Andy Pforzheimer promised he would finish has Harvard education when he went to France to study in famous kitchens. After a classic two-year apprenticeship, he worked for Jeremiah Tower at Stars, for Anne Rosenzweig at Arcadia and the ‘21’ Club in New York, and for Patrick Healy at Colette. He moved to Connecticut to be the original Food Editor for Martha Stewart Living. In 1995, he started Barcelona with Sasa Mahr-Batuz, trying to recreate the feel and the look of an evening on the Ramblas. He has grown to 8 cities and and still going! Great story!
Chef Jennier Booker is the Georgia Grown Executive Chef for 2013. Sponsored by the Georgia Restaurant Association, she promotes Georgia grown commodities and Family Farms. She has her own BlogTalkRadio Show EAT DRINK LIVE GIVE for Basil Magazine. Her new book “Goin’ Down South: A Chef’s Journey Home” tells the story of a classically trained chef embracing her roots.
Wayne Bolt has over 15 years in the industry. His firm, Bolt Restaurant Consulting, helps an inspressive lists of clients to get on the right page. He helps address any issues that exist, can address the issues, and retrain an efficient staff. Wayne can help with any problem no matter how difficult the problem!
Chef Scott Linquist has been working in the restaurant industry since his first job as a dishwasher for Straw Hat Pizza in 1982. He attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, and upon graduation he worked with the best Chefs around, like Andre Soltner at Lutece, Alfred Portale at Gotham Bar, Nancy Oakes at Boulevard in San Francisco, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger in their Los Angeles Restaurants Border Grill and City, and Michel Richard of Citrus in LA. Scott is also the author of Mod Mex and a former instructor at CSCA. Today his clients include Barton G in Miami (including running the new hotel and restaurant at the Versace mansion in Miami) El Toro Blanco NYC, Diego Brooklyn NY, Revolucion at JFK Terminal 5, and Mucho Ultima Mexicana Manhattan Beach.
Brandon Ippolito - Owner at Ippolito’s & Ipp’s Pastaria
Brandon Ippolito now runs the Atlanta chain of authentic Italian restaurant’s named for his parents George and Toni Ippolito. When they moved to Atlanta, they saw a need in the area for a comfortable neighborhood place with great service and great food. The first restaurant opened in 1989, using old family recipes. The famous homemade garlic rolls are made fresh daily. The name Ippolito’s has become synonymous with great food and happy times throughout the Atlanta area. The Ippolito family especially Brandon, is excited about their new venture, Ipp’s Pastaria & Bar. If in Atlanta, the rolls alone are worth a visit!
Chef Amadeus was taught his ‘world fusion’ cooking by his Puerto Rican grandmother and Philadelphia-born mother. He loved his time in the kitchen and this inspired his own business named, Sessions with Chef Amadeus. This is an incredibly unique spin on the word catering; a word he does not like. After working at McDonald’s, cooking for the Navy, and several well-known restaurants, Chef Amadeus was well poised for the Food Network’s Extreme Chef Challenge: Mexican Showdown. He won with a dish he had never cooked before and was inspired by his travels from around the world. If that weren’t enough, he also owns a line of salt-free spices called Southern Passion. Chef has a big announcement coming soon, so stay tuned.
Rick Worley has been in the restaurant industry for over 30 years, working at some of the best big names and seafood houses in Florida. But he feels he industry has changed and lost touch with the people. So he open Mango Mango’s where guests, delivery drivers, and employees are all treated great, not like a number. The concept brought new flavors, a new fun concept with tropical comfort foods, bright colors and a tropical decor at a great price point. Rick is looking to expand and we talk about the challenges and opportunities ahead for Mango Mango’s. Great stuff.
Andy Husbands has had quite a career, accomplishment after accomplishment. His signature restaurant, Tremont 647, has been serving adventurous American cuisine in the South End of Boston for nearly twenty years. He has published four books along the way, Wicked Good Burgers, The Fearless Chef, Wicked Good Barbecue (won National Barbecue News’ “2012 Best Book of the Year” award), and the new Grill to Perfection. He appeared on the 6th season of Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” with the always energetic Gordon Ramsay. His internationally recognized BBQ team, IQUE BBQ, won the world championship of BBQ by winning the Jack Daniels World Championships in Lynchberg, TN. And he won 1st place, out of 510 teams, in the brisket category at the Kansas City Royal. Andy was a James Beard Semi Finalist in the “Best Chef” category and won Wine Spectators “Award of Excellence.” He has just won the Massachusetts Chef of the Year Award, Wow.
Watson McMillan – Director of Strategy and Marketing for The Forgeois Group
Georges Forgeois came to America penniless and now runs The Forgeois Group, a six restaurant group in New York City. Georges started Jules Bistro first which quickly became a city standard. He followed with Cafe Noir which is just finishing a move. Soon Cercle Rouge and others followed, all French bistros. Clarkson is the newest addition, an AMerican bistro. All of the restaurants reflect Georges’ desire to capture the spirit of his youth in France, Algeria and Senegal. Watson McMillan is a numbers guy, with an impressive career on Wall Street. He has brought in by Georges to grow the Group, perhaps turning Cafe Noir into a national chain. We talk about the expansion plans and Watson’s efforts to brand the ultimate French bistro!
In April 2008, John Fuller was hired as the CFO of Johnny Rockets. John had previously managed finances for Rubio’s, Del Taco and CKE Restaurants. He started with BA in Economics from UCLA and was a CPA with the worldwide firm of KPMG for decade. In the interview, we talk about his transition to the restaurant world and lessons learned. He became President and CEO oh Johnny Rockets in January 2010 and was featured in the CBS hit series, “Undercover Boss.” We talk about numbers a lot, with John sharing some of the best financial advice we have ever had on the show! Must listen, if you care about making money…..
Marvin Acuna – A&E, TV and Film Producer
Marvin Acuna has had an amazing career in producing, food, tea, and more! After a decade producing for A&E, he has produced series for Bravo and features film. He is working on a series called “Lyrics & Recipes: The Art of Food & Music,” with the Grammy’s. He was the Producer for films with John Malkovich, Emily Blunt, Tom Hanks, Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, James Franco, and Paul Rudd. Marvin has run a cool restaurant based business and tea company too, and produced events for James Beard Nominees. But his latest venture, with his wife, is the most important, and touching, ever.
George Frangos has been invested in sustainable, farm fresh cooking his whole career. He was Manager of Peter Hoffman’s Savoy (New York), Nora Pouillon’s Restaurant Nora (Washington, D.C.), and as Operations Consultant for Farm 255. As a part of these award-winning national landmarks, George developed the skills to lead the sustainable food movement. George was part of the Concentrics Restaurants management team, at Room and Lobby and TROIS, and was the owner/operator of the acclaimed Victory 96 State Street (Portsmouth, New Hampshire). Now, he owns and runs Farm Burger, a chain of 4 sustainable, fast casual burger places. They are proud , “Our food makes ethical eating easy.” We love it too.
J Chriopher’s in an Atlanta based chain of 25 breakfast and lunch restaurants across the South. Barry Lennon has been the Operating Partner for a decade and grow the chain from 13 units. He has been in the restaurant for over 20 years. He first opened The Cabin in 1991, a premier upscale steak and wild game restaurant. he moved to the prestigious Buckhead Life Restaurant Group as General Manager of the nationally known and celebrated Atlanta Fish Market. He tells some great stories about the early days of fine dining in Atlanta and about Pano Karatassos, the Atlanta legend. Barry is now partnered with Christopher Brogdon of J.Christopher’s to grow popular franchise to new levels. And host Jim, must confess he eats at J. Christopher’s weekly! So he is pretty biased. Barry gives great reason for not offering dinner, really a great defense of their model.
Joe Snell has been on the show before. I invited him back because I see his Rail product as the coolest thing for restaurants ever. Its a hand held pay at the table solution with tons of benefits for owners, wait staff, and diners. And he has a great free offer you need to hear about. See more of Joe Snell here…
Stephen Crocker is the executive chef at Todd English Food Hall in The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Todd English Food Hall is a European-inspired, specialty food hall and offers the finest fresh, prepared, and gourmet foods. With mosaic marble floors, elegant wood paneling, ceramic backdrops and stained-glass windows, there are nine diverse food stations for Stephen to manage. He has won lots of awards including the Bloomingdale’s Celebrity Chef and Hermes International Promotional Chef. See more from Stephen here…
Peggy Andrews is a lawyer, but has devoted herself learning confectionery artistry. She has traveled the globe, immersing myself in local food cultures. At an early age, Peggy learned the pleasures of baking from scratch from her café owner mother. Her new product, Dosha Pops, were born in her apartment kitchen in 2012 and use Ayurvedic herbs, spices and teas. Indian medicine is a 5,000 year old tradition. Her new lollipops are for people that want a healthier candy indulgence by offering people a healthy exotic flavored alternative.
Andrea Nicholson is the celebrity chef on Food Network’s super popular Restaurant Takeover. The show challenges two restaurant greats to help rescue a restaurant in trouble. In just 6 days, they must overhaul, re-launch a local eatery, and get reviewed by the toughest critics, their customers. Andrea also created Killer Condiments, artisen sourced from seasonal and local ingredients. Her company creates custom edible party favors for weddings, parties and corporate events. Andrea learned her craft at Toronto legends the Great Cooks, Via Allegro, The Fifth, Humber College, George Brown College, 35 Elm, and Trattoria Nervosa. She also travelled the culinary globe, with 6 star cruise line Regent Seven Seas, under Roberto Caporuscio, and with the A.P.N. of Naples.
See Andrea in action here….
Stefan Larsson - Park Wide Executive Chef at Yellowstone National Park
Stefan Larsson is responsible for 20 restaurants in Yellowstone Park, from the hotels to the lodges to the snow eateries. Legends like the Snow Lodge Hotel, Old Faithful Inn, Old Faithful Lodge, Canyon Village, Roosevelt Lodge, Lake Hotel, Lake Hotel Lodge, and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel are all his responsibility. He serves twenty, thirty thousand meals a DAY. And much of it must be fine cuisine! Stefan has worked around the world and came from a European culinary education. We have an interesting discussion comparing the US and European systems.
Ryan Costigan, the Voice for Georgia’s Restaurants and the GRA Membership Manager, is with us again, this time for an update on the impending legislative session, and for info about a new GRA seminar on food costing. Thanks Ryan!
Marek Schwedt’s vision for The Brew Inn is simple: be the best neighborhood bar with the best New York craft beers. In the Greenpoint of Brooklyn, Marek and his partners try to enrich the community and feature only local craft brews and employ Greenpoint residents. Their award winning food choices and a local beer are a great way to go. And in terror in amazing, with the cooled bar I’ve seen in a long time. Its several door run end to end, very cool, and all tte materials are reclaimed, environmentally responsible!
Nadio DeMessa started off with wedding cakes and a storefront. But soon realized her calling, and the money, were in mobile cupcakes. Her creations are whimsical and modern, classic and elegant. She is up to 2.5 trucks now and has become a regular in the Atlanta food truck scene. She gives us insights into running a truck and tells some stories about her years in the business. And what to do when a truck dies!
Chris Landers is into being cold! And clean cold too, that doesn’t brake when you need it most. He believes in trusting relationships with routine preventive maintenance. Chris helps clients with refrigeration system, grills, stoves, ovens, friers etc. He has been in the industry for over 20 years, and prides himself in reducing the high cost on long diagnostic times and call backs. Excited to welcome him to the show!
Ryan Costigan, the Voice for Georgia’s Restaurants and the GRA Membership Manager, is back to share holiday greetings with all GRA listeners and to talk about the GRA Executive Chef Program. Applications for this prestigious program are due soon! Ryan has been on the show many times and provides the latest info about government policies that affect restauranteurs. Happy holidays Ryan and to all our GRA friends.
Paul Nishiyama is an industry veteran with over 25 years of service. He started with Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill chain, and helped grow it from 2 to 200 locations. After making the switch to Johnny Rocket’s, he lead the modernization of their IT systems by introducing advanced software, hardware and telecom systems. Now, he manages the operations of about 30 corporate-owned Johnny Rockets restaurants, the training department, and oversees all Information Technology for the brand. We talk about Johnny Rockets’ history, ketchup smiley faces, and the future of restaurant IT. Great stuff.
Russ Bendel is President and CEO of The Habit Burger Grill. Russ is legend in the industry, having run some of the most iconic brands. Russ served as CEO of both The Cheesecake Factory and Mimi’s Café, and has held executive positions at Outback Steakhouse, El Torito and Panda Express. He sits on the advisory board for the Collins School of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University and on the board of the Culinary School at the Art Institute of Los Angeles. The Habit is a 90 unit hamburger chain that started in Santa Barbara, California and serves some of best upscale burgers around. I am excited to learn from this industry legend!
And enjoy this Habit video…
Happy Holidays from all of us here at ROR, Jim, Cindy, and Jenny.
Jim and friends leaving the White House Christmas Party 2013.