Joe Ferri's Blog (27)

Public Persona

Andy Warhol famously proclaimed that everyone would have 15 minutes of fame.

Social media has effectively turned that quaint notion on its head.  With everyone able to instantly broadcast, we experience fame all of the time in 140 characters or less. For those of us who’ve jumped on the bandwagon, our working life has become a virtual one - and except for a few stragglers, who hasn’t?

We spend much of our time broadcasting in lieu of narrow-casting, communicating through the…

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Added by Joe Ferri on July 13, 2013 at 6:23am — No Comments

The Inside Scoop

Stick a fork in whoever has been feeding you lies about restaurants, they’re done.  We have the inside scoop on eating out, and we’re dishing it out.  

Are you - like me - one of those closet-watchers of restaurant reality shows?  You know, the ones where a foul-mouthed and/or burly sledge-wielding Brit bludgeons our American operators with all of the things that they’re doing wrong? 

You might find it ironic that one of the aforementioned proponents of local flavors now…

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Added by Joe Ferri on June 15, 2013 at 6:00am — No Comments

50 Ways to Kill Your Cook Staff

The kitchen is a very dangerous place. 

I was reminded of this recently while breaking down a trade show.  Four weeks afterwards, and I’m still recovering from painful second and third degree burns from hot deep-fryer oil.   There’s no doubt about it.  If you want to maim or kill somebody, the commercial…

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Added by Joe Ferri on March 30, 2013 at 4:30am — 1 Comment

Their Steaminess Was Brazin'

When Sal and Amanda discovered that she was expecting, they started dreaming of the heights that their future little Salamander would surmount.  Despite his gas problems, they were intent on raising him properly.

It is that very sentiment which causes the parents of foodservice equipment to continue naming their…

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Added by Joe Ferri on March 18, 2013 at 2:02pm — No Comments

Another Shopping Season

The last thing that I want to think about during the winter solstice is more shopping. Yet, here I am pondering the greatest spree that that the foodservice equipment and supplies industry has to offer. It comes only once every two years and thankfully, it is in a warm place in the dead of winter. The NAFEM show in Orlando, FL, February 7-9, 2013 is many things to many people.  But, at its heart, it is still essentially a bazaar in the fine traditions of the country…

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Added by Joe Ferri on January 12, 2013 at 6:30am — No Comments

Count On Me For Counter Intelligence

This may be the oldest of all foodservice fixtures known.  The humble counter has served us since antiquity.  Separating the server from the patron, displaying the wares, maintaining the integrity of the food, or just facilitating the transaction, the counter has been a (sometimes invisible) component of our foodservice world for millennia.

Originally ensconced in pharmacies, counter restaurants gave birth to the fountain soda industry.  Quick-service (formerly known as “fast food”)…

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Added by Joe Ferri on September 30, 2012 at 1:43pm — No Comments

It’s About The Food, Stupid!

I was reminded how insular the foodservice equipment and supplies industry can be when I went to a recent meeting. While attending the SFM’s workshop for vendors, I noticed that all talk centered around the procurement of comestibles. Supply chain management for the foodservice contract management firms revolves around their food buys. The purchasing by these largest of end-users pay scant attention, if any, to E&S specifications.

Although this is a mostly proper strategy for…

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Added by Joe Ferri on April 30, 2012 at 5:30am — No Comments

Spiders, Spatulas and Speed racks, oh my!

A spider is, in and of itself, an unusual thing to deliberately add to a foodservice establishment.   What bugs me is when there are several different “species” on the menu…

Spiders, Spatulas and Speed racks, oh my!  What images do they convey?  If you’re a baker, (AKA a “Dough Hoe”) they might conjure up visions of the fryer skimmers, icing knives and sheet pan racks. A restaurateur could easily imagine them as table bases, burger turners and liquor bottle holders.

Another…

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Added by Joe Ferri on March 28, 2012 at 5:00am — No Comments

Making Succesful Concessions

Is it an impulse or a compulsion that makes you want to eat that soft pretzel? Or is it simply the tangy mustard pumped onto it? Displayed food must look its best when laid out for speed and convenience, even for captive audiences at arenas, stadiums and outdoor entertainment venues.

No matter whether concession fare is pretzels, hot…

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Added by Joe Ferri on February 12, 2012 at 8:00am — No Comments

The Lady Troubles

A buddy, PT, secured a large equipment order.  It should have been his all along. 

 

Vendors compete fiercely for business.  Buyers factor in price, quality, availability and price when make purchasing decisions. Did I mention price?

 

PT was awarded only a small fraction of the contract for a large project.  When the end-users inquired of his competitor (whom they favored with the greater portion of the work) as to the status of the impending delivery, they were…

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Added by Joe Ferri on June 7, 2011 at 6:23am — No Comments

When is a Chef’s Knife Not a Screwdriver?

Of all the issues that one can single out for criticism in a ‘professional’ kitchen, the topic that irks me the most is the misuse of equipment.  I’m not talking about the occasional sheet pan drafted into use as a deep fryer cover; it’s the wholesale misapplication and underutilization of the tools of the trade that gets to me. 

 

Rolling-pin-tenderizer-users aside, who’s responsible for (not) training people this way?

 

I won’t mention the patently dangerous,…

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Added by Joe Ferri on May 31, 2011 at 3:36am — No Comments

Can You Cook an Egg On It?

Stay in this business long enough and you’ll end up speaking Kitchen-ese.

For example:



“I need a grill.”

“A griddle or a char broiler?”

“Just a grill.”

“Upright, range-match, counter model or free-standing, flat-top or grate-top, what length, on casters or legs, cast radiants, cast grates, what grid spacing, chrome or cold roll steel, round or scround, grooved or flat, safety pilots, piezo or…

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Added by Joe Ferri on May 15, 2011 at 8:36am — No Comments

For $10 Billion, Can’t We All Get Along?

You’d think that $10 billion was a lot of dough.  The equipment and supplies side of the foodservice industry is worth that much in annual U.S. sales.  With that kind of bread at stake, why are all the members of the E&S supply chain so out of synch?  End-users are subjected daily to our ‘dysfunctional family’ turf wars.  Don’t they (and we) deserve better?

 

Sure, we’re all competing on some level, and will therefore have conflicting interests. “After all we are not…

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Added by Joe Ferri on April 9, 2011 at 12:37pm — No Comments

How about a side of profits to go with that double order of growth? - 5Ways E&S controls food costs

We’ve all seen headlines trumpeting the economy’s recovery. With restaurant counts and reservations projected to be up, per-check averages rising, "trading down” is now being replaced by “trading up”.

 

But are operator profits going to rise? Food and fuel costs are spiraling, and labor costs can’t be far behind.

 

The foodservice equipment professional’s new mandate will be to…

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Added by Joe Ferri on March 18, 2011 at 5:30am — No Comments

A Cheesey Friday Night

What are we doing for dinner tonight? It was Friday, in Lent, and we couldn’t have meat.



Trader Joes provided the whole wheat pizza dough, but we needed a topping worthy of the Ruffino Reserva Ducale Chianti Classico that would be opened.



I recalled reading somewhere that traditional Neapolitan pizzerias (“VPN”’s) don’t use what we call “mozzarella” at all. In Italy that cow’s milk cheese is known as fior di latte. Real mozzarella there is all made from buffalo… Continue

Added by Joe Ferri on March 29, 2010 at 7:42pm — 2 Comments

The French Paradox

Cheese, wine and olive oil are three constants in the Mediterranean diet. The synergy of these may account for the low incidence of coronary heart disease in France. The high concentration of amino acids in cheese aid in digestion, and French cheese is virtually lactose free. The resveratrol in wine is heart healthy and cancer preventing, while the polyphenols present can protect against diabetes, arteriosclerosis and cancer. The higher concentration of mono-unsaturated fats in olive oil is… Continue

Added by Joe Ferri on June 17, 2009 at 4:17am — No Comments

Upside Down Snow Shovels

While shopping on a recent snowy day, I noticed employees in each shopping center which I visited clearing the walkways with cheap snow shovels. Pushing the snow to the curb, they worked quickly so as to not to linger in the cold. And, in every instance, they were using the shovels upside down! Oddly enough, it was an efficient, expedient use of the inferior tools at hand.



In 2009, we've been equipped with weakened tools. Our expectations should not be equally diminished. We need to… Continue

Added by Joe Ferri on January 20, 2009 at 5:14pm — No Comments

A Little Over

"Do you mind if its a little over?" The question was a familiar one, as she'd been coming to this store for a lifetime. Now that the family had moved away, the task of gathering the holiday treats had become hers. It seemed that after several decades that she'd put both of the owner's two kids through college with the costs of all of those " a little over's" on that scale. It was even more salient now, as the trip back to the neighborhood shop was only to get a loaf of that great Italian bread.… Continue

Added by Joe Ferri on January 10, 2009 at 9:26am — No Comments

Being Prepared in 2009

Do you find yourself spending most of your waking hours behind a windshield?

You just might be a road warrior!



After witnessing the squirrels eat up all of our Autumn decorations, I realized this year's is going to be a long, cold Winter here in the Northeast. Now is probably a good time to assess preparedness both at home, and on the road.



Besides the obligatory spare & flare how many of these items do you carry in your vehicle?

Empty coffee can, candle and… Continue

Added by Joe Ferri on January 2, 2009 at 7:31am — 2 Comments

Jerez-Xeres-Sherry

Simply known as "Sherry" in English, this Spanish grape spirit enjoys a tradition that dates to Roman times. Produced near the Rock of Gibraltar, in chalky soils, influenced by both the Atlantic and Mediterranean, Jerez is made from Palomino Fino grapes.



The process of making Jerez (Sherry) is distinguished from other wines only after the fermentation process. A naturally occurring yeast film "flor" is allowed to grow on the wine's surface. This keeps the young wine from oxidizing… Continue

Added by Joe Ferri on November 21, 2008 at 8:08pm — No Comments

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National News

Ward Whitworth Named President for On The Border Mexican Grill

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, which was recently acquired by Border Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Argonne Capital Group, today announced the appointment of Ward Whitworth as President of On The Border.

The Melting Pot Targets Houston and El Paso, Texas for Franchise Expansion

Restaurants, Inc. announced today that it is actively seeking franchisees to expand its presence throughout the Lone Star State, naming El Paso and Houston as target markets for future franchise development.

Encore Restaurants Purchases 8 Existing Five Guys Restaurants, Plans to Develop 45 More

Encore Restaurants, LLC, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Encore Enterprises, Inc., has announced the purchase of eight existing Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants across central California including Elk Grove, Fresno, Lodi, Natomas, Roseville, Stockton, Tracy, and West Sacramento.

Takeout Orders to Hotels Jumped 125% in Popularity in Last Three Years

For many Americans, hotel room service is considered a travel luxury; however, data from PFK Hospitality Research1 suggests that room service revenues fell 9.5 percent from 2007 to 2012, with some hotels shuttering unprofitable operations altogether.

National Restaurant Association Praises House and Senate Commerce Committee Passage of Travel Promotion Act

Yesterday the National Restaurant Association (NRA) praised the House passage and Senate Commerce Committee markup of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014. The bipartisan legislation reauthorizes Brand USA, the nation’s first global marketing campaign, to promote the United States as a destination for international travelers.

CROWD FUNDING

If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.

TED TALKS VIDEO

TED: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

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