How to Start a Distillery: The Story Behind Eight Oaks Craft Distillery Co.

How to Start a Distillery: The Story Behind Eight Oaks Craft Distillery Co.

By Erica Nonni, Foodable Contributor

According to spirits entrepreneur Chad Butters, craft distilling is a “confluence of history [in which] spirits run deep.” Chad has made his home in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, whose history and characteristics inform his business approach. For a military veteran who has lived in many places, he is an encyclopedia of local folklore and a devotee of local farming and local partnerships. For a relative newcomer to the spirits industry, he is a model for anyone who dreams of opening a distillery.

Chad started Eight Oaks Craft Distillery Co. when he planted the first crop of soft red winter wheat just over a year ago. Next came the revival of Pennsylvania’s original moonshine and experiments with London Dry and Western style gins. Today, only about six months since Eight Oaks broke ground for its distillery, he has developed a product line, engaged local partners and investors, built an events space, and navigated the particularities of local distribution.

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Hong Kong Dining: Classic and Avant-Garde

Hong Kong Dining: Classic and Avant-Garde

By: Erica Nonni, Foodable Contributor

Ask someone in the U.S. to define the term arcane and you may hear words like antiquated, complex, and legalistic. Ask Google and you’ll find “understood by few; mysterious or secret.” Ask Chef Shane Osborn of two-Michelin-star Pied à Terre restaurant fame (London), and you’ll receive a thoughtful description of discreet and exclusive fine dining in the heart of Hong Kong. It is here in Hong Kong’s Central district that Chef Osborn’s restaurant, Arcane, opened just over one year ago.

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Restaurant Trends in Animal Welfare

Restaurant Trends in Animal Welfare

Contemporary foodies are armed with a hefty and growing arsenal of values related to optimum safety, ethics, and deliciousness. We know that meat is better for us if the animal from which it comes is healthy. We’ve bought into the idea that eggs are tastier if the hens that lay them are allowed to roam around and eat grubs. Some of us dabble in veganism for health reasons, ethical reasons, or both. For some of us, dairy is a healthy source of protein; for others, it’s a perverse use of an animal byproduct intended for another species’ babies.

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Menu Prep With Christopher Zabita, Sous Chef at Restaurant Marc Forgione

Menu Prep With Christopher Zabita, Sous Chef at Restaurant Marc Forgione

By Erica Nonni, Foodable Contributor

Chef Christopher Zabita (34), Sous Chef at Restaurant Marc Forgione in NYC’s Tribeca, is an experimenter, a forager, an open mind, and a rising star who maintains a flair for reconsidering things that is charmingly down-to-earth for such a revered restaurant. He has worked with Chef Marc “Forge” Forgione since before the latter won Season 3 of “The Next Iron Chef” in 2010. Here, Chris shares his ideas about menu creation at one of this city’s most respected restaurant groups.

I sat down in Restaurant Marc Forgione in Tribeca on a late afternoon in September, right after the staff meal and before the restaurant opened for the day. Chris walked over to join me, stopping on the way to hand something small to Chef Forgione, which he popped in his mouth while taking a phone call and pacing the floor.

An approving nod. 

It’s good, right?

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Staff Training Tips: How to Teach a Wine List

Staff Training Tips: How to Teach a Wine List

By Erica Nonni, Foodable Contributor

How do successful restaurants train their staff to guide customers through their wine lists? Not just their wine directors with letters after their names, or their rising star sommeliers with Instagram audiences. Not just in very fine dining establishments whose budgets allow - and reputations require - professional wine qualifications and fine-tuned salesmanship.

How do moderately priced restaurants - where foodies go for a great burger or a homemade French onion soup on a weekday night - train their servers to sell from their wine list in a friendly, helpful way that generates sales and increases profitability? How do they do so cost-effectively? Below, two industry leaders in wine distribution and restaurant management who have figured it out share their tips.

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