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Archive for December, 2012

Annual United Culinary Chef Association Christmas Party

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

December 15, 2012, Atlanta. For more information, phone: (770) 977-4277 or


10 Cutting-Edge Dining Trends of 2013

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Soon the curtain will lift on 2013 and a new year of food will play out. During the last several months, the Culinary Team of Sterling-Rice Group has talked to celebrity chefs, school food reformers, product developers, and even the U.S. Culinary Ambassador to see what this will look like. Here are the results:

1. Sour Gets Its Day

Finally, the American dining scene will move beyond sweet, salty, and fatty. Next year we’ll have a plethora of tart, acidic, and bitter flavors to choose from, as menus and grocery stores feature flavors like fermented cherry juice, varietal vinegars, and even sour beer. Awesome!

With DIY pickling and brining, you will see more sauerkrauts, pickles, and tart flavors at  restaurants. The old shrub drinks from colonial times as well as the vinegar drinks from Korea  and Thailand will figure into the craft cocktails. —Jorge de la Torre, Dean of Culinary Education, Johnson & Wales University, College of Culinary Arts, Denver

2. Chefs Watch Your Weight

Butter, bacon, and cream have been chefs’ best friends since the beginning of time. But in 2013, chefs will be working quietly behind the scenes to make your dishes
better for you with ingredients like brown rice, high-fiber grains, and vitamin-rich veggie broths.

A big health change for restaurants is vegetable stock. Traditional vegetable stock is simple, plain, and mostly based on mirepoix. At my restaurant, Black Bear, we use grilled portobello and roasted beets, which we reduce into very strong and delicious bases, without all the fat and with tons of vitamins. —Victor Matthews, Chef/Owner, Black Bear Restaurant; American Culinary Ambassador

3. Asian Influences Infiltrate American Comfort Food

The fresh, spice-forward flavors of Thailand, Vietnam, and Korea will work their way into our menu. Expect to walk into a classic American diner and see options like Vietnamese chicken sandwiches, Sriracha mayo, or Korean-glazed pork ribs.

Korean-marinated short ribs cooked on an infrared or Robata grill is new, and pardon the pun, HOT! In California recently, I had pork baby back ribs with Korean chili glaze, made of scallions, Thai chili, and lime. It’s the perfect blending of cultures. —Ina Pinkney, Chef/Owner, Ina’s

4. Veggies Take Over the Plate

Forget resigning veggies to your salad plate. In 2013, you’ll find garden-grown foods as entrées (cauliflower steaks), starches (squash noodles), and even delicious beverages (celery juice cocktails).

The more we learn about the state of our oceans and the state of our commercial agribusinesses’ mistreatment of animals, a lot of people are turning to vegetables as their main course. In addition to that, we now have more farmers’ markets, more produce selections at the stores, and more information than ever before about the health benefits. —Hosea Rosenberg, Winner, Top Chef Season 5; Owner, Blackbelly Catering and Farm

5. Kids’ Menus Grow Up

In 2013, we’ll see less hot dogs, mac ’n cheese, and grilled cheese on our little ones’ plates. Instead, more fruits, a variety of veggies, protein-rich grains, and authentic Asian flavors will push kids’ menus into the realm of adult dining.

I’ve been seeing this all over the country. Burgers on pretzel rolls on kids’ menus, REAL fish and chips using tilapia with more interesting herbed bread crumb coatings, fried calamari, foods on skewers, and Asian items like potstickers and noodle bowls. —Gale Gand, Founding Partner, Tru; Food Network Personality of Sweet Dreams; Cookbook Author and Creator/Owner of Gale’s Root Beer

6. American Artisans Save You a Trip to Europe

For years, budding food artisans have sprung up in the U.S., crafting everything from booze to charcuterie. And as their craze becomes a lifestyle, you can count on every major American city to proudly sport local, artisan foodie destinations in 2013.

Lots of chefs are going local lately whether it’s the honey they use, the fruit and vegetables they buy, or the wine and cheese they offer. And it makes sense. It tastes better, has less food miles on it, shows support for our country, and makes good copy on the menu! —Gale Gand, Founding Partner, Tru, Food Network Personality  of Sweet Dreams, Cookbook Author and Creator/Owner of Gale’s Root Beer

7. Small Plates for Me Only

As American dining evolves from tapas, next year, sharing will go by the wayside. With menus offering small, singular servings of meat, veggies, and starches, we’ll be able to enjoy a perfectly sized meal of whatever it is we’re craving. On our own.

From Portland to Boston, I’ve seen diners make customized meals from small plates. If they are hungry for comfort food, they might start with burrata, then order a small flatbread, and finish with a bit of fried chicken. Or if they want something lighter, they might have a small serving of watermelon salad followed by albacore. This kind of ordering promises flexibility and flavor! —Kazia Jankowski, Associate
Culinary Director, Sterling-Rice Group

8. Fruit ≠ Sweet

In 2013, chefs will be far less interested in highlighting the sugary, honey tastes of melons, peaches, and the like. Instead, they will lace fruit with savory flavors, bringing naturally refreshing and sweet touches to appetizers, soups, veggie sides, and even meaty entrées.

Chefs are fermenting, pickling, drying, dehydrating, salting, grilling, frying, baking, and generally manipulating fruit much more to get new flavors out of what we are used to eating raw. —Hosea Rosenberg, Winner Top Chef Season 5 & Owner, Blackbelly Catering and Farm

9. No Diner Left Behind

To accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten-freers, wheat-freers, kiddos, and eco-conscious diners, restaurants will offer all-inclusive menus and service. So don’t be surprised when your server asks for your allergy list the next time you order.

Gone are the days when chefs can ignore dietary requests. They are just too pervasive in our society to ignore. Chefs who are on the cutting edge realize this and are planning ahead in the kitchen to have the flexibility to meet the varied requests. —Kazia Jankowski, Associate Culinary Director, Sterling-Rice Group

10. Popcorn is the Snack of 2013

Light, crispy, and equally delicious with sweet or savory flavors, this popped whole grain is addictive, not to mention low in fat and calories. Which is why next year, expect popcorn to explode (no pun intended) as a bar snack, crouton, ice cream, and more.

I just had a snout-to-tail pig experience in California, and fennel powder-dusted popcorn was a garnish. —Mike Shethar, Owner, Missing Piece Cookery School and Teaspoon Willie’s Everything Sauce; Chef Instructor, LiveWell Colorado and Cook for America


Sterling-Rice Group is a firm specializing in integrated brand strategy, innovation, and creativity.


Supplier Partners: Small Stuff Can Have Big Impact on Customers

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

By Ellen Hartman

Blinding flash of the obvious: running a restaurant is hard work, and it never ends,
especially when you’re trying to do it all yourself.

But why do that? If you could afford to hire experts in crew training, menu design, restaurant design  and marketing to help you, wouldn’t you do it?

Of course you would, and maybe you’re overlooking a ready source of value-added advice operations and a whole lot more – your suppliers.

Think about it. They’re in your restaurant all the time. They see your operation at its worst and best. And they know a lot about their areas of specialization, whether it is beverages, sanitation, produce or fish.

Major suppliers often provide a range of free or value-added services to restaurants.

The Coca-Cola Company provides its customers with a wide range of services beyond beverages, ranging from crew training to menu design – and the company has available dozens of consumer studies that can help you benchmark and fine tune your business and stand out from the competition with best practices across the business. Even if you’re not a Coca-Cola Refreshments customer, you can get great ideas at

Ecolab is more than just cleaning supplies, as well. They counsel customers on food safety, quality assurance and equipment care, and they’ll even test your glassware and dishes to determine whether they’ll hold up in your restaurant.

CSM Bakery Products provides distribution solutions, as well as consumer insights and research – syndicated and proprietary – on baked goods and related categories. CSM BP also does concept research and operator surveys to better calibrate the products and services it provides to individual customers.

Your fish supplier doesn’t just deliver fish in a box. They are experts on a wide variety of seafood products, and they can help you with selecting, storing, even how to prepare different species of seafood. Companies like Inland Seafood stay ahead of trends by knowing about new seafood products before they are available for sale.

Large suppliers like Coke also can connect you with expertise in support areas like public relations or merchandising. They could even nominate your restaurant or chain for an industry award.

Okay, so the big guys are there to help. But what about the small, local suppliers that provide your meat and potatoes and everything in between. Those guys can’t do much to help, can they?

Sure they can. Your produce supplier can advise you on which fruits and vegetables are fresh and plentiful, and which are popping up on menus all over town, so you can stay ahead of the curve.

Your local suppliers probably can share anecdotes about successes and failures at other restaurants (without getting into industrial espionage) that can help you make decisions    about what to buy by when and how much.

And if you want to target a specific demographic – Hispanic customers, for example – your suppliers may be able to tell you which products seem to sell best to and attract Hispanic customers.

When I worked at Church’s Fried Chicken, we began looking into a line of “heritage” products for minority customers. A minority food manufacturer that supplied Church’s stores investigated food groups that appeal to core demographics. Her research led to improved sales in Church’s to minority customers, and the food manufacturer had to add a third shift to keep up with the demand for her products from Church’s.

Look at it this way: it can’t hurt to ask, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the amount of information and good advice your suppliers can provide. And they will if they can. You’re their customer. They make money from you, so they have a stake in your success – after all, they can’t sell to a closed restaurant.

If the supplier rep isn’t interested, go over his head. Tell the supplier general manager you have a question or a problem he or she may be able to solve. Successful suppliers sweat the small stuff because they know that it is the little things they do that can have BIG impact on a relationship with a customer.

You may find you’re not in this by yourself and that you have a deep bench of supplier expertise and counsel you can draw upon to grow your business – and theirs.

Ellen Hartman is president and CEO of Hartman Public Relations, LLC, a public relations agency specializing in the foodservice industry.


Restaurant INFORMER Named Media Partner for Atlanta Foodservice Expo

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Restaurant INFORMER, a business-to-business magazine dedicated to providing industry news and information to restaurant professionals in Georgia and the official publication of the Georgia Restaurant Association, has formed a media partnership with Clarion Events North America (Clarion) to promote the upcoming Atlanta Foodservice Expo, which will premiere October 20-22, 2013 at the Georgia World Congress Center. The partnership was established to generate more awareness of and support for the event, as well as to create enhanced relationships throughout the industry.

“Atlanta Foodservice Expo is excited to be developing this unique relationship with Restaurant INFORMER which is seen as the leading industry publication for Georgia,” commented David Audrain, president and CEO of Clarion Events North America. “We know how important relationships are in this industry as well as establishing trust with our supporters, exhibitors and attendees. By partnering with the official publication of the Georgia Restaurant Association, we are expanding these relationships and building brand awareness within the region that we seek to benefit the most from this new event.”

John Sawyer, publisher of Restaurant INFORMER ( remarked, “Based on David’s history of running one of the largest industry shows and Clarion’s position as a worldwide leader in event production, I am confident that the Atlanta Foodservice Expo will be a blockbuster show. Restaurant INFORMER is proud to serve as the primary media in educating the region’s restaurant industry about the Expo and to work with Clarion on publishing the Expo exhibitor directory.”

For more information about the inaugural Atlanta Foodservice Expo, please visit


Kevin Rathbun Announces Chef de Cuisine for KR SteakBar

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Kevin Rathbun recently announced that Chris McDade will be the new Chef de Cuisine of KR SteakBar.

McDade returns to Atlanta after serving as sous chef of Maialino in New York City. There, he worked with local farmers and was responsible for Maialino’s pasta, cheese and its sauce program. Before moving to New York, McDade had worked alongside  Rathbun as a sous chef at Rathbun’s.

KR SteakBar, a neighborhood restaurant and bar owned by Chef Kevin Rathbun, is expected to open in late January 2013. The menu will consist of small plates of prime steak and Italian fare.


La Tagliatella Opens Locations in Decatur and Midtown

Monday, December 10th, 2012

La Tagliatella, an European-based Italian restaurant concept with more than 130 restaurants across Spain and France, will open its first U.S. location in December 2012 at Emory Point in Decatur, followed by the brand’s flagship location at the Shops at Metropolis in Midtown Atlanta later in the month.

Showcasing traditional Italian recipes made with key ingredients imported from the northern regional of Italy, La Tagliatella’s signature menu features more than 400 pasta and sauce combinations. Guests can choose from several meat and vegetarian main entreés, such as lasagna verde with spinach, sweet tomato, zucchini, raisins and pine nuts; risotto iberico served in a cream sauce with a blend of Iberian pork, seasonal vegetables and pine nuts; and coure di zucca butternut squash filled pasta with Noci e Gorgonzola sauce with walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese.

At the center of the restaurant is a pizza kitchen where more than 20 unique Napoletano-style pizzas are handcrafted. La Tagliatella will also offer Italian-inspired cocktails, along with 50 selections of wine by the bottle and glass as well as several bottled and draft beers.

The décor exemplifies a setting in Italy with heavily wooded walls, ceilings and floors.


Van Leuvan, Caswick, Williams, Pazienza and Newsham Partner Together on Seven Lamps

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Executive Chef Drew Van Leuvan and partners Rob Caswick, Thom Williams, Dave Pazienza and Jeff Newsham recently opened Seven Lamps in Buckhead’s Shops Around Lenox.

The restaurant serves lunch, dinner and a late night menu daily. The lunch and dinner menus feature an array of regionally influenced dishes, including regular entreés, small plates, soups, salads and sandwiches, which change regularly depending on season and ingredient availability. The “After Hours” menu contains a condensed version of the lunch and dinner menu offerings.

The Seven Lamps’ modern craft beverage program, designed by beverage manager Arianne Fielder, features an assortment of cocktails, boutique and value-driven wines and craft beers. Additionally, the restaurant serves Batdorf & Bronson coffee, an assortment of Intelligentsia Teas, agua frescas and housemade sodas that are carbonated onsite using syrups that Van Leuvan has made.

The 2,125-square-foot space features reclaimed wood from an old mill in North Georgia that is used throughout the space. An open kitchen allows up to 10 guests to enjoy an intimate evening at the “Chef’s Table.” The patio area is equipped with a fire pit, herb garden and Adirondack chairs for lounging. The restaurant and patio area can seat up to 114 guests.


Ted’s Donates $150,000+ to End Childhood Hunger

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Ted’s Montana Grill recently presented a historic donation of more than $150,000 to the Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry® campaign. The presentation was made to Gov. Nathan Deal at the Georgia State Capitol on November 30, 2012.

The monies were raised at Ted’s Montana Grill’s 44 restaurants this year as part of the company’s 10th anniversary celebration.

The No Kid Hungry campaign works to end childhood hunger in America by pairing access to nutritious food with education about food. The program ensures children have consistent access to healthy foods and educates parents and caregivers about their food resources, buying groceries on a budget and cooking healthy.


Salt Factory Pub Expanding to Alpharetta

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Restaurateurs Hicham Azhari and Fikret Kovac of F&H Food Trading Group are teaming up with corporate executive chef Bob McDonough for their fourth venture together. Roswell’s Salt Factory Pub will open a second location in Alpharetta in late February 2013.

F&H Food Trading Group’s collection of restaurants currently reside on Canton Street in Roswell, and include Latin American-inspired INC. Street Food, New York butcher-influenced Little Alley Steak and the original Salt Factory Pub.

Salt’s menu is locally sourced and emphasizes fresh, regional flavors with an international influence. Menu favorites include McDonough’s Prince Edward Island steamed mussels, cornmeal dusted calamari, 7-onion soup and Springer Mountain chicken double pot pie. Additional entrees include housemade pizzas and burgers with prime beef sourced from Chicago butcher Meats by Linz. The pub will have a selection of 24 draft beers as well as a varied scotch and bourbon collection.

Alpharetta’s Salt Factory seats 90 and will have a large patio featuring a bocce ball court and outdoor seating. The interior will feature dark woods and pub-inspired lighting. Salt will serve lunch and dinner daily.


GRA Coastal Chapter Meeting

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

December 5, 2012, The Pirate’s House, Savannah, GA. For more information, visit Georgia Restaurant Association

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