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Foodservice News

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jCarbonara
Joe Carbonara

Meaningful Value: Innovation and Information Sharing

W hen the economy tanked seven years ago, innovation became the panacea that was going to cure everyone's fiscal ills. Business leaders and politicians tripped over each other in a race to the microphone to let everyone know they were ready to lead the charge toward innovation, which ultimately would spark the economic growth the U.S. so desperately needed to break free from its economic tailspin.

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jMartinez
Juan Martinez

Designing for Flexibility: How Much Can You Afford Not to Do?

Many factors come into play when designing a restaurant. The décor and ambience represent obvious considerations but one design element many concepts fail to consider is building flexibility into the front-of-house, middle-of-house and back-of-house designs.

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jStiegler
Jerry Stiegler

Burger King Gets Heat for Proposed Move while McDonald’s Feels the Crunch Despite Positive Advance Sales Reports for August

This Week In Foodservice looks at good sales numbers in August from both the government and Knapp Track, provides a look at a Federal Reserve study on why the economy is so soft, and covers a bunch of news on both McDonald’s and Burger King as well as a whole lot more.

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Greg Christian
Greg Christian

Outcomes for Year One of a New, Self-Op School Lunch Program

As the 2014-2015 school year draws to a close, I'd like to share the final outcomes of Nardin Academy's new self-operated foodservice program.

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Highlights

Says Who? - Paul Kahan, Part 2

Chef Paul Kahan has become the nationally recognizable face for an emerging generation of Chicago chefs thanks to his ever-growing list of international accolades for such restaurants as Blackbird, avec, The Publican and Big Star, each in Chicago. Kahan was selected as a James Beard nominee for Outstanding Chef in 2007 and was recognized as the James Beard Best Chef of the Midwest in 2004. And just this year he was named a 2011 James Beard Outstanding Chef Nominee.

sayswho_background Paul Kahan

FE&S: As you were first getting a taste for the restaurant industry, when did you know you wanted to own restaurants?

Paul Kahan: I am still unsure.

FE&S: Any profound travels that have helped shape your job?

Paul Kahan: We usually do a big research before we build out each restaurant. So, a trip to France before we opened Blackbird is where the name of the restaurant came from. Before opening The Publican, the architect and I took a long trip to Belgium and drank a lot of beer. Of course, Big Star was preceded by a trip to Los Angeles where we ate a lot of delicious tacos and visited Bakersfield.

FE&S: What is the one piece of technology that never enters your kitchen?

Paul Kahan: We embrace technology. When the outcome is better than a traditional cooking method, I will prefer it. It is a good thing we are not perceived as a place with super technology. It doesn’t matter how something is made, I just want people to enjoy the outcome. If we can confit suckling oils and have it be better, from flavor standpoint, I’ll do it.

FE&S: What’s the most new-fangled tool or utensil you couldn’t live without?

Paul Kahan: A circulator, fish spatula, cake tester and Kuhn-Rikon super peeler.

FE&S: What piece of cooking equipment could you not live without and why?

Paul Kahan: High-quality pots and pans. I feel that quality food requires quality equipment. At home, I have an amazing Danish enamel lined cast iron pot. Great to cook in, and truly an iconic piece of modern design.

FE&S: How do you keep organized at work?

Paul Kahan: If I worked a station, it would be clean and tight. Mise en place grouped by dish, back ups within reach and counts recorded on everything.

FE&S: Did/how has the economic downturn affect your job?

Paul Kahan: Probably not news to anyone, but the economic downturn made us run our restaurants leaner and smarter. We met every day for weeks and weeks to brainstorm how to make our places run better for less money. No idea was too small. Ultimately, it has helped to improve our bottom line.

FE&S: Say you were not a chef. What would you be?

Paul Kahan: Butcher, auto mechanic, teacher, or because of my science background, a starving audio designer witting with low power high end tube amplifiers. Or anything involved with gardening or working at a garden center and growing food, but not a farmer.

(Note: Kahan plans to open up a butcher shop as his next business endeavor, adding to his restaurant empire.)

Click here to read part one of the interview with Paul Kahan.

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