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Archive for April, 2014

2014 ACF Southeast Regional Conference

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

April 26-29, 2014, Charleston, S.C. For more information, visit American Culinary Federation Southeast Regional Conference


Education Seminar: PCI Compliance

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

April 23, 2014, Atlanta Community Food Bank. For more information, visit Georgia Restaurant Association


Sweetwater 420 Fest

Friday, April 18th, 2014

April 18-20, 2014, Atlanta. For more information, visit Sweetwater 420 Fest


Ford Fry Names Drew Belline Creative Director

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

No. 246 executive chef and partner Drew Belline is now the creative director of restaurateur Ford Fry’s company. In this role, he oversees the culinary operations at No. 246 in Decatur and St. Cecilia in Buckhead.

Belline’s journey with restaurants began with graduating from Johnson and Wales University and then honing his craft working under the tutelage of chefs such as Tom Colicchio (Craft), Charlie Palmer (Kitchen 22), and Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison (Floataway Café, Bacchanalia, and Quinones at Bacchanalia). The award-winning chef was then named executive chef and partner of No. 246, where he combined his leadership and culinary experience with a passion for letting ingredients develop organically into innovative dishes.

Belline is diving head-first into his role, creating new menus for both No. 246 and St. Cecilia. Known for locally driven, rustic Italian dishes, No. 246 chef de cuisine Andrew Isabella and Belline will create a spring menu showcasing the season’s best ingredients. Belline is also working with Craig Richards, the chef de cuisine at St. Cecilia, to create refined coastal European favorites for the warmer months.

Belline and Fry are avid disciples of utilizing local products. Together, they plan to continue to grow Fry’s company, collaborating with other chefs and sharing their knowledge as mentors.


Local Culinary Elite Gather to Help End Childhood Hunger

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Taste of the Nation Atlanta

On May 8, Atlanta’s culinary elite will once again unite for Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation® Atlanta, the city’s premier benefit dedicated to ending childhood hunger. The 26th annual tasting event, which supports Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign to end childhood hunger in America, will feature gourmet samples from Atlanta’s most celebrated chefs and mixologists, as well as live, silent and beverage auctions, wine tastings and live entertainment all set against the dramatic live backdrop of the Georgia Aquarium ballroom.

More than 1,200 guests are expected to attend and will have the opportunity to sample signature fare and spirits from over 50 of the city’s most influential restaurants. Leading the 2014 event are chairs Pano Karatassos, founder and CEO of Buckhead Life Restaurant Group; George McKerrow Jr., CEO of Ted’s Montana Grill; and Honorary Chef Carmen Quagliata, Executive Chef and Partner at Union Square Cafe.

One in five children in this country struggles with hunger, including more than 700,000 kids in Georgia. The good news is that this is a solvable problem. The No Kid Hungry campaign is ending childhood hunger in this nation by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need every day by connecting them to nutrition programs such as school breakfast and summer meals and by teaching families how to cook healthy, affordable meals at home.

Recently, the No Kid Hungry campaign challenged America’s leaders to connect 1 million more low-income children in this nation to school breakfast over the next two years. While currently, just over half of our nation’s kids who need a free or reduced-price breakfast are getting one, The No Kid Hungry campaign is working with elected officials, corporate leaders, school officials, and others in the non-profit community on innovative strategies like moving breakfast out of the cafeteria and into the classroom so more kids get the food they need for academic success. The new website,, has tested strategies, advocacy tools and research that can help communities more rapidly connect more low-income children to this critical morning meal.

Since summer 2011, No Kid Hungry efforts to expand access to summer meals and school breakfast have helped connect kids to more than 34 million additional meals. The No Kid Hungry campaign is replicating that success around the country by working collaboratively with its partners to feed millions of American children. In 2013, Taste of the Nation Atlanta raised more than $712,000, which helps connect children in need with up to 7,120,000 meals.

One hundred percent of ticket proceeds from Taste of the Nation Atlanta benefit the No Kid Hungry campaign.

Some of this year’s participating restaurants include:
•    103 West
•    4th & Swift
•    Abattoir
•    Aqua Blue Restaurant and Bar
•    Aria
•    Article 14
•    Atlanta Fish Market
•    Atlanta Grill at The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta
•    Bacchanalia
•    Bistro Niko
•    BLT Steak
•    Buckhead Diner
•    C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar
•    Canoe
•    Chops Lobster Bar
•    Cook Hall Atlanta
•    Davio’s
•    Double Zero Napoletana
•    Floataway Café
•    Governor’s Mansion
•    Gunshow
•    Hugo’s Oyster Bar
•    Iberian Pig
•    Kaleidoscope
•    Kevin Rathbun Steak
•    King + Duke
•    Kyma
•    Local Three
•    Marlow’s Tavern
•    Murphy’s
•    Nan
•    One Flew South
•    Paper Plane
•    Parish Foods & Goods
•    Pricci
•    Proof & Provision
•    Rosebud
•    Ruth’s Chris Steak House
•    Seed
•    Serpas True Food
•    Star Provisions
•    Southern Art
•    Sundial
•    Table 1280
•    Tamarind Seed
•    Ted’s Montana Grill
•    The Hil
•    Umi
•    Veni Vidi Vici
•    Windows at Lake Lanier Island Resort
•    Woodfire Grill


Atlanta Community Food Bank Full Course Classic Golf Tournament

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

April 15, 2014, Ansley Golf Club, Atlanta. For more information, visit Full Course Classic Golf Tournament


Eleven Georgia Chefs to Compete in Showcase of the State’s Official Vegetable

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Chefs from across Georgia will face-off on Sunday, April 27, 2014, for the 3rd annual Golden Onion professional cooking competition that takes place during the 37th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival. This cook-off showcases the Vidalia® onion, Georgia’s official state vegetable, and also offers a platform for chefs across Georgia to display their skills and creativity.

Evaluating each dish on the basis of taste (50%), chef’s verbal presentation (5%), visual presentation (10%), creativity (15%), overall use of Vidalia® onions (15%), and following the recipe submitted during the application process (5%), a panel of five judges will taste and score the competition. Judges include:

Chef Holly Chute, executive chef of the Georgia Governor’s Mansion

Chef Linton Hopkins, chef/owner of Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch Public House, H&F Bread Co., H&F Bottle Shop, three H&F Burger outposts in Turner Field, and Eugene Kitchen, a proprietary food and beverage development company

Chef Christopher Smith, C.F.B.E.,  corporate director of food and beverage and corporate executive chef for Herschend Family Entertainment

Bob Stafford, director of the Vidalia® Onion Business Council

• Hope S. Philbrick, an Atlanta-based freelance writer and editor who conceived of and helped launch the Golden Onion competition

Chef Hilary White, winner of the inaugural Golden Onion and owner/executive chef of The Hil: A Restaurant at Serenbe.

Eleven Georgia chefs will display their skills and creativity in the professional cooking competition showcasing the famed Vidalia® onion. From the mountains to the islands, fine dining to casual eateries, new business ventures to long-standing community mainstays, the 2014 roster of chef competitors represents a cross-section of Georgia restaurants and cuisine:

Chef Costanzo Astarita, executive chef at Baraonda Ristorante in Atlanta

Chef Jennifer Hill Booker, owner and executive chef of Your Resident Gourmet in Lilburn

• Chef Jason Brumfiel, executive chef of The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island

Chef Brian Justice, chef and owner of Tasteful Temptations Café in Brunswick

Chef Pano I. Karatassos, executive chef of Kyma in Atlanta and member of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group

Chef David Larkworthy, executive chef and founder of Five Seasons Brewing Company in Atlanta

Chef Roberto Leoci, executive chef and owner of Leoci’s Trattoria in Savannah and Georgia Grown Executive Chef

Chef Danny Mellman, executive chef and owner of Harvest on Main and Blue Ridge Grocery in Blue Ridge

• Chef Austin Rocconi,  executive chef for Le Vigne Restaurant at Montaluce in Dahlonega

Chef Marc Taft, executive chef and owner of Chicken and the Egg in Marietta

Chef Jordan Wakefield, executive chef and owner of the new Smoke Ring in Atlanta

Competing chefs will have one hour to prepare and present their recipes. The First Place champion will be presented the Golden Onion trophy to hold for one year along with a cash prize of $500. The second place winner will receive $250 and the third place winner $100. All winners will also receive commemorative plaques.

For more information, visit 37th Annual Vidalian Onion Festival


Classic City Brew Fest

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

April 13, 2014, Athens, Ga. For more information, visit Classic City Brew Fest


MAX’s Wine Dive Names Executive Chef, General Manager

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

MAX’s Wine Dive has announced the addition of an executive chef, general manager and a tentative opening date of May 15 in Midtown Atlanta, pending construction and licensing completion schedules.

Leading the culinary team is Executive Chef Jason Hall, formerly of Saltyard and Livingston Restaurant. Over the years, Hall has worked in concepts ranging from casual eateries to five-star dining rooms. His menu will feature gourmet comfort food classics and seasonal creations.

MAX’s Wine Dive is known for its “Classics” menu items such as the famous Southern Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, collard greens and Texas toast; The Fried Egg Sandwich with truffle oil, applewood-smoked bacon, Gruyère, lettuce, tomatoes and garlic black truffle aioli, sandwiched between two pieces of artisan sourdough; MAX ‘n Cheese consisting of cavatappi pasta tossed in truffle cream with provolone, Gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano; and Nacho Mamas Oysters with crispy fried Gulf Coast oysters and garlic aioli on crispy MAX’s wonton chips, habanero salsa and cilantro.

At the helm of front-of-house operations is General Manager Jonathan (Jon) McAloon. A Chicago native, McAloon has worked in both fast-casual and full-service upscale cuisine in Chicago, New York and San Francisco. He joins the MAX’s Wine Dive team after spending two years as a multi-unit manager for Atlanta spots The Big Ketch and Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails.

Established by Jerry and Laura Lasco in Houston in 2003, Lasco Enterprises, LLC is the parent company for MAX’s Wine Dive (Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Atlanta and Chicago), The Tasting Room Wine Cafés (Houston), Lasco Events & Catering, Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden (San Antonio), and The Black Door online wine community.


Concentrics Restaurants Opens New Concepts in North Carolina, California

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Concentrics Restaurants has announced the opening of two newest concepts — Ios  Greek Kitchen in Charlotte, N.C., and Juniper & Ivy in San Diego, Ca.

A partnership between Concentrics and Martin Sprock, Ios Greek Kitchen is a full service Greek-inspired restaurant. The menu features salads, pitas and entrees such as Grilled octopus with garlic butter, potatoes black olives and tapenade sauce; grilled lamb lollipop pita with shallot and parsley salad; and sautéed freshwater trout with cous cous salad, marinated vegetables, watercress and balsamic tomato dressing, to name a few. The bar program will offer local North Carolina craft beer and a craft cocktail menu. Menu development was completed by Concentrics’ Chef Nick Oltarsh, who is currently Executive Chef at ONE. midtown kitchen and oversees overall kitchen operations for Concentrics Restaurants.

Ios Greek Kitchen is Concentrics Restaurants’ first concept in the Charlotte market.

Additionally, Concentrics has partnered with Juniper Hospitality and Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais to open Juniper & Ivy (J&I), a modernist American restaurant on the outskirts of San Diego’s historically rich Little Italy neighborhood. Set in a converted 1920s sawtooth warehouse, J&I offers a refined-yet-playful dining experience.

J&I’s dinner menu has its basis in centuries old and classic techniques, elevated by modernist elements. Fueled by Blais’ creative energy, the menu will evolve daily based on the chef’s ever-changing inspiration and will highlight the region’s bountiful fresh ingredients sourced from Baja to Vancouver. Guests may choose from offerings such as Charred Black Grape “Toast” with Ricotta, Hyssop and Ice Wine Vinegar, Coachella Dates with Lamb Bacon, Chevre and Coffee, and the San Diego Chicken with English Pea Gnocchi, Chanterelle Mushroom and Torrey Pine Needle. The bar program features craft cocktails and an expansive wine list with varietals from all over the world.

In the past five years, Concentrics Restaurants has become a significant national presence with current and in-development concepts in Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, Chicago, St. Louis and more.

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