FOODPOWER HELPS RESTAURANTS BUILD A FOLLOWING BY CONNECTING WITH GUESTS
At FoodPower, we do more than big-picture strategizing, we work with our restaurants and chefs to build connections with guests! We've helped many of them develop and execute events that are both fun and profitable (two key components to any great event). We start by finding a culinary focal point to build on -- this could be a food, wine, or other educational/entertaining focus. These events help restaurants utilize and grow their own databases, and engage the guest in a meaningful, lasting way.
Here I am with Chef Shachi Mehra at Tamarind of London in Crystal Cove in Newport Beach. Earlier this month, she hosted Les Dames d'Escoffier as she taught us about Indian spices and showcased her amazing menu! In this picture, I inspect the spices with her, Dame Melinda Morgan of Morgan Marketing, and guest Heidi Ristau.
GRASSROOTS EVENTS 101: THE STORY OF MR. STOX
Back in the 80s, I found myself challenged with building a customer base at Mr. Stox, which is located in Anaheim. I took the lead on introducing Cooking Classes and Wine Dinners, which I promoted by creating the "Epicurean" newsletter (sent by snail mail back then).
The classes expanded into popular Participation Cooking Classes where 24 guests were invited to work in teams in the kitchen with the Chef (pictured above). Each team prepared a course and then adjourned to the dining room to enjoy their creations together. It was a hit - and still is today. The class continues to create lasting connections between the guests and the restaurant.
Mr. Stox also discovered that their guests, living in the 'burbs, loved to go with a group into LA, so we began scheduling excursions to the Hollywood Bowl and other places of interest. Mr. Stox naturally stocked the bus with wines from its famous cellar and the group would either dine on Mr. Stox's outstanding new American cuisine at the venue or return to the restaurant in time for a delicious meal.
The restaurant also grew to offer a "Day in the Kitchen with the Chef" for budding chefs. All of these events are available on the website. You can sign up to receive the newsletter, or announcements, now by email and even give these events as gifts - all online HERE.
WEEKEND OF EVENTS:
COOKING CLASS AND SUNDAY SUPPER AT LUCCA
On a recent Saturday afternoon, Chef Cathy Pavlos, co-owner of LUCCA in Irvine conducted a wonderful cooking class that "Julia Might Have Done." Using Julia Child's recipes, a class of approximately 30 guests watched Chef Cathy prepare and carve a big, plump roasted chicken, that she used to create an amazing chicken salad where the drippings became the dressing. She also flamed Julia-inspired Crepes Suzettes, as we all sipped on wine, before enjoying a little feast in honor of the Grand Dame.
Following this popular event was her monthly Sunday Supper, which, this month, was entitled "WWJD" or "What Would Julia Do?" Chef Cathy channeled Julia and prepared an amazing 4-course supper served family-style, paired with wines by her husband and co-owner, Elliott Pavlos. I witnessed 72 guests - some celebrating birthdays, some neighborhood friends who have met at LUCCA - several dressed as Julia Child.
All had FUN, including Cathy who can imitate Julia amazingly well. Sign up for a newsletter HERE so you won't miss the next series.
MAKE A STATEMENT!
HAVE THE COURAGE TO BE CONTROVERSIAL &
INVITE THE COMMUNITY TO STAND WITH YOU!
Earlier this week, Old Pasadena’s newest epicurean destination, Haven Gastropub +Brewery, along with some of Los Angeles’ most prominent young chefs, hosted a seven-course prix-fixe dinner to support humane and ethical farming. This event not only engaged the community in a very personal and meaningful way, but it created connections with other tops chefs in the area!
Featured chefs included: Greg Daniels (Haven Gastropub +Brewery), Brendan Collins (Waterloo & City, Larry’s), Jordan Toft (Eveleigh), Vartan Abgaryan (Public Kitchen & Bar), David Coleman (Michael's on Naples Ristorante), and Alex Reznik (La Seine) working side-by-side.
Want fun? This picture is Chef Daniels' course: Foie for Breakfast! These are blood biscuits, whipped foie “butter," pickled cherry jam, duck bacon, and quail egg! The biscuits were actually made with Pork Fat and Blood, but the Foie "Butter" and Pickled Cherry Jam were the best modified version of a PB&J!
Was it profitable? Well, 100% of the proceeds from the dinner benefited The Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards (C.H.E.F.S.) with many generous donations offsetting food costs with sponsors, including Daniels Western Meatpackers, OC Baking, and produce suppliers. Furthermore, the press value was simply immeasurable, with attention spanning from the region's best read food blogs, all the way to the LA Times!
DON'T BE AFRAID TO BE RADICAL!
Fear is one thing that can keep you from having fun. And let's face it, if you're not having, your customer is probably not having fun, which means that they won't be spending money with you... get the picture?
Chef Rachel Klemek of Blackmarket Bakery is, in a word, fearless. And that, coupled with her talent and passion, help her live up to her company's tagline: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. The Boys & Girls Club in her neighborhood held a charity fundraiser last weekend and it revolved around a "SLIDER CHALLENGE." WIth the area's best burger spots showcasing mini-versions of themselves, Chef Klemek stole the show and won an award for "Best Presentation" for this Sweet Slider pictured above! She started with a chocolate whoopee pie "bun" and filled it with butterscotch pudding, coffee caramel, salt & pepper marshmallow "patty" and bruleed bananas. Radical, delicious, and it left a lasting impression on all the guests!