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Archive for June, 2010

BLT Steak Welcomes Sommelier Dorine Buche and Pastry Chef Alan o hArgain

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

With 10 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry, French native Dorine Buche brings her extensive knowledge and personal flair to BLT Steak Atlanta’s wine program as sommelier. The restaurant extensive wine list includes more than 450 offerings.

Prior to joining the BLT Steak team, Buche spent four years as sommelier at Mobil’s four-star rated Bacchanalia where she further advanced her knowledge of vineyard selections. Immediately after moving to the United States in April 2005, Buche began her American career at Seeger’s Restaurant in Atlanta.

Buche attributes her affinity for the food and restaurant industry to her growing up in a family centered on food, wine and entertaining in the kitchen. Following her family’s gastronomic examples, from her great uncle’s cork factory to her godmother’s restaurant in France, Buche was motivated to attend culinary and sommelier school to increase her specialization and further her culinary passion.

Since moving from New York City eight years ago, pastry chef Alan O hArgain brings his cultural experiences and culinary passions to his role as pastry chef at BLT Steak Atlanta.

Prior to taking the helm at BLT Steak, O hArgain worked alongside award-winning chef Kevin Rathbun at Atlanta’s Kevin Rathbun Steak. He also spent time as pastry chef at The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead for four years, where he built his culinary skills after moving from New York.

A native of Dublin, Ireland, O hArgain began his American career working on New York’s Wall Street; however, he quickly found his culinary inspiration after reading Anthony Bourdain’s acclaimed book, Kitchen Confidential.


Tom McEachern Promoted to Ray’s Corporate Executive Chef

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Ray’s Restaurants Founder and Managing Partner Ray Schoenbaum recently announced that the restaurant group has promoted Chef Tom McEachern, formerly the executive chef of Ray’s on the River, to Corporate Executive Chef for Ray’s Restaurants. In this new position, McEachern will oversee the culinary development of all three Ray’s Restaurants– Ray’s on the River, Ray’s in the City and Ray’s Killer Creek.

McEachern’s new role consists of acting as a liaison and leader for the executive chef team at Ray’s Restaurants.  He plans to create, design and test new menus, while also working on special culinary assignments.  One of McEachern’s major goals as the corporate executive chef is to conduct ongoing in-house product sampling to ensure standardized recipes for consistent quality.  He will also dedicate time to participating in various culinary events and food service industry trade shows in order to share more culinary knowledge with the chefs of Ray’s Restaurants.

Another new and exciting development in McEachern’s career is his inclusion in Johnnie Gabriel’s new cookbook, Second Helpings, which will be released in October of 2010.  McEachern and his recipes were also featured in Gabriel’s first cookbook, Cooking in the South with Johnnie Gabriel, which was released in 2008.

McEachern first joined Ray’s Restaurants as the executive chef of Ray’s on the River in conjunction with the restaurant’s July 2007 re-opening.  Nominated as one of America’s “Rising Star Chefs” in 2003, McEachern was invited to cook at the James Beard Foundation in New York, a coveted honor awarded to chefs from the nation’s best restaurants and hotels.  Formerly employed by The Horseradish Grill in Atlanta, McEachern has 20 years of experience as an executive chef with restaurants including the 1848 House Restaurant, where he earned accolades including AAA Four Diamond ratings and the Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence.”  His background also includes culinary positions with The City Grill, Tom Catherall, The Abbey, Café Protégé (Florida Culinary Institute), La Niçoise (Washington, D.C.) andThe Inn at Phillips Mill (New Hope, PA).


Study Reveals Consumer Restaurant Spending and Choices

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

In today’s economy it is not surprising that people are cutting back, and dining out budgets are decreasing. A new survey, conducted by Corporate Research International (CRI), a national leader in tracking trends, issues and customer loyalty research, shows that more than 61 percent of consumers dine out 3 times or less a month, with only 10 percent reporting they dine out 3 or more times a week.

It is well founded that consumers continue to dine out even when there is a downturn in the economy. The CRI survey found approximately 88 percent of consumers claim they spend a little less than 50 percent of their total dining out budget at their most frequented quick service restaurant (QSR). Additionally, 70 percent claimed their dining out budget was greater than $50 monthly, with half of all respondents reporting spending approximately $75 a month dining out.

Consumers also are demanding higher quality food from fast food and quick service restaurants. Overall, food quality proved the most important factor when customers determine where to dine. This was followed closely by their interactions with team members. Although the meal’s value is important, it bordered in the fifth position in terms of importance, following facility cleanliness.

More than 40 percent of consumers’ willingness to pay more for services and food at restaurants is driven by their emotional ties to a particular restaurant, with the feeling of belonging being the strongest driver. The emotional connection to a specific restaurant drives the total number of people actually recommended to a particular restaurant and the same emotional connection determines whether consumers would seek another open location if the restaurant they typically dine at is closed.

“As we’ve seen in so many industries, front line personnel will determine if customers remain attached to your company or not,” said Renny Arredondo, chief operating officer of Corporate Research International. “It’s just more evidence that companies need to maintain their workforce’s happiness to ensure their customers’ satisfaction.”

CRI received more than 4,330 completed surveys from its nationwide group of panelists. These panelists responded to the survey from February 19 – March 18, 2010. The survey asked consumers about their dining out behaviors and experiences. Respondents represented all regions of the country and were restricted to completing only one survey each.


Perrine Prieur Leaves Joel to Open Wine Boutique

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Veteran Atlanta sommelier Perrine Prieur is set to debut her premier wine boutique, Perrine’s Wine Shop, this fall at White Provision, Atlanta’s restored Westside community.

Prieur’s namesake wine store will feature more than 200 wine labels in a 1,000 square-foot boutique-style setting. Prieur hails from the Burgundy region of France. Following formal culinary and sommelier training, she worked as a sommelier at Le Gavroche in London, England, and most recently, as the sommelier of the 800-plus wine list at JOËL Brasserie in Atlanta, Ga.

Prieur was featured on Restaurant Forum magazine’s March 2010 cover.  To view the article, click on  Restaurant Beverages Trends – Wine and Beer.


Chocolate! for Cystic Fybrosis

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

June 17, 2010 at Villa Christina in Atlanta. For more information, visit


The Beer Connoisseur Festival

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

June 12, 2010 at the Prado in Atlanta.  For more information visit Beer Connoisseur Fest’s web site.


Louisiana Chef John Besh Speaks About BP Oil Spill

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

View Chef Besh’s video on the home page of

Chef John Besh is passionate about his home state, Louisiana. Read Besh’s editorial on The Atlantic magazines’ web site where he describes using only seafood from Louisiana’s coast for all six of his restaurants and his feelings regarding actions the U.S. government has taken in response to the largest oil spill in American history.

To read more about the impact of the BP oil spill on Louisiana, visit, a web site created by the Louisiana seafood promotion board to keep the public up-to-date on news on the oil spill’s impact on Louisiana’s seafood industry.


Virginia-Highland Summerfest

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

June 5, 2010 in Atlanta, Ga. For more information, visit

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