So, that’s exactly what the two friends did. It was 15 degrees below zero the day Momoa and Halvorson arrived and yet the water wasn’t frozen. It flowed freely and appeared breathtakingly pure — like something straight out of Avatar. They found themselves staring at this 300 million year old aquaphor with a temperature that remains 52 degrees year round. At one point, it leads to a limestone shelf that houses a small pool where the water comes to the surface. After doing more research, Momoa and Halvorson realized there are only two water sources in North America that the EPA allows to be consumed without any treatment or testing and this aquaphor was one of them. Its mineral composition was completely unique. It was higher in calcium and sulfur compared to most of the waters they had seen and the sodium level (or non-existence of it) put this water on a totally different spectrum. “It’s the only water source we found without sodium and after proofing it with our grains, we knew we had the magic,” said Halvorson. “The combination of this salt-free water with our single distillation process lets all of the sugars from our locally sourced ingredients come through, resulting in a beautiful sweet note at the end of every sip — something we couldn’t achieve with any of the alternative water sources.” Having racked up hundreds of thousands of miles flying to countless destinations, it felt both ironic and serendipitous that what they had been looking for all along was a short hike away from the place where Blaine grew up. It’s extremely rare to have water that doesn’t require any filtration. Momoa and Halvorson are extremely grateful they were able to locate this ideal water source that acts as the foundation of Meili. Page 9 | Food & Beverage Magazine v January Issue 2024

EQUAL PARTS PASSION AND PURPOSE. The journey to create the best vodka on the planet began seven years ago. Much of the beauty in Meili lies in the brand voice and the story Momoa and Halvorson are aiming to tell. The two have always shared an obsession with the process and craftsmanship of making things; the ethos behind it all. Delving into how something is constructed and what makes it unique brings out the best in both of them. While Halvorson tends to be the behindthe-scenes builder and mad scientist, Momoa thrives at putting experiences into words in a way that resonates and inspires. “We’re two creators passionate about art, storytelling, epic adventures, and a deep love and respect for our planet,” stated Momoa. “Meili seamlessly combines all of these elements to produce a vodka that tastes great!” Meili is a result of a vision for a better vodka, a conviction to never settle, and an unbreakable brotherly bond. It is a one of a kind spirit that tells a narrative of the importance of water while inviting others to delight in its flavor palate while telling their own tales. From day one, Momoa and Halvorson took their time and made sure everything was done the way they had initially intended. Without a big corporation or investors backing them up, they were like artists with a completely blank slate embracing every layer of learning and creating together.


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As two friends who made a lot of stuff and shared in countless adventures over the course of our lives, Jason and I weren’t going to bring Meili to light until it was exactly the way we wanted it,” said Halvorson. “A major part of our vision always included delivering a vodka with superior taste and sustainable packaging — and that’s exactly what we accomplished.” In addition to the pleasing flavor, Meili’s packaging is just as impressive. Made from 100% recycled glass, no two bottles are alike. Ranging in all shades of green and presenting a variety of textures, they are more than a vessel for holding vodka — they are truly works of art. In fact, the initial mold for the first Meili bottle was carved out of the trunk of a cherry tree. And every bottle produced since then has been made with the same level of craftsmanship and attention to detail. On a mission to change the way people perceive vodka, Meili is best enjoyed neat as this allows the quality and purity of the ingredients used to truly shine. And without being too preachy, it is a spirit that leaves a small ecological footprint in the hopes of organically fostering an environmental consciousness paired with a focus of

valuing experiences over things. Whether it’s sipping on a glass of Meili vodka, seeking more eco-friendly habits or scaling a mountain; the three concepts are intertwined. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE MISSING. For those who haven’t tried Meili, it is not your typical vodka! This standalone spirit is so easy and delightful to drink — no rubbing alcohol flavor or burn. Additionally, it is a certified gluten-free spirit without any unwanted additives and all the desired taste. Momoa and Halvorson gladly invite you to put Meili to the test as it continues pleasantly surprising palates one sip at a time. The blind tasting results speak for themselves. Meili has been submitted to a number of competitions worldwide and has done extremely well. It won triple gold in London, two golds in New York, one gold in Chicago, and received two CENTURY 100 point scores at the PR%F Awards in Las Vegas! From the ingredients all the way to the bottle, Meili is revolutionizing vodka.


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“I am so proud and grateful to have been able to create Meili with Jason, knowing we never compromised or cut corners,” said Halvorson. “This was not a race. It was a passion. And to be able to take a sip of the final product and know we stayed true to ourselves and our initial intent is incredible.” “I’m really thankful to be on the journey with my best friend,” added Momoa. “It’s taken us seven years to develop and create Meili. I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished in our first year and excited for what’s to come.” In an effort to give others the opportunity to discover Meili, the vodka has successfully launched on a global scale. Not surprisingly, it has been extremely well received and continues to sell out in Jamaica where they endearingly refer to it as “white scotch.” Although it was made to be a sipping alcohol, Meili possesses the innate ability to elevate any mixed drink and react beautifully with a wide array of foods. Any way you pour it, you can’t go wrong. Meili is a representation of the purity of discovery and the spirit of exploration. Every ingredient is purveyed with the utmost quality and character in mind. Handcrafted by friends and made to be shared, the inception of this vodka was inspired by the journey along with those met along the way. The only question left to ask is: Where will Meili take you? Learn more about the Meili story and places to purchase this product at Momoa and Halvorson have been traveling across the United States on their Meili tour. If you happen to be in New York, Florida or Pennsylvania, keep an eye out for them in January. They love having the chance to meet with Meili fans, swapping stories and sharing experiences.

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For National Popcorn Day on January 19th, here are two featured recipes highlighting leading popcorn innovator Candy Pop with their best-selling utterfinger avor profile. Available nationwide at stores like almar, roger, Target and Publix, as well as



½ cup unsalted butter, softened 2 cups packed brown sugar 2 large eggs ½ cup creamy peanut butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 cups all purpose flour ½ cup heavy whipping cream 1 ¼ cups chocolate chips 2 cups of crushed Butterfinger Candy Pop

Mixing bowl Spatual Baking Dish Small saucepan Sealed container

Directions Preheat the oven to 350°. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter until creamy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt and beat again. Stir together the baking powder and flour and slowly add to the butter mixture until incorporated. Add the crushed Butterfinger Candy Pop and stir by hand gently. Spread the batter into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 22-23 minutes. Do not over bake. Remove and let cool completely. Pour the whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips until melted and creamy. Spread over the top of the cooled blonde brownies. Let set before cutting into bars. Store in a sealed container on the counter. Makes 24 blonde brownies. Garnish with extra pieces of Butterfinger Candy Pop and enjoy! Page 15 | Food & Beverage Magazine v January Issue 2024



3/4 cup vanilla milk (dairy or nondairy) 1 Tbsp. chia seeds 1 small/medium banana, frozen 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder 1/4–1/2 of a ripe avocado 1 tsp. instant coffee granules (optional) 2 Tbsp. chocolate or vanilla protein powder (optional)

Blender Glass mug

Topping: Whipped Cream Handful of Candy Pop Butterfinger flavor

Directions Place all ingredients into any standard blender and blend until smooth. Add whipped cream and Candy Pop as topping and drink immediately or place in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to allow it to thicken up even more!

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ARTICLE BY MANDY SAVEN, content director at trends and insights experts Stylus

THREE TRENDS SHAPING CONSUMER PALATES IN 2024 Consumers’ experiences of flavour will be hurtled into unfamiliar realms in the new year, as brands and product developers explore new tech-fuelled possibilities. However, while the excitement of a tech-driven tomorrow beckons, it is essential for brands to remember that their consumers will only want to take a limited degree of risk when it comes to their (ever shrinking) grocery and dining spend. The magic formula will be in presenting novel ingredients in conventional formats, or using familiar flavours in surprising ways. This piece highlights three future-facing trends shaping flavour and ingredient advancements in the year ahead, and beyond.


The AI Food Revolution Artificial intelligence (AI) across the food & beverage market was valued at $7bn in 2023, and is set to reach $35bn by 2028 – and it’s already solving myriad food challenges. As we head into 2024, AI is becoming an indispensable ally for product developers, brands and home cooks alike. Looking forward, the AI toolbox will play a major role in finding solutions to sustainability concerns. You can already see this in action with French dairy giant Bel Group and AI start-up Climax Foods, which are conjuring plant-based dairy alternatives that rival the genuine article’s desirable taste and texture. When it comes to home cooks, AI could be used to enhance and improve everyday routines and rituals. Seergrills’ AI-powered grill already cooks the perfect steak in two minutes, making it an efficient and satisfying addition to the consumer’s culinary arsenal. AI’s potential within the food & beverage world doesn’t stop there. In 2024, expect to see it employed in the fight against food waste as a tool to authenticate ingredients and ensure food safety.

Image credit: Seergrills, Perfecta™

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Importantly, creative brands should see AI as a collaborative tool, as it brings exciting opportunities for product developers, creative strategists and even packaging designers to come together to create unprecedented outcomes.


Extreme Edibles

Thanks to extraordinary leaps in science and tech, tomorrow’s menu will be unpredictable, inventive and provocative. To this end, sometimes it pays to look back to look forward. Enter the age of ‘woolly mammoth meatballs’, which are produced in a lab using protein extracts from the extinct species. While these edibles may not appeal to all consumer palates, those wishing to experience novel ingredients and flavours will be thrilled to try this type of rare delicacy. Which other extinct species will be next on the menu? Will dodo burgers soon be a Deliveroo order away? Although these cutting-edge developments are certain to keep product developers on their toes, it’s imperative for all players here to keep their moral compasses in check. Ethics, values and eco-alignment must always play core roles in new product development. Next year, we must also pay close attention to climate-threatened ingredients that need to be future-proofed. To this end, consumers may need to stretch their taste preferences towards new and overlooked edibles. For instance, crops that can survive under conditions of extreme heat might become our go-to ingredients for meals and snacks, and we may need to train ourselves to enjoy alternative wines that use climate-hardy grapes. Whether you’re a brand operating in the food and drink space or beyond, the availability and integrity of ingredients will be something you cannot ignore as we move forward – but this in itself brings countless opportunities to satisfy consumer desire for novel taste experiences. So embrace the changes ahead.

Image credit: Aico Lind

The consumer of 2024 faces tempestuous financial times, which will call for a nuanced reconsideration of spend when it comes to groceries and dining. The very real fear, of course, is that concerns over affordability will become more front-of-mind than concerns around sustainability, nudging individuals to look after their pockets, but not the environment.


The Considered Consumer

Brands have the power to empower individuals to adhere to both their ethical and financial priorities with values-driven product lines that are also good value. Unfortunately, we don’t see enough of this type of innovation on-shelf. Providing a modicum of joy in troubled times, levelled-up micro-treats are appealing to the cost-conscious consumer as they seek a moment of indulgence and escapism within the framework of an otherwise conservative ‘basket spend’. Happily, ownbrand and private-label products from budget and high-end supermarkets alike are providing plenty of opportunities for moderated indulgence that doesn’t break the bank. Think crispy, crunchy, popcorn-infused chocolate slabs, and luxury puddings that bring charm and artistry to the festive meal. For brands operating at a premium level, monied consumers are also keen to splurge on decadent food and drink products that tick the ethical and eco boxes. Yet, there is still room for higher-end brands to make themselves more accessible to a wider group of consumers with diffusion lines, competitive pricing, and even limited-edition collaborations that provide a fun entry point into the brand itself.

Image credit: Jack Sparrow, Pexels

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Exploring the Rich Tapestry of Italian Cheeses Italy is a country with an agricultural vocation where the production of milk and its transformation into cheese have always played a central role in the nutrition of every family, in particular the less wealthy ones. This has meant that a deeply rooted dairy culture has developed throughout the peninsula. There are approximately 487 types of cheeses in Italy and they can be classified in different ways: depending on the milk used, the fat content, the consistency of the paste, the type of rind they are made of and the maturing process.

HERE IS A BRIEF EXPLANATION BASED ON THE TYPE OF MILK USED YOU HAVE: Cow’s milk cheeses Pecorino cheeses with sheep’s milk Goat cheeses with goat’s milk Buffalo cheeses with buffalo milk Mixed cheeses when they are produced with milk type mixtures BASED ON THE HEAT TREATMENT OF THE MILK WE HAVE: Raw milk cheeses, such as Parmigiano Reggiano Pasteurized milk cheeses, such as Gorgonzola or Squacquerone di Romagna Based ON THE CONSISTENCY OF THE PASTA, WHICH WE WILL SEE BELOW, WE HAVE: Soft cheeses Semi-hard cheeses Hard cheeses BASED ON THE FAT CONTENT WE HAVE: Fatty cheeses, for example Bitto, Dolomiti or Casolet Semi-fat cheeses, such as Asiago Low-fat cheeses, such as ricotta BASED ON THE PASTA PROCESSING TEMPERATURE WE HAVE: Raw cheeses, such as robiola or Taleggio Semi-cooked cheeses, such as Fontina Cooked cheeses, for example Montasio, Piave or Bitto

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BASED ON THE PASTA MANUFACTURING PROCESS WE HAVE: Blue cheeses, such as Gorgonzola Stretched curd cheeses, such as mozzarella, scamorza and Caciocavallo Pressed cheeses, such as Canestrato from Puglia or Raschera Melted cheeses, such as thin cheeses DEPENDING ON THE TYPE OF CRUST YOU WILL HAVE: Flowery rind cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert Washed rind cheeses, such as Taleggio Smoked cheeses BASED ON THE MATURING TIMES YOU WILL HAVE: Fresh cheeses, such as crescenza and goat’s cheeses Medium-mature cheeses Slowly ripened cheeses Soft cheeses Soft cheeses are those whose water content exceeds 45%. Therefore, during production, the curd was not subjected to heating or pressure, obtaining a soft and smooth cheese even when fully matured and therefore with a relatively high water content, between 45% and 70%. They are usually lightly matured cheeses. Among these we find Stracchino, Crescenza, Quartirolo, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Casatella, Formaggella, Squacquerone and Caciotta

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF TYPICAL CHEESES PRODUCED IN SPECIFIC REGIONS OF ITALY Lombardy: Gorgonzola Gorgonzola is a famous blue cheese originating from the northern region of Lombardy. It comes in two varieties: Gorgonzola Dolce (sweet and creamy) and Gorgonzola Piccante (strong and crumbly). Piedmont: Castelmagno Castelmagno is a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) cheese produced in the alpine region of Piedmont. It is a semi-hard cheese with a strong flavor and is often used in traditional Piedmontese recipes. Veneto: Asiago Asiago is a cow’s milk cheese produced primarily in the Veneto region. It comes in two varieties: Asiago Pressato (young and mild) and Asiago d’Allevo (aged and flavorful). Emilia-Romagna: Parmigiano-Reggiano Parmigiano-Reggiano, often referred to as the “King of Cheeses,” is a hard, granular cheese produced in the Emilia-Romagna region. It has a rich, nutty flavor and is widely used in Italian cuisine. Provolone: It is the string cheese with a greater variety of shapes and weight than any other dairy product. However, the four typical shapes are: salami, melon/pear, truncated cone and flask. The two main types are: sweet with the use of calf rennet and maturation no longer than 2/3 months. Spicy with use of kid rennet paste aged from three months to a year. Both of these variants can be smoked, generating interesting combinations of flavor and aroma. The larger wheels are matured for longer, even for more than a year.

Attilio Borra Chef, Food Advisor, Editorialist Passion moves the world and other stars, and it is precisely the passion that over the years has led Chef Attilio Borra to commit himself with dedication and professionalism to the world of food. Born in Puglia, the “hill” of the Italian boot, since he was a child, as often happens, he got immediately involved with the food activity thanks to his family and his mother. They reveal to him the aromas and flavors of Mediterranean cuisine within the walls of the house and on the stalls of the local fresh market; so among the scents of the homemade tomato sauce, the fragrance of the fresh orecchiette, the crunchiness of nonna’s famous meatballs, and a good pasticciotto with custard and black cherry, Chef Attilio began his great journey. He was still a teenager when he left his home for the first time to move in Belgium, first to Antwerp and then to Brussels, to gain experience in international restaurants. At the age of 18 he then landed in the United States where he completed his college studies in LA. and started to work in Italian restaurants bringing know-how but above all his culture, creativity, and innovation in the dishes he prepared. It was precisely the desire to innovate and to study new recipes that led him to notice the changing in the food industry and consequently in the eating habits of the consumers. So, after 35 years behind the kitchens, at the age of 50, he decided to go back to school, to further deepened his culinary studies. He graduated and specialized on: Gluten Free Baking, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Food preservation. Today he’s a private Chef and a consultant for several Italian producers but most importantly he’s an Ambassador of the Italian Cuisine in the world and a Qualified Expert on Health food, Nutritional Aspects and Cooking Techniques. He’s been very active domestically by been a speaker at conferences and seminars to raise awareness among the audience. It was 2 years ago that his path crossed the F&B magazine, and their common ideas and initiative on food were shown through the activity on the social network ClubHouse. Today Chef Attilio is also an editorialist of the magazine, this column is a great opportunity to share with all the readers his passion. He will explore with you the various aspects of food that make it such a unique and special experience: the importance of passion, origins, nutrition, tradition and unique ingredients in creating a memorable dining experience. His favorite quote is: “Food is an essential part of our daily life. It is not only a source of nourishment, but also a mean of expression, culture and tradition. When I cook I speak a universal language that connects people from different parts of the world. A good meal can evoke emotions, memories and experiences that last a lifetime.”

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Tuscany: Pecorino Toscano Pecorino Toscano is a sheep’s milk cheese from Tuscany. It has a firm texture and a savory, slightly salty taste. It is often enjoyed on its own or grated over pasta dishes. Lazio: Pecorino Romano Pecorino Romano is a hard, salty sheep’s milk cheese originating from the Lazio region. It has a tangy flavor and is a key ingredient in classic Roman dishes like cacio e pepe. Campania: Buffalo Mozzarella Buffalo Mozzarella, made from the milk of water buffaloes, is a staple in the Campania region. It is known for its soft, creamy texture and is often used in Caprese salads and Neapolitan pizza. Puglia: Mozzarella fior di latte Made from exclusively from cow milk of this region, this mozzarella is rich in flavor and it has a unique milky taste when eaten raw. It’s often combined with tomatoes for a delicious caprese, it is also cooked for a delicious chicken dish and used as topping on a pizza or inside a panzerotto. Calabria: Caciocavallo Caciocavallo is a semi-hard cheese produced in various Southern Italian regions, including Calabria. It has a smooth texture and is often used in cooking or enjoyed on its own.

aging process. The cheese is often enjoyed on its own or grated over dishes.

THE ROLE OF CHEESE IN ITALIAN CULINARY TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS CHEESE AS A SYMBOL OF REGIONAL IDENTITY, MANY STORIES AND LEGENDS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH SPECIFIC ITALIAN CHEESES, ONE OF MY FAVORITE IT INVOLVES ONE OF THE GREATEST INVENTOR OF ALL TIME: Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius of the Renaissance, with a strong talent in every field and among these the kitchen could not be missing. His mother Caterina, married an old retired pastry chef, who teaches Leonardo about sweets and prepare them. Having arrived in Milan, at the Sforza court his good taste for the table and his style did not escape Ludovico il Moro who commissioned him to direct the court banquets. Leonardo Da Vinci, as a good inventor, thought of using the technology to improve dishes and he did so by applying it in the castle kitchens of the Sforza family through the use of machinery and tools for peeling, chopping, slicing.

Sicily: Pecorino Siciliano Pecorino Siciliano is a sheep’s milk cheese from Sicily. It has a strong, tangy flavor and a crumbly texture. It is used in Sicilian cuisine, especially in pasta dishes and salads.

In 1489 in the town of Tortona, at the time under the Duchy of Milan, there was the banquet for the wedding between Isabella D’Aragona and Gian Galeazzo Sforza, nephew of Ludovico il Moro, Duke of Milan. According to the latest studies on the subject, the noble bride was “La Gioconda”, she posed for the famous painting also called Mona Lisa.

Sardinia: Fiore Sardo Fiore Sardo is a traditional sheep’s milk cheese from Sardinia. It has a smoky flavor due to the use of fire-dried molds during the

The exceptional master of ceremonies of the banquet was indeed Leonardo da Vinci, and it was precisely his extraordinary genius to include the Montèbore cheese as the master piece for the

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ceremony which for this occasion he gave a wedding cake shape. A rare cheese made from raw cow’s and sheep’s milk. The name of this cheese Montebore, comes from a small town in Val Curone, on the watershed between the valleys of the Grue torrent and the Borbera river. For centuries produced and exported to Genoa and Lombardy, practically all traces of it had been lost. In 1999 the Slow Food Presidium tracked down Carolina Bracco, the last custodian of the traditional dairy technique, recovering the ancient processing technique, which has now been passed on to the producer Roberto Grattone of the Cooperativa Vallenostra. The precious recipe is now in the exclusive hands of Grattone and his wife Agata Marchesotti: «We are the only producers in the world». It is impossible not to thank the visionary thinking of Leonardo da Vinci in the recovery of this tasty tradition.

have been integrated into the industry to enhance productivity while maintaining quality.

In the past, cheese production in Italy was often characterized by small-scale, artisanal methods. Different regions developed their own unique cheese varieties using traditional techniques that were passed down through generations. These methods focused on using locally sourced milk and natural ingredients.

Ongoing research and innovation in the field of agriculture and dairy science contribute to more sustainable cheese production. This includes exploring alternative energy sources, developing more eco-friendly packaging, and finding ways to optimize resource use in the production process.

With the advent of industrialization and globalization, there was a shift towards more standardized and commercialized cheese production. Large-scale factories began to produce cheeses in larger quantities, often sacrificing some of the traditional artisanal qualities. This led to concerns about the loss of regional diversity and unique flavors.

It’s important to note that the specific changes can vary among different cheese varieties and producers. The focus on sustainability in the Italian cheese industry reflects broader global trends towards environmentally conscious and socially responsible practices in food production.

In response to concerns about maintaining the authenticity and quality of Italian cheeses, the government introduced various quality regulations. The Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) labels were established to protect traditional products and ensure they were produced in specific regions using traditional methods. These designations help consumers identify and appreciate authentic Italian cheeses. Technology has played a role in improving efficiency and quality in cheese production. Modern equipment and techniques, such as automated milking machines and temperature-controlled storage,

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the environmental impact of agriculture and food production, including cheese production. Many Italian cheese producers are adopting more sustainable practices, infact some cheese producers have transitioned to organic farming practices, avoiding synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Efforts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in cheese production processes include strategies to reduce waste, such as using by-products for other purposes or composting.

I hope you enjoyed this journey into the world of Italian cheeses, as always I encourage you to let me know if you have suggestions or food related topics you want to know more about, so write me at As always until next time, I see you in the Kitchen.

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Fiorucci’s handcrafted, authentic Italian flavors have made life taste beautiful for over 170 years. For more information, contact:

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By Nichole Simpson,

SVP Business Development and Customer Leadership, Advantage Unified Commerce, Chicago, IL

It’s officially the holiday season – a time when adult beverages flow a bit more frequently. It’s also a time when those of us who think about the adult beverage category more deeply consider the trends that are worth raising a glass to in 2024, as well as the potential pitfalls ahead we need to navigate soberly. Here are just a few trendlines unfolding next year and beyond.

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MILLENNIALS ARE BRINGING SEXY BACK: For younger demographics, the trend is toward ‘premiumization’ – a focus on creating an upscale experience. Cocktails are one crucial component of the whole experience they’re going for. Believe it or not, a lot of millennials consider themselves to be foodies, and are looking to bring back an old-school sense of panache to their drinking. They’re thoughtfully pairing meals with wines and cocktails. Social media influencers have helped drive this idea of drinking as a signifier of sophistication and lifestyle. Bottom line: These consumers are looking for reasons to get dressed up again, and when they go out they take ownership of the moment with their friends and family. Look for the future of the food and beverage category to evolve into a sexier space than it used to be thanks mostly to a younger generation of consumers.

DIFFERENT KIND OF MIXING: In 2024, you’ll see more consumers going out for ‘drinks’ but alternating between alcoholic drinks, mocktails, CBD or cannabisinfused beverages, and maybe an energy drink if they feel sluggish. This kind of back-and-forth drinking stems in many ways from consumers wanting the experience of having drinks out with friends, but not always centering that around feeling buzzed. Bottom Line: The lines between beverage and alcoholic beverages have become more blurred than they have in the past. Customers are looking for that differentiation, but focusing more on enhanced hydration, complex flavors, and calming and mental health elements, and they have started to balance out the two and use them simultaneously together.

SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER MATTER. CONNOISSEURS LESS SO: Until recently, adult beverage retailers would put a lot of value in the opinions of tastemakers who would issue their yearly rankings of best wines, beers, spirits, etc. Brands that scored high were likely to find their way to retailer’s shelves. But this next generation of drinkers doesn’t appreciate that kind of curation. They want to try as many types of cocktails as possible, and they don’t rely on anybody else’s opinion. Whatever they like, they like, and that’s what they buy. Right now, social media influencers have as much influence as ‘experts’ who have spent years understanding the particular nuances of adult beverages, particularly in wine and spirits. Bottom line: Retail buyers might want to consider brands that are trending on TikTok, as well as what Wine Connoisseur magazine says when deciding what brands to feature on their shelves. Be cognizant of lifestyles, emerging food and drink trends, and signals that you’re getting from consumers. And don’t forget, the younger consumer is more passionate about what they like and wants to tell everybody in their social circles about it.

CELEBS INVESTORS RESONATE: Casamigos tequila, co-owned by George Clooney, is probably the best recent example of the value a celebrity can bring to a brand. But there’s a difference between what Clooney is doing with the brand, and simply having a celeb appear in an ad campaign. Look around the industry and you see that the celebrity partnerships that succeed long-term are the ones where those involved are more than just a spokesperson – think Ryan Reynolds’ Aviator Gin, Francis Ford Coppola’s wines, or Bethenny Frankel’s SkinnyGirl line. Bottom line: It all comes down to purpose – is it something the celebrity is personally invested in, literally and figuratively, or is the brand putting a celeb’s name on it and hoping it sells? People don’t connect with the latter anymore; they see through that and decide pretty fast if this is something they would like to drink.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, A LOT OF MILLENNIALS CONSIDER THEMSELVES TO BE FOODIES, AND ARE LOOKING TO BRING BACK AN OLD-SCHOOL SENSE OF PANACHE TO THEIR DRINKING. THEY’RE THOUGHTFULLY PAIRING MEALS WITH WINES AND COCKTAILS SELTZERS STILL NOT FLAT: If you walk the flavored seltzer aisle you might be tempted to think this product category is maxed out, but probably not, although it certainly has a lot of attention right now. Bottom line: If your marketing is clever, and your taste and flavor profile are on point, along with a correct price point, brands can find success.

VALUES STILL MATTER: Consumers, particularly younger ones, care about where they spend their money. They want to support brands that align with their values on issues like sustainability, employee safety, and the politics of the CEO. All of it is fair game for consideration when making purchasing decisions. Bottom line: Brands that have a compelling story to tell in the area should consider ways to communicate that, particularly on social media. Those that do not shouldn’t pretend to.

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Free AF Drinks Free AF Drinks is paving the way for a new generation of individuals who are interested in exploring a different relationship with alcohol. With their mission to create a conversation and community for the sober curious, Free AF Drinks seeks to normalize an alcohol-free lifestyle. Additionally, they are providing a range of nonalcoholic drinks that offer a delicious, sophisticated, and adult option.Free AF flavors include: Cucumber G&T, Paloma, Aperol Spritz, Vodka Spritz, Cuba Libre, Free AF tasting pack (6 pack online exclusive) and Free AF variety pack (12 pack). For 2024, they introduce their new Rosé flavor, as the brand expansion continues. Free AF Sparkling Rosé is a ready-to-drink, non-alcoholic sparkling wine which was created to match the crisp and light taste profile of a dry sparkling rosé with fragrant, fruity and floral undertones. Unlike other non-alcoholic wines on the market, Free AF’s Sparkling Rosé is crafted differently. The sober curious movement has been gaining momentum in recent years, with more individuals opting to reduce or eliminate alcohol from their lives. Free AF Drinks recognizes the importance of supporting this growing community and aims to create a safe and inclusive space for them to connect and share their experiences. By fostering a conversation around sobriety and offering resources, Free AF Drinks hopes to inspire and empower individuals to explore alternative ways of socializing and enjoying beverages. Now available nationwide at SPROUTS and via Amazon. Follow @sobercurious_AF on instagram and #AFDrinks

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Caliwater Caliwater launched its newest, official third flavor, Watermelon in late 2023, and continues to innovate. Caliwater has grown tremendously since coming to market in Spring of 2021 with its two signature flavors Ginger & Lime and Wild Prickly Pear. Their newest hydrating and refreshing flavor, Watermelon, available directly on their website ( and Amazon as well as national retailers around the country like Bevmo and Bristol Farms. Caliwater is defined by a drive to create innovative, fresh functional beverages that connect us to the Earth and to one another. Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit, known for its rare and potent healthful properties, is brought to life in this RTD canned beverage product, which is not only delicious and organic, but super hydrating, refreshing, and filled with rare antioxidants and digestion benefits. Prickly pear is full of antioxidants which research shows provide a myriad of health and wellness benefits. Early studies have shown evidence of the decrease in cholesterol, specifically LDL (bad) cholesterol. The study showed overall levels dropping significantly. Some research also indicates that prickly pear may provide a complementary solution to regulating blood sugar levels, by decreasing regular blood sugar. Prickly pear cactus has natural antiviral properties, and research has found that it has antiviral activity against viral and respiratory diseases, as well as protecting nerve cells. Follow @caliwater on instagram.


KIN Euphorics Untap good clean energy. Non-alcoholic and gently caffeinated Kin Spritz is infused with adaptogens, nootropics, and botanics like Rhodiola Rosea, 5-HTP, and Gaba to elevate your mood, smooth out stress, and offer a boost of energy. Gluten Free and Non Alcoholic, with three key flavors. Kin Spritz: A uniquely non alcoholic spirit for anytime. Sparkling hibiscus and refreshing citrus with a ginger kick — a bitter, tart, and herbaceous spritz of refreshment. For best effects, sip socially. Kin Bloom: Rosé-inspired summer in a can—without the alcohol. It evokes nostalgia and warmer days spent watching the sunset from a picnic blanket, dancing with wildflowers in hand, or empowering conversations under the stars with kindred spirits. Kin Lightwave: A smooth and sparkling blend of lavender-vanilla, smoked sea salt, apple, ginger, clove and birch root that resembles a spiced herbaceous ginger beer. Ready to drink and best served chilled. Follow @kineuphorics January Issue 2024 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 30


Peroni 0.0% Italian Beer leading brand Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% Non Alcoholic Beer is crafted with their superior Italian ingredients including signature Nostrano dell’Isola Maize – grown exclusively for us in the north of Italy – to create the same uplifting Italian taste now at 0.0% alcohol. The American style lager from Italy launched a non-alch version that has been growing in popularity, offering great taste and beer flavoring, without it being actual beer. Available nationwide, retailers such as Total Wines and Target all carry this. Sold as a 6 pack, for approx 10.99. Follow @peroniusa


hiyo is a long overdue alternative to alcohol. While alcohol seems familiar, the substance’s negative consequences are rarely vocalized, but often felt. For Hiyo, their longing for a non-alcoholic alternative comes from personal experience with family members, which caused them to create their brand. “We wanted to help change the world—specifically, the world’s relationship with alcohol. So we created a social tonic that provided a similar stress-relieving, mood-boosting effect that people usually seek from alcohol, but from healthy, functional ingredients instead.” Their non-alcoholic blackberry lemon seltzer is a flavor journey for the bold! Rich blackberry packs a punch as zesty lemon notes round out this complex profile. Appeasing the pickiest of palates, even the wine enthusiasts will be impressed. crafted with organic adaptogens, natural nootropics, and functional botanicals, hiyo provides a stressrelieving, mood-boosting lift they like to call “the float.” Available at The Vitamin Shoppe and a slew of wellness retailers nationwide. Follow @drinkhiyo

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AI Maximizes Profitability and Elevates the Dining Experience When people think about AI, restaurants are not top of mind. However, smart technology is sparking a renaissance in the restaurant sector. AI and automation are spearheading a transformation that enhances efficiency, streamlines operations, and elevates customer experiences. From inventory management to customer-facing services, technology gives operators limitless opportunities to revolutionize their business.

Managing Inventory Inflation and rising prices are chipping away at restaurant profits; nine in ten operators say food costs are a significant issue for their businesses. Meanwhile, the industry loses $25 billion to wasted food every year. AI provides datadriven insights to manage food inventory effectively, minimize waste, and maximize profitability. AI-powered restaurant technology analyzes historical information, customer trends, and market fluctuations to forecast demand, allowing restaurants to anticipate shifts and optimize ingredient inventory. By leveraging continuous market monitoring, restaurants can implement dynamic menu pricing to capitalize on demand and ingredient costs. These prices are informed by accurate and up-to-date information rather than hunches and gut feelings, enabling restaurants to capture value. Inventory management systems with AI capabilities track expiry dates, stock levels, and upcoming promotions to optimize ingredient economy. The solution can also automate food ordering to avoid stockout and overstock situations. Adopting this technology yields immediate results, with restaurants saving about $8 for every dollar invested in food waste reduction. AI also helps restaurants deal with supply chain issues by enabling real-time shipment tracking. With advanced warning of delays, staff can adapt menus, adjust orders, or take other proactive steps to reduce the business impact. Page 33 | Food & Beverage Magazine v January Issue 2024

Improving Operational Efficiency Automation can reduce operational costs by 5-9% and boost efficiency by 30%. Self-ordering kiosks and robotic food runners can automate customer transactions and food delivery, allowing employees to spend time on higher-value work like customer service and food preparation. Operators can use AI to streamline back-of-house administrative tasks, such as accounting and scheduling. Automated accounting tools pull data from point-ofsale systems, inventory logs, and other sources to generate financial reports, track profits, and identify inefficiencies. Algorithms analyze past sales data, weather, local events, and other signals to forecast busy periods and generate ideal staff schedules tailored to expected traffic.

Elevating Customer Service Technology directly benefits customers. Automation can increase fast-food service speed by 50% or more. About 70% of consumers believe that technology enhances their dining experience. When AI automates tedious tasks, restaurant staff can spend more time attending to customers’ needs, enriching the “human touch” that defines exceptional service in the hospitality industry. For decades, restaurants have relied on stagnant, one-size-fits-all marketing and loyalty programs. But more than half of customers now anticipate personalized offers. AI gives restaurants a prime opportunity to deliver on that expectation. Operators can also employ AI and machine learning (ML) to uncover individual preferences and tailor recommendations and promotions to those diners. For example, a restaurant could offer customers a special deal on their favorite meal or suggest additional items to purchase. The customization makes each guest feel seen and valued, building long-term loyalty. As restaurant competition increases, customer experience will be a key competitive differentiator. Leveraging AI helps restaurants cater to their guests’ individual needs, elevating their satisfaction.

The Future of AI in Restaurants The restaurant industry is just scratching the surface of technology’s potential. Incorporating AI into the tech stack addresses longstanding challenges, like ingredient ordering and menu pricing, and opens new possibilities. As this tool becomes indispensable in the years to come, savvy operators will leverage it not only for survival but to pioneer new standards of convenience, experience, and profitability.

about the author Raju Malhotra is Chief Product and Technology Officer at PAR. In his role, he is responsible for the unified product and technology strategy and operations. He leads Engineering, DevOps, Product Management, and User Experience. Raju joined PAR through the acquisition of PAR Punchh, an omnichannel loyalty and engagement startup based in San Mateo, CA. Before assuming his current role, he held various executive positions, including Senior Vice President and General Manager for Marketing Cloud at Salesforce, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Khoros, and leadership roles in Microsoft’s enterprise technology businesses. Raju holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra (India), and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

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QUALITY WITHOUT COMPROMISE Harvest® Fiber merges environmental sustainability with reliable packaging performance and durability. Made of annually renewable fibers, Harvest® Fiber containers and tableware are microwavable, contain no added PFAS, and are suitable for hot and cold food applications. Designed to meet the needs of operators, Harvest® Fiber helps maintain meal freshness, preserves meal presentation, and travels well. The perfect solution for restaurants looking to implement eco-conscious packaging. Available in various-sized hinged containers and tableware to meet your business needs.


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LOS ANGELES Hollywood’s newest culinary gem, RDEN, offers a one-of-a-kind dining and drinking experience that seamlessly merges the timeless glamour of old Hollywood with contemporary culinary excellence. Nestled on the street level of the iconic Taft Building, RDEN has redefined the Hollywood dining scene, becoming the go-to destination for locals, VIPs and visitors alike. Built in 1923, the Taft Building stands as a historic monument in Hollywood, located adjacent to the world-renowned Pantages Theater and Hollywood Walk of Fame. RDEN offers an exquisite dining experience across its multiple spaces, including a glamorous upstairs dining room with panoramic views of Hollywood Blvd., a sleek omakase bar, and a stunning patio for alfresco dining under the stars.


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Its multi level dining room and rear outdoor patio boasting an abundance of heat lamps and privacy walls, as well as their front window social seats and beautiful bar, offer a desired setting for any patron. Their dining mezzanine reflects warmth and comfortability, whether a table for two or larger parties of 12. They can accommodate any size group, and provide the highest level of service and hospitality. Their ground level sushi bar also offers a desirable setting for those looking for delicious sushi and sashimi offerings in the heart of Hollywood, with an extensive fresh sushi menu featuring their signature techniques. Delicious, finely crafted libations perfectly please the palate, highlighted by their Signature Old Fashioned with custom imprinted ice cubes. An extensive wine and cocktail list provides something for any desired mood, and pairing with their vast menu offerings which include everything from uni pasta to branzino to tomahawk steak. Their signature hummus dip is like nothing you have ever tasted, and their spicy meatballs are also a patron favorite. With an abundance of raw bar offerings as well inclusive of oysters, shrimp, lobster, clam and crab items, to a delicious surf’ n’ turf’, is it literally a foodie paradise. Rden is open 6 days a week, Tuesday through Sunday, and private events are offered 7 days a week as well. Already having welcomed VIPs through their Walk of Fame doors such as Jason Derulo, Marc Anthony and David Beckham, Rden continues to make a name for itself in the buzzing Los Angeles dining scene. RDEN is breathing new life into its storied walls, under the visionary leadership of Owner & CEO Gaspar Petrosyan alongside his dynamic team at Public Square LA Hospitality. Director of Operations Wally Moran, Chef de Cuisine Noe Olivera, Executive Sushi & Omakase Chef Tommy Ko, and Bar Manager Tiffany Bell all come from years of experience in the hospitality industry, creating the ultimate team of seasoned hospitality experts. Visit and follow on instagram @Rden_LA with reservations available on OpenTable.

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Sommsation Wines Sponsors Hollywood Creative Alliance’s Astra Film Awards Ahead Of The Golden Globes The stars came out in force with a twist of a corkscrew on January 6th, 2024 at the historic Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles for the annual 2024 HOLLYWOOD CREATIVE ALLIANCE ASTRA FILM AWARDS, sponsored by Sommsation Wines, where they provided sommelier-curated wine tastings and wine pairings with dinner and during cocktail hour arrivals. They also gifted winners and honorees with selected wines and accessories in a luxe bamboo gift box. A selection of white, red and champagne offerings were provided to guests, served at a custom, beautiful bar featuring wine barrels and champagne towers. (www.

Hosted by comedian Rick Glassman, the HCA bestowed Honorary Awards to attending celebrities such as Hailee Steinfeld, Mark Ronson, Greta Gerwig, Abby Ryder Fortson, Daniel Pemberton, Danielle Brooks, Glenn Howerton, J.A. Bayona, Jeffrey Wright, Chad Stahelski & Stunt Team and Willem Dafoe, among others. Presenters included Aba Arthur,, Aml Ameen, Alex Wolff, Calah Lane, Dewayne Perkins, Hiroyuki Sanada, Jenna Davis, Josh Peck, Kelly Fremon Craig, Layla Mohammadi, Madeleine McGraw, Nicole Sakura, Niousha Noor,, Peter Facinelli, Shamier Anderson,, Tia Carrere, Tom Payne, Troy Kotsur, and Violet McGraw with other guests such as Fantasia Barrino. Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Barbie” took home the most awards of the evening with eight wins including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song, Best Production Design, Best Publicity Campaign, and Best Casting. The 2024 ASTRA FILM AWARDS were live-streamed worldwide on KNEKTtv and the HCA YouTube Channel and internationally broadcast in 247 countries and territories via ABS-CBN.

Sommsation partners exclusively with independent and family-owned wineries, giving customers direct access to hard-to-find wines and some of the most talented winemakers from around the world—shipped directly from the winery to your door. At Sommsation, you can experience over 300 small-lot wines from 40+ independent wineries, vetted by a team of over 35 sommeliers. Follow @Sommsation on instagram

Greta Gerwig | Credit Shutterstock

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If you are looking for Dallas based artist Jenna Fredde and can’t find her in her studio covered in paint — good luck. Though you may find sipping a negroni with a group of new friends in a dark speakeasy. She could be deep in conversation at her favorite coffee shop. It’s possible she is enthusiastically exploring a new city while traveling for client meetings. Or, she may have decided to go to a concert solo. (This is something she does often). Fredde — who was classically trained as a painter at Richmond University in Florence, Italy and has a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of North Texas — is someone who truly experiences life to the fullest. It makes sense then that she is drawn to creating works that immerse viewers, patrons, and diners in a sensory experience, many of them featured prominently in public spaces, restaurants, and bars. “You’re not just going out to eat or to shop but you are surrounded by art. You’re immersed in two experiences at once,” Fredde says of her work. Her eleven large-scale artworks, inspired by the murals in iconic establishments like Waverly Inn and The Palm, are essential to the swanky, old-school atmosphere at Drake’s, a white tablecloth. steakhouse with locations in Dallas, Los Angeles and Houston. The restaurant’s

Image Credit: Jenna Fredde | / Instagram: @jennafreddeartist

West Hollywood location — which opened earlier this year, is regularly frequented by celebrities like the ones immortalized on the walls in Fredde’s paintings. She’s currently working with Dallas-based group Imperial Fizz Hospitality on a project for their soon-toopen concept, Birdie’s Eastside, a new neighborhood bar and grill that will feature a 7,000-squre-foot-patio and an emphasis on thoughtful design. “I like to work with clients to create commissioned paintings that are personal and tell a story,” Fredde says, stressing the collaborative and personalized nature of her projects — many of which take months to complete. In addition to custom creations for restaurants, Fredde has created artwork for companies including Uber, American Airlines, Whole Foods, and more. She also takes commissions for individuals and has recently done a series of large-scale murals within a private residence. Fredde is currently working on her own collection exhibition.

January Issue 2024 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 42 Lior Pictures:

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From here, he quickly launched into the area’s storied and competitive fine-dining scene, earning his mettle while cooking at celebrated and prominent restaurants such as Michael Mina’s St. Francis and Roland Passot’s LB Steak, in addition to opening several restaurants including Lapis, Elan Vital, and Olio. Throughout his career, Chef Thomas has been repeatedly recognized for his excellence with awards and honors including being named the San Francisco Chronicle’s Rising Star Chef in California in 2001 and being considered for a prestigious James Beard Award in 2000.



Chef Thomas Ricci has always felt at home when cooking, starting at the age of six, when he first began experimenting with ingredients in his parents’ kitchen. At just 19-years-old, fresh from studying at the New York Culinary Institute of America, Ricci moved across the country to begin his culinary journey at Aqua in San Francisco.

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In 2014, Chef Thomas joined Gobble as Executive Chef and co-founder because he believes in the power of food to help bring people together, and wanted to apply the skills and artistry he learned in some of the country’s best kitchens to help people across the United States have more opportunity to enjoy homemade meals without all the hassle. For the past nine years, he’s brought his exceptional culinary training to the Gobble test kitchen, where he seamlessly engineers complex flavor profiles into easy-to-use ingredients that help everyday home cooks get dinner on the table in about 15 minutes. For the past year, Chef Thomas has worked to align Gobble with its new sister brand, Sunbasket—under parent company Intelligent Foods—creating partnership between the individual brands’ culinary teams and driving efficiencies in kitchen operations and product alignment, while simultaneously ensuring each brands’ distinctive identities are retained at the forefront. Chef Thomas’s contributions to Gobble have led the brand to becoming one of the few meal kit delivery brands to reach sustained profitability. He has also ensured Sunbasket continues to maintain its commitment to providing organic and dietary-focused, clean eating with global influence, that’s delicious and simple for home cooks to prepare. Currently, as Vice President of Culinary Development at Intelligent Foods, Chef Thomas is focused on developing efficiencies and optimizations for Gobble and Sunbasket, creating fresh, new concepts to satisfy customers’ appetites for delicious home cooked meals, while meeting their needs for a more effortless meal prep. In addition, he is driving the product development on the B2B operations of the business, wherein the company is partnering with emerging food companies as a contract manufacturer positioned to help grow private label brands. Chef Thomas’s pedigreed culinary background paired with his experience developing meal kits for home cooks make him the authority on saving time and energy in the kitchen, while keeping all the flavor.

HIS TOP FOUR MEAL PREP HACKS ARE: Use grip shelf liners under your cutting board, so your board doesn’t slide everywhere while you do your knife-work, you’ll see your skills improve immediately, and they are cheap, simple to store, and simple to clean. Invest in a vacuum sealer or small tupperware containers and cook larger batches of sauces and ingredients, to freeze and use those components a second time in the future. You’ll save time and money as you only need to shop for your ingredients once. It’s also great for those large protein store runs, and you can marinate, seal and freeze for when you want a quick sheet pan dinner with lots of flavor. For a simple flavor and garnish on top of ordinary vegetables or simple pasta dishes, make a simple “Pangrattato” of old bread crumbs or panko, sauteed in a pan with a little butter or extra virgin olive oil, and finished with your favorite herbs, spices, lemon zest, or cheese. It adds a simple wow factor that packs texture and flavor to your meal. Don’t forget to pat dry your chicken skin before searing a skin-on chicken breast. Once that skin is dry, wait until the pan is nice and hot before cooking. These two steps ensure the perfect browning—also known as the Maillard reaction. This chemical reaction between amino acids and natural sugars yields a rich brown color and deep, “meaty” flavor and aroma.

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Ambra’s Executive Chef, John DeLucie, hails from New York (Brooklyn) with strong Italian family roots. For much of the past two decades, John DeLucie has been one of New York City’s most popular chefs. His resume consists of a who’s who of top New York eateries and favorite dining locales. Ambra, his current focus and an already established NYC hotspot, is a localized restaurant offering modernized light Italian fare in an intimate, exclusive setting in the West Village, located at Hudson and 11th. DeLucie and seasoned New York restaurateur Andrea Ienna have created an incredible menu of homemade favorites that New Yorkers cannot stop buzzing about. Ambra joined the landscape of the historic Greenwich Village in September 2023, providing both locals and VIP patrons alike a new destination to the ever expanding and desired, staple New York neighborhood. “I am always thrilled to reconnect with cooking the food of my heritage, especially when I can partner with a serious restaurateur (like Ienna), and being in the West

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Village is home for me, as I lived in the West Village for twenty years, so Ambra is a true homecoming” - Notes Chef John Delucie Prior to Ambra, DeLucie partnered with HGU New York to open the hotel’s flagship Italian Osteria. Lumaca was John’s opportunity to reconnect with his Southern Italian roots, a cuisine that is of course the most natural for DeLucie. In 2005 DeLucie along with Graydon Carter founded The Waverly Inn, where his take on classic American cuisine attracted both the celebrity crowd and serious food fans, who were wowed by his original and eye-opening offerings. In 2010 DeLucie’s acclaimed restaurant, The Lion was called “eyecatching” (W Magazine), “the latest addition to the power pantheon” (Time Out New York), and “the edge of the volcano” (Gael Greene) that “has the media, fashion and pretty folks out in force” (Women’s Wear Daily). But it’s not the celebrity clientele that demands the most attention. In the end, it all comes down to John’s simple cooking—a passion that was instilled in him as a little boy. Ambra Dinner Menu highlights include Antipasti such as Crispy

Artichokes with Lemon Aioli, Beefsteak Tomato Salad, Lacinato Kale Caesar, Fluke Crudo, Savory Veal Meatballs, Octopus Carpaccio, Housemade Focaccia with 5 dipping sauces, Roasted Peppers, Burrata and Pennsylvania Beats, plus an extensive Pizze menu featuring freshly made pizzas such as Robiola with White Truffle, Rossa Pomodoro and Fresno Chili, and Margarita Soppressata. Paste, chef’s famous handmade pastas all made in-house, such as Pappardelle Braised Short Rib Ragù, Rigatoni Eggplant Alla Norma, Orzo with Rock Shrimp, Cherry Tomato Pomodoro, Paccheri Cacio Pepe, Tagliatelle Al Limone and Spicy Lobster Spaghetti, among others, and Secondi inclusive of Roasted Branzino, PanSeared Salmon, Seared New York Strip, Brick Pressed Lemon Chicken, Veal Ambra, and Four Cheese Veal Parmigiana, plus a list of palatable sides such as White Truffle Potato Croquettes and Sauteed Broccoli Rabe, topped with custom decadent Italian desserts. Further adds Chef DeLucie, “The menu is an opportunity for me to cook my absolute favorite foods, aiming to excite our patrons, offering homemade pastas, and share them with our community in New York, which as a chef, is a privilege.” His memoir, The Hunger: A Memoir of an Accidental Chef (HarperCollins, 2009) discussed his path to becoming a chef and restaurateur. When he graduated from Gallatin, his plan was, he says, to replace Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin. Although he tried his hand at a few 9-to-5 jobs, he eventually gave in to his natural culinary curiosity, first taking courses at New York’s New School for Culinary Arts (NYU), and then getting his first food job, chopping 40-pound bags of onions in the back room of Dean & DeLuca. He was working as an executive recruiter when he decided to take a 12week cooking class at the New School, which led to his life of cooking. In 2009 and 2010, he was the first Celebrity Chef honored at the MTV Movie Awards. For the last few years, DeLucie has also been focused on his national Cook Unity platform, in which ‘Meals by John DeLucie’ are prepared fresh in small batches in local kitchens across the country and delivered to your door. Today, DeLucie’s style remains as distinctively simple as it is universally praised, and he is focused on bringing his Italian roots to Ambra, aimed to create the perfect Italian locale in the heart of Greenwich Village. The restaurateur DeLucie refers to, his partner behind Ambra is Andrea Ienna, Founder of San Paolo Hospitality, known for his role with restaurants such as Capizzi. Andrea brings a personable touch to the dining experience, at the restaurant every night to greet guests and make them feel at home, ensuring every diner as a high level, enjoyable experience with an efficient dining room. Ambra has already become a Greenwich Village in demand destination due to the delicious cuisine of DeLucie, in the short months since its September 2023 grand opening. Reservations can be made on Resy. com and visit , plus follow @ AmbraNYC and @ChefJohnDeLucie on instagram.

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Embracing change while upholding unwavering commitment, Food Equipment Representatives (FER) proudly unveils a fresh look for 2024. In this exciting evolution, they affirm their dedication to delivering innovative food service solutions for high-performance kitchens and restaurants, maintaining the highest standards of quality, efficiency, and economic value. The essence of their brand remains steadfast, rooted in a legacy of over 360 years of combined industry experience.

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What sets Food Equipment Representatives apart is not just the extensive collective experience but also the individual expertise each team member brings to the table. Carefully selected for their unique backgrounds and in-depth product knowledge, their team members contribute to a comprehensive understanding of different segments within the Food Service industry. At FER, their dedication extends beyond providing exceptional products—they’re committed to ensuring that the equipment they represent becomes an asset to your operation, not a liability. Recognizing the pivotal role of proper training, they emphasize the significance of skilled and knowledgeable users to maximize the performance and safety of your purchases. Effective training is the keystone for an efficient, speedy, and profitable operation. Conversely, inadequate or absent training poses risks, potentially resulting in operational dangers and heightened medical liabilities due to improper equipment usage. FER firmly believes that comprehensive training not only safeguards your team and patrons but also significantly influences the overall profitability of your operation. This commitment becomes even more critical when considering the prevalence of online platforms where quick-buck operators may sell new or used equipment without the assurance of included training. At FER,

they prioritize the well-being and success of their clients, advocating for thorough training as an integral part of your investment. They stand by their promise to equip you not only with top-tier products but also with the knowledge and expertise needed to optimize their usage and ensure a safe and prosperous operation. FER’s journey of success is deeply rooted in the robust business foundations they have forged with their manufacturers and factories over the years. These strong partnerships have been instrumental in positioning FER as a trusted and reputable organization in the industry. Ready to elevate your restaurants, bars, or food service kitchen? Schedule a test kitchen demo with the dedicated team at Food Equipment Representatives (FER) to receive personalized assistance with cutting-edge kitchen solutions. Their experts are committed to understanding your unique needs and providing the most effective equipment and services to optimize your operation. Here you can witness the best brands in the world in action, gaining firsthand insights into their performance and capabilities. Their Test Kitchen is a dynamic environment designed to help you make informed decisions about the equipment that will shape the success of your operation. Learn more about Food Equipment Representatives at January Issue 2024 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 50

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Serving Tomorrow: Trends Shaping the Food and Beverage Industry in 2024 Tim Brown, GVP, Global Solutions Engineering, Oracle Food and Beverage As the food and beverage industry continues to evolve, restaurant operators are adopting and employing new technological innovations to meet persistently high customer expectations. Businesses grapple with the delicate balance of preserving authenticity and brand identity while meeting the demands for speed and convenience. Simultaneously, automation and predictive analytics are becoming integral as restaurant operators adapt to supply chain disruptions, inflation and labor shortages. With these shifts, here are some of the trends we expect to see take over the food and beverage space in 2024:

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1. BRANDS WILL FURTHER INVEST IN LOYALTY AND AI TO STRIKE A BALANCE BETWEEN SELF-SERVICE AND BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE TECHNOLOGIES AND MAINTAINING THEIR BRAND IDENTITY. As self-service and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) replace traditional in-store engagement for Quick-Service Restaurants, maintaining brand identity becomes increasingly vital. AI-powered voice, text, and offer engines are poised to replace counter interactions, handling upselling and service recovery. The improvement of Natural Language Processing (NLP) allows brands to craft a unique identity aligned with their values, blurring the line between human and automated interaction. Although not reaching sci-fi movie levels, brands will use AI to try to build trust. Loyalty programs and sensible AI integration are central strategies for achieving this, as brands aim to close the gap between in-restaurant and retail loyalty purchases. Leveraging various channels, from third-party delivery to exclusive apps, businesses strive to reinvent loyalty plans, utilizing technology platforms to analyze extensive datasets for actionable insights and better influence outcomes.

2. VIRTUAL BRANDS WILL CONTINUE TO BE A GROWTH OPPORTUNITY FOR TABLE SERVICE AND FAST CASUAL OPERATORS. Increased kitchen capacity, real estate investments, and an expanded delivery radius present an opportunity for table service and fast-casual operators to diversify revenue streams and boost sales. To capitalize on this strategy, a refined operational model is crucial, focusing on sales channels and assessing performance metrics such as cost per sale and item margin. Successful implementation also hinges on advanced restaurant technology, enabling real-time decision-making for managers and staff.

The implementation of AI promises near real-time measurements, guiding businesses on strategic decision-making. Moreover, the industry is recognizing the transformative impact of smart recommendations and user experiences facilitated by AI, reducing manual tasks and decision-making. Whether driving offers on kiosks or mobile devices, intelligent and consistent AI-driven suggestions are expected to elevate check values and enhance satisfaction for both customers and staff in the restaurant environment.

5. CONSUMER EXPERIENCES WILL BE DELIVERED WITH EASY-TO-USE ENTERPRISE CAPABILITIES. The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) introduced the Mobile Payments on Commercial off-the-shelf (MPoC) standard last year, outlining requirements for accepting payments on any mobile device. This standard empowers merchants in the food and service industry to utilize certified mobile devices for payment acceptance. The future restaurant can run on a streamlined IT setup, utilizing 5G connectivity and edge computing for user-friendly communication, efficient software distribution, updates and a simplified out-of-the-box experience. The coming year could see a transformative shift in how quickservice brands engage customers. The convergence of data, loyalty initiatives, and AI could redefine authentic customer interactions. Ultimately, these trends signify a commitment to address the evolving needs of both restaurants and customers by leveraging technology to foster authentic and customer-focused experiences.

When the dining room is full and third-party orders overwhelm the kitchen, operators need tools to adjust channel availability, pricing, and promotions instantly. The future kitchen technology will be interconnected across all channels, offering real-time data on business status and integrating various elements such as pre-prep requirements, aggregator performance, and more into a unified platform.

3. THE ROLE OF PAYMENT PROCESSORS WILL CONTINUE TO BE AN IMPORTANT FINANCIAL DECISION AS THE VOLUME AND VARIETY OF DIGITAL PAYMENTS (AND COSTS) CONTINUE TO GROW. Industry reports highlight that approximately 70% of restaurant transactions are non-cash, signaling a rise in the cost of accepting payments. The variability in credit card fees and the proliferation of payment options directly impact the financials of businesses. In 2024, operators plan to explore alternative fee structures, enhanced transparency, and added value from payment processors. This entails gaining additional consumer insights, implementing endto-end reconciliation processes, and ensuring streamlined support throughout the entire tech stack.

4. TECHNOLOGIES SUCH AS AI, MACHINE LEARNING (ML), AND NLP WILL BE DEPLOYED ACROSS THE INDUSTRY TO AUTOMATE REDUNDANT TASKS, IMPROVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, INCREASE DATA CAPTURE, AND ENHANCE PRODUCTIVITY. AI in the food and beverage industry is transitioning beyond a customer-focused approach and increasingly integrating into both back- and front-end processes. This shift aims to leverage AI to enhance understanding of menu item popularity, engineering decisions, price elasticity, offer redemption, and their impact on diverse audiences. AI can play a pivotal role in assisting businesses to predict ordering trends, optimize ingredient availability and finetune sales. January Issue 2024 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 52



Learn more at @sunshinepunchofficial

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debuts with a premiere lineup of artists featuring The Black Keys, Odesza, Devo and Kaskade, during the Sundance Film Festival, January 18-26, and continues through March date announcements with major performances by Steve Aoki and Goldfish. Park City’s Newest Exclusive Music Venue by LNE Presents an Impressive New Concert Space in the Heart of Historic Main Street LNE introduces The Marquis Park City, their latest live music concert venue to open its doors in the heart of Main Street, just ahead of the highly anticipated 2024 Sundance Film Festival. Debuting a fully remodeled and renovated all new nightlife venue featuring state of the art sound and lighting technology, The Marquis offers Park City a music destination like it has never seen before. Located in the historic building that once played home to notable entities Harry O’s and Park City Live, the music legacy will live on within legendary walls that have welcomed a slew of music icons over the last few decades. Sundance Film Festival attendees and locals alike will experience a new era of live performers and evolved sound at the large space that can hold approx 1200 guests. The Main Street mainstay, has a lineup inclusive of world renowned talent and globally recognized, in demand recording artists, bands and DJs, as well as up and coming musicians. Their impressive lineup in place for Sundance 2024 donned as “The Premiere Series” represents the top names in rock, EDM, and hip hop highlighted by The Black Keys on January 19th and 21st, Odesza on January 20th, DEVO on January 22nd celebrating 50 years of Devo-lution, Charley Crockett on January 23rd, and Kaskade on January 26th. The Marquis Park City is focused on reviving the live music legacy of Park City, in partnership with leading full-service entertainment company LNE Presents. The Marquis is a cutting-edge performance space with a capacity of 1200, state-of-the-art lighting, enPage 55 | Food & Beverage Magazine v January Issue 2024

hanced guest amenities and an expanded stage, a sound system designed by established designer Dave Rat, and delivered through an Immaculate L-Acoustics K3 system, which promises an unparalleled concert experience in Park City. Between its mezzanine, Balcony, VIP Seating areas, large dancefloor, multitude of bars and lounging areas, they offer a full experiential venue. In addition to the upcoming release of the “The Premiere Series” lineup to take place during Sundance at The Marquis, tickets are also now on sale for highly anticipated future shows inclusive of a February 23rd special performance by Steve Aoki, and Goldfish on March 16th, as part of their Snow Tour ‘24. The venue was marked by a New Year’s Eve 2024 launch featuring in-demand sold out performances from Nas and Louis The Child, with Afrojack set to perform January 5th. LNE Presents is a full-service entertainment company bringing you top-tier concerts and events in Utah, Florida, Nevada, and Maryland. Founded in 2012 by Vaughn Carrick, LNE has grown into one of the most prominent independent event companies in the U.S focused in music programming, venue management and music festivals. Responsible for producing hundreds of mid-to-large-scale concerts along with a number of large-scale music festivals annually, LNE prides itself on working with industry-leading talent and providing state-of-the-art production. Maintaining focus on the fan experience while both meeting and exceeding the needs of the diverse lineup of artists represented, LNE is in the business of making memories for fans, concert goers and attendees that will last a lifetime. Over the last decade they have worked with almost every notable artist on the globe, including artists such as Diplo, Kid Cudi, Empire of The Sun, Kendrick Lamar, Halsey, Machine Gun Kelly, Cypress Hill, Avicii, Sublime, Snoop Dogg, Rufus Du Sol, Wiz Khalifa and many, many more. In addition to The Marquis, LNE has a slew of venues in Salt Lake City, establishing them as a leading music and entertainment force statewide, inclusive of Soundwell, Sky, The Complex SLC, Granary Live, and Union Event Center. They also operate concert, performance and nightlife venues in Nevada and Florida, with additional venues and states continuously added to their brand expansion. The Marquis is open based on their schedule of performers, with door open times varying accordingly. Visit for more information on the upcoming lineup, ticket and table information.

Photos showcase Louis The Child’s NYE performance, during the venue’s soft grand opening weekend. January Issue 2024 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 56

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Editor’s Top Pick Products to Watch 2024 Page 59 | Food & Beverage Magazine v January Issue 2024

1 37th Street Bakery Discover the culinary charm of the 37th Street Bakery’s AllButter Spiral Croissant Bun, meticulously crafted to elevate sandwich enjoyment. With layers of pure, high-quality butter, each bun becomes a canvas for a symphony of flavors. This artisanal creation transforms mundane meals into a sensory delight, where the golden, spiral layers serve as the perfect vessel for your favorite fillings. Embrace the harmonious blend of flakiness and softness that defines this masterpiece, inviting taste enthusiasts to reimagine their sandwich experience. The 37th Street Bakery’s All-Butter Spiral Croissant Bun is not just bread; it’s an embodiment of sandwich artistry, where every bite tells a story of craftsmanship and culinary excellence, turning each meal into a moment of pure indulgence.

2 A Bar Above A Bar Above’s durable, 100% cotton Lewis bag is a game-changer for mixologists seeking quality ice for transforming the texture and taste of Mai Tais, Mint Juleps, and more-- without resorting to bulky machines. Unlike other Lewis bags on the market, which are small, thin, and prone to leaking, this 15.5” x 12” bag holds ample ice for several cocktails and boasts thick, machinewashable canvas in natural or sleek black colors. Plus, the hook-and-loop fastener secures ice, preventing messes during crushing. Perfectly sized for entertaining, it elevates drink quality by ensuring the ideal ice consistency for balanced, flavorful cocktails. Addressing common issues in standard Lewis bags, the A Bar Above bag promises lasting durability, ease of use, and ample ice capacity, catering to both professional bartenders and at-home enthusiasts.

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3 Almond Breeze® Almond meets oat in a dreamy blend. Combining the delicious flavor of the best California almonds with the creaminess of oats. Almond Breeze® Almond & Oat Blend is a dreamy, alternative milk that can be enjoyed by the glass or as a deliciously creamy swap for dairy milk in any usage occasion. Try it out in coffee, cereal, baked goods, savory recipes, and more!

4 Amazontella It’s easy to bring the benefits of the Amazon rainforest directly to your table with the new, organic superfruits spreads from Amazontella. Choose from Cupuacu Fruit Spread, Acai Fruit Spread and Cupuacu Pepper Fruit Spread, all 100% made from fruit. Delight your senses and reap the benefits of antioxidant-rich superfruits only found in the Amazon. Easily spread on toast, cheese, fruit, or eaten directly from the jar!

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5 Appassionata Estate Appassionata Estate crafts expressive Pinot Noirs and white wines with extraordinary ageability in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Founded by world-renowned winemaker Ernst “Erni” Loosen, the estate is rooted in Old World traditions and driven by Erni’s belief that “a great wine shows its true potential only with age.” That is why Appassionata Estate holds its wines for up to 10 years prior to their release, ensuring that the wines are entering their peak of excellence at the time of enjoyment. The trio of Pinots begins with the Allegro Pinot Noir, which is a cuvée of selected barrels that show a precocious liveliness and expressivity. Bottled after 18 to 20 months in barrel and released a minimum of three years after the vintage, it features a delicate texture, dark tone, and rich flavors of black cherry fruit with a juicy, lifted finish. Experience the timeless elegance of Oregon Pinot Noir.


Baldacci Family Vineyards

The Baldacci Family Vineyards Discovery Collection ($60) comes in a Napa artist-illustrated gift box with a trio of 100ml glass bottles of 2021 vintage wines from the Baldacci Family Vineyards wine portfolio. Each glass bottle is a singleserving size (3.4 oz), making this set ideal for gifting, wine tasting parties, multi-course meals, and more. The Discovery Collection features the Baldacci Family Vineyards 2021 Los Carneros Chardonnay, Los Carneros Pinot Noir, and Napa Valley Fraternity red wine blend—three of the estate’s most popular wines. This unique wine tasting set comes complete with wine tasting tips, food pairing recommendations, and tasting notes.

7 Barramundi Wines Barramundi Wines is re-emerging from Down Under to share its latest portfolio of delicious, distinctive, quality wines with the American consumer. True to its Australian origins, the brand will embody a sense of fun, adventure, and friendship that is designed to resonate with younger consumers. At its core, Barramundi is about creating wines to suit any occasion and any palate at an affordable price, filling the gap between the lower-priced Australian offerings and those in the higherend category. The portfolio includes five options including Barramundi Trailblazer Red Blend. With the juicy, bold berry flavors with racy currant and black pepper, this is a unique blend of Shiraz and Petit Verdot that brings a distinctive, delicious taste experience.

8 Bell’s Reines Baked and bagged, Bell’s Reines introduces Gluten Free & Vegan Snickerdoodle soft cookies! These full size bags or snack bag sizes will keep you satisfied all year round! The mother and daughter run business, is a proud Black-owned, women-owned business with generations of baking in their blood! They have poured their hearts and premium, quality, all natural ingredients into every bite. The way “the cookie crumbles” in your mouth is soft and so fresh- you would never think they were pre-packaged! The softness lasts 60 days in the bag. Bell’s Reines is a Non-GMO Project Verified business and tastes great! You also would never believe these were gluten free and vegan! Snickerdoodle will become your new favorite treat! They taste way too delicious! You won’t find artificial ingredients or preservatives. Their slogan: Life is Sweet, Savor the Small Things. They offer a flavor variety, including gluten free and vegan options! January Issue 2024 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 62

9 Blender Bites Fuel your day with Blender Bites Power Berry™ 1-Step Smoothie, a convenient blend bursting with goodness. Jam-packed with organic berries, greens, and a bounty of vitamins and minerals, this smoothie delivers powerful antioxidants, energizing B-vitamins, and a boost of seven gluten-free grasses and algae. Get your daily dose of vitamins A, C, and E in a delicious, singleserving – the perfect jumpstart to a vibrant morning or an afternoon pick-me-up. Blender Bites makes nourishing simple, one tasty sip at a time.

10 BRIANNAS BRIANNAS Home Style Garlic Vinaigrette is a sweet and savory blend of garlic, oil, and cracked black pepper. This delicious recipe adds bold flavor to green or pasta salads and is the perfect complement for grilled chicken.

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11 Bumbu Crème At 15% ABV, Bumbu Crème is a rich rum cream with a deep, complex array of aromas including chai, coconut, and cinnamon. Bumbu Crème is a perfectly balanced combination of sweetness, spice, and real dairy cream–irresistible when served straight and chilled, in a cocktail, and even in coffee or over ice cream.

Roamann 12 Campbell’s Foodservice 13 Crosby Winery Introducing Campbell’s® Culinary Reserve New England Clam Chowder. The rich, comforting chowder starts with fresh cream paired with tender clams, diced potatoes, onions, and green celery. The new recipe boasts a richer, more pronounced clam flavor with a smoother and creamier texture. New England Clam Chowder is part of Campbell’s Culinary Reserve frozen soup portfolio featuring more than 60 chef-inspired soups. Campbell’s Foodservice recently consolidated its Signature and Reserve frozen soup offerings under the Campbell’s Culinary Reserve line to provide operators with an easy one-stop shop for delicious, premium soup.

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Crosby Roamann Winery is proud to release Bon Ton Napa Valley – a plush yet elegant blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel. BonTon Napa Valley derives its name and label artwork from the French fashion magazine Gazette du Bon Ton, originally published between 1912 and 1925 in Paris depicting the haute couture of top designers. The highlights of the magazine were the ten to twelve fashion plates published in each issue. Our label represents one of these original fashion plates. “BonTon” literally translates as “good tone,” but more broadly can also mean stylishness, good manners, or refer to fashionable society. It’s an affordable luxury that is a statement piece on the table and a delightfully elegant, food-friendly wine that fashion-oriented wine lovers will adore. The wine, produced by Sean McBride (a former film production assistant and lawyer) and his wife Juliana (a literary editor) is available for sale online along with other selections including limited production, single vineyard Pinot Noirs, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.

15 Dan-O’s Seasonings 14 Curveballs Curveballs are the savory and sweet treats that rebel against mealtime and feed your inner cravings. With a variety of delicious, unexpected flavors to try, join the Curveballs snacking revolution. New savory, crispy, and creamy Cheesy Cheddar Jalapeño Snack Bites are stuffed with a zesty, jalapeño-cheddar blend, enclosed within an exterior, flavorful, corn masa coating. This unique, indulgent, bite-size snack performs great under multiple heating applications like convection ovens and air fryers and is perfect for consumers looking to savor a classic Mexican favorite, in a convenient, on-the-go, portable format. Curveballs are great for c-stores (hot boxes and prepared meals), restaurants (appetizers), colleges and universities, sports arenas, concessions, food truck vendors, and event caterers. They are a nomess solution, with craveable flavors available for multiple dayparts (breakfast, lunch, afternoons, and late-night snacking). Each package contains 3/15-count one-ounce bites, with 90 individual bites (about 30 servings) per case.

Dan-O’s Preem-O™ is Dan-O’s Seasonings’ latest culinary masterpiece! With this luxurious blend of top-shelf spices and herbs, featuring a tantalizing black garlic bite and just the right touch of black sea salt, you can elevate your grilling game. Preem-O isn’t just a seasoning; it’s a royal experience for your taste buds. Whether a grill master, a weekend warrior, or a food enthusiast, Preem-O is your secret ingredient to culinary excellence. Its rich and savory profile enhances the flavors of your dishes, leaving your friends and family in awe of your grilling prowess. With Dan-O’s Preem-O, you’re not just a cook; you’re the reigning monarch of the grill, commanding the attention of all who savor your creations. So, don your apron, fire up the grill, and prepare to rule the barbecue kingdom with Preem-O – because you deserve nothing but the best.

16 Devocion Coffee NewYork based Colombian coffee roaster Devocion Coffee has been a brand to watch since they launched their first cafe and roaster in Williamsburg, Brooklyn back in 2014. Since then they have stood out in a crowded coffee market by offering the “freshest coffee” available in this country as they fly in their direct trade, single-source beans via Fed Ex from Bogota to NYC weekly for roasting. Devocion goes from green-to-cup in as little as 10 days; lightyears quicker than the industry norm of 6-12 months. In addition to being the freshest, Devocion has access to unique, limited edition beans through a network of almost 1000 small coffee farmers throughout Colombia, to whom they pay above fair trade prices. Those limited edition coffees are featured in their “Rare Gems” program where they will be releasing limited quantities of unique and special single source varietals throughout the year. For subscription information, visit

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Unleash your culinary creativity! @veggiesmadegreat

17 Dirty Shirley Cocktails Emerging from a vision to redefine adult beverages, Dirty Shirley Cocktails transforms the timeless Shirley Temple into a sophisticated cocktail for the modern adult. Prioritizing quality and flavor, the brand champions organic and natural ingredients, providing a richer and purer taste experience.


18 Empress 1908 Gin Empress 1908 Gin was designed for cocktail makers and enthusiasts. Creators who live for the moment. The moment when time stands still. When the bar is raised. Boundaries are pushed. Anticipations peak. We live for the moment when all our senses are ignited. When fresh herbs are muddled, shakers get loud, and drinks are poured. Glasses are passed, and eyes light up. Cheers to brilliant cocktail creations.

Fieldwork Brewing Company

Fieldwork Brewing Company, the award-winning Northern California craft brewery is proud to announce an addition to their product lineup: “zero-proof” Supertonics. These all-natural sparkling beverages, some infused with adaptogens and nootropics, stay true to Fieldwork’s commitment to fresh, aromatic, and taste-forward beverages. ‘No proof’ doesn’t necessarily mean no buzz. The Passionfruit with Orange Bitters Supertonic is formulated with adaptogens to reduce stress and improve energy levels and nootropics help to increase focus and alertness. The addition of the Supertonics to Fieldwork’s weekly rotating tap list of fresh beers, invites customers to enjoy the social experience of a brewery in a new way. Currently, three varieties of Supertonic are available at all eight Fieldwork locations and on their Amazon shop: Passionfruit + Orange Bitters, Cucumber, Melon + Juniper, and Lime + Salt. Based on seasonality and with consistent quality, Fieldwork continues to forge its own path producing products they simply love to drink. January Issue 2024 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 68

20 Fiorucci Introducing Fiorucci’s new Pizza Flavored Paninos, available in 4.5-ounce, 6-count, and 1.5-ounce, 2-count, easy-open, packages. Each serving contains no artificial flavors, colors, or ingredients, and is a good source of protein and calcium. The product is gluten and MSG free, and low carb with no sugars added. Pizza Flavored Paninos offer consumers a familiar flavor that’s perfect for those who enjoy the classic flavor of a margherita pizza. The pizza flavored salami is seasoned with notes of anise, red pepper, fennel seed, and natural mesquite smoke, with a hint of tomato, garlic, paprika, and red wine. The mozzarella cheese is creamy white in color, with a smooth, buttery texture and soft, mild flavor. Fiorucci Paninos are ready to eat; try them out of the package, chopped into salads or pastas, warmed in the microwave, baked into a croissant, or as the main ingredient in a calzone, bruschetta, flatbread, or wrap.

22 Tequila Gran Diamante 21 Free AF The Apero Spritz from Free AF is their take on the original Italian classic cocktail, made with orange liqueur, prosecco and club soda. This non-alcoholic version is made with Afterglow which is a 100% natural botanical extract that mimics the pleasant warmth of alcohol – without the alcohol. The Apero Spritz is best served in a large oversized wine glass with chunks of ices, a slice of orange, skewers or olives or a sprig of rosemary. It is low in sugar, low in calories and gluten free. Free AF has quickly become the leading RTD alcoholfree cocktail innovator in the US with distribution now nationwide. With their mission to create a conversation and community for the sober-curious, Free AF continues to make not drinking aspirational and make it easier to live life undiluted.

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Tequila Gran Diamante is an ultra-premium, additive-free,luxury tequila. We offer a collection of exquisite, hand-crafted tequilas that has changed the tequila game from the onset: a blend smoother than silk, a unique bottle look that compliments any high-class occasion, and award-winning tequilas to match. Tequila Gran Diamante is produced in an award-winning distillery set in Los Altos de Jalisco, Mexico, the prime area for producing tequila. It is steeped with tradition and a deep passion for making tequila. Each batch is sourced from the highest quality, hand-selected 8-year-old 100% Blue Agave Tequilana Weber, and ensured to have the perfect aroma, unique taste profile, viscosity, and exquisite bottle design. Our distillery uses an open-vat fermentation process, with a strain of yeast formulated several decades ago. We allow the natural accelerators in fermen tation to process (without any diffusers). Additionally, Tequila Gran Diamante places heavy emphasis on maintaining its own delicate spice and silky texture, flavor profile, authenticity, quality, and consistency across all product lines.

23 Greenbar Distillery Founded in 2004 by husband-wife duo, Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew, Greenbar Distillery is LA’s first distillery since Prohibition and proudly boasts the world’s largest portfolio of 100% USDA-certified organic spirits made with clean, local, and ethically sourced ingredients, as well as an impressive variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic RTD cocktails, too. Adding to their portfolio, they’ve recently unveiled their latest line of bartender-quality Bottled Cocktails. This collection pays homage to the company’s founding roots with California twists on beloved classics: California Poppy Negroni, Single Malt Old Fashioned, and the Smoky Vesper Martini. The premium bottled RTDs are transparent and sustainable high-quality cocktails made with real food for flavor, each served in a sophisticated 375mL bottle holding 4-5 servings. Best yet, for every 2 bottles sold, Greenbar plants a tree in Central America in partnership with Sustainable Harvest International to provide shade for fair trade agriculture.

24 GUNNA Conceptualized in the 19th hole bar of a golf course in the UK, the Gunna founder had an Eureka moment, when he tasted the barman’s mix of Ginger Ale, Ginger Beer, Bitters, and Lime. This taste explosion made him realize it should be packaged and offered to the masses in a functional lemonade format. Reducing the calories and sugar from mainstream sodas, adding ingredients to help the immune system, whilst using all-natural ingredients was a winning idea. This led to creating more amazing flavors, such as the delicious Pink Punk Raspberry lemonade, inspired by the classic Shirley Temple. Independently proven through blind taste tests to beat other similar brands, we are also Carbon Negative, offsetting 2 grams of Carbon for every 1 created & removing plastic from our oceans. GUNNA gives functional soda consumers exactly what they want – a healthy, tasty & planet friendly choice.

January Issue 2024 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 70


Craveable Cheesy Cheddar Jalapeño!

Curveballs are the savory and sweet treats that rebel against mealtime and feed your inner cravings.


With a variety of delicious, unexpected flavors to try, join the Curveballs revolution and go as far as your tastebuds will take you. For more information, contact:

Chocolate Brownie

Dulce De Leche Churro

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25 H2OPS H2OPS Inc. the pioneer and inventor of craft brewed hop water recently launched their newly certified USDA organic hop water in eco-friendly aluminum cans. Remarkably, less than 1% of US hop production is certified organic, so the company is making a significant bet that consumers and hop farmers will embrace the benefits of organic into the future.

hi Seltzer is a zero-calorie, zero sugar, zero alcohol, hemp (Delta 8)-infused seltzer made with only three ingredients. It is the first beverage to utilize a cutting-edge nano-emulsified base ingredient that allows for it to pour clean and clear every single time. Each 12oz can contain 5mg of D8, which offers a more subdued and gentler high than other THC-infused products on the market. This perfect dose makes hi Seltzer an approachable and fun alternative to alcohol, allowing people to enjoy all the fun without the hangover. hi Seltzer comes in five flavors, including Watermelon, Pineapple, Wild Berry, Real Cherry, and Lemon Lime. It is available in more than 3,000 stores across 23 states and is available nationally direct-toconsumer through

26 Hampton Water Jesse and Jon Bon Jovi shared a vision to disrupt the wine category with a wine brand that is unlike the others. The two, along with Ali Thomas, created the full concept of the brand and brought on famed French winemaker, Gérard Bertrand. This team of rockstars made a rosé that perfectly blends the best French wine and the Hamptons laidback style – Hampton Water.

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28 Hummus Goodness Hummus Goodness is proud to be a women-owned Michigan company dedicated to providing fresh and delicious hummus. The hummus is made fresh weekly in small batches to ensure top quality and impeccable consistency, using only real ingredients that you can trust. That’s what sets Hummus Goodness apart from other hummus brands. The hummus is made with no citric acid, hydrogenated oils and artificial preservatives like potassium sorbate. Instead, our products are made with ingredients like garbanzo beans, tahini, fresh lemon juice and olive oil, so you can enjoy the goodness of hummus with taste and nutrition in mind. Seven robust flavors of hummus are available, including Classic Hummus, Roasted Garlic Hummus, Beet Hummus, Taco Hummus, Spicy Hummus, Balsamic Hummus & Pickle Hummus.

29 InVintory InVintory recently launched their newest product, Opus, as part of their wine collection management app. It would be a perfect fit for the 2024 Products to Watch story, as it has been incredibly wellreceived in the one month since it launched. Overseeing a wine collection can be extremely cumbersome, and many collectors have trouble keeping track of all of the bottles in their cellar and their details. These frustrations take collectors’ time away from the very reason they started collecting in the first place – to enjoy their wines. InVintory launched to make collectors’ lives easier and to help with this problem. It launched with a free and paid model, and has spent the last number of years honing its proprietary 3D technology, and has now launched its highest end offering to date – Opus.

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30 Jayded AF Experience the epitome of mixology without the fuss with Jayded AF’s Lemon Drop Martini—a ready-to-serve gin martini that redefines the art of making at-home cocktails. This libation seamlessly blends classic sophistication with a daring twist, boasting the lively essence of Meyer Lemons, the tantalizing tang of Juniper Berries, and the nuanced richness of Triple Sec. Whether you’re hosting a soirée or unwinding after a long day, these martinis embody the spirit of celebration, effortlessly combining tradition and contemporary flair.

33 Kenyon Signature Grill

31 Jovial Foods Jovial Foods is on a mission to create organic food products of the highest quality so people can enjoy a meal and not feel like they are missing out. Using their award-winning brown rice pasta, Jovial Foods Organic Gluten-Free White Cheddar Mac & Cheese is masterfully crafted by 5th generation Italian pasta artisans and is made with clean, organic ingredients, and responsibly sourced, designed for the entire family to enjoy. Made with care, Jovial White Cheddar Mac & Cheese is the cleanest cheese powder on shelves (made with only 4 organic ingredients!), resulting in a comforting and cheesy experience. The pasta cooks firm and tastes great, providing a certified gluten-free option that doesn’t compromise on flavor.

Designed by Kenyon, the Signature Grill is a customizable electric grill ideal for both indoor and outdoor cooking. The Signature Grill showcases sophisticated engineering, defined by its advanced insulation process that allows for diverse, personalized finishes. Crafted with marine-grade stainless steel, its design allows it to hold up in all kinds of weather and is rust resistant, ensuring longevity in diverse environments. Additionally, the Signature Grill offers a patented rotating handle that is multi-functional and features a built-in high-intensity LED light that illuminates the entire grill surface and surrounding areas. Safety and convenience converge in the removable and dishwasher-safe lid, empowered by Kenyon’s patented Safe To Touch (STT) technology, ensuring burn-free handling. This technology means that the grill lid remains at a safe and comfortable temperature for users to touch, even when the interior of the grill exceeds 500ºF. This feature eliminates the risk of burns and enhances safety.

32 Karma In the realm of functional beverages, Karma presents its groundbreaking Karma Energy Water, a fusion of natural caffeine, cognitive clarity, and cutting-edge design. Introducing enticing flavors such as Blueberry Watermelon, Raspberry Peach, and Melon Dragon Fruit, this innovative product line is now available on Amazon and poised to grace national retail shelves in 2024. Karma Energy Water boasts a distinct formula featuring 150 mg of natural caffeine and the patented nootropic, Cognizin® Citicoline, delivering a dual boost of energy and mental sharpness. Free from artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, and preservatives, it also provides 100% of the daily values for Vitamin C and B-Complex. What sets Karma Energy Water apart is its revolutionary PushCap Technology, ensuring vital nutrients remain preserved until the moment of consumption. Witness the revolution of functional beverages as Karma Energy Water emerges, offering a natural, refreshing alternative for those who prioritize simplicity and well-being. January Issue 2024 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 74

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34 La Brea Bakery To kick-off 2024, La Brea Bakery introduced their newest artisan bread, New York Rye. This hearty rye loaf, made from both wheat and rye flours with a sprinkling of aromatic caraway seeds inside and a generous topping of the seeds outside, makes for a moist, slightly dense interior and crispy crust. This traditional rye bread is perfect for sandwiches and toast, and pairs well with deli meats, Swiss cheese, and Stout Beer.

35 La Tierra de Acre 2024 should be a big year for the up and coming artisanal La Tierra de Acre Mezcal, produced and Inspired by Cabo’s Acre Resort. La Tierra de Acre captures the same Mexican authenticity, spiritual connection and appreciation for life that the property evokes with its 13 Treehouses and Farm-to-Table restaurant. The brand sources the best small-batch Mezcaleros, who for generations have been sustainably perfecting their craft throughout the most rural and beautiful regions of Mexico. The result is a collection of four varietals (Espadín, Cenizo, Tobala, Tepextate) showcasing the versatility and beauty of the agave plant handcrafted in Oaxaca and Durango, Mexico. Every bottle of La Tierra de Acre Mezcal is an uncompromising reflection of the creators’ heritage and the land from which they came. Guests at Acre Resort can enjoy complimentary Mezcal tastings in a dedicated tasting room with an authentic Mescalero to guide them through the process.

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37 Lucky F*ck LUCKY F*CK is a new, better-for-you energy drink company founded by serial beverage entrepreneur Richard Laver. The brand creates high-quality products to motivate people to defy the odds, seize their daily fortune, and make their own luck. The product line features five flavors including OG LUCK, TROPICAL THRILL, BODACIOUS BERRY, ORANGE DRIZZLE, AND RED RYDER PUNCH —with 5 super ingredients, including Maca and Beta-Alanine, zero sugar, zero aftertaste, and only five calories. Products are available on Amazon and select retailers nationwide. For more information, visit and follow @ luckyfckenergy.

38 Luji’s Chocolate Luji’s (“Loo - geez”) Chocolate is deliciously grown, crafted and packaged from bean to bar in West Africa and made with unique ingredients from the region. When you purchase a Luji’s bar, they’ll deliver cocoa tree seedlings to a cocoa farmer where our cocoa is sourced. Dedicated to creating the finest chocolate that celebrates the unique flavors of West Africa, Luji’s Chocolate mission is to blend exquisite taste with authentic regional ingredients, crafting a chocolate experience that’s truly West African at heart. In addition to creating mouthwatering chocolate, they are also adding value to the local economy where our chocolate comes from. The Luji’s sampler set includes 4 chocolate bars in a set, Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate, as well as 2 specialty flavors, Ginger Plantain Crunch & Spicy Suya. All of the bars are single origin & 100% made in West Africa. Each flavor is in beautifully designed packaging that puts the Luji’s mission at the very center. Despite West Africa being the world’s cocoa powerhouse, producing over 70% of the global supply, only a fraction of the chocolate is actually made there? That’s where Luji’s Chocolate stands apart. They are deeply rooted in the rich soils of West Africa, collaborating hand-in-hand with local farmers & local processors to cultivate their cocoa and make chocolate right in the heart where it all begins.

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Organic 39 Mike’s Curry Love Michael Buechi, creator of Mike’s Organic Curry Love proudly presents his new line of Biodynamic Coconut Cream. This single origin coconut cream bears the distinction of being the only brand to offer Demeter Certification as well as being USDA Certified Organic guaranteeing unparalleled quality and unwavering commitment to sustainable, ethical farming practices. Free from preservatives or gums, it embodies the essence of purity & premium taste.

41 Mixy

40 MingsBings MingsBings, Iron Chef Ming Tsai’s CPG frozen crunchy wrap line, released a new line of Better For You Bings, made with 20% veggies. Launched first as a plant-based, direct-to-consumer business in 2020, the line of East meets West wraps has quickly gained traction in both retail and foodservice, with placement in major retailers like Whole Foods, Wegmans, Target, Sprouts, and Publix, as well as major U.S.-based concession locations like Fenway Park, Hard Rock Stadium and top-tier colleges, universities and prep schools. MingsBings’ Better For You Meat- and Chicken-based Bings maintain Chef Ming Tsai’s philosophy of vegetable-forward eating, with an increased vegetable count to reduce cholesterol, fat, and calories versus traditional frozen handheld options. The new line features four flavors including Cheeseburger, Ham & Cheese, Buffalo Chicken, and Supreme Pizza. Like their plant-based counterparts, these meat-based Bings are gluten-free, nut-free and air-fryer ready, making them a great allergen-friendly frozen option.

Mixy gives you the confidence to make restaurant-quality cocktails at home so you can “be the hero of happy hour.” Simply fill the jar with the alcohol of your choice, let it sit for 1-3 days, and use the infused liquor to make 8 delicious drinks! The infused liquor can be served on its own or added to your favorite cocktail recipes. The variety pack allows you to try infusing with multiple types of spirits - vodka, tequila, bourbon, rum, and gin! Mixy is Made in the USA! All products are created and packaged with love by a small team in Dallas, Texas.

42 Novipax At Novipax, our mission is to combat unwanted moisture and liquid through their unique absorbent pad solutions. True to their mission, Novipax has introduced an innovation called “Prep Pads’. Prep Pads are the moisture management solution you need to maintain peak freshness in every dish, every time. Instantly revolutionize back-of-house processes by capturing unwanted moisture in prep trays to maintain optimal texture and freshness. Furthermore, incorporating the pads into the prep process will improve operational efficiencies and sanitation by eliminating drip and splatter contamination and keeping work surfaces moisturefree. Culinary professionals can now elevate their creations, confident in the freshness and improved quality delivered by Novipax’s Prep Pads. January Issue 2024 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 78

43 Panacheeza Unveiling Panacheeza, the epitome of pure and sumptuous plant-based delights. Crafted from just five wholesome ingredients, Panacheeza’s clean-label parmesan alternative marries health with unparalleled flavor. With no compromises on taste, Panacheeza takes you on a gastronomic journey, echoing the richness and depth of traditional parmesan, yet offering a fresh, plant-forward twist. With a texture that mirrors the finest traditional parmesans, it provides a complete sensory pleasure embarking on a nostalgic journey to the heart of Italy. Crafted with a “better for you” formula, Panacheeza boasts clean, uncomplicated ingredients, making it easy to enjoy both health and flavor in every bite. If that’s not enough, Panacheeza’s unmatched shelf life is a testament to the seamless blend of convenience and quality, ensuring Panacheeza is always ready to enhance your next culinary masterpiece.

44 PAR MENU PAR MENU, the omnichannel ordering software by PAR Technology, is set for exponential growth in 2024 as it expands across North America. This innovative platform revolutionizes the guest experience for enterprise restaurants with its digital ordering, thirdparty marketplace management, and delivery operations. Designed to simplify and maximize omnichannel profitability for multi-unit restaurants, PAR MENU integrates seamlessly with other well-known PAR products, including PAR Brink®, PAR Punchh®, and PAR Pay. This ensures a frictionless digital experience for both restaurant operators and guests. PAR MENU is uniquely positioned to simplify and maximize omnichannel profitability, providing comprehensive support from day one. It equips restaurant operators with everything needed to thrive in the digital business landscape.

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45 Rose Aperitivo The Rose Aperitivo is very much a rhubarbara, using 2 different varieties of rhubarb root for perfumey aromatics and earthy depth. The rosé wine base lends to a more berry forward side with bitter orange peel and rhodiola to carry citrus notes. For all of our cordials we like to explore the larger family of Artemisia (wormwood relatives), concentrating on the herbaceous Sweet Annie (sweet wormwood) that we forage wildly from our upstate farm. It is essentially cocktail strength on its own and can be sipped neat or on the rocks, and even though it’s very different from Campari, it can be used as its replacement in a number of cocktails like a Negroni or Spritz.

47 Smart Apron

46 Siempre Tequila Discover Siempre’s fresh new Plata. This Mexican female-founded brand has elevated its blanco expression, a verified additive-free masterpiece created under the watchful eye of Master Distiller Sergio Cruz. The agave grown on the Vivanco Family Estate Farms helps this tequila showcase the unique terroir of Jalisco. Curiously, the brand plays classical music throughout its process, a technique coined the “Mozart Method,” and boasts a blend of rum and champagne yeast to achieve a balanced flavor that combines highland and lowland characteristics that set it apart. Siempre Plata is an exceptional tequila that appeals to both enthusiasts and newcomers, embodying the artistry and complexity of the craft. To be conscious of the environment, Siempre makes its bottles using 100% recycled glass, labels with agave and hemp fibers, and closures using 100% cork, a completely renewable source. Best of all, the materials are sourced within 100km of their distillery. Complex aromas and flavors of spice, herb, pepper, brine/sea salt, and citrus with candied, floral notes and hints of cooked agave and sweet fruit. Exceptionally smooth.

The Smart Apron Waist design has 7 pockets, 2 with zippers, to secure important items, 2 medium and 2 small side pockets to hold pens or coupons, and 1 large middle pocket to hold a handheld point-of-sale device or guest checkbook. Smart Aprons incorporate a quick release clip waistband and to ensure durability there are 20 reinforced stress points and seams are double stitched. Smart Aprons are made from a 70% polyester and 30% cotton fabric, which is stain resistant and comfortable. Smart Aprons’ most appealing aspect is its adaptability to assist a wide range of customers that need an apron to organize all their essential items for work or for home use.

48 SmartBar USA SmartBar USA is a game-changer in the hospitality industry. With its modular design, interactive touchscreen, and customizable themes, it transforms the bar experience. Built-in inventory management and data analytics enhance operational efficiency, while contactless payment integration modernizes transactions. The go-to-market strategy targets upscale venues, utilizing social media and industry events. SmartBar’s impact on profits is evident through increased sales, brand loyalty, and data-driven marketing. Operationally, it streamlines inventory processes, enables remote monitoring, and speeds up transactions. Elevate your establishment with SmartBar—a fusion of innovation and efficiency. January Issue 2024 v Food & Beverage Magazine | Page 80

49 STARR Rum STARR Rum is an award-winning, field to bottle, Single Estate Rum made exclusively from the sugarcane grown, distilled, aged, blended and bottled on site in the African Island Paradise of Mauritius. STARR is unique among the great rums of the world. STARR’s unexpected flavor originates in the island’s rich, volcanic soil & reflects the vivacity of its African roots with a cherry and cardamom body and hints of citrus, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. STARR’s smooth clean taste derives from our sophisticated distilling techniques. After blending various aged rums, STARR filters out the color & impurities to create our ultra-refined light rum. Unrivaled for its smoothness and subtlety complex flavor profile, STARR’s character possesses an unmistakable joie de vivre. STARR is extremely approachable and easy-drinking light rum that is delicious on the rocks or in your favorite cocktail. 0 Sugar 0 Carbs 60 Calories and Gluten Free.

51 That’s it 50 SunnyGem SunnyGem 100% Virgin Cold Pressed Almond Oil is made from the finest California almonds from SunnyGem orchards, one of the largest vertically integrated almond suppliers in the world with over 200 years of experience in farming. SunnyGem’s Almond Oil contains 100% unrefined virgin cold-pressed almonds, with minimal processing and no additives or chemicals. SunnyGem Almond Oil has a subtle nutty, toasty flavor and comes packaged in a beautifully designed, elegant bottle.

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With a focus on simplicity and quality, That’s it. Dark Chocolate Espresso Truffles contain four real ingredients, satisfying the cravings of mocha coffee drinkers while offering a healthier and more portable alternative. Dark Chocolate Espresso Truffles are like having a shot of espresso while being enrobed in 60% cacao dark chocolate. These Truffles are certified organic, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and free of the top 12 food allergens.

Spare 52 The Food Co. Spare Starter, a revolutionary product from The Spare Food Co., is redefining culinary sustainability. This chef-crafted culinary shortcut is designed with a deep commitment to utilizing unused farm produce, embodying the company’s ethos of ‘More Ways to Use More.’ Integrating six crops and a proprietary spice blend, Spare Starter stands out for its nutritional value and innovative approach to food waste reduction. Developed in large-scale food service kitchens, Spare Starter has undergone meticulous refinement over the past year. Its introduction marks a significant advancement in the upcycled food movement, an area where The Spare Food Co. has already made its mark with the award-winning beverage, Spare Tonic. The product’s potential was quickly recognized by leading collegiate food service company Harvest Table Culinary Group. Their early adoption and subsequent expansion of their partnership with The Spare Food Co. to include Spare Starter across their college networks is a testament to its success.

53 Uncle Waithley Uncle Waithley’s Vincy Brew is a small-batch non-alcoholic carbonated ginger beer developed by mixologist Karl Franz Williams and inspired by his grandfather, Uncle Waithley, who lived his entire life on the island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Williams used a family recipe that includes Scotch bonnet pepper, ginger, turmeric, lime, and mineral water to produce a ginger beer with a bite like no other. By anchoring in the familiar and well-loved Ginger Beer Category and combining it with mixologist crafted Caribbean Flavors including Sorrel and Pimento Wood Smoked Pineapple, we provide one of the most compelling solutions on the market today for consumers interested in mindful drinking.

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54 Veggies Made Great Veggies don’t have to taste boring! With Veggies Made Great Egg Patties, get the benefits of eggs and the added nutrients of veggies, without sacrificing on taste. They come ready-to-eat in 3 flavors that fulfill whatever your tastebuds crave: Garden Vegetable, Southwest, or Egg White with Veggie Bacon Bits. The egg patties can be enjoyed as-is, or as a meal enhancer by adding them into sandwiches, salads, or as a bread substitute - the possibilities are endless! Whether you prefer the speed of a microwave or the crispness of an air fryer, Veggies Made Great Egg Patties are an easy, delicious, gluten-free, way to incorporate veggies into your lifestyle.

55 Viking Now available in new colors, Cypress Green and Slate Blue, Viking’s 2.6-Quart Stainless Steel Whistling Kettle with 3-Ply Base are functional and a beautiful addition to any stovetop. One touch whistle sounds when the water has come to a boil, while easily pivoting out of the way for easy pouring. Surgical grade stainless steel interior is non-reactive, eliminating the transfer of metallic taste to water from the kettle while making cleanup a breeze. These kettles work with all stovetops, including induction.

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56 Willie’s Superbrew Something big has been brewing at Willie’s Superbrew: The award-winning adult beverage brand recently added a new flavor to its lineup of hard seltzers. At 6% alcohol by volume and a whopping 23% juice, Juicy Hazy Hoppy is a tropical hard seltzer reminiscent of your favorite hazy IPA. This full-flavored beverage is gluten-free, vegan and has no artificial flavors or sweeteners. Brewed with aromatic Citra and Mosaic hops, real mango and pineapple and topped with a squeeze of fresh lime, Juicy Hazy Hoppy is one of the most flavorful seltzers ever produced. The real fruits, purees and juices give the hard seltzer a beautiful, bright color and super flavorful taste that sets it apart from anything else on the shelves.






We honor and remember the support of Chef Kerry Simon, Gary Cantor, Robin Leach, Chef Paul Prudhomme, & Gary Coles

Food & Beverage Magazine® is owned and published electronically by Beautiful People, LLC. Copyright 1995-2016 Beautiful People LLC. All rights reserved. Food & Beverage Magazine® and distinctive logo are trademarks owned by Beautiful People, LLC. “” is a trademark of Beautiful People, LLC. No part of this electronic magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of Food & Beverage Magazine. Requests for permission should be directed to: The information contained has been provided by such individual, event organizers or organizations. The opinion expressed in each article is the opinion of its author, organization or public relation firm. Food & Beverage Magazine is not affiliated with any other food and beverage or hospitality publication.

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By Ryan Slattery

Judging by the crowds packing Durango Casino & Resort, the local casino giant has not only met, but exceeded expectations with their latest luxury property. The 209-room, 15-story resort opened in the southwest valley on December 5 and three weeks after its debut, long lines still snake through all corners of the Eat Your Heart Out food hall where hungry guests are anxious to try (and willing to wait) for the new-to-market concepts. This includes L.A.’s cult favorite Irv’s Burgers, Silicianstyle square pies from Prince Street Pizza, Chef Gene Villiatora’s Hawaii street food offerings like his “crackhead” chicken at Ai Pono Cafe, pasta from Fiorella (helmed by James Beard award-winning chef Marc Vetri) and Uncle Paulie’s sub sandwiches. Other food hall outlets are more familiar to Las Vegas. From Vesta Coffee and Nielsen’s Frozen Custard to Shang Artisan Noodle, Yu-Or-Mi Sushi (a popular Arts District spot) and Station’s small counter service Oyster Bar, the company has created a fast-food dining district that has something for everyone. “The food hall had to be something that nobody had seen. It had to be more unique than everybody else’s version of a food hall,” explains Durango Casino & Resort General Manager Dave Horn.

“That was probably the most important part.” Danny Ye, the property’s executive chef, agreed, saying the selection was “an intentional curation.” He adds, “We were very methodical about who we picked. A lot of thought went into this. It wasn’t just about good food or having a social media presence. It was about their mantra, their story–the people who operated these places. When we saw that synergy was there, we knew.” One local operator, who is no stranger to Station Casinos having partnered with the company with outposts at Red Rock Resort and Santa Fe Station, is Nielsen’s Frozen Custard, known for its rich and smooth custard and signature concretes—shakes you eat with a spoon. Family-owned and operated by husband and wife team Howard and Amanda Zayon, the couple says the food hall with its collection of mom-and-pop shops feels like a community-based project. “It’s what really sets this property apart, seeing the owner’s present,” says Amanda Zayon. Durango’s signature restaurant, Nicco’s Prime Cuts & Fresh Fish, is positioned to outshine Station’s other stellar steakhouses–T-Bones Chophouse (Red Rock Resort) and Hank’s Fine Steaks (Green Valley Ranch). Horn describes it as a “throwback to the Las Vegas

The George Patio by Clint Jenkins

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steakhouses of the sixties and seventies when everybody had some solid pasta dishes.” But Nicco’s has a modern influence and heavy focus on wagyu beef and fresh fish. “Nicco’s is truly a labor of love,” Ye says proudly. “Everybody’s very passionate about it and all eyes are on it, so the stakes, no pun intended, are very high for us. It’s something we are very proud of and excited to show off to the world.” Nicco’s serves only USDA prime beef–either wet or dry aged–along with an impressive mix of wagyu beef. Station’s has partnered with Allen Brothers out of Chicago, one of the world’s premier meat purveyors to track and source its beef from farm to kitchen in an effort to put “beautiful steaks on plates,” Ye says. “It’s about getting the best.”

The chef says he’s in constant contact with the company to understand what the ranchers are feeding the cattle, the finish of the grain and other conditions that Ye says, “We love to geek out on as a chef.” Nicco’s carries three varieties of wagyu on its menu from the United States, Australia and true Kobe beef from Japan. For instance, in working with Château Uenae, Station’s is purchasing elite Hokkaido Snow Beef–so named because they are raised in the severe cold of Hokkaido, Japan and the marbling patterns resemble snow crystals. A sustainable, highly selective ranch, Château Uenae aims to sell the entire cow and Ye has found a use for the beef shank, braising and serving it with tortellini and green peas. “It’s a hearty, elevated steakhouse pasta,” Ye says. Steaks aside, Nicco’s is also one of only a couple places in Las Vegas where you’ll find dry-aged fish on the menu. Ye works with another

Mijo Modern Mexican Patio by Boogie 702

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Shang Artisan Noodle Durango by Clint Jenkins

famous provider, Liwei Liao, who conditions the branzino in Los Angeles and ships it daily to Nicco’s. The dry aging process can take between 14 and 17 days but the results are worth the wait. “The flesh is beautifully robust, but the best part for me is the skin,” Ye says. “It is absolutely crispy. It’ll shatter if you tap it with a spoon.” Another standout spot, and a favorite of Horn’s, is The George. The resort’s sportsbook, which is open 24 hours so fans can catch international sporting events live, is unlike any other in the city. It has both indoor and patio seating, curved, wraparound LED screens, sports wagering kiosks, and a robust menu that goes beyond sandwiches, flatbreads and nachos serving everything from honey sriracha grilled shrimp and gorgonzola crusted lamb to cajun salmon and seared scallops. The resort also partnered with Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants to bring Summer House, a California inspired restaurant delivering a diverse menu of fresh, market driven dishes in an open airy environment.


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Nicco’s Booth and Fireplace by Clint Jenkins

Station Casinos has also once again partnered with Clique Hospitality, who operates a Mexican restaurant Mijo Modern Mexican, a cool speakeasy called Wax Rabbit, and the Bel-Aire Lounge, which has glass doors opening to the resort pool. Clique partner and vice president of restaurants Keith Eure is proud of the work put into Mijo, which included trips to Mexico, hundreds of tastings and using one of their chef’s grandmother’s recipes for a mouthwatering birria short rib dish. Guests enter Mijo through a brick arched hallway and dine in a modern room with touches of Tulum throughout the decor. The upscale menu includes several ceviches, a chicken tortilla soup, charred octopus, duck carnitas, and a lobster enchilada. The big boy on the menu is a 55-ounce grilled tomahawk steak that just may be the largest steak served in the city. “We placed great effort into cultivating an artisanalstyle menu that’s both approachably and affordably,” Eure says. Just off Mijo’s dining room, a hidden door behind the tequila lockers leads to Wax Rabbit. Here, in the dimly lit, red room with a solid mezcal and tequila program, bartenders mix still drinks while a DJ

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Nicco’s Bar and Lounge


Nicco’s Veranda by Clint Jenkins

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Wax Rabbit Durango Casino by Clint Jenkins

Nicco’s Private Dining Air Wall By Clint Jenkins

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pumps out pulsing music using only vinyl records (so don’t expect any EDM). “You feel like you’re going into another dimension, a little club,” Eure explains. “It’s a cool, secluded spot people can get away to and have a great time but still be part of the action.” Clique’s third venue, Bel-Aire Lounge, has already established itself as a neighborhood nightlife juggernaut, and an ideal alternative to a night out on the Strip. But the cozy lounge is also great during the day when guests nibble on sushi, lollipop chicken wings, wagyu sliders, bang bang shrimp, and miso sea bass lettuce cups. Eure says Bel-Aire backyard, opening March 4, will offer Sunday brunch and a pool party atmosphere–including Friday Recess, an afternoon kickoff party to start the weekend off right.



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