Archive for category: Culinary

Supporting food trucks

11 May
May 11, 2012

I need to take a second and share my opinions on the recent chatter about the current issues around the food truck event in downtown. I mentioned it briefly yesterday, before I had heard another side of the story. Thankfully, I got a phone call from another involved party that wanted to share their thoughts on the subject. I try to do my best to not spread gossip, sometimes I fail and yesterday I should have taken the time to do a bit more research before forming an opinion.

Here is the way that I see it-

Haley and Jessie with Gourmelt built an awesome event and the public outcry over their post yesterday shows the dedication from their fans. I am happy to see a small business that has created that kind of emotional connection to their customers. It doesn’t happen often. I understand the frustration that they are experiencing. Having someone copy your successful idea sucks. (If you want to see my personal experience with that, go visit Blue Ribbon Meats in Sparks. They sell a ton of items that are basically copies of our stuff from Butcher Boy.) In a way, it is sort of flattering. Mostly though, it can feel as though you have been robbed.

The other parties involved saw an opportunity to capitalize on and took advantage of that. I’m all for business and people making money. I have to respect that part of their project. I also believe that they may be paying more now for the event to take place and that their costs may increase based on how many people show up. That may explain the increased costs to the trucks. Besides, they are in business to make money. If they can’t deliver a profitable event to the other trucks then it will go through its life cycle quickly and be done. If it works, they will continue to do it.

Trying to avoid the “he said, she said” game…. I can only hope that they invited Gourmelt to be a part of it early on. That seems like the right thing to do, doesn’t it? Of course, there is no one telling them that they have to so it falls on ethical business practices from both parties. Let’s just hope that the new event organizers make it their own and do their best to invite a different clientele in order to best avoid diluting the Original Reno Food Truck Fridays (No, it’s not trademarked…..).

In the end, I think it makes sense for the parties involved to keep this out of public eye. At least the emotional and personal side of it. I don’t see where promoting a divide will benefit anyone. It will only serve to dilute the avid followers of the food trucks and the people that support our local foodie scene. If the community avoids any of the events due to their personal beliefs of who is right in this case, it only hurts the small businesses that are out there trying to make a buck and working their butts off doing it.

Also, this won’t be the only new food truck based event we will see this summer. I hear that Eldorado, GSR and The Sands are all working on their own. Plus, I think that Sparks is ripe for an event as well as south Reno.

Let’s all do our best to support local food businesses when we can. Visit whichever event fits your schedule and support the small business, regardless of who invited them to downtown. Cheers!!!

 

Back on track

18 Aug
August 18, 2011

I have a bad habit of constantly looking for new ways to do business. The reason I say that it’s bad is that it gets me off track from what I need to do. I know how to make money for myself, but I start to sway a bit and see opportunities pop up here and there that grab my attention.

I have two main loves when it comes to business. I’m married to the food world and marketing is my girlfriend. My catering business is the “cash cow” for now (not that I’m getting rich) that keeps the bills paid and affords me a bit of free time to build other ventures. Besides catering, I do a bit of business working with others to help them succeed in online marketing. I’m still defining my niche there, but have seen some successes with a few different folks.

My career in the foodservice industry has been a mainstay for my entire life. I’ll never leave it completely. But, I would like to expand and grow into a bit of a different direction than catering parties. Not that I hate it, I actually have a lot of fun working with my clients, it’s just that I don’t want to be loading grills and tables in a trailer when I’m 50….. So, I enjoy writing and I’ve had a fair share of people tell me that I’m good at it. I enjoy reaching out and interacting with other business people and learning about what they do and how they make themselves successful. Finally, I enjoy sharing my thoughts with people and building a community of folks that are interested in similar things.

I’ve found a way to tie all of this together into one project. I’m marrying my love for food, business, marketing and community into one in a way that I think most of you will enjoy. Early next month I’m launching a food news website. It’s not complete yet and I’m probably a bit early in telling you all about it but I’m excited to see it through. I will be sharing a chef’s inside look at new restaurant openings, new chef hirings, events, new menus, etc. Sort of a loose journalistic approach (I’m not a trained journalist) to food news. No reviews, a bit of professional opinion and hopefully the best source in town for foodie gossip.

I’m lucky to have a great friend by the name of Sam Shad that is going to be a part of the journey. You may have seen him on The Dining Show, Nevada Newsmakers, or on the local news for many years. He is sponsoring the new blog through the dining show and using his years of experience in journalism to keep us on track. We may be the first local, independent blog that has TV sponsorship :)

I’m also looking at teaching some classes in online marketing to business owners. I have been to a few of these events that others are teaching, I’ve watched a few on video. I think I can add a little bit of a different perspective since I have the experience from their end. I’ve been the guy running a retail store, managing employees and still overseeing an interactive marketing campaign. I was also running all of the marketing so I’ve seen how it can all tie together in a full marketing mix. Just last night I had two people ask me about doing classes like this. We’ll see where that one goes.

So there it is- back on track, keeping my focus to three ventures. Catering, the new blog and exploring the possibility of teaching others some things I know. If I start to sway, please slap me!

Here is what I would like from you, my loyal readers :) — If you hear of any good food news- restaurant openings, closings, new menus, etc. Or, if you simply have a great experience at a local restaurant or bar, shoot me an email at clint@clintjolly.com. I have a list of 15 or so stories I’m going to go after to get started but the more the better so I can stay ahead of the game. Also, when we have the site up and running in a few weeks I would love your help in sharing it with your friends that may be interested. You’ll see announcements here, Facebook, Twitter, etc. when we have the site live and things are rolling.

Cheers!!!

A new challenge

12 Jan
January 12, 2011

I recently watched the movie “Food, Inc.”. After hearing about it for years I figured it was time. I’m not normally impressed by these shockumentaries since they usually have hidden agendas. From my background, I can tell you that a lot of what they shared regarding the meat industry is true. But what really caught my attention is the thought that you can eat prepared foods more cheaply than wholesome, real food. That thought is a bit scary to me in fact.

I figure it’s because of two main reasons- the government subsidies that they discuss in the film and the fact that your average American really has no clue how to prepare food from scratch. And when I say scratch, I’m not talking about fixing a box of Mac n’ Cheese or cooking frozen ravioli and adding sauce from a can. When I talk about cooking from scratch I mean making the pasta from flour, eggs, salt and oil then making the sauce from real milk, real cheese, etc.

This is where the challenge comes in. My roommate and I have been really experimenting on the food front lately. Making cheese, beer, wine, bacon, paté and sausage all from scratch in the last week. We collectively decided that it would be fun, and a good challenge, to rid our kitchen of any prepared foods for  month. I’m talking nothing more than items that contain one ingredient. No mustard, ketchup, salad dressings, pasta, bread, lunch meat, cereal or cheese unless we make it ourselves. Truly making everything from scratch, while still eating a diverse and balanced menu.

The first step will be to clean out the cupboards of any prepare foods, then restock with whole foods (not the store :) , well…unless they sponsor us!). Then it’s all about making the basics that will ease the prep for each meal such as condiments, lunch meats, etc. We are cheating a bit though- since cheese takes a month or better to age it will be already be finished when we start our month, but still made from scratch.

I will be blogging, recording and writing about everything we do. I can’t promise that each and every recipe will be shared but the ones that are paramount to this type of diet will be. Homemade mustards, cereals, etc. aren’t something that most people ever even think about making so that’s the stuff I want to share and show how it can be done without a lot of fuss.

My roommate Chris is also committing to some blogging and sharing on a daily basis. It should be interesting to get two perspectives, mine as a professional chef and his as the average guy that likes to cook. Together it should make for a good view of what it takes to live completely on real food. Since there are two of us and it’s a dedicated project I will have it on it’s own blog.

Speaking of real food, we aren’t necessarily limiting ourselves to organic, all natural or local. That’s usually the preference anyway but it may make it too difficult to do everything we want for this project. The simple limitation is that we buy only items that have one ingredient. The only exceptions will be when it’s impossible or severely impractical to find. Things such as milk come to mind, since it has vitamin D added, although we did just stumble across a source for raw milk so we may just take the cream from that for cheese and go real old school on the dairy! Either way, we will share what we are using in the recipes so you can see if we “cheated”.

We will also keep track of all the food purchases and compare it to a regular month of groceries. No doubt we will be eating healthier and the challenge will be rewarding, but we also want to see if we can eat 100% real food for less money. We don’t buy any fully prepared foods now, and never do fast food, so I think we will be close to the regular budget. The real sacrifice, if you can call it that, will be in time. But, I think with some organization we can keep that to a minimum.

We plan to start and finish the challenge in March. Who knows where this will lead. It could be a fun challenge that simply has us eating better for a month. It could turn into a life long dietary change. Or, possibly a cookbook and partnerships to keep doing it. Whatever happens with it, I hope to learn a bunch and share that knowledge with the folks that want it.

Now, all I need is a name for the blog and website to put all of this together. Got any ideas?

Also let me know if you can think of anything you would like to see done 100% from scratch. I’m looking for ideas, as always, to keep myself out of a rut!

Turkey day feast

25 Nov
November 25, 2010

Hanging out at dad’s house. Luckily he’s a Traeger fan as well. That means a brine turkey, alder smoked to perfection!
Unfortunately my choice for the first bottle of the day, 98 Ridge Montebello, was a bit past it’s prime and went down the drain. Good thing I brought a tasty bottle of Negroamara as well.

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The chef’s dilemma

22 Oct
October 22, 2010
I came to Seattle excited about the food. Here’s what I’ve had so far-

Corned beef hash that was sweet?!?! And mushy….

Boerewors sandwich from a “world famous master butcher”. (His name is Uli, I’ve never heard of him) And they butchered it…..grilled to the point of sawdust. No wonder it took 15 minutes. Alder smoked salmon belly- tried a sample and it was tasty so I bought a piece. Asked the guy if they made it there, he says no. Tasty, but nothing too special if they buy it from someone else. Then figured I should try seafood so I grabbed a cup of clam chowder, “Northwest Style”. If this is how they make it here, I guess I don’t like northwest style. Worst I’ve had. Back on the quest….

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