Conference

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Plants Dominate 2022 NRA Show

Plants Dominate 2022 National Restaurant Association Show

by David Klemt

Plantspired plant-based foods

The National Restaurant Association Show is back in a big way, and meat alternative brands are establishing themselves as much more than a trend.

In particular, plant-based brands made their presence known in the Lakeside Center.

However, some big companies also showcased their animal alternatives in the South Building. Among them, Beyond and Daiya.

Notably, Daiya brought with them their freshly reformulated cream cheese alternative. They also had a creamy, flavorful queso at their booth.

Chik’n

Unsurprisingly, meatless chicken—often stylized as “chik’n”—dominated the NRA Show floor.

Morning Star Farms chicken

However, exhibitors showed off more than just nuggets and fingers. This year was more about innovation.

For example, more than one company is rolling out chik’n wings. Of course, there are no bones, so they’re more akin to nuggets.

Essentially, these chicken alternatives are boneless “wings.” And as we all know, boneless chicken wings are just chicken chunks with better marketing.

Really, it’s the seasoning, heat, and shape that define the chik’n wing. At least, that’s what they are for now. I expect further innovation and refinement for these wings.

Daring plant-based chicken

Interestingly, some brands appear to be taking on the chicken breast. Now, there weren’t many meatless companies featuring these on the NRA Show floor. Still, there were a couple and their products looked the part.

The textures are also quite close to their meaty counterparts. But I think there’s still work to do.

Plant-based Seafood

Of all the plant-based alternatives, seafood was the star. The CEOs of big brands have been working on these products for several years.

Well, we certainly saw the fruits of their investments at this year’s NRA Show.

Fish fillets, crab cakes, fish patties (including salmon), fish sticks, tuna flakes, shrimp… All were available to sample at exhibitor booths.

Crucially, the flavors and textures were close to the real thing. However, the shrimp mostly relied on being coated in seasoning to mimic their animal-based counterpart.

That said, seeing so many brands committed to bringing plant-based seafood to market was impressive.

Further, the seafood-focused companies are touting the eco-friendliness of their products. Plant-based seafood, they say, can help stop overfishing and stop the reduction of biodiversity in our oceans.

If they appeal to consumers and reduce harm to the planet, these products could perform well in foodservice. Good for the planet and good for the bottom line seems like a win-win to me.

Takeaway

As the 2022 NRA Show showed, plant-based is no longer a trend. These products ceased being a fad long ago.

Now, it’s clear the category is here to stay. The products categories like chik’n are seeing more innovation. Seafood will improve. Other meat alternatives are also improving.

Of course, whether they’re healthy, well, that’s another story. However, consumers seem to want these items regardless.

One thing is obvious, though: The plant-based category is proliferating and will soon reach ubiquity.

Images taken by author

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2022 Cocktail Apprentice Program Class

TOTC Announces 2022 Cocktail Apprentice Program Class

by David Klemt

 

Tales of the Cocktail Red Coat apprentices

The Tales of the Cocktail Foundation has announced the 32 members of this year’s Cocktail Apprentice Program, also known as CAP.

For 2022, the CAP apprentices come from seven countries, Washington, D.C., fourteen American states, and Puerto Rico. First launched in 2008, CAP has played host to over 400 apprentices.

These bar professionals are thrown into the organized chaos that is Tales of the Cocktail each year. Well, to be fair, the event likely only feels like chaos to Tales attendees. This gathering of hospitality pros is a precision machine behind the scenes.

Of course, CAP apprentices and veterans are one of the keys to Tales’ success. These bar pros work together to prepare cocktails for for Tales seminars. They also make the many tastings possible. CAP Red and Grey Coats also batch the Dame Hall of Fame and Spirited Awards drinks.

As you’ll see while reviewing the lists below, CAP Red Coats work at some of the world’s premier bars, restaurants, hotels, distilleries, portfolios and brands, and hospitality groups. Moreover, they gain an incredible amount of experience and mentorship from industry veteran Grey, Black, and White Coats.

Valuable Experience

This is, of course, great news for attendees. Many will recognize the names and venues below. And, hey, these apprentices keep the good times flowing at Tales.

But there’s another reason this news is important.

Operators should encourage their bar team stars to apply to be TOTC CAP apprentices each year. The program is open to bartenders, barbacks, and bar managers.

Considering who they’ll meet, work with, and learn from, operators can think of CAP as an investment in their bar team.

In addition to returning to work with a wealth of knowledge and new industry contacts, they’ll be eligible to apply for the Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship Program. Since 2022 CAP Red Coats can apply when applications open next year, it’s reasonable to assume that 2023 Red Coats will be eligible to apply in 2024 for the TOTCF Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship Program.

So, operators who are serious about furthering their bar team’s careers and helping to mentor them should help them apply for the 2023 Cocktail Apprentice Program.

2022 Red Coats

Below are this year’s 32 CAP Red Coat apprentices. You’ll also find their place of work.

  • Patience AdjeiTwist Night Club and Level Up Lounge (Accra, Ghana, West Africa)
  • Gerald AkinsHamlet and Ghost (Saratoga Springs, NY)
  • Israel Baròn, Casa Prunes (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Tammy Bouma, Bluebird Cocktail Room (Baltimore, MD)
  • Dylan BrentwoodBar Kismet (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)
  • Napier Bulanan, Viridian (Oakland, CA)
  • Yosue Cordero BadilloFairmont El San Juan Hotel (Carolina, Puerto Rico)
  • Chelsea DeMarkThompson Hotel Savannah (Savannah, GA)
  • Milton DeyaMelinda’s Alley (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Linda DouglasCurly Bartender (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Kai DuartePacifico on the Beach and Down The Hatch (Wailuku, HI)
  • Cody DunavanBreakthru Beverage Virginia (Richmond, VA)
  • Glenn EldridgeROKA (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
  • Tim FrandsenJane Jane (Washington, D.C.)
  • John FryRumba / Inside Passage (Seattle, WA)
  • Delena Humble-FischerGolden Pineapple Craft Lounge (Tempe, AZ)
  • Princess JohnsonAllegory (Washington, D.C.)
  • Maria KimSouthside Parlor (Seoul, South Korea)
  • Sungjoo KooMidnight Rambler (Dallas, TX)
  • Rylen KomeijiHere Kitty Kitty / Zouk Group (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Lars LunstrumThe Black Cypress (Pullman, WA)
  • Jacob MentelPolite Provisions (San Diego, CA)
  • Brian “Vito” MoralesSaso Bistro (Pasadena, CA)
  • Julian Bella RobinsPursuing MS in Hospitality Management at FIU (Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • Jomar SantosThe Peacock Lounge Savannah (Savannah, GA)
  • Jeremiah SimmonsSeven Three Distillery (New Orleans, LA)
  • Colin SimpsonThe Aviary (Chicago, IL)
  • Taylor SweeneyBar Shiru (Oakland, CA)
  • Vivi SzalavariUptown Cafe (Bloomington, IN)
  • Irlanda VargasBacal (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Noor WafaiThe Eddy & Durk’s Bar-B-Q (Providence, RI)
  • Tim WeigelVegas Vickie’s (Las Vegas, NV)

2022 Grey Coats

Identifiable by their grey chef coats, Grey Coats are CAP leaders.

  • Hagay I. AbramovitzImperial Craft Cocktail Bar (Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • Justine BockGin & Juice (Bristol, UK)
  • Patrick BragaHappy Accidents (Albuquerque, NM)
  • Fifi BruceBarrel Brothers (Berlin, Germany)
  • Richie DelahoydeLyre’s Non Alcoholic Spirits (Dublin, Ireland) 
  • Amy DunkiBarr Hill and Caledonia Spirits (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Arianna Hone, High West Saloon, Post Office Place (Park City, UT)
  • Renson Malesi, House of Sage Cocktails (Nairobi, Kenya) 
  • Nicholas McCaslin, The Ritz-Carlton Nomad (New York City, NY)
  • Allie Phifer, Cayo Coco Rum Bar and Restaurante (Birmingham, AL)
  • Jessi Pollak, Spoon and Stable (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Eric Scott, Thyme X Table (Bay Village, OH) 
  • Britt Simons, The Eddy (Providence, RI)
  • Joey Smith, Chez Zou (New York City, NY)
  • Sarah Syman, The Dandy Crown (Chicago, IL)
  • Nigal Vann, The Berkshire Room (Chicago, IL)

2022 Black Coats

CAP assistant managers can be identified by their black chef coats.

  • Cam BrownSelf-employed (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
  • Kaleena Goldsworthy-WarnockThe Bitter Bottle and Proof Bar and Incubator (Chattanooga, TN)
  • Alex LermanPearl Street Hospitality (Denver, CO)
  • Samm McCullochRed Wall Distillery (Sedona, AZ)

2022 White Coats

The industry veterans are CAP managers and wear white chef coats.
  • Alexis Belton-TinocoJohnnie Walker/Proof Media Mix (Chicago, IL)
  • Cris DehlaviDiageo Hospitality Partnership (Columbus, OH)
  • John DeragonResy (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Trevor KalliesFreehouse Collective (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
  • Juyoung KangZouk Group at Resorts World Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV)

Whenever you come across a Red, Grey, Black or White Coat at Tales, be sure to thank them for all their work. Well, if they don’t have their hands incredibly full. In that case, please get out of their way—they’ve got our drinks!

Image: M.S. Meeuwesen on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

TOTC 2022 Agenda and Tickets Now Live

Tales of the Cocktail 2022 Conference Agenda and Tickets Now Available

by David Klemt

Greetings from NOLA artwork

The time is now to grab your Tales of the Cocktail tickets and plan your trip to New Orleans for the last week of July.

Not only are tickets available for purchase via this link right now, you can also check out the schedule here.

Of particular note is the amount of complimentary programming available to 20th anniversary TOTC attendees.

Free to Attend

Attendees will have access to several activations and workshops that are free to attend.

Beginning Sunday, complimentary programming is available throughout the week. For example, the Day of Service on Sunday, July 24 is free attend and a way to give back.

Also on Sunday, the 11th annual Pig & Punch Volunteer Day of Service. This is another opportunity for those in the industry to do some good in the NOLA community.

The return of Pig & Punch was mentioned by an excited Lola Thomas on episode 72 of the Bar Hacks podcast.

On Monday, all attendees can attend the keynote address; Diversity Distilled Career Fair; the Welcome to Wellness! therapeutic stretch and self-massage session; and “#FromTheBarToTheFarm” sustainability workshop.

There are several more workshops—such as “Safe Bars: Crafting a New Culture of Safety and Respect” and the immersive “Mind Full” experience—that are free to attend on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Incredible Activations

More reasons to plan your trip around an action-packed Sunday? Speed Rack Redemption, the National Tequila Day Pool Party at the Royal Sonesta, and Ode to the Bowl.

The rest of the week is absolutely packed. From workshops to seminars, cocktail tours to tasting rooms, and all manner of activations, parties, and events in between, the 20th anniversary celebration of Tales of the Cocktail will be an experience to remember.

On the subject of cocktail tours, there are eight such experiences available during this year’s Tales. For example, attendees can register and secure tickets for Hunting Down the Sazerac, Downriver: Bars Beyond the French Quarter, the Big Gay Bar Tour, and Bourbon Street and How it Got that Way.

Learn More

To be honest, there’s simply too much going on at this year’s TOTC to list here. The sheer number of workshops, seminars, and activations must be checked out online.

And that’s to say nothing of the industry icons that will be presenting seminars and workshops, and hosting activations and special events.

Simply put, there’s programming for everyone. Health and wellness? Yes. Furthering your career? Absolutely. Perfecting technique and tasting new products? Of course. Business, culture, advocacy, diversity, inclusion, equity… Check, check, check, check, check, check!

We hope to see you at Tales of the Cocktail 2022! Be sure to check out the agenda and grab your tickets today.

Image: mana5280 on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Key Themes from HD Expo 2022

Key Themes from HD Expo 2022

by David Klemt

Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino Las Vegas

The educational conference sessions at Hospitality Design Expo 2022 in Las Vegas were connected by a number of key, overarching themes.

Hosted by the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, HD Expo packed each day with invaluable education. Founders, designers, highly placed executives, and other influential industry professionals addressed a wide range of crucial topics.

Below are five key topics and themes from HD Expo 2022.

Sustainability

Unsurprisingly, sustainability was one of the most-discussed topics.

Of course, conversations about sustainable design, construction, and operational practices have been at the forefront of hospitality for several years now. However, the topic seemed supercharged this year at HD Expo.

Drilling down, speakers at the 2022 show are focusing on “building performance,” light-touch construction, and waste recovery, to name but a few session topics.

When some think about sustainability, they think of low- and no-waste practices, energy efficiency, and upcycling. For others, being sustainable means building in an eco-friendly or green way.

However, several HD Expo 2022 speakers, their teams and agencies, and their partners and clients are thinking more locally. The impact of building and operating on local communities is now a greater focus.

For example, Victor Body-Lawson, founder and principal of Body Lawson Associates Architects & Planners. During a panel he co-presented, Body-Lawson addressed the importance of designing, building, and operating for the local community.

In short, he explained how not using local materials and labor has a significant negative impact on the environment. Additionally, Body-Lawson feels that the objective of design is that whomever engages with end product—commercial or residential—comes out better.

Wellness

Refreshingly, it appears the stigma surrounding wellness is dissipating. More people seem to be more comfortable discussing their mental and emotional health openly.

Designers and their clients, particularly in the hotel and resort space, are taking note.

Long a staple amenity, the health center is undergoing reinvention. In fact, many resorts and hotels are focusing on wellness centers and programming.

In fact, a number of concepts are more wellness and healing getaway than hotel or resort. One such project coming to market is the Jenesis House.

The creation of Jenesis Laforcarde, this concept’s focus is explicitly mental health, physical well-being, and self-care. Additional core values are community, hiring local, and engaging with local small businesses.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Like the topic of wellness, DEI has received more earnest attention during the pandemic. And why not? Diversity, inclusion, and equity are inextricably connected to wellness.

Of course, DEI is also connected to community. Moving forward, designers, their partners, and their clients must focus on DEI within their companies and local communities.

One hotel brand that seeks to embody this mission is Caption, part of the Hyatt portfolio. Crystal Vinisse Thomas, VP and global brand leader of lifestyle and luxury brands for Hyatt, is bringing Caption to market.

At this brand’s core is community. Locals are as important as the travelers staying at a Caption property. And, again, why shouldn’t that be the case?

Locals will work at the hotel. Locals will use the hotel. And locals will feel the impact—positive or negative—of the hotel.

A visit to the website provides all the proof anyone needs that Caption is committed to locals:

  • “The people make the place here. We hire local, buy local, and vibe local.”
  • “We strive to be a good neighbor.”

Interestingly, Thomas tied DEI and the community together. While it may be a difficult conversation to start, if a designer, executive, partner, or client sees that a project isn’t representing the community, they need to address it.

Staying silent isn’t how things move forward. In fact, it’s a sure-fire way to take steps backward.

Discovery

What keeps guests coming back? Is it the amenities of a hotel? The food and beverage? Do guests return because of the service they receive?

Of course. However, a shift in guest behavior and expectations shows that F&B, amenities, and service may no longer be enough to motivate repeat visits.

When it comes to hotel and resort design, the future is discovery. Another way to think about discovery is the “hotel within the hotel,” or “resort inside the resort.” A concept that embraces this approach reveals layers that guests can discover.

Perhaps their first stay is in the main or more traditional space. Then, the guest discovers that there are different areas they can book for a stay. These could be villas, luxury tents, a pre-fab luxury Moliving unit (as an example)…

The point is that the guest knows they can engage with the property differently during each stay. While there are core elements that define a particular brand, they can deliver different experiences on the same property.

Of course, such a concept also ties into the themes of community and wellness. Many brands are eschewing the traditional operational ethos of attempting to keep a guest on property for as long as possible. Instead, the local community is a key experiential element of a hotel or resort.

The future of hospitality design—indeed, of hospitality as a whole—encompasses each of these themes. Perhaps most importantly, each theme serves a greater concept: Community.

Image: tommao wang on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Bar Hacks: Tales of the Cocktail

Bar Hacks: Tales of the Cocktail

by David Klemt

Bartender pouring cocktails on bar

Tales of the Cocktail returns next month not only in a new format but with all-new features for 2021 and beyond.

Running from September 20 through 23, Tales of the Cocktail 2021 will be a hybrid event. The digital/in-person industry show is free for attendees this year.

Eileen Wayner, CEO of Tales of the Cocktail, and Neal Bodenheimer (a board member and operator) drop by the Bar Hacks podcast for this week’s episode to talk about the 2021 event.

Learn more below.

Hybrid Format

The 19th annual Tales of the Cocktail will offer something for everyone in the industry.

So, those who wish to visit New Orleans for Tales can do so. Also, the show will be accessible to attendees more comfortable with a digital experience this time around.

Anyone attending in person needs to know two things: First, Tales will adhere to New Orleans mask and vaccine mandates and policies.

Second, Hurricane Ida made landfall this past Sunday, knocking out power to more than a million people. In-person attendees should monitor the situation and be sensitive to what people in New Orleans are experiencing.

Intriguingly, Tales 2021 will feature brand activations not just in New Orleans but in other cities as well. Pop-ups are on the schedule for New York City and London. Tales will announce more as details emerge.

Tales Evolves

For obvious reasons, Tales will be different this year. However, that isn’t a negative—the event is evolving.

For instance, the Spirited Awards will take place this month. Acknowledging that it’s simply not fair or possible “to honor every award category for 2021,” this years awards will be different.

At this year’s event, the following categories will be awarded:

  • Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Pioneer Award
  • Timeless U.S. Award
  • Timeless International Award
  • Best: Cocktail & Spirits Publication; Cocktail & Spirits Writing; New Cocktail or Bartending Book; New Book on Drinks Culture, History or Spirits; and Broadcast, Podcast or Online Video Series

Of course, there are other new event features. On Sunday, September 19, Tales will host the Diversity Distilled Career Fair. A direct response to so many in the industry losing jobs and the current labor shortage, employers will post job listings; review resumes; and more.

Listen Today

Wayner and Bodenheimer share more details in this week’s Bar Hacks episode.

So, to find out what to expect about this year’s Tales of the Cocktail (and a bit about the future of the event), listen to episode 48 today.

Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Anchor.fm, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Cheers!

Image: Adam Jaime on Unsplash

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