Tag » food

Danny Meyer

Danny Meyer

Continuing our recap of the GEL conference:

Danny Meyer, the entrepreneur behind the Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern among others, gave a talk about hospitality in the restaurant business. He talked about how quality and service were no longer enough, but that employees needed to have high HQ, or hospitality quotient (yeah it’s gimmicky, but it’s memorable). Danny claims that you can’t learn this, but you can learn to hire the right people. I’m not sure I agree with this, but I like his broader point about making the customer trust that you are on their side.

After a recommendation by Kottke, I got a burger at the Shake Shack, another Danny Meyer project. Interestingly, the excessively long line actually contributes to the experience: standing around for more than an hour heightens your hunger to the breaking point, but when the food lives up to expectations, the wait endured only makes it taste better — it was worth it! (Of course, I ran into some newfound GEL friends in line, so I didn’t have to wait quite so long, but let’s ignore that…)

[photo by Bonimo]

Frog’s Leap Winery

Frog’s Leap Winery

John Williams is the founder of Frog’s Leap Winery, in Napa Valley. John told us the amazing tale of his winery, from his arrival in California with $40 in his pocket to his early embrace of organic winemaking. Among other things, he grows his grapes without chemicals and gets all his electricity from solar panels on his house.

John’s talk was full of great anecdotes (“all decisions made sober have to be revisited over a bottle of wine”), but was also an interesting account of how to build a unique business. Authenticity is an overused term, but John’s was the most genuine, honest talk I’ve seen in a while. I’ll most definitely be stopping by Frog’s Leap this summer and buying a case.

Miracle Berries

Miracle Berries

PSFK points us to this WSJ article about Miracle Berries, which make everything sour taste sweet:

Within minutes of consuming the berries, guests were devouring lime wedges as if they were candy. Straight lemon juice went down like lemonade, and goat cheese tasted as if it was “covered in powdered sugar,” said one astonished partygoer.

Jacob Grier and David Barzelay post their personal accounts of the experience, and The Guardian highlights its use for diets in Japan. For a lot more information, check out this history of the miracle berry.

This is without doubt the most amazing thing I’ve heard in the last few months. I clearly have to organize a miracle berry party at some point. It also makes me wonder how many other fantastic plants we don’t know about yet…

PS: here’s a link to the WSJ version of the article, but it will expire in the coming days. Doh!

Art from simple things

It’s amazing what talented artists can do with colored paper, pencils and food.

Hungry for design

Chefs around the world are coming up with some beautiful and original food designs. This article on Chinese cuisine has some interesting comments on the role innovation and culture in food appreciation. While we’re on the topic of food, Caroline Noordijk has designed some great looking knives.

More on Alinea

More on Alinea, in this Wired article that gives more details on the Chef’s cooking style.

Also see my previous post on Alinea.

Martin Kastner utensils for Alinea

Martin Kastner’s company Crucial Detail has designed some amazingly cool serving utensils for conceptual restaurant Alinea in Chicago. See more pictures in this detailed account of the Alinea dining experience, and learn more about the design process.

Why french bread tastes better

Why french bread tastes better. The explanation that I’ve heard most often is that it’s due to the quality of the inputs – supposedly French flour and butter are better for these sorts of things.