With 10 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry, French native Dorine Buche brings her extensive knowledge and personal flair to BLT Steak Atlantaâ€™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 Mobilâ€™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 Seegerâ€™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 familyâ€™s gastronomic examples, from her great uncleâ€™s cork factory to her godmotherâ€™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 Atlantaâ€™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 Yorkâ€™s Wall Street; however, he quickly found his culinary inspiration after reading Anthony Bourdainâ€™s acclaimed book, Kitchen Confidential.
Rayâ€™s Restaurants Founder and Managing Partner Ray Schoenbaum recently announced that the restaurant group has promoted Chef Tom McEachern, formerly the executive chef of Rayâ€™s on the River, to Corporate Executive Chef for Rayâ€™s Restaurants. In this new position, McEachern will oversee the culinary development of all three Rayâ€™s Restaurantsâ€“ Rayâ€™s on the River, Rayâ€™s in the City and Rayâ€™s Killer Creek.
McEachernâ€™s new role consists of acting as a liaison and leader for the executive chef team at Rayâ€™s Restaurants.Â He plans to create, design and test new menus, while also working on special culinary assignments.Â One of McEachernâ€™s major goals as the corporate executive chef is to conduct ongoing in-house product sampling to ensure standardized recipes for consistent quality.Â 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 Rayâ€™s Restaurants.
Another new and exciting development in McEachernâ€™s career is his inclusion in Johnnie Gabrielâ€™s new cookbook, Second Helpings, which will be released in October of 2010.Â McEachern and his recipes were also featured in Gabrielâ€™s first cookbook, Cooking in the South with Johnnie Gabriel, which was released in 2008.
In todayâ€™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 mealâ€™s value is important, it bordered in the fifth position in terms of importance, following facility cleanliness.
More than 40 percent of consumersâ€™ 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.
â€œAs weâ€™ve seen in so many industries, front line personnel will determine if customers remain attached to your company or not,â€ said Renny Arredondo, chief operating officer of Corporate Research International. â€œItâ€™s just more evidence that companies need to maintain their workforceâ€™s happiness to ensure their customersâ€™ satisfaction.â€
CRI received more than 4,330 completed surveys from its nationwide group of panelists. These panelists responded to the survey from February 19 â€“ 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.
Veteran Atlanta sommelier Perrine Prieur is set to debut her premier wine boutique, Perrineâ€™s Wine Shop, this fall at White Provision, Atlantaâ€™s restored Westside community.
Prieurâ€™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 JOÃ‹L Brasserie in Atlanta, Ga.
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 louisianseafoodnews.com, 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.