Adrianne Calvo on the Culinary Scene and Launching New Restaurant Cracked

On this episode of The Barron Report, host Paul Barron chats with acclaimed celebrity chef, author, and restaurateur Adrianne Calvo. Calvo opened her first restaurant, Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar, in Miami in 2007, and is opening a fast casual restaurant, Cracked, this month. She has competed in Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay, had her dishes featured in Gourmet and Bon Appétit, and she regularly appears on NBC's 6 In the Mix every Thursday. Barron and Calvo discuss keeping things fresh, building a menu, and the unique struggles women face in the culinary industry.

For Calvo, real estate is always “second on the list to your product.” Having made her first restaurant—located in a strip mall—a success, and started Cracked as an artisan-driven chef sandwich food truck, she argues that location is not everything. Having a compelling brand and consistent flavor is key. “People will drive as long as it’s a good product.”

Calvo notes that her experience is uncommon to most female chefs because she owns her business. Many women struggle to rise and are quietly, but swiftly blacklisted from the industry if they have a family. Even those who do rise have to struggle with the gender pay gap and earn less than a man for the same work.

“It’s a delicate dance, the restaurant industry,” says Calvo. “I was researching how many executive chefs are women in hotels. There’s a handful in America. They can’t go up the ladder. Men are at the top of the chain.”

Calvo does not think the industry is without hope. “Roles are changing,” she notes. Men are beginning to share the load of taking care of a family. However, as Calvo adds, “It’s not going to start in the kitchens of hotels—it has to start in society as a whole.”

Check out the podcast above to learn more about the Cracked menu, crafting a “league of exceptional chefs,” and her advice for the next generation of chefs. And if you would like to keep listening, check out The Barron Report podcast on iTunes Now!

Research by:

Paul Barron

Paul Barron

Editor-in-Chief/Executive Producer


How Souvla is Revitalizing Fast-Fine Dining

Earning the unofficial rank of an “emerging brand” is not an easy task in today’s oversaturated industry. A unique idea, excellent service, and an appealing menu is not always enough to secure a restaurant’s survival.

Charles Bililies, the CEO and founder of Souvla, shares his vision for the fast-fine dining restaurant on this episode of Emerging Brands. Based in San Francisco with four current locations, Souvla—a reference to the Greek word meaning “spit” or “skewer”—offers a modern version of traditional Greek gyro and souvlaki sandwiches with rotisserie roasted and naturally-raised meats, and features the only all-Greek beverage menu available in any United States restaurant. Frozen Greek yogurt is served for dessert.

“Souvla was conceived first and foremost as a brand,” says Bililies. In everything they do, “[we] really want to make sure it stays true to the soul of Souvla.”

While customers order meals at the front counter, they still enjoy typical fine-dining benefits like a server who brings food to your candle-lit table, fine wine, and bussing service. And they also enjoy a relatively cheap, reasonable bill at the conclusion of their meal.

Souvla operates under the motto “make it nice and be nice,” and the maxim is displayed on the walls of the restaurant’s kitchens and offices. For Bililies, the goal is to avoid the toxic culture of perfection that has become rampant in many modern restaurants while still consistently meeting and exceeding the highest standards of quality.

“Even though the physical menu doesn’t change, we’re constantly evolving and refining who we are and what we do and how we do it,” adds Bililies. Souvla is always striving to “find other unique ways to engage with our guests and our followers.”

Listen to the episode above to hear more from Bililies on the Souvla experience and what lies ahead for the company, and check out the Emerging Brands podcast to learn about other rising brands and innovators in the restaurant industry. You can also download the Top 150 Emerging Brands Guide to check out the full list of emerging brands from Foodable Labs.

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Olivia Aleguas


Handling Prescription and Illegal Drug Use in the Workplace

The costs of an employee lawsuit can devastate both sides of a case. At her practice, former litigator and current restaurant employment lawyer Lexington Wolff advises industry employers on how to avoid such lawsuits in the first place.

In the latest episode for the new podcast Restaurant Masters, guest host Wolff discusses how to handle employee use of illegal and prescription drugs at your restaurant within the bounds of the law.

Drug use has always been a problem in the restaurant industry, but the issue has become more legally fraught for employers and employees alike in recent years.

“A lot of employers are under the misconception that they are entitled to a drug-free workplace, and that they have the power to influence that by any means,” says Wolff. “That is not exactly accurate. The law is really much more nuanced.”

In general, employers can test for illegal drug use at any time, and discipline employees who refuse to take a test. However, prescription drug employment laws are a bit less clear.

“If you’re going to test for prescription drug use, it’s very likely you’re going to learn about a medical condition or a protected disability that you otherwise had no reason to know about,” notes Wolff. And despite what some employers may think, “the less you know about a person’s protected status, the better.”

If you fire an employee or do not hire a candidate for a role after such an extensive test, you are opening yourself up to the possibility of a lawsuit. A candidate could effectively argue in court that you did not hire them because of their disability.

Listen to the episode above to learn more about developing a company-wide drug policy and the ins and outs of current marijuana laws.

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer


Butter-Poached Alaska Flounder Cooked Mexican Style in Kansas City

Chefs and consumers alike need to be conscious of the origin of their seafood. While generally more sustainable than other protein sources, seafood can vary in nutritional value depending on its source and supplier.

The second season of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen & Bar is partnering with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to highlight chefs who understand and value sustainable seafood sourcing practices. These chefs share innovative, fish-focused dishes that will revitalize your menu, and also explain their own contributions to and investment in the sustainable seafood movement.

This season is also available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and Foodable On-Demand.

Alaska Sole—commonly known as flounder—is one of the healthiest and most nutrient-dense types of flatfish. All wild Alaska fisheries are responsibly and sustainably harvested throughout the state.

The above video provides a glimpse of Chef Carlos Falcon at work. Falcon shares his delicious Butter-Poached Alaska Flounder recipe with host Paul Barron, and he keeps the flavors simple with such ingredients as bomba rice, lobster fumet, Alaska king crab meat, and duck egg aioli.

As the owner and chef of Jarocho in the landlocked Kansas City, Falcon missed the seafood of his hometown. Despite some skepticism, he decided to bring a Mexican-infused seafood menu to the midwest and swiftly won over his critics. He and his culinary staff prioritize keeping things simple at the restaurant: at the end of the day, just make delicious, uncomplicated dishes that everyone can enjoy.

To learn more about the recipe and best practices for sustainable seafood, watch the full episode now on Amazon Prime Video or Foodable On-Demand.

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


Data is King: How to Leverage Your Consumer Insights to Drive Catering, Delivery Sales

On this episode of the Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, podcast host Valerie Killifer sits down with Daring Solutions founder and CEO Jeff Chasney.

Daring Solutions uses artificial intelligence to optimize restaurant kitchens and directly help staff improve sales, profits, and customer satisfaction. In this episode, Chasney shares how industry operators can leverage data to grow long-term sales in a marketplace that has been trending toward off-premise—according to Chasney, a reported 22 percent of delivery drivers tamper with orders.

“Data is of paramount importance not in and of itself, but in the analytics that you can draw,” says Chasney. Data needs to be kept in a coherent system that is properly validated and updated as needed. “There’s a lot of data that gets accumulated by any point of sales system. The key is not getting as much as you can, but is getting great quality data as it is coming into your system.”

For Chasney, analytics is key to keeping in line with—or getting ahead of—competition. “Our competitive landscape is getting more and more crowded, and we’re all fighting for the same share of stomach,” notes Chasney. “Everybody can only eat so much in a day.” How you leverage data to identify and attract your customer can mean life or death for your restaurant.

Check out the episode above to learn more about properly storing data and how Chasney’s company uses artificial intelligence to improve a restaurant’s maximum number of customers during peak hours.

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Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer