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Prayers for Our Friends in Napa and Sonoma

We’re heartsick over the devastating fires that are still burning in Napa and Sonoma counties and southern California. So many industry friends have been impacted, and we’re still learning which wineries have been destroyed.  I was just in Calistoga a few weeks ago celebrating at The Harvest Table with the local vintners. Despite the surprise heat wave, everyone was in a happy mood. And now this. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone. If you want to send help for evacuees, Public Relations Pro Kimberly Charles has set up a GoFundMe Page. Here are the link and message from Kimberly:

Napa and Sonoma counties in Northern California are undergoing an unprecedented series of fires, over 60 recorded in the last 48 hours.   One of California’s oldest wineries perished last night and several others have been completely lost. The wine community is one of the most giving, generous groups who give to charity constantly, now it’s our turn to help.   We have worked with wineries in California closely for over 30 years and right now have identified a group of shelters in who are accepting evacuees.   They need hard goods, not money -cots, sleeping bags, non perishable foods, hygienic items, kids’ pyjamas.   We are raising money to buy these items and drive them up this week to the distribution center at Mentor Me at the Cavanagh Rec Center which is sheltering 500 evacuees currently. They are networked with 10 other shelters to distribute goods.  We plan on raising funds, buying goods and delivering them right away this week.  Link: https://www.gofundme.com/fire-relief-napa-sonoma-counties

And, if your emotions are as raw as ours from all the bad news, we encourage you to read Lettie Teague‘s October 5th Wall Street Journal article: “How Wine Sustains Us Through Tragedy and Helps Us Reclaim Joy.” Read here: link. 

 

Melanie and David in Napa Valley March 2017. We stand with you.
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INSPIRE RESTAURANTS AND CHEFS

The Food & Beverage Industry Nourishes Souls in Times of Sorrow

It seems like the last several weeks have delivered us one disaster after another starting with Hurricane Harvey in Texas; then Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean and Florida, and now the tragic massacre in Las Vegas. It’s hard to be rah rah about this and that culinary event or new product launch when so many people have died, are displaced or hungry. Hearts are heavy; souls are aching, and we try to be sensitive to it all while going about our daily business.

While politicians talk among themselves to try to work out answers, the nation simmers and questions starting with “Why?” and “How long?” and “How much more can we take of this?”  Congress could take months and years to make decisions. But the food and beverage industry can make a difference in just a few weeks.

Source World Central Kitchen  Website: worldcentralkitchen.org

Leave it to chefs like José Andrés and Jose Enrique to arrange a team to cook thousands of meals for the displaced and hungry in Puerto Rico while the island waits for food supplies to be adequately distributed in hard hit areas.

Leave it to Ti Adelaide Martin, and Alex Brennan- Martin to spearhead a fundraising effort with the Louisiana Restaurant Association and Greater New Orleans Foundation to help hospitality workers affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, raising over $160,000. And that amount does not include the nationwide Dineout that took place on October 2  with dozens of restaurants to raise even more funds for this cause.

Leave it to bar community activists like Speed Rack Co-Founder and Bartender Lynnette Marrero, Journalist Jenny Adams, and Alba Huerta, Owner/Operator of Julep in Houston, TX, to rally their colleagues to organize “NYC LOVES TX & FL”  on September 24 to raise over $60,000 for the John Besh Foundation for disaster relief.


These just a few small servings of the large effort this industry does, and continues to do, to help humanity. When tragedy strikes, the food, beverage and hospitality industry cooks up a plan to do something and does not drag its heels. We stir the pot where others cannot. Maybe the Executive Branch could learn a few management trucs from Executive Chefs, Restaurateurs and Bar Owners. Perhaps we need a Commander- in -Chef.

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Drink

“Flying Winemaker” Michel Rolland Touches Down with The Connected Table

He’s called “The Flying Winemaker” and his international influence in the world of wine is unparalleled. Bordeaux-based Oenologist Michel Rolland consults for more than 100 estates in 14 countries. Another 400 estates utilize the services of his laboratories located in France and Mendoza for analysis and advice. And at an age when many contemplate slowing down to stop and smell the roses, Michel is still living a life in the air and on the ground tending the vines, blending with finesse and turning out world-class wines. He turns 70 on December 24 this year and celebrates his 45th harvest in Bordeaux.

Michel Rolland (Photo: Clos de los Siete)

Michel was raised on his family estate, Château Le Bon-Pasteur, in Pomerol. With wife, Dany, he oversees several of his own properties in Bordeaux and collaborations such as Clos de los Siete in Argentina. His global footprint has made its mark with the hundreds of wineries that seek out his expertise that has made him an international star in the world of wine. To name just a few of the numerous estates that he’s worked with:  Chile (Casa Lapostelle), Spain (Rolland Galarreta), Italy (Tenuta dell’Ornellaia,Tolaini, Campo de Sasso), California (Araujo, Harlin, Staglin, Screaming Eagle and Jericho Canyon) and France (Château Figeac, Château Bonnet, Château La Louvière, Pape Clément, Phélan-Ségur and dozens more.)

In this September 13 episode of The Connected Table LIVE! Michel takes a break from harvest to share his thoughts on climate change, terroir, why Argentina tugs his heartstrings and why he has not intention of slowing down. Wine, after all, is more than his profession. It is his passion!

Listen here!

 

 

 

 

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David Ransom Eat Melanie Young RESTAURANTS AND CHEFS THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Chef Ana Sortun’s Inspiration

Chef /Restaurateur Ana Sortun (photo: Kristin Teig)

A trip to Turkey while studying in Paris at La Varenne Cooking School as a young girl inspired Chef & Restaurateur Ana Sortun to specialize in the foods of Turkey and the Middle East in her three restaurants, Oleana, Sofra Bakery & Cafe and Sarma, all located in the greater Boston area. Ana is author of two cookbooks, “Spice,” and “Soframiz” (with Pastry Chef Maura Kilpatrick). LINK to show on iHeart.

In this edition of The Connected Table LIVE! Ana discussed her career, the business of being a restaurateur with multiple units, her passion for the flavors and culture of Turkey, and her love of farms. Her husband, Chris Kurth,  is owner of Siena Farms, named after their daughter, which supplies all of Ana’s restaurants with fresh organic produce.

Listen now

 

Ana Sortun’s food capures the spicy, sensuous colors and flavors of Turkey and the Middle East

 

 

 

 

 

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David Ransom Drink Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Meet the Man Whose Botanical Beverage is on Everyone’s Lips  

Ben Branson must be on to something. It seems like he’s popping up everywhere including a recent Food52 profile and last week’s Wall Street Journal feature story on “sophisticated mocktails.”  It’s not just a great public relations blitz. He really is on to something. Not drinking alcohol is now as fashionable as drinking it. Everyone, from chefs and bartenders to the consumers they serve seems to be seeking a balanced lifestyle of happy health and hedonistic pleasure.

Ben Branson, Founder of Seedlip

Ben grew up on a farm in Lincolnshire, England. As the story goes, “He stumbled upon a 1651 edition of ‘The Art of Distillation’ and became intrigued with medicinal elixirs.” He created a botanical beverage called Seedlip which can be mixed in cocktails, spruces up seltzers and you can enjoy on the rocks with a splash or two of water. It’s free of sugar, gluten and alcohol, and both versions taste good. Seedlip Garden 108 is distilled with peas, hay, rosemary and thyme.  Seedlip Spice 94 is distilled with cardamom, oak, lemon and grapefruit. It’s so much better than the sugary shots and juices masquerading as healthy that we’ve been tasting. It’s something to drink when we are not drinking besides water, tea and kombucha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We profile the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine spirits and hospitality,
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David Ransom Drink Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

A Cider House Rules – Meet Angry Orchard Cider Maker Ryan Burk

Angry Orchard’s Cider House

We live in apple country in the Hudson Valley. The trees have blossomed and are now heavy with fruit. You can smell the scent of apples in the air. Last week we attended a farm-to-table dinner at Angry Orchard in nearby Walden. It’s a 60-acre farm dating back to the 1700s that today makes both classic and modern styles of hard cider.

The apple orchard in Walder, New York
The apple orchard in Walder, New York

Cider making dates back to colonial times. Now days it’s had a resurgence, growing 400% since 2010. We’ve tasted a good amount of hard ciders here in New York, one of the best regions for cider making and the second largest state for apple production in the U.S.A.

Ryan Burk, Head Cider Maker, Angry Orchard

Ryan Burk grew up in  New York’s apple country and started making cider at an early age. He’s now Head Cider Maker at Angry Orchard and he serves on the boards of the United States Association of Cider Makers and Cider Institute of North America. Recently named one of Wine Enthusiast‘s “40 Under 40,” Ryan takes time out from production to join us August 30th. 2pmEST.

We profile the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine spirits and hospitality,

 

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INSPIRE

New Orleans Pays It Forward To Houston

It’s hard to believe that twelve years ago this week Hurricane Katrina walloped New Orleans creating widespread destruction, and here we are again watching Houston being pummeled by a hurricane, lingering rains and flooding of historic proportions.

I remember that Labor Day weekend in 2005 planning a fund raising campaign with The James Beard Foundation, Alex Brennan Martin from Brennan’s Houston and Southern Foodways Alliance Director John T. Edge to create a relief fund to help restaurant and hotel workers displaced by  Katrina.

This time it’s New Orleans rallying to help Houston. I reached out to Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan early this morning asking how they were, how Alex and the family in Houston were coping and how we could help. I’m glad I did because the Fearless Fabulous Brennans were already cooking up a plan with the Louisiana Restaurant Association and Greater New Orleans Foundation.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of our friends and colleagues living in Houston, or who have family living there. Let’s rally behind them.

Here is what Ti sent us. Please share and contribute:


The Louisiana Restaurant Association and Ti Martin of Commander’s Palace have teamed up with the Greater New Orleans Foundation to activate the Hurricane Harvey Hospitality Employee Relief Fund. The relief fund will donate individual grants to restaurant and hotel workers who are in need during this trying time.

“After Hurricane Katrina, the Houston community was there for New Orleans and we’ll never forget it. Alex Brennan Martin started the New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund and it raised and gave away over a million dollars in small grants to help individuals in New Orleans. Today, we are returning the favor,” shares Ti Martin.

If you or an organization you know are looking to support our industry, please visit www.gnof.org/give-now/ and specify your donation is for the “Hurricane Harvey Hospitality Employee Relief Fund.” If the donor prefers to send a check, please make it out to the Greater New Orleans Foundation and mail it to 919 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130.  #withlovefromnola

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Cookbook David Ransom Eat Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

This Herbalist Does Not Waste Thyme- The Connected Table LIVE! August 23

Herbalist Brittany Nickerson teaches people about the health attributes of herbs and how to use them in cooking in her workshops at Thyme Herbal.  She also offers a three-year Herbal Apprentice Program, teaches at the University of Massachusetts and is author of The Everyday Living Series for your home. We’re all about trying to simplify and create a healthier home.

Brittany Nickerson

In “The Herbalist’s Kitchen,” Brittany explains kitchen medicine and categorizes herbs by sweet, salty, sour, pungent and bitter and their health benefits. The book’s recipes are separated into seasons, and there are also some easy recipes to make your own lavender skin scrub and rosemary hair rinse.

 

Listen to Brittany here on iHeart.com

 

 

 

 

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David Ransom Eat Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Behind the Scenes at OSU Food Innovation Center with Sarah Masoni

Sarah Masoni , Oregon State University Food Innovation Center

What is the recipe for becoming a successful food entrepreneur, and in what direction is food innovation heading? We discuss August 23 with Sarah Masoni, who manages the Product & Process Development Team working at the Food Innovation Center at Oregon State University,

I met Sarah at this summer’s Fancy Food Show in New York presented by the Specialty Food Association. I was intrigued by her EXCITE talk on innovation and what makes a food entrepreneur and checked out the products from OSU entrepreneurs displayed at the show’s “LevelUP” Future of Food exhibit.

OSU LevelUP  Exhibit at the Summer Fancy Food Show

Whether it’s food made from sea byproducts, sourced from the ground, or re-purposed from food waste, Sarah and her team help nurture entrepreneurs and drive innovation. What may be coming out of Oregon could be hitting the food shelves and our plates down the road.

Listen to Sarah Masoni on The Connected Table LIVE! on iHeart.com here:

 

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Drink Eat Events

What Pairs with Dishes from 35 Chefs? Champagne, Of Course!

Recently we spent five days on the East End of Long Island visiting friends. Luckily for us the visit coincided with The James Beard Foundation‘s 27th annual Chefs & Champagne July 29 which featured more than 35 chefs from New York City and Long Island. We had not attended Chefs & Champagne for several years and were surprised at how large the event has become with more than 1,000 attendees under the large tent erected on Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack. The tent looked like the top of the Baked Alaska we recently tasted at The Breakers Palm Beach.

Chefs & Champagne July 27 2017 at Wölffer Estate Vineyards

Marcus  Samuelsson was this year’s honoree which made us happy since he is one of the kindest chefs we know. In addition to being owner of Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club and Streetbird Rotisserie, Marcus is a cofounder with Herb Karlitz of the annual Harlem EatUp! which is a love letter to his neighborhood. Whenever I see him, Marcus always smiles and inquires about my mother asking “How’s the Purple Lady?” I warn him that she’s going to tap him to cook at one of her charity events in Chattanooga some day and he will experience true Tennessee style hospitality!

Marcus and Melanie

Events like these rely on the generosity of its sponsored. In particular we want to give a shout out to Roman Roth at Wolffer Estate Family Vineyard as venue host. JBF President Susan Ungaro and Roman presented the 2017 Christian Wolffer Scholarship, named after the winery’s late founder, to Jordan Werner, a student at International Culinary Center (ICC)’s Intensive Sommelier Course.

Roman Roth and David

Thanks to the generosity of  Champagne Barons de Rothschild we were well satiated with their Rosé and Brut, and we look forward to scheduling a visit with Philippe Sereys de Rothschild soon to discuss the estate on The Connected Table LIVE!

Others sponsors included: Audi, Alfredo Prodotti, Big Green Egg,  Brewery Ommegang, FreshDirect + FoodKick, Gokokuya, Hamptons.com, Hamptons Magazine, KAMUT®,  Melissa’s® Produce, Neuman’s Kitchen Events & Catering, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach Royal Cup Coffee and Tea, Saratoga Sparkling Eater, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Ver’Terra Dinnerware, Windstar Cruises and WVVH.

Georgette Farkas, Owner of Rotisserie Georgette, strikes a glamorous pose on this Audi.

Chefs & Champagne raised over $100,000 to support The James Beard Foundation’s scholarship, education and JBF Impact Programs. The timing for the event was perfect preparation for our visit with Susan Ungaro August 9, 2pm EST, on The Connected Table LIVE (W4CY Radio/www.W4CY.com).  During Susan’s 11-year tenure she has initiated programs to align with mission of JBF and its commitment to education, philanthropy and advocacy, and in the process raised its profile beyond the JBF Awards and special events. These include initiatives such as The annual JBF Food Summit, the JBF Leadership Awards and the Women in Culinary Leadership Program.

Susan Ungaro, Melanie and David at Chefs and Champagne. Susan will be our guest on The Connected Table LIVE! August 9th.

 

We profile the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine spirits and hospitality.
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THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Hey Lisa, When Are You Publishing Your Book?

Some say people working in public relations should be seen and not heard. Others say they should be heard and not seen. I say the rules have changed entirely. Much of that is thanks to powerhouses like Lisa Ekus who redefined the rules starting in 1982 when she opened the first public relations agency solely devoted to publicizing cookbooks, chefs, and food products.

Lisa Ekus www.lisaekus.com

This year The Lisa Ekus Group celebrates 35 years in business  “representing a world of culinary talent.”  As the company grew it added a media training division, created a literary agency and now manages careers for authors and culinary spokespersons. Her clientele of more than 200 authors reads like a “Who’s Who of Cooking in Food & Beverage.”  Saying your career-cookbook-product-project is being managed by Lisa Ekus is a badge of honor. Lisa still works out of her 200-plus year old farmhouse in Hatfield, MA. Again, she’s a rule breaker, bucking the “you need to be based in in NYC to succeed” old school thinking.

After all these years, Lisa had amassed an enviable collection of more than 10,000 books (mostly cookbooks). So, when is she writing her cookbook or culinary  memoir? We’ll ask her July 12th.

Listen to our July 12th show with Lisa Ekus as well as Deepa Thomas, author of “Deepa’s Secrets,” here iHeart.com and the free iHeart App. Click here:

 

 

 

 

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Drink Eat Explore THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

The Breakers Palm Beach- Ageless & Timeless

I’ve been fascinated with grand hotels ever since my father took me to New York when I was five to visit Eloise at The Plaza. The front desk told us she was with her Nanny in Central Park. Eloise mailed me a thank you postcard for stopping by.  A girl with manners!


One of the items on my travel “bucket list” is to visit many of the grand dame hotels around the world. While staying with David’s mother in Florida last week we spent the day at The Breakers Palm Beach and hosted our show at the hotel. Our guest was Nick Velardo, VP of Food & Beverage, who oversees the resort’s nine restaurants. We dined at two of them, The Seafood Bar and HMF restaurant and cocktail lounge.

Quiet gardens are everywhere

 

So are awe-inspiring floral arrangements

It was my “Eloise” moment, and the day did not disappoint. It was easy to say “Hello” to this Grand Dame and hard to say “Good Bye.” An interesting tidbit: The Breakers is still family-owned, and the heirs of Henry Flagler invest about $30 million annually to keep the property fresh and fabulous.

A place so refined event the cocktails wear a monogram. “Blueberry Bootlegger” at HMF
(Pisco, blueberry, lemon and ginger)

We were in Palm Beach during the off season, but you wouldn’t know it at The Breakers. The July 4th holiday brought families, couples and loyal fans, and the the hotel was bustling. Still, the team made time and accommocations for our last minute plans to visit.

“Natural” sushi at HMF. No rice is kind of nice.

 

Baked Alaska at HMF

Nick Velardo and his team, including Master Sommelier and Wine Director Virginia Phillip, have their work cut out for them. The Breakers is a place where guests’ expectations are high, and the crowd comes hungry. That’s why The Breakers sells annually:

  • 75,993 martinis
  • 621,087 pieces of sushi /sushi rolls
  • 11,757 stone crab claws
  • 1,365 pounds of caviar
  • and 27,200 slices of Key lime pie.
Make that 27,201 slices after we devoured ours.

Here is the iHeart link to our July 5th show with Nick Velardo, VP of Food & Beverage at The Breakers Palm Beach and Stanislas Thierry, VP of Sales & Marketing for Vranken-Pommery America, who shares the legacy of Louise Pommery who is credited for creating the Brut Champagne style. (LINK)

Or click here: