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Volume 17, No. 1 ■ January. 2018


2017 FSM Foodservice Leader of the Year

DC Central Kitchen’s CEO

Mike Curtin

We Prepare Gourmet Foods for Professional Chefs

Direct Supplier of Quality Appetizers, Hors D’oeuvres, Desserts and Specialty Foods • 800-492-3663 Direct Supplier to the Mid-Atlantic Region Since 1985 Washington DC • New York, NY • Baltimore, MD • Philadelphia, PA

insidefsm Volume 17, No. 1

January 2018




news and information


Advertisers Index …………………………………………………………………… 24 Association News OCHMRA by Susan L. Jones …………………………… 16 Association News RAM by Marshall Weston ………………………………… 10 Association News RAMW by Kathy Hollinger ………………………………… 6 Association News VRTLA by Eric Terry ………………………………………… 17 FSM News by Lisa Keathley ………………………………………………………… 2

Balti-MORE by Dara Bunjon……………………………………………………… 23 Bob Brown Says by Bob Brown …………………………………………………… 8 Culinary Correspondent by Celeste McCall ………………………………… 20 First Person by Alexandra Greeley ……………………………………………… 19 Food Smarts by Juliet Bondinetz ……………………………………………… 18 From the Sea by Tim Sughrue ……………………………………………………… 9 Modern Business Solutions by Henry Pertman …………………………… 12 The Latest Dish by Linda Roth ………………………………………………… 11 Whining 'n Dining by Randi Rom ……………………………………………… 22

in the spotlight 2017 FSM Foodservice Leader of the Year by Lisa Keathley …………… 13

On The Cover Mike Curtin, CEO of DC Central Kitchen Cover and article photos: Lisa Keathley

Foodservice Monthly is the only publication to be awarded the RAM Allied Member of the Year award and the RAMW Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year award, the highest honor for a non-restaurant member.


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JANUARY 2018 | 1

From the Editor


t’s a new year, full of promise and hope, as beginnings should be. It’s also a time to look back to celebrate and remember. For Foodservice Monthly, that can’t be done without honoring Michael Birchenall, who passed away last year. Well known and well loved in the restaurant and foodservice communities, Michael was editor of the magazine since its founding 17 years ago. Sadly, I never met him. But by everyone’s accounts, I certainly wish I’d had that privilege. Since taking the helm last March, I’ve tried to celebrate his vision with interesting content from throughout the MidAtlantic region. Since March, our cover stories have gone to metro Baltimore, where we met Michael Myers and his son Sam as they opened Sam’s Canterbury Cafe. The Cafe is a place where those with autism can be employed and thrive. We chatted with Bryson Keens of Points South Latin Kitchen, a jubilee of all foods from south of the border (and all gluten-free, too!). And we met Brigitte Bledsoe of Miss Shirley’s Cafe, RAM’s 2017 Chef of the Year, whose love of seafood characterizes so many of the meals she creates in her three locations. Speaking of seafood, Congressional Seafood Company’s Tim Sughrue offered an in-depth review of GMO seafood, allowing readers into the conversation about this controversial topic. Of course, we also celebrated the Mid-Atlantic Food, Beverage & Lodging Expo in Timonium, a winner by any standard. In D.C., we met the team behind the new restaurant Siren by Robert Wiedmaier, with Brian McBride and John Critchley rounding out the trio. We interviewed Brian Leventhal and John Stires of D.C.’s new District Winery. And just last month, in December, we visited the new District Wharf and met two of the

FSM NEWS Foodservice Monthly Leaders of the Year 2007

Marcia Harris Restaurant Association of Maryland


Tom Meyer Clyde’s Restaurant Group


David Wizenberg, Gus DiMillo, and Jeff Tunks Passion Food Hospitality


What an OPEN-ing!


John Snedden Rocklands Barbecue and Grilling Company


Melvin Thompson Restaurant Association of Maryland


Spike Gjerde Woodberry Kitchen


Lynne Breaux Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington

Fabio and Maria Trabocci Gruppo FT Restaurants


Dimitri Moshovitis, Ike Grigoropoulos, Ted Xenohristos, and Brett Schulman Cava Mezze Grill

Todd and Ellen Gray Equinox


Susan Jones Ocean City Hotel Motel Restaurant Association

personalities behind Kith and Kin and Hank’s on the Wharf. With so many restaurants already open or opening soon, the Wharf is no doubt “the” place to be for those looking for food and fun. Further south, in Virginia, we talked with the founders of a new Indian restaurant concept, Choolaah. With editions in Merrifield and Sterling, this chain is set to introduce Indian food to a new generation of food lovers. And finally, in Fredericksburg, we met Adrian Silversmith, the young man behind Sprelly, with his new concept for everything peanut butter. Starting the new year, we are back to D.C. with our cover story and 2017 FSM Foodservice Leader of the Year, Mike Curtin, CEO of DC Central Kitchen. This organization is changing lives by generating employment through food. Above, you’ll see a list of other annual FSM honorees from the past. DC Central Kitchen’s Mike Curtin joins a wonderful group of leaders and professionals in the Mid-Atlantic food industry. Sales Manager Lisa Silber and I would like to thank all


our advertisers for continuing to support FSM. We’d also like to thank all our editorial contributors for giving of their time and creativity to provide readers with a taste of what’s going on in the food industry in our region. In addition, we’d like to thank the Associations that represent the food industry — RAM, RAMW, OCHMRA, and VRLTA — for giving news and updates from their perspectives. Finally, we’d like to thank you — our readers — for keeping this publication on your must-read list.

Lisa Keathley

Lisa Silber

We, and our owner/publisher, Silver Communications, wish you the happiest, healthiest, and most prosperous 2018.

OpenTable has released its list of the 100 Best Restaurants in America for 2017, and eight D.C.area restaurants made the list. According to OpenTable, “Our list of honorees is based on an analysis of 12,000,000+ reviews of more than 26,000 restaurants across the country — all submitted by verified diners.” So WHO is on the list? In D.C., it’s Chez Billy Sud, Kinship, Harold Black, Le Diplomate, Marcel's, and Rasika, along with Joe's Seafood, which is located in D.C. as well as Chicago and Las Vegas. In Virginia, the Great Falls perennial, L'Auberge Chez Francois, was also recognized. Last year, only four D.C.-area restaurants were named to OpenTable's top 100: barmini, Seasons Restaurant at the Four Seasons, L'Auberge Chez Francois, and Harold Black. Still, D.C. wasn't the most wellrepresented city on the list — NYC got 19 spots. But we beat out Chicago, which had five restaurants. Go, D.C.!!!

More top honors Masseria, by Chef Nick Stefanelli, has won gold! The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) recently Stefanelli announced the winners of the 2017 U.S. Design and Development Awards competition, recognizing excellence, innovation, and creativity in the retail real estate industry. Masseria — a restaurant

FSM NEWS cont. pg 3 2 | JANUARY 2018

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FSM NEWS cont. from pg 2

Volume 17, No. 1 ■ January 2017

born from a collaboration among developer Edens, Chef Stefanelli, and local architecture firm Grupo7 — was honored with a gold award in the retail design category. In 2014, Edens set out with a vision to turn a vacant and crumbling 2,000-square-foot brick building in Northeast D.C.’s Union Market District into an urban culinary oasis. Chef Nick Stefanelli came on board, embracing the building’s character as a backdrop for a restaurant that would celebrate the Italian flavors of his childhood. Grupo7’s design employed such elements as a ‘Bianchi Green’ handmade mosaic kitchen wall, oversized aged timber, iconic Mediterranean cement tile, and steel windows to create a space that captures both the simplicity of the Italian working farm — or masseria — and the grit of an urban setting. With a 2016 Michelin star, Masseria has become one of Washington’s most celebrated restaurants. And the project — now with a design

gold — has helped set D.C.’s Union Market District on the world stage.

Ready, Set, YUM! Winter blues got you down, even though it’s only January? Not to worry…Metro Washington, D.C.’s Winter Restaurant Week, sponsored by RAMW, is here to enliven the chilly days and nights. During this semi-annual promotion, diners will find prix fixe menus at restaurants around town and beyond. From Monday, January 22 through

Sunday, January 28, 250 restaurants in D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia will offer multi-course $35 dinner, $22 lunch, and $22 brunch menus, allowing diners to revisit favorite restaurants or explore new destinations in the metropolitan Washington dining scene. A full list of participating restaurants and their menus, as well as links to book reservations, will be available at Diners who “opt-in” via this same website will receive emails with exclusive deals on meals…plus a chance to be automatically entered to win delicious and fun prizes (think restaurant gift certificates and local event tickets) through RAMW’s Diner Rewards Program. Winter Restaurant Week sponsors include 94.7 FRESH FM, American Express, American Lamb, Events DC, and OpenTable.

FSM NEWS cont. pg 4

Silver Communications Publisher Lisa Keathley Managing Editor Lisa Silber Sales Manager Electronic Ink Design & Production Dennis Barry Juliet Bodinetz Bob Brown Dara Bunjon Alexandra Greeley

Contributing Writers Kathy Hollinger Susan Jones Celeste McCall Henry Pertman Randi Rom

Linda Roth Michael Sternberg Eric Terry Marshall Weston

Contact phone: 703-471-7339 email: fax: 866-961-4980 web: Foodservice Monthly, a division of Silver Communications, Corp., is owned and published by Silver Communications, Corp. The Foodservice Monthly mission is to provide Mid-Atlantic foodservice professionals with news and information in an informed, imaginative and insightful newsmagazine. Foodservice Monthly assumes no responsibility for material submitted to us. All information contained in this publication is believed to be accurate. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part or transmitted in any form without prior permission from the publisher of Foodservice Monthly.

Safer Customers. Simplified Procedures. Better Results. NO RINSE FOOD CONTACT CLEANER SANITIZER Simplified procedures with fewer steps help reduce cleaning time increasing productivity. Customers and employees will be safer with the improved food safety compliance providing protection against a variety of foodborne illnesses.

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All rights reserved.

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JANUARY 2018 | 3

FSM NEWS cont. from pg 3 restaurants can enjoy two-course lunch and brunch menus for under $20, and three-course dinner menus for under $35 at participating restaurants. And there is a great list of participating restaurants — from A…Aggio and Alizee…to, well, not quite Z, but X anyway, XS, a sushi restaurant on Charles Street. For restaurant ideas and more information, here’s the link: http://

Don’t forget B-more! Baltimore hosts a Winter Restaurant Week, too! From January 12 to 21, diners at over 100



Mark your calendars! Sips & Suppers Tickets are on sale for the 10th Annual Sips & Suppers fundraiser benefiting DC Central Kitchen (see cover story, page 13) and Martha’s Table. Sips takes place on Saturday, January 27, and Suppers takes place on Sunday, January 28. Sipsgoers will gather at the NEWSEUM to sample the hottest local foods, cocktails, and wines from the area’s leading chefs and mixologists. At Suppers, guests will dine in the private homes of 37 generous hosts throughout the D.C. area, enjoying gourmet meals prepared by some of the nation’s most acclaimed chefs. Sips & Suppers is the brainchild of culinary greats and event chairs José Andrés, Joan Nathan, and Alice Waters. They began the event in 2009 as a means of raising awareness about hunger and poverty in the District of Columbia. Since its inception, the event has raised over $3 million. VIP ticket holders will meet the three event chairs and receive a signed copy of either Joan Nathan’s acclaimed new cookbook, King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World, or Alice Waters’ new memoir, Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook. Tickets sell out fast, and prices increase on January guests should purchase tickets early. www.

Food and femmes…






On Saturday, March 10, Les Dames d-Escoffier will host the D.C. chapter’s “11th Salute to Women in Gastronomy.” The event will feature a keynote by Pati Jinich, Jinich host of the awardwinning PBS television series Pati’s Mexican Table, now in its sixth season. Born and raised in Mexico City, Jinich is a resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C. and

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author of two cookbooks, Pati’s Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking and Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen. She is a member of the Washington, D.C. Les Dames chapter. Also featured during a day of activities: more than 50 speakers in 16 sessions, hands-on cooking classes on such topics as preserving and fermenting, perfecting puff pastry, and knife skills, a culinary EXPO, food samples, cookbooks, and a festival of desserts not to be missed. When and where: 8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. at The Universities at Shady Grove, Building II, 9630 Gudelsky Drive, Rockville, Maryland 20850. Learn more here: https://

Soup's on Legal Sea Foods has declared a ‘legal’ holiday, Chowda Day, on Monday, January 15. For one day only, customers can enjoy Legal Sea Foods’ hearty New England Clam Chowder for $1 a cup, with the purchase of any entrée. Legal Sea Foods originally opened as a fish market in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1950, and it was here that the firm’s famous chowder was first served. Now regularly priced at $6.95 a cup for an eight-ounce serving, the award-winning New England clam chowder has become a cult favorite. And Chowda Day has become an annual tradition. Chowda Day will be celebrated at all four Legal Sea Foods locations in the Washington area.

FSM NEWS cont. pg 24 foodservicemonthly

Roll in to the new year with freshness.

410.276.7254 | | 601 South Caroline Street, Baltimore, MD 21231


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JANUARY 2018 | 5

ASSOCIATION NEWS - RAMW | Kathy E. Hollinger

Nominations Now Open for the 2018 RAMMY Awards


he Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) is pleased to announce The 36th Annual RAMMY Awards! The Awards Gala will take place on Sunday, June 10, once again in D.C.’s Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Online award nominations are open through Sunday, January 14, kicking off a full season that celebrates the region’s outstanding restaurants. The RAMMY Awards Gala will highlight the exceptional

6 | JANUARY 2018

ability and accomplishments of the hard-working individuals and organizations of the region’s restaurants and foodservice community. RAMW is currently accepting

submissions in 20 award categories, including the Honorary Milestone RAMMY Award. Not given every year, this award honors longstanding local restaurants and RAMW members who have been in business for at least 25 years and are considered the Washington region’s most influential or beloved dining institutions. Past honorees have included Occidental (2016), Clyde’s Restaurant Group (2013), Tune Inn (2012), The Monocle Restaurant (2010), Billy Martin’s Tavern (2009), and Ben’s Chili Bowl (2008). The Regional Food and Beverage Producer category will also be voted on once again by the RAMW restaurant membership, for the second year running. It celebrates the producers and artisans who work so hard to provide incredible ingredients for the industry to utilize. To nominate an outstanding operator or professional in the area’s restaurant industry, visit the RAMMYS nominations portal at through midnight, the evening of Sunday, January 14. Only RAMW members are eligible to become finalists. The selection process for nominees and winners involves two esteemed groups — the voting public and an anonymous panel of volunteer judges, consisting of food and dining journalists, educators, and

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foodservice industry professionals. Finalists in 20 categories will be announced at a special event in March. In addition to those eligible for online nominations, RAMW honors two additional members with the Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year, presented to an allied member who best exemplifies commitment to and support of RAMW, and the Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award, given for dedication and leadership that has helped transform Washington’s restaurant scene into today’s vibrant restaurant industry. These awards are determined by RAMW’s Executive Committee.

Soooo, mark your calendars! The RAMMYS celebrate so much. Don’t miss this chance to be part of the one night of the year when the region’s restaurateurs, chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, sous chefs, and more come together with industry colleagues, elected officials, and members of the media to toast to a superb year of dining. And, for 2018, we will be announcing exciting opportunities to get involved or be part of creative sponsorships as The RAMMYS explore art, design, and music and the roles they play in restaurants. For more information on The 36th Annual RAMMY Awards and sponsorship opportunities, email or call 202331-5990. KATHY HOLLINGER is the executive director of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitian Washington. foodservicemonthly

DIDN'T WE SEE YOU AT ... | Our Roving Photographer Lisa Silber

RAM Holiday Party

December 4, 2017 Timbuktu Restaurant Hanover, Maryland


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JANUARY 2018 | 7


The Guided Tour: How to Avoid Pitfalls and Master the Good Stuff


ow many times have you heard a well-crafted menu tour from a knowledgeable, caring server? One in twenty outings…maybe? Without a tour, guests can be their own worst enemies. They order “safe” and miss out on the hidden treasures of your menu.

O: Open with a call to attention and a benefit to listening Kick off your tour with, “Ladies and gentlemen. Please allow me a few moments to tell you about four great things.” Like a ring leader in a circus, you alert your audience to settle down and listen. And, by telling guests you’ll be brief and will offer expert advice, they’ll relax, knowing they won’t have to endure a mind-numbing dissertation.

P: Point guests to an exact location and pause Next, direct guests to a section, then to a specific location. “If you look on the upper right-hand side of the menu under appetizers, first item down, you’ll find our calamari.” Then, pause to make certain everyone’s with you. Guests who don’t follow you will side-talk and interrupt. Simply stop, walk over to Mr. Lost, and use your pen to help him find his place. Then resume your tour. Never talk over distractions.

E: Entice guests with a few well-chosen words. Captivate with a brief trigger word presentation. “Our bartender Phil from Philadelphia makes a great Grey Goose martini.” Names, places, and brands inspire guests to listen, spark conversation, and trigger sales.

N: Navigate the menu until you’ve designed a complete meal Any veteran waiter will tell you that guests don’t read menus. When you walk guests through your

starter, soup and salad, and entree categories, you highlight standout items and help guests see how the menu works. For example, servers at J-Paul’s of Georgetown in D.C. direct their guests to the raw bar side-flap of their menu. Embrace the multitude of tour benefits. Romance the food, show how the menu works, give the inside scoop on signature items, save time, sell more, and establish your credibility. And, when recommending an item from each

Tips to remember: • Be on the lookout for millennials who have outfoxed you by perusing your menu on their iPhones.

with zero chance to sell.

• Based on your guests’ appetite for listening, deliver a ‘short and sweet’ or ‘razzle dazzle’ presentation. • Make certain your voice is loud and clear, expressive, and your spiel well organized. • Never leave the guest with the menu alone for too long — they’ll then decide without your expert advice. • Avoid, “Look over the menu, and I’ll be back with your drinks.” When you return, you’re dead in the water

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• Impress the leader/buyer. She’ll influence her fellow diners to follow your recommendations. • Don’t tire. Offer specials after the tour. “And, by the way Chef José has also prepared a special fresh filet of sea bass marinated in fresh lemon, sage, and thyme.” • Use the guided tour with all menus: cocktail, beer, and specialty drink, dessert, and wine list.

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category, you subliminally suggest a complete meal. Remember, 60 to 90 percent of the time, guests order what you tell them to order. And, even if you sell one more appetizer, wine, or dessert per shift, you’re adding thousands to the bottom line and pile of cash in your pocket.

BOB BROWN, president of Bob Brown Service Solutions,, pioneered Marriott’s Service Excellence Program and has worked with Disney, Hilton, Morton’s of Chicago, Nordstrom, Olive Garden, and Ritz Carlton, and internationally with such hotels as Burj Al Arab in Dubai. He has appeared on the Food Network and authored the bestselling The Little Brown Book of Restaurant Success, selling over 100,000 copies worldwide. Contact Bob for speeches, workshops, breakouts, and executive retreats: 571-246-2944 ©Bob Brown Service Solutions 2014. foodservicemonthly

FROM THE SEA | Tim Sughrue

Trouble in the Chesapeake Bay Oyster & Crab Business


roper stewardship and management of a shared public resource, when done correctly, makes for a great story and benefits the public and all stakeholders. However, when things don’t go as planned, the finger -pointing starts, and the political blame game begins. Wild oyster season started October 1 in the Maryland waters of the Chesapeake. On that date, oyster divers, hand tongers, and patent tongers began to ply the waters of their local oyster bars to try and catch their daily limit of 15 bushels of oysters per license. For the last few years, oystermen catching their daily limit was the norm when the season began. Some of the best oystermen caught their limit every single day, all season long. This year is a different story. Legal size oysters were very scarce right from the beginning. Although there was no significant oyster “dieoff” from disease last summer, it seems the wild oysters did not grow much at all in the last 12 months. This year’s Chesapeake blue crab season also ranks as one of the worst in many years. Dealers were begging for crabs all fall, at a time of year when, normally, there are so many, you can’t give them away. Local fresh crabmeat prices broke records this summer, cresting the $30 a pound mark for months. Crabs are as scarce as anyone can remember, and next spring and summer look to be worse. In this article, we will explore the precautionary measures and strategies employed by the resource managers (Maryland Department of Natural Resources) in both the crab and oyster fisheries and see how Mother Nature has the final say on all matters.

First, the crabs Last spring started off with a bang, foodservicemonthly

and crabs seemed to be everywhere. But as the summer wore on, it became clear that there were no

favorable to bringing the drifting larval blue crabs back into the Chesapeake Bay last spring.

Local fresh crabmeat prices broke records this summer, cresting the $30 a pound mark for months “little crabs” which would grow to legal size for the fall run. Where did they go? The explanation can be found in the complex life cycle of the crab. Female crabs migrate to and bury in the mud at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay each winter. In the spring, they release their eggs — and these tiny larval blue crabs spend the first part of their lives drifting with the currents in the Atlantic Ocean. They are totally dependent on favorable currents, temperatures, and winds to bring them back into the Chesapeake Bay, where they grow into adult crabs. So, the lack of crabs in late summer and fall this year can be attributed to the 38 percent decrease in juvenile crabs — crabs smaller than 2.4 inches — according to the 2017 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey results, when compared to the 2016 statistics. In other words, the winds and currents were not

The good news: the survey found that the spawning female stock, the true barometer of the health of the population, increased 31 percent, to 254 million crabs. In the long run, that is the most important figure. So, in conclusion, we will probably have to endure another summer of high-priced local crabmeat, but take comfort in the fact that the Chesapeake Bay blue crab population is stable, healthy, and resilient.

And the oysters? The wild oyster industry is faced with some major issues right now. The annual harvest in Maryland waters reached 400,000 bushels in 2014, after spending 20 years at fewer than 100,000. The increase was attributed to the new, enlarged sanctuary system put in place in 2010 by the Maryland DNR and the Army Corp of Engineers. However,

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this year, the harvest is projected to drop almost 50 percent to under 200,000 bushels. The problem seems to be that the oysters are not growing as fast as they should. Public oyster season opened October 1 and runs through the end of March. The remaining oyster bars that are not declared sanctuaries are dredged daily for their legal size oysters by the hardworking watermen of the Chesapeake Bay. They use many different harvest techniques to try and catch their daily limit of 15 bushels. This year, legal oysters — defined as three inches or larger — are scarce, so undersize oysters of less than three inches are being dredged up to the surface time and again, measured, and thrown back overboard. Working these bars over and over during the six-month oyster season causes increased mortality on what would be next year’s oysters. The state of Virginia has implemented a successful management plan that includes biomass studies to determine which bars should open — and when. If the majority of the oysters on a given bar aren’t big enough, then the bar stays closed until they are. The Maryland DNR needs to design a similar system of rotational harvests — openings and closures of oyster bars — that will allow harvests to continue but also protect the longterm viability of the public oyster bars in the Chesapeake Bay. Tim Sughrue is executive vice president and founding member of Congressional Seafood Company. He holds a BS from North Carolina State University in Wildlife Biology and Fishery Science. He is a former research biologist for the Maryland DNR, has worked as a fulltime commercial waterman, and has sold almost a billion dollars worth of seafood in his career. JANUARY 2018 | 9


Lawmakers Want to Hear Directly from You


he month of January marks a year full of new beginnings: new resolutions, new resolve, new developments, and new initiatives. And naturally, the same beginnings will be taking place in business and in government. Each January, the Maryland General

Assembly begins meeting in Annapolis for 90 days to act on more than 2,300 bills that could potentially affect the foodservice and hospitality industries. At the Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM), it is our mission to protect the foodservice and hospitality industries and play

their businesses. At the reception, you will enjoy signature dishes and desserts from featured RAM member restaurants, with complimentary beverages. It truly is the most celebrated legislative reception of the year and at the top of the “must attend” list for state lawmakers and their staffs.

an integral role in the legislative decision-making process. We have a full-time team that works tirelessly to navigate through the bureaucracy and educate lawmakers about how important restaurants are to the economy and our communities. In 2015, the foodservice industry contributed $664 million in sales tax revenue to the state of Maryland. When restaurants do well, the state does well. We must constantly remind lawmakers of that fact. To help foster a dialogue between lawmakers and members of the foodservice and hospitality industries, RAM will be hosting the annual Taste of Maryland Legislative Reception on Monday, January 15 at the Loews Annapolis Hotel. For one evening, we bring restaurant owners and key staff together with their state representatives to meet and chat about what’s really affecting

Aside from a great cocktail party, the Taste of Maryland is an important part of the legislative process. Industries that are willing to meet and discuss issues with their lawmakers are the industries that can avoid adverse legislation. Strength is in numbers, and the more people who attend and make their views known, the better off our industry will be. You can’t always rely on your state associations to deliver the message. Lawmakers often want to hear directly from YOU! This is your opportunity to be part of the legislative process. For tickets to the Taste of Maryland Legislative Reception, go to




Rammy Winner of Joan Hisa o 2017 Allie ka Member od f the Year

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MARSHALL WESTON is the president and CEO of the Restaurant Association of Maryland. foodservicemonthly


The St. Regis, Washington, D.C… …has grown its culinary footprint in downtown D.C. Sébastien Giannini has been named executive chef of the facility’s new, modern Mediterranean restaurant that will launch in Q1. He was most recently executive chef and culinary director at the W Montreal, a five-star hotel in Montreal, Canada. He was a finalist of the Giannini prestigious Bocuse d’Or, as well as the official coach of Team Canada, Bocuse D`Or Culinary Competition, where Team Quebec placed first in Canada.

Food halls: hot trend for 2018… Forest City plans to open Quarter Market, a new 25,000-square-foot food hall replacing Ballston Mall. There will be over 12 restaurants, including: Timber Pizza Company; Bartaco, from the folks who brought you Barcelona Wine Bar; Buredo; Cucina Al Volo; Ice Cream Jubilee; Baltimore-based Mi & Yu Noodle Bar; Baltimore-based Pinch Dumplings; Rice Crook, from the folks who brought you Bun’d Up; and Swizzler (gourmet hot dogs). A fall 2018 opening is targeted. Smoking Kow BBQ food truck owner Dylan Kough plans to open a real store in Alexandria at 3250 Duke Street where Sinbad Mediterranean Food & Bakery used to be. It will be a full-service restaurant, as well as a commissary for the food trucks. Currently, Smoking Kow cooks out of Union Kitchen. Guapo’s plans to open its ninth location at the

Georgetown Waterfront where Orange Anchor used to be. It will seat 110, with 50 on the outdoor patio. Jorge Figueredo from ThinkFoodGroup is


Duke's Grocery takes over the space formerly occupied by Kinkead's at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue the new director of operations, and Sergio Galindo is the corporate chef.

Quick hits Duke’s Grocery is expanding to Foggy Bottom where Kinkead’s used to be at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The 4500-square-foot restaurant will be much larger than Duke’s Grocery in Dupont Circle and will include an outdoor patio. Royette Smith plans to open a Horace & Dickie’s in Glenarden in Prince George’s County at 7901 Martin Luther King Jr. Highway. This will be carryout only. Horace & Dickie’s has locations in Seat Pleasant, off H Street, NE in D.C., and in Takoma Park. Reese Gardner will open Tulips, a threestory restaurant, bar, and Champagne lounge where Irish Whiskey Public House used to be in Dupont Circle at 1207 19th Street, NW. Not only is Tulips named for his great grandmother but expect tulip-shaped glassware. The bar is on the middle floor, the dining room is on lower level, Gardner with the Champagne lounge on the upper level.

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John Leavitt is the executive chef, who comes from Clarity and Water & Wall in Virginia. James Duke continues as corporate chef for the company, which also includes Copperwood Tavern and Quinn’s on the Corner. Recently opened in Adams Morgan: Lucky Buns, featuring burgers, at 2000 18th Street, NW. Mixologist extraordinaire Jo-Jo Valenzuela has joined the team. Korean restaurant Bom Restaurant & Bar has opened at 2440 18th Street, NW, where Millie & Al’s used to be.

Food and fitness The enormous St. James wellness and entertainment center coming to Springfield in 2018 will include a full-service restaurant, upscale lounge, and market café, provided by Spike Mendelsohn. It will be open to the public, as well as St. James members, with indoor and outdoor seating. Also in the plans, a FIFA regulation-sized turf field, two NHL regulation-sized ice rinks, four full-length basketball courts, an Olympic regulation-sized pool, and a 6,000-square-foot indoor water park. LINDA ROTH is president of Linda Roth Associates, Inc., specializing in marketing, promotions, and publicity in the hospitality industry. Contact Linda at 202-888-3571 or or visit her website at

JANUARY 2018 | 11


Happy New Year, Happy New Menu!


appy New Year everyone. I hope it is a great one for you, your families, and your business. One thing is for certain — if you have not revisited your current menus, now is the time. This makes a great New Year’s resolution that will have tremendous impact and ROI in 2018.

Why upgrade? There are many reasons to evaluate and upgrade your menus. Even if business is good and you are doing well, doing better is always the goal of any business. Modifying your menu to align with changing tastes and trends offers the possibility of additional revenues by enticing new diners and encouraging prior diners to come back to try what’s new. An upgraded menu is your vehicle to reflect a rise in your costs. Upgrading can even lead to reduced food, production, and labor costs over the long term. These results alone are important enough to make this effort fruitful.

The first bit of analysis... ...must be a deep dive into your actual food costs, followed by the costs of turning the food into menu items, which is your production costs. Food prices change all the time, and I have seen dozens of restaurants fail because they are afraid of raising menu prices while their cost of goods is going out of control. Making no money or little money for all your efforts should not be an option. If your product is excellent, your service is outstanding, and the food is pleasing to the eye and the palate, then your guests will shoulder an increase in price. Remember that your regular guests see a price jump of a dollar or two as exactly that, a dollar or two. Another 12 | NOVEMBER 2017

way of thinking of it is that your guests will be deciding whether they want to spend a couple of dollars more. That decision should be easy, again, given the level of hospitality they receive and quality of the food they eat.

Also, shopping around... prudent and recommended. Consider using alternate products from new suppliers. Oftentimes, there are alternate similar (or better) products that will serve you even more. When honing your menu, consider the current trends in our food world. Vegan options, vegetarian options, gluten-free, highly spiced, and healthy options are being sought and purchased in massive quantities every day. Is your restaurant turning a blind eye to this ever-expanding marketplace? Make yourself,

your menu, and your restaurant increasingly more relevant.

The greatest cost... your business, outside of food, is labor. Now is the right time to analyze what you do and how you do it. Reducing labor may consist of many efficiencies that you currently do not have in place or enforce. However, do not be lazy about that implementation and enforcement. Every point you can shave from overtime or regular labor goes right to the bottom line. Hire to a higher expectation, even if it costs an extra dollar or two an hour, if it pays off in productivity and efficiency. In fact, poorly performing staff are the most expensive commodity you pay for every single day. Don’t make one person more important than your business.

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Look at other efficiencies... ...that will affect the quality and consistency of your offerings, while helping to reduce your labor costs at the same time. I preach the benefits of pre-cut fruits and vegetables, where and when it makes sense. I frequently help clients through technology demos, explaining the efficiencies and ROI of high speed ovens, combi-ovens, and automatic fryers. These upgrades can help significantly in accomplishing your menu, food cost, and labor goals. Let me know if I can help you! HENRY PERTMAN is director, Hospitality Consulting at CohnReznick LLP, located in the firm’s Baltimore, Maryland office. He can be contacted at 410-7834900 or


COVER STORY | Lisa Keathley


hen you walk into DC Central Kitchen’s kitchen about two hours before lunchtime, you are met with the aroma of onions, the sight of dozens of volunteers chopping vegetables in unison, the banter of culinary students stirring pots — really big pots — of soup, and a tangible feeling of camaraderie and hope. At the baton of this “orchestra” — full of energy and commitment himself — is CEO Mike Curtin, who is being recognized as Foodservice Monthly’s 2017 Foodservice Leader of the Year.

Who is Mike Curtin? Many FSM readers know him already. He describes himself as a “recovering restaurateur” who worked in the hospitality industry for 14 years before joining DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) — two of them (2001-2003) as chairman of RAMW — and five of them as owner of the Broad Street Grill in Falls Church, Va. Curtin wanted the Grill to be a community place because, as he says, “restaurateurs are committed to their communities, and restaurants provide a place where people can gather, share, and learn,” along with a hoped-for good meal. His restaurant provided all of that, but when it had to go out of business due to undercapitalization, “I had to admit failure,” he says. “It was very hard for me.” But good things came out of the restaurant experience anyway, including meeting and volunteering with DCCK’s founder Robert Egger. When a DC Central Kitchen COO opportunity came along, Mike Curtin applied for the job. That was a little over 13 years ago, and he says it’s been “a glorious ride ever since.” foodservicemonthly

Curtin MIKE


From the beginning…

…Curtin was intrigued with the idea of taking things that most people had marginalized — both food and people — and creating value from them. “I saw in the nation’s capital this incredible lacking and this poverty and despair. I saw the Kitchen as a place to fight and change that.” He knew, as did Egger before him, that “we can never feed our way out of hunger. Instead,” he says, “we’ve got to break our way out of the cycle of poverty with jobs. That’s the heart and soul of the Kitchen.”

But there weren’t enough jobs when Curtin arrived. At that time, the non-profit was more of a traditional charity, based mostly on philanthropic contributions and left-over food donations. It provided meals for the hungry, certainly, and Curtin expanded catering operations. But that wasn’t enough, particularly as the economy went south during the 2007-2008 recession. Curtin realized he had to change the formula because “the money dried up. So, instead of doing what most were doing — hunkering down — we decided to expand. If

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we hadn’t,” he says, “we’d have had an even bigger hole to climb out of. We had to take it to another level.”

That next level… …included not just providing meals, job training, and catering. “We needed to find a steady, predictable business line with employment and growth potential.” The answer was school food. Today, 63 percent of DCCK’s budget is earned income, predominantly through a contract to provide meals


FOODSERVICE LEADER OF THE YEAR cont. from pg 13 for two private and 12 District of Columbia public schools. The Kitchen also added food packaging as a way to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to local corner stores in D.C.’s food deserts. With those initiatives, the opportunity to create more jobs and more job training grew, too. Through its Culinary Job Training (CJT) program, the Kitchen holds four 14-week training sessions per year, graduating between 100 and 110 people annually. Trainees come from all walks of life. About 60 percent have been incarcerated. Seventy percent have experienced substance abuse. “They are women and men who have suffered abuse or trauma, people who have been chronically homeless and unemployed for much of their lives,” says Curtin. “All have experienced significant barriers to meaningful employment.”

More than pots and pans “Only about 50 percent of what we do is about pots, pans, stoves, and knives,” says Curtin. The rest of what DCCK teaches is life skills, which will help people not only get a job but keep it. The National Restaurant Association’s Educational Foundation has developed a list of 11 competencies that entry-level employees must learn to succeed on the job. DC Central Kitchen is part of a national pilot program, with eight other organizations, to test whether it works. “We teach life empowerment skills, such as showing up on time, playing nicely in the sandbox, and following directions.” The application process is rigorous. DCCK recruits actively in prisons and via the criminal justice system. It doesn’t work, though, until a candidate is ready, says Curtin. “It doesn’t make any difference unless the candidates want to make changes in their lives. They have to have reached a point of ‘this is it. I need something else or what’s next is not good.’” After a first


Breaking the Cycle :

A Conversation with DCCK’s Dawain Arrington Dawain Arrington is a production manager at DC Central Kitchen’s main kitchen facility, but he didn’t start out that way. Not even close. His dad was a dealer and his mom an addict who would leave him and his two little brothers alone for days at a time to fend for themselves. The first time he was arrested, he was caught stealing food for himself and his siblings. He was 11. He was involved on and off with gangs, violence, and incarceration for the next 20 years. “I did 16 years of prison from the time I was 12 to 32 years old. The first five years was pretty much like the streets – it was basically gladiator school. But when I turned 25, I realized I had a light at the end of the tunnel. I was going to be released in eight some-odd years, and what am I gonna do? I’m thinking, ‘Man, I’m going to be sleeping on my aunt’s couch.’ And I knew ‘the game’ was something I never wanted to go back to. I despised it. I just lost interest in anything in the game. I changed in prison. The last eight years was all just focusing, concentrating, programming, educating myself and setting myself up for my next move when I came home.”

A second chance After being released from the Lorton prison in 2005, Arrington tried to get a job. “I tried a couple of apprenticeship programs, but a lot of places wouldn’t give me this chance because I’d never had a job before. I’d been incarcerated the majority of my life. I just kept having doors slammed in my face.” Finally, an advisor in a half-way house mentioned DC Central Kitchen. Arrington was not very optimistic at the start. “I thought it was going to be a dead end like the rest. I never thought about cooking food or anything. That wasn’t on my mind, (but) it’s one of those things where your career chooses you, you don’t choose it. I figured I’d just try. And it worked out. They (DCCK) saw something in me that I didn’t see…a leadership quality that I always knew I had. I just led folks the wrong way (on the streets). So, I figured well, I can take this talent to this level here… and it seemed to work out.” Arrington’s first position at DCCK was in catering. Eventually, he moved to the main kitchen to be

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around more volunteers and to help incoming student trainees. “I wanted to help the students that came behind (me). I want to assist them along the way.” He also wants to influence others who are walking the path he once followed. “I want to catch these guys that are coming home from prison, or drug addiction, or whatever. Those ones that think they are slicker and can keep doing it again and getting away with it. Or, doing short term and coming back home and doing the same thing. I tell them, ‘The deck is stacked against us. We’ve been doing this for the majority of our lives — the end game being the same — incarceration, or some type of homelessness, or even death. It’s time to change, man.’ So that’s one of my biggest goals, why I’m here.”

For the last four years, Arrington has been a supervisor in the organization’s main kitchen, where he oversees the work of 18 staff and 35 volunteers. In a small space, organized like a symphony, they prepare thousands of meals three times a day, every day. He laughs, “It is madness at times, dealing with multiple personalities, but I like the fact that when I see different faces come in, it almost feels like I’m in a new job setting. I’m talking to different people, new faces, new cultures…like a group came here from Ireland. And just to hear the way they talk, their culture, how the homeless situation is in Ireland. Now we’re Facebook buddies and things like that. Just meeting different cultures, different folks, understanding this whole thing. It’s like every day is a new day. That’s what makes it easier to go through. I’m not bored with the same set up every day.”

Family pride “My family are proud, they are really proud,” Arrington says, with a smile on his face. “Actually, my aunt told me before that she always knew I was going to do something. I always was in some type of leadership role, even if it was on the streets. So, she always saw that in me. She said, ‘Man, if you could put that toward something!’ So just to see me being released and actually get a job. The family was like, ‘He got a job? At 32?’ It was the first job I ever had in my life. They’re definitely very proud. They talk about it a lot.”

As to what’s next? Dawain Arrington — now with a job and a future — speaks with hope in his voice and commitment in his words. “I have a seven-year-old daughter. She’ll be eight in a few weeks. Her mom and I are first-time parents. And we both recognize the street. We are both on a clear path now. So we know what the obstacles are out there for our daughter. We’re going to show her that so she will understand it — so we can break the cycle. We are going to change the cycle that’s been going on in our family — starting with her.” — Lisa Keathley


FOODSERVICE LEADER OF THE YEAR cont. from pg 14 interview, there is a three-day trial in the kitchen, followed by another interview. Curtin proudly notes, “National job training programs result in about a fifty percent success rate. We have an 80 percent graduation rate once people are in the program, so we feel we are doing pretty well.”

And where do the graduates go? One hundred eighty-one people work at DCCK, 81 of whom are program graduates. Together, they prepare almost 13,000 meals per day — 5,000 for the community and 7,500 for schools. As Curtin notes, “That equates to a very big restaurant!” Other graduates work in local restaurants and with foodservice providers throughout the DMV region. In fact, though, job generation has gone well beyond that, Curtin says. Farms from southern Pennsylvania to the Shenandoah Valley have benefitted from hundreds of thousands of

New DCCK Culinary Job Training (CJT) graduate (Jan. 2018) Dana Thomas dollars of purchases to help meet the Kitchen’s needs. “The economic ramifications of this are stunning,” he says, “at every point along the supply line. We are an economic development generator. It’s not free food for poor people, we are in the economic development business.”

And the food… For years, DCCK focused on food at the end of the food stream,

collecting what was left over at restaurants. Now, says Curtin, restaurants are a lot smarter, with much less going to waste. In fact, he says, less than three percent of the Kitchen’s food is donated from restaurants. Sixty-five percent is donated from other sources, and the Kitchen concentrates heavily on going local. “Local farms have produce that is geometrically or aesthetically challenged, with little or no commercial value,” he explains. “About 40 to 60 percent of what’s grown on the farm never makes it off the farm because it’s not the right shape or size. But once you cut up a cucumber that’s too skinny or too fat, it’s beautiful, no matter how it started!” DCCK has a fleet of trucks to pick up food from a 200-mile radius of its D.C. location, in the shadow of the U. S. Capitol. Curtin is particularly excited about a brand new all-wheel drive van, donated by the World Bank, that can go anywhere in any weather. “We don’t close during emergencies,” he says. “In fact, we often have to double our production

for other homeless shelters when there is a snow emergency. We and the first responders are often the only ones out there.”

Looking ahead… …Mike Curtin hopes more restaurants will hire from the DC Central Kitchen talent pool. “What we hope to see is the Kitchen and the restaurant community grow together.” He describes the Kitchen as a place where people gather around a common table. Food, he says, is one thing we all have in common, no matter who we are or where we come from — from a chef, to a taxi driver, to the president of the United States. “We all have something to give and something to learn. When different people come together around the table, we can see the change we want in our communities.” FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DC CENTRAL KITCHEN, please go to For information on how you can hire its graduates, please contact Jamilah Al-Bari at jal-bari@dccentralkitchen. org, or 202-601-7321.


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WHERE HOSPITALITY BUYERS & SELLERS MEET The Newsmagazine Foodservice Professionals Rely On

JANUARY 2018 | 15



Connect. Showcase. Sell.

he industry will soon be gathering at the 44th Annual Hotel & Restaurant Spring Trade Expo in Ocean City, Maryland. Originally developed so the local market didn’t have to travel far and to generate business for the new Ocean City Convention Center, the Expo has grown to be the industry’s premiere time for connecting. Over 400 booths will feature the latest products and services for hospitalityrelated businesses. “We are rapidly filling up our booth space, but it’s not too late for vendors to reserve a spot,” stated event manager, Liz Walk. So, if you’d like to be in front of 5,000 attendees, contact the event producer, the Ocean City HotelMotel-Restaurant Association today at 410-289-6733. 

and Cooks Association invited its members and me to tour Seacrets Distillery during its holiday meeting. Located on 49th Street in Ocean City, this impressive facility delivers so many details that you feel as if you’ve stepped back to 1933. During the tour, current chefs, and those aspiring to be, learned all about the grains, evaporation, and maceration which go into producing the awardwinning Seacrets spirits. Lucky for us, we knew the secret passcode which allowed our entry into the speakeasy, where we tasted the spirits. Three students of the WorWic Community College Culinary program were given memberships in the American Culinary Federation, capping off a great night!

Restaurant Roundtable As lawyers are actively pursuing clients via Facebook and wage issues are hitting the news, we deemed it imperative to bring the Ocean City restaurant industry together to discuss the wage and hour, overtime, and tipped wage laws. A Restaurant Roundtable is being planned for January 26. The session will allow the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and restaurants to have an open and frank discussion of the laws and their interpretation. Additionally, the Roundtable will also serve as a general discussion time for members to share their thoughts on any topic of importance.

Mixing It Up Master Chef Season 7 Winner, Shaun O’Neale, will be the featured chef on the Culinary Stage during the Expo. Following his cooking demo, you’ll have a chance to meet and greet Shaun and purchase his My Modern American Table cookbook. While mixing up ingredients is Shaun’s current forte, his original passion was mixing up music. New this year, the Expo will feature an opportunity for an industry mixer. Immediately following Sunday’s Expo, the industry is invited to gather at Seacrets Morley Hall to mix and mingle with Shaun, who will be turning up the tunes.  

Developing Future Chefs Recently, the Delmarva Chefs 16 | JANUARY 2018

Above: Shaun O’Neale will be a featured chef at the Expo Below: The Delmarva Chefs and Cooks Association gathered at OC's Seacrets Distillery

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SUSAN JONES is the executive director of the Ocean City Hotel Motel Restaurant Association.



New Safety Regulations Coming to Virginia Restaurants July 1, 2018


wo hundred eighty-eight. According to the CDC’s Foodborne Outbreak Online Database Tool (FOOD Tool), that’s the number of individuals in Virginia affected by foodborne illness outbreaks in 2016 that were derived from restaurants. To put that into context, those 288 individuals represent nearly half — 46.7 percent of a 615 total — of all individuals affected by a foodborne illness in the state. On average, each restaurant-related foodborne illness outbreak resulted in 22 people falling ill, five of whom were hospitalized. Here’s another statistic to further illustrate the severity of foodborne illnesses in Virginia. From 2011 to 2016, restaurants were found responsible for 78 outbreaks that affected 2,515 individuals, of whom 279 were hospitalized. That is a significant number of potentially preventable illnesses and hospitalizations. And it is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a revised Food Code in 2013. The Code, among other things, included the introduction of the Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) requirement for the foodservice industry. Three years later, in 2016, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) also adopted the CFPM requirement into the Virginia Food Regulations, which take effect on July 1, 2018. Under Virginia Administrative Code 12VAC5-421-55 [Certified Food Protection Manager] adopted on July 12, 2016, all restaurants must employ at least one certified food


INDUSTRY LEADING SERVSAFE FOOD MANAGER CERTIFICATION CAN HELP PROTECT YOUR RESTAURANT AND GUESTS protection manager. The full extent of the Virginia Administrative Code is below:

12VAC5-421-55. Certified Food Protection Manager. At least one employee with supervisory and management responsibility and the authority to direct and control food preparation and service shall be a certified food protection manager, demonstrating proficiency of required knowledge and information through passing a test that is part of an accredited program. This section does not apply to food establishments that serve only nontemperature control for safety food and food establishments where food handling does not exceed reheating, cold holding, and hot holding of commercially processed and packaged ready-to-eat foods. For purposes of enforcement, this section will take effect on July 1, 2018.

What does this mean for your restaurant? Simply put, by July 1, 2018, all restaurants (including temporary ones) must have a supervisor/ manager on staff who qualifies as a certified food protection manager. The goal here is not to impose undue, complex regulations on restaurants. Instead, it is to further help restaurants understand and implement basic food safety measures to ensure public safety. Studies have shown that having a CFPM means your restaurant is likely to have better overall safety ratings, fewer inspection violations, and, ultimately, fewer foodborne illness outbreaks.

How do I obtain a CFPM certificate? The FDA and VDH consider the CFPM requirement fulfilled when a member of your restaurant’s management team can demonstrate that he or she has taken a food safety training course and successfully passed an accredited certification

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program. While there are a few options available for this, the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association has worked with the National Restaurant Association to offer the nationally recognized ServSafe Manager Certification. It is one of the top certification programs in the U.S., and Virginia certified nearly 20,000 ServSafe managers in 2017 alone. With a little bit of advanced studying, the program and exam can be completed in as little as one day through one of VRLTA’s established class dates or a number of reliable certified instructors. While Virginia’s Code may not dictate the requirement until July 1, 2018, the VRLTA highly recommends pursuing the certification as soon as possible…not only for the safety of your guests and restaurant, but because historical records indicate that more outbreaks occur during the months of January through May — before the requirement goes into effect. Restaurateurs can also help protect their restaurants and guests with additional training classes in allergens, alcohol service, and food handling. All are available online from Let’s work together to ensure that Virginia is one of the safest places to eat, sleep, and play in 2018 and beyond. ERIC TERRY is the executive director of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association.

JANUARY 2018 | 17

FOOD SMARTS | Juliet Bodinetz

New Year…Out with the Old…How Do You Know? …For Real


appy 2018 everyone! A lot of you might be already well into (or already failing with!) your New Year’s resolutions. For many, that includes new year cleaning and getting rid of clutter — “out with the old” — from your fridge and cupboards. How do you know what to throw away? Even when purchasing your food, how long do you have before you can no longer use it? It’s hard to know with so many options on the packaging. What do those expiration dates really mean anyway?

foods, though unpalatable, aren't necessarily hazardous.

Confusion = food waste

On the seventh day The FDA says if you prepare foods onsite in a food establishment, your expiration date is on the 7th day — with the date of preparation counting as day ONE. So, for example, if today is the 14th of a month, when is the expiration date? Most of our students answer, “The 21st!” Sounds logical doesn’t it? Seven days later — simple addition. Actually, the expiration date is not the 21st — it’s the 20th. You have to count day one, the 14th, and then count forward till the 7th day. So day 1 (14th), day 2 (15th), day 3 (16th), day 4 (17th), day 5 (18th), day 6 (19th), day 7 — throw away date — (20th)…NOT the 21st. FDA recommendations, of course, are set as outside limits to avoid the possibility of foodborne illness. Most food establishments don’t serve sevenday-old food to their customers. Even though it may be biologically safe, it won’t be so pretty quality-wise. In fact, most food establishments don’t serve food past three days of the preparation date for this very reason. They want repeat business by serving their guests aesthetically pretty food.

When a date is not a date There can be a lot of confusion about the shelf life of a product when purchasing food from a distributor or a supermarket. When should we throw a product away? What’s the difference in the various dates: “Best by,” “Use by,” “Sell by,” “Expiration date.” With the exception of infant formula, product dating is not required by federal regulations. 18 | JANUARY 2018

What does it all mean? BEST IF USED BY/BEFORE date indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or a safety date. • SELL BY date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It is not a safety date. • USE BY date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is not a safety date except for when used on infant formula. • EXPIRATION date is a safety date. It indicates when bacteria present on food may grow to an unsafe level and cause illness. Food manufacturers frequently use phrases such as “Sell-by” and “Use-by” on product labels to describe quality dates, and it is on a voluntary basis. Expiration dates on food are not required by federal law, although some states require such dates on meat, eggs, or milk. As a food product passes its "expiration" date, it may get stale, and some products, such as milk, may go sour. But according to food safety experts, most spoiled The Newsmagazine Foodservice Professionals Rely On

The use of different phrases to describe quality dates leads to confusion and has led to a lot of unnecessary food wastage. Consumers and retailers often dispose of food that is otherwise wholesome and safe because it is past the date printed on the package. The USDA estimates food loss and wastage at 30 percent of the food supply at the retail and consumer levels. To reduce consumer confusion and wasted food, the Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends that food manufacturers and retailers that apply product dating use a "Best if used by" date. Research shows that this phrase conveys to consumers that the product will be of best quality if used by the calendar date shown. Foods not exhibiting signs of spoilage should be wholesome and may be sold, purchased, donated, and consumed beyond the labeled "Best if used by" date. Does this mean you can keep food past a use or sell by date in your operation? Not really. This is what FIFO, first in first out, is for. Proper stock rotation will ensure that your oldest products are used first, and you will not have product on your shelves past the date marked on the packaging. And would you really want to serve food that is not top quality to your customers? Probably not a good business decision for repeat business hopes. To help keep that clean-out resolution at home? FIFO works there, too. Put new products at the back and older goods in front where it will be used first, avoiding potential confusion about the expiration dates before the dates even occur! JULIET BODINETZ is executive director of Bilingual Hospitality Training Solutions, with over 30 years of industry and training experience. She and her team of instructors specialize in food safety, alcohol training, and ServSafe training in English or in Spanish and writing HACCP plans in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metro area. www., or 443-838-7561. For Latest Food Safety Tips: Become a fan on Facebook or Twitter: @BHTS. foodservicemonthly

FIRST PERSON | Alexandra Greeley

A Cookbook from the Heart, Written for the Soul


nless you are Julia Child or Giada de Laurentis — both very experienced food pros — writing a cookbook is an epic challenge. You probably ask yourself a dozen questions before you write a proposal and sign a contract. Would you have an audience? Can you write well? What do you know about food? And, most importantly, can you cook? And what if your cookbook is not only about cooking but also about another primary focus in your life — your Catholic faith? Plenty of cookbooks do combine food and faith. My book features that, certainly, but also offers another

inspiring focus: the lives, cultures, and foods of the saints. Thanks to Fr. Edward Hathaway, former pastor of St. Veronica Catholic Church in Virginia, several of us launched a series of cooking classes about seven years ago called “Cooking with our Saints.” Taking place in the parish kitchen, each class featured a different country, its patron saint, and a speaker from that country to talk about food and faith. Of course, many countries do have a large Catholic population, so finding speakers was not difficult. But sometimes, it was! Imagine calling the embassy of a very Catholic western European country

1 (17-ounce) package frozen puff pastry 6 egg yolks, lightly beaten 3/4 cup sugar Pinch salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 3 tablespoons cornstarch Confectioners’ sugar, optional Ground cinnamon, optional


in our parish classes learned about, besides the diversity of cultures, was the astonishing types of food and recipes local peoples cook and eat. No, we did not serve Thai water bugs nor live Chinese “dancing prawns”… but we did serve a variety of interesting and unusual foods — at least to us — such as Scottish haggis (the filling, not the lung) and Goan spicy mango salad. And when Fernando Flores, a fellow parishioner, joined the group and became one of its co-leaders, the classes got a little more complex

FAITH IN FOOD cont. pg 24

Serving Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia & Surrounding Areas

Pastéis de Nata — Egg Custard Pies The original recipe for Pastéis de Nata was invented — and kept secret — several hundred years ago in the convent at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Portugal. At the time, nuns used egg whites to starch clothes, such as habits, and the yolks were saved to make sweets and pastries. After the Revolution of 1820, most of the Portugal’s convents and monasteries were closed. Around 1837, in order to raise money to save the Jerónimos monastery, clerics set up Casa Pastéis de Belém, the first shop to sell the pastéis. Their dessert is called Pastéis de Belém, and their original secret recipe is still heavily guarded. Here is a similar, nonsecret Pastéis de Nata recipe we made during one of our classes.

and having the media office say that Catholics no longer live there. That was a surprise, as you might imagine. The most inspirational speaker was a Catholic from Cambodia, a country that has suffered severe persecutions, poverty, and political turmoil. It’s also a country that is officially Theravada Buddhist. A former native of Siem Reap, who escaped during the Khmer Rouge period, willingly talked about her Catholic faith. Her former church, St. John Catholic Church in the village of Siem Reap, is sited near the famous temple Angkor Wat. What I and the rest of the students

Martin Bamberger Co. Food Market & Restaurant Equipment Serving the food and bakery industry for more than 70 years with honesty and integrity Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and line 12 half-cup muffin cups with the thawed pastry, cut into squares to fit. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt until mixture is pale yellow, smooth, and thick. In a separate bowl, whisk a small amount of the cream into the cornstarch until smooth. Add the remaining cream and whisk to combine. Add the cream mixture to the egg mixture, whisking until the sugar is completely dissolved. Divide the mixture among the muffin cups, about 2 tablespoons per cup. Bake until the custard is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before serving. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon before serving, if desired. Makes 16.

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JANUARY 2018 | 19


Spice is Still Nice — After 37 Years

Photo: Lisa Silber

The Vanns Spices company sources spices from all over the world


ook out, McCormick! For almost four decades, Vanns Spices has been offering lively competition for the Baltimore spice giant. Now employee owned, Vanns also welcomes a new CEO, Nick Ciotti. First, some interesting history. Vanns Spices was founded in 1981 by “Spice Queen” Ann Wilder and a friend, cooking instructor Virginia Limansky. The moniker “Vanns” combines the partners’ first names. The two began mixing their own spices and hawking them at church bazaars and other food-oriented events. Pretty soon, they began selling their products to Maryland grocers, such as Graul's and Eddie's Market. In 2006, the women sold their company — which was pulling in annual revenues of $3 to $4 million — to investment partners. Ann used some of her profits to help husband Rob Wilder start Wilder Foods, Inc., which sold high-end spices wholesale. A self-taught gourmet cook and member of Les

20 | JANUARY 2018

Photo: Lisa Silber

Vanns Spices CEO Nick Ciotti

Dames d’Escoffier, Ann continued consulting for the Wilder company until her death in 2009. (As a fellow Dame, I was acquainted with Ann, a delightful and very accomplished woman.) Vanns Spices is still going strong under Ciotti, who had already been with the company for 10 years. He took the helm after Mick Whitlock retired last year. Vanns also became an ESOP, meaning the employees own the company.

“It’s new and exciting…” Ciotti told Foodservice Monthly. “We carry hundreds of spices, spice blends, and extracts, sourced from all over the world. We have them ground and processed (stateside), so we can offer the freshest product possible. It also assures quality and food safety. It’s important to avoid contamination and adulteration, for example, grinding up cumin with peanut shells!” That can sometimes happen overseas, he notes, where there’s little control. “We also make our own signature blends for restaurants, such as barbecue rubs

and crab blends,” added Ciotti, the latter being essential in the crabcrazy Baltimore area. Vann’s “fastest rising” products are Za’atar (a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern mix which includes sesame seeds and sumac), Raz el Hanout (a zesty Moroccan blend), and berbere (the Ethiopian mix). Italian seasonings and lemon pepper are long-time favorites. “About 95 percent of our business is private blending,” Ciotti explained. “We custom mix spices for restaurants and other food services, which, in turn, place their own labels on the bottles.” Most Vanns bottles contain four ounces, and the company also carries gourmet salts and peppers in their own grinders. Vanns customers include Eddie’s Market (Baltimore), Whole Foods, Rodman’s, and Common Market Co-Op in Frederick, Md., plus wholesale distributors such as Metropolitan Poultry, Belair Produce, and Fells Point Meats.

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Advice for would-be spice merchants? “It’s well worth it to investigate your sources and to make sure they are transparent,” Ciotti emphasized. “It’s vital to investigate your supply chain for food safety. We use a thirdparty-audited facility to make sure products are safe.” “Also, compare spices from different sources. Is the product bright? Take a whiff. Is it fresh smelling, not old or musty? Another key factor in choosing a supplier is to work with someone who will let you into their facility. So many spice houses are not willing to show you their operation, so you have to wonder what they are hiding. Go to your suppliers. See their facility. Talk with the purchasers and other workers to make sure they are bringing you the best product available.” VANNS SPICES is located at 1716 Whitehead Road, Gwynn Oak, Md 21207. For more information, call 410-944-3888 or visit



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JANUARY 2018 | 21


Open for biz Mutiny Pirate Bar and Island Grille, a cool pirate-themed restaurant and bar, relocated from Glen Burnie to Pasadena on Magothy Beach Road. The new location allows for better parking and a more central location. Look for cool special events, including off-menu seasonal options and specials. Top sellers include crab cakes and lots ‘o wings, including jerk, old bay, rum molasses, bbq, and walk-the-plank hot wings — all made from scratch. Owners/ brothers Steve and Rob Wecker also own The Iron Bridge Wine Company in Columbia and were recently named Howard County Corporate Philanthropist of the year by the Community Foundation of Howard County. Dave & Buster’s has opened its first Baltimore area location in White Marsh Mall. The restaurant and entertainment center boasts more than 50,000 square feet of arcade games, state-of-the-art sports viewing, and one-of-a-kind drink and food offerings (think ancho caesar lettuce wraps) — all under one roof. We’re talking hundreds of arcade games and a state-of-the-art D&B sports bar filled with dozens of massive HDTV screens. Cool place to cheer on your fave B-more teams! Dave & Buster’s offers one-of-a-kind cocktails including adult snow cones, lot’s ‘o margaritas, and glow kones featuring a blinking, flashing glow cube. Note to Dave & Buster’s: Yer in Balmer now, Hon. It’s spelled SNO cones! Horseshoe Casino and multiMichelin-star chef and TV personality (“Hell’s Kitchen,” “The F Word with Gordon Ramsay,” and “MasterChef”) Gordon Ramsay joined forces for the first Gordon Ramsay Steak on the East Coast in downtown B-more. “I couldn’t be more pleased to introduce

22 | JANUARY 2018

Friday, January 26 from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. at the B&O Railroad Museum on West Pratt Street. The event will feature over forty award-winning selections from the top Maryland wineries (poured by the winemakers and proprietors), including an array of sparkling, red, rosé, white, and dessert wines and stationary hors d’oeuvres. For more info and to buy tickets, go to event/winter-wine/

Coming Soon

photo: Anne Gummerson

Chef Nancy Longo hosts a ‘Party with a Purpose’ during this year’s Super Bowl festivities Gordon Ramsay Steak in Charm City,” Ramsay said. “Baltimore is home to wonderful restaurants, and I’m thrilled to add to the culinary landscape with a concept that will offer guests the best dry-aged beef, finest seafood, and freshest locallysourced ingredients in a uniquely warm and comfortable setting.” The restaurant features prime beef, dry-aged for a minimum of 28 days, and cuts including the 32-ounce Royal long-bone chop for two, as well as American Kobe. With a nod to his British roots, Ramsay’s menu also offers beef Wellington and sticky toffee pudding dishes.

What's-Sup For over 20 years, Nancy Longo, executive chef/owner at Pierpont Restaurant in Fells Point, has been raising money for the Maryland Food Bank by representing the Baltimore Ravens at the Super Bowl’s Taste of the NFL "Party with a Purpose." This fund-raising event — part of the NFL’s national Kick Hunger program — brings together chefs from each state to serve a signature, hometown dish the night before the Super Bowl. As part of that program, each chef is tasked with raising dollars for a local

“Kick Hunger Challenge” event where 100 percent of the funds raised will go directly to a hometown food bank. Soooo…if you’re not going to the Super Bowl, you can support this amazing program by attending the Taste of the NFL Baltimore Kick Hunger Challenge on January 18 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. at The Boathouse Canton. Tasty treats will be provided by some of B-more’s top restaurants including Pierpoint, The Boathouse Canton, Avenue Kitchen, and Portalli’s. There will be memorabilia galore, and ya just might see a Raven or two. Teaming up with Chef Longo is Chris Golder, general manager of the Boathouse Canton, who is also a certified exec chef, having worked at Tark’s Grill & Bar and The Brass Elephant. And, for seven years, he worked on private yachts, including a stint with Captain Lee from Bravo’s Below Deck! (And, yes — I am a Bravoholic). For a complete list of restaurants for the Taste of the NFL Baltimore Kick Hunger Challenge and to purchase tickets, go to

Wine & winter The 6th Annual Winter Wine Showcase, hosted by the Maryland Wineries Association, is set for

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Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company is expanding its brick-and-mortar presence in the Baltimore/D.C. metro region with three new locations. The Timonium-headquartered business currently operates seven retail locations throughout Baltimore City, as well as Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, and Frederick Counties. The new properties will offer specialty coffee and tea drinks and an assortment of breakfast and lunch items. The first location is slated to open in January at an office park located within the Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in Harford County. Opening in first quarter 2018 is a first-floor restaurant within 231 Najoles Road at the I-97 Business Park in Anne Arundel County. Also opening in the first quarter of 2018 is a spot in the Annapolis Junction Town Center. RANDI ROM is a Baltimore special events planner, marketing and public relations maven, freelance writer, and the head of R.J. Rom & Associates. Have a hot scoop? Contact Randi via email at randirom@ or phone 443-691-9671.


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(703) 261-6663 (l-r) Raimund Hofmeister, Certified Master Chef, Director of School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality, Stratford University, Chef des Rotisseurs; Mary Ann Shurtz, Executive Vice President, Stratford University; Stuart M. Goldberg, Chambellan Provincial, Mid-Atlantic, Bailli Baillage de Baltimore, Chaine des Rotisseurs

Chain, Chain, Chaine — Stratford University’s Chaine Kitchen Opens It was a festive evening for all who attended the chain-cutting ceremony and dinner at the Chaine Kitchen at Stratford University’s Baltimore Campus. Three years ago, Raimund Hofmeister, CMC and the University’s Director of the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality, envisioned a viable, working kitchen for extension cooking classes for the hobby cooks, food enthusiasts, gourmands, and for professional development. The world’s oldest gourmet club, Chaine des Rotisseurs, became the sponsor, helping to create the space for future culinary competitions and training. Equipment was pulled from foodservicemonthly

storage at other Stratford University campuses, refreshed, and fixed to complete the 20-person working kitchen. The Stratford extension cooking classes are on the horizon, as are many other uses of the Chaine Kitchen. This will not be the only Chaine Kitchen for Stratford University. There will be more to come at its other campuses. Stratford University, 210 S. Central Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21202, 410-762-4201, http://www., Facebook: StratfordU; Twitter: @Stratford_u; Instagram @ stratforduniversity. DARA BUNJON: Dara Does It — Creative Solutions for the Food Industry, offers public relations, social media training, administration, freelance writing, marketing, and more. Contact Dara: 410-486-0339, or www.dara-does-it. com, Twitter and Instagram: @daracooks. Listen to her Dining Dish radio program on Baltimore Internet Radio.

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JANUARY 2018 | 23

FAITH IN FOOD cont. from pg 19

Fufills All Maryland Health Department Requirements Recommended by: Coastal Sunbelt Produce, Baltimore Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Foodservice Monthly, MICROS, PFG, RAMW & SAVAL

and a bit daring. Perhaps the most colorful was a class featuring a Native American priest who not only cooked several of his village’s dishes but also showed the students some Native American dance steps. Then there was the farm dinner featuring Saint Isidore, the patron saint of farmers and laborers. Another class was dedicated to St. Mother Teresa, the patron saint of Calcutta. Fernando Flores is my co-partner for the new book. As he noted, “We have taken seven years’ worth of recipes and are putting together a ‘calendar’ of recipes. As many know, each saint has a feast day, so the cookbook reads like a calendar of saintly feast days with foods celebrating that saint.” Each saint in the cookbook will be accorded one recipe, and, each month, one saint will be celebrated with a full meal’s worth of recipes. The hope is that Catholics and non-Catholics alike will appreciate the truly global reach

FSM NEWS cont. from pg 4 A little southern comfort Nopa Kitchen + Bar diners can start the new year off with a Southern Good Luck threecourse menu through January 31. The hearty menu offered at this Penn Quarter restaurant includes Southern specialties that are said to bring good luck in the upcoming year. Pork, with its rich fattiness, has come to symbolize wealth and prosperity, while black–eyed peas are eaten to symbolize good luck. Greens, which are most often paired with black-eyed peas, are eaten to symbolize money, wealth, and prosperity. Cornbread, which some say symbolizes gold, completes the

of the church and the many cultures from which it draws. After seven inspiring years learning about food and faith, the classes are now suspended. Fernando Flores has been sent to Angola for his job. But the spirit of the classes will continue as he and I write our cookbook, tentatively called, Cooking with our Saints. It’s scheduled to be published by a Catholic publisher sometime later this year. ALEXANDRA GREELEY has more than 25 years of experience as an author, editor, reporter, food critic, staff writer, and freelance writer and editor, both in the United States and Asia. She normally writes the FSM column “Local Cooks.” For this edition, she speaks in “First Person” about her latest cookbook, tentatively titled Cooking with our Saints. She is also author or co-author of several other cookbooks, including The Everything Guide to Being Vegetarian, Asian Soups, Stews, & Curries, Nong’s Thai Kitchen, and Homestyle Vietnamese Cooking.

Southern Good Luck fare. Nopa Kitchen + Bar’s Executive Chef Matt Kuhn will feature all these ingredients and more. Time to “pork” out! 800 F Street, NW.

Learn to cook! Tico is hosting cooking classes led by chef Rodrigo Perez. On the second Sunday of every month, Chef Perez and his team will share with guests their knowledge of Latin-inspired cooking and a few tips and tricks for home cooks that Chef Perez has learned from his career working for Chefs Michael Schlow and José Andrés. Stations for each class include ceviches, Tico’s signature dishes, cooking techniques, and crowd pleasers.



Tell them you saw it in Foodservice Monthly Acme Paper ................................................. Page 10 Barter.......................................................... Page 24 Bi- Lingual Hospitality ................................... Page 24

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Ecolab ........................................................... Page 3 Gourmet Kitchen- I ......................... Inside Front Cover H&S Bakery ................................................... Page 5 Itek. Construction ......................................... Page 23 Martin Bamberger ........................................ Page 17 Maryland Food Center Authority ..................... Page 21

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Metropolitan Meat , Seafood & Poultry ...... Back Cover OCHMRA ..................................................... Page 13 Performance Food Service- ............. Inside Back Cover RAM EF ......................................................... Page 6 Sandalya, csi ................................................ Page 1 Tech 24 Construction...................................... Page 4


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Food Service Monthly  
Food Service Monthly  

January 2018