From the Editor: There’s A Connecting Thread, Really
In some respects every issue of Foodservice News is a scrapbook of where I’ve been and what I’ve done the previous month. If I file the stories early (OK, that’s pretty rare), they’re like long-ago cherished but forgotten memories by the time I circle around to proof the issue.
And each story builds on the issue before it. For instance, I met the subject of this month’s cover story, Jared Brewington, while covering the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance event at Ecolab in July. He mentioned to the group that he was opening a restaurant called Funky Grits, and, come on, who wouldn’t walk over and ask the man for his card?
He knew about Foodservice News because he attended the Charlie Awards a few years ago where he met his designer, Jim Smart, his consultant, Pat Weber, and the founder of the Charlies, the well-connected and benevolent Sue Zelickson, who showed up with a bouquet of flowers from her garden the first day his restaurant opened. (See why you should all be signing up to attend the Charlies Kickoff on September 17?)
One of photos that ended up not making it in the photo spread is this great sculpture from the Taste & Toast fundraiser. The Origami in the Garden display, created by artists Kevin and Jennifer Box, will be on display through the end of October.
Sometimes one issue will have several connectors running through it. I met Marc Huebner at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum fundraiser and was so impressed by his samples and personality that I made the trek out to Victoria just to find out about The Noble Lion. His back story is that he was eliminated by Bobby Flay from a Food Network cooking show for talented home cooks—and I once interviewed Bobby Flay when the celebrity chef was on a panel at our Restaurant Finance & Development Conference. See how my mind works?
The story on Cooking with the Stars at Perspectives came about because I support its Kids Cafe and bought the series of chef dinners at its annual fundraiser. But the reason the story made it on the page is because Chef Daniel del Prado of Martina was so quotable.
Some people judge a well-coordinated person by whether they can walk and chew gum at the same time. I judge them by whether they can cook four-star food while talking. And if they’re cleverly profound at the same time, I consider that Olympic-level ability.
Because I had breakfast a couple of weeks ago with a former reporter of ours (we’re both pancake fans and no one does lemon ricotta pancakes and bison sausage better than Hell’s Kitchen), I spotted a poster advertising Hell on Wheels, the restaurant delivery vehicle for the skyways in downtown Minneapolis.
I am drawn to funky art and since I will never be able to afford any of the artist’s original work, I saved the photo of the cart to my computer’s desktop so I can enjoy it when I open and close files looking for the one I need. (I should get more organized, but then think about all the memories I’d miss opening and closing files I can’t bring myself to delete.)
And the Master of the Market story came about when Sue Zelickson asked me to co-emcee with her. I was amazed at the level of sophistication Country Financial went to in order to live-stream the Chef Challenge on Facebook from the Minneapolis Farmers Market. After the competition, Sue and I shopped the market. She bought cucumbers to pickle (note to vendors, if you want Sue to buy your cucumbers, wash them), and we shared plums that would be ripe in two days and ground cherries.
I probably shouldn’t mention that I didn’t know what ground cherries were, but I loved that each one looks like it’s been separately wrapped in brown paper. They are sweeter than cherry tomatoes and much more fun to eat.
But some of the best stories are those other people write, but I get to be there, such as the picture page on the Toby’s. Laura Michaels spent the day taking team photos and then snapping all the action at the dinner, and I got to schmooze, eat dinner and not do any work. Good job, Laura, let’s do it again next year.
Of course, this was all about me, but trust me there’s a lot of non-me in this issue. Be sure and check out the Server Speak this month. Iris Page really outdid herself finding unique answers to her probing question and Mecca Bos’ institutional dining story is an intriguing look at the behind the scenes world of airport dining.
In addition, our columnists offer both advice and high-brow reading and there’s enough here to keep you engrossed long after your break is done. So take us home. Just don’t wrap your fish in us. That would stink.