Friday, October 29, 2010

Bill Clinton... Ate Here

Taking its place amongst numerous industries struggling to stay afloat, it's no secret that the restaurant industry is finding it just as tough to keep rear ends in seats these days.

But with dining out at an all time low, the New York Times reports on the marketing mojo made available to restaurants, simply by being paid by a visit from former president Bill Clinton. The current buzz is, "He is doing for restaurants around the world -- what George Washington once did in America for places to sleep."


Some restaurant owners (and their customers) are even calling it: The Clinton Bump.

Read more about it here

Friday, October 22, 2010

School Lunch Line: Redesigned

There's a plan in the works toward rethinking the design of the school cafeteria, guiding students toward making better choices simply by changing the way their options are presented.
For example, increase the healthier choice of having a salad by moving the salad bar right in front of the cash registers? Sort of the "reverse logic" of putting the candy bars at the supermarket checkout lines, so parents and kids can wolf them down while thumbing through the National Enquirer and Us Magazines they have no intention of buying, or....
Anyway, replacing the traditional lime Jell-O, mystery meat, and greasy curly cheese fries aside -- I'm just dying to see the plans for a makeover of the quintessential "lunch lady." Botox? Trendy baseball cap instead of a hair net? Contact lenses? Lunch lady uniforms courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana? Hmmm....
In any event, read more about it here

Friday, October 15, 2010

Anthony Bourdain's Extreme Cuisine Novel: Get Jiro

The popularity of extreme cuisine aside, with more and more authors having success at publication through penning graphic novels, this particular writing genre is also becoming really popular with readers (and publishing houses too) lately.

And the latest buzz is that my all-time favorite bad boy chef, author, and No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain is working on a graphic novel about food. The Eater notes that Vertigo, the publisher of the upcoming book, has just publicly confirmed that a book is in the works.
Bourdain will be writing in collaboration with novelist Joel Rose, along with illustrations by artist Langdon Foss. Here are some of the details:

GET JIRO! is a futuristic action thriller that takes America’s newfound obsession with exotic cuisine to a manic, violent extreme. It takes place in a world where food and the secrets of how to prepare it are the source of all power leading master chefs to fight over Jiro, a mysterious top-notch sushi chef with ideas of his own.

And just as a reminder folks, the title is Get Jiro...not Get Gyro. So if you were expecting sliced lamb, a creamy Greek tzatziki sauce, and pita pocket bread to show up somewhere in the storyline, you just might be a little disappointed.

Kudos, Chef Bourdain. Can't wait to dig into this one, and see how Jiro (and your other extreme cuisine characters)...mix it up.

Friday, October 08, 2010

For The Food History Buff In All Of Us

Mooley, the Taft White House Cow(or is it Pauline, the replacement cow? Mooley died in 1910)

Historical food facts are a beautiful thing. Take for instance, President William Howard Taft, and the cow(s) he was said to have owned, and actually let graze on the White House lawn. (What a fun time tour guides must have had back then -- warning tourists to watch out for the "cow pies.")

And yes, I really have often wondered about certain presidential food facts, such as the Baby Ruth candy bar and its alleged connection to Grover Cleveland's infant daughter, Ruth, and what some of out nation's presidents may or may not have like to see on their breakfast plates.

And what about President James Madison's wife, Dolly, and her apparent "discovery" of America's favorite junk food, ice cream? Did you know:

Legend has it that in the nineteenth century, a freed slave named Sallie Shadd went into her family’s catering business in Wilmington, Delaware. Sallie achieved fame among the free black population for a new dessert sensation she created with frozen cream, sugar, and fruit. When Dolly Madison heard about this new dessert, she supposedly travelled to Wilmington to try it. Mrs. Madison must have loved it because a “magnificent pink dome of ice cream” was served at President Madison’s second Inaugural Ball in 1813, and ice cream often appeared as the official dessert on the White House menu.


So if you're both a historical buff as well as a consummate foodie (like me), please take a look at this wonderful blog by Suzy Evans, Ph. D. called, The History Chef.

Amazing stuff. Kudos, Suzy!

Friday, October 01, 2010

25 Things Chefs Never Tell You

Most chefs I've met have been very vocal, especially when it comes to the topic of food.

But having said that, what about some of those pesky questions we've always had on our minds as restaurant patrons -- but never dared to ask? For example: Do restaurants recycle the bread basket? Are most of us bad tippers? Food Network Magazine surveyed chefs across the country — anonymously — to find out everything we’ve always wanted to know.

Chefs are pickier than you think.
Liver, sea urchin, tofu, eggplant, and oysters, of all things, topped the list of foods chefs hate most. Only 15% of chefs surveyed said they’d eat absolutely anything.

Still, chefs hate picky eaters.
More than 60% said requests for substitutions are annoying. Some of their biggest pet peeves: When customers pretend to be allergic to an ingredient, and when vegetarians make up rules, like "a little chicken stock is OK." (Yeah, right, along with "a little sausage in that Thanksgiving stuffing won't hurt," or make them look like the total bunch of hypocrites they are, or, um... Okay, nevermind.)

Man, better make that chef down.
Also, did you know that most chefs cook when they're sick and injured, and some have reported even missing parts of their fingers? No? Then read more about it here.