Plate. Snap. Win. (Closed)
Update: Our giveaway is now closed. The winner of this giveaway has been contacted by email.
Chefs! Show off your culinary chops and bring your cuisine to life.
Take part in our Facebook photo sweepstakes, and you could win a free case of Tria dinnerware. Choose from one of four elegant collections:
How to Enter
- Plate your menu’s most inventive app, entrée or dessert.
- Snap a mouthwatering photo that captures the art of your presentation.
- Submit your photo on Facebook and be entered to win!
Plate. Snap. Win. photo sweepstakes is open exclusively to our Facebook fans who are Chefs, Restaurant Owners or Culinary Staff Members. Participants must provide location of current establishment in which they are employed or own.
All photo entries must be submitted by Monday, October 7th, 2013 at 12:00pm PT. One winner will be selected on Monday afternoon and announced on our Facebook page at 3:00 pm PT. Winner will also be notified by email. Winners will have 1 week to respond before an alternate winner is selected.
Autumn Inspired Craft Beers
As summer’s sun-filled days give way, we embrace the harvest season with its crimson colors and crisp mornings. Fall calls for new tastes and fresh flavors, and craft breweries are doing just that. Here are some seasonal brews that will inspire your autumn-themed beer menu.
Founders Brewing Company
“Your first sip rewards you with a super juicy hop presence bursting with fresh citrus, then finishes to introduce toasted malt undertones.”
Boulevard Brewing Company
“‘Bob’s ’47 Oktoberfest is a medium-bodied, dark amber brew with a malty flavor and well-balanced hop character.”
Saint Louis Brewery/Schlafly Tap Room
“Our Pumpkin Ale blends the spices of the harvest with full-bodied sweetness for a beer that tastes like pumpkin pie. Pounds of pumpkin form a malty foundation that supports the fall flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.”
“Our version of the classic Oktoberfest lager blends 5 roasted malts for a rich, hearty flavor while Bavarian Noble hops add a touch of bitterness.”
“With hints of caramel and cocoa, the malt body has the depth to stand up to cool weather, but does not come across as heavy. This balancing act is aided by the generous use of American hops.”
San Diego Area Oktoberfest Events
September 27-29, 2013
October 4-6, 2013
El Cajon, CA
October 4-6, 2013
La Mesa, CA
October 5, 2013
Holiday Park, Carlsbad, CA
October 11-12, 2013
Ocean Beach, CA
Rabobank Parking Lot, Julian, CA
Customer Profile: Hotel Nikko San Francisco
With incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Union Square, Hotel Nikko has become an idyllic place to stay. Located in the heart of San Francisco, the hotel offers contemporary suites and rooms, a superb dining experience, and world-class entertainment in an intimate setting. We had the privilege of interviewing Julio Canel, Director of Banquet Operations, to get a deeper look inside this cutting-edge and stunning hotel.
R.W. Smith: Hotel Nikko will proudly celebrate its 26th anniversary on October 11th. How has the hotel set itself apart from the competition over the years?
Julio Canel: Hotel Nikko is not like any other chained -owned hotel, so we aren’t subject to certain formats or genetic corporate frames. With that said, we have the ability and freedom to be creative within the hotel, including our contemporary and cutting-edge styles in the hotel. If we want to make something look or feel better within the hotel, we have the tools to do that. We also take very good care of our employees. I’ve always thought that when you have a happy company, your employees will provide a greater service to all your clients. Because of our great service, we have a lot of returning business groups and visitors every year.
RWS: Restaurant ANZU offers gourmet California cuisine infused with Asian flavors. Which signature dishes and drinks are most popular among guests?
JC: There are so many different types of drinks and dishes that we offer in our restaurant that it’s hard to choose. For our signature dish, I would have to say the Kobe beef plate, called The Rock, has been one of the most popular dishes among our guests. It’s served on a sizzling Japanese river stone and has great flavor with spicy trio of Korean sauces and (Peruvian aji) pepper pasta. Our sushi and raw bar is also very popular with a variety of fresh fish and specialty rolls. As for the signature drink, there is a drink called cucumber sake that is not as popular, but once guests try it, they really enjoy it.
RWS: Newlyweds can choose from several banquet arrangements for their wedding reception, from intimate to spacious. Could you describe some of the ways in which you make your banquet services ideal for these kinds of special events?
JC: Our genuine service, the personal experience is what makes it ideal for any kind of event that we have. We strive to provide a great experience for any special event and take care of all our clients from start to finish. Because of our commitment to service, a lot of our new clients are from word of mouth and it’s been great for us. The second thing I would say is our elegant rooms and suites. We have several great rooms that have beautiful views of San Francisco including Union Square and the Golden Gate Bridge. A lot of our clients enjoy the views for themselves and their guests. People love to hang out on the 25th floor because it has the best view of the city.
RWS: For nearly 9 years, you have been the Director of Banquet Operations at Hotel Nikko. What inspired you to pursue a career in hospitality management?
JC: I’ve always had a passion for working with people. If I could make someone’s day or at least make them feel better, I’m happy. Being in the hospitality business has been very rewarding, and I enjoy interacting with people from all over the world.
RWS: What advice would you give to budding banquet directors for facilitating and managing catered events?
JC: I’ve trained a lot of managers, and the advice I would give to them or anyone else is to try to have fun and enjoy what you do. When it comes to banquets, there are so many things that change from one minute to another, so you have to be passionate about what you do. Also, take care of your employees, owners and clients. As I said before, a happy group of employees will create a great atmosphere for everyone, especially guests. If we take good care of our employee’s guests and clients, they will keep coming back. And that makes everyone happy.
Now Open: La Urbana
Hip. Fresh. Modern. Three little words that perfectly describe La Urbana. This ultra-chic San Francisco restaurant opened on September 2nd and offers upscale Mexican fare inside a cantina-style space with custom-made furnishings. Their tableware, provided by R.W. Smith, features a wide selection of Tria Porcelain, Dudson Evolution accent pieces, Oneida Sant’Andrea Scarlatti flatware and fine glassware from Cardinal Cabernet, Anchor Hocking Clarisse, Libbey Envy and more.
Entrepreneur Eduardo Rallo and Architect Juan Garduño worked together to create a cultured and vibrant space on the corner of Divisadero and Grove. Rallo aims to bring sustainability to this restaurant by incorporating high quality, local and fresh ingredients to the table. His past accomplishments as a restaurateur help bring experience and knowledge to this new establishment.
Garduño, brings the creative aspect to this restaurant with an honorary Architectural Record/Business Week Award of Excellence, a renowned prize in the United States. With his restaurants consistently being among the top 100 restaurants in the country, good things may be in store for La Urbana.
In the kitchen, Chef Benjamin Klein and Chef Julio Aguilera have collaborated to create a practical back-of-house operation that boasts a modern spin on traditional Mexican flavors, techniques and cuisine. Both chefs come to La Urbana with extensive experience at top restaurants. The menu selection includes such dishes as braised oxtail in cabbage tostadas or smoked goat cheddar and summer vegetable quesadillas. Getting hungry? Feast your eyes on these mouth-watering pics from Serious Eats.
661 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, CA
Three Chefs Who Went Local
Restaurants across the country are adopting the “go-local” phenomenon of incorporating fresh, locally-grown ingredients to their daily servings. Chefs are finding this new change to be beneficial for their customers, their community and their business. We asked three top executive chefs about their experience in going local.
Hear from the experts:
- Jeffrey McInnis, Executive Chef, 50 Eggs Restaurant Group
- Mark Ching, Executive Chef, Loews Coronado Bay Hotel
- Miguel Valdez, Former Executive Chef, The Red Door Restaurant & Wine Bar and The Wellington Steak & Martini Lounge
The term “farm-to-table” is a concept that many dining establishments are adopting. How is incorporating locally grown foods in restaurants essential to overall food quality?
MC: Utilizing locally grown foods is more than just a concept, it’s become a way of life for many Chefs. Local farmers are dedicated to providing products that are grown using Organic and Green methods, which turn out a more flavorful crop. Many of the foods we are used to have been genetically altered to promote shelf life and stability during travel. With these modifications comes a lesser quality product; thicker skin, lower water content, grown out of season so it does not ripen properly, uniformity of size for packing purposes, etc. Local growers deviate from the mass producing methods, and focus on what will allow us to enjoy a product at its absolute best. With this comes an opportunity for Chef’s to focus on the natural flavors, and offer pairings that will enhance those flavors or let them shine with little else done to them, because there is no need. Food is best when eaten in season, and local growers offer nothing but seasonal.
MV: When you know where your ingredients come from, you can better monitor their quality and when you have the opportunity to look your farmer in the eye, trust is established. Produce that travels miles, rather than thousands of miles, to its destination is fresher and tastes better. Organic and pesticide-free produce tastes better because it has a longer opportunity to mature, versus conventional produce, which is often forced into maturity by fertilizing. Local is picked that day, generally, or, at the latest, the day before. In our case, we pick it out of our own farm and rush it over to the restaurant and supplement it with produce from other local farmers. We also get the opportunity to pick and choose how large or small we want to grow it: baby beets, baby carrots, baby lettuce or giant beets—that’s a choice for us. We can change the flavor profile. So can our local farmers, who grow to spec for us. Commodity farmers aren’t going to make accommodations for small restaurants, but local farmers are. The other day I asked Lucila de Alejandro, owner of Suzie’s Organic Farm, for larger heads of Romanesco cauliflower and she’s now growing them for us.
Are there sustainable or economic advantages when buying from local or regional farmers?
JM: It varies on where you are in the country. In Miami the sourcing of local product unfortunately does not always mean you’re paying less. The majority of the farms that I buy from in South FL are very small and need to charge a little more in order to pay for their work. Also the delivery of these goods requires either an individual farmer or a forager to drive small shipments to the door of the restaurant. It’s understandable and as long as business is good and there product is superior, I feel it is my duty to support my local farmers and community. So I guess feeling good about helping out your neighbor is an advantage in my eyes.
MV: There are clear sustainable advantages. The farmers that we’re buying from are farming sustainably. We’re not damaging the environment by trekking the produce down the state or across the country. We’re minimizing pollution by transporting both produce and fish a shorter distance from the source. I’m not flying fish in from the Atlantic Ocean. Who wants to use all that jet fuel? There’s an economic advantage to purchasing fish from our local fishmonger, Tommy Gomes, at Catalina Offshore Products. The fish is priced better than that coming from Nova Scotia and Tommy touts the talents of the chefs to whom he sells, including Thomas Keller. The cross-marketing that farmers, chefs and restaurateurs do for one another in San Diego is unmatched. We’re individuals working together for the common good and there’s an economic advantage to that, too.
After integrating locally grown foods into your restaurant, have you received feedback from your customers or the community?
MC: Absolutely! When we mention specific farms we use we often receive positive guest feedback. Many patrons have favorite local farms they buy from at Farmers Markets, or are part of a farms CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. When they learn we use a well-known or personally favorite farm, they already know the quality we are providing them and don’t hesitate to spread the good word.
MV: Yes, absolutely. People come specifically to eat food prepared with ingredients that come from our garden and from local farmers. People eat with us because they know where their foods coming from. Some are concerned with their health and the quality of what they put in their bodies.
Do you consider the Go Local phenomenon to be a successful experience for your restaurant? And do you think the farm-to-table trend will continue to grow?
MC: We don’t consider it a phenomenon; we consider it a return to an old way of life, a natural way. What’s more natural than providing food from your area to those residing/visiting your area? More and more it’s becoming less of a trend. With many people composting and gardening in their homes as a sustainable practice, they begin to expect the same from the businesses they frequent. The status of trend will slowly subside, and become simply a way of business, and life.
MV: I do think the farm-to-table trend will continue to grow as people continue to become more health conscious—as the country becomes more concerned about weight and terminal illness—as there’s more education about food, from Michelle Obama’s garden to what we’re teaching kids in schools. I think people will begin to appreciate how important this is. We have direct control over what we put into our bodies. As for whether it’s success for us, it’s absolutely a successful experience for our restaurant. It’s really hard to be even a small scale farmers and it’s not cheaper to grow your own produce, by the way. On the other hand, it has a lot of benefits in that we can pick and choose what we want on the table and it’s the best quality produce available. For us, it’s a moral issue, too. We have principles and buying from factory farms where animals are treated inhumanely or on large-scale farms where workers are exposed to toxic chemicals violate our principles. I call it a success in that I can look at myself in the mirror and say what you’re doing is good and kind and decent and doesn’t damage the environment just to make a buck. I look at my son and my wife, who’s carrying our unborn second child, and I see a future where people have better access to this type of food.
Dining Away: 3 Off-Premise Marketing Tricks to Boost Restaurant Revenue
Convenience is in high demand among today’s consumers, but c-stores and fast casuals haven’t cornered the market on quick-service food. Full-service restaurants offering a delivery service allow guests to dine well without sacrificing their most precious commodity: time. Here are three ways your business can build loyalty and cash-in on convenience.
Off-site catering is a great way to take your cuisine beyond the brick and mortar. The benefits are twofold: existing customers can enjoy the high-quality dining they’ve come to know at your restaurant, while new guests can experience your menu for the first time.
Ready to take the plunge, but not sure how to plan a catered event? Make sure your events run smoothly with these off premise catering tips for restaurants. However, if taking on a full-scale operation is not feasible, consider partnering with a reputable catering company for large events. Ideal for intimate gatherings is a happy hour-style menu of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and small plates.
Types of Catered Events
- Corporate luncheons
- Awards banquets
- Wedding receptions
- Holiday parties
- Outdoor social events
Errands, appointments, traffic, tight schedules—there are myriad reasons why customers choose fast food over leisurely midday meals. So why not bring the gourmet cuisine to them? By launching a food truck operation, restaurateurs can please current customers while attracting a bevy of cubicle dwellers from nearby office buildings. Bonus: it’s an inexpensive alternative for expanding your presence and market reach.
Not sure where to take your food truck? Run a business card contest for your on-site customers, and then take note of the commercial addresses listed on the cards. Are several located within the same business park? Also consider nearby colleges, business headquarters and healthcare campuses. Just be sure to test which neighborhoods are most responsive to your service before settling in. With careful trip planning and timing, you can turn the lunch rush into your restaurant’s cash cow.
Perhaps it’s their increasingly busy schedules or the sweltering summer heat, but there are many occasions in which office workers simply cannot cook. To the rescue: grab-n-go meals. Full-service restaurants can maximize their profits by adding these quick and tasty bites to their menus. A grown-up alternative to the brown bagged lunch, boxed salads, sandwiches and wraps are easy to prep ahead of time and have available to customers on the go.
Carry-out orders require more food preparation, so keep take-out menus conveniently located near the entrance of your restaurant and reserve limited-time parking spaces for these guests. Also consider curbside takeout, where meals are ordered ahead and delivered to customers parked in designated spots. Whenever possible, choose sustainable takeaway containers and eco-friendly flatware; there are many upscale options that will complement your operation without breaking the bank.
Giveaway: Win a Camshelving Basics Unit (Closed)
Update: Our giveaway is now closed. The winner of this giveaway has been contacted by email.
Commercial kitchens are demanding, high-pressure environments, which begs the question: Is your restaurant shelving designed to withstand the wear and tear of daily operations?
If you answered no, then it’s time to go back to basics. Foodservice operators now have an affordable commercial shelving solution to meet their operational needs without sacrificing budget or quality. The latest addition to Cambro’s Camshelving® series, Basics is smartly designed to offer up to 40% more storage space while providing greater reliability, flexibility and food safety.
You Could Win!
But don’t take our word for it – see for yourself! We joined Cambro to award one grand prize winner with a single Camshelving® Basics Starter Unit.
- Composed of non-corrosive materials
- Quick to assemble and adjust
- Easily configured to maximize any storage space
- Steel-like strength, durability and stability
- Ideal for any wet and dry environments
- Eliminates costly replacements
- Withstands temperatures of -36° to 190° F
- Cost-effective for all size operations
This giveaway is in partnership with Cambro. Visit their site for a complete range of commercial kitchen shelving and food storage solutions.
How to Enter
The Back-to-Basics Giveaway is open exclusively to our Facebook fans who are Restaurant Owners, Chefs and Food/Beverage Directors. Participants must provide location of current establishment in which they are employed or own.
For your chance to win, visit our Facebook page and fill out the required information by 12:00 pm (Noon) PT on Monday, August 26, 2013. One winner will be randomly selected on Monday afternoon and announced on our Facebook page at 3:00 pm PT. Winner will also be notified by email. Winners will have 1 week to respond before an alternate winner is selected.
Better Together: Maywood and Snap Drape
Setting an elegant table begins with the right tables and covers. Paired together, Maywood and Snap Drape bring you contemporary furnishings that will dress up any catered hospitality event, whether hotel, restaurant, country club or casino.
Maywood’s banquet tables are scratch-resistant and light-weight, making them durable enough for every day transport. These tables are created with only the most high-quality of components, including top grade plywood, powder-coated legs and aluminum edging.
Snap Drape’s table covers are designed for all tastes and budgets. These covers are available in a variety of skirting options, from traditional white to contemporary designs. Fine tablecloths and specifically-designed clips offer a fast solution for beautifying tables, while snug-fit contour covers eliminate wrinkling and the need for clips.
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5 Restaurant Dinnerware Collections for Locavore Eateries
With the growing popularity of the farm-to-table trend, foodservice manufacturers are launching unique dinnerware ranges inspired by the eat-local movement. Organic shapes, warm tones and rustic looks are just a few of the ways they’re designing dinnerware to complement farmers market fare. Below, we showcase five collections that will help your restaurant cultivate a closer-to-home feel.
Give your starters a cool, natural backdrop with Leafen. Lightweight glass dinnerware is fully-tempered for durability and strength. Unique leaf design makes for an upscale accompaniment to appetizers, salads and seafoods.
Further reduce your carbon footprint with eco-friendly dinnerware. Produced with the lowest carbon emissions in the industry, Evolution is gentle on the environment. With the look of hand-thrown pottery, the jet-black range adds a touch of drama to farm-fresh cuisine.
Steelite International Performance Craft
Thoughtfully-prepared cuisines are best served on artisan wares. Craft evokes true hand-crafted appeal with simple shapes and lustrous, rustic glazes in green, blue, brown and terracotta. Warm, natural elements make it a pleasant addition to any slow-food eatery.
Steelite International Distinction Organics
Create a sophisticated presentation inspired by nature. Imperfect contours break the rules of round dinnerware and offer updated styling for the modern tablescape. Organics’ distinctive design and pure white palette is the perfect backdrop to urban farmhouse cuisine.
World Tableware Farmhouse
Celebrate fresh-from-the-farmers-market fare in style. Organic shapes and unsteady accents capture the charm and appeal of old-world craftsmanship. Cream white porcelain and mismatched designs come together to uniquely give the collection its Farmhouse touch.
Industry Profile: Women’s Foodservice Forum
According to the National Restaurant Association, the foodservice industry is the 2nd largest employer in the United States, employing 10 percent of the nation’s workforce. The Women’s Foodservice Forum is committed to advancing women’s leadership and career growth in this sector. Through educational, networking and professional development events, the WFF encourages women to “aspire higher” and prepares them for the challenges of holding leadership positions. In our exclusive interview, Fritzi Woods, President and CEO, discusses the current state of women in the industry and shares her advice for the next generation of foodservice management professionals.
RWS: Over 20 years ago, the Women’s Foodservice Forum was founded to bridge the gender gap in the male-dominated foodservice industry. How far have we come towards achieving gender equality in executive leadership roles, and what is the current state for women?
Fritzi Woods: We have certainly made significant progress in the overall state of women in the foodservice industry. As of 2012, we had 15% of Executive Teams made up by women. Today, we have more women in every level AND we have a ways to go in order to achieve gender parity in the executive leadership roles. The current state of women in the industry cannot be defined only by the change in numbers over the years. The real change is in the number of strategically prepared women ready, willing, capable, passionate and prepared to take on leadership roles at all levels. The pipeline is growing, the women waiting in the pipeline for the opportunities exceeds the opportunities being presented to them.
RWS: What role do male executives play in creating a culture where their female counterparts can succeed?
FW: Male executives still make up the majority of the population in the C-suite and on executive teams (85%). They have the opportunity, responsibility and obligation to ensure that they engage and retain the best talent to run our companies. That is the easy part. Male executives have to walk the talk of ensuring they are building active, informed relationships as sponsors, advocates, and mentors/coaches with female talent. They have to be responsible for ensuring females are getting the appropriate assignments throughout their management careers that build the competencies and experiences needed by the company. This work is not something you can assume someone else is doing. If that were the case, we would see significant changes in the numbers.
RWS: The National Restaurant Association recently partnered with the WFF to launch an educational platform and certification program. How will this initiative prepare women for the challenges of foodservice leadership?
FW: This initiative will allow both organizations to serve a much larger audience through virtual programming to ensure emerging leaders have access to tools, products and educational and leadership content needed to improve the performance of the individual and drive accelerated results for their companies.
RWS: The future of foodservice and hospitality will be shaped by its next generation of leaders. What advice would you give to young professionals who aspire to grow into management positions?
1. There is no substitute for outstanding performance. Do your current job well; make it like the free space in Bingo.
2. Start building your strategic networks now. Understand the difference in coaches/ mentors, advocates and sponsors and ensure you have all in your strategic network.
3. Don’t let others shape your career. Own your career by being informed, taking responsibility and continuing to execute.
4. Develop your career plan. Identify the job you want to attain and determine the skills, competencies and experience you need to get there, then ask for the assignments you need to develop these three areas to prepare for that position.
RWS: Earlier in 2013, the WFF announced its first Women Making Their Mark list, which features 11 emerging female leaders in the foodservice industry. When determining that unique “It” factor, what characteristics set candidates apart?
FW: The criterion for nomination was that the nominee must be an emerging leader or emerging executive female currently employed in the foodservice industry. The key “It” factors that were required to be demonstrated were innovation and initiative. What are these women doing differently in their careers that are impacting their companies, driving the advancement of women leaders and/or impacting positive change in our industry? These women are raising their hands, taking the stretch assignments and driving results.
RWS: The WFF Executive Summit 2013 takes place July 29-31 and is exclusively tailored to the personal and professional development of industry executives. Which trends and challenges do you project will take center stage at this year’s event?
FW: You cannot open a business newsfeed today without hearing about the importance of sponsors in building and advancing leaders. While everyone else is talking about it, the WFF has collaborated with Deloitte to be the catalyst in bringing a solution to our industry. Deloitte has done an in-depth exploration of the principles that undergird the sponsorship dynamic for the foodservice industry and developed a sponsorship maturity model that will be introduced to senior industry leaders at our Executive Summit. The WFF is committed to providing the foodservice industry with tools that individuals and organizations can use to make a difference in advancing women leaders.
Learn more about the Women’s Foodservice Forum: www.womensfoodserviceforum.com