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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.

Asian Influences

So many menus, so little time. Ask me to pick a favorite ethnic cuisine, and it’s impossible to name just one. But when an invitation came for the Worlds of Flavor conference next month at the Greystone campus of The Culinary Institute of America, I was all in.

Fresh and Simple

Food is fashion, with restaurants serving as the runway for menu innovations that come in and out of style.When you consider all the new ideas that have paraded through the restaurant industry in recent years, it would be hard to name one that has had a more lasting or ubiquitous adoption than the movement to farm-to-table cuisine.

Tablesetters Lead, Diners Follow

Setting America’s Table.This is the brand that you built.We start the New Year with this new message in our logo as tribute to the vitality and leadership of full-service restaurants.The FSR brand is a reflection of who’s reading our magazine, and whether you’re a chef with your own restaurant, the owner/operator of a restaurant group with multiple concepts, or an executive in a fast-growing chain: You’re first and foremost an entrepreneur dedicated to hospitality.

People Matter

Horrible hours. Physically demanding. Constant turnover. There’s no sugarcoating the realities of working in a restaurant.Still, people remain passionate and loyal about working in this industry—at least according to the most extensive workforce study in decades that was released by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) in September.

Role Models

Three o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and I’m in a mall-based California Pizza Kitchen.At this hour, servers and staff far outnumber diners in the restaurant. I order a flatbread snack and my husband orders a club sandwich—add cheese, scratch the avocado.

Fine Lines

Breakfast concepts, sports bars, family diners—it seems every restaurant wants to claim upscale status.As a simple adjective, perhaps it works. But as an industry segment, upscale has its own measures to be met.

Missed Manners

The night before I received an email titled “Summer Camps to Teach Children Restaurant Etiquette,” my husband and I had dinner at an upscale-casual Italian restaurant.A family of four at the table beside ours was celebrating the dad’s birthday.

Income Inequalities

In the South, we’d say the young woman waiting tables was blessed with the gift of gab.It was March 20, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament dominated TV screens in every sports bar, and at one Buffalo Brothers’ location the personable waitress was not missing a single service op as she chatted up tables, delivered orders, and replenished beverages before any glass went dry.

Nature and Nurture Matter

The first soapbox I ever jumped on was animal protection. I was about 10 at the time, and my dad took me to the organizational meeting for our town’s ASPCA chapter, where we became charter members.

Reader Choices

It was at least the hundredth nomination for a rising star that I’d read. I recognized neither the person offering the nomination, nor his company, nor the chef/owner being nominated. But the story of an entrepreneurial chef who turned a $250,000 business into one approaching $2 million at the end of its second year in a new location—and turned the economic tides in a small town at the same time—caught my attention.

Telling Moments

Noise reigned: Between the kitchen and bar, roughly a dozen people were busily prepping for the night’s service at Washington’s acclaimed minibar.We were seated in barmini, Chef José Andrés and I, beside a door that opened into the kitchen of the adjoining minibar.

Milestone Year

Those crystal ball projections that said sales in the full-service portion of the industry would top $277 billion this year appear to be on track. And in July, almost 60 percent of our readers told us their sales were ahead of the previous year.

Bare Necessities

What can you not leave home without?For Juan Coronado and Carlo Splendorini—two of the amazing cocktail wizards recognized in our Toast to 20 Best Beverage Programs—what they can’t do without is their jigger.