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This Just Might Be The Best Pizza In The World

World Champion Pizza Maker Tony Gemignani with his Pizza Romana.

As former New Yorkers, my husband and I are very snobby about pizza.

So, although we hate to admit it, we may have found the best pizza in the world in … San Francisco?

The pies at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, are so good, they’re worth a trip from anywhere in the world. And you’d have to stay for a couple of days so you can really taste them all.

Owner Tony Gemignani has won many prestigious awards, including Best Pizza Margherita at the World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy, and Best Pizza Romana at the World Championship of Pizza Makers in 2011. He was the first and only Triple Crown winner for baking at the International Pizza Championships in Leece, Italy, and was the first American and non-Neapolitan to win the coveted title of World Champion Pizza Maker at the World Pizza Cup in Naples in 2007. He was also a pioneer in bringing several different styles of pizzas and other Italian dishes to the Bay Area.

Since discovering Tony’s, my husband and I have come up with creative excuses for visiting San Francisco on a regular basis because we literally dream about his pizzas and can only go so long without one.

Today In: Lifestyle

Here’s what Gemignani himself had to say when I asked him about all things pizza. Warning: Do not continue reading if you’re hungry. 

How did you get started making pizza? 

I’ve been involved in the pizza industry since 1991. I started making pizza at my brother’s acclaimed Pyzano’s Pizzeria in Castro Valley. Eventually I began working with different independent pizza shops and later went to Italy and traveled a ton. After winning multiple world pizza competitions, I made my way back to the U.S. and started to learn regional styles (think New York, Chicago, St. Louis, New Haven, and more).

Leading with my mission statement, “Respect the Craft,” I’ve devoted myself to learning everything there is to know about pizza, and I’ve aimed to showcase my knowledge and passion with each person that comes in to experience our menu of thirteen regional styles of pizza. This craft has taken me on a great journey that I’m excited to continue.

Did you know right away you wanted pizza to become your life’s work? 

I always loved cooking. Even in high school I took Home Economics courses. Back then I didn’t think anything of it. Then, quickly after high school I started working at my brother’s pizzeria and fell in love with it right away.

I ended up getting my pizza certification in Italy and am an official U.S. Ambassador of Neapolitan Pizza by the city of Naples – a prestigious title only given to three people in the entire world. I am also the first Master Instructor in the United States from the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli and am the proprietor of the International School of Pizza where I certify chefs from around the world—all through Tony’s Pizza Napoletana.

I’ve had the pleasure of teaching so many great pizza makers, who have gone on to open up their own great pizzerias and make incredible pie. In a sense, they carry on the work for me and it’s a very special process to be a part of.

What is about pizza that makes it so beloved to people?  

Growing up, pizza is every kid’s favorite food. It’s communal, fun, and easy—you can make it your own, whether that’s creating something simple or complex. You can make round, square, thick, or thin.

I think that sense of nostalgia stays with you as you become an adult. Pizza brings people back to when life was a bit simpler. And let’s face it, pizza is delicious no matter how old you are.  

One of the things that makes your restaurant so unique is the variety of ovens. Can you give readers a quick education, please?

Our menu offers a wide variety of Italian and American pizza styles, all cooked in one of seven different ovens. We have the true Neopolitan pizza made in a burning wood up to 900 degrees, to a blistering 1000 degree coal oven, along with an assortment of gas and electric ovens, each perfectly suited to the particular style of pizza cooked in it.   

What are the most popular pizzas at Tony’s? 

That’s a tough question. We have multiple award-winning pies on the menu, including our popular Margherita Napoletana (we only make 73 of them each day), Pizza Porto, Cal Italia, La Regina, Burratina di Margherita, and New Yorker which is coal-fired in our 1000 degree oven.

Which pie is your personal favorite?  

That’s like asking a father who his favorite son is. You know I have one, but I’ll never admit it. And, honestly, I love everything. That’s why I like to explore so many different styles of pizza.

Let’s talk about some other dishes like those incredible squash blossoms. How did you come up with those?

Being in California, we are very lucky to have access to some of the best seasonal produce. The California-style pizzas on our menu are a nod to these seasonal ingredients, and we have fun getting creative with surprising pairings. Last year, we launched the squash blossom & burrata pie inspired by the spring season featuring ricotta stuffed squash blossoms, burrata, prosciutto di parma, crushed red pepper, mozzarella, and shaved parmigiano reggiano.

Other than pizza, what are some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes? 

We make our own pasta and case sausages in-house, and offer a wide selection of pastas, antipasti, salads, and desserts. A few stand out crowd-favorites are the Coccoli (delicious rounds of sea-salted fried dough that can be filled with your favorite ingredients), Meatballs Gigante, Peroni Battered Fried Artichokes, and Housemade Bucatini Pasta.  

We should mention your wine awards, as well. What are they and what do they mean to you?

We recently received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for the 5th year in a row, which is such an honor. Wine Director Jules Gregg ensures that our wine list is as thoughtful and expansive as our food menu. We offer 65 different varietals and 185 wines, highlighting intentional selections from Italy and California.

Mixologist Elmer Mejicanos also provides a full bar program featuring hand-crafted artisan cocktails and an extensive tequila and beer collection.  

Tell us about the process of coming up with recipes. How do you experiment?

To make the perfect pizza, it’s all about the ingredients. I start with flour as the foundation; it’s  the heart and soul of pizza. Balance is important, but it’s really about your dough, sauce, and cheese. I always want to make sure that my dough balances with the other pizza flavors, while taking you through a journey with each bite.  

Describe those award-winning pizzas so we can drool a little.  

·     One of our most popular pies is the Margherita Napoletana (we only make 73 per day), a World Pizza Cup winner in Naples, Italy. It features dough finished by hand using Caputo Blue flour then proofed in Napolitana wood boxes, San Marzano tomatoes, D.O.P., sea salt, mozzarella for di latte, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.

·     Pizza Porto, my most recent award-winning pie, won the 2018 All-Stars Pizza Championship in Porto, Portugal. It features Portuguese chorizo, nduja, micro greens, mozzarella, top Sao Jorge cheese, port reduction, crema di port, and smoked sea salt.

·     Cal Italia, a gold medal winner of Food Network’s Pizza Champions Challenge, features asiago, mozzarella, Italian gorgonzola, Croatian sweet fig preserves, prosciutto di parma, parmigiano, balsamic reduction, and no sauce.

·     La Regina, a gold cup winner at the International Pizza Championships Parma, Italy, features soppressata picante, prosciutto di parma, mozzarella, parmigiano, provolone, and arugula.

·     Burratina di Margherita, a gold cup winner at the International Pizza Championships Lecce, Italy, features burrata, cherry tomatoes tossed with fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic reduction.

·     New Yorker, a gold medal winner Las Vegas, features mozzarella, hand crushed tomato sauce, natural casing pepperoni, sliced Italian fennel sausage, calabrese sausage, ricotta, chopped garlic, and oregano.  

How does it feel to have your pizzas named best in the world? How do you top that?! 

It is truly an honor and a blessing. It’s also a bit surreal—especially to have won internationally. It’s one of the best feelings ever, but I’m always trying to make it better. After I win a championship, I look at that pizza and think to myself—how can I make it better?  

What’s next for you?  

I hope pizza lovers will come visit us at our Bay Area and Las Vegas locations in exciting new venues. We also have Tony’s locations in San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium and Tony G’s within the new Chase Center, and there are more to come soon.  

Do you ever get sick of pizza?

Never.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I believe the world would be a better place if we all traveled more, and I write about everything from luxury spas, cruises and hotels to quirky museums and street food in order to encourage people to get out and explore. When I’m not traveling around the globe—and even when I am— I blog at Midlife at the Oasis, my award-winning website. Over the past 20 years, I’ve written for dozens of magazines and was a Contributing Writer to Entertainment Weekly for more than a decade. In 2010, I was one of the Ultimate Viewers selected by Oprah Winfrey to accompany her to Australia. Since then, I’ve won three BlogHer Voices of the Year awards and become a Travel Expert at USA Today 10Best and a regular contributor to AAA Midwest Traveler and Southern Traveler. I’m a member of Society of American Travel Writers and North American Travel Journalists Association. Join me on my journeys on Instagram and Twitter @loisaltermark.

Source: This Just Might Be The Best Pizza In The World

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A Lot of Companies Want to Save the World. Impossible Foods Just Might Do It with Its Plant-Based Meats

On January 7, 2019, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Impossible Foods announced its masterpiece: Impossible Burger 2.0, a soy-based protein batter that, when clumped into a patty and thrown onto a griddle, sears and sizzles like a real cow burger. To showcase the edible tech–the first ever presented at the gadget expo–the team had booked the patio and bar of the Border Grill in the Mandalay Bay hotel and prepared Impossible sliders, tacos, empanadas, and even steak tartare. To explain the underlying science and the environmental benefits and the culinary possibilities, they rounded up a panel featuring the restaurant’s chef, Mary Sue Milliken, Impossible’s chief scientist, David Lipman, and the company’s founder and chief executive, Patrick O. Brown.

“The Impossible Burger 2.0 is demonstrably better in flavor, in texture, in juiciness” than the 1.0, Brown told the throng of 350 as more folks pushed their way inside. “And unlike the cow, we are going to be getting better every single day from now until forever.” As he spoke, he looked a little nervous. He swayed in his seat; some in the crowd noticed that he’d absentmindedly left his iPhone’s flashlight on–it was glowing as he fidgeted with it. “We’re not just a technology company,” he said. “We are, right now, the most important technology company on earth.”

Brown, like the cattle he competes so hard against, is generally happiest back home among his herd (other research scientists). But no matter where he roams, the lanky 65-year-old dresses like a tech bro put out to pasture: faded hoodie, scuffed Adidas, dreamy gaze. Just don’t mistake his calm affect and soft monotone for bovine docility.

Halfway through the press conference, a reporter raised her hand and inquired about the burger’s safety. Wasn’t Impossible meat’s key ingredient, heme, made using genetically modified ingredients? Brown’s eyes went hard. He then treated her to a three-minute lecture on heme’s origin and biology. “The fact that heme is produced by genetic engineering is a complete non-issue from a consumer safety standpoint,” he said, sharpening his voice, word by word. “It’s a way safer way to produce it than isolating it from soybean roots, and a vastly safer way to produce it than covering the entire frigging planet with cows, which is the way we’re doing it now.”

Rachel Konrad, Impossible’s chief communication officer, brought her thumb and index finger to her forehead and stared down at the floor. To Brown, you see, Impossible Burger 2.0 is not simply a tasty, albeit processed, veggie option. Impossible meat is humanity’s best chance to save the earth. Forgive him if he gets a little wiggy about it.

Every December, Inc. recognizes a startup that, in the past year, has done more than succeed in the marketplace, but, in some way, has changed the world, shifting how we think or how we live our lives. Impossible Foods has given a radical twist to what used to be a straightforward question: What’s beef?

Well, beef is food, and an ever more popular one–the fatty protein generated a record $310 billion in global sales last year. But beef is also an environmental catastrophe. And the reason beef is so destructive is simple: It comes from cows. Cattle collectively occupy 27 percent of U.S. land, devastating biodiversity. Every year, a typical American cow eats five tons of feed, consumes 3,000 gallons of water, and subsequently belches and farts the equivalent of 15 kilograms of greenhouse gases for every 100 grams of protein it provides, making cattle one of the planet’s biggest contributors to climate change.

But what if juicy, delicious beef didn’t come from cows?

In 2009, Brown, an accomplished biochemist and pediatrician, took a sabbatical from Stanford University and decided to make a head-on charge at animal agriculture. He’d grappled with mind-bendingly ambitious projects before. In the 1980s, he helped map the human genome as a postdoctoral student in the lab of Nobel Prize winners J. Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus; in the 1990s, Brown invented the DNA microarray, also known as a biochip, which scientists still use to study gene expression, earning him membership in the National Academy of Sciences. But get the world to give up cows? Nothing came close.

Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown has made plant-based meat the most important oxymoron in the food business. Kelsey McClellan

Ten years and hundreds of millions of dollars in venture funding later, Brown and his team brought forth Impossible Burger 2.0, a veggie burger that tastes so uncannily like cow that a lot of people–vegetarians, carnivores, gourmands, fast-food executives–can’t believe their taste buds. Until very recently, the product would have sounded like an oxymoron: plant-based meat. Yet, in 2019, Burger King added the Impossible Whopper to its menu throughout the U.S., and José Cil, CEO of parent company Restaurant Brands International, credited the sandwich with a chainwide boost in foot traffic as the company posted its best same-store revenue growth in four years.

Practically every fast-food chain in America is now testing Impossible Burger or one of its competitors. There are Impossible sliders at White Castle and Impossible fajita burritos at Qdoba, not to mention patties made by Beyond Meat–Impossible’s more widely distributed, if not as meaty-tasting, competitor–at Carl’s Jr., McDonald’s, and Dunkin’. Food industry giants have raced to bring out their own beef substitutes, too.

Much like Tesla’s Model S electric car, the Impossible Burger is a fancy and costly invention, concocted by an outsider genius, that has proved that consumers will make an environmentally friendly choice if you give them an attractive product. In the process, it has done something even more remarkable: It made veggie burgers sexy. Its name is now synonymous with plant-based meat; people call almost everything an Impossible Burger whether it’s produced by Impossible or somebody else, making Impossible the faux-meat company to watch. And, unlike Beyond Meat, Impossible remains resolutely a privately held company.

Also like Tesla, Impossible Foods is unprofitable– despite revenue expected to surpass $90 million in 2019–and its future is uncertain. The success of its product has threatened to overwhelm the company, with staffers fighting, sometimes heroically, to meet demand and managers adjusting standard business processes on the fly. More than anything, Impossible Foods provides a lesson in the craziness that can ensue if what you do becomes a really big deal.

On a clear, crisp morning in late September, Brown parked his Chevy Bolt in the lot of Impossible Foods headquarters in Redwood City, California, and trotted into a conference room, a mug of coffee and a vegan chocolate chip cookie in his hand. He’s been a vegetarian since the 1970s, and cut dairy from his diet 20 years ago. The past week had been a whirlwind: Impossible Foods had introduced 12-ounce packs of Impossible beef in three supermarket chains, its first foray into the grocery business, and he’d traveled to Los Angeles and New York City for launch events.

Shortly after noon, he joined the weekly marketing department meeting. Thirty or so employees poked at salads in compostable bowls. (Impossible Foods provides a buffet of raw veggies, fruit, and other snacks in the break room every day, but not Impossible meat, which is still too costly and in demand to give away.) Joe Lam, a director of consumer insights, went over the first few days of grocery sales, highlighting the promising results–that weekend, the company had outsold ground beef by a considerable amount at Gelson’s, a chain in L.A.–and glossing over others–at Wegmans, Impossible had the No. 1 unit sales in “meatless proteins,” but he didn’t say much more.

Impossible Foods’ researchers had zero qualms about employing cutting-edge science that farmers’ market types find freaky.

Brown peppered the team with questions about the data. “But does it come at the expense of ground beef?” he asked about the Gelson’s results. “Were ground beef sales up, down, or steady? What else happened? Did they run out of hamburger buns?”

Since founding the company, Brown’s natural tendency has been to run it like a science lab–just like the ones he had at Stanford and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Born in the D.C. suburbs, Brown saw a lot of the world as a child–his father was in the CIA–and then settled in at the University of Chicago, where he majored in chemistry and later earned an MD and a PhD in biochemistry. He had his first brush with the business world only in 2010, as co-founder of Kite Hill, which sought to make plant-based dairy products and quickly commercialized yogurt, cream cheese, and ricotta.

At Impossible, he and his R&D staff began their study of beef development at the molecular level, mapping the 4,000 proteins, fats, and other biological compounds that add up to a cow. Next, they put together a catalog of all commercially available plant-based ingredients, such as protein isolates from soy, peas, hemp, and potatoes. From there, Brown’s group created their simulacrum, matching plant compounds to the bovine ones, testing their concoctions for flavor, smell, and texture–occasionally by nibbling on them, but usually via sophisticated gear that could gnash meat samples and spit out chewiness data in charts.

Impossible’s competitors approached the problem differently. More than 30 companies were attempting (fairly unsuccessfully) to grow actual animal protein in petri dishes, while startups like Beyond Meat were formulating plant-based patties from all-natural and gluten-free ingredients. Only Impossible Foods researchers sought to reverse-engineer beef from plants–and had zero qualms about employing cutting-edge science in the name of beefiness, including methods that some farmers’ market types find freaky.

This is how, using genetic engineering techniques, they got yeast to bleed mass quantities of soy leghemoglobin, which is typically found in soybean roots but is chemically similar to the myoglobin found in our own mammalian veins. Both contain heme–and heme is what makes Impossible possible. It looks like blood and tastes like blood, and when you add it to textured soy protein and a few other ingredients, it makes an extremely convincing burger.

Brown’s development process was painstaking and expensive. Impossible raised more money each year than the year before–$3 million in 2011, $6.2 million in 2012, $27 million in 2013, $40 million in 2014, $108 million in 2015–and poured it almost entirely into R&D. “The staff was 95 percent scientists” as late as the fall of 2015, says Dana Worth, a graduate of Stanford’s business school who joined Impossible that year, when it started hiring actual business people.

Scientists at Impossible Foods, many of them former biochemistry colleagues of CEO Pat Brown’s, worked for five years on their plant-based beef recipe before the company sold a single burger. Here, in the test kitchen at headquarters in Redwood City, California, Impossible Foods is developing everything from breakfast sausage to fried chicken to steak. Much of the hundreds of millions of dollars raised by the company–which includes $300 million in 2019–has gone toward R&D.Kelsey McClellan

As Brown went about adding a company to his science lab, he approached entrepreneurship as he had beef–as though he were building the business from first principles. Some early decisions left the MBAs scratching their heads. Brown banned Gantt charts, the step-by-step product-management tool taught in business school, because they failed to account for the unpredictability of new projects. On the day I visited him, he launched into a lengthy complaint about using spreadsheets in Excel for sales modeling.

“Excel is–and no offense to Bill Gates, who is one of our investors, and a good guy–a shitty tool for modeling. OK?” said Brown, swiveling his chair over to the dry-erase board, marker in hand. He then excitedly began sketching out a Monte Carlo simulation, which can generate thousands of possible outcomes–a method he prefers.

Yet Impossible has struggled with issues that other companies handle matter-of-factly. When I asked Worth, who is now head of U.S. food service sales, and CFO David Lee about how budgeting worked there, they looked at each other and laughed. “We’re figuring that out,” said Lee, who tries to synthesize Brown’s many-world analytical approach with investors’ more conventional expectations.

Nor has Impossible’s publicity always been glowing. On September 5, 2018, a bar fight broke out at a company party when a man tried to stop a male Impossible employee from harassing one of their female co-workers, according to a legal complaint. “What you read in the newspaper is not necessarily an accurate representation of what happened” is all that Brown will say about it. “By and large, I don’t think our employees are any worse behaved” than his researchers at Stanford were.

The Impossible Burger 2.0 launch in early 2019 quickly showed what happens when a company isn’t ready for its wildest dreams to come true. Impossible’s existing distributors, which already sold Impossible beef to some 5,000 restaurants, vastly increased their orders–by mid-summer, Impossible meat would be on the menu at another 5,000 locations.

Yet, as demand swelled, the sole manufacturing facility still operated just one assembly line with staff sufficient for only a single eight-hour shift. Inventory ranging from vital ingredients like heme to basic supplies like liquid nitrogen, which helps keep the assembly lines cold, quickly dwindled. The company had achieved Brown’s first great ambition: It created a plant-based protein, and it was a hit. Only now, the company was speeding toward crisis.

Impossible Foods’ investors, who have owned a controlling stake in the company since the early funding rounds, say they knew about the company’s vulnerabilities from the outset but decided the risk was worth it. “There was no due diligence, no spreadsheets, no rates of return calculation,” says Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures. But, he felt, the issue of animal agriculture “is too large and too important not to address, and this is a world-class guy to address it.” For his part, Brown concedes he’s no moneyman. “My wife manages our family finances,” he says. “I find the whole area just so tedious.”

The company would have to play catchup. Impossible’s board had finally joined the search for an operations-focused president to assist Brown in September 2018, eventually wooing Dennis Woodside, a veteran Google executive and Ironman triathlete who had most recently been chief operating officer at Dropbox. But by the time Woodside was ready to begin, it was mid-March, and he was blindsided by what he found.

“When I started having conversations about the role, everybody said it was initially going to be largely about sales,” he says now. “Then, two weeks in, Pat said, ‘You’ve got to go up to Oakland. You’ve got to figure out how to scale supply.’ “Frustrated employees, writing reviews on Glassdoor that month, described a company with its wheels coming off. “The organization is eating itself alive. The arrogance is overwhelming,” wrote one. “It’s a great mission with some of the worst management in the bay area,” wrote another. “The CEO has good intentions (and is a true scientific genius), but is a terrible business leader,” posted still another.

Brown believes that staffers were feeling more stressed than they needed to be, and were doing a good job. “It’s not really in my phenotype to freak out or assign blame,” he says. “People were kind of demoralized because they felt like, oh, we fucked up. But, frankly, I never felt that way. I felt like the problem was we had planned naively, and we could learn from it.”

His takeaway was that the supply crunch arose not from mismanagement but from a misunderstanding of “the kinetics of the food sales process,” as he puts it, notably the delays as orders filter up from restaurants and distributors stock the products. That lag disguised demand at the end of 2018, so the company failed to ramp up production quickly enough. “It wasn’t so much that our sales fell below projections,” Brown says, “but that they were a couple of months behind.” Welcome to Restaurant Biz 101.

“It’s not really in my phenotype to freak out or assign blame. I felt the problem was we planned naively, and we could learn from it.”

Regardless of what the data said, the company now had to scramble. Starting in April, it shifted salespeople from prospecting for business to addressing concerns of existing customers. It then hurried to make a deal with OSI, a Chicago-based food processor that makes beef patties and the like for McDonald’s and other chains, to duplicate the output of Impossible’s Oakland plant.

Meanwhile, the good news kept getting worse. That very month, overjoyed Burger King executives flew to Impossible’s headquarters to tell them that their small test of an Impossible Whopper at 59 of their locations in St. Louis had been a roaring success. They wanted to roll the product out to all 7,200 U.S. Burger Kings as soon as possible.

On April 22, Brown sent a companywide email, explaining that surging demand, along with the new Burger King rollout, was putting the company in existential peril: “We will need to increase production at least sixfold over the next several months and 10-fold by the end of 2020. (Yes, you read that correctly),” he wrote. He asked for volunteers to come to Oakland to staff a second assembly line.

The work would be hard, he added, “but an epic opportunity for heroism, with huge stakes.” Forty employees (who got overtime pay) headed up to the refrigerated facility. There, a motley crew of scientists, salespeople, and IT staff took turns working 12-hour shifts, stacking patties and operating machinery. Person by person, the R&D lab was transformed into a manufacturer.

In 2019, Impossible beef popped up everywhere from steakhouses like Le Marais in Manhattan, where an Impossible burger with Sriracha mayo and a side of fries sells for $21, to fast-food joints like White Castle, which sells an Impossible slider with a slice of smoked cheddar for $1.99. “It works well in any place you’d use ground beef. You can crumble it, fry it, form it into patties,” says J. Kenji López-Alt, who sells an Impossible meatball sub at his restaurant, Wursthall, in San Mateo, California.
After rolling out the Impossible Whopper ($5.59) nationwide, Burger King saw its highest same-store sales growth in four years. Also pictured: an Impossible banh mi sandwich at Peaches in Brooklyn ($15) and an Applebee’s Handcrafted Impossible Burger ($20.99) at its Times Square location in New York City.Cole Wilson

Unified by the stress and the cold, the staff put together a plan they called Back to Redwood City, with the aim of getting scientists home to R&D. By August, the partnership with OSI was up and running, just in time to supply all of those Burger King outlets for the fastest launch in the chain’s history.

On a recent morning at Impossible’s Oakland plant, production was brisk. In a specially sanitized fabrication area, staff in full bodysuits operated huge paddle mixers as dry ice vapor wafted through the air and five-pound bricks of bright pink Impossible beef ­chunked along a frozen conveyor belt toward the packaging station. Still, Oakland employees appeared to be under enormous pressure.

Earlier that morning, I’d watched a distraught quality assurance technician rush up to the plant manager and ask if production staff could be tasked to help her meet an urgent sampling deadline. “I’m going to cry,” she said, fighting back tears and rushing off before getting an answer.

But Impossible is making progress in smoothing out processes. At the Oakland facility, the company added a noon standup meeting to check production against targets, and implemented a scheduling system for the trucks that deliver the 20-kilogram sacks of textured soy protein, the vats of sunflower and coconut oil, and the 55-gallon drums of heme. Improvements like these, along with cost savings from economies of scale, have brought down the cost of goods by 50 percent this year alone, Woodside says.

The challenges remain formidable. Impossible is taking a measured approach to retail, for now selling only in small chains. But the slow rollout leaves it vulnerable: Beyond Meat is already in 28,000 U.S. groceries, and Nestlé, Tyson, and Don Lee Farms have all recently introduced simulated-meat products.

The beef industry is fighting back, too, with lobbying under way in 24 states to ban the phrase “plant-based meat.” Impossible Foods won’t have the newest tech forever, either, with upstarts working on gadgets like 3-D printers that make steak. And Impossible is burning cash as it builds production and develops new items, from breakfast sausage to fried chicken.

Impossible Foods did the unthinkable and got everyone hooked on its plant-based burgers. Kelsey McClellan

The company must also fight off negative perceptions that its product is “processed crap that comes in a box,” as South Park recently described plant-based meat in an episode titled “Let Them Eat Goo.” Impossible Foods doesn’t like to talk about the provenance of heme, its magic ingredient, perhaps because it’s produced by a contractor in a microbial fermentation plant that has turned out antibiotics, biopharmaceuticals, and enzymes used in biofuels and fracking. And the Center for Food Safety, an environmental group, has petitioned the FDA to keep Impossible meat out of groceries, contending that testing of heme has not been sufficiently rigorous.

Brown argues that nothing about heme should trouble consumers–it has been approved for use by the FDA–and that the term processed is an almost meaningless buzzword. “Virtually every food that you love is processed to a similar degree as the Impossible Burger in the sense that a bunch of ingredients are carefully chosen and fermented, cooked, or blended to make something that’s delicious,” he says. “It’s useless–like food racism or something–to just slap some stupid, broad label that mischaracterizes our products in this way.”

He is equally dismissive of nutritional cavils like the fact that Impossible meat has four-and-a-half times the sodium of beef. “You’d have to eat six Impossible Burgers to hit your sodium limit,” Brown says (though at Burger King, two Impossible Whoppers would nearly do the job.) “It’s kind of like saying passion fruit has more sodium than a peach, but who gives a shit?” As for lab-grown meat, says Brown, “Good luck harvesting embryos of calves, feeding them intravenously, and, since they’re immuno­deficient, making sure not a single virus or bacteria gets in there.”

Brown would rather focus on what he does best: rallying the troops toward his planet-saving vision and running his highly pedigreed R&D lab. He says he expects to double production every year, which would help him with his goal of achieving cost parity with traditional beef by 2022. That’s no mean feat, given that the price per pound of textured soy protein–Impossible’s primary ingredient but not its most expensive one–is about the same as the wholesale price of ground beef. “All the economics of everything we’re doing get progressively better with scale,” he says.

And size matters. Though he generally avoids speaking ill of his plant-based competitors–they’re all working to tip Big Cow on its ear–sometimes he can’t help himself. He scoffs at Beyond Meat’s research budget, which was a mere $9.6 million in 2018–not even the same order of magnitude as his company’s. “The goal here is we have to completely replace animals as a technology in the food system,” Brown says. “That is a huge task.”

To anyone who hasn’t been sipping heme recently, the phrase “replace animals as a technology” sounds insanely ambitious, or just plain insane. But consider who’s saying it, and what he’s achieved so far, and, perhaps, this simple fact: A few years ago, what would most people have said about the idea of making meat from plants? Impossible.

Additional reporting by Guadalupe González.

 No Cows Allowed: A Millennium of Plant-Based Meat

Getty Images

Ca. 900 CE: Let There Be Soy
Chinese writer Tao Gu describes tofu as “small mutton”–the first recorded reference to tofu as a meat substitute.

Wikipedia

1877: Spam for Vegans
John Harvey Kellogg introduces Protose, faux meat in a can made from peanuts, wheat gluten, and soy, to feed patients at a vegetarian sanitarium.

1985: Fun With Fungi
In the United Kingdom, a company called Quorn makes fake meat out of a microfungus. In the U.S., Gardenburger brings out a patty made from mushrooms, onions, brown rice, rolled oats, cheese, garlic, and herbs. It tastes remarkably like cardboard. The company files for bankruptcy in 2005.

2013: Petri-Burger
Dutch scientists make the world’s first lab-grown burger from cow muscle cells, fetal calf blood, and antibiotics for the bargain price of $325,000, while in the U.S., Beyond Meat introduces its faux chicken made from pea and soy protein at Whole Foods.

Kelsey McClellan

2019: Head of the Class
Impossible Foods unveils Impossible Burger 2.0, which contains heme, derived from soy leghemoglobin, giving the patties their beefy, bloody flavor. Burger King fashions it into the Impossible Whopper.

By Burt Helm Editor-at-large @burthelm

Source: A Lot of Companies Want to Save the World. Impossible Foods Just Might Do It with Its Plant-Based Meats

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Plant-based meat is gaining traction among carnivores and vegans alike. Here’s what the Beyond Meat hype is all about. Introducing The Upstarts, a new series about the companies you love that came out of nowhere and are now everywhere. » Subscribe to CNBC Make It.: http://cnb.cx/2kxl2rf About CNBC Make It.: CNBC Make It. is a new section of CNBC dedicated to making you smarter about managing your business, career, and money. Connect with CNBC Make It. Online Get the latest updates: http://www.cnbc.com/make-it Find CNBC Make It. on Facebook: http://cnb.cx/LikeCNBCMakeIt Find CNBC Make It. on Twitter: http://cnb.cx/FollowCNBCMakeIt Find CNBC Make It. on Instagram: http://bit.ly/InstagramCNBCMakeIt #CNBCMakeIt #BeyondBurger #PlantBased How The Beyond Meat Burger Is Taking Over The Multibillion-Dollar Beef Industry — The Upstarts | CNBC Make It.

Pizza Hut Goes Green With ‘Incogmeato’ Sausage, Eco-Friendly Box

Pizza Hut is teaming up with Kellogg’s MorningStar Farms brand to test pizza lovers’ reaction to the brand’s new, plant-based Italian-style “sausage” called Incogmeato.

Starting Wednesday, October 23, the fast-food chain will sell the Incogmeato on its Garden Specialty Pizza for a limited time—at a single store location in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Incogmeato is a new-to-the-world brand created to challenge convention on delicious plant based food,” said Kellogg Away from Home President Wendy Davidson in a statement, as reported by Yahoo Finance. “Pizza Hut is the innovation leader in its category and we are excited to partner with them to develop a tasty, first-ever plant-based pizza to satisfy what flexitarians are seeking today.”

Pizza Hut is also cutting back on waste by using a smaller, rounder pizza box. The innovation came out of a partnership with Zume, a pizza delivery company that aims to implement sustainable practices in the food industry. The box is also compostable, according to Market Watch.

In addition to going green, the new design promises a better dining experience, Yahoo Finance noted.

“This revolutionary round box—the result of a two-year journey—is the most innovative packaging we’ve rolled out to date,” Pizza Hut Chief Customer and Operations Officer Nicolas Burquier said in a statement. “The round box was engineered to make our products taste even better—by delivering hotter, crispier pizzas. This box is a win, win—it will improve the pizza-eating experience for our customers and simplify the operating experience for our team members.”

According to The Verge, pizza boxes’ traditional square shape is due to lower production costs (they can be made from a single sheet of folded cardboard). Inventors have previously attempted to win the public over to round boxes—such as John Harvey’s 2004 creation, the “Presseal” and a design patented by Apple—without much success so far.

Pizza Hut now joins the growing list of other fast-food giants looking to go green. As CNN Business reported, Dunkin’ will be unveiling its Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich across the country in November after a successful product test in New York City. Burger King announced that it would make its Impossible Whopper available nationally after just one month of testing. The outlet also reported that plant-based food sales in the U.S. have increased 11 percent in the last year, according to a study by the Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute.

That study further concluded that plant-based food sales grew 31 percent between April 2017 and July 2019 while total food sales remained flat, leading Plant Based Foods Association senior director Julie Emmett to call them “a growth engine.” According to the association, the market for plant-based foods now tops $4.5 billion in the United States.

The limited-edition garden pizza with Incogmeato topping and round box will sell for $10. All proceeds will go to Arizona Forward, a Phoenix-based sustainability nonprofit organization

By: 

Source: Pizza Hut Goes Green With ‘Incogmeato’ Sausage, Eco-Friendly Box

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Reported today on The Verge For the full article visit: http://bit.ly/2P9YkFf Global Tech News was built by the boffins at Boyd Digital – For creative traffic and sales generation give the Boyd Digital team a shout +44 141 332 0063 or visit us at https://www.boyddigital.co.uk Reported today in The Verge. Pizza Hut is testing plant-based ‘Incogmeato’ sausage toppings and round boxes Pizza Hut is cautiously testing out the plant-based meat trend, starting with a new Garden Specialty Pizza that’s topped with MorningStar Farm’s “Incogmeato” Italian sausage, which will only available for a day in one Phoenix location. The pizza will also be served in a round pizza box, which is industrially compostable and interlocks with other boxes for stability. After the event, the company says it’ll look for more ways to roll out the box more widely in the future. The round box was developed in partnership with Zume, an automated pizza delivery startup with a focus in sustainable practices. Compared to a normal, square pizza box, the round box uses less overall packaging. “This revolutionary round box—the result of a two-year journey—is the most innovative packaging we’ve rolled out to date,” said Pizza Hut chief customer and operations officer Nicolas Burquier. “The round box was engineered to make our products taste even better—by delivering hotter, crispier pizzas.” Pizza boxes have always been square since it’s cheaper to produce, as they can be made from a single sheet of cardboard. But that hasn’t stopped people from trying to innovate. In 2004, an inventor named John Harvey created a round pizza box called the Presseal, which never quite caught on. And in 2010, Apple patented a round pizza box, which has been used in its employee cafeteria since. Fast food companies like Burger King and KFC have been working with startups like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods to roll out fake meat versions of popular menu items, like the Beyond Fried Chicken and Impossible Whopper. Pizza Hut’s Garden Specialty Pizza uses MorningStar Farms’ Incogmeato Italian sausage, which parent company Kellogg launched just last month. Made from non-GMO soy, it too, bleeds like real meat like its competitors’ products. If you’re interested in trying out the limited-edition Incogmeato pizza, you can head over to the Phoenix Pizza Hut at 3602 E. Thomas Rd. on October 23rd at 11AM MT. The Garden Specialty Pizza and round pizza box will cost $10, and all proceeds will go to Arizona Forward, a Phoenix-based sustainability nonprofit.

2 Pounds of Truffles Sold for $85,000 Here’s The Real Reason They’re So Expensive

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How much would you pay for a fungus? Last year, a set of white Alba truffles weighing just under two pounds sold for over 75,000 euros, or over $85,000. (The starting price of a 2018 Mercedes Benz S-Class sedan is $89,900.)

Truffles were in short supply that year, but even during a more season some can cost $4,000 a pound. Yeah, [truffles] are expensive, but we are talking about the diamonds of gastronomy,” Francesca Sparvoli, co-owner of truffle distribution company Done4NY tells CNBC Make It

Truffles — which grow underground near the roots of certain trees, particularly oak, throughout central Europe — are highly sought after for their distinct earthy, musky flavor and scent. They are often served shaved over dishes like pasta or risotto (about 8 to 10 grams per individual serving).

There are four main varieties of truffles used in cuisine. Though prices vary depending on the strength of the growing season and the rarity of the type, Sparvoli says prices are, on average: $250 per pound for summer black truffles; $350 per pound for Burgundy, which grow from September through February; $800 per pound for winter black, which grow from November through March; and $2,000 to $4,000 for Alba (a town in Italy) or white truffles, which grow from early October through December.

CNBC make it truffles 4 
“Yeah, [truffles] are expensive, but we are talking about the diamonds of gastronomy,” Francesca Sparvoli, co-owner of truffle distribution company Done4NY tells CNBC Make It.
Nate Skid/CNBC Make It

“The white truffle is the most valuable because its very much affected by the weather and the climate in a given season,” says Marco Bassi, co-owner of Done4NY. That’s because white truffles lack an outer shell, leaving them exposed to the elements.

Truffles are rare, in part, because they are nearly impossible to cultivate (recreating the necessary growing conditions is both difficult and costly and it can take years to yield truffles and decades to turn a profit).

They are also hard to find.

Vittorio Giordano, vice president of New York-based Urbani Truffle USA, Inc., which supplies and distributes truffles around the world, says the company has an army of over 18,000 truffle hunters and brokers globally to keep up with demand.

CNBC make it truffles 1  1
The hunters use specially trained dogs to help them in their effort.
Done4NY

The hunters use specially trained dogs to help them in their effort. “A very good dog to a hunter is the most precious thing in the world,” Sparvoli says. “The truffle hunters protect their dog more than their wives.”

And for all that effort, there’s a preciously small return. “Truffle Hunters are not going to find pounds and pounds,” says Giordano. “Each one can find just a few ounces.”

In addition to their rarity, truffles lose about 5 percent of their weight everyday, Girodano says, so they have to be harvested, processed and shipped as quickly as possible.

“In less than 36 hours, we go from under ground to on a restaurant table,” he says.

CNBC make it truffles 3
Urbani Truffle USA has 18,000 truffle hunters and brokers throughout the world.
Beatriz Bajuelos/CNBC Make It

Giordano’s sixth-generation company supplies truffles to 68 countries and thousands of restaurants. In the U.S. they cater to 1,200 restaurants.

During white truffle season in fall and early winter, Urbani supplies about 400 pounds of white truffles to United States each week, with 10 percent sold at retail and 90 percent to restaurants. (He declined to share how many total pounds Urbani ships around the world.) In 2015, an exceptionally good year for white truffles, Giordano says the company sold about 3,000 kilos or 6,614 pounds of white truffles in the U.S. alone.

Done4NY has 200 truffle hunters in Italy and France to help supply its 500 restaurant clients around New York City. This summer, the company imported about 100 pounds of the black summer truffles per week on average. Bassi and Sparvoli say they pick up a new batch of truffles from John F Kennedy International Airport every other day, all year round.

“Purchasing in Italy and France is very tough because we need steady connections. The world of selling is tough because of the competition,” Bassi says.

And it’s not the money-maker you might imagine at these prices, according to Sparvoli: “You would be surprised by how low the margins are for us because they are expensive for everybody” (though she declines to disclose what those margins are).

The good news, Sparvoli says, is that the rainy spring (in Europe) bodes well for this year’s black and white winter truffle season.

“Now we are experiencing high quality and low price, about 35 percent less than last year,” she says. “We don’t have limits on how much we can import this year. The problem is if we can find the clients to buy them.”

Don’t miss: This $76,000 Thanksgiving dinner is the most expensive in America—here’s what you get

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/26/why-truffles-are-so-expensive.html

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Luxury cousins to the mushroom, truffles are an indulgent food enjoyed across the world. But these fragrant fungi will cost you. For more, visit: https://www.englishtruffles.co.uk/ —————————————————— #Truffles #SoExpensive #BusinessInsider Business Insider tells you all you need to know about business, finance, tech, retail, and more. Visit us at: https://www.businessinsider.com Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/user/business… BI on Facebook: https://read.bi/2xOcEcj BI on Instagram: https://read.bi/2Q2D29T BI on Twitter: https://read.bi/2xCnzGF BI on Amazon Prime: http://read.bi/PrimeVideo Why Real Truffles Are So Expensive | So Expensive

The Popeyes Fried Chicken Sandwich Is Back. Here’s What You’ll Find

The Popeyes fried chicken sandwich that kicked off last summer’s Great Fried Chicken Sandwich Wars returned on Sunday. And judging by my experience in getting one, the buzz around the sandwich is back, too. Popeyes announced the sandwich’s return last week, in time for National Sandwich Day. The signs were up, but there was no sign of the sandwich.

“Sunday at 10 am sharp,” the counter clerk told me, via the drive-thru intercom. “You better get here early.”

I hadn’t been planning to be there at the opening bell, but I woke up in time, thanks to the end of Daylight Savings Time. So, I bundled my 91-year-old aunt, Maxine Clapper, into my Prius and set off.

The scene. We arrived at 9:50 am to find a knot of people waiting outside the door, and 14 cars in the drive-thru and the parking lot. We were car No. 11 in the drive-thru.

But at 10 am, we were told there was a delay. The restaurant would open at 11 am, despite the instructions we were given and the hours posted on the door .

The delay wasn’t explained, but the restaurant then posted “cash only” signs which made me think it might have been a credit card processing issue.

The wait. We contemplated leaving, but decided to stay. Around us, others stayed, too, including the group at the door. A manager eventually came out and gave those people numbers so they could go wait in their cars in the 37F cold.

As the 10 am hour ticked by, more people arrived. The drive-thru line re-formed, and eventually, it stretched down the side of the restaurant, through the parking lot, past the front of the restaurant and onto the road outside.

I chatted with a couple of customers, and learned they had been unable to get the Popeyes sandwich during its first appearance (I nabbed one just before it sold out).

They were determined to get one this time. And after the restaurant doors finally opened at 11 am, the first customers emerged, holding their Popeyes bags high in victory.

It took us about 25 minutes to get up to the drive-thru window and collect our sandwiches. We pulled into a parking lot space, and opened the bag. On Friday, I stopped by my local Popeyes near Ann Arbor, Mich., just to see if it had arrived early.

The sandwich. This iteration of the Popeyes fried chicken sandwich seems identical to the previous version. For $3.99, you get a generous portion of fried chicken breast, a dollop of mayo, two pickles and a soft bun.

If anything, the chicken was even more moist than last time, perhaps because it was prepared in the morning rather than afternoon.

And the pickles seemed thicker, almost a little too thick for a sandwich. We both took them off the sandwich and ate them as a side dish.

Since I’d tried it before, I was curious what Maxine thought of it.

She pronounced it “good,” her all-purpose compliment for something she enjoys eating, and said she would have one again if I brought it home to her. (She’s not from the eat-in-your-car generation, which is understandable.)

She was unable to finish her sandwich, which seems a little large for elderly appetites. Popeyes would do just fine if it made a chicken sandwich slider.

The buzz. A huge advantage to this Popeyes launch, of course, is that it took place on Sunday, when its main rival, Chick-fil-A is closed, and something Popeyes touted in its run up to the chicken sandwich’s return.

Popeyes sign

That Sunday availability is likely to result in a big launch day.

As we drove off, I counted 25 cars waiting in the drive-thru line, and the parking lot was nearly full. I asked the counter clerk how many she thought they would serve, and she estimated it would be more than 100.

Based on the early demand, they most likely sold them all by the end of the lunch hour.

Business may not keep up at that rate, and Popeyes might not get the massive marketing boost that the chicken sandwich generated last time.

But at least for now, it has successfully fired its second shot.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’m an alumni of the New York Times and NPR. I learned to cook from my mom, and studied with Patricia Wells and at Le Cordon Bleu. E: mamayn@aol.com T: @mickimaynard I: @michelinemaynard Sorry, I don’t honor embargoes.

Source: The Popeyes Fried Chicken Sandwich Is Back. Here’s What You’ll Find

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Popeyes Chicken Sandwich returned to all locations today, ready for all to enjoy but what has changed IF ANYTHING AT ALL?!?! Let’s discuss this in the comments and be sure to slap a like on this video if you enjoyed it. Sharing is Caring and so be sure to share this video with friends and family. Tell them all to SUBSCRIBE and TURN ON THOSE NOTIFICATIONS my SEXY PIECES!!! Mrs Drops Update: For anyone curious, all you had to do was follow your boy on my IG: @OFFICIALDAYMDROPS and you would have known what time it was! 😉 I post there DAILY is all I am saying 😉 Royalty Free Music: Epidemic Sound ► (DD Ice Cream & MORE) https://linktr.ee/officialdaymdrops ► I’m now w/ McJuggerNuggets on his StoryFire App: https://storyfire.com/write/series/st… Royalty Free Music: Epidemic Sound BEST & WORST RESTAURANTS LISTING: BEST CHINESE: https://youtu.be/CFTnPqIRFOs WORST CHINESE: https://youtu.be/h9dAUaWFuto BEST JAMAICAN: https://youtu.be/73xnuACRLCM WORST JAMAICAN: https://youtu.be/8aa0uojyWBM BEST PIZZA: https://youtu.be/XQ6n1A7uMwY WORST PIZZA: https://youtu.be/USP3TA7JHKA BEST BREAKFAST: https://youtu.be/oOUsmkOdqjQ WORST BREAKFAST: https://youtu.be/a8nA7mVctAo BEST MEXICAN: https://youtu.be/Dzd3Doqj-YA WORST MEXICAN: https://youtu.be/UnKIqpozsGQ BEST STEAKHOUSE: https://youtu.be/OOw_hM7u–0 WORST STEAKHOUSE: https://youtu.be/JmjRfontkTo BEST GOURMET BURGER: https://youtu.be/gF9ZTMxhWDA WORST GOURMET BURGER: https://youtu.be/lUxmuq0lEoE BEST BBQ: https://youtu.be/3xX9zJVcZ38 WORST BBQ: https://youtu.be/BxKCI-IuikM BEST SEAFOOD: https://youtu.be/wZadbE_sRv4 WORST SEAFOOD: https://youtu.be/K052EEog2YU BEST WINGS: https://youtu.be/hTiPKWUvCG4 WORST WINGS: https://youtu.be/UK21FhxbRWs BEST ITALIAN: https://youtu.be/bw8TidYD_1s WORST ITALIAN: https://youtu.be/mKmS6KIQgxs BEST FOOD TRUCK: https://youtu.be/LqsESitm0s4 WORST FOOD TRUCK: https://youtu.be/BvnG330VWVo BEST BUFFET: https://youtu.be/en842DdTHaQ WORST BUFFET: https://youtu.be/UBNWGpJo3tw BEST SANDWICH: https://youtu.be/sdNm6eRoQ-w WORST SANDWICH: https://youtu.be/fgKprIVLNhg BEST RIBS: https://youtu.be/NmWEbDF6YX4 WORST RIBS: https://youtu.be/rWr3Id136pQ BEST LOBSTER: https://youtu.be/7I9lyPnik0k WORST LOBSTER: https://youtu.be/fX4-lO7YkK0 BEST HOT DOGS: https://youtu.be/_4QKKCPHQbU WORST HOT DOGS: https://youtu.be/0-l-wYldRMI BEST FRIED CHICKEN: https://youtu.be/PMkC2D3U-Uk WORST FRIED CHICKEN: https://youtu.be/Ba-nwSXRoR4 BEST ICE CREAM: https://youtu.be/2hSdsZ0MHaI WORST ICE CREAM: https://youtu.be/LUPWXcNShUg BEST BAKERY: https://youtu.be/8A-lQnuBf9c WORST BAKERY: https://youtu.be/PTudTfCVLEA #daymdrops #popeyeschickensandwich

Capital One BrandVoice: 5 Fall Festivals For Food Lovers

Fall is peak foodie season—and packed with great culinary events, from coast to coast. If you’re hungry for a culinary adventure this autumn, try these standout food festivals. They’re as fun as they are delicious.

South Beach Seafood Festival

The South Beach Seafood Festival is much like the Miami neighborhood that gives it its name: chic, glossy and very VIP.

This weeklong event includes ticketed dinners where cutting-edge chefs do their stuff in exclusive locations.

Star chefs doing innovative things with expensive ingredients is a big part of the event. But there are still plenty of affordable, family-friendly activities to enjoy.

Pop-up cafes will serve great inexpensive food in the balmy air. DJs will spin music. And the Milam’s Markets Culinary Showcase Kitchen will feature live cooking demos, so attendees can sharpen their kitchen skills.

Arkansas Cornbread Festival

People in Arkansas take their cornbread seriously.

That’s all to the culinary benefit of visitors to this late-October event in Little Rock’s fashionable SoMa district.

But great cornbread isn’t all there is here. There’s also live music and artisan booths, heaps of Southern cooking besides cornpone and lots of debate about those eternal cornbread questions: White flower or yellow? Sugar or no sugar? Baking pan or cast-iron skillet?

The festival peaks with a cornbread baking competition that Southern foodies take very seriously. Festival attendees get to vote for the winner, so get ready to sample lots of the big-flavored golden stuff that gives this event its reason for being.

Eagle River Cranberry Fest

Just shy of Wisconsin’s northern border, the small town of Eagle River celebrates one of autumn’s quintessential foods. More than 40,000 visitors buy 10,000-plus pounds of fresh and dried cranberries there each October. Impressive for a town with a population of 1,500.

The event is both culinary and educational. Sure, visitors will get their fill of cranberry pancakes, cranberry sausages, hot cranapple cider and shredded cranberry pork sandwiches. But they can also tour the local cranberry marsh to learn about the role that this tiny red fruit has played in Eagle River’s economy and culture over the centuries.

And to round out a long weekend of fun, there’s an art show, an antiques market and live entertainment.

Pickle Day

A big festival in a small town is great. But a small festival in a big city can be just as delicious.

Each October, New York City’s Lower East Side celebrates its immigrant history with Pickle Day. In a nod to the neighborhood’s long-ago pushcart market, vendors line three city blocks with pickled everything, courtesy of local restaurants and other picklers.

There’s also live music, face painting, carnival games and a giant talking pickle.

If you don’t actually make it to lower Manhattan to give pickled watermelon, kimchi or good ol’ pickle-on-a-stick a whirl, you can still get in on the fun. The festival sells whimsical Pickle Day merchandise online. It’s perfect for pickle enthusiasts everywhere.

West Virginia Roadkill Cook-off

Don’t worry. There’s no actual roadkill at this festival. But if it was called the “West Virginia Wild Game Cook-off,” it just wouldn’t be as fun.

And fun is at the heart of this quirky event in the tiny town of Marlinton, West Virginia. At the end of each September, inventive chefs assemble here from all over the country.

They join locals in taking a gourmet approach to ingredients ranging from the humble—like squirrel, deer and rabbit—to the exotic—think iguana, snapping turtle and wild boar.

In addition to the chance to try once-in-a-lifetime dishes like squirrel gravy over biscuits and teriyaki-marinated bear, visitors get to enjoy a bit of true Americana. Come for the rabbit Alfredo, stay for the square dancing and Miss Roadkill contest.

Ready to taste your way through fall? With these mouthwatering food festivals on your calendar, this could be your most appetizing autumn yet.

A former downtown development professional, Natalie Burg is a freelancer who writes about growth, entrepreneurialism and innovation.

This article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide medical or legal advice, or to indicate the availability or suitability of any product or service for your unique circumstances.

Capital One does not provide, endorse, or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The third parties listed are solely responsible for their products and services, and all trademarks listed are the property of their respective owners.

Capital One offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to cardholders, including digital tools, that help cardholders save time and money. Being confident in knowing that finances are under control should be a priority for rewards cards customers. Capital One has its customers’ backs so they can be confident and in control of their finances. Capital One is committed to finding new ways to make the payment experience easy for customers and is always innovating with cardholders – and their busy lives – in mind. For more information on Capital One credit cards, visit https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/rewards/.

Source: Capital One BrandVoice: 5 Fall Festivals For Food Lovers

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This ‘Force of Nature’ and Her $132 Million Company Are Why You Eat Organic Meat

“It’s the hallway of death!” Ariane Daguin is cheerfully leading a strange parade through a barn’s dim back corridor. Normally, this passage conveys fattened ducks from their feeding pens to the slaughterhouse; today, it marks the end of a sales tour.

This duck farm, nestled in the foothills of New York’s Catskill Mountains, is where it all began for Daguin, a blunt and unfussy Frenchwoman who keeps geese and chickens as pets, and who has spent a lifetime selling slaughtered poultry. D’Artagnan, the gourmet meat distributor she co-founded in 1985, took in more than $130 million last year from organic chicken, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised lamb, and other, more exotic animal proteins. But her business started here, with the ducks of Hudson Valley Foie Gras–and the controversial, luxurious livers that give the farm its name.

And it’s here where Daguin now shepherds her salespeople and chef clients past the oblivious animals, greeting them with her usual mixture of familiar delight and wry unsentimentality. “Tomorrow!” she sing-shouts, playful at a formidable six feet. “Foie gras tomorrow!”The founding pride of D’Artagnan, foie gras has also landed Daguin back in the middle of a familiar, and fierce, regulatory fight–but in the 35 years since she started her company, she’s expanded far beyond that niche delicacy. Today, D’Artagnan operates a nearly nationwide network of small farmers who raise chickens, ducks, cows, and other animals by Daguin’s exacting organic, free-range standards.

The company then buys this meat from the farmers and sells it to high-end restaurants; around 7,500 mainstream grocery stores; and, increasingly, directly to the growing numbers of home cooks who care about where their meat comes from and are willing to pay a premium for it.Daguin, 61, has established a high-profile circle of famous friends and clients: fellow French-born chef-entrepreneur Daniel Boulud; New York restaurateur and Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer; the late Anthony Bourdain, who featured Daguin on No Reservations and named his daughter Ariane. She’s less of a household name than these men, but she’s quietly just as influential. Since the early 1980s, her company has been changing how Americans eat meat, by selling sustainably raised, non-factory-farmed animal products long before terms like sustainable or factory farm went mainstream.

 

“She knows every aspect of what it takes to raise an animal, but also what it takes to transform the animal, and how it should taste,” says Boulud, the chef-owner of Manhattan’s Daniel and several other restaurants, who’s served D’Artagnan meat and game for 30 years. “She has definitely helped many chefs–and many Americans–have access to better meat.”Along the way, Daguin overcame several near-catastrophes, including a wrenching co-founder breakup. Through it all, her relentless drive allowed her to maintain control–and sole ownership–of her company, even as fellow boutique-meat pioneers like Niman Ranch and Applegate Farms sold out to industry giants; to return it to profitability despite her massive post-breakup debts and the Great Recession, which decimated many of her customers; and even, in the past decade, to expand oper­ations to a near-national footprint. Within five years, she declares, D’Artagnan’s sales will reach $250 million.

She’s also food royalty. Ariane is the oldest child

Daguin, with a Barred Rock chicken–which will soon be one of the 18,000 chickens her company sells each week.Sarah Wilmer. Yet the same determination that’s bent the world to her will has at times blinded Daguin to looming problems–or exacerbated them. Take foie gras: Lawmakers and animal-rights activists keep trying to ban the stuff, claiming there’s “immense cruelty” in force-feeding ducks to enlarge their livers. But for Daguin, selling foie gras is a point of tremendous personal and cultural pride. She’s fought threats to it across the country­–including the one under way on her home turf of New York City. But defending this much-contested niche product complicates the tightrope she must walk, owing to the peculiar paradox behind D’Artagnan: Ariane Daguin built a business from slaughtering animals–but she really built it by caring about how they live.

But more on all that unpleasantness in a bit. First, as with all good French meals, let’s have some wine.

“Champagne?”

Non! Shots!”

Daguin is standing at the front of a large black bus, of the sort rented out for wine tours and bachelorette parties, pouring generous splashes of sinus-stripping white Armagnac into plastic cups. “You drink this, and all the calories disappear,” she jokes, an unlikely party animal in a duck-printed scarf and mom jeans. “Okaaay, bottoms up!”

This is her “Cassoulet Crawl”–a gut-busting Manhattan restaurant tour tied to a competition over the hearty French stew that’s largely made from several kinds of D’Artagnan-endorsed fatty meats. It’s February, and Daguin’s fifth year organizing and judging the showdown, one overseen by an official French body called the Great Brotherhood of the Cassoulet. (Really. Because France.)

 

The Great Brothers on hand, in red velvet robes accented with yellow trim and cassole-shaped hats, resemble an order of Harry Potter wizards devoted to duck fat and slow-cooked white beans–especially when they bestow an honorary membership upon John Lithgow, who’s come straight from rehearsing a new Broadway play, and who accepts this silly honor with a sincere speech in decent French. If he’s charmingly bemused by the whole thing, he’s also unstinting in admiring his friend, its organizer. “Ariane,” he says, “is a force of nature.”

of André Daguin, a renowned chef in France’s Gascony region, who earned two Michelin stars for the family restaurant-hotel he’d inherited. He became internationally known as “the undisputed leader” of Gascon cuisine, especially for foie gras, as The New York Times declared in 1982. All his offspring followed some version of the family vocation–but Ariane, who knew that her gender meant she wouldn’t be heir to the restaurant, moved to New York City in the late 1970s to study at Columbia University. There she met George Faison, an MBA candidate from Texas who shared her love for French food and humanely raised meat.

Daguin and Faison became friends, and then colleagues at Les Trois Petits Cochons, a New York City charcuterie company that now competes with D’Artagnan. There, Daguin first met Izzy Yanay, an Israeli immigrant and entrepreneur who was trying desperately to find buyers for his products. Yanay was raising ducks at his farm 100 miles northwest of Manhattan, to produce foie gras–which was then largely unknown to Americans, and not an easy sell.

Unless you were dealing with the daughter of André Daguin. As soon as Yanay started his pitch, Ariane exclaimed, “Of course–foie gras!” Still, Les Trois Petits Cochons passed, so she and Faison formed their own company in late 1984, to sell Yanay’s foie and the ducks that created it. “I owe her everything,” Yanay says today. “She saved my life.”

Daguin and Faison named their company after another Gascon–the 17th-century musketeer who inspired Alexandre Dumas’s fictional hero–and adopted the motto made famous by Dumas: All for one, one for all. The co-founders knew the rising chefs at the forefront of what would become the locavore movement, who wanted great-tasting, transparently raised ingredients and would pay a premium for them.

“My interest at D’Artagnan became: How do we change the way Americans eat?” Faison says.Gradually, they built up a network of small farmers who provided those ingredients and followed D’Artag­nan’s specifications for feeding, housing, aging, and slaughtering animals. Soon, the partners started selling other meat and game–rabbit, quail, Berkshire pork, bison–and finding suppliers who made high-quality terrines, sausages, and other European-style charcuterie. Within two years, D’Artagnan was profitable; within 14, its revenue neared $20 million.

 

It was also beginning to live up to Faison’s vision. In 1993, before the USDA finalized its recognition of “organic” as an official designation, D’Artagnan became one of the first companies to sell free-range organic chickens in the U.S., ones that “taste the way your grand­mother says chickens used to taste,” according to the Times in 1994. It wasn’t the only high-end meat company: Applegate Farms was founded in 1987, while Bill Niman was building Niman Ranch into a national brand. But those companies have since been sold–to Spam maker Hormel Foods and poultry giant Perdue, respectively–while Daguin still owns D’Artagnan. And industry experts say her company was and remains unique in the breadth of products it offers and its role in introducing Americans to truffles, venison, wild boar, and the like.

 

“Other organic suppliers are out there, but D’Artagnan takes it to the next level for game meats,” says Mike LoBiondo, who oversees meat and seafood for Rochester, New York-based grocery chain Wegmans. He also praises D’Artagnan’s salesforce for teaching Wegmans, and its customers, how to cook and enjoy these more exotic proteins: “Nobody provides the same level of education.”

But as the company grew, internal tensions mounted. When Daguin had a daughter in 1988 and then brought her infant to the office, Faison felt she was distracted from the business. A listeria outbreak in 1999 sickened customers, triggering a voluntary recall of 70,000 pounds of meat during the all-important holiday season. Then, in 2001, D’Artagnan opened a well-reviewed but doomed Manhattan restaurant–weeks before the September 11 terrorist attacks upended the local economy. The restaurant–one of Daguin’s passions, and another source of friction with Faison–closed in early 2004.

 

Months later, Faison decided that their differences were irreconcilable and that he wanted out. Or, rather, that he wanted Daguin out. As chronicled in a 2006 Inc. feature, Faison stunned Daguin in June 2005 with an offer to buy her D’Artagnan shares for several million dollars. A shotgun clause in their partnership agreement gave her 30 days to accept his offer, or to buy him out for the same price.

Daguin started cold-calling banks, and eventually scraped together enough from a French lender and some savings to buy out Faison. He went on to help run another high-end meat purveyor–DeBragga and Spitler. Daguin was left with sole control–but was deeply in debt and overseeing a staff with sharply divided loyalties, not long before the global economy collapsed.

“It was–oof,” she says, with Gallic understatement. Today, asking the former co-founders about each other is a bit like talking to parents who went through a nasty split but still see each other at functions for their adult child. “Sometimes, divorce is the best thing. It was for Ariane and me,” says Faison. “We are cordial.” Daguin, who retains a sense of betrayal, is less diplomatic. The breakup “was all his fault,” she says. They have done their best “to avoid each other” at industry events for years. Will they ever be friends again? She snorts: “Friends? Non.

Last year, Faison co-founded the Great American Turkey Company, a startup selling humanely raised, antibiotic-free turkey products to supermarkets and online customers. Perhaps coincidentally, D’Artagnan is expanding its turkey offerings later this year.

That first year on her own was terrifying. Taking on another partner or giving up control was out of the question–“I learned my lesson,” she says–but she knew she needed someone to take over Faison’s operational and financial duties.

 

“We were iconic, but we were a little close to the cliff,” is how Andy Wertheim, a consumer­-products veteran who became D’Artagnan’s president, describes what he found when he came on board in 2006. “Our margins were very low. We were in debt. And while we were ubiquitous in an East Coast/chef world, we were largely unknown everywhere else.” Daguin and Wertheim raised prices and slashed their product line, from 2,500 SKUs to 800. They also stopped selling to other distributors, to cut down on the inventory they were freezing instead of selling fresh. To broaden the customer base, Wertheim stepped up marketing, and launched an e-commerce line to ship meat directly to the well-heeled food obsessives who’d absorbed factory-­farming exposés like Fast Food Nation and Super Size Me and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Some were adopting the reduced-but-deliberate meat consumption habits endorsed by the likes of Omnivore’s Michael Pollan.

 

“We agree with the vegan people, up to a point,” says the ever-droll Daguin. “And that point is when I kill my animals.” By 2009, D’Artagnan had climbed back into the black, overcoming new setbacks from the ongoing recession. (Spending $20 on an uncooked organic chicken is tough to justify if you’ve just lost your job or home.) Still, by 2011 Daguin had paid off her loan–and was mulling what she could do with her company’s returning profit. Half goes to annual employee bonuses, which Wertheim says “virtually everyone” gets–and which can help with retention in a company that’s as intense as its founder. (“The hours are crazy; the chefs are crazier,” one former employee recalls.) The rest has helped fuel expansion. To get beyond those East Coast/fancy-chef confines, D’Artagnan needs farmers and slaughterhouses and warehouses across the country: The company can overnight whatever a chef in California needs for dinner service, but if it wants to become a staple in West Coast shops, it needs to supply such stores with chickens or ducks that were raised a couple of hours away, so that days of shelf life are not wasted as they get schlepped across the country.

D’Artagnan notched $132 million for the year that ended in June, $11 million more than it did the previous year, and triple what it made the year Faison left. Since 2011, it’s set up warehouses in Chicago, Houston, and Atlanta, expanding its network of farms and suppliers along the way. Daguin won’t disclose profit, but there was enough to buy a distribution center in Denver last year–and enough for her to start shopping for another in California, to give D’Artagnan a truly national footprint. The company continues to diversify its sources of revenue: Its third-largest line of business, direct-to-consumer online sales, brought in $13 million last year. (Sixty-five percent of revenue comes from restaurant sales, and 25 percent from grocers and other retailers.) To commemorate all this, Daguin plans to fly all 280 employees to New York for an elaborate 35th-anniversary party in early 2020. Which won’t be for the faint of heart: “In addition to being a fantastic entrepreneur and businesswoman, Ariane wants to have fun,” says Boulud, ruefully recalling Parisian bar crawls he barely survived. “And she wants to drag everyone with her.”

 

This April, Daguin talked expansion plans with her new banker, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, over lunch in his executive dining room. Yet while being courted by one of the world’s most powerful CEOs, Daguin was characteristically uncowed. JPMorgan’s corporate caterer isn’t a big D’Artagnan client, so Daguin ate the fish “to make a point,” she recounts, grinning about her “smart-aleck” order. “I said, ‘Oh, when I don’t know the provenance, I try to avoid factory-farmed chicken.’ “She’s a long way from begging banks to bail her out. (And JPMorgan Chase executives seem unruffled by their client’s sense of humor: “Ariane’s leadership and drive is inspiring,” commercial-bank executive Maria Lucas says.) But not all of D’Artagnan’s problems have stayed in the past. Today, Daguin is facing a resurgent threat, aimed straight at the heart of her company.

Which, of course, is its liver.

 

The New York City Council, in mid-June, debated a bill banning foie gras. No vote had been scheduled by presstime, but if it passes, the result could be especially damaging, particularly for Hudson Valley and the few other small U.S. farms that focus on producing foie gras, because it would prohibit restaurants from “the provision of foie gras in any manner.” (Chefs have protested other bans by giving away foie for free.)

The newest proposal is a significant threat to Hudson Valley Foie Gras; at least a third of its sales come from the city. Daguin estimates she stands to lose about 10 percent of her business–$15 million in sales of livers and the ducks that produce them. While the hit to her business seems survivable, her pride is another matter. For the daughter of the Gascon chef who made foie gras famous, such a ban is an attack on her identity and heritage. “Culturally, not just for our company but for the whole world of gastronomy,” Daguin says, “it would be a huge, huge loss–the beginning of the end.”

 

This summer, Daguin and Yanay and other farmers mobilized to counter the passionate editorials and protests of the foie gras foes. It’s a tricky issue for the woman who proclaims that she cares just as much about animal welfare as “vegan activists” do, even if she sometimes expresses this in a decidedly Daguin-esque way. “We agree with the vegan people, up to a point,” she says. “And that point is when I kill my animals.”

Such talk, of course, won’t charm her opponents. “The costly French delicacy involves force-feeding ducks and geese several times a day by shoving metal pipes down their throats and swelling their livers to 10 times a healthy size,” proclaimed, somewhat inaccurately, an op-ed written by the executive director of Nyclass, a controversial lobbying group that backed the New York bill. (See “Duck, Duck, Foe,” below.) “It is a disgusting practice and it must end.”

 

Yet foie gras is, at most, an asterisk to the meat industry’s substantial systemic issues, which have the United Nations and international coalitions of scientists sounding alarms. “I can’t believe we’re going through this again,” says Marion Nestle, the author and nutrition expert. “Other issues in meat-raising are much more critical.”

 

Barred Rocks and Brune Landaises at a D’Artagnan farm.Sarah Wilmer. It’s a generally weird time for the meat industry, which claims $1 trillion in U.S. “economic impact.” Americans are eating record amounts of animal protein. Only around 5 percent identify as vegetarian. Yet we’re increasingly aware of all of the downsides of how meat is produced, and seeking plant-based alternatives from the fast-growing likes of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, which raised $240 million in a May IPO.

Large factory farms have been widely criticized for releasing immense amounts of waste and pollutants into our air and water; for juicing their livestock with so many antibiotics that bacteria become resistant to their effects, causing potential health crises for humans; and for raising their animals in cramped, filthy, torturous conditions. And while Yanay processes maybe 500,000 ducks per year, factory farming churns through about nine billion chickens in the U.S. annually, and roughly 32 million cows.

Those are the horrific processes that Daguin has dedicated her life and her company to countering, and for which she provides her widely praised alternatives. But her fierce allegiance to foie gras–and the production process that sounds so inhumane, for what’s essentially a food for the 1 percent–puts her company in the cross hairs of the animal activists with whom she otherwise claims common ground. “My animals have one bad day,” she insists while driving to the farm, her long frame folded into the red Mini Cooper her daughter decorated with duck decals.

Such determination built Daguin’s company, rescued it from the wreckage of her breakup with Faison, and kept it independent when fellow organic-meat pioneers sold out. But it also has generated other obstacles for D’Artagnan–including the question of its future.

Daguin ducks this question as much as possible, perhaps because it’s a rare example of her plans getting thwarted. In her oft-told gospel of How Ariane Kept D’Artagnan, her daughter is Angel Gabriel, the herald who encouraged her mother to fight for the company. Alix, then 17, was visiting her grandparents in France when Ariane called to tell her that Faison might force her out. “And then she says to me, ‘Are you going to let George do that? What if, one day, I want to join the company?’ ” Daguin recounts, proud and wistful. “That’s the one thing–that one little sentence–that made me really fight hard for this.”

Today, Alix is an architect, with her own design firm and no plans to take over the company she inspired her mother to fight for. “My mom has raised me to think for myself,” she says. “At this point, I have my own path.”

At 61, Daguin does not seem to have retirement in her vocabulary, and she admits she’s not doing much planning for an Ariane-less D’Artagnan. Maybe she’ll sell some of it to her employees, through an ESOP–“as long as I can keep some control,” she muses.

 

But for now, there are foie gras battles to fight, a property in California to find, and sales to double. She’s also looking for a farm in upstate New York, planning to turn it into a D’Artagnan foundation and self-sustaining restaurant–one where people can milk the cows or learn how to make cheese and bread before dining at the sure-to-be-spectacular farm-to-table restaurant, which Alix will design. If it comes to fruition, the nonprofit could slyly accomplish goals that have long eluded Daguin: work with her daughter, resurrect her doomed restaurant–even, finally, become her father’s heir.

 

All of this is on her mind as she drives her tiny car across the George Washington Bridge, en route to Hudson Valley, a summer morning sky and the Hudson River stretched out endlessly on either side. “It’s good to get out of the office,” Daguin sighs, brightening as she contemplates her planned nonprofit. She’s just found the right farmland, she confides, and is waiting to hear if her offer is accepted. She lifts both hands, fingers crossed for her latest hope and dream. Letting go of the wheel, if only for a moment.

Duck, Duck, Foe

The process known as gavage is hard to describe in a way that doesn’t sound unpleasant, though what I observed at Hudson Valley Foie Gras in July did not seem to unduly distress the birds. Three times a day, a worker enters the in-barn but open-air pens holding about 10 ducks each, checks every duck’s gullet to make sure it’s fully digested its last feed, inserts a thin rubber tube down the duck’s throat, and dispenses liquid feed. Then the tube is removed and it’s on to the next duck. The feeding takes about five seconds per bird.

Animal-rights activists and foie gras foes call this process torturous. Foie gras producers, and some outside observers, however, argue that duck physiology is made for this; unlike humans, the birds have thick esophagi and livers that enlarge without showing signs of disease. “This has become an issue that people get angry over because it’s an easy target,” says Michaela DeSoucey, a North Carolina State associate professor and the author of Contested Tastes: Foie Gras and the Politics of Food. “People are nuts–on both sides.”

Many foie gras bans have been proposed around the country. The biggest so far was in California: In 2004, state law­makers passed a ban that went into effect in 2012, which has since ping-ponged through the appeals courts. (Current status: Upheld.) In 2006, Chicago aldermen passed a short-lived, much-mocked ban, which Mayor Richard M. Daley called “the silliest law that they’ve ever passed.” (It was repealed in 2008.) The bill New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera introduced in January would ban the sale of foie gras in the city by restaurants and vendors–which would affect businesses outside of the city, too. At presstime, the bill hadn’t been voted on, and producers were in limbo. “For us,” Daguin sighs, “it’s a big cloud over our heads.”

Source: This ‘Force of Nature’ and Her $132 Million Company Are Why You Eat Organic Meat

Hawaiian barbecue is no-frills and mixed, just like the Filipino-Chinese entrepreneur who made it mainstream: Eddie Flores, Jr.

Hawaii’s quintessential plate lunch of meat, macaroni salad and two scoops of white rice originated in the late 1800s as the midday meal for workers on Hawaii’s pineapple and sugar plantations, with immigrants from Japan, China, the Philippines, Korea and Portugal adding their food traditions. Hence, you’ll find katsu, char siu, adobo, Korean fried chicken and Portuguese sausage on the menu, in addition to native Hawaiian dishes like Kalua pork.

It seems only fitting then that L&L Hawaiian Barbecue was recently rated by Entrepreneur magazine as the top Asian fast food franchise in the U.S. The Honolulu-based restaurant chain serves affordable island comfort food at more than 200 locations from California to Florida, all of which are independently owned, mostly by immigrants. (Panda Express, in contrast, owns all of its outlets.) L&L also has two locations in Japan, with Flores open to more Asian expansion. The company recorded $95 million in sales in 2018.

And the founder and CEO is an immigrant himself.

I met Flores at an L&L inside a Walmart in downtown Honolulu. He’s ambitious and a dreamer, “cocky,” as his wife would say. He’s working to have an L&L in every Walmart on the mainland.

Flores’ family moved to Hawaii from China when he was a youth, the eldest boy of seven children. His Filipino father, a musician, and Chinese mother, have sixth-grade educations and were part of the middle class in Hong Kong. In Hawaii, his father worked as a janitor and his mother a restaurant cashier and dishwasher to make ends meet.

Today In: Asia

That’s what sparked Flores’ entrepreneurial spirit. “I told myself I’m not going to be poor,” he said.

But it wasn’t easy for the 72-year-old, who had a learning disability and repeated grades four times in China. Still, he learned to be aggressive and business savvy, working in banks and then real estate. In a few years, he became a millionaire and bought a restaurant for his mom in 1976, which would eventually be the first L&L, and the birth of a food empire.

Before poke became Hawaii’s hottest food trend, Flores popularized Spam musubi, a handheld snack of seaweed-wrapped grilled luncheon meat on top of rice. He says he was serving brown rice on his menu before most of the mainland U.S. knew what it was.

“No one ever took a concept of Hawaii to the mainland and made it. We were the first one,” Flores said. “We’re the only true Hawaiian brand serving Hawaiian food.”

To stay true to the brand, potential franchisees spend time in Hawaii to get to know the local icon’s “Aloha spirit.”

His upbringing made him a long-time champion of immigrants, especially the Filipino community in Hawaii. And while he made his fortune in real estate and franchising, he says his real legacy is building the 50,000-square-foot Filipino Community Center, the largest cultural center outside the Philippines. It aims to support the 300,000 or so Filipinos living and working in the state–about a quarter of the local population–with health and educational services as well as entrepreneurial and business incubation. Furthermore, about 60% of the new immigrants in Hawaii are from the Philippines.

“It’s for the pride of the Filipino. Filipinos are relegated to the lowest socioeconomic status here, like janitor, dishwasher,” Flores said. “I believe in political empowerment for the community and teaching them entrepreneurship so they can own their own businesses.”

Many of the Filipinos in Hawaii have little education, so it will take two to three generations to move up, Flores added. “Of the 1,200 board of directors of publicly traded companies here, only three are Filipino.”

Flores has also brought Hawaiian business delegations to the Philippines to explore opportunities with the motherland. But he admits cultural differences make it difficult to do business there. Entrepreneurship doesn’t come naturally for many Filipinos, he explains. Even in the United States, where immigrants grow up believing in the American dream, starting a business requires taking risks and a willingness to fail–an approach that runs counter to the more cautious culture of many Asians.

It’s a reality Flores is working to change, especially as an immigrant who overcame poverty and adversity to become one of the most successful Asian food franchise operators in the U.S.

“We are first-generation immigrants,” he said, “and since we’ve been able to achieve the American dream, I want to give back.”

I’m an international news anchor, Asia correspondent and freelance content creator based in Manila, with 20 years of experience in news, business and lifestyle reporting, producing and anchoring across Asia and the United States, including Singapore, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. In 2017, I launched ABS-CBN News Channel’s morning newscasts Early Edition and News Now as lead anchor and managing editor and hosted the popular “Food Diplomacy” segment. From 2013-2016, I was an anchor/correspondent for Channel NewsAsia and hosted “What’s Cooking,” a weekly food and travel show. Before moving to Asia, I worked in New York as an anchor, reporter and editor for several major media companies, including Forbes, CNBC, HGTV, Yahoo and Bloomberg. Born in Los Angeles, I graduated from UCLA and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism

Source: How This Entrepreneur Built A Top-Rated Asian Fast Food Empire

Edit: I honestly can’t believe I posted this garbage video lol. Forgive the low quality. I intend on replacing this video with something much better. But thank you for those who watched through this atrocity haha. I went into L&L Hawaiian BBQ in Las Vegas to see what it was all about! Check it out :D. Follow me on social media!! Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bigpileofwesley Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bigpileofwesley Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/bigpileofwesley Snapchat: bigpileofwesley

Singapore’s Richest 2019: ‘Popiah King’ Outfits Factory Buildout For Meat Alternatives

At 70, Singapore’s “popiah king” Sam Goi still has his sights set on expanding his food and property empire. After earning his royal sobriquet—and his $2 billion fortune—making the paper-thin crepes used to wrap spring rolls known as popiah, he is now branching out. He wants to invest in meat substitutes and other special-diet foods, and play angel investor to food startups like the one he started in 1977, Tee Yih Jia Food.

More On Forbes: Singapore’s Richest 2019: At 101, The World’s Oldest Billionaire Has No Plans To Slow Down

Today In: Asia

Goi knows something about building a brand. Privately held Tee Yih Jia (TYJ) today exports Asian food items such as spring rolls, glutinous rice balls and samosas to more than 80 countries. It’s now in the process of doubling its production capacity with a new facility due for completion in 2021.

Goi’s Singapore-listed development company GSH, however, has hit a lull. After a S$75 million windfall in 2017 from its sale of private-equity unit Plaza Ventures, net profits dropped 93% in 2018 to S$6 million on a 9% decline in revenues. That’s pushed GSH’s shares down 13% in the past year, helping pull Goi’s fortune down by $100 million.

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Goi arrived in Singapore in 1955 when he was six years old with little but the shirt on his back after his family fled China’s Fujian province in a small boat. Goi dropped out of high school, but used his training in a repair shop to gain a toehold in the food industry.

With S$450,000 borrowed from a bank and his father, he bought an underperforming food company and overhauled it, increasing production from 3,200 popiah skins a day to 25,000. In 1980, he brought in technicians to design the world’s first automated system for making spring roll pastries at the blistering rate of 30 million a day. He then branched out, pumping out fortune cookies, flatbread and samosas.

More on Forbes: Singapore’s Richest 2019: Daryl Ng Takes His Family’s Sino Group Into The Future With 5G, AI

Goi returned to his hometown in Fujian in 1985 and built his first China factory there, later adding a frozen-food facility, a brewery and a vinegar plant in other parts of China. Goi also snapped up land in China’s second-tier cities long before China’s property boom. Most of Goi’s exposure to property, though, has come through GSH, where he now has a nearly 60% stake.

TYJ also has a subsidiary in Yangzhou focused on developing residential and commercial properties in surrounding Jiangsu province. But Goi’s plans for TYJ are more food-related. Goi’s daughter Laureen, who runs TYJ Food Manufacturing, has been building a state-of-the-art food factory nearly four times larger than the present one in Singapore, with the latest in automation, including driverless vehicles.

The new facility will also have a laboratory developing new products, and TYJ may even invest in and incubate promising food ventures, furthering Goi’s legacy as a foodstuff innovator.

Correction: the original version of this story incorrectly stated Goi’s late son Ben was involved in TYJ’s factory expansion. It is his daughter Laureen. Also corrected is that the new facility is an expansion not a replacement of the existing manufacturing plant.  

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Pamela covers entrepreneurs, wealth, blockchain and the crypto economy as a senior reporter across digital and print platforms. Prior to Forbes, she served as on-air foreign correspondent for Thomson Reuters’ broadcast team, during which she reported on global markets, central bank policies, and breaking business news. Before Asia, she was a journalist at NBC Comcast, and started her career at CNBC and Bloomberg as a financial news producer in New York. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Yahoo, USA Today, Huffington Post, and Nasdaq. Pamela’s previous incarnation was on the buy side in M&A research and asset management, inspired by Michael Lewis’ book “Liar’s Poker”. Follow me on Twitter at @pamambler

Source: Singapore’s Richest 2019: ‘Popiah King’ Outfits Factory Buildout For Meat Alternatives

First Runner Up for Singapore Heritage Short Film Competition 2018

This Kombucha Entrepreneur Hired a Man Who Spoke No English. He Is Now a Company Executive

Fifteen years ago, a non-English-speaking man applied to work at GT’s Living Foods. In Spanish, he told the hiring manager, “I am willing to do anything.” He got the job.

Originally, his job was to sweep and mop the floors. He moved up to housekeeping, and later was promoted to work on the bottling line.

“Every month, every quarter, every year he grew, and his attitude got better,” says GT Dave, founder and CEO of GT’s Living Foods. “He promised he would do anything, and he did. He had zero ego, zero pride, and the best attitude I’ve ever seen.”

Dave even goes so far as to say that this hire is better at his job than any other employee–even those with more education and industry experience. Unlike many people, who are specifically good at only one or two tasks, this employee has an affinity for quickly learning how to do many different things. And now he’s an executive at GT’s Living Foods. His job is to develop kombucha flavors and to run production lines. He’s also a general problem solver for the company.

In a company like GT’s Living Foods, Dave says, he needs people who are scrappy, flexible, and quick to jump on problems that need solving. “We’re very, very lean. We’re very, very agile. We’re much more artistic than we are corporate,” Dave says. “It’s a hard environment for your typical executive to exist in.”

As such, Ivy League degrees and decades of experience don’t necessarily count for much. Dave says résumés don’t matter to him: He looks for the same can-do attitude in every applicant who walks in the door. And, once he hires someone, that person has to keep proving she’s worthy of the job.

“I want to see what you can do here, and now. That’s my litmus test for talent,” says Dave.

By: Lizabeth Frohwein

 

Source: This Kombucha Entrepreneur Hired a Man Who Spoke No English. He Is Now a Company Executive

Our Founder & CEO, GT Dave, speaks to industry leaders & entrepreneurial pioneers on “Keeping The Attachment” at BevNet Live Winter 2018 in Santa Monica, CA. Watch to the end to see the announcement of our newest offering, DREAM CATCHER: Our CBD-Infused Sparkling Wellness Water. For more information about GT Dave and GT’s Living Foods, visit GTsLivingFoods.com. Follow @GTsKombucha on Social Media! Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GTsLivingFoods/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gtskombucha/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/gtskombucha Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gtskombucha/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/gts-… Website: https://gtslivingfoods.com

 

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