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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

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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: www.facebook.com/bigpileofwesley Twitter: www.twitter.com/bigpileofwesley Instagram: 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

 

Impossible Foods Founder Pat Brown Didn’t Want to Be an Entrepreneur, But His $2 Billion Idea Was Hard to Resist

Pat Brown isn’t an inventor so much as a reinventor. He sees something that works, but not well, and figures out how to do the same thing, only a lot better. And along the way, he’s reinvented himself into perhaps the most unlikely entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.

Brown trained as a pediatrician but, seeing that genetics figure prominently in diseases such as cancer, repurposed himself as a scientific researcher. Within a few years, he’d created something called the DNA microarray, a technology that has allowed scientists to better study genetic code. It was a breakthrough, and for most people that would be a career peak. Not Pat. In 2001, frustrated by limited worldwide access to scientific research, he co-founded the Public Library of Science, a radical revision of academic publishing.

A decade later, he saw a vastly greater inefficiency: meat. Raising and killing animals, he realized, is an environmentally expensive way to produce protein, demanding tremendous amounts of water, land, and energy. “There’s a $1.6 trillion global meat and poultry market being served by prehistoric technology,” he fumes. So Pat, then at Stanford, ditched academics for startup life. Today, he’s the founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, a company that’s reinventing meat.

Unlike entrepreneurs who tally their startups like animal heads mounted in a man cave, Brown wasn’t looking to add founder to his résumé. “I couldn’t have imagined myself doing this,” he told me over a lunch of Impossible burgers in Redwood City, California. “But the most powerful, subversive tool on earth is the free market. If you can take a problem and figure out a solution that involves making consumers happier, you’re unstoppable.”

And so, in 2011, and nearing 60, he launched Impossible Foods. First, he needed investors. “My actual pitch, if you showed it to a business school class, would’ve had people rolling in the aisles because it was so amateurish,” he admits. But he could tell potential investors, with complete conviction: What I am proposing is going to make you even more obscenely rich than you already are. “I didn’t say it in quite those words,” he notes, “but I knew that this was something that was going to be incredibly successful. And that worked.”

Oh, yeah. Starting with a $9 million round in 2011, Impossible has raised nearly $750 million, including $300 million in May. It is now valued at more than $2 billion.

To say Pat Brown is unconventional is to say that cows moo. But it’s important to celebrate him, because, though few of us are as smart, many of us are possessed of the same inspiration. We just lack the conviction that we’re the entrepreneurial type. Yet many of the best founders don’t have an MBA–what they have is a sense of opportunity, a hunch that they’re on to something the rest of the world hasn’t quite spotted. Some­thing they can’t let pass by. I was inspired by Pat to take my own leap away from a secure job and hatch my own startup.

Part of his success is that he’s honest about his capabilities. He has hired well, including a terrific operations team and an ace CFO whom he calls an “investor whisperer.” How did he know he could survive moving from scientist to CEO? He figured that, given the scope of the meat problem (massive and global), few people would actually go about trying to solve it.

He’s not a guy who places limits on himself, and that’s his message. “There’s a big phenomenon of people self-censoring, worrying about the imposter syndrome,” Brown says. “They say, ‘Someone has to do this, but I’m not the guy,’ or, ‘I’m not qualified.’ People limit their own opportunities.”

He pauses to take a big bite of burger. “There’s no road map for what we’re doing,” he continues. “But someone has to solve this problem.” He figures it might as well be him.

By: Thomas Goetz

Source: Impossible Foods Founder Pat Brown Didn’t Want to Be an Entrepreneur, But His $2 Billion Idea Was Hard to Resist | Inc.com

Impossible Foods looks to expand as the demand for meat alternatives continues to grow. The company is a leader in the food-tech industry producing plant-based foods that look at taste like meat. David Lee, CFO of Impossible Foods, joined CBSN to talk about the company and the emergence of the meatless market. Subscribe to the CBS News Channel HERE: http://youtube.com/cbsnews Watch CBSN live HERE: http://cbsn.ws/1PlLpZ7 Follow CBS News on Instagram HERE: https://www.instagram.com/cbsnews/ Like CBS News on Facebook HERE: http://facebook.com/cbsnews Follow CBS News on Twitter HERE: http://twitter.com/cbsnews Get the latest news and best in original reporting from CBS News delivered to your inbox. Subscribe to newsletters HERE: http://cbsn.ws/1RqHw7T Get your news on the go! Download CBS News mobile apps HERE: http://cbsn.ws/1Xb1WC8 Get new episodes of shows you love across devices the next day, stream CBSN and local news live, and watch full seasons of CBS fan favorites like Star Trek Discovery anytime, anywhere with CBS All Access. Try it free! http://bit.ly/1OQA29B — CBSN is the first digital streaming news network that will allow Internet-connected consumers to watch live, anchored news coverage on their connected TV and other devices. At launch, the network is available 24/7 and makes all of the resources of CBS News available directly on digital platforms with live, anchored coverage 15 hours each weekday. CBSN. Always On

Subway Just Made a Stunning Announcement That Will Change Everything You Think About Subway (and McDonald’s and Burger King, For That Matter)

If you’re interested in the impossible, let’s just say that it’s been an interesting week. First there was bad news at Burger King. Then, there was almost no news at all at McDonald’s.

But now, Subway might have the most important news of all.

First, you might know, thanks to reporting by my colleague Chris Matysczyk, about the surprising thing Burger King admitted this week — namely that it’s preparing its plant-based Whoppers “in the same broiler used for beef and chicken.”

Let’s just say hardcore no-meat-eaters aren’t exactly thrilled about that.

Meanwhile, there was just the faintest hint that McDonald’s might be getting on the meat-less meat bandwagon in the United States.

As my colleague Peter Economy reported, Impossible Foods is reportedly teaming up with a food supplier that works with McDonald’s — suggesting there might some kind of meatless meat coming to McDonald’s at some point in the future.

But now, like a dark horse contender (sorry, horrible analogy), Subway has raced to the front of the pack.

Starting next month, the world’s largest restaurant chain says it will be offering a meatless meatball sub, after teaming up with plant-based meat substitute company Beyond Meat.

I don’t know which will be more surprising to people: the idea of a meatless meatball sub, or the simple fact that Subway is so much bigger than McDonald’s.

Let’s take the second point first: The tale of the tape right now worldwide, or at least as of 2018, which is the most recent year available:

  • 42,431 Subway stores;
  • 37,855 McDonald’s restaurants; and
  • 13,000 Burger King restaurants.

It’s fascinating. If Subway were a TV show, it would be NCIS: extremely successful, even though it’s not exactly socially popular. It reminds me of how people failed to predict the electoral victory of President Trump.

But it’s also why, while the meatless meatball sub is just a test for now in about 685 of these Subway restaurants, Subway’s much larger size means it has a better chance of catching on more quickly than its smaller competitors.

I have no dog at all in the fight over meatless meat (sorry, another bad analogy). But I mean that I like to eat meat, but I also enjoy really vegetarian options.

Personally, I just don’t see the need to create a plant-based meat substitute designed to fool people into thinking they’re actually eating meat.

Even in places like Sweden, they apparently find that weird.

But if you’re betting on whether companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat really have a long-term future, for now at least, I wouldn’t be watching McDonald’s or Burger King. I’d watch how the meatless meatball sub does at Subway.

 

By: Bill Murphy Jr.

www.billmurphyjr.com

@BillMurphyJr

Source: Subway Just Made a Stunning Announcement That Will Change Everything You Think About Subway (and McDonald’s and Burger King, For That Matter)

This Popular Atlanta Pizzeria Just Launched An All-Vegan Menu Loaded With Plant-Based Goodness

It’s hard to believe that in 2016, Atlanta-based restaurant Ammazza was forced to close its doors after not one, but two car accidents severely damaged the popular Edgewood Avenue space. But in November 2018, Ammazza opened the doors to a new restaurant in downtown Decatur. And months later, in March 2019, the local pizza joint officially re-opened its Edgewood location. Since November, the crowds have quickly returned and in addition to a new, second space, Ammazza has also welcomed several additions to its menu.

In June, likely to the excitement of foodies dedicated to a plant-based lifestyle, Ammazza announced a new, all-vegan menu. The hearty, all-vegan menu is comprised of five antipasto dishes, eight pizzas, dessert and a kids section.

On the pizza end, there’s the classic Vegan Margherita. A simpler option for those hoping to quell a pizza craving, the Vegan Margherita is made using house tomato sauce, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and vegan cheese. If a plethora of toppings is more your thing, there’s also the Vegan Piccante. The Vegan Piccante comes loaded with house tomato sauce, fresh basil, spicy calabria peppers, caramelized onions, red peppers, marinated artichokes and vegan cheese.

Need even more toppings? Ammazza offers about a dozen additional toppings (for an added cost) that range from sauteed wild mushrooms to spicy calabrian agave. Pizzas vary in price from $15 to $24, depending on size and selection.

The Antipasto selection on the new menu is brimming with a variety of salads. There are classics like Caesar and Spinach Salad, as well as not so traditional options like the Orzo Salad and Basil Salad. Simple yet robust, the Basil Salad is a medley of field greens, marinated artichokes, olives, red bell peppers, Roma tomatoes and house basil vinaigrette.

And since there’s always room for dessert, Ammazza’s all-vegan menu includes a vegan seasonal fruit tart, as well as a chef’s selection.

Curious about Ammazza’s boozier options? The pizzeria’s beverage director and general manager, Daniel Bridges revealed to the Atlanta Journal Constitution in January that Italian liqueurs and fresh ingredients will be a focus.

“We’re focusing on Italian liqueurs, amaro, and things like that,” Bridges said. “I like to keep my cocktails pretty simple, just use fresh ingredients, and let the spirits speak for themselves. But we definitely sell a lot of beer and wine. We change up the draft list almost daily. We try to stay local and regional with beer, and we have Italian wines.”

Ammazza’s all-vegan menu can be found at both their Decatur and Edgewood locations.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

As the owner of Lushworthy.com (a beer, wine and cocktail blog), I’ve penned stories on all things booze-related for nearly a decade. In addition to holding down the fort at Lushworthy.com, my musings and other written works on food and drink can be found across the web. With my writing, I’ve had the opportunity to talk craft beer with rapper Tech N9ne, explore the history of New Orleans’ famed Café Brulot cocktail, sample spirits and cocktails from across the globe, and much more. I’m also a proud, longtime resident of Atlanta, Georgia, and an avid foodie. I keep myself heavily in the know when it concerns news on the latest restaurants, breweries and bars in the city.

Source: This Popular Atlanta Pizzeria Just Launched An All-Vegan Menu Loaded With Plant-Based Goodness

A Look At The Menu Innovation Driving KFC Global’s Sales Momentum

About 300 of KFC’s top marketers from around the world will descend upon the company’s global headquarters in Dallas this week to share best practices, industry trends and menu ideas. It’s at this Marketing Planning Meeting—which has been held since 2006—where much of the brand’s menu magic happens.

If you’re not fully familiar with what that “magic” entails, consider KFC product launches from around the world: KFC Thailand’s shrimp doughnuts, Singapore’s egg tarts, Australia’s nacho box, the Double Down Dog (a hot dog wrapped in a bun-sized piece of fried chicken) the Mac ‘n Cheese Zinger (with a bun made of mac ‘n cheese) and, of course, the original Zinger Chicken Sandwich, which originated in Trinidad and Tobago in 1984 and finally came to the U.S. in 2017. (Australia sells more than 22 million Zingers each year.)

The company’s massive scale of 22,000-plus restaurants in more than 135 countries certainly hasn’t slowed down its innovation wheel. In fact, KFC just launched a chicken tender taco in France, debuted green chili crunch chicken in Malaysia and added “Chizza” (pizza with a fried chicken crust) to the menu in the Philippines. In Canada, the chain unveiled Chachos earlier this year, a take on nachos but with KFC’s chicken tenders instead of tortilla chips.

The scope of menu creativity is impressive and the approach has been quite successful. KFC Indonesia rolled out chicken skin fries earlier this summer, for example, and the product sold out on day one. The company’s vegan Imposter Burger, launched in June in the U.K., sold out in just four days.

KFC is able to set this pace because it has 18 food innovation teams throughout the world filled with culinarians with big imaginations. Simultaneously, the company stringently adheres to its brand standards (the very 11 herbs and spices that put the chain on the map), thanks to a four-person Food Innovation Team based out of its Dallas headquarters.

I recently had the opportunity to spend the day with this team to see firsthand how some of these ideas are brought to life in the KFC Global kitchen. What I witnessed was a group of food enthusiasts with deep global experiences and a deeper appreciation for the work they’re doing.

The team is led by Ana Maria Basurto, a Mexico City native who joined the team in 2015 and is tasked with “guarding” the KFC brand standards while expanding its culinary portfolio.

Jacinta Pounsett is the senior scientist for FIT, working with KFC’s markets to develop a nutrition strategy and identify opportunities for innovation. She started her career with KFC Australia.

Gaana Nagaraj, a food innovation technologist, heads up poultry innovation and development and also leads seasoning and marinade developments. She moved to the U.S. from India, where she was born and raised.

The fourth member of the team is Robert Merrill, associate manager who supports the alignment of the chain’s signature recipes and provides protocols for standard products. He received a master’s degree in food science and technology from Texas A&M.

That this particular team includes four people from diverse international backgrounds is notable.

“A major challenge happening now in the restaurant space is to stay relevant as global demographics shift,” said James Fripp, Yum Brands’ chief diversity and inclusion officer. “If this team can’t work with multiple cultures from around the world, what we’re doing is not going to work.”

Indeed, the way KFC approaches innovation is not centralized. The cuisines are different, as are the cultures and preferences.

“We leverage that expertise around the world and serve as a guardrail for the 18 units. We want them to take our food and make it their own, adapted for their flavors,” Pounsett said.

Asian consumers, for example, prefer hot and spicy flavors, while the brand’s extra tasty crispy recipe performs well in Latin America and Mexico.

“We spend time working on how to elevate our 11 herbs and spices for each market. Our strength as a global company is leveraging food innovation and marketing teams around the world to have a better understanding of what consumers prefer,” Basurto said.

Challenges exist, such as how to fulfill volume demands at such a large scale and how to roll out exciting new products that meet both brand and operational standards. Many of these kinks are ironed during the MPM event.

But much of the time spent at that event this week will be on the exchange of new and big ideas on how to keep KFC’s menu exciting in markets all over the world.

“We get to taste products that have been the most successful in different markets. We want to foster that pride within our community so people are willing to learn what other markets are doing and then adopt it,” Basurto said.

KFC’s Chizza is a great example of a successful product launched in a market, originating in the Philippines, and adopted elsewhere. The menu item is now available in more than 15 countries across Europe, Asia and Latin America, specifically in Germany, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Korea, Thailand and India.

Considering the brand’s momentum of late, expect these types of market-to-market translations to continue at a staggering pace, especially as consumers are becoming more adventurous with their palates.

During Q1, Yum Brands’ KFC division delivered system sales growth of 9%. CEO Greg Creed specifically credited creative products for the performance.

“The innovation that’s happening is (driving KFC’s momentum),” Creed said during the earnings call. “We’re seeing a lot of great innovation, flavor innovation, on existing forms and new form innovation also occurring.”

I have covered the restaurant industry since 2010 when I was named editor of QSRweb. I later added fast casual and pizza beats to my portfolio as editorial director of foodservice media. This coverage spanned the gamut of topics that make up the foodservice space, from marketing and customer service, to the supply chain and display technology. My work has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Crain’s Chicago, Good Morning America and Franchise Asia Magazine. I continue to serve as a contributor for many publications, including QSRweb, Food Dive, Innovation Leader and the Digital Signage Federation.

Source: A Look At The Menu Innovation Driving KFC Global’s Sales Momentum

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants: French ‘Mirazur’ At The Top

Mirazur, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in the resort town of Menton, on the French Riviera, has been awarded the coveted title of World’s Best Restaurant and Best Restaurant in Europe 2019. The other top positions were given to restaurant Noma , @nomacph, in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Asador Etxebarri in Atxondo, Spain.

The title was given to the French restaurant run by chef Mauro Colagreco, by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 organization during an award ceremony sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, held at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on Tuesday, featuring star chefs from around the world.

This is the first time in the award’s 18-year history that a French restaurant has received the top prize. Mirazur took over the No.1 position from Osteria Francescana, in Modena, Italy. Mirazur appeared as No.3 in 2018 and No. 4 in 2017.

Osteria Francescana joined a new category created for former winners, the “best of the best” group, a sort of restaurant hall of fame. Included in the list are El Bulli, The French Laundry, The Fat Duck, Noma (in its original incarnation), El Celler de Can Roca and Eleven Madison Park.

In this year’s event which is considered the biggest night of the international culinary world, 26 countries from five continents won a place in the list of World’s Best 50.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has been ranking the top 100 fine dining destinations around the globe every year since 2002, with the winners chosen by a panel of more than 1,000 chefs, restaurateurs and food writers.

A week ago, ahead of the awards ceremony the World’s 50 Best Restaurants organization revealed the first cut of restaurants in this year’s special 120 winners list that included the restaurants placed from number 51 to 120 

Mirazur’s selection “is a testament to Chef Colagreco’s love of local produce, most of which is grown in the restaurant’s three-tiered garden just meters from the dining room, complemented by a stunning French Riviera backdrop,” explained the organizers.

“This year we are thrilled to see Mirazur claim the No.1 spot after rising through the ranks since making its debut on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list at No.35 in 2009, it’s been brilliant to witness its progress,” said William Drew, Director of Content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. “This has been a wonderful, progressive year for the list as a whole, with so many new entries from all corners of the globe.”

Spain got the biggest number, with seven restaurants in the World’s 50 Best, many of them in the Basque country. including three in the top 10: Asador Etxebarri (No.3); Mugaritz (No.7); and Disfrutar (No.9).

France has five restaurants in the top 50, including Arpège (No.8), Septime (No.15), Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée (No.16), Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen (No.25), and Mirazur.

The USA got second place in the number of restaurants with six in the list, including Cosme (No.23) in New York, which is helmed by The World’s Best Female Chef 2019, Daniela Soto-Innes, and two new entries: Atelier Crenn (No.35), and Benu (No.47), both in San Francisco, California.

This year Denmark has two at the top-five honors for the new incarnation of Noma (No.2) and Geranium (No.5), both in Copenhagen.

Peru also makes the top ten list with entries from Lima including Central (No.6), once again voted The Best Restaurant in South America, and Maido (No.10). Mexico claimed two spots in the upper echelons of the list: Pujol (No.12), which is named The Best Restaurant in North America, and Quintonil (No.24), both in Mexico City.

The UK, Italy, Japan, China, Thailand and Russia are also each represented with two restaurants on the list.

Alain Passard of Arpège in Paris, France (No.8), won the Chefs’ Choice Award, sponsored by Estrella Damm, voted on by the world’s leading chefs in the list and awarded to a peer who has made a significant impact to the culinary world in the past year.

The Art of Hospitality Award, sponsored by Legle, went to Tokyo’s Den (No.11). The restaurant is highly regarded for its holistic approach to service. Other Asia-based restaurants in the list include Gaggan (No.4), in Bangkok, which is closing next year, named The Best Restaurant in Asia, and Odette (No.18) from Singapore.

The Test Kitchen (No.44) from Cape Town is The Best Restaurant in Africa.

UK, which has seen its share of top 50 establishments drop from four to two.

Only four restaurants at least partially led by women — New York’s Cosme, Slovenia’s Hisa Franko, Colombia’s Leo in Bogota and Atelier Crenn — made the list of 50.

Here is the full list of the 50 best:

50. Schauenstein, Switzerland

49. Leo, Colombia

48. Ultraviolet, China

47. Benu, USA (San Francisco)

46. De Librije, Netherlands

45. Suhring, Thailand

44. The Test Kitchen, South Africa

43. Hof Van Cleve, Belgium

42. Belcanto, Portugal

41. The Chairman, Hong Kong

40. Tim Raue, Germany

39. A Casa do Porco, Brazil

38. Hisa Franko, Slovenia

37. Alinea, Chicago

36. Le Bernardin, USA (New York)

35. Atelier Crenn, USA (San Francisco)

34. Don Julio, Argentina

33. Lyle’s, United Kingdom

32. Nerua Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain

31. Le Calandre, Italy

30. Elkano, Spain

29. Piazza Duomo, Italy

28. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, USA (New York)

27. The Clove Club, United Kingdom

26. Borago, Chile

25. Pavillon Ledoyen, France

24. Quintonil, Mexico

23. Cosme, USA (New York)

22. Narisawa, Japan

21. Frantzen, Sweden

20. Tickets, Spain

19. Twins Garden, Russia

18. Odette, Singapore

17. Steirereck, Austria

16. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, France

15. Septime, France

14. Azurmendi, Spain

13. White Rabbit, Russia

12. Pujol, Mexico

13. Den, Japan

10. Maido, Peru

9. Disfrutar, Spain

8. L’Arpege, France

7. Mugaritz, San Sebastian

6. Central, Peru

5. Geranium, Denmark

4. Gaggan, Thailand

3. Asador Etxebarri, Spain

2. Noma, Denmark

1. Mirazur, France

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I’m a dual Colombian-Luxembourgish freelance journalist, inveterate traveler and writer based in the world’s only Grand Duchy.

Source: The World’s 50 Best Restaurants: French ‘Mirazur’ At The Top

Meals And Manicures: Inside A Billionaire’s Booming—And Unconventional—Restaurant Empire

This past fall was pretty hectic for Zhang Yong. His popular restaurant company, Haidilao, was entering the public stock market, and he was also determined for the business to keep up its frenetic growth. A second Hong Kong location of Haidilao was debuting, and shortly after its doors swung open for the first time, Zhang dropped in for an inspection. As he walked through, servers and cooks rushed out to meet him, eager to greet Zhang da ge, or “big brother Zhang……..”

Source: Meals And Manicures: Inside A Billionaire’s Booming—And Unconventional—Restaurant Empire

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