News Profiles Events Beverage Technology Management Directory

Archive for July, 2016

Geoff Melkonian Opens Farm to Ladle in Avalon

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

farm to ladleFarm to Ladle, known for its rotating menu of fresh soups, salads, sandwiches and sweets, opened its second location at Avalon, the award-winning mixed-use community in Alpharetta.

When curating the Farm to Ladle concept, founder Geoff Melkonian sought to open in vibrant, landmark destinations. Last year, Farm to Ladle opened in Ponce City Market.

In the Farm To Ladle kitchen, all of the food is made from scratch. Signature favorites include tomato basil bisque, turkey chili, chicken salad, quinoa salad, the kale Caesar salad and house-baked breads. A selection of local and regional beers along with wine options rotate seasonally.

“This year, we’re using a lot of grainy, fruity flavors with a nutty feel,” says Chef Niyazi Mesta.

Farm to Ladle serves dine-in and to-go breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks daily.


Atlanta Back 2 School Food Festival

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

July 30, 2016, Cobb County Fairground, Marietta, GA. For more information, visit Back 2 School Food Festival


PARISH Announces New Pastry Chef Breanna Knight

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

unnamed-4The Brasserie and Neighborhood Café at PARISH is pleased to announce Chef Breanna Kinkead (Gunshow, Canoe) as their Pastry Chef.

With 13 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry behind her belt, Kinkead is no newcomer to the art of creating delicious food.

Kinkead’s desserts at PARISH are constantly rotating based on seasonality. Recent summer selections include a Blackberry Goat Cheese Crème Brulee with Lemon Cream Filled Almond Tuile, a Georgia Peach Cobbler with Buttermilk Ice Cream and her “Something Like Black Forest Cakes” with Chocolate Cake, Cherries and Cherry Herring Liquor.

Kinkead realized her passion for cooking as a little girl. She could not stay out of the kitchen, and as she grew up she fell in love with cookbooks. She loved putting her skills to the test for family dinners and she always looked forward to trips to the grocery store with her mom. Kinkead’s passion for cooking drove her to The Art Institute of Atlanta where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Associate’s Degree in Baking, and Magna Cum Laude with her Bachelor’s Degree in Food and Beverage Management.

Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Kinkead made the move to the great south in 2009 and lives in Marietta, GA with her son, Kaleb.


12 Steps to Prepare for a Restaurant Crisis

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

By Ellen Hartman

DRP start button. Disaster Recovery Plan concept or crisis solutions.

Restaurant operators frequently talk about what keeps them up at night, because they know that a crisis at their restaurant is only a meal away. A poor safety rating, a negative review, an illness or any number of problems can all potentially devastate your brand and cause long-term damage.

The key to effectively and efficiently handling a problem in your restaurant is to have a crisis plan in place. Preparation goes a long way to successfully dealing with the issue and ensuring that your restaurant’s good reputation remains intact.

Don’t wait until something happens, then wish you were better prepared. Instead, here are 12 steps you need to take right now to ensure your restaurant is ready for a crisis.

1. Develop a crisis team contact list. If something happens, you need to know who to contact and get in touch with them quickly. The list should include each team member’s responsibilities. Contacts and responsibilities include: a team leader, food safety coordinator, supply chain coordinator, culinary team outreach person, media communications team, operations contact, legal team, finance contact, human resources contact, guest relations team and external contacts.

2. Brainstorm potential crisis scenarios and how to respond to them. Responses should include media statements, brand messages and a press release template.

3. Name a spokesperson(s). This person will be responsible for communicating directly to the media and other audiences.

4. Media train the spokesperson(s). The spokesperson should be familiar with brand messages and be capable of clearly relaying them to the media while also addressing the crisis. The spokesperson(s) should also be able to remain composed and respond to difficult questions asked by the media.

5. Establish a virtual crisis center. This should house all communication resources, including all necessary messaging, press materials and contact information, and should only be accessible to internal audiences.

6. Identify third-party advocates and have backgrounders available for them. Since your spokesperson is part of your company, the public may not believe he or she is speaking with-out bias. That’s why it’s important to have someone from an organization not affiliated with your business that is willing to defend your restaurant if something bad happens. Third-party advocates may include organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, law enforcement agencies or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

7. Update media lists. Keep a current list that includes appropriate contacts in each city your restaurant operates in. If you are a large franchise with locations across the country, also include national media contacts.

8. Tell people about the good things you do. Update your company’s community relations activities and include a place on the website where media and guests can view activities and learn how they can help.

9. Implement annual crisis planning. Conduct an annual training session with simulation for employees. Annual training will keep long-term employees updated on changes and will train new employees on appropriate actions.

10. Develop a post-crisis debriefing process. Post-crisis debriefing analyzes what went right and what went wrong, how you can do better in the future, and identifies any changes that need to be made to better handle a future crisis.

11. Monitor potential new crisis threats and adjust plans accordingly. Your crisis team should always be on the lookout for potential problems so the team can get ahead of them early.

12. Update your crisis plan quarterly. Make sure contact name and numbers are up-to-date and new scenarios and actions are current.


Ellen Hartman, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the CEO of Hartman Public Relations, a full-service public relations agency specializing in the foodservice Industry.   Hartman has experience working for Coca-Cola, Concessions International, Chili’s, Huddle House, Frist Watch, Fresh To Order, Billy Sims BBQ and Uncle Maddio’s and many QSR brands including Popeyes, Church’s and Arby’s.  An industry leader for more than 25 years, Hartman is active in the Women’s Foodservice Forum, Les Dames d ’Escoffier International and has served on the board Georgia State University School of Hospitality.  She earned her APR accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America and is a member of PRSA’s Fellow program for senior accomplished professionals.


Sustainability Beyond the Plate

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

By Hope S. Philbrick

April cover story lead for web copyBlack and gold are the official colors of Kennesaw State University, but its commitment to sustainability is pure green.

The university has recognized the importance of sustainability and environmentally sound practices in the hospitality industry, so much so that it established the Michael A. Leven School for Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality in 2013. The school and its bachelor’s of science in culinary sustainability and hospitality incorporates the study of sustainable best practices into its curricula, emphasizing areas like food science, nutrition, agro-ecology, resource conservation and business, preparing a new generation of culinary professionals who understand the innate connection between the land we live on and the food that we eat.

“We offer a culinary hospitality management program similar to what you’d find at other universities, but we’ve woven sustainable business practices throughout the program,” says Christian Hardigree, founding director and professor of KSU’s Michael A. Leven School for Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality. “Students get ingrained with thinking about sustainability, and it will make these individuals more competitive in the marketplace.”

The need for this education focus is fact-based, says Hardigree. “We’re going to have a population boom; by 2050 there will likely be 9 billion people on the planet,” she says.“We don’t have the food sourcing ability to accommodate that boom.”

She cites other concerns, like food waste and landfill methane gas, that are driving the next generation of chefs and restaurant owners toward sustainable thinking.

“Each year Americans waste $155 billion worth of food, an average of 20 pounds per person each month,” she says. “If we can cut that down by just 15 percent, we could feed the 25 million Americans living in food insecure homes – that’s one in five homes in Georgia.

“Another issue with food waste is that it’s the No. 1 material in landfills, and it gives off methane gas that’s more damaging to the environment than carbon monoxide – worse than cows,” she adds. “We have to figure out how to get food waste out of the landfills.”

Common Good

KSU doesn’t just talk the talk, it walks it, too, with its dining facility. As the third-largest university in Georgia (it consolidated with Southern Polytechnic State University in 2015), the school educates 74,000 students from 130 countries on two campuses in Kennesaw and Marietta.

To feed all those people, there’s The Commons, the nation’s largest LEED-Gold certified collegiate dining facility. The 54,000-square-foot facility serves more than 30,000 people per week. It along with eight other establishments on campus have won national recognition, including “Innovator of the Year” and “Operator Innovations Award for Sustainability” from the National Restaurant Association in 2013 and a No. 4 rank among the “75 Best Colleges for Food in America” by The Daily Meal in 2015. (KSU also won the Innovator GRACE Award in 2013 for its sustainability efforts.)

This isn’t your average college dining hall. Forty percent of all the produce served in the facility is locally sourced, with 20 percent coming directly from KSU-owned farms. All milk served on campus travels only 60 miles to the school. The dining hall also has a 2,500-square-foot on-site herb garden and shiitake mushroom garden, an on-site grist mill for fresh grits and cornmeal, locally sourced meats, and chickens on KSU farms that produce more than 300 eggs per week.

The facility, which opened in 2009, also makes all sauces, stocks and soups without any bases or MSG; brines its own pastrami, corned beef and pickles; and smokes, cures and dry-ages all meats, sausages and cheeses like aged Romano and pecorino. KSU students are eating very well indeed.

Reduce, Reuse

Sustainable initiatives were in place at KSU before it became part of the curriculum. “We built sustainability practices into the foodservice program from the beginning,” says Jenifer Duggan, senior director of Culinary & Hospitality Services. KSU regularly implements new practices and technologies in sustainable food production, including composting, vermicomposting, hydroponics, recycling cooking oil for biofuel, water reclamation and more.

“We focus on energy and resource conservation and water preservation,” says Duggan. KSU’s comprehensive waste management program includes recycling (of aluminum, plastic, metal, cardboard, fat, oils and grease) – more than 307,000 pounds to date – and composting all pre- and post-consumer organic waste.

“We compost anything from the kitchen that isn’t used [that’s not able to be repurposed into stock, broth or soup], and everything that is served but not eaten,” she says. A robust 60,000 pounds per month on average is composted. “We’ve been using a composting service for six years but will start doing it in-house instead, which will not only have a cost savings but we’ll be able to utilize all our waste on our farm to grow food served in the dining hall, creating a closed-loop practice.”

The effort to reduce waste starts by eliminating the opportunity for it. “One of the things we implemented from the beginning that seems to confuse some people is we don’t use trays in our dining hall,” says Duggan. “It reduces water consumption by up to a third and encourages smaller portion sizes, which reduces waste in terms of the food served.” Reusable take-out containers also keep biodegradable containers out of the waste stream and out of landfills.

“We’ve gone to smaller plates and portions,” says Hardigree, adding that smaller portions cut down on food waste and is a growing trend across the hospitality industry. “We see small plates making a big change again, with the aging population as well as millennials’ preference for tasting. These two segments want different options when it comes to their food.”

Other savings come with small-batch cooking. “In a lot of operations of this size, cooks and chefs will prepare large quantities of food that will be served at the start of service and held for several hours, which brings the nutritional content and food quality down,” says Duggan. “We cook as we go, which reduces food waste.” Energy-efficient equipment also helps reduce energy consumption.

Just-in-time ordering also helps reduce waste. “You won’t see as much spoilage,” says Duggan. What’s more, growing food reduces purchasing needs. In addition to the 25-acre farm, KSU grows food in hydroponic units in the dining hall. “We are able to produce lettuce and herbs that can be harvested and served the same day,” says Duggan. About 700 heads of lettuce are harvested every couple of weeks. “We’ve also had a lot of success with basil.”

“Our students learn about growing organic food and how honeybees affect the food supply – one of every three bites of food we take is because of bees,” says Hardigree. Hands-on learning also helps students understand the context of how water affects the food supply.

Future initiatives include expanding the farm program. “Currently there’s over 10,000 square feet of in-house hydroponic space, which enables us to produce and grow tomatoes year-round, which is one of the things we use the most,” says Duggan. The Marietta campus offers expansion opportunities: Duggan anticipates adding “perhaps some new raised beds, new community gar-dens” and other farming options.

In a new partnership program with Georgia Tech, students will test a compost operation that uses black solder flies, the larvae of which eat food scraps and turn them into compost at a much faster rate than if the food was left to compost on its own.

“By feeding food waste to the larvae in this innovative program, we can turn food waste into organic material that can be turned into usable compost,” says Duggan. This is expected to speed up the composting process from its current six weeks to just a few days.

The aim is to continue to achieve more. “It’s a continuum we’re always trying to improve upon,” says Hardigree. “KSU had already done some great things in terms of sustainability, but I think the collaboration between functional and academic studies has allowed us to refine and improve.”

Trying out new technologies, says Hardigree, gives KSU “the chance to become the epicenter for best practices.”

With 1,000 students graduating from the program since 2013, with 251 more enrolled this year, such success can only bring good news for Georgia’s restaurant industry.


The Cockentrice Introduces a New Dinner Menu and Welcomes Beverage Director Cole Younger Just

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Executive Chef Kevin Ouzts of The Cockentrice at Krog Street Market is introducing a new dinner menu and taking their cocktail game to the next level thanks to new Beverage Director Cole Younger Just. With an unwavering commitment to support local famers and purveyors, patrons will be delighted to find a more accessible and price-friendly menu geared towards all tastes that exudes the exceptional quality of cuisine Chef Ouzts has become known for.

“Since we opened The Cockentrice, it’s been a crazy, year-long explosion of wanting to share – admittedly all at once — all of the dishes I’ve been creating in my head and dying to cook for the past five years,” said Chef Ouzts. “With a year under our belts, it’s time to have fun. The new menu not only embodies the pure joy I get from cooking, but also gives me more of an opportunity to step away from the kitchen and engage with our diners. I’m excited to share my passion with them through conversation and connection, not just what’s on the plate. Atlanta deserves that, and Krog Street Market, with its incredibly laid-back vibe, demands it.”

Co-owned by husband-and-wife team of Chef Kevin and Megan Ouzts, the brains behind the celebrated The Spotted Trotter brand that is now available in 17 states, The Cockentrice’s soul still centers around the art of meat cookery and charcuterie, but the new menu offers plenty of impressive options for vegetable, seafood and pasta lovers as well. In addition to choose-your-own charcuterie and cheeses, shareable snacks ideal for the bar, table or patio include pimento cheese with bacon jam; trout mousse with grilled sourdough; pistachio hummus; and crispy chickpea fries. All available for $6.

Geared toward taste preference, the new dinner menu is broken down into easy to navigate categories including vegetables; flatbreads; fish and shellfish; and beef, pork and pasta featuring ranges of options from $8 to $38.

In conjunction with the new dinner menu, The Cockentrice introduced barman Cole Younger Just as its new Beverage Director. While Louisiana born and bred, Just honed his craft in Atlanta at notable establishments including The Last Word, King + Duke, and Horseradish Grill.

“Learning how to source, and ultimately respect ingredients by preparing them in a way to create a harmony of balance of flavor is how I approach the beverage programs I create,” says Just. An updated wine menu along with a local craft beer and cider selection compliment a selection of cocktails.


Billy Cole Hired as Gunshow’s First Pastry Chef

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Gunshow Billy ColeThis month, Atlanta chef, restaurateur, speaker and cookbook author Kevin Gillespie welcomes Billy Cole to his Gunshow team. As the first pastry chef for the Glenwood Park restaurant, Cole brings a well-balanced background that includes 12 years of culinary experience in both the pastry and savory sectors. Experimenting with savory and sweet dishes in his previous positions, which include roles at Restaurant Eugene and The Luminary in Atlanta, has given him a strong foundation to build upon and an endless source of creative inspiration.

In his new role, Cole aims to continue growing as a chef by constantly improving his craft. “I think of Gunshow as Atlanta’s best sounding board for culinary creativity,” he says. “I love not being restricted to one genre of cuisine, and it’s inspiring to have the autonomy to innovate and hopefully expand guests’ palates. But what is even more exciting is the idea of being surrounded by so many great young chefs in the Gunshow kitchen who expand my horizons as well.”

Prior to his arrival at Gunshow, Cole spent the past two years as the chef de cuisine at The Luminary, a French brasserie in Atlanta. He was responsible for staffing and training, all ordering and sourcing, improving food costs and both savory and pastry menu planning. Before The Luminary, Cole was the assistant pastry chef under James Beard Award semi-finalist Aaron Russell at Restaurant Eugene for four years. His pastry program emphasized classic French and modern techniques using local ingredients. Cole’s pastry experience also includes The Chocolate Bar in Decatur, where he oversaw all pastry production for the restaurant. In addition to working at these top Atlanta establishments, he has also staged at Michelin-starred restaurants In de Wulf in Dranouter, Belgium, and Manresa in Los Gatos, California.

“Billy is a great match for Gunshow. He’s extremely driven and is always looking to challenge himself,” says Gunshow’s executive chef Joey Ward. “The way he’s rotated between savory and pastry chef positions so seamlessly in the past has given him a masterful understanding of savory techniques and flavors. For our guests, that means an elegant transition into dessert courses to end their meal on a well-balanced note.”

A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York, Cole began his culinary career working for chef Richard Blais in Atlanta as chef de partie at Element Gastro Lounge and Food Lab, then as sous chef at Home Restaurant & Bar and at culinary production company Trail Blais. As a result, he has proven to be a forward thinking self-starter who is no stranger to envelope-pushing cuisine, making him feel right at home in Gunshow’s kitchen.


TAP Announces Beverage Director, and Cicerone, Libby Stovall

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

unnamed-2Since becoming a certified Cicerone in January of 2015, Libby Stovall’s knack for beverage chemistry has landed her the title of Beverage Director at TAP. Stovall plans to churn out new beverage offerings at the pub-style restaurant. Stovall’s employment follows the recent announcement of new Chef Tyler Williams (Bacchanalia, Abattoir, Woodfire Grill).

Stovall is currently one of only six women in Georgia to hold the title of certified Cicerone, the industry standard for identifying those with significant knowledge and professional skills in beer sales and service. The grueling process includes a 12 week course, countless hours of studying, and a passing score on the final exam. Of the 45 students who took the course alongside Stovall, only she and 2 others were awarded certification. Joining her in the graduating class was Brandy Ramsey, General Manager at TAP.

“I’ve enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen since I was very young and I absolutely love coming up with new drink concepts and combinations,” Stovall reflects on her beverage experiences thus far.

TAP’s Summer cocktail menu courtesy of Stovall:

The Hat Trick
Argus Cidery Tepache Especial (sparkling pineapple wine), Troy & Son’s Platinum Moonshine, infused with pineapple, Pineapple puree, charred lime jalapeno peppercorn syrup

Pele’s Punch
Leblon cachaça, angostura 7 yr rum, apricot liqueur, passion fruit puree, fresh lime juice, Bitterman’s Elemakule Tiki bitters, Garnish with lime wheel, fresh ground black pepper

The Live Oak
Carpano Antica, Angel’s Envy, Campari, Porto Kopke, Aged for five weeks in an oak barrel, topped with house made blueberry-peach preserves

Coco Frio
Camarena tequila, orange blossom water, coconut puree, fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice, orange-mint simple, Garnish with orange twist and mint sprig

Lazy River
Strawberry balsamic shrub, fresh basil, hammer & sickle vodka, aveze gentian liqueur, sparkling wine

Owl and the Olive **Beer cocktail
High Wire Hat trick Gin, giffard peche, cocchi Americano, lemon juice, guava puree
lemon thyme simple syrup, Topped with Creature Comforts Athena and garnished with fresh thyme sprig
Stovall’s masterfully created summer cocktails are best served alongside a tranquil view of Midtown, which can be found at TAP’s dog-friendly and spacious outdoor patio.


Georgia Restaurant Week

Monday, July 18th, 2016

July 18-24, 2016. For more information, visit Georgia Restaurant Week


Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

July 17, 2015, JCT. Kitchen & Bar, Atlanta, GA. For more information, visit Killer Tomato Fest

Switch to mobile version
Subscription Resources Advertising About Us Past Issues Contact F T L