Specialty Food Magazine


Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 126 of 203

What qualities do entrepreneurs need to succeed in the specialty food industry? There are only a few I know for sure. One, you have to do it because you are passionate about it. It certainly isn't easy. Two, you have to have a great palate and you have to know what is delicious, which sounds easier than it is. Three, you have to have some understand- ing of what the marketplace wants and, more importantly, what the marketplace doesn't know yet that it wants—Terra Chips, who'd have thought before that came out? Now every time we fly JetBlue that is what we are snacking on and it's delicious. More than anything else, the only advice I can give to business people—because I'm a lousy one—is to follow your passion and make something that's high quality and great. And if you love it, hopefully someone else will. Have you ever created a food product yourself that you've considered selling? My husband, Barry, and I have beehives on our rooftop in Brooklyn but we've never sold a drop of honey. We've just given it to friends. It's more work than we realized at the beginning. It's fascinating. We thought about selling it, but his real passion is furniture, my real passion is food TV, and I think if you're not willing to devote all your energy to making specialty food then you are in the wrong business. Get out. Do you have a favorite food shop in New York? I pinch myself every time I walk through the West Village. I can't believe that I get to live in New York City. It's an amazing global food town and I have so many favorite specialty shops here— Murray's Cheese comes to mind. And on a larger scale, the grocery market Fairway—as it says, like no other market—is an incredible resource for fancy food and regular food, fair prices, large sizes. New York City is an interesting place to buy groceries. I heard that Wegmans is opening a grocery store in my neigh- borhood in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in two years, and I am so over the moon about that—I can't even tell you. That's a neighborhood that has fancy brownstones and a lot of public hous- ing and there is kind of a food desert for people who live in the public-housing buildings. I think this is going to bring together com- munities and satisfy the needs of all those constituents. It's a huge task, a difficult thing, and Wegmans is going to do that. What are some of your favorite restaurants in New York? I'm going to go down-home and simple without anything fussy and fancy. There are plenty of people sending you to fancy restaurants. If you want a great meal in Manhattan, something unpretentious and yet super delicious, go to my friend Amanda Freitag's Empire Diner on 10th Avenue and 22nd Street. Amanda is a brilliant chef. She's a multi-star fine-dining chef but she took over a classic Deco diner where she updates diner classics with a chef's touch. And it is special. All I need to say to you is Milkshake of the Day. There is a different milkshake every day. Do you have a favorite type of food you like to cook at home? I cook every chance I get. I cook all week long. I love to make chili, stews, pulled pork. I have a charcoal smoker thing in the backyard that I can keep going for about eight hours without refueling. Mario Batali's advice to me was that when you want to make pulled pork, put that pork shoulder on the smoker, go to bed, and when you wake up it's done. Why are new products and ingredients important to chefs? New products, like interesting potato chips, chutneys, charcuteries, are often the jumping-off point in terms of inspiration for chefs—for any of us—for making great dishes. The specialty food industry is a huge part of driving the vision and ideas that chefs need. Look at Empire Mayonnaise, Brooklyn's very own. An artisanal mayonnaise company founded by a gifted chef, but who'd have thought? I love mayonnaise. These are flavored, handmade mayonnaises with the highest-quality products. That is a crazy great idea that a lot of compa- nies would laugh at. (Editor's note: Read more about Empire Mayonnaise and other New York retailers on p. 115.) This is why we have the Fancy Food Show, to give these entrepre- neurs the chance to bring their pas- sion to market. And they have a shot. If the right buyer comes along, if the right journalist covers it, you are the next Ben & Jerry's. What could be more exciting than that? Responses have been edited. q&a Ted Allen is hosting the 43rd annual sofi Awards at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City. Louise Kramer is communications director for the Specialty Food Association. On "Chopped," we talk about presentation, taste, and creativity, and all of those are very important, but No. 1 is always quality and taste. 124 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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