The New Wild West... Food Trends, Cannabis & The New Hospitality

It’s been a little over six years after recreational cannabis was legalized in the state of Colorado through Amendment 64 and the impact has been huge on many fronts. In this episode of Chef AF, our host Chef Jim Berman sits down with Denver-resident, Chef Brandon Foster to talk about one way the cannabis industry has unexpectedly impacted the food service industry.

The gentlemen also dish about the Colorado food scene, culinary trends across the nation, as well as, the Denver work environment for chefs.

“It’s a very homegrown scene and everybody has worked kind of with everybody, so to speak. And, you know, there’s not necessarily a lot of bad blood or competition. Yeah you want to succeed but you want to see your friends succeed too,” says Chef Foster. “And that’s an environment between restaurants where that’s not always the case in a big city...I think this is something that sets us apart, if you will.”

Chef Foster started his culinary career by working in hotels and then went on to work for restaurants. About three years ago, he made a change to work for a non-profit, Project Angel Heart, an organization that makes medically-tailored meals for people who are living with life threatening illnesses.

Listen to the podcast above to hear the full conversation about the positive and not so positive impact of the cannabis industry on Colorado and, more specifically, the foodservice industry!


Show Notes:

  • 1:21 - Meeting Chef Brandon Foster of Project Angel Heart

  • 3:58 - Restaurant Industry trends happening in Denver, Colorado

  • 8:48 - Describing the Colorado food scene

  • 14:23 - What do you look for food trends-wise when traveling?

  • 19:20 - Cannabis legalization impact on restaurant industry

  • 23:16 - Positive impact of CBD on a local farmer and what he decided to do with his farmland

 
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Why 'Local-Only' Isn't Going To Work

In the midst of the farm-to-table movement, a lot of what we are hearing in the restaurant industry is talk about locally-sourced menus and cooking in accordance with the seasons.

The concept, in theory, is great and all and it’s exciting for chefs when they are able to work with the freshest of ingredients grown in the farm down the street, but is this concept sustainable in every part of the country?

In this first episode of Chef AF, our host Chef Jim Berman sits down with Chef Hari Cameron, a semi-finalist for the James Beard “Rising Star Chef Of The Year” award in 2013 for his restaurant a(MUSE), to discuss why local-only isn’t going to work. They will chat about the reality of cooking with the seasons in certain parts of the country, best practices, and, even, how to strike a balance to keep businesses afloat.

“If we only ate locally, we would only be eating hydroponically or really hearty meals...,” says Chef Cameron.

Chef Cameron opened his Rehoboth Beach (Delaware) restaurants, a(MUSE) and Grandpa (MAC), in 2012 and 2015 respectively and found success with both concepts early on from their inception.

“We were cooking food that was exciting to us. We didn’t know anybody was paying attention or even listening,” says Chef Hari Cameron.

Listen to the podcast above to hear the full conversation about not only supporting the local community but the goal of cooking delicious food!


Show Notes:

  • 1:33 - Introducing Chef Hari Cameron of a(MUSE) & Grandpa (MAC)

  • 4:17 - So, why local-only as a concept isn’t going to work?

  • 6:40 - How does Winter shape-shift your menu?

  • 11:06 - What do you say to people who look to do local-only?

  • 13:43 - How do you strike a financial balance to make your business work?

  • 26:49 - What does hospitality mean to Chef Hari Cameron?

 
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Foodable Network Launches Chef AF a New Podcast

Today, Foodable is launching a new podcast — Chef AF, It’s All Food!— with Chef Jim Berman.

You may have already found out about the newest podcast addition to our show library, through The Barron Report’s latest piece where listeners had the chance to learn more about the chef and host.

Chef Berman has not only been a longtime Foodable expert contributor, but he’s also been a food writer for multiple publications while simultaneously working in and out of kitchens across the U.S.

Now, as the host of Chef AF, Chef Berman will have the chance to get his peers to “talk shop,” as he likes to say, in order to help other chefs and restaurant industry professionals navigate the wonderful yet complex kitchen life.

Chef AF, It’s All Food! is officially launching on Foodable Network today and it will soon be available in iTunes, Google Play and Spotify and other podcast listening platforms.

Listen to the first episode above to meet Berman and learn what you can expect to get from this new podcast!

Getting to Know Chef Jim Berman The Host Behind New Foodable Podcast—Chef AF

“I am, quite honestly, a very unintentional cook,” says Chef Jim Berman.

In this episode of The Barron Report, host Paul Barron sits down with Chef Jim Berman, a longtime Foodable expert contributor, whose currently working as a corporate chef for a regional group that has six operating properties.

“I was a private school wonder-kid if you will in that I went to a fancy private school and I was going to be an investment banker because my dad said ‘You’re going to be an investment banker!’ …and I found that in between semester of going to school being a cook was a pretty easy way to find work and it was pretty rewarding and the lifestyle was certainly an adventure,” says Berman. “And then a few years into it, I thought maybe this is something I’m going to do for real.”

Berman is the host of Foodable’s newest podcast show—Chef AF, It’s All Food!

“So, boiled down, reduced. [Chef AF] really is about real, relevant, almost gritty insight about best practices, worse practices...,” says Berman. “You know, one of the things I came up with when we were conceiving the show is cues and miscues. I think bad missteps we can learn from…”

Listen to the podcast to learn more about how Chef Berman thinks about food and get a sneak peek into what to expect from the first season of Chef AF!


Show Notes:

  • 1:43 - How Jim Berman got into the restaurant industy

  • 3:28 - Chef Jim Berman’s current role

  • 6:01 - What kind of content do you look for as a foodservice professional?

  • 8:07 - What to expect from Chef AF

  • 15:05 - What Chef AF will mean to operators?

  • 20:25 - Role of Social Media today

  • 29:53 - What Chef AF could mean to listeners and possibly guests

 
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America’s 1st Certified Organic QSR Is Giving Sport Fans What They Want

Foodable had the chance to catch up with The Organic Coup, the first certified organic fast food restaurant, once again, but this time at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. On this episode of On Foodable, Paul Barron sits down with the brand’s founder, Erica Welton, to talk about latest achievements and future plans.

We first learned about The Organic Coup in 2016 when Foodable had the chance to visit its first location to learn about the brand in depth. Although the certified organic fried chicken remains at the core of this fast food concept with the fried chicken sandwich still being the favored menu item, the brand has started to develop six grab-and-go retail products that are currently featured at some Whole Food locations in Northern California.

This fast food joint has grown to 10 locations in just a little over three years. However, Welton believes that when she looks back at the brand’s history one day she’ll say that the “breakout moment” for The Organic Coup came once it opened a concession shop at a major sports venue like Oracle Park (formerly known as the AT&T Park), home of the San Francisco Giants.

We’re at the “San Francisco Giants ballpark and of course that was not part of the business plan, not a part of our original thought process...,” says Welton. “but, the San Francisco Giants, they had so many fan requests... requesting organic, clean, healthy food... food that they can feel good about eating… and some of their executives had been eating in our San Francisco location and so they brought us over.”

This lead The Organic Coup to later open at the Levi’s Stadium, home of the 49ers. In the last game of the season— during the College National Championship Game— the brand ended up closing as the No. 1 concession stand for the stadium making $37,000 in just four hours.

Check out the video above to learn more about what sets this fast food concept apart to get a clue to their success!