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Archive for January, 2011

Chef Changes at Buckhead Life Restaurant Group

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Buckhead Life Restaurant Group announced that Jeremy Miller is the new Executive Chef at Bluepointe and Charles Schwab is the new Executive Chef at Buckhead Diner

Jeremy Miller, Executive Chef at Bluepointe, began his first restaurant job at age 18 in his hometown of Augusta, Ga.  Miller left Augusta to further pursue his passion and enrolled in the culinary arts program at the Art Institute of Atlanta.

Upon graduation from the Art Institute in 2001, Miller landed a job with chef Guenter Seeger at Seeger’s in Atlanta. After two years at Seeger’s, Miller traveled to New York City to work with Jean Georges Vongerichten at his flagship, Jean Georges, a Michelin three-star restaurant in the Trump International Hotel in the heart of Manhattan.

Miller moved to California to explore different styles of cooking. He took a position as a Chef de Partie at the French Laundry, a French inspired American restaurant in Yountville, Napa Valley. Miller describes this experience as the most inspiring restaurant venture of his career.

Miller then traveled his way through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, where he stayed for an entire year and took a particular liking to the ingredients and style of Vietnamese cooking. Upon his return to the United States, Miller moved to San Francisco, Calif., where he, alongside Chefs Michael Mina and Jason Berthold, helped open a wine bar concept called RN74, which was later nominated for best new restaurant by the James Beard Foundation.

In 2009, Miller returned to Georgia where joined the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group as Chef de Cuisine at Bluepointe in Atlanta. After a year, Miller accepted the position as Executive Chef of Bluepointe.

Charles Schwab, Executive Chef at Buckhead Diner, grew up in a small town in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas where his parents owned a bed and breakfast. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and during his time in school, Schwab worked at The Pillars, a family owned French restaurant, under Chef Paul Bach, a nine time Escoffier Award winner.

Schwab credits Anne Quatrano,Chef/Owner of Bacchanalia with being the biggest influence in his career. He worked as a Line Cook, Sous Chef, Chef de Cuisine, and Meat and Seafood Manager at Bacchanalia, and he developed the Charcuterie and Dry Aging Program for Star Provisions, the gourmet grocery storefront to the restaurant.

Before joining the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group as Executive Chef at Buckhead Diner, Schwab worked at Liberty House as Corporate Chef, as well as Executive Chef of Blue Ridge Grill. He says that both experiences afforded him the freedom to do cured meats, salami, terrines and other charcuterie. Terrines are a favorite food of his and he particularly enjoys the process of making them.


Hooters of America, Inc. Transaction Completed

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Hooters of America, Inc. “HOA” announced the completion of a transaction which transfers ownership of the company from the estate of Robert H. Brooks who passed in 2006 into the hands of a consortium of private investors, including Chanticleer Holdings, Inc.

Simultaneous with this transaction the investor group will also acquire Texas Wings, Inc., the largest franchisee of HOA.  The two businesses will come together to strengthen the Hooters brand worldwide.  Today’s transaction brings to an end nearly three decades of Brooks’ family ownership of the franchisor of the world-famous Hooters restaurants.  Brooks was known in part for his colorful and often unorthodox expansion of Hooters into ventures such as an airline and NASCAR racing.  However, Brooks is best known for his leadership and oversight of the dramatic growth of the Hooters concept.  A fledging concept with only two locations in 1984 when Brooks acquired it, the Hooters brand has grown to a chain of 452 restaurants in 44 states and 29 countries.

“I am so extremely proud of what my father and our team here have built,” stated Coby Brooks, President and CEO of the company since 2003 and the son of the late founder, “and I am even more excited about our next phase of growth following this transaction.”

“My father built a great company.  He was a visionary filled with a tremendous entrepreneurial spirit.  However, he was often limited by a lack of financial resources.  Since his passing the requirements of his estate have limited us even further. While it is bittersweet to see the end of my family’s ownership of the company, I know this new investment will put us in a position to grow rapidly and fully realize the potential of the Hooters brand.”

The combination of 120 restaurants from HOA and 41 restaurants from Texas Wings will create a formidable operating company boasting 161 company-owned locations across sixteen states, or nearly half of all domestic Hooters restaurants and over one-third of the locations worldwide.  The Texas Wings stores which are among the highest volume in the country will add financial strength and additional operational excellence to the company.  “I am very pleased to join forces with Texas,” continued Brooks.  “Kelly Hall, the majority owner of Texas Wings, which is our largest and among our best franchisees, will bring considerable knowledge and passion to HOA.”  Hall will have a significant commitment in HOA and will serve on the company’s board.

Chanticleer, a Hooters franchisee in South Africa, has long recognized and appreciated the tremendous value of Hooters. “I am pleased to finally complete this transaction and fulfill the vision I discussed many times with Mr. Brooks,” stated Mike Pruitt, President and CEO of Chanticleer.  “It was his desire to see his family’s interest protected and to see Hooters put on sound financial footings. The management team has done an amazing job of building the company and the brand despite limited resources. It will be rewarding to help carry that dream further now that the company will have the necessary resources to grow.” Chanticleer and its limited partners will be equity holders and Pruitt will sit on the board.


Zagat Names La Grotta at The Crowne Plaza Ravinia Atlanta’s Best Hotel Restaurant

Friday, January 28th, 2011

La Grotta Ravinia restaurant located in the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia was recently recognized as Atlanta’s Best Hotel Dining Room.  The accolades come from a recent Zagat Survey commissioned by USA Today to help travelers find the best hotel restaurants in the 25 top cities throughout the US.

La Grotta Ravinia is a privately owned restaurant and an Atlanta tradition, which has been part of the hotel since 1993.  Its dining room overlooks the gardens at Ravinia and features classic Northern Italian cuisine.

In designating La Grotta Ravinia as Atlanta’s best hotel dining room, Zagat noted that the restaurant features, “Spectacular service coupled with superb Italian cuisine.”  USA Today reports that the restaurants chosen by Zagat survey were selected because “they exceed the typical expectation of ‘hotel dining,’ and in each case offer impeccable service, attractive decor – some with stunning views, and have the potential to give diners a taste of food heaven.”

“We are so proud of our relationship with La Grotta Ravinia,” said Craig Hillyard, General Manager of The Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia.  “It is wonderful that the restaurant and the hotel have received this recognition from such a prestigious organization as Zagat.”

Executive Chef and managing partner Michael Connolly joined La Grotta in 1978 and has worked closely with dining room master Sergio Favalli, and European and Italian trained Chef Antonio Abizanda.

La Grotta Ravinia recently completed a dining room makeover and launched its popular “Saltimbocca & Sinatra” on Saturdays evenings. “We are so happy to be at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia for all these years and provide hotel guests, the local business community and the people of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs with a restaurant for them to enjoy,” said Chef Connolly.


International Poultry Expo

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

January 26-28, 2011 at the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta.  For more information, visit International Poultry Expo.


Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Supply Show of the Southeast

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

January 25-27, 2011 in Myrtle Beach, SC.  For more information, visit HMRSSS


Certified Specialist of Wine Training Program

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

January 9, 2011 at the Atlanta Wine School. For more information, visit the Atlanta Wine School.


Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

January 6-9, 2011 in Savannah.  For more information, visit Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.


ACF Atlanta Monthly Meeting

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

January 3, 2011 at Sysco Atlanta. For more information, visit ACF Atlanta.

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