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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

Consumers’ Outlook Uncertain, Merger and Acquisition Speculation Heats Up and Much More!

This week we take a closer look at the National Restaurant Association’s July Restaurant Performance Index, the Burger King/Tim Horton deal and the flurry of speculation it triggered about other possible acquisitions and the latest economic numbers.

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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? - Jimmy Bannos, executive chef and restaurateur

Jimmy Bannos has grown up in the restaurant business, helping his parents in their various ventures in Chicago. In 1985, the Bannos family transformed their neighborhood coffee shop in the jewelry district of Chicago’s Loop into Heaven on Seven, following Jimmy Bannos’ experimentation with Creole cooking and extensive travel and study in New Orleans. Today, 26 years later, the restaurant still stands as one of Chicago’s premier Cajun eateries. Bannos was inducted in to the Chicago Chef’s Hall of Fame in 2007. His newest restaurant The Purple Pig, where his son Jimmy Bannos Jr. serves as executive chef, was named one of the ten best new restaurants for 2010 by Bon Appetit, and has won multiple other accolades for its food and wine selection.

sayswho_background Jimmy Bannos

FE&S: What keeps you working in the foodservice industry?

Jimmy Bannos: I've been in the restaurant business for over 40 years and I can't wait to go to work every day.

FE&S: Would you encourage your children to work in this business?

Jimmy Bannos: My son Jimmy is my partner and executive chef at The Purple Pig. He is a fourth generation chef. My daughter works at the original Heaven on Seven along with my wife Annamarie and my nephew, Anthony Schittino. My other nephew, Andrew Bannos, is the manager at my Naperville, Ill., Heaven on Seven. My niece, Patrice Schittino, is a host at Heaven on Seven on Rush.

FE&S: Who was the person that influenced your career most?

Jimmy Bannos: My father was my mentor. I got to work side by side with my father from ages of nine and 20 at a little diner we had. He and I worked together for another 17 years at Heaven on Seven. I used to go fishing a lot with my dad. Nowadays, I'm good for about an hour, maybe two, but after that, I can't sit still. Also, Paul Prudhomme is a mentor. I'm still in touch with Paul and just talking to him is an inspiration.

FE&S: How about when it comes to cooking? Which family member influenced you the most?

Jimmy Bannos: Both my grandmothers and definitely my mother. They were all unbelievable cooks.

FE&S: Who in the foodservice industry do you admire most?

Jimmy Bannos: I admire all the partners I'm involved with because we are all on the same page and respect each other.

FE&S: When traveling for business, what is one of your favorite pastimes?

Jimmy Bannos: When I travel I love to check out all the restaurants in the city. Growing up, we would drive to Florida each year and we would go to see family in Biloxi, Miss. That was always a feast — fried catfish, crabs — any seafood in Biloxi was awesome.

FE&S: Knowing what you now know, would you still pursue a career in foodservice?

Jimmy Bannos: I wouldn't think of doing anything else in my life besides working in the restaurant business.

FE&S: What career advice do you have for aspiring chefs and other professionals of the foodservice industry?

Jimmy Bannos: Don't ever lose the passion. Keep on reading and traveling, and don't be afraid of hard work and long hours. That's the business.

FE&S: When you were young what did you want to be when you grew up?

Jimmy Bannos: The same thing as now — a chef and to own my own restaurant.

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