Nicole Marquis, Founder and CEO of HipCityVeg is an Entrepreneur on a Mission

Nicole Marquis, Founder and CEO of HipCityVeg is an Entrepreneur on a Mission
  • Philadelphia’s HipCityVeg is on a Mission to Show that Plant-Based Food can be Delicious!

On this episode, Nicole Marquis, Founder and CEO of HipCityVeg, tells us how she developed her restaurant to show people that plant-based cuisine can be delicious. Her mission started when her desire to help her father fix his high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes became a debate about genetics versus diet.  Nicole knew that she needed to show, not tell, her father that he could eat well and not give anything up that he loves about food, to instill a lifestyle change.

Listen to the podcast above to hear how Marquis is using the restaurant industry to facilitate lifestyle changes for her customers. 

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On Foodable Insight Series: How Chefs Can Innovate for Sustainability

Urban Farm & Eatery, the world's first fully sustainable restaurant that can grow all of its food — farmed, brewed, crafted, or baked within the premises —  is aiming to open this year and has a goal to serve with a minimal ecological footprint. At the forefront of this movement is chef and entrepreneur Jaime Guerrero, a multi-talented chef who focuses on the need for wholesome food and sustainable farming practices.

"I think that sustainability is something that every chef should be aware of and should be supporting. The whole idea of local and supporting hyperlocal? Our customers are asking for it right now," he said.

Guerrero is also the co-founder of the Schurz Food Science Lab, a one-of-a-kind food science program in Chicago's Schurz High School that makes it a mission to raise the next generation of the country's farmers by translating science, nutrition, and environmental awareness into real-life skills. 

"I'm trying to catch these kids in high school when they're trying to figure out what they want to do, and the reality is that us as chefs and [others in the] sustainable and vertical farming industry need skilled laborers. And not only that, we need kids curious about trying different things to keep our planet sustainable," Guerrero said.

Whether seeking vegetarian or completely vegan trends, consumers are demanding for more plant-based menu items. Superfoods, such as microgreens, are moving on to be more than just garnishes but key ingredients to a dish. Guerrero urges chefs to be conscious of and support the movement.

What things can chefs do in the farming industry to make that happen? Where and how can they improve their own sustainable practices? What practical habits can they start now as the limitation of natural resources becomes a greater challenge in the future?

"It's easy. It's actually just picking up the phone or Googling your local farms, and you'd be surprised how many farms are actually in the area. You'd be surprised of how willing a farmer is with collaborating with you and teaching you, and bringing you into their farms, and even more willing to work with you if you have a specific need," Guerrero said. 

If chefs have a specific menu item they use in abundance, or one that is sparse that they want to explore, Guerrero encourages chefs to reach out to local farmers and discover what possibilities can come out of these connections. 

Watch the full episode of "On Foodable Insight Series" to learn more.

Tavern Road — Fast Casual by Day, Full-Service by Night

In this episode of Table 42, brought to you by the Foodable Network, Paul Barron will lead you down Tavern Road in Boston. It’s a young business that is surprisingly successful, with its second birthday at the end of March. The way Tavern Road functions is a unique concept in itself: by day, it is a fast casual, but at night, it becomes a full-service establishment. The brains behind this self-proclaimed “high energy modern restaurant and bar?”

Meet the brother team, chef and co-owner Louis DiBiccari and operator and co-owner Michael DiBiccari, whose duality mimics the restaurant’s night-and-day difference. Louis creates rich flavors at the back-of-the-house to give guests a tasteful experience like no other, while Michael creates multi-layer designs at the front-of-the-house to give guests a visual experience that can’t be replicated elsewhere. Watch the full episode to see how together they create Tavern Road’s great service that keeps people running back.

From Boston to L.A.: 25 Innovative Restaurants You Need to Know

Foodable WebTV Network

Foodable WebTV Network

When working in the restaurant industry, it’s so important to keep an eye on emerging brands and forward-thinking concepts – namely, independents and microbrands. But whether through menu design, new food & beverage concoctions, or reservation systems, innovative concepts have masterfully changed the approach toward otherwise traditional practices when building a concept. 

Spanning from Boston to Los Angeles, we are now seeing restaurants that pay their workers full wages and don’t accept tips; reservation systems that utilize online gamification to snag a table (and months in advance, at that); and several other cool notables. Read More

10 Restaurants Reinventing Chicago's Dining Scene

Foodable WebTV Network | Photo Credit: Honey Butter Fried Chicken//Facebook

Foodable WebTV Network | Photo Credit: Honey Butter Fried Chicken//Facebook

Chicago is not one to be messed with when it comes to food. (Try telling a Windy City native that New York's pizza is better and see what happens.) But it takes a true vanguard to set the pace. Whether that special ingredient comes in the form of an actual new ingredient infused in a dish, or the way guests experience the food, it all adds up to influencing the way other chefs approach – or at least consider – do things moving forward. 

From Honey Butter Fried Chicken (try reading that without getting hungry) to Senza, here are ten of Chicago's most innovative restaurants. Read More