Many of us read Danny Meyer’s book, Setting the Table, some years ago when we featured it in MG Book Club and discussed it at meetings around that time.
He and Union Square Hospitality Group (or “USHG,” his company), continue to be a source for best practices, habits, philosophies for our industry. From this recent article: Danny Meyer’s Recipes for Success:
USHG language has evolved over the years as a collection of management aphorisms Meyer created in Setting the Table. The “51 percent rule” describes the personality-based hiring principle Meyer conceived by instinct. Potential employees are awarded a “hospitality quotient” score based on traits such as optimism, warmth, and empathy. When evaluating potential hires, 51 percent of the weighting is given to emotional intelligence, and 49 percent to technical skills. There’s extra percentage points on the emotional side that can’t be taught…
The article goes on to describe how they hire for these skills, incorporate them into their onboarding process, and continually train around them. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
“Counting macros” appears to have become the latest and greatest diet trend everyone is talking about. When I first heard “counting macros” I assumed it was some complicated mathematical formula; turns out this formula is basic nutrition 101. Macros are an abbreviated term for macronutrients- carbohydrates, protein & fat. These 3 nutrients provide calories, along with a whole host of other bodily functions. Quite simply we cannot survive without them.
To count your macros, your calorie goal is determined and then broken down into how many grams of each macronutrient you should get. This calculation takes into account sex, age, height, weight, daily activity level and daily exercise. There are online tools available to do this.
One purported benefit of this type of diet is that it teaches you how to include all foods & balance portions (something lacking in the typical diet). The long-term goal is to transition into a less rigid eating style, relying on your prior nutrition knowledge & your own personal hunger cues.
For those of you who simply want to enjoy eating intuitively & are satisfied with your current weight, this is not the plan for you. For others who need guidance on what to eat & how much, this may be a good starting point. That said, ultimately, eating should be pleasurable & enjoyable, and if you are constantly weighing, measuring & recording your food intake, the innate pleasure of food is lost.
“We eat food, not macros. Food should be one of life’s pleasures and not a mathematical struggle. While one or two days of educating oneself about macros in a daily menu can be helpful, constant counting can become obsessive and eating should be more intuitive.”
Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD
Sports nutrition expert
Sources: If It Fits Your Macros
Makes 3 cups
2 c peaches, fresh or frozen, diced to 1/4″
1/3 c yellow onion, diced to 1/4″
4 t fresh peeled ginger, minced
1/4 c red bell pepper, diced to 1/4″
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c cider vinegar
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer 15 mins or until sauce is syrup consistency
3. Serve hot or cold
Will hold in the refrigerator 1 week
Recently my young son asked me “do people get fat from eating French fries?” innocently reiterating our society’s simplistic notion that we are overweight from eating too much food. Even as a healthcare professional, I was taught that being overweight is a simple matter of eating too much food; never taking into account that thin isn’t always equivalent to healthy. Furthermore, with over 95% of diets failing (and we all know someone who is on a “diet”) we clearly are not accomplishing our goal of everlasting thinness. While I have witnessed great improvements in our society’s false belief that thinness is the only way to a life of health & happiness, we still have a long way to go. As a dietitian, I have worked with numerous athletes; while in the best shape of their life, still strive to achieve a weight that will be counterproductive to their athletic performance. This theory of thinness has troubled me for some time, leading me to search for science-based information regarding weight & health. My search for body acceptance led me to the HAES organization-Health at Every Size. HAES is a science (i.e. evidence) based approach to supporting the inherent diversity of body shapes and sizes, while rejecting the notion that weight is the only indicator of health. I fully support this movement that celebrates the health & diversity of our bodies, breaking us free from the never-ending struggle to achieve a body habitus that is simply unachievable.
The Health At Every Size® Principles are:
1. Weight Inclusivity:
Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes and sizes and reject the idealizing or pathologizing of specific weights.
2. Health Enhancement:
Support health policies that improve and equalize access to information and services, and personal practices that improve human well-being, including attention to individual physical, economic, social, spiritual, emotional, and other needs.
3. Respectful Care:
Acknowledge our biases and work to end weight discrimination, weight stigma, and weight bias. Provide information and services from an understanding that socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other identities impact weight stigma, and support environments that address these inequities.
4. Eating for Well-being:
Promote flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure, rather than any externally regulated eating plan focused on weight control.
5. Life-Enhancing Movement:
Support physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they choose.
Sources: Empowered Eating Health at Every Size
In our business, it’s not enough to prepare and serve fabulous food. Hospitality is about how we make people feel while they are enjoying the fabulous food. It’s about the whole experience. In other words, our soft skills must be equal to our technical skills: “as artificial intelligence makes further inroads into your daily work these uniquely human skills are what will differentiate your team members from the bots… If we are to successfully co-exist with increasingly sophisticated technology, we need to amp up our humanity.”
Ways to do this? Be as focused on how something went well as you are on what was achieved. Acknowledge set-backs and encourage those close to it that, yes, this is a tough time – but we will get through it! Recognize soft skills in action, and specifically (great job handling that frustrating situation calmly and with kindness!).
In the end, it’s making real connections with one another that makes us all feel better.
6 c vegetable broth
2 c quick cook farro*
2 T salt
1 lb small radishes, 1/2 lb cut into quarters, other 1/2 lb sliced
3 T olive oil
2 T fresh garlic, minced
pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 t dijon mustard
2 c lightly packed baby arugula
1 c soft goat cheese, crumbled
1. Bring broth to boil, add farro & salt, return to boil, cover, reduce to simmer; cook until tender 30 min
2. Drain, transfer to large bowl, set aside
3. Heat sauté pan over medium heat, add oil, quartered radishes, garlic, s&p; sauté until crisp
4. Remove from the heat, add lemon juice & mustard, mix, pour over farro
5. Add sliced radishes, arugula, toss to combine, let cool & then top with goat cheese
Switching up the order of MG core value number 5: Be positive, be gracious, be kind. Don’t ask me to pick which behavior is most important…can’t do it! But this article (Choose your focus because your eyes control your tongue) zeros in on being positive. What does that really mean? Here are some points to consider…
It’s not enough to accentuate the positive. You have to eliminate the negative.
Walk around looking for mistakes and all you talk about is mistakes.
Repeated complaining hard-wires the brain to do more complaining. The more negative you are, the more negative you become.
Steps to help?
1. Focus on solutions when problems emerge.
2. Focus on strengths. High performance comes from leveraging strengths not fixing (all) weaknesses.
3. Focus on the future. Remember the future is built today.
4. Focus on gratitude.
5. Focus on progress. Energy increases with forward movement, as long as you don’t complain that it’s not enough!
Serves 50 Sandwiches
2 pt fresh strawberries, sliced, sugared*
1 ea 10″x15″ sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 T flour (approx)
1 egg, beaten
1 T water
2-3t sugar (raw, turbinado or granulated) whipped cream, real
1. *Sprinkle sliced berries with 3 T sugar, refrigerated 2-4 hrs
2. Unfold puff pastry on floured surface, cut in small (2″x1.5″) rectangles
3. Place on parchment lined baking sheet
4. Combine egg & water, brush on pastry, sprinkle with sugar
5. Bake 15 mins, until puffed & brown, cool
6. Split pastry rectangles in half
7. Top bottom half with 1-2 T berries, dollop whipped cream, pastry top
As I sit here on this dreary rainy day, I am dreaming of sunshine and spring menu planning. Fresh strawberries, crisp lettuce & of course asparagus, just to name a few of my spring favorites. Last week at the farmer’s market I saw signs of spring popping up with fresh ripe strawberries for sale (granted, they were from North Carolina, not Virginia, but it is a sign of what is to come). As I have gotten older, I have developed a much greater appreciation for the simplicity of fresh, local food. Additionally, fresh produce is loaded with vitamins & minerals & offers a whole host of health benefits. This recipe will most definitely be prepared in my house after the first sighting of asparagus at the Lynchburg Farmer’s Market.
Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest & Cheese
· 1 pound asparagus (skinnier may be better)
· 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
· 1-2 tablespoons finely grated hard cheese, such as 3-year gouda or parmesan
· 1 tablespoon lemon zest, plus lemon slices for garnish
· Salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Fit a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cut the last inch from each stalk of asparagus and discard. Spread stalks out on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, using a pastry brush to coat each stalk, or simply turning the stalks over with a fork until they are well coated. Sprinkle with cheese and lemon zest, and then season with salt & pepper.
3. Bake for 10-13 minutes, until tops of the asparagus, start to turn crisp and stalks are bright green. They should be tender through. Serve hot, with lemon slices for garnish.
Source: Foraged Dish
In case you missed it as you were scraping the snow off your car, spring officially began over a week ago. But the signs are there, with more every day! Among other things, spring is characterized as a season of renewal, rebirth, refresh, re-imagining. Sometimes that means cleaning up or cleaning out; donating clothes and stuff; planting flowers, fertilizing, pruning.
How do these activities and intentions manifest at work? April tends to look like an episode of Survivor in the MG world. Thinking about anything other than the work at hand is difficult if not laughable. And, yet, as we plow through the busy day-to-day demands and #allthatextracatering, we still have our own spirit to nurture and tend as well as the spirits of our teammates.
“Life is like an echo, what you send out comes back to you.” —Chinese proverb