DoorDash is Using Its Technology to Give Back to the Needy

DoorDash is Using Its Technology to Give Back to the Needy

By law, restaurant owners cannot serve leftover food to guests the following day. So, what is a chef or restaurateur to do with all the extra food?

You could always have employees take some home, but what if you still have more after that?

According to “Fast Company,” “An average restaurant might waste 100,000 pounds of foods a year.”

Enter DoorDash. This food delivery company is using its algorithm to help restaurant owners with a surplus of food finding a person to deliver it to the nearest shelter caring for hungry homeless people, for example.

Read More

Culinary-Driven Drinks are All The Rave at LA’s Birch

Watch this episode on

Nearly five miles south of the Hollywood sign, one can find Birch, a New American restaurant offering culinary-driven cocktails in a rustic setting. The name for this Los Angeles spot serves as a subtle homage to the hometown of its chef/owner, Brendan Collins, who grew up in Nottingham, England, near a copse of birch trees.

Running Birch’s bar program is Gaby Mlynarczyk — the beverage director with over 20 years of experience who also keeps a blog, Loving Cup, to help demystify drink making for the home bartender. In this episode of "Across the Bar," host Paul Barron has a chance to chat and learn from Mlynarczyk, a New Jersey-born and UK-raised fashion-student-accidentally-turned-bartender extraordinaire.

“Bartending was something I just fell into, naturally...,” said Mlynarczyk. “Thirty years ago… I was in fashion school and it was really important for us to have, like... the trendiest and newest...instead I was always hitting the flea markets and thrift shops. So, I didn’t need to make a lot of money but definitely needed to have an allowance for clothing,” explained the ingredient-driven Birch bartender about the motives that drove her to her current profession.

Her approach? She likes to get inspiration from what ingredients are being used back of house and turn those ideas into creative and tasty cocktails. Initially, the inspiration came from wanting to be a pastry chef, but later on, Mlynarczyk was able to forge a creative outlet while improving her financial situation by working front of house and making thoughtful cocktails.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 4.23.39 PM.png

Cocktail No. 1: #3

It’s a variation on a Negroni that is perfect for the winter months. It’s light and considered an apéritif. The ingredients are: Fords Gin, bitters, sweet white vermouth infused with golden and red beets, shiso, and poured over a large block of ice. The drink is finalized with a garnish of carrot flower, edible disco dust, and shiso essence. None of Mlynarczyk’s drinks have names, but this one you can find as #3 in Birch’s drink menu.

Cocktail No. 2: #1

The flavors of the second drink that Mlynarczyk demonstrated for us are inspired by a Thai coconut soup. While the presentation of the cocktail is fairly unconventional, using a Chinese take-out rice box in place for the glass served next to a Chinese fortune cookie, the execution of the drink is simple. This cocktail is a variation on a Mai Tai, a classic tiki-style drink, but Mlynarczyk makes a coconut butter orgeat for it instead of using an almond or brown rice orgeat base. It is the first drink listed in the menu and apparently a very popular one with the Birch crowd. The ingredients are: coconut butter orgeat, five spice rum, dry curaçao, and pickled kumquats. It’s garnished with a Chinese flower and broccoli. To finish it off, it is sprayed by a mint mist, traditional Mai Tai ingredient.

Cocktail No. 3: 004

Lastly, Mlynarczyk shows host Paul Barron how to prepare the final drink, which is based on a Scaffa, “an old-school after dinner drink.” Scaffa-style drinks do not contain water/ice and are a mixture of a liquor and liqueurs and/or bitters. Ingredients used: Irish whiskey, Drambuie, old-spiced rum, honey, bitters. At Birch, this drink is served with a glass smoked with burning frankincense, an edible ingredient used as a purifier.

Watch the episode to learn more!

Quick Six With... Ted Hopson, Chef and Owner of The Bellwether

Quick Six With... Ted Hopson, Chef and Owner of The Bellwether

By Courtney Walsh, West Coast Editor

Chef Ted Hopson, of the newly opened The Bellwether in Studio City, began his culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, but his foray into kitchens began much earlier than that. Growing up in an Italian family, Hopson recalls how food was apart of his upbringing and as such, has always been ingrained into his everyday life.

Spending six years working at Michelin-starred The Water Grill in Downtown Los Angeles, Hopson went on to become Executive Chef of one of LA's top gastropub Father's Office, overseeing the culinary program established by Sang Yoon at the restaurant's two locations. After a long career working to make other's restaurants great, last year Hopson decided to open his own restaurant and alongside Ann-Marie Verdi, also from Father's Office, who signed on as co-owner and beverage director. 

The duo's new concept, The Bellwether, was opened in Studio City with the goal of showcasing the abundance of California produce as well as highlight the local farmers and purveyors who provide the restaurant with their fresh ingredients. Chef Hopson's market-inspired menu has already won over local residents as well as made headlines, including being dubbed one of Los Angeles Magazine's Top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2015.    

Below, we ask the chef six quick questions.

Read More

Quick Six With...Courtney Cowan, Owner and Head Baker at Milk Jar Cookies

Quick Six With...Courtney Cowan, Owner and Head Baker at Milk Jar Cookies

By Courtney Walsh, West Coast Editor

Restaurant owner and head baker Courtney Cowan began her foray into the food and beverage industry after a career in the film and television industry.

Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, Cowan and her husband Adam Tiller opened Milk Jar Cookies in April of 2013, focusing on a number of unique cookie flavors with 14 different revolving flavors featured at the shop such as banana split and chocolate pecan caramel, as well as one additional seasonal flavor. Cowan is also serving locally-sourced fresh milk and Sightglass Coffee beverages.

In addition to her deliciously sweet cookie recipes, Cowan bakes her cookies fresh, from scratch every day. The goal is to pair homemade cookies with locally-sourced milk, ice cream and coffee..

Milk Jar Cookies has also since built a thriving online community to drive sales that includes a “Cookie of the Month Club” that launched last year. “Online shopping is clearly becoming one of the favorite ways for people to shop,” Cowan told reporters at Miracle Mile LA. “We’re very proud of the user-friendly nature of our website.”

Below, we ask Cowan six quick questions, and discover the first meal that changed her life and the one ingredient she couldn’t live without.

Read More

Quick Six With.... Curtis Stone, Chef and Owner of Maude Restaurant

Quick Six With.... Curtis Stone, Chef and Owner of Maude Restaurant

By Courtney Walsh, West Coast Editor

Chef Curtis Stone of Los Angeles' much acclaimed Maude restaurant, hails from Melbourne, Australia. After several years cooking at some of the top restaurants, he moved on to London to continue his culinary dream. Stone has since appeared on numerous cooking and reality shows, best known for his role as host and judge of Top Chef Masters. 

Stone opened Maude in 2014 as a small, 25-seat restaurant that would allow him to continuously challenge himself by exploring new dishes and flavors that highlight a single ingredient. The restaurant became an instant hit and still today, reservations are a hot commodity. Yet despite his celebrity stature and well-acclaimed restaurant, Stone maintains a humble attitude, cooking simple, natural ingredients and spending his time giving back by volunteering and donating to a number of charities. 

Below, we sit down with the chef and ask him six quick questions.     

Read More