My QuickPicks
Register now to activate

Contents At A Glance

R&I ? Editorial Archives ? 2005 ? April 1 ? R&I Insider

Surreality Show
The City of Brotherly Love has embraced the late Salvador Dali like a family member. Concurrent with the Philadelphia Museum of Art?s exhibit of Dali?s work, running through May 15, restaurants around the city have developed special food and beverage offerings as part of the celebration. Fountain Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel serves the Dali-inspired Brandied Cherry Parfait With Melted Clock (right, top). The hotel?s Swann Lounge concocts a Dalinean Dream cocktail with citrus and vanilla vodkas, mango and raspberry purées, topped with spun sugar (right, bottom). The MELONcholy Dali is poured at McCormick & Schmick?s.

Tracey Hopkins, executive chef at the Museum Restaurant, traveled to Dali?s native Catalonian region of Spain for guidance in creating special menus. The restaurant hosts four prix-fixe ($122 for museum members, $148 for others) four-course Dali Wine Dinners.

Initially, the museum, the Dali exhibit?s main corporate sponsor and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) approached restaurants and hotels about participating in a ?Surreal Philadelphia: The Dali Experience? promotion providing reduced prices or complimentary drinks or food. Many are taking part, while others decided to create their own Dali-themed specials, says Donna Schorr, GPTMC media-relations director.

Artichokes? fun-to-eat leaves and tender hearts are at home across many segments, both as welcome complements to other flavors and textures and on their own.

Blossom Cafe: Seared scallops with artichoke ravioli, apple-smoked bacon, wild mushrooms and sweet-corn jus

American Dream Pizza: ?Fish Called Wanda? pizza with smoked salmon, artichoke hearts and fresh basil

Colorado State University: Warm artichoke dip with sliced herb baguettes

Bristol Café, The Inn at Jewish Hospital: Artichoke fritters with rémoulade sauce

Children?s Hospital Central California: Breast of chicken with artichoke hearts and mushrooms in white-wine cream sauce

Au Bon Pain: Grilled Chicken and Mozzarella Sandwich with chicken, artichoke spread, fresh mozzarella, mixed greens and tomatoes on focaccia bread
Johnny Carino?s Italian Restaurant: Spinach-artichoke dip with mascarpone, mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach, artichokes and crispy pepperoni, served with grilled garlic bread
The Melting Pot: The Vegetarian with seasonal vegetables, tofu, artichoke hearts, portobello mushrooms, and spinach-and-Gorgonzola ravioli
Trader Vic?s: Grilled ahi tuna with California artichokes, green beans and red-pepper coulis

Table Turns
Anthony C. Bombaci (below) was named executive chef of Nana in the Wyndham Anatole hotel, Dallas. ... Littleton, Colo.-based Champps Entertainment named Michael P. O?Donnell (former president and CEO of Sbarro) its chairman, president and chief executive officer. ... Christophe Eme is chef-owner of recently opened Ortolan Restaurant in Los Angeles, with Frederic Hemon named sommelier. Both are alumni of L?Orangerie. ... Tampa, Fla.-based Outback Steakhouse promoted Bill Allen to CEO, succeeding Chris Sullivan, who retains chairman?s title. President Paul Avery added the COO title. ... Glenn Susser opened Melt in Jersey City, N.J., and hired Jim Nowak (formerly of Paradise Gourmet, New York City) as chef. ... Gypsy Gifford (r.) was named executive chef for Rain, New York City. Previously she was at Bao 111. ... Louisville, Ky.-based Papa John?s International named Nigel Travis, former president and COO of Blockbuster Inc., to CEO. He succeeds founder John Schnatter, who continues as chairman. ... Jean-Claude Lanchais (formerly of Renaissance Westchester Hotel, White Plains, N.Y.) is now executive chef at Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Miami. ... Restaurateur Pietro Del Viscovo opened Zafferano in Boston. He serves as chef; his wife, Giuseppina, is pastry chef. ... During renovation of Aubergine in Newport Beach, Calif., restaurateurs Tim and Liza Goodell moved Executive Chef Josef Centeno to Meson G in Los Angeles. ... Chef-partner Sam Hazen named Rick Laakkonen (formerly of Ilo) chef de cuisine for Tao Asian Bistro, New York City. ... Jacky Robert (formerly of Maison Robert) opened Petit Robert Bistro in Boston. ... Restaurateur A.J. Gilbert moved beyond San Francisco (Lulu, MacArthur Park, Stars Café) to New York City and opened Kitchen & Cocktails with Corporate Executive Chef Joe Jack. ... Su Mei Tung, owner of Fornetto Mei in Chicago?s Whitehall Hotel, named Erik Wicklund executive chef. ... Ola Fendert opened Oola Restaurant & Bar in San Francisco with partners Cody Robertson, Martel Toler and Nabiel Musleh. ... Nate Waugaman (formerly of Sambuca Jazz Cafe, Atlanta) was named executive sous-chef at Old Edwards Inn and Spa, Highlands, N.C.

Call Me
If its guests have something to say, Ruby Tuesday wants to hear it. To emphasize the commitment, the Maryville, Tenn.-based casual-dining chain now puts district managers? cellphone numbers and e-mail addresses on tabletop menus in its more than 750 restaurants. The initiative encourages guests to share favorable comments, offer suggestions and provide immediate feedback about their dining experience.

?The program is in its early stages, but guests like and use it,? says Perrin Anderson, communications manager. ?Our team leaders appreciate being able to speak directly to guests, hear their praise and criticism, and move to solve problems and raise guest satisfaction.?

As a result of Ruby Tuesday?s decision to display managers? contact information on the front of its Smart Eating Guides, calls to the company?s corporate guest relations hotline have decreased.

Global Health
Patients at Chicago?s Swedish Covenant Hospital get more than lip service when it comes to foodservice. More than 100 languages are spoken by the 314-bed facility?s patient population, including Spanish, Korean, Russian and Thai. Though food preferences are equally diverse, guests and patients are more helpful than critical, says Maria Simmons, manager of patient foodservice, whose department serves 1,000 meals a day. About 1% comes from special ethnic menus.

When a patient requested pastitsio (lamb-and-eggplant casserole with cheese sauce) a Greek-born cook on staff volunteered to whip it up. When new mothers of Korean heritage requested seaweed soup with rice, a traditional iron-rich broth served following childbirth, Simmons worked with one of the hospital?s translators, Korean-born Min Pak-Vazquez, who cobbled together a version from Korean cookbooks and her mother?s expertise.

Simmons works with vendors and markets to source hard-to-find ethnic ingredients. She also enlists advice from restaurateurs in the surrounding multi-ethnic neighborhood. Michael Altenberg, chef-owner of Bistro Campagne in Chicago, consults on updating recipes and locating vendors for organics and imported foods.

On Simmons? agenda is expanding choices with more Thai, Latin American and Indian recipes. Ultimately, she hopes to replace packaged items such as Indian curry base with house-made versions.

Calorie Counting
Good food without guilt is the positioning for Rock Creek Restaurant, a new, upscale restaurant in Bethesda, Md., with a menu that boasts a dining experience?appetizer, salad, entrée and dessert?with approximately 600 calories.

In charge of preparing these low-calorie meals is Chef Fred Przyborowski, who has worked at Washington, D.C.?s Kennedy Center Roof Terrace Restaurant and Ardeo and Bardeo. His menu includes items such as Nori-Crusted Tuna Carpaccio and Savory Rubbed Pork Tenderloin.

According to co-owner Judy Hammerschmidt, a lawyer specializing in international food and nutrition products, enticing people to enjoy healthful meals is not only possible but also ?the beginning of a trend.? Rock Creek?s menu ?is nutritionally balanced dining in an elegant setting,? she adds.

Consumer Beat: Couponing Growing at a Fast Clip
Packaged-goods marketers in 2004 distributed 251 billion coupons through freestanding inserts in newspapers, a 7.7% increase over 2003 and the third consecutive year of growth, according to Marx Promotion Intelligence/TNS Media Intelligence. That total does not include couponed inserts from restaurants, which the researcher does not report, or coupons distributed through other media, but it indicates that consumers remain willing to save a few cents where they can.

Miami-based Adjoined Consulting?s 2004 Restaurant Demand Today study finds coupons to be important for many consumers. About 41% of the diners it surveyed say availability of coupons is an important influence on their choice of a restaurant, topping word-of-mouth recommendations (34.2%), television advertising (13.3%) and direct mail (6.4%).

Adjoined also finds that diners who use coupons spend less on their average meal away from home ($8.30) than do those who cite other media as more influential. Product placements, such as Burger King?s tie-in with ?The Apprentice,? are most influential for only 1.1% of consumers surveyed, but these diners spend an average of $14.50 on meals.

Coupons may generate trial, but R&I research finds that they don?t drive loyalty. According to R&I?s 2004 Tastes of America survey, only 2% of consumers say coupons are the main reason for visiting their favorite restaurant.

Meals on the Fly
While Delta Air Lines announced it is abandoning its 2-year-old in-flight meal service on three-hour-plus flights, claiming only 25% of passengers opt to buy food, Air New Zealand is flying in the other direction. It will work with two high-profile chefs to revamp menus for long-haul flights.

Govind Armstrong (right), partner and executive chef at Los Angeles? Table 8 restaurant, and Geoff Scott, executive chef at New Zealand?s White in the Hilton Auckland, take on the culinary task under the carrier?s consultant chef program. Armstrong was chosen for his culinary style and fascination with and promotion of food from New Zealand, according to the airline. Currently on Table 8?s menu are New Zealand salmon with curried cauliflower, butter lettuce and grapefruit, and New Zealand venison with garnet yams, Swiss chard, hazelnuts and dried sour cherries.

In a statement, Armstrong said his goal will be ?to showcase the best tastes of New Zealand, using only the freshest ingredients the country has to offer.? The new menu is scheduled to debut this summer.

Beach Life
Around Memorial Day, life will no longer be a day at the beach for 3,300 students in the Osceola County (Fla.) School District. It will mark the end of the school year and the finish of a seven-month pilot program on healthful eating.

Under the study?funded by Arthur Agatston, author of ?The South Beach Diet? (Rodale, 2003)?school menus incorporate principles of low-carb dieting. Changes include using whole-wheat flour for breads and pasta; sweetening foods with juices instead of sugar; reducing or eliminating fats and butter in cooking and eating.

?At first, kids had a hard time. They missed white bread and french fries,? says Foodservice Director Jean Palmore. Waste also was a concern, but eventually old habits gave way to acceptance of low-fat cheeses, salads and sweet potatoes flavored with cinnamon, not butter. ?Cooks learned new cooking skills,? says Palmore, who intends to add more veggies and high-fiber items to menus this fall.

You may also like...
Pay Attention
- December 1, 2005
Kitchen Consequential
- December 1, 2005
R&I Insider - May 15, 2005
- May 15, 2005
Golden Opportunity
- January 1, 2005
Change Partners
- August 1, 2004
A Passion for Fruit
- June 15, 2004
Kitchen Conjurers
- December 1, 2003
Savoring Citrus
- June 15, 2003
Chefs a la Mode
- November 15, 2002
Melting Pot?
- May 1, 2001
Copyright© 1999-2006 Reed Business Information, a division of
The Reed Business logo, Restaurants & Institutions, R&I, Chain Leader, Foodservice Equipment & Supplies and FE&S are registered trademarks. All rights reserved.
Use of this web site is subject to its Terms and Conditions of Use. View our Privacy Policy. .