Meat Picks | 12.16.14

The Dawn of New Trends

L20 foodIf you haven’t heard about L20’s “reconcept” yet, check out Chicago Eater’s summative. The famed LEYE Michelin-starred seafood restaurant will close at the end of the year for redesign and reopen next February as Intro.

What makes this particular restaurant close so newsworthy is its next-gen objective: rotating chefs. When Intro opens next year, Rich Mellman, the undisputable Godfather of restaurant entrepreneurialism, will have created one of the freshest concepts to hit the Chicago market in recent years.

“Visiting” chefs will work two to three month stints at the new restaurant. The goal is to bring in top talent who operate at the executive chef level, but don’t have ownership. As Mellman described to Crain’s, “We’re going to introduce some of the bright young chefs in the country to Chicago and introduce chefs to a balanced way to think about business.”

Intro will also be the first LEY restaurant to embrace Tock, the cutting edge restaurant ticketing software developed by Restaurateur, Nick Kokonas of Alinea/Next/Aviary fame. LEY plans to “…initially sell pre-paid tickets, like Next and Alinea, costing between $65 and $95 per dinner, excluding taxes, gratuity and beverages.”

Mellman’s concept has all the makings of a home run if all pans out as expected – LEYE partners will have the opportunity to test new concepts and personnel, up and coming chefs will get the educational and exposure opportunity of a lifetime and customers will delight in a consistent flow of new offerings. The Intro stage is set for an ultimate Win-Win-Win.

It’s All Relativehandshake

In a recent Restaurant News post on How To Create Successful Relationships with Your Food Suppliers, buyers sound off on purchasing relationships.

One restaurant operator describes the procurement relationship “like a marriage” where there’s, “love, hate and everything between”. Another says that just shopping prices aren’t the way to succeed, “…building relationships with suppliers is crucial. If they’re not completely on your side, your product is affected.”

If you look up “relativity”, their sentiments make perfect sense: the state of being dependent for existence on or determined in nature, value or quality by relation to something else.

Limiting the number of suppliers you use, maintaining open communication and negotiable product pricing, are some of the top suggestions offered for building profitable, long-term and trustworthy relationships with your suppliers.

Social Outlooks

social graphicIt’s tough to keep up with the pace of digital media; frequency, relevancy and technology can quickly drive any business owner to drink!

True to the pace, social media marketers are consistently challenged by new tech and rapidly changing media platforms. For example, you can (finally) edit captions on Instagram and Twitter now offers the capability of being able to search every public tweet made since the platform’s inception in 2006 –that one, could be scary.

For more updates on these platforms and others (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+), read the Trib’s recent social media outlook post.

P.S. If the thought of dealing with all this “social stuff” stresses you out, check out this Forbes piece on How Successful People Handle Stress – great tips for getting through the holiday season too!

From the desk of John Cecala || Website  LinkedIn  @BuedelFineMeats  Facebook

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Meat Picks | 10.10.13

Hall of Fame Days

Did you know that today is Richard Melman Day? The Mayor of Chicago also decreed October 17th as Chef Paul Kahan Day and the 24th, Chef Alain Roby Day, in celebration of the culinary arts.

2013InducteesMelman, founder of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, will be honored for his Industry achievements, along with Chef of the Year, Chef Paul Kahan and Pastry Chef of the Year, Chef Alain Roby, at the Chicago Culinary Museum & Chefs Hall of Fame awards, on Thursday, October 17th at the Castle Club on Dearborn.

Now in its eighth year, the annual fundraising event has become a calendar staple of the Chicago culinary community. The funds raised each year by silent auction and donations, help support education and industry preservation. Culinary ChicagoCulinaryMuseumLogoartifacts are also being collected for the museum.

Eighteen area restaurants will be on hand to provide the food: Salpicón, Joseph’s Restaurant & Bar, XOCO by Rick Bayless, Saloon Steakhouse, Carmichael’s Chicago Steakhouse, Chicago’s Dog House, Alhambra Palace, A.C.K., (All Chocolate Kitchen), Ristorante Centro, Bittersweet, Bistromic, LAO Eighteen, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, Great Street, Saigon Sisters, Chicago Cut Steakhouse and Hub 51. Buy tickets at brown paper

Buedel Fine Meats is extremely proud to be a financial sponsor of the event.

Would You Buy Expired Food?

The Daily Table is a new grocery concept set to debut in early 2014 which will sell tax-deductible food donations from other grocery stores at drastically reduced rates to income challenged consumers. The store will also offer healthy cooking classes to help educate poorer populations on better health and dietary habits.

UseByThe brainchild of a former Trader Joe’s executive, The Daily Table will in reality be selling expired food at huge discounts – a gallon of milk could actually be as little as a dollar per gallon.

While the concept could be a community and sustainability plus, the prospect of selling expired foods is still unproven. What may complicate matters further is the lack of clarity for what “use by”, “best by”, “sell by”, literally means to consumers. Recent reports provide misinterpretation of labels by consumers has been found to be a “key contributor to 9 out of 10 people throwing away safe and edible food.”

From the desk of  John Cecala   @BuedelFineMeats   Fan Page   Slideshare

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Meat Picks | 8.21.13


Chef Rino Baglio being inducted by Michael Escoffier

New Disciples

Chef Jeremiah Tower, “The Father of American Cuisine” and Chef Rino Baglio, the first North American WACS Master Chef & Executive Chef at Osteria Pronto, were among the honorees inducted into The Disciples of Escoffier International – USA* at a private reception in Chicago last night honoring the one year anniversary of the Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy. Special

"The Father of American Cuisine", Jeremiah Tower with John Cecala

“The Father of American Cuisine”, Jeremiah Tower with John Cecala

guest, Michel Escoffier, the great-grandson of Master Chef Auguste Escoffier, was also on hand commemorating the occasion. You can watch the red sash induction ceremony here.

*The Disciples of Escoffier Intl. maintains the culinary traditions of French Cuisine and honors the memory of Auguste Escoffier, preserving his work and promoting culinary education worldwide.

Creative Harmony

We found the recent TribChefYeo article about the transition journey of acclaimed Top Chef, Patricia Yeo, as lead creative at Big Bowl very insightful. The story provides an in depth accounting of the adjustments Yeo had to make from opening new restaurants and the day to day tasks of running them, to innovating the menus of LEYE’s largest chain.

The Chef says the transition became especially appealing when Big Bowl’s Executive Chef, Marc Bernard invited her to experiment with RusticRoadFarmcrops at the now famous Rustic Road Farm in Elburn which he started last year. Yeo, who has a doctorate in biochemistry from Princeton, shares in Bernard’s dedication to blending lifestyle with local sustainability, now lives at the farm.

Big Bowl’s President, Dan McGowan also weighs in on meshing restaurant management with creative innovation. McGowan says their job is to be just “one step ahead” of their customers, because two or three steps will lose them.

Beef People

WD_Beef_instant_win_gameYou have to love a marketing campaign called, “Beef People”, we certainly do! Last month the Winn Dixie grocery chain started an instant game/sweepstakes called just that. Shoppers who liked their Facebook page would see six cuts of beef sold at Winn-Dixie from flank to rib eye. To win, fans would have to flip and match three out of the six cuts of meat on the page’s virtual grill.

The company expanded the social media game’s accessibility, which more than 46,000 have since played, with mobile and tablet versions. Play was also extended for another month for shots to win the free steak.

From the desk of  John Cecala   @BuedelFineMeats   Fan Page   Slideshare

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Meat Picks | 7.26.13

Food Fight!

TomatoBlastThere’s still time to register online (today before noon) for the Tomato Blast at Soldier Field this Saturday – Chicago’s version of the famous La Tomatina festival in Spain.

100,000 pounds of over ripe tomatoes (firm fruit hurts) will be supplied for the fight. The event lineup is as follows: 12-3: Food, Live Music & Beer, 3-4: Tomato Fight, 4-6: Food, Live Music, Beer & Clean Up.


TasteoftheNationClose to 100 of Chicago’s most renowned chefs and mixologists will come together to raise money for the Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry campaign set for Wednesday, August 14th in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier.

On a mission to end child hunger, Share Our Strength also connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. Led by event chair R.J. Melman (LEYE), this will be the third Taste of the Nation Chicago fundraiser held at the Pier, complete with live entertainment and a silent auction.

“The number of children struggling with hunger in America now totals almost 1 in 5, and that number is even higher in our home state of Illinois,” says Melman, “at 1 in 4.”

Taste of the Nation has granted more than $80 million since it began in 1988 to combat hunger – $3 million in Chicago alone. Buy tickets online here.

Just For the Bun of It

FatpourBunWe love to share great ideas when we see them and we just saw a nifty one at lunch last week – branded (literally) sandwich buns at Fatpour Tap Works in Wicker Park. (See more pics on their Facebook page.) What a sharp concept; branding at its best!  

Earlier this year, Fatpour was named “Beer Bar of the Year” at the 2013 Nightclub & Bar Awards. They made a big splash when they first opened with their now famous “50 Beers on Tap” served in 22 oz. frozen mugs. Fatpour is part of the Big Onion Tavern Group

From the desk of John Cecala Twitter @BuedelFineMeats  Facebook BuedelFanPage

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