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Archive for June, 2011

GRA Annual Meeting

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

June 21, 2011 at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Atlanta – Northlake.  For more information, visit Georgia Restaurant Association.


Chef Jonn Nishiyama, Cherokee Town and Country Club

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Chef Jonn Nishiyama of Atlanta was recognized as the 2010 Chapter Chef of the Year during the ACF Greater Atlanta Chapter’s President’s Gala and Awards Dinner. Chef Nishiyama also received the 2010 Southeast Region Chef of the Year award during the 2010 ACF Southeast Regional Conference held at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, Birmingham AL.

Currently Nishiyama works as garde manger chef at Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta, under Chef Kevin Walker, CMC. The Chef of the Year award recognizes an outstanding culinarian who works and cooks in a full-service dining facility. This person demonstrates the highest standard of culinary skills, advances the cuisine of America and gives back to the profession through the development of students and apprentices.

Prior to joining the staff at Cherokee Town and Country Club, Nishiyama worked as executive chef at Marietta Country Club, Keenesaw, Ga. and as executive chef at Druid Hills Golf Club, Atlanta, among other restaurants in Georgia and Hawaii. Nishiyama earned an associate degree in foodservice and a certificate in culinary arts from Kapi’olani Community College, Honolulu, in 1986, and an associate degree in culinary arts from The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y., in 1993. He has earned numerous awards throughout his career, including more than 10 gold and silver medals in culinary competitions. He is a member of ACF Greater Atlanta Chapter Inc.


Roark Buys Arby’s and Il Fornaio

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, Inc. announced a definitive agreement for the sale of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. to a buyer formed by Roark Capital Group. Wendy’s/Arby’s Group will retain an 18.5% ownership interest in the Arby’s business. Atlanta-based Arby’s is the second largest quick-service sandwich chain in the U.S. with more than 3,600 restaurants systemwide. Roark Capital Group is an Atlanta-based private equity firm that focuses on investing in franchise, brand management and restaurant companies. The aggregate transaction value is estimated to be $430 million.

Roark also announced that its affiliates have acquired Il Fornaio (America) Corporation, owner of Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio Restaurants and Bakeries. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Corner Bakery Cafe and operates 119 locations nationwide.

Il Fornaio, averaging over $5 million in annual sales per restaurant, is an upscale Italian restaurant concept and has started over 20 years ago. Founded in Italy and based in Corte Madera, California, Il Fornaio owns and operates 22 full-service Italian restaurants in California and across the United States.

With this acquisition, Roark has invested in 20 franchise businesses that operate in 50 states and 43 countries.  Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio will be Roark’s 10th restaurant investment along with FOCUS Brands, parent company of Carvel Ice Cream, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Auntie Anne’s Pretzel’s and the Franchisor of Seattle’s Best Coffee on certain military bases and in certain international markets, as well as McAlister’s Deli, and Wingstop, which are not affiliated with FOCUS Brands.  Other franchise and brand management companies owned by Roark include Batteries Plus, Pet Valu, Bosley’s Pets, FastSigns, Money Mailer, and Atkins Nutritionals.


Smashburger to Open in Atlanta

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Smashburger, the fast, casual concept restaurant will soon be opening it’s first Atlanta location.  The new location will be at the corner of Sidney Marcus and Piedmont.

Phil Wilkins, Rising Star, Inc. CEO, is the Atlanta-area Smashburger franchise owner.  Founded in 1997, Rising Star, Inc. has extensive restaurant experience, including the ownership of four McDonald’s ® restaurants in Lexington, Kentucky.  Today, the company has ownership rights to 28 Smashburger stores in the Atlanta-area.

The fast casual chain has hired Atlanta-based public relations agency Melissa Libby & Associates as the region’s Agency of Record.

Named for the cooking method used to create the perfect burger, Smashburgers are hand-formed balls of fresh, never frozen, Certified Angus Beef that is then “smashed-to-order” on a flat grill. Smashburgers are served on a butter toasted artisan bun and topped with a selection of real cheeses, fresh produce, and condiments.

Smashburger also offers grilled or crispy chicken sandwiches, split and grilled hotdogs, and signature salads, with innovative sides like veggie frites and rosemary and garlic-seasoned Smashfries. The chain offers beer, wine, Häagen-Dazs shakes, and root beer floats.

Denver-based Smashburger received the International Council of Shopping Centers 2011 Hot Retailer Award and was named a 2009 Hot Concepts! award winner by Nation’s Restaurant News.  Developed and owned by private equity and concept-development firm Consumer Capital Partners (CCP), Smashburger operates and develops corporate, joint venture and franchise stores across the country. Smashburger currently has 100 stores nationwide, and with the commitment from its franchise partners to build 463 units, Smashburger is on target to have 500 plus stores in the next few years.


Bacon Reelected as ACF Southeast Region Vice President

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

The American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) Nominations & Elections Committee, recently announced the results of the ACF Board of Directors national election for the 2011–2013 term. Jeff Bacon, CEC, CCA, AAC was reelected as the Southeast Region Vice President. Bacon ran against Michael Deihl, CEC CCA ACE AAC, Executive Chef of East Lake Golf Club and Chairman of the Board of the ACF Greater Atlanta Chapter.

Soon after the election results were made public, Deihl sent an email letter congratulating Bacon on his reelection and commending the how the  campaign was conducted with decorum and respect. Deihl wrote “I would like to personally thank Jeff for making me a part of something much bigger than I. I truly hope that our decorum, professionalism, courteousness and respect for each other during this campaign becomes contagious in our ACF.”

Bacon will serve on the national ACF board of directors for a two-year term that begins at the board’s installation during the President’s Grand Ball at the 2011 ACF National Convention, Dallas, July 26.


Gorman Wins Hans Bueschkens World Junior Chefs Challenge Semifinals for the Americas

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

23-year-old Atlanta resident Daniel Gorman, sous chef at Cherokee Town Club, Atlanta received a gold medal and first place in the Hans Bueschkens World Junior Chefs Challenge semifinals for the Americas during the Canadian Culinary Federation’s 2011 National Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Gorman now advances to the worldwide competition in South Korea in May 2012.

During the competition, junior chefs had four hours to produce eight portions of a three-course meal (appetizer, main course and dessert) featuring a list of required ingredients. A panel of judges evaluated contestants’ performance and menus and determined the winner. Canada placed second, earning a silver medal, and Chile placed third and took home a bronze medal.

Gorman’s menu focused on his own style of food, which he calls “New American with a focus on Southern cuisine.” Here is a look at his winning menu:

First course: Kobe flat iron steak with red onion jam, asparagus salad, herb yogurt and Parmesan lavosh
Second course: Buttermilk-braised halibut with pink-eyed pea cake, fava bean purée, corn relish and mustard gastrique
Third course: Strawberry cheesecake with a margarita cake inside, mint sauce, strawberry compote, and strawberry soda with sour strawberry “bubbles”

Gorman will represent the Americas in the world finals at the WACS World Congress in Daejeon, South Korea, in May 2012. There, representatives from Africa/Middle East, the Americas, Asia, Central Europe, Northern Europe, Southern Europe and the Pacific Rim will compete for the global title and the right to be called “best young cook in the world.”

Gorman, a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2007 graduate of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Asheville, N.C., earned the right to represent the U.S. at the international level after winning the title of 2010 ACF Student Chef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary, Inc., in Anaheim, Calif., in August 2010. He is no stranger to competition, having served as a member of his school’s junior hot-food team. He was also Heather Hurlbert’s apprentice in the 2009 ACF Pastry Chef of the Year competition in Orlando, Fla., and apprentice for Russell Scott, CMC, WGMC, at the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) Global Chefs Challenge semifinals for the Americas in São Paulo, Brazil, in September 2009. He is a member of ACF Greater Atlanta Chapter Inc. Leading up to the competition in Canada, Gorman practiced 30 hours a week, after working 50-hour weeks.


Liz Cipro Named A Legendary Event’s Executive Chef

Monday, June 13th, 2011

A Legendary Event announced the appointment of Liz Cipro as Executive Chef.  As Executive Chef, Cipro will oversee all aspects of A Legendary Event’s culinary department including menu design, daily kitchen operations, food preparation, and purchasing.

Cipro began her career with A Legendary Event in 2001 with experience in both restaurants and catering kitchens and was quickly promoted to Sous Chef.  Eventually, she moved into the position of Catering Sales and was promoted to Director of Catering Sales.

Cipro is a member of Les Dames D’Escoffier International and has been a member of the Atlanta Chapter of NACE since 2004.

Tony Conway, CEO and Founder of A Legendary Event said, “We are extremely honored to name Liz Cipro as Executive Chef of A Legendary Event.   She will oversee our entire culinary team and continues to be an outstanding addition to our company as we strive to provide our clients with a legendary experience.  Liz is extremely well respected in the industry and we’re delighted to have her leadership.”

Formed in 1997, A Legendary Event has grown into a multi-million dollar full-service event enterprise, handling more than 2,500 events a year.


Big Game Brands Opens Cowlicks Yogurt and Float

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Cowlicks Yogurt and Float opened its doors in Smyrna under the ownership of Big Game Brands, formally Raving Brands. The self-service frozen-yogurt-and-float concept features a variety of frozen yogurt flavors, toppings and fountain sodas.

Josh Solomon will lead the Vinings store operation. An additional location is planned for Dunwoody., Cowlicks Yogurt and Floats allows guests to transform any cup of frozen yogurt into a float.

Big Game Brands is a franchise company of concepts in the food, beverage and family entertainment market segments. The company’s brands include: Monkey Joe’s Parties and Play, The Original Italian Pie, Flying Biscuit Café, Cowlicks Yogurt and Floats and The Penguin Drive-In.


Brian Ettelman Named Director of Catering for InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta named Brian Ettelman as its new Director of Catering. Ettelman is responsible for planning large social events including weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs and charity and benefit affairs.

Ettelman is a Cornell graduate and began his career in Beverly Hills, where he worked at the Regent Beverly Wilshire as Beverage Manager and Assistant Café Manager. Ettelman continued to work for the Four Seasons properties across the country and eventually became Director of Catering and Conference Services at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta.


Watermelon Days Festival

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

June 9, 2011 in Cordele, Georgia. For more information, visit Cordele.

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