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The Restaurant Industry is Ripe for Gigging

I was into the gig philosophy long before it became the hip lifestyle and economy wave of the future. I’ve valued it from both sides of the paycheck: Hiring talented contract columnists and freelancers to contribute to FSR and, years ago, as a footloose editor who preferred to write on the fly, sometimes in the midnight hours.

Teaching Chefs How to Taste

I learn something new in every interview, especially when I’m talking with leaders at the top culinary schools. One of the most interesting takeaways from this issue is the concept of teaching chefs to taste—an idea introduced by Peter Lehmuller, dean of the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University.

Waste Less, Share More

Funny how we can rewrite history to suit romanticized notions of what might have been. We see that now, as relations with Cuba have shifted and many want to reinvent a nostalgic period that—quite possibly—existed more in the imagination than anywhere in the island nation.

A Bright Future Ahead for Independents

I’m going to bet the first place every reader goes in this issue is page 40, our story on the Top 100 Independent Operators. Everyone wants to see who’s on the list, and who’s not.Then there’s the next obvious question: Why state capitals? Because that ensures we recognize leading independent operators in small and mid-size cities throughout the country—something we endeavor to do throughout the year, but especially in our annual tribute to Top 100 Indies.

A Shout-Out for Highland Avenue Kitchen's Hootenanny

This job has a lot of perks, but one of the best is seeing how restaurants and chefs around the country work to help their communities. I’ve long been a fan of the Share Our Strength chef dinners held to support No Kid Hungry—I attended one hosted by Chef Ashley Christensen at her flagship restaurant, Poole’s Diner, back in 2014.

Buzzy Happenings

A few months back when we were in the throes of planning and writing this issue, the U.S. Beverage Industry Expo was underway in Washington, D.C. Out of that conference came the suggestion that the industry has entered a “new normal” in beverage alcohol, driven by “disruptive” consumer behavior.

Food Authenticity

Authenticity. That’s the word that kept coming to mind as we polished off this issue. In most instances, the conversation about authenticity involved food—the integrity of the food supply, the healthy attributes of dishes, the purity or simplicity of techniques in preparing food.

Table the Smartphone Chatter

Guilty as charged, at least when it comes to texting at the table.I try really hard to curb that compulsive habit when I’m out with friends, but catch me dining solo and the cellphone is in my hand—almost as often as the flatware.

FSR Adds New Content in 2016

This time the cover story was obvious.Deciding who should be on the cover is usually a challenge, given all the phenomenal chefs and operators leading full-service restaurants. But Chef Mashama Bailey, with her meteoric success at The Grey, was a given.

The Debate over Danny Meyer's Bold Move Continues

When Danny Meyer announced his intention to eliminate tipping throughout the Union Square Hospitality Group, we invited readers to email their opinions and we shared some of the initial comments on our website.

Healthier Eating Becomes a Habit

He had me at “sexy restaurant serving healthy food.”Actually, Stephen Starr had my attention even earlier, when he described the anticlimactic feeling that comes with opening a restaurant. It was the day before the Continental opened in Miami and already he was thinking of what would come next.

Honorable Mentions

The decision to divvy the 2015 FSR 50 report into five groups of Top 10 high-performing chains produced interesting results. We settled on metrics that speak to the characteristics of operators who are leading restaurants into next-generation dining.

How to Name 100 Top Independent Operators

Three things will likely happen when you read our list of Top 100 independent operators.One, you”ll see some names you recognize and agree they should be included.Two, you’ll wonder why certain restaurants aren’t on the list, and you may even pick restaurants you’d pull off to make room for your choices.

Multi-Cultural Cuisine

Two firsts that should never occur simultaneously: First trip to Napa Valley and first run-in with the flu.In town for the Worlds of Flavor conference hosted by The Culinary Institute of America, I remained quarantined in my hotel room until day three of the conference.

The Winning City

How the James Beard Foundation came to move its annual awards ceremony from New York City to Chicago is an interesting story.Alpana Singh, owner and operator of Chicago’s acclaimed wine-focused restaurant The Boarding House as well as the recently opened Seven Lions, described to me how she kindled the flame: “I was actually the one who started the conversation.