Not Female Chefs... Just Chefs

On this episode of Chef AF, our host Chef Jim Berman sits down with Chef Mollie Kaufmann of the restaurant Little Pearl in Washington, D.C. to shed some light on the “controversial” topic of being a female leader in what has been in the past a predominantly male-led industry.

“I think there are a lot more female chefs than people realize, and I think there are a lot more female chef’s behind male restaurateurs than people may realize,” says Kaufmann.

She goes on to explain that the way traditional kitchens operate does not need to change to accommodate a chef, just because that chef happens to be a woman. The only thing that needs to evolve is the industry's ability to even the playing field. To lead a successful kitchen, there must be mutual respect and a positive work environment. Chef Mollie explains that it hasn’t been an easy journey but that has not stopped her from becoming a lead chef at a highly rated restaurant.

“The end goal is the food, and your experience as a guest and it shouldn’t matter if a man cooked it or a woman cooked it or whomever,” says Kaufmann.

Listen to the podcast above to hear the full conversation with Chef Kaufmann about her journey and her advice on how to grow into a flourishing chef in today’s industry and team leader regardless of whether you are male or female.

Disgraced Celebrity Chef Mario Batali Sells All of his Restaurant Group Shares

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In December of 2017, "Eater" reported that Celebrity Chef Mario Batali had been sexually harassing women for the last two decades.

After the allegations hit the media, Batali announced that he would be stepping down from his restaurant empire. At the time, Batali and his former partner Joe Bastianich's restaurant group included 16 restaurants.

“Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses,” said Batali to “Eater.” “...For this reason, I am going to step away from day-to-day operations of my businesses. We built these restaurants so that our guests could have fun and indulge, but I took that too far in my own behavior. I won’t make that mistake again.”

Fast forward to today, Batali has completely removed himself from ownership from his restaurant group by selling all of the shares of his business to the Bastianich family.

“I have reached an agreement with Joe [Bastianich] and no longer have any stake in the restaurants we built together. I wish him the best of luck in the future," said Batali in a statement Wednesday, as reported by “The Blast.”

He “will no longer profit from the restaurants in any way, shape or form," according to the Bastianich family.

Batali is planning to sell his shares of the high-end Italian grocery chain Eataly too.

At the end of last year, "Eater" published a follow-up story where it was revealed that Batali's restaurants saw a 30 percent drop in sales following the multiple sexual misconduct allegations. The article also condemned the group for allowing him to continue to collect profits while the process to buy out Batali lingered for over a year.

"The New York Times" reported in April that Batali would divest from his restaurants, allowing his partners to buy out his stake. But the negotiations, meant to close in July, have gone on, and anyone who eats at the restaurants Batali made famous is putting more money in the chef’s pockets," wrote "Eater" in December of last year.

A little less than a year and a half later, Batali has officially sold his stake to his partner. Will this encourage diners to visit the chef's former restaurants now that he is no longer tied to them financially?

The #MeToo movement has helped to expose the former misconduct of a number of celebrity chefs and now they are finally experiencing the consequences.

Mario Batali, John Besh, Mike Isabella, Ken Friedman, and Tom Colicchio are some of the many that have received multiple accusations of sexual harassment in 2017 and 2018.

At the end of 2017, Foodable Host of The Barron Report Paul Barron gave his predictions for what was to come for 2018. His No. 2 prediction was "the demise of the celebrity chef." Watch the video below where Barron shows how much of a hit Batali's Sentiment Score took following his sexual harassment scandal.

Worse than getting burned? Losing your mind! Why Mental Health Matters

In today’s Chef AF episode, our host Chef Jim Berman speaks candidly with Chef Curtis Gamble of Pittsburgh’s Station restaurant about a very important topic not only within the restaurant industry but in society today.

Mental Health.

The two talk about the importance of having some sort of anchor outside of the work place, establishing open lines of communication about each individual’s goals, and simply adopting healthier lifestyle habits.

“I think on a day-to-day basis, as I’ve grown older… I’ve kind of calmed down, you know? To be totally candid, quit drinking, things like that… I’ve managed to keep more of a calmness about the kitchen work, a calm kind of intensity to it?,” says Chef Gamble. “And I think that’s translated well to keeping communication open… allowing people to be like candid with how they feel about certain things… the work loads that they have and things like that.”

Listen to the podcast above to hear the full conversation and learn some tips about how to better communicate with your fellow crew members!


Show Notes:

  • 2:26 - Meeting Chef Curtis Gamble

  • 3:50 - How is your head?

  • 5:47 - Work/Life Balance

  • 13:06 - BOH Hospitality

  • 16:59 - How to get your crew to feel comfortable to talk?

  • 23:40 - Advice for young chefs?

  • 26:49 - Blue Collar Work

Hosted by:

Rachel Brill

JIM BERMAN

Expert Columnist / Show Host


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James Beard Announces 2019 Semifinalists and Predictions

James Beard Announces 2019 Semifinalists and Predictions

The James Beard Foundation announced the 2019 Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists! This years who’s who reads from the Top 25 Restaurant lists here on Foodable! This year brings in some new talent and some definite off the beaten path restaurants as well. Based on what my analysis is so far this year could be one of the best classes in a long time.

Checkout the full list below, from Best New Restaurant to Outstanding Chef. The announcement for the final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, as well as the nominees for the Media and Restaurant Design Awards, was held in Houston today. Check the Twitter hashtag for the latest - #jbfa

The 2019 James Beard Awards Gala will take place on Monday, May 6, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The 2019 Leadership Awards will be held on Sunday, May 5 in Chicago, and the 2019 Media Awards will take place on Friday, April 26, at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City. Tickets to both the Awards Gala and the Media Awards will be on sale beginning March 27 at jamesbeard.org/awards.

Check out my Ones to Watch below!

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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

Hosted by:

Rachel Brill

JIM BERMAN

Expert Columnist / Show Host


VIEW BIO
 
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