We are very excited to announce that one of our restaurants, Chappaqua Station, was featured in the Hudson Valley Dining section of the New York Times. We want to thank the overwhelmingly supportive community of Chappaqua, NY as well as congratulate both our FOH and BOH staff for making this possible!. Read the full review here.
Mostly everyone views reality television shows under the pretense that the content is not 100% accurate. In taking the perception of the restaurant business into consideration, internationally recognized French chef and TV personality Jacques Pepin believes the plethora of kitchen reality shows are doing a disservice to the industry. Last week the L.A. Times quoted Pepin in an article saying, "The worst offenders insult and humiliate their crew, cursing and swearing, with every other word a bleeped expletive. The crew, often unkempt and untidy, look at the chef defiantly and seem to be terrorized and belligerent at the same time". Continuing on to reference Gordon Ramsay's show, Hell's Kitchen, industry insiders believe Pepin's call out provides the sometimes explosive Ramsay with a taste of his own medicine.
The refugee crisis in Europe has been a hot topic in the media for the past few years. Most Europeans view the mass migrations of Middle Eastern refugees negatively, but the organization Food Sweet Food is working hard to find a silver lining amongst all the tension. Food Sweet Food, "an organization that encourages dialogue between cultures through home-cooked meals", has paired up Syrian refugees (whom used to be chefs) with French chefs for the Refugees Food Festival week long event in June. NPR reports, "We decided to ask Parisian restaurants to accept refugee chefs to change the view we have in France on refugees" says Marine Mandrila, the spokeswoman for Food Sweet Food. "And also to show that these people had real lives and professions before. And now we have to validate them and show they are real people, just like you and me". Just thinking of Franco-Syrian cuisine makes me mouth water!
Let's face it: plastic grocery bags are so 1999. If you don't bring your own reusable tote to the supermarket you are most definitely being judged by other customers as a nature hating neanderthal. Now, in 2016 the anti-waste movement has gone full speed ahead with zero waste grocery stores popping up in major cities around the world. So what exactly is a zero waste market? Brooklyn, NY resident and soon to be owner of one such establishment explains: "Customers will bring their own reusable containers to measure out just the right amount of food items and other household products. Shoppers can pack dry goods like grains and spices into their own glass jars or cloth sacks. Dispenser can be filled with oils, vinegar, honey and syrup. The store will sell milk from Ronnybrook Farm, in upstate New York, in glass bottles which shoppers can then bring back on their next grocery trip. Shopper can even get dish soap in refillable screw-top bottles". Although this concept is fairly new to North America with pioneer locations in Denver, Vancouver and Brooklyn, our compadres in European cities such as Berlin, Barcelona and Vienna have been cutting back on waste for a few years. Read more here.
As a response to the European Union's sanctions against Russia, Putin has extended an ban on Western food imports. The Washington Post reports, "The EU has followed Washington in slapping Russia with sanctions after its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and support for insurgents in eastern Ukraine. The sanctions have cut Russia’s access to global financial markets and blocked the transfer of key technologies. Russia has retaliated by banning most Western food imports, badly hurting many EU nations". That's okay Russia, more for us.
According the the Washington Post, farmers markets are no longer a place people go to in order to purchase fresh produce while supporting local agriculture. People in their 20's and 30's attend farmers markets in search of prepared foods (think pizza, tacos, sandwiches) as opposed to purchasing ingredients (cucumbers, strawberries, lettuce). Unfortunately, this shift in consumer demand has greatly impacted the revenue farmers have previously become accustomed to. "Heinz Thomet, co-owner of Next Step Produce in souther Maryland says his sales at Dupont Farmers Market have dipped as much as 50 percent from their peak. Hana Newcomb, co-owner and manager of Potomac Vegetable Farms in Virginia says sales have dropped 30 percent in recent years at its farmers market stands". With such a noticeable dip in sales, it is important to take notice of how to attract the business of new farmers market go-ers. Millennials clearly spend less time in the kitchen than their parents - now, how to start making profits?
A great way to target Millennials : recreate the Saved By The Max Diner from of the earliest sit-coms Millennials remember watching, Saved By The Bell. In keeping with tradition, Chicago's newest pop-up restaurant, appropriately titled, Saved By The Max, grants its patrons an almost identical experience to what Screech, A.C. Slater and Kelly portrayed on those now ancient tube T.V.'s. Although this pop-up would have most likely attracted large crowds due to it's theme, the creators placed food quality as a top priority with Brian Fisher from the Michelin rated restaurant Schwa behind the menu. With outlets from Vice's food medium, Munchies, to Vogue reporting on the restaurant we have a feeling it is going to be next to impossible to grab a booth. Read more.
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Earlier last month, New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New Yorkers (himself included) to avoid bringing business to the popular southern fast food chain, Chick-fil-A. Why? Because Dan Cathy, The COO of the company, has some pretty archaic viewpoints on LGBT rights. (Go Bill!) Eater.com reports that Cathy is not only opposed to same-sex marriage, but also requires employees to adhere to a policy that prohibits same-sex love. In addition, "in the past, a "charitable endeavor affiliated with the restaurant donated millions to groups aimed to thwart LGBT rights initiatives. Our conclusion? Some fried chicken has no where near the significance of humans having the freedom to choose who they love.
The FDA has just released new voluntary guidelines for food manufacturers in cutting back the amount of sodium that is included in their products. The FDA claims that even if you do not add additional salt to your food, high sodium levels are hidden in foods such as bread that you would not normally think of as a "salty" product. In an article posted on NPR.com a Nestle spokesperson was quoted, "Nestle has reduced the salt in its DiGiorno brand pizzas by an average of 11 percent. The reformulated pizzas were able to maintain the crust "flavor, texture and shelf life that had made them popular". Although lower sodium levels are definitely change in the right direction, we keep getting stuck on the terms, "reformulated pizza" & "shelf-life". Isn't the bigger issue here all of the processed foods that Americans consume on a daily basis? What is happening to fresh pizza and perishable foods?!
Farm workers in New York State are walking segments of a 200 mile route from eastern Long Island to Albany in the hopes of bringing attention to the low wages and sub-par working conditions they must deal with. The Huffington Post posted an article with some alarming statistics putting the workers' strife and NYS's greed into perspective. "Wayne County, New York, is the second highest apple producing county in the United States. In 2012, farms reported a total of 5.4 billion in sales. Roughly 60,000 farmworkers contribute to the agricultural success of New York. Their slice of agricultural sales in 2015 was with a median annual wage of $21,760". Furthermore, workers earning this median salary are working well over 40 hours a week in the 70-75 hour a week range. Given that the 2016 poverty line for a family of four is $24,300, New York has some serious evaluations to consider in helping its' citizens make enough money to literally survive. Read more here.