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The Culinary Insider: Food, Drink, Dining News

Today's Food, Drink, and Dining news.Host Ryan Parker shares with you the latest hospitality industry news to keep you up to date.culinarybroadcastnetwork.com

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How To Sauté Mushrooms Like a Chef

Learn how to sauté mushrooms like a pro. Sauteing is not a difficult skill to master in the kitchen. Mushrooms however, take a bit of attention to detail. This week I share with you how to saute mushrooms and why it's important to master this basic skill for your sauteed mushroom recipes. This technique works for various types of mushrooms: Shiitake mushrooms Oyster musherooms Button mushrooms etc. The key to really amping up your mushroom recipes is to make sure you have perfectly sauteed mushrooms that are not oily, limp, or greasy. As a bonus we have included a free guide on choosing mushrooms so you can get started right away. Do you have a skill you'd like to master in the kitchen? Leave me a message at foodcraftsmen.com/contact or a voicemail message at https://www.speakpipe.com/ryankparker


22 Jun 2016

Rank #1

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The Story of Why We Cook

In today's story: Nick Lundberg shares with us why he started cooking and became a Chef. You will also hear how I started cooking and what it means for your community from Michael Pollan


31 Oct 2016

Rank #2

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The Story of The Braise

Tough cuts of meat, or secondary cuts, were the food of peasants long ago. For years grandmothers braised meats like pot roast to serve to the family. Home cooks stumble over the process until, finally, they unlock the secrets of time, temperature, patience, and skill. In today's world having a beautifully braised hunk of beef is found primarily in higher-end, fine dining restaurants. Braising is a cooking method that transforms tough cuts of meats into tender and delicious meals. Braising relies on a combination of two cooking techniques, dry heat cooking, and moist heat cooking. We use the dry heat cooking method to sear the exterior of the meat, causing the browning of proteins known as the Maillard reaction. Then we apply moist heat cooking to break down the collagen which tenderizes it. When I met my fiance, Mikey, the first time I cooked for her I prepared red wine braised short ribs, sauteed brussels sprout leaves and potato puree. The short ribs were glazed with the reduction of the cooking liquid, blended with red wine and fresh herbs. The braised short ribs are tender, juicy, and full of flavor. Mastering braising allows you to approach secondary cuts of meat, ones that you might not have cooked before. Another benefit of braising is you can create a beautiful sauce from the cooking liquid with minimal effort. For braising, you want to choose a suitable broth or stock, along with aromatic vegetables, and herbs. The technique: In a small oven-proof pan, with a little bit of oil and whole butter, brown your meat evenly on all sides. Once your meat is browned, add enough cooking liquid to surround the meat about three-quarters of the way up the meat. The cooking liquid can be an appropriate stock, water, and/or wine. If you choose to use wine, reduce the wine in the pan until it has halved its' starting volume. At that point add stock and bring to a simmer. One important note is to use a pan that is only slightly bigger than the meat you are braising. Having a pan this size keeps you from using lots of liquid. Transfer the pan to the oven set at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The liquid should be bubbling gently but not at a boil. Depending the size of the cut of meat, you will need to cook it for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat has become tender and falls off the bone (if there is one). It is important to get your meat between the temperatures of 160 degrees Fahrenheit to 180 degrees. At 160 degrees the collagen begins to break down and transform into gelatin. The process speeds up as you reach 180. Going above this temperature can result in dry meat, and no one wants that. Cool the meat in the cooking liquid, this allows the braised meat to soak up some of the liquid and develop more flavor. The next day, gently reheat the braise until it is warmed through. Pour off most of the liquid through a chinois into a new saucepan. Reduce the cooking liquid until thickened. The gelatin created by the long, slow cooking will produce a sticky, rich, and velvety sauce. Finish the sauce with fresh herbs, and a touch of cold butter. Swirl the butter into the sauce until it is completely emulsified. Glaze the ribs by spooning the cooking liquid that remains in the pan over the meat. The cooking liquid will thicken, and the meat will look lacquered. Place the meat onto a platter, and spoon sauce over the meat. Which meats should you braise? Think of it this way, any parts of an animal which are working muscles are ripe for braising. All of those muscles are full of connective tissue, collagen, and sinew. Today's episode included clips from Renee Schettler Editor In Cheif of Leite's Culinaria. Renee grew up channeling her grandmother, a relentless clipper, and tweaker of recipes, and swooning to the essays in her father’s issues of Gourmet, in which she both lost and found herself. And Matthew Glaser, Chef and good friend of Food Craftsmen. If you would like to leave a clip that could be used in our next episode of Food Craftsmen on PORK BELLY, simply go to foodcraftsmen.com/speak. You can leave your 90-second thoughts on the beautiful pork belly there. We have just released our summer kitchen gear guide. You can get your copy of the guide by going to foodcraftsmen.com/gearguide. Remember. Food is life, and life is great. See you next time on Food Craftsmen.


8 Aug 2016

Rank #3

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For The Love of Pork Belly | The Food Craftsmen Podcast

We hold true, here in the U.S, the inalienable right to eat what some consider the food of the gods. We believe pork belly is a truly American dish. We treat it with reverence. Truth be told pork, in particular, the meaty, fatty belly is loved and used in cuisines all over the world. It is no less American than it is Korean, Phillipino, Japanese, or Taiwanese. History: Some argue hogs were domesticated in China around 4900BC. Romans raised two types of pigs, one with a larger frame known to have lots of lard to render. While a smaller pig was raised primarily for its' meat. It is said Queen Isabella insisted Christopher Columbus transport 8 pigs on his journey to Cuba in 1493. They were hardy animals that could survive the trip with minimal care, and could provide meat in an emergency. Hernando de Soto brought the first 13 domesticated pigs to the Americas in 1539 when he landed in Tampa Bay Florida. Within three years, his herd had grown to almost 700. Pork production headed North and West as the exploration of the country grew. By the 1800's Cincinnati was the largest pork-producing city in the world. It earned the nickname: Porkopolis. As pork production grew, methods were used to raise leaner animals and prevent disease. The idea was to produce more offspring at a cheaper rate. This created infinite pork on the market, but at a cost. The cost wasn't financial, it was in taste. Through the mid-1900's and early 2000's pork became known as the "other white meat". It was evident in color, texture, and flavor. In the late-2000's the trend returned to heritage breeds; the Large Black, Old Spot, Tamworth, and Ossabow which is a direct descendent of the Spanish Iberico hog. This is where the culinary world steps in. Culinary Uses: Chefs from all over have succumbed to the versatility and sheer awesomeness of the pork belly. In the United States, most Americans only know of its' processed form, bacon. Believe me, bacon is wonderful, but there is so much more to pork belly than bacon. It's skin, with a fatty cap that covers a layer of meat can be used in a variety of ways. Pork belly lends itself to curing, roasting, sauteing, grilling, and braising. When cooked correctly, the belly will give up a lot of its fat to the flesh hidden below. Keeping the meat juicy and flavorful. The belly can take on the flavors of whatever it is cooked in, and still have the distinct flavor of pork. The clips you heard in this episode were called in by Simon Majumdar, Author of Fed, White, and Blue: Finding America With My Fork. You can find it at amazon.com or visit his website simonmajumdar.com. And Laura Morrison, a new friend of Food Craftsmen. Thank you both for sharing your thoughts on pork belly. See you next time on the food craftsmen podcast. Remember, food is life and life is great.


23 Aug 2016

Rank #4

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How To Poach An Egg Like a Pro

A beautifully poached egg is something to marvel at. The white of the egg is perfectly cooked and silky. While the yolk is warm and velvety. The yolk will run when pierced.How To Poach Eggs I am a huge sucker for a quality poached egg. In the morning they are great as part of a hash, on an eggs benedict. In the afternoon or evening poached eggs are a great accompaniment to a bitter green salad with a light vinaigrette. Once you master the poached egg you can make them at scale by plunging them in ice water for later service. For this you want to have a pan with some depth to it. It will help keep the egg from sticking to the bottom of the pan. I like to use a 1 quart to 2 ½ quart sauce pan.To the pan add enough water to fill it about 80%. Then add in ¼ cup of vinegar. The vinegar helps the egg white coagulate around the yolk. Forming a soft nest for the yolk to live in, and cook slower than the white. Preheat your water to 180*F. Click Here To Download Your Egg Poaching Guide Crack your fresh egg on a flat surface. This will help prevent the shell fragments from piercing the egg yolk. Gently swirl the water in the pan and lower the egg into the center of the vortex created. This also helps keep the egg whites together. Cook the egg until the whites are no longer transparent. Remove the egg with a large, shallow, perforated spoon and rock back and forth on a paper towel to remove excess water. Serve immediately. Make sure to season the egg while it is warm with salt and pepper. If you are poaching eggs and want to serve them later. Simply plunge your poached eggs into an ice bath, and reheat them when the time is right.


17 Jan 2016

Rank #5

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The Story of Basil

Basil has a nickname, “The Royal Herb”, or Saint Joseph's Wort. It has been cultivated in India for over 5000 years. Basil comes from the greek word Basileus, meaning "king". The pungent flavor of licorice combined with clove permeates the air when it is first picked. The soft, tender leaves lend themselves well to so many applications. Basil can be added to salads, crushed with pine nuts, oil, salt, and shavings of parmesan cheese to create a classic pesto, or added directly to your Margherita pizza. Basil is prominent in Mediterranean cooking, although, I know when you think basil, you think Italian. So many times we cut a quick chiffonade and toss it into our tomato sauce, and never give it a second thought as to what else it could be used for. There are over 160 varieties of basil cultivated around the world. Most Mediterranean varieties are what we are familiar with; Genovese, Purple Ruffles, Cinnamon, Lemon, and Globe. Southeastern Asian cultures use purple basil, Thai basil in soups like Pho, or steep the leaves in milk to create interesting flavored ice creams. Lemon basil has a strong citrus flavor due to a chemical called "citral". It is widely used in Indonesia served fresh alongside fried fish, raw cabbage, green beans, and cucumbers. Storing: Although basil is delicate, you can preserve the flavor all year long in a few different ways. Freeze it. Plunge fresh basil leaves in boiling water for no more than two seconds, then shock in ice water immediately. Dry the leaves thoroughly. Place them in a zip-top bag, and freeze. The basil should hold nicely for up to six months. Dry your basil. If you have a relatively stable climate area in your home, say a basement, or cellar. Cut the basil at the stems and tie bunches of them together. Find a place in your basement, and hang your basil upside down. The color will turn from a beautiful bright green, when you are using most common Mediterranean varieties to a very dull, army green. The basil might appear almost black. One of my favorite methods of preserving is to place fresh basil into a blender with extra-virgin olive oil. Puree it until smooth, place in silicon ice trays, freeze until rock hard, and then store them in zip-top bags. We've released our Summer Kitchen Gear Guide. Find out more at http://foodcraftsmen.com/gearguide. 


31 Jul 2016

Rank #6

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Alton Brown, Faygo Pop as Beer and Prices Rise

Welcome to the Culinary insider for October 16th 2018. I am Ryan Parker  Last night on The Cooking Channel Alton Brown brought back one of the most beloved food shows ever.   Good Eats: Reloaded aired on the cooking channel.  Alton dusted off 13 episodes of Good Eats. The new episodes of Good Eats feature material from the original episodes with reworked sketches and recipes.   Also, in the episodes are the current version of the show features a current version of Alton Brown. Who looks a bit older, but a heck of a lot healthier.   In an interview with Eater Brown said it was hard to confront seeing images of the old Alton versus the new Alton. “...the “now” me is on screen with the “old” me, which is a difficult thing to confront- your own age and mortality.  The original intent of Good Eats: Reloaded was to make some small changes to recipes and update to the way Alton likes to do things now.   He admits that after going through the episodes, there is on average 65 percent new content.   If you’re a Michigander If you like Faygo pop. If you’re an Insane Clown Posse fan and if you’re over 21 then do some Michigan breweries have fantastic news for you.   Seven different Faygo based beers are being brewed just for you. The riches are in the niches I suppose.  Traffic Jam and Snug Brewery is making a Red Pop kettle Sour. Founders Detroit is making a Scotch Cherry Whoop Whoop inspired by the Faygo classic Rock n Rye Pop just to name a few.  All seven beers will be available at the Detroit Fall Festival October 26th and 27th.  In more beer news. Your beer might be getting more expensive thanks to climate change.   Researchers in China and an environmental scientist from University of California Irvine used models of economic activity and climate change for areas that grow barley.   They are predicting a price jump of $4.34 for a pint of beer, at minimum by the year 2100.   That is all of the food, drink and dining news for today.  Remember to hit the subscribe button so you do not miss any new episodes.  


16 Oct 2018

Rank #7

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April Bloomfield, and the Zombie skittles are coming

Welcome to the culinary Insider for October 17th. I am Ryan Parker  For all of you fans who love Iron Chef, or Iron Chef America. Rejoice.   Netflix is unleashing a brazen copy of Iron Chef with its new show The Final Table.  There will be twelve teams of two chefs who travel the world and compete in a kitchen stadium setting to make it to the final table.  The Chefs will be judged by a panel of chefs, celebrities and food critics from each of the countries they travel to.  The trailer for The Final Table is available right now on Netflix, and will begin airing on November 20th.  .  April Bloomfield acclaimed Chef and former partner of The Spotted Pig is speaking out nearly a year after former business partner Ken Friedman was accused of sexual harassment in the restaurants they ran together.  Chef Bloomfield says she “failed a lot of people”.   After the story was first reported in the New York Times in January, Chef Bloomfield issued a short statement and apology.   She has since started the process of splitting with Friedman, and in a new interview with the Times says, “I feel horrified that I’ve done wrong by them.”   Some former employees described her relationship with Friedman as “tough”. Bloomfield describes the relationship by stating, “I felt like I was in a position where he held all of the cards.”   She then describes a situation where Friedman allegedly threatened to revoke her work visa over a disagreement about wall posters.  Chef Bloomfield says she is in therapy, and executive coaching.   Friedman is currently being sued by the Ace Hotel for misrepresenting earnings at its restaurants the Breslin and John Dory Oyster Bar.  .  Last but not least. If you didn’t think Halloween couldn’t get any better, skittles has a surprise for you.   Mars Wrigley, skittles parent company is releasing “Zombie” skittles. With the tag line: Most taste delicious but some taste like rotten zombie” who wouldn’t want to scoop up a bag of these.   But Hold your Horses. They are not being released until October 2019. So you will just have to wait a bit to get your hands on these.  That is all of the food, drink, and dining news for today. Be sure to subscribe so you can get all new episodes of the culinary insider.  Remember, food is life, and life is great. See you next time.


17 Oct 2018

Rank #8

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Dominique Crenn, Jonathan Gold, and Austins Tequila Festival

Welcome to the Culinary Insider for October 15th 2018. I am Ryan Parker.  Good news for the restaurant industry. Third quarter sales growth is the best since 2015.   Nation’s Restaurant news is reporting same store sales were up 1.2 percent in September. Marking the first time since 2015 all three months in a quarter had positive sales growth.   The bad news is traffic declined in the third quarter by 1.2 percent compared to the same time last year. Rising menu prices and soft numbers from last year's hurricane season attribute to the increase in overall sales.  Saturday Ocotber 27th marks Austin’s 9th annual tequila festival. The festival is held at Casa Chapala Mexican Cuisine and tequila bar in Austin. Tickets are on sale now ranging from 35 dollars to 65 dollars.  All guests receive a souvenir tequila snifter, Agave trail guide book, ten tasting tickets, a swag bag and a trip to the famous Casa Chapala’s taquiza taco bar.   Dominique Crenn is hosting the world's best chefs at her restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco. Crenn a mainstay in the San Francisco food world is partnering with American Express to put on a dinner series with chefs from around the world  Starting November 19th,  the dinner series will seat 40 people between two seatings at 450 dollars a person.   Tickets go on sale for the first night today.  The James Beard Foundation names an award after legendary food writer Jonathan Gold. The Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award honors new writers who are telling stories of their cities and regions.   Jonathan passed away this year in July. He was an acclaimed writer for the los angeles times, LA Weekly, and Gourmet magazine. His writing about the Los Angeles food scene was rewarded in 2007 when he won the Pulitzer Prize.  


15 Oct 2018

Rank #9

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Top Chef Season 16 Revealed. Chick fil A has a drinkable key lime pie

Chick-fil-a has released a new frosted key lime drink as a limited run only in Austin, TX.   So, if you are in the Austin area stop in and get your drinkable key lime pie at a Chick-fil-A.  The drink is made from lemonade, vanilla, a sugar-free lime flavoring, soft serve along with turmeric and spirulina.   The food network is celebrating 25 years and they had a big old bash with some of their best celebrity chefs. Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurnatiis cooked some of their favorite foods for fans of the network. The party was held on the rooftop of Pier 92.   Also, in attendance were Ina Garten and Alton brown tending to food stations as well.   The party featured live music and a statue of a birthday cake. There was no mention of Mario Batali attending who made his career as one of the first serious chefs on the network.   Top Chef Head Judge Tom Colicchio has gotten into the hardware business. He is now selling. “Quality and affordable cookware.”   Chef Colicchio is not just slapping his name on any old cookware and calling it good. He became an investor in the cookware company Made In.   Made In Cookware is an American company with their production facility in Austin, TX. Their goal is to provide high-quality cooking equipment at affordable prices.   Chef Colicchio was so impressed with the company he became an investor and stocked his home kitchen with their wares. He is also planning on stocking his upcoming New York Restaurant with them as well.  Speaking of Chef Colicchio, Bravo TV dropped the all new trailer for Top Chef season 16 today. In the trailer we see all of the usual suspects, Tom, Gail, Richard Blais, Graham Elliot (the only chef with brighter glasses than me) and my favorite, Padma are back for some more amazing culinary adventures. Season 16 starts off in Kentucky, but later in the trailer we see the cheftestants have made their way to Maccau. The celebrity guest judges are too many to name, but we did see an appearance by Emeril and Chef Eric Ripert.


18 Oct 2018

Rank #10

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The Jam Stand | Food Craftsmen Ep 40 Call In To The Show: 850-FOOD-USA

For two young women who were searching for their next big thing, leaving their corporate world wasn't an easy choice.  Sabrina Valle and Jessica Quon found their calling in The Jam Stand.  They believe living in Brooklyn was an asset in creating their wonderful artisanal Jam company. "Brooklyn doesn't let you call it quits". In the past few years they have grown from making all of their own jam to finding a copacker that allowed them to work on the business, instead of in the business.  Hear how they grew their jam company with resources from The NY State Food Venture Center and Cornell University. Resources From Today's Show: Northeast Center For Food Entrepreneurship The Jam Stand Contact the Food Craftsmen show: foodcraftsmen.com/speakup You can support the show by going to foodcraftsmen.com/patron or by shopping at Amazon through The Food Craftsmen Store. The Food Craftsmen Amazon store allows you to shop your favorite Amazon items, and doesn't cost you a penny more. 


3 Mar 2015

Rank #11

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Family Business: 3 Keys To Not Getting Fired By Your Brother

Family Members are not always the best business Partners It can be dangerous working with family members when starting your own business. So you should consider whether or not you want to start a family business.  Believe me, I know. I was fired by my very own brother several years back. Don’t worry, I deserved it, and he was in the right to do so. Keeping me on in his business would have slowed him down, I wasn’t the right fit. He had hired me as an assistant swim coach for his team. Mostly because he knew I needed the work at the time. I was qualified. I had been a swim coach before, swam competitively for 13 years, and had just become certified as a personal trainer. But mainly, he knew I needed the work, and being the great brother he is, he hired me. This is where everything “hit the fan” really. Even though we are brothers we had very different coaching styles, mainly because I had a lot less experience than him, he had matured into his coaching style, I just wasn’t there yet. I was more Bobby Knight, he was, and is, more Phil Jackson. I think he was really surprised by this. He hadn’t seen me in a coaching role before. It came to his attention the parents were not “into” my style of coaching at that time, they wanted me gone. I am sure it was hard for my brother to bring this up to me. Awkward, painful, weird, but I didn’t blame him for his swift and decisive action. He had a business, and family to take care of. I don’t know if I would have been strong enough to do the same. Oddly, I didn’t begrudge him one bit. I never thought to myself, “what a jerk”. He wasn’t, he was right. He did the right thing for him, his business, and ultimately his family. Fired. Boom. Done.Here are 3 things you should do before starting a family business:1) Have a strong business plan in place.I am not talking about a long drawn out document stating financial goals of the business (we’ll get to that another time). I am talking about clearly defining what the business is, how it feels, what the culture is of the business. You must define what it is, and more importantly, exactly what it is NOT. Knowing what the business is, versus what it is NOT, is extremely important. It makes decisions in the future a whole lot easier if you know these things up front. Do we need to order chairs for people to sit in? Nope, we are a carry out only establishment, and we agreed to stay that way until our sales reached  $XXX per year. 2) Define each persons’ role explicitlyStarting a family business can range from one person running the entire operation while other family members are silent partners, or each of you can take on certain responsibilities of the day to day operations. This clear definitive agreement upfront allows the family business to run more smoothly and grow from day to day. It also helps keep all parties accountable. Keep in mind that when making these arrangements in the beginning, you should also be able to discuss what happens if these responsibilities cannot be met. Is there a course of action each business partner can take? Is there a hierarchy to decision making? Is there an exit strategy for one, or both family members?3) Keep extended family at bayI know this one may sound a bit out there. What I am referring to are the spouses of the family members in the business. If they are not officially a business partner, one that is agreed upon in the beginning. Be firm about what topics they can speak upon. Usually, none of them. Every once in a while you will get a husband, or wife, that would like to throw their two cents in, well they should’ve ponied up when the business was created, or they can buy in now. Until then, extended family, see you at Christmas. We have business to do. You will be thanking your lucky stars if you cover just these three things when starting up. There are so many more topics to cover, but I wanted to impress upon you these three. One last thing, get it all in writing. You’re family now, but when the doors open, you’re business partners as well. You can even use a service like LegalZoom for the basics, better yet, find a lawyer you all can trust. The Food Craftsmen is supported solely by our listeners.  To support the show go to foodcraftsmen.com/patron for more information. Become a Patron through Patreon where you can support the creative people you love. Want to leave me a voice message? It is easy, go to foodcraftsmen.com/speakup and chat away.


3 Feb 2015

Rank #12

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Bacon, The Drunken Piglet & Fatty Cakes NY with Jennifer Taylor-Miller Ep 31

You can get 10% off of your order at Fatty Cakes NY by entering the coupon code: FOODCRAFTSMEN on your order. Jennifer Taylor-Miller started Fatty Cakes NY on a "total whim". Her job in children's media wasn't giving her the creative outlet she desired. So she started baking cookies. Jennifer was playing an old-fashioned game of "Stump The Baker" where friends of hers would give her off the wall suggestions for cookies to bring into the office. One of the favorites of the office was an original flavor, the movie theater. A salted buttered popcorn cookie with Swedish fish. I know, it sounds crazy, but inspiration comes in so many forms. Her job in children's media wasn't giving her the creative outlet she desired. So she started baking. **Expert Tip**: Jennifer says take a look into your local Small Business Association for support on creating your business plan, and all of their other resources. The flavors of Fatty Cakes are original and interesting to say the least. Sailor Jerry Dark n Stormy sandwich cookie Drunken Piglet The Betty Jo (A red velvet sandwich cookie) The Bacon Chip The Original- Chocolate Chips, Pretzels, Potato Chips, and Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Pieces Her co-packer reigned her in a bit to streamline the cookies that can be ordered online. This allows Fatty Cakes to offer only their best products, and maintain business at the same time. The practice of offering only the best cookies keeps waste to a minimum and controls inventory costs. Jennifer has the ability to raise some of the old flavors from the dead for her special customers. One of the more specialized products you can order from Fatty Cakes NY is the 8 inch cookie cake with personalized edible image placed on top. The 8 inch cookie cakes are layered with flavored frostings. These are great for dessert bars and fun events. When Jennifer started taking her baking from hobby to "real business" she learned the importance of communication with business connections to make sure the products are made and packaged correctly. She uses photographs and spec recipes to ensure quality during the production process. Jennifer has recently moved with her family to Florida, and hopes to find space to open a Fatty Cakes NY brick and mortar storefront. You can get 10% off of your order at Fatty Cakes NY by entering the coupon code: FOODCRAFTSMEN on your order. For more information head to foodcraftsmen.com/31 If you have a Food Craftsman I should interview, call me at 850-FOOD-USA and introduce them to me. 


27 Jan 2015

Rank #13

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How To Handle Disappointed Customers The Right Way

In today's special episode you will discover how to handle a disappointed customer that allows them to be heard, and feel like you are there to help them out.  If you have ever had a job, you have had a disappointed customer. It can be a really tricky situation to make things right. A disappointed customer can suck business away from you faster today than ever before. Handled right, that same disappointed customer will become a raving fan. I’m going to be really honest with you right now, transparent like a window pane. I can be a real picky, pain in the butt, type of customer. Especially when it comes to eating in restaurants. Because I have worked in restaurants over the past 20+ years, I have a level of expectation of service, and food quality, that some others might not have. Along with those expectations comes a huge dose of understanding as well. I should also say that level of expectation will vary depending on the type of establishment I am in.Let me explain…This past weekend at a local cafe I ordered a hamburger, simple enough request. We had made a trip specifically to this cafe because two weeks prior we had been there, I ordered a hamburger and it was one of the best hamburgers I have had in years. Everything from the fresh soft bun, to the pickles (made in house) they chopped for me to put on it. I drooled over it. I have been craving it ever since. So, when we finally had the chance to return, I knew right away what I was going to order; hamburger medium-rare with extra onions and pickles. First off, “We are out of pickles” rang out from the kitchen. I was told they were being brined and had a few more days to go. Other than the disappointment that came over my face, I let it slide because they are making all of their products from scratch, I can appreciate that. When the burger hit the table my mouth started watering immediately. It looked fantastic. My joy lasted just into my first bite, then sadness struck. The meat itself just tasted old, and kind of funky. Just as a point of clarity, this could have just been my tastebuds playing a trick on me, a mirage of bad flavors, but I just don’t chance it when it comes to “off flavors” and ground meat. Too much could go wrong. Since we were seated on the patio, I decided to take the plate inside and talk to the cashier. Quietly, very quietly, I asked if I could replace the burger, because it “tasted like old meat.” The gentleman at the register, who I think is the manager of the cafe, quickly said, “Sure, no problem. What would you like?” I asked for the fish and chips to avoid having a second attempt at a burger go wrong.Here’s where all hell broke loose.I started walking back to my table thinking everything was fine, when I glanced back to the kitchen. The gentleman who took my order was explaining to the cook my concerns and asked to replace it with the new order of fish and chips. The cook slammed the plate into the garbage, and started cursing about making another plate of food. If you’re like me, you don’t want the cook that’s handling what you’re going to put into mouth to be angry. So, I immediately went back in and just cancelled my order. As much as I believe in the goodness, and standards most cooks might have. I wasn’t chancing what could come out on my plate. I thanked the cashier and returned to my table. Mikey shared half of her sandwich with me. We tipped the waiter a fair amount when we were finished, packed our things and I went off down the street a few steps. I thought Mikey was by my side until I turned around. She had been stopped by the cashier before she could leave.Here’s where the magic happened- How to Handle a Disappointed CustomerThe cashier was trying to catch both of us before we left, but I had snuck away. When Mikey caught up to me she was carrying a small bag from the cafe. Which was odd because we didn’t have any leftovers. In the bag was four of the cafes homemade cookies. Dammit, wouldn’t you know it, they were freaking awesome. They rivaled my Aunt Connie’s cookies (more like dominated). Mikey told me the cashier apologized for not meeting the cafe’s standards, and hoped we would come back again soon. Just a classy move.Let’s break this down into easy steps:1) Identify what the customers’ needs are, see if you can meet those needs. His quick response, and no hesitation to replace my hamburger showed, he was interested in making things right. 2) Be cool about it. Even if the customer is not being cool about it. Think of Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse: "All you have to do is follow three simple rules. One, never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected. Two, take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it’s absolutely necessary. And three, be nice." 3) Give them a reason to come back. The cashier gave me every reason to come back, and give the cafe another shot. It wasn’t the cookies. It was the act of giving the cookies. He cared about our experience and it will force me to go back to the cafe and have another hamburger. As we circled back down the street to head to a bookstore nearby, the cashier was pulling dishes from our table. He noticed us across the street and gave us a head nod. I waved, pointed at the cookies and gave him a thumbs up. I will be going back to that cafe, because they showed how to handle a disappointed customer in one of the most classy, and honest ways possible. Want to learn more about customer service? Check out: Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service by Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles. (amazon affiliate link) If you have a question that you would like answered, or have a great artisan food producer I should highlight on the show go to foodcraftsmen.com/speakup where you can leave me a voice message or email directly.


22 Jan 2015

Rank #14

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Sweet Fire Pepper Jelly Owner Dana Stenzel | The Food Craftsmen ep 30

Sweet Fire Pepper Jelly was a happy accident:Dana Stenzel of Sweet Fire Pepper Jelly started making a spicy pepper jelly by accident one day. She blames it on her husband. One I consider a "happy accident" (shout out to Bob Ross). Her first foray into using a co-packer she brought her ingredients to the facility. This brought on a chuckle from the packer because she brought enough ingredients to make a five pound batch. A test run for the packer required a minimum of 30 pound batches. Get 10% off your order of Sweet Fire Pepper Jelly: Click the link to learn more. Dana quickly learned how to work with her co-packer. She started sourcing her own ingredients from local farmers to make sure the quality was at the standard she needed as well as a price break from the co-packer.  What's Next for Sweet Fire Pepper Jelly?Next up for Sweet Fire Pepper Jelly is expanding into new product categories including; salad dressings and barbecue sauces.Takeaways from this episode: When Looking for a co-packer make sure they are licensed, insured, and can be 3rd party inspected Develop relationships with key people. Dana developed a relationship with a woman who was a few steps ahead of her, but the mentoring shaved months off of Dana's learning curve. Look for retailers who may have local foragers or product developers. If you like this episode you should get The Bite. It's The Food Craftsmen's Newsletter, and you can save 10% on your order of Sweet Fire Pepper JellyImportant Resources from this episode: Palm Springs VillageFest Whole Foods Market Local Vendor Program Tasting Box By Hatchery.co Get 10% off your order of Sweet Fire Pepper Jelly Dana wanted to thank you for listening to The Food Craftsmen by giving you 10% off your order at Sweet Fire Pepper Jelly by entering in the code: FoodCraft at checkout. Tell her thanks for being so awesome.


20 Jan 2015

Rank #15

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Great Danes Cookie Co. Owner Dane Rodgers | Ep 29 Leave me a voicemail 850-FOOD-USA

GET A 20% DISCOUNT ON YOUR ODER BY USING THE DISCOUNT CODE: FCWB Dane Rodgers has a day job, a beautiful wife, three of the cutest kids ever (one more on the way) and still finds time to bake some of the most amazing cookies you will ever stuff into your mouth. So, do not tell me you don't have the time to go after your dreams and build your own business.  I discovered Great Dane's Cookie Company while I was shopping for a new car. There, at the dealership was a simple cookie jar. Being the glutton that I am I grabbed a few. I popped one in my mouth (yes the whole thing), and said to myself, "I really need to meet the person making these". I looked around and saw one card left on the table. I was taking a picture of the card to store in my contacts when I turned around and ran into Dane himself. He was carrying a tub of cookies to refill the order for the Toyota dealership.  We struck up a short conversation, exchanged info and then I asked him to come on the show. It's more than a cookie, Great Dane's Does Good By Supporting The Community Around Him. What I learned most from interviewing Dane is he is a patient, persistent, calculated (in a good way) person. He knew he wanted to start a food business, and cookies weren't his first choice. Dane enjoyed the pies his grandmother made. She had a few varieties every time they visited her house. He quickly realized that baking pies would take a lot of investment in equipment, and space. He slowly realized a great vehicle would be cookies, after tons of encouragement from friends and family.  In 2012 Dane started baking cookies from his home kitchen, taking advantage of California's new cottage laws. Dane Has a Unique Marketing Strategy!In all honesty it is not a strategy at all. Dane believes so deeply in the community around him, he donated 100% of the proceeds of his baking to his local church so kids who may not have been able to could go to camp.  Here's the main takeaway. It wasn't a marketing ploy, scheme, or tactic. It is just how Dane, and his family run their business.  Dane is truly one of the nicest people I have met doing this show. I am a better person for meeting him and his family. Key Ideas: Start your business in a way that will not take away from your family Learn your market, your product and how to perfect them Bootstrap it. If you can only make a few items a week and sell them at the farmers market, start with that. Grow organically. Surround yourself with really great people Find new ways to market your company. Here's a great article on finding new niches for your business. Do you have a food producer I should talk to? Leave me a voicemail and tell me about them.


13 Jan 2015

Rank #16

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Entrepreneur & Owner of Yummy Mummy Brownies shares How She Got Her Start: The Food Craftsmen Ep. 28

get a free brownie when you order 6 or more!The Yummy Mummy Brownie Story:Melissa learned how to bake from her grandmother. Which, tends to be the case for most bakers. Her grandmother developed a rich fudge brownie that Melissa continued to make for her family and friends. She happen to take her brownies to a dinner party, and once again, she was told by friends she should sell them. Melissa had spent about 5 years in the corporate world, and new she had a calling for something different. Originally she baked her brownies from her home kitchen, taking up all of the refrigerator space, and selling them at one local farmers market. As she grew Melissa moved into more and more farmers markets all while continuing to bake from her home kitchen. It wasn't until 8 years later until she moved into her bakery in Westborough MA. Since moving into her bakery she has also received her wholesale license and is now featured in major local grocery chains like Roche Bros. She was contacted by Roche brothers and they negotiated a wholesale contract with them. They have been very flexible with her business, and help guide her along the way. She sells individually wrapped brownies in their stores, and you can buy them online as well (get a free brownie when you order 6 or more!) Her biggest hurdle was learning how to be a boss and a business person. Two roles she had never entered into before. Being a boss meant having a "backbone" and making sure work was completed and to her standards. Becoming a business woman was to learn that she had to set a fair price, one that allows her business to grow and be sustainable, and not give product away. Melissa wanted to thank you for being a listener of The Food Craftsmen podcast so she is offering a FREE brownie by entering the code Food Craftsmen into the comment/gift section of the order form at Yummy Mummy Bakery (offer valid with the purchase of 6 or more brownies, offer may expire without prior notice, only one code valid per customer.)


6 Jan 2015

Rank #17

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How To Get Your Questions Answered on The Podcast: Season 3 Preview #4

Welcome to TFC. We are gearing up for season #3 of the show, so I wanted to do a few short episodes on the behind the scenes here. I wanted to break down a few basics that I think you need to know. Our overall format will remain the same in season three. We will still have inspirational stories from artisans in the food community, so if you are just checking in with us at TFC for the first time this is not the usual format of the show. We’ll spend about 30 minutes each week with a new guest, or discussing topics that affect you in your business.  As we continue to evolve and grow here at The Food Craftsmen we have had some great questions come in from you over the past few months. Have you hit a roadblock? Have you stumbled to get your product into the market?Do you want to know what works for building your community online?If you have had a hurdle you are trying to get over in starting or growing your business, now is the time to take action. We provide you with high quality content that inspires, motivates, and moves you in the right direction. The time is now. To get your questions answered you can leave me a voice message right from your computer, or mobile device. It is easier than it sounds.  On your computer go to foodcraftsmen.com/speakup and click the “start recording” button. The application will ask your permission to use your microphone, and boom you can start recording.  On your mobile device simply go to foodcraftsmen.com, at the bottom of the screen you will see a big red button that says “Connect w/ The Food Craftsmen”. Once you click the button it will ask you to open, or download, the free speakpipe application. Once the application is open, you can leave me a voice message right then.  To make it even easier I have a number you can dial 850.FOOD.USA (366-3872) right from your smartphone.  Remember, we have limited interview space available for season three, and we are only accepting three new guest contributors at this time. Now is the time to take action. Get your story heard, or share your expertise with The Food Craftsmen Community.  Want to get our best content right in your inbox? Join The Food Craftsmen community, because community drives your growth and freeing you to be your best.


9 Jul 2014

Rank #18

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How To Share Your Story with The Food Craftsmen Community

Welcome to TFC. We are gearing up for season #3 of the show, so I wanted to do a few short episodes on the behind the scenes here. I wanted to break down a few basics that I think you need to know. Our overall format will remain the same in season three. We will still have inspirational stories from artisans in the food community, so if you are just checking in with us at TFC for the first time this is not the usual format of the show. We’ll spend about 30 minutes each week with a new guest, or discussing topics that affect you in your business.  In the first two preview episodes I shared with you what The Food Craftsmen is all about, and how to be a contributor for The Food Craftsmen  If you haven’t heard those episodes yet. I suggest you listen to those as well because those episodes are the cornerstone of The Food Craftsmen moving forward.  The Food Craftsmen is opening up limited guest post spots. We are accepting only three new contributors at this time. So go to foodcraftsmen.com/fccontribute2 today to submit your article/video/audio or photo gallery. At The Food Craftsmen we are always looking for more inspirational stories to share with you. If you have a high-quality, artisanal, specialty food product you have created we want to know about it, so we can share it with The Food Craftsmen community. We have limited interview spaces left for season 3, so I invite you to contact us as quickly as possible to ensure you will be able to get your story heard.  Go To foodcraftsmen.com/speak-up. There you can fill out the contact form or leave me a voice message to tell me about your product. I will then contact you to set up an interview over Skype.  If you do not have your own product but know of someone who does, and deserves to be highlighted, share this with them, or call and tell me about them yourself.  We are looking for people who are stewards of their product, take care of the community around them, and are conscious of how their business practices effect the world from beginning to end. So head over to foodcraftsmen.com/speak-up because you deserve to be highlighted on the show.


9 Jul 2014

Rank #19

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How To Contribute to The Food Craftsmen as a Guest Author

Welcome to TFC. We are gearing up for season #3 of the show, so I wanted to do a few short episodes on the behind the scenes here. I wanted to break down a few basics that I think you need to know. Our overall format will remain the same in season three. We will still have inspirational stories from artisans in the food community, so if you are just checking in with us at TFC for the first time this is not the usual format of the show. We’ll spend about 30 minutes each week with a new guest, or discussing topics that affect you in your business. How to be a contributor to TFC: We have been very fortunate over the past few months to have a few select guest authors join us inside the pages at FC.com Arcelia Gallardo  Has written articles on How Belizean Cacao farmers are being helped by craftsmen in the chocolate world grow and harvest better cacao beans for higher market value. Gina Willis  Has written an article on 4 ways to get your product on the grocery store shelves faster.  We have opened the doors to more contributors to The Food Craftsmen: foodcraftsmen.com/contribute If you have experience in Marketing Product Creation Package or logo design Distribution Social Media We want to hear from you.  The process is very simple. Go to foodcraftsmen.com/contribute. Read the guest posting guidelines. They will apply to all formats of content. There you will find our guidelines for content we accept. If you’re not a writer that is ok as well. You can produce a short video (5 minutes or less) with information that will help others in The Food Craftsmen community get over a hurdle they might be facing.  If you are more inclined to tell your story through pictures, and want to create a gallery telling the story of an artisan producer, all you have to do is email me. I will share with you how you can join in as well.  If audio storytelling is your thing. All you have to do is send me the mp3 file via email or dropbox. We will then use that audio either in a podcast episode or as a stand alone post on The Food Craftsmen.


8 Jul 2014

Rank #20