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The Secret Ingredient for Staying Popular & Profitable | FoodPower is a restaurant consulting firm that coaches industry leaders to leverage strengths, create concepts, refine menus & identify opportunities to increase revenue & capatalize on the changes in today's dining out patterns.
 
I'll let you in on a little secret: I love Chefs.
 
At FoodPower we specialize in helping to take the Chef's kitchen creativity to the plate, the menu and into every detail of the guest experience. This is what builds strong brands worthy of Yelping about - and what comes next? Growth.
 
Growth means increased profits = a bigger bottomline = money in the bank = earning a great living doing what you love.
 
This is Chef Paul Buchanan, an amazing Caterer and Consulting Chef with FoodPower. His passion and interest in local, organic and sustainable ingredients has led a food revolution. From taking students through the farmers market, to helping Chefs source humanely and naturally raised meats, he is a great asset to the community.
 
Paul and I met recently to discuss our mutual passion for raising the bar of the culinary experience in our neck of the woods.  The name of his company, Primal Alchemy, came about after reading Harold McGee’s book, “On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen," a favorite of ours. McGee explains that cooking was the first science of man. Paul says, “I like to cook ‘close to the food’ with respect to the ingredients their source.”  So… to embark on our brainstorming session, Paul and I went to lunch with a 3rd musketeer, Chef Cathy Pavlos at Lucca Café.
 
Chef/Owner Cathy Pavlos, at Lucca Café, is one of a new breed of independent restaurateurs popping up all over the country, leading a revolution in high quality, profoundly straightforward cuisine. Her secret to success? We think it's her "bait and switch" tactic: she lures you in with simple Italian family recipes, and surprises you with her sophisticated and thoughtfully composed fare. The result is a more educated guest, who appreciates and craves the use of lesser known, "big city" foods and wine.
 
During my session with Paul and Cathy, we dined while discussing their passion for American artisanal salumi (Italian for cold cuts, French say charcuterie). Cathy serves Proscuitto from Iowa (my favorite with Paul’s fresh figs), Salamis from Bertoli in Berkeley and Mario Batali's brother Armandino's shop Salumi in Seattle (awesome with Cathy’s pickles).
 
We all agreed that we want to eat less, but better. We discussed the movie Forks over Knives (Cornell grown) and took to heart the need for less dairy, better protein and organic/local/seasonal fruits and vegetables (when available).

Let's take a look at the next generation at the Five Crowns: Executive Chef Ryan Wilson and Sous Chef Bryan Freeze. Chef Wilson, a fourth generation Lawry's family member, fearlessly and respectfully honors the Five Crowns' rich history and traditions (signature Prime Rib and steaks), as he adds a breath of fresh air to the menu. Here's a Chef who is infusing global concepts and local artisanal ingredients into his dishes (you can see where your food originated at the bottom of the menu). By staying true to the dishes that have established the Five Crowns as a local legend, while adding contemporary twists, he is transforming this restaurant into an ageless concept.
 
I could go on and on about the changes at the Five Crowns, but writer Sheryll Alexander nails in this extremely well-crafted piece, Five Crowns Modernizes Wonderfully.
 
Ever since Wolfgang Puck opened at LAX, the sign of success and the power of your brand can be determined by being selected to represent the best in regional cuisine at the airport. Enter Chef Zov Karamardian, whose namesake restaurant, bakery and cafes, Zov's, began as a modest 14-seat eatery. The brand's tremendous journey from a small, off-the-beaten path location has taken her to three thriving restaurants and a coveted location at John Wayne Airport, an international hub into Orange County, CA. 
 
She is a valuable case study in building a powerful brand. From A to Zov, she has built a loyal following by being generous in the community and always remembering to give back - whether it be teaches underprivileged youth how to cook, or sharing her family recipes in her published cookbooks. 
 
Here's a Chef who's really making a difference from the kitchen. Chef Bruno Serato, owner of the Anaheim White House, has received the attention of Katie Couric and People Magazine for his generosity and commitment to feeding the "motel kids" that gather at the Boys & Girls Club in his restaurant's backyard. He feeds hundreds of kids a week and his undying commitment has earned the respect and support of the public nationwide. 
 
What happened next was that his extraordinary charitable contributions came back to him tenfold, as his business saw growth in these challenging times. Guests come out to support this thoughtful Chef and he has earned it.
 
With all the uncertainty with the economy and these puzzling times, remember that you don't need tricks or fancy props to make magic in the kitchen. A memorable meal stems from quality ingredients, thoughtful preparation and the desire and commitment to be great. Case and point: Chef Ryan Wilson's new Strawberry and Beet salad at the Five Crowns. Delicious.

We at FoodPower have a team of highly imaginative restaurant specialists ready to help you with any size project, anywhere in the country.  With the restaurant industry starting to regain its legs, now is the time to capitalize on the energy, BuZZ, and new business that a Brand-Building MakeOver can create.


Feel free to email me at pamarshall@foodpower.com or call me at 949.646.3206. You can also find me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.
 
To the power of food!
Phyllis Ann
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