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    Marta on Grub Street | August 21, 2014

    A SNEAK PEEK OF THE FOOD AT MARTA, DANNY MEYER AND NICK ANDERER'S FORTHCOMING RESTAURANT by SIERRA TISHGART   Potato-and-rapini croquettes; fairytale eggplant, chili vinaigrette; fritto misto. Photo: Alice Gao   In the next few weeks, Danny Meyer will open a wood-fired pizzeria inside the Martha Washington hotel (owned by the Chelsea Hotel Group — formerly known as King & Grove). Maialino chef Nick Anderer will cook super-thin pizzas, as well as Roman-inspired dishes cooked "all brace" — over open embers. Here are two photos of the (stunning) food — enjoy this as a little appetizer before Marta opens in late August, or, at the latest, early September.   Radicchio, quinoa, dried cherries, almonds.Photo: Alice Gao   (ORIGINAL ARTICLE)


    USHG's John Ragan and Understanding Wine on Tasting Table | August 19, 2014

    A Win for Winos Win a seat at a Master Sommelier's 10-week wine class   By Emily Warman     You want to drink wine with John Ragan, one of three people in the world to win both a James Beard Award for "Outstanding Wine Service" and earn the Master Sommelier title from the Court of Master Sommeliers.   Before that impressive pedigree has you running for boxed wine and the remote, we can promise that Ragan is disarmingly friendly and unpretentious—which you'll discover by attending his wine course. The class, run by Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), runs for ten weeks. It's not cheap but we've got an offer for you: USHG and the ICE are giving us a seat for one lucky reader. Check out our Twitter feed and RT for a chance to win.   We spoke to Ragan about what to expect from the class, what you'll taste and more.   What's the course load like at your wine school?   There's a lot of tasting: Over a 100 wines in ten weeks. There are plenty of blind tastings, lots of talk about pairings and how to navigate a restaurant wine list a little better. This helps people when they're coming to our restaurants, or any restaurant, or when they just want to open a great bottle at home.   How do you tackle the wide world of wine?   The first week is just all about tasting. We have something that we call a "tasting matrix" that we use for all of the restaurants which is kind of a road map. The second week is all about grape growing and wine making and we usually bring a wine maker in for that to really give a firsthand perspective. Then the last week is kind of like a dinner party where it's all about pairing. In between, we do Bordeaux versus Burgundy one week, Spain one week, Italy one week, sparkling wine one week, the New World one week. I'll bring in folks from one of the restaurants. For example, when we do the Italian week I'll bring Jeff Kellogg from Maialino, or when we do Bordeaux versus Burgundy I'll bring chef Michael Romano from Union Square Café. So it gives everyone a chance to get to know those folks from the restaurants as well, and they bring great insight to the party, too.   Why take a wine class?   I want people to become comfortable with wine. If we're doing our job right, they will really walk out with that comfort level so that the next time they are in a restaurant and someone hands them a wine list it's a "Great I can't wait" moment and not a "Oh no, what do I do with this?" moment.   Understanding Wine runs Tuesdays 6:30–9p.m. from September 16th- November 18th.   (ORIGINAL ARTICLE)


    Marta on Eater | August 18, 2014



    Hospitality Quotient in Crain's New York Business | August 18, 2014

    PAGING DR. DANNY MEYER...The restaurant guru is in demand to teach docs and hospitals how to improve service.   by Lisa Fickenscher   Danny Meyer's consulting arm, Hospitality Quotient, run by Susan Salgado is making inroads in the hospitality-challenged health care industry.   Photo: Catherine Gibbons   The patient—a heavy smoker and an alcoholic—frequently neglected to take his medications, and had no one to help him at home in Jamaica, Queens. Like clockwork, he landed in the hospital every three weeks.   "I felt every time I saw him I was starting over again," said Dr. Julie Patel-Pannullo, the man's primary care doctor. "That was my frustration as his physician."   But several months ago, a nurse in Dr. Patel-Pannullo's medical practice, AdvantageCare Physicians, broke the cycle. The patient came in to meet with the nurse every Friday for about 15 minutes as she organized his medications in a pillbox, contacted his pharmacy and simply gave him the extra attention he sorely needed.   The nurse's successful intervention was driven not by some new medical protocol, but by a companywide initiative aimed at improving customer service at AdvantageCare, a nearly 3,000-employee medical practice with offices throughout the city and Long Island.   Last year, AdvantageCare hired restaurateur Danny Meyer's consulting arm, Hospitality Quotient, or HQ, to train its entire staff—including doctors—on how to be more empathetic. The full-day workshops draw from the hospitality industry, teaching medical staffers, for example, to offer patients options rather than a curt "no" to a request. The idea that a patient is a guest who can take his or her business elsewhere, and that doctors are responsible for cultivating customer loyalty, remains a novel idea in health care, though one that is gaining traction. "We didn't learn anything like this in medical school," said Dr. Patel-Pannullo.   The new focus on customer service is a response to the Affordable Care Act, which gives consumers greater access to health care and spawned more competition among insurance companies, hospitals and medical practices like AdvantageCare. One provision of the reform law is that patient-satisfaction surveys now have teeth, determining the size of providers' Medicare reimbursement.   This all means big business for Mr. Meyer, who held a cocktail party in June at his Manhattan restaurant the Modern, where he gathered a group of 42 HQ clients and potential customers in finance, health care, restaurants and other industries to network. "You are here," he said at the time, "because we want more of your business."   HQ has found a lucrative niche in the four years it has existed. About 70% of its revenue is now derived from health care companies.   "It is a very profitable business," said Susan Salgado, managing partner of HQ. Changing workshops   She declined to disclose the company's revenue but said it had doubled each year since it launched in 2010. EmblemHealth is a client, as is the North Shore-LIJ Health System. In June, the huge hospital organization responded to the growing pressure to provide exceptional customer service by hiring its first chief experience officer—a former senior executive with Ritz-Carlton hotels.   AdvantageCare has signed up for 100 customized workshops this year alone. HQ also offers public classes, which cost from $325 per person for a three-hour session to $3,250 for a three-day program.   "It is a huge financial commitment, but it's that important to us," said Eileen Garland, the medical practice's vice president of project management. "This will be the cornerstone of our success."   Indeed, since the Queens patient began weekly visits with the AdvantageCare nurse, he has been hospitalized only once, said Dr. Patel-Pannullo. He even went on his first vacation in a decade, to Florida, and returned with gifts for the staff.   "Teamwork is at the heart of everything we teach," said HQ's Ms. Salgado.   Certain buzzwords are used in HQ workshops, many of which originated from Mr. Meyer's 2006 book, Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business. There are "51 percenters," who go above what is expected of them; the "charitable assumption," or assuming the best in people; and "skunking," which describes people who complain and ruin employee morale.   Dr. Patel-Pannullo said she has learned to trust her staff more to avoid "micromanaging" them. The HQ training also changed her perception of her patients.   "I'm using the 'charitable assumption' function every day, reminding myself to think twice before sticking to protocols and procedures, and to let my patients have a say in what it is I'm planning for them," she said. 'Skunk-free zones'   Tom Marino, vice president of operations at AdvantageCare, added it now has "skunk-free zones." "And I'm going to call you out on it if you are skunking," he said.   Changing the corporate culture at AdvantageCare, he believes, will give the medical group an edge against new competition, including the growing number of urgent care facilities that are popular with consumers because of their convenient hours.   "They are popping up on every corner, and many of them are clean, fast and have friendly workers," Mr. Marino said. "That's what we are up against."   As AdvantageCare adds new employees, said Ms. Garland, its human-resource managers now look for "someone who has a warm personality," and with a nod to Mr. Meyer, people who have "hospitality in their DNA."   (ORIGINAL ARTICLE)


    The Modern's Erin Jameson in The New York Times | August 15, 2014

    UPSHOT WITH A TWIST SUPER MOONSHINE: WHERE ASTRONOMY MEETS ALCOHOL by ANNA BAHR   Credit Valero Doval   This week, the full moon hung the lowest, brightest and largest it will all year, looming 14 percent closer to Earth and 30 percent brighter than other full moons, according to NASA.   August’s so-called supermoon is the second of three large lunar phenomena this year. The satellites of July and September are only “super-ish moons” — technically smaller and dimmer than what we saw this week, which was made even more spectacular by its concurrence with the annual Perseid meteor shower.   To celebrate three dazzling celestial shows this calendar year, I turned to Erin Jameson, a “Libation Liaison” at the Modern’s bar in Midtown Manhattan, to hand us the moon in a glass for this week’s Upshot With a Twist.   Fittingly, Ms. Jameson came up with a beautiful flight of moonshine (also known as white dog, mountain dew and white whiskey) old-fashioneds using three kinds of Buffalo Trace White Dog.   I associate moonshine with a cartoon brown jug labeled with an “XXX” — the kind of high-proof hooch that threatens to burn your taste buds right off. The alcohol is made with grain mash and gets its nickname from the days when illegal distillers made their unaged liquor by the light of the moon to avoid discovery.   But these cocktails enlist a white whiskey that’s kinder to the nose and throat. Smooth, with a slight spice, the drinks are subtle (and definitely strong), but won’t have you under the table until the moon’s next near orbit.   Super Moonshine   (courtesy of Erin Jameson at the Modern)   0.75 ounces Buffalo Trace White Dog (Rye Mash, Mash No. 1, or Wheated Mash)   2 dashes orange bitters   3 dashes water   1 teaspoon simple syrup   Combine ingredients in a rocks glass, add ice and stir. Garnish with an orange twist (or, if using the Rye Mash base, a lemon twist) and a brandied cherry.   (ORIGINAL ARTICLE)





    USHG's Sabato Sagaria on CNBC | August 11, 2014



    Gramercy Tavern's Miro Uskokivc on Grub Street | August 7, 2014



    USHG's Understanding Wine on The Daily Meal | August 7, 2014



    Danny Meyer in The New York Times | August 3, 2014