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Food Writer Challenge Winners<br>Featured Issue: December 2009

Winners

Pitch

Editorial Comments

From Diego Moya:

Pitch: The Identity of a Restaurant and what it means. When a restaurant opens, the chef's vision is realized. There is a theme, or a specific region that the chef uses as inspiration for the manipulation of flavors in his/her dishes. How does this vision translate to the creativity of the chef's peers. How must one maneuver the restaurants identity so that the original prototype is followed loyally but also allows for progression. Is there such a thing as a "soul" when it comes to restaurants? This article with explore the previous questions using past and present restaurants to deduct a better understanding of restaurant's metaphysical side.

"Pitch is spot on. Though I’ll need a little more clarification as to just how metaphysical you intend to go."

Runners Up

Pitch

Editorial Comments

From Jennifer Meier:

Pitch: Any restaurant with a cheese plate on the menu knows that offering wine and beer pairing suggestions increases both alcohol sales and customer enjoyment. But as this trend begins to slow, few restaurants are tapping into the newest way to increase sales and breathe new life into their cheese program: cocktail and cheese pairings. I‚m proposing an article introducing the trend of cocktail and cheese pairing and educating mixologists about how to create cocktails with flavors that pair well with cheese. A successful example of this trend that can be profiled in the article is Bar Artisanal in New York, a restaurant known for its vast cheese selection. Bar Artisanal now offers six specialty cocktails made specifically with cheese in mind, such as a tomato and basil martini paired with mozzarella and a Scotch whiskey and lapsang souchong tea cocktail paired with English cheddar.

"Really like this. It’s a unique approach to looking at ways to boosti the bottom line and build customer excitement. In order for it to work for the Food & Beverage Magazine the coverage would have to include additional restaurants, beyond Bar Artisanal and beyond New York City, that are committed to a cocktail and cheese pairing program."

From Katherine Roche:

Pitch: The highlight will be on the increase of food allergies in America, more specifically celiac disease. Personally knowing people living with Celiac, it‚s hard to find restaurants/sports areans/schools that can accommodate this digestive disease. The main focus of the article will be focusing more on the business opportunities this disease creates for entrepreneurs, chefs, etc. Although most living with Celiac can find something to eat on most menus, the risk is high due to carelessness and/or ignorance with the disease from the restaurant staff. This is not a dietary choice for those living with the disease; having more meal options would be an exceptional business opportunity due to the increasing number of people being diagnosed. Making readers and people of the culinary world more aware of Celiac Disease will be a feat in itself.

"This is an important topic that needs to be discussed. Since Food & Beverage Magazine is a trade publication it is a perfect idea to put the focus of the article on what business opportunities can be created by accommodating the needs of these particular guests. Can you explore opportunities that come from being dietary sensitive and not solely focus on Celiac disase?"

From Ethan Kahn:

Pitch: Holiday Beers, and pairing these with menu items. When the holiday season rolls around, many breweries put out seasonal holiday brews. These contain some interesting tastes and flavor, both traditional and new. Holiday beers or winter beers can prove challenging to sell, however. They can be intimidating to the customer due to high alcohol content and odd flavors, and the unfamiliarity that restaurant staff tends to have towards these brews is also troublesome. How can one safely incorporate these beer into their menu? Which are the better brews out there? What sort of flavor should chefs look to use in order to achieve interesting beer and food pairings? How can one better sell customers on these beers? The article would be a review of about five of the better known holiday beers, and also contain a brief rundown about holiday/winter beers in general.

"This could work. Balancing the challenge of odd flavors with the understanding of getting the customer’s buy-in and making these beers work in the restaurant is perfect. And we should include the perspective of some brewers who are creating these limited production brews. Let’s tackle this for an end of year story."

From Christine DiPietro:

As someone who has worked in the hospitality field, I know the importance the senses play when a person walks into a restaurant. Of course their initial reason for attending is usually for the food, but it is also necessary to have an atmosphere to accompany that food. An important aspect of that atmosphere is set through the use of music. The type of music that is played can help the diner get a better feel and understanding for the restaurant and the food which is offered. With the right music, the diner can feel more at ease and comfortable. By having a more comfortable diner, it is then easier to meet their expectations and ensure a more satisfied customer.

"This is an interesting story concept that I’d be willing to explore a little further with you. I’d like to see more details on exactly how you would like to approach this story. Who would you be speaking to as expert sources? And would you be asking questions such as “What are the benefits of having a more relaxed customer?” so that you could conclude with a business benefit?"