Miami Dolphins Legend Turns Restaurant Innovator with New Tapas Concept

Miami Dolphins Legend Turns Restaurant Innovator with New Tapas Concept

On this episode of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen, Paul welcomes former Miami Dolphin and Restaurateur, Kim Bokamper and the chef of Kim’s new restaurant concept The Balcony, Chef Simon Porter. The Balcony just opened up a few weeks ago, bringing the tastes of New Orleans to Las Olas, a popular social area in South Florida.

But what’s special about this concept is the menu style. While New Orleans fare is normally very hearty and served in large portions, Chef Porter and the PDKN restaurant group worked together to create smaller tasting sizes of New Orleans classics so guests can taste a number of dishes, getting the full experience of NOLA.

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Chef John Besh Steps Down After Alleged Sexual Harassment Claims at his Restaurant Group

Source: www.chefjohnbesh.com/about/

Source: www.chefjohnbesh.com/about/

Chef John Besh’s restaurant group is under scrutiny due to sexual harassment claims by 25 female workers.

Today, in an email from Shannon White, now the CEO of Besh Restaurant Group (BRG), it was announced Besh is "stepping down" to focus fully on his family, according to “The New York Times.”

Besh, known for promoting New Orleans cuisine through his twelve acclaimed restaurants, is making headlines for what many current and former BRG employees claim is a “bro culture” throughout the organization.

Nine woman agreed to have their names published and go on the record declaring that they were victims of sexual harassment while working for BRG, according to an investigation by "NOLA.com" and "The Times-Picayune” released over the weekend.

In a complaint filed by Lindsey Reynolds, with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the company’s former social media manager said "vulgar and offensive comments, aggressive unwelcomed touching and sexual advances were condoned and sometimes even encouraged by managers and supervisors" at BRG.

According to “NOLA.com" and "The Times-Picayune,” Reynolds “resigned in February because the "rampant sexual misbehavior and harassment by the owners and managers of BRG had become unbearable," her complaint said. "There was no human resources person available, only other supervisors who were either afraid of losing their jobs or saw no benefit in challenging the good old boys club."

Reynolds claims are just one example of numerous other testimonies made by other women.

"We have learned recently that a number of women in our company feel that we have not had a clear mechanism in place to allow them to voice concerns about receiving the respect they deserve on the job. I want to assure all of our employees that if even a single person feels this way, it is one person too many and that ends now,” said Raymond Landry, BRG’s General Counsel, in a statement.

It turns out it wasn’t until earlier this month that BRG hired a director of human resources to provide the proper support to process such sexual harassment claims, said a company’s spokesman.

In a separate statement, Besh expressed his regret to having a consensual affair with a female employee and his plans to rebuild his marriage. "I alone am entirely responsible for my moral failings. This is not the way the head of a company like ours should have acted, let alone a husband and father. But it should not taint our incredible team of more than 1,000 employees, nor undermine our unyielding commitment to treating everyone with respect and dignity, regardless of gender, race, age and sexual preference," said Besh.

There are other allegations tied to other executives like Octavio Mantilla, co-owner of BRG.

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Pop-Up Dining Options Now Common in NOLA's Culinary Scene

New Orleans is currently witnessing a surge of restaurant talent pouring into the region to explore the city's vast culinary potential, many of whom are participating in pop-up style eateries to test their new concepts on locals and visitors alike. For these chefs who may lack the overhead to afford a brick and mortar, or those who simply want to understand NOLA culture better before entering into their own concept, these casual, pop-up style "restaurants" offer much potential.

Restaurateur Jennifer Blackwell explained to NOLA's Gambit "Over the last few years, everyone has the sense that the restaurant scene in the city has become so flooded with permanent brick-and-mortar places," Jennifer says. "When this thing at St. Roch Market came up, it definitely seemed like a great opportunity to hone everything and develop a following before we get to wherever that next step is." Read More

Out of Town Chefs Make their Mark on NOLA Culinary Scene

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New Orleans has long been known as a city with a fusion of cultures, peoples and cuisine — and it's current culinary development is no different, with a number of chefs from other states and nations beginning to come to the area to open a number of unique restaurant concepts. Most famous of these transplant chefs would of course be Emeril Lagasse, however over the last several years the number has increased with culinary talent from all over flocking to New Orleans.

Nina Compton is one such chef who became enamored with the city after filming Top Chef: New Orleans, opening her concept Compere Lapin with her husband earlier this year. Compton explained that while the city welcomes the wide range of talent from outside the city, there is a local custom for non-native chefs to gain the go-ahead from an established chef or business in the city before opening a new concept. Learn more about the culinary mixing pot in New Orleans here

Developer Aims to Bring West End Area Back to Life With Restaurant

Before Hurricane Katrina, the West Elm area of NOLA was the home to a bunch of eateries and bars on Lake Pontchartrain. A developer known as the Millennium Group has announced that they will be building a new restaurant and entertainment complex called "The Dock" on the lake where the Fitzgerald's restaurant was. 

This restaurant will have an outdoor sitting area by the water. As a safety measure, the first floor will be 17 feet above the water. Also, the Army Corps of Engineers has just finalized plans for the permanent pumping station at the mouth of the 17th street canal. This means "The Dock" development could be starting as early as next summer.

With the talks of building a restaurant in this area, does this mean in a few years that the West Elm area will be rejuvenated? Read More