Connie Gentry

2017 Restaurant Buyer’s Guide

Operators across all dining segments will find something of interest among the many products featured in our 2017 Buyer’s Guide. From fresh harvests courtesy of multigenerational farmers to technologies that drive efficiencies to biographical cookbooks from famed chefs (and even a novelist turned vegetarian), the items included speak to improved operations for full-service restaurants.

Nothing Beats Eating on the Farm

There’s only one thing better than eating in a farm-to-table restaurant—that would be eating on the farm itself. I was treated to this very experience when I visited Hope & Harmony Farms in eastern Virginia, on a food tour hosted by the National Peanut Board.

Chef Vivian Howard's Small-Town Story Makes a Big Difference

A self-described storyteller whose first book, Deep Run Roots, debuted last month, Vivian Howard has made a tremendous impact on her hometown and on the restaurant industry. One of her most compelling attributes is the candor with which she discusses her work, her rise to culinary acclaim, and her impassioned perceptions of the industry’s most sacred cows.

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.

Texas Chef Marcus Paslay is a Food Purist

There aren’t many chefs I’d send into my grandmother’s kitchen, but Marcus Paslay is one she would have loved. That’s because they’d see eye to eye on what it means to be cooking from scratch.

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.

America’s Top 22 Culinary Schools

The shortage of skilled kitchen labor: That's what everyone keeps talking about, and it isn't going to change any time soon. The National Restaurant Association predicts 1.7 million new restaurant jobs will be created in the decade leading up to 2026.

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.

Top 100 Independent Restaurants in the State Capitals

Put political buzz and party affiliation aside—this year the spotlight focuses on the top independent operators in state capitals throughout the U.S. As a starting point, FSR sought nominations from state and local restaurant associations.

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 on Fast Forward

The future of restaurants is coming fast: Chef-driven fast casuals seem to offer the best of all culinary worlds for value-motivated, time-starved consumers as well as the best growth vehicle for profit-hungry restaurant operators.

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.