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Rags to Riches Culinary Tales

October 24, 2012

The truth about overnight success revealed
By Kristen Oliveri

Photo courtesy of Bullfrog and Baum/Solomon Oh

While publicity and success can take many forms, massive media and television attention can change the course of a restaurateurs’ professional path.

Many in the restaurant industry spend years toiling inside their kitchens and pouring over books to pay off endless bills, without ever even entertaining a thought that fame may come knocking on their door. Some within the food and beverage industry, quite frankly, don’t want such attention as their main goal is always to keep their restaurant, bar or hospitality hub in the center spotlight.
Others, who have grown up or are living in the world of food television and a food-centric culture, have experienced immense success in what feels, and looks, like overnight.

At From Zero to Sixty one of the featured seminars for Trade Talks 2012, a program conceived of and hosted by hospitality PR firm Bullfrog & Baum (www.bullfrogandbaum.com) in conjunction with the New York City Wine & Food Festival (www.nycwineandfoodfestival.com), Michael Chernow of the Meatball Shop (www.themeatballshop.com), Ben Sargent, host of Cooking Channel’s Hook, Line and Dinner (www.cookingchanneltv.com/hook-line-dinner), Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff of the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck (www.biggayicecream.com) and Justin Warner of Do or Dine (www.facebook.com/DOorDINE) and the winner of The Next Food Network Star, spoke candidly about how they’ve handled the spotlight.

Warner, perhaps the most candid of the bunch, was originally working as front of house staff in restaurants throughout New York City when he decided to open NY’s Bed-Stuy-based restaurant Do or Dine with friends, and without any formal culinary training. While he has always been a bit of a trendsetter, his relationship with the media from the beginning was quite unconventional. He recounted the story of how he reached out to a food editor of the New York Times to let them know of his restaurant’s opening with a simple Tweet reading: “Yo, we open.” He notes, “The next thing I knew Continue Reading…

Columns, PPX

PPX – CHEF ERICA WIDES

June 28, 2010

Culinary School Instructor Molds The Next Generation of Chefs
By Darren Atkins

Photo by Adam Rosenberg

From an early age Chef Erica Wides had an obsession with food; she would painstakingly craft and sculpt miniature fake representations of food, housing them alone in her doll house. Now an instructor at The Institute of Culinary Education (www.iceculinary.com), Wides is now sculpting the next generation of chefs and teaching them how to carve their own niche in food.

Wides took a while, as most people do, to find her own niche. As a young woman she attended the School of Visual Arts (www.schoolofvisualarts.edu to study art and photography. In her final years of college, her artwork and photography started to incorporated food; Wides created still lives out of food with a political/feminist theme and then photographed them. She remarks, “I guess I was working a few things out through my work.”

Her explorations in college led her to pursue her career dreams of being a photographer in New York, but she quickly realized it was an expensive and difficult way to make a living here and so she took stock of the situation and realized that she didn’t have anything else, but her love for food. So, she did what every other struggling artist does in New York, at some time or another- she waited tables. While doing that, Wides realized she was much more interested in what was going on behind the scenes. But then, something happened that would force her to make a change. Wides explains, “I was waiting tables and thinking about food a lot, and then all of my photography equipment got stolen. I saw it as a sign Continue Reading…