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Celebrating International Women’s Day :: Top Women in Food + Beverage

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international womens day

What a great day to celebrate! Today is International Women’s Day (Wednesday, March 8th) – a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

I’m proud to be an entrepreneurial #woman in the New York City food scene. I’m also proud of all the thousands of other smart, talented, independent, business savvy #women I know around the world, in the culinary world, business world, political scene, creative and marketing fields, and more (too many to mention!).. and raise a glass to all they have achieved.

international womens day

Women have come so far in the world in the past century (voting rights, equal rights, next equal pay!) and I hope we continue to progress in the world even further in the next one. With the opportunities that lie ahead and the tremendous amount of talented passionate women in the world, there’s no stopping us!

international women's day

Below is a salute to some of the Top Female Food and Beverage Power Players in South Florida and New Orleans, two hot beds in the culinary scene — chefs, bartenders, sommeliers and restaurateurs making a difference in the culinary landscape.

Cheers to all of you wonderful ladies around the world and never stop dreaming! #beboldforchange

International Women's Day logo

The roster of talent includes:

South Florida: (rollover photos for names)

Danielle Rosse, Owner, Oceans 234

When it comes to acclaimed restaurateurs in South Florida, it can tend to be a bit of an ‘old boys’ club. And when it comes to delivering a superb, true-to-Florida oceanfront dining experience, very few can ‘serve it up’ better than South Florida female restaurateur and entrepreneur Danielle Rosse. Rosse was just 22 and recently widowed when she first opened Oceans 234 in 2001. Starting as Director of Operations, she transformed what was once a sleepy oceanfront diner into the alluring waterfront dining escape that Oceans 234 is recognized as today. In 2013 she purchased the restaurant to become the sole owner of the establishment and in 2015 it underwent a massive $1.8 million dollar renovation elevating the property and the guest experience. This respected restauranteur also strives to give back to the industry that she loves so dearly. Rosse sits on the Board of Directors for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Deerfield Beach Chamber of Commerce as well as the Broward Health Foundation. She has received numerous honors including the 2011 Coconut Creek Small Business Person of the Year, 2013 Soroptimist International Woman of Distinction, and the 2014 South Florida Business Journal Influential Woman of the Year. The Oceans 234 team now hosts multiple fundraisers throughout the year including Surfers for Autism, Woman In Distress’s Annual Clothing Drive, and the Annual St. Baldricks Shave-a-Thon. Rosse also supports the Gwendolyn Clarke-Reed Neighborhood Initiative program that promotes the employment of at-risk youth during the summer months by having students intern at the restaurant.

Shannon Allen, Owner, Grown

Shannon Allen, owns and operates Grown™, a highly celebrated USDA Organic Certified fast food restaurant based in Miami, Florida, alongside her husband Ray Allen. Shannon (The PreGame Meal) created the concept in frustration after searching unsuccessfully for an organic nutrient dense meal on-the-go for their five children and especially their son Walker who lives with Type 1 Diabetes. She and Ray (retired two-time NBA Champion, 10-time NBA All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist), are committed to promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle by providing freshly prepared meals inclusive of guests with dietary needs such as gluten sensitivities, food allergies, vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians, and those on the Autoimmune Protocol or paleo diets. Grown is proud to be the first USDA Certified Organic fast food restaurant with a drive-thru on the East Coast, and is widely recognized as a market disrupter for providing convenience without compromise.

Jessica Goldman, Goldman Properties

Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties, was with the company founded by her late father, Tony Goldman, for 15 years before taking the reins at his behest in 2012.  Founded in 1967, the award-winning company recognizes the value in depressed urban areas, re-imagining, reconstructing and transforming declining districts into thriving global destinations. Goldman Srebnick oversees the company’s portfolio of assets in New York, Philadelphia, Miami Beach and Miami’s emerging Wynwood Arts District, with a key focus on the vitality, aesthetic and artistic components of all products created by the firm. The rich mix includes hotels, restaurants, office buildings, commercial, retail and residential properties, and Wynwood Walls, the highly-acclaimed outdoor street art museum. In July of 2015, Goldman Srebnick founded Goldman Global Arts to generate and produce impactful large scale creative projects for a variety of organizations including an integration of large scale artwork into Hard Rock Stadium. Goldman Srebnick is an active member of numerous philanthropic organizations including the prestigious Young Presidents Organization, the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, and the Cycle for Survival’s national Battle Leadership Council. Goldman Srebnick has received numerous accolades, including being named one of South Florida Business Journal’s Top100 Power Leaders, Florida International University Center for Leadership named her one of 50 Prominent Women in Florida and she received the prestigious Key to the city of Miami for her work on the Global Leadership Conference in 2009. In addition to the accolades, she has received worldwide press, and has been featured in media outlets including The New York Times, AP, and the BBC. Furthermore, her efforts in Wynwood have led to Vogue and Forbes magazines listing the area as one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world.

Jennifer Wagoner, Lead Sommelier at Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Jennifer Wagoner brings a unique creativity to the historic Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s acclaimed wine program in her role as Lead Sommelier at Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina and StripSteak by Michael Mina where she manages expansive wine lists encompassing more than 1000 bottles and 50 by the glass selections. Born in Indiana, Wagoner began her career in the restaurant and club business in Manhattan. A student of Master Sommelier Laura Maniec and B.R. Guest’s “Wine College,” she fell in love with the art and science of wines, finding a passion in the process of winemaking but real affection for wine tasting and pairing. In 2006, Wagoner relocated to Miami and worked at Escopazzo restaurant. In 2007, she joined Goldman Properties’ Wish restaurant where she helped craft a wine list that quickly earned raves including the coveted Wine Spectator award. In 2010, she launched Wynwood Kitchen & Bar (WKB) in Miami’s emerging Wynwood Arts District. There, she served as restaurant manager and sommelier and managed the restaurant’s eclectic wine list as well as developed, at the time, one of the most progressive beer lists in town. Her wine and brew acumen earned Wynwood Kitchen & Bar a nod from Miami New Times as the “Best New Bar” of 2010. She left WKB in 2012 and took the role of Head Sommelier at the wildly popular Zuma restaurant in downtown Miami. There, she was responsible for an award-winning wine list of over 400 selections. She joined the Fontainebleau Miami Beach team in May 2015. Wagoner holds a CMS Level 2 Sommelier Certification and has an Advanced Certificate in Wine Business from the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University.

Executive Chef Adrienne Grenier, 3030 Ocean

3030 Ocean’s Executive Chef Adrienne Grenier, and South Florida native, has always had a passion for food. That passion became a career, and Grenier earned a degree from Florida State University in Food Science and Nutrition. She then attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale to learn the craft of truly refined cooking and the intricate design behind elegant food preparation and presentation. Grenier began her culinary career under the tutelage of acclaimed Chefs Dean Max and Paula DaSilva at 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale’s Harbor Beach Marriott Resort. Here, Grenier spent two years honing her skills before her desire for new culinary experiences lead the budding chef to California. While on the West Coast, Grenier worked her way up the ranks at the Michelin starred restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at the London in West Hollywood; as well as Blanca Restaurant in Solana Beach, alongside renowned Chef Jason Neroni. While living in California, Grenier spent much of her time visiting local farmer’s markets, embracing the art of farm-to-table cooking. In 2010, the self-proclaimed “farm girl” joined the culinary team at 1500 Degrees at Miami Beach’s Eden Roc resort. Here, she teamed up with Executive Chef Paula DaSilva again as sous chef, focusing on fresh, sustainable cuisine. During her tenure, the restaurant became one of Esquire magazine’s “Top 20 Best New Restaurants in the USA.”  DaSilva — mentor to Grenier — encouraged the chef to participate as a competitor on Food Network’s Chopped, and in January of 2011 she received the grand prize of $10,000. In 2013, Grenier returned to where her culinary career began, as DaSilva’s sous chef at 3030 Ocean, where she helped to conceptualize an ever-changing menu of organic produce and locally-sourced dishes from both land and sea. In 2015, after DaSilva’s departure, she was named Executive Chef of 3030 Ocean in 2015.

Executive Chef Paula DaSilva, Artisan Beach House

South Florida culinary darling Chef Paula DaSilva returned to Miami as Executive Chef with Artisan Beach House at The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami. The Brazilian native’s love for cooking began at a young age working at her family-owned restaurants in Massachusetts and, later in South Florida. Eager to expand her culinary repertoire, DaSilva attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where she earned a degree in Culinary Arts. DaSilva began her culinary career at 3030 Ocean at the Harbor Beach Marriot under the tutelage of esteemed South Florida Chef Dean Max. It was around this time that DaSilva competed in the fifth season of FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen with Chef Gordon Ramsey and finished as the season’s runner-up, cementing her place as one of Florida’s celebrity chefs. In 2010, DaSilva took her talents to South Beach as the executive chef of 1500 Degrees at the illustrious Eden Roc Hotel. The chic farm-to-table concept earned rave reviews and popular acclaim for its soulful, seasonal, rustic cuisine – which have now become synonymous with DaSilva’s style of cooking. Her cooking at 1500 Degrees earned massive praise and wide-ranging appeal, including a nod from Esquire magazine as one of the “Best New Restaurants in America.” A couple years later, DaSilva’s career came full circle when she returned to 3030 Ocean and took the helm as executive chef. During her second stint with 3030 Ocean, DaSilva revitalized the menu, injecting her now-signature soulful cooking style into the restaurant’s seafood-centric menu. After leaving 3030 Ocean for the second time, the culinary powerhouse took some well-deserved time off to travel. At Artisan Beach House, DaSilva serves as the restaurant’s executive chef while simultaneously overseeing all food & beverage operations for the property. DaSilva has a remarkable talent for creating imaginative, farm fresh dishes that highlight the flavors and freshness of South Florida’s local ingredients. Together with her culinary team at Artisan Beach House, DaSilva treats guests to a high-quality dining experience on par with the standards for which The Ritz-Carlton is known. Artisan Beach House is DaSilva’s second collaboration with restaurant and nightlife impresario Seth Greenberg, the first being 1500 Degrees. Under the umbrella of Greenberg’s Sterling Group Management Inc., Artisan Beach House is just part of the food & beverage innovations Greenberg and DaSilva have planned for the property.

Executive Chef Chef Maryna Frederiksen, Big Easy Winebar & Grill

Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen was born and raised on a farm in the Transvaal Province of South Africa. Her fondest memories include raising cattle and sheep and eating vegetables picked fresh from her family’s garden. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from North-West University in South Africa and moved to Amsterdam in 1990 to complete her Master’s Degree in European History. Her career in education quickly evolved into an insatiable curiosity for food so she began bartending for a European cruise line, then joined the cruise line’s flagship hotel in Switzerland. Here she got her first job as a cook, kick-starting a decades-long career. She accepted a chef position in San Francisco and later moved to Seattle in 1995 where she built the culinary program at the Central Park Tennis Club in Kirkland and created culinary classes for locals and visitors to enjoy. In 2003, Frederiksen was recognized as one of Seattle’s top ten up-and-coming chefs and a year later was invited to join the culinary team at the James Beard Award-winning The Herbfarm restaurant in Woodinville. In 2009, she came to Florida where she became Executive Chef/Partner at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota and spearheaded their catering division. She contributed to their Botanical Garden Educational program, teaching children’s edible garden classes. Frederiksen returned to South’s wine country where she served as Executive Chef for the Holden Manz Wine Estate and later Noble Hill. In 2015, Frederiksen moved back to Florida as Chef of California Grill inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Now as Executive Chef of Big Easy Winebar & Grill, Frederiksen combines South African comfort food and Nuevo-Latin cuisine. Frederiksen has been inducted into Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international gastronomy association and the Société Mondiale du Vin, the oldest and largest food and wine society as a Chef Rôtisseur and Des Gourmets Degustateurs. She has also served on the Board of Directors of Slow Food Sarasota.

New Orleans LA: (rollover photos for names)

Abigail Gullo, Beverage Director, Compere Lapin

A native of Hyde Park, NY, with roots in Georgia and Virginia, Abigail Gullo first discovered her love for mixology when her grandfather taught her how to make a Manhattan when she was only seven years old.  As a young adult, she moved to Ireland to work in theatre, and quickly became known for transforming her Dublin apartment into a cocktail salon, crafting libations for friends and colleagues. An experienced off-Broadway singer and actress in New York City, theatre teacher by trade, and graduate of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, Gullo switched careers to professional bartending in 2009 while living in Manhattan. Around that time, local spirits industry legend LeNell Smothers nominated Gullo as a member for the New York chapter of the charity-driven society Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails. From 2010 to 2012, Gullo served as Head Bartender at Fort Defiance in Brooklyn, while helping to open The Beagle in the East Village in 2011. As a result of her frequent travels to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, and roster of mixology awards, Gullo landed the job as head bar chef for Sobou; then the newest venture from the Commander’s Family of Restaurants in the Crescent City. In 2015, Gullo was tapped by award-winning bartender Ricky Gomez, to join the beverage team at Compère Lapin, where she worked alongside Gomez in developing the restaurant’s cocktail menu. Gullo’s original cocktails have been recognized in numerous national and international competitions as well as in the media. Her margarita won People’s Choice at the 2010 Tales of the Cocktail, and her drinks have been featured in The New York Times, Imbibe, Garden & Gun, In The Mix, and Food & Wine magazine among others. Gullo was named Eater NOLA’s “Bartender of the Year” in 2014; winner of Heaven Hill Liquor.com’s “Bartender of the Year” 2016; and winner of Tullimore Dew’s “Best Bartender Stories.”

Executive Chef/Owner Nina Compton, Compere Lapin

Compère Lapin Chef/Owner Nina Compton has more than 15 years of experience manning some of the finest restaurants in the country. Upon completion of secondary school in England, Nina Compton returned to her home in St. Lucia where she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a chef.  Her parents arranged an internship with a friend’s hotel in Jamaica where Nina fell in love with the creativity and camaraderie of the kitchen. Leaving the cozy, warm winters of the Caribbean, Nina chose to move to chilly Hyde Park, NY to study  at The Culinary Institute of America. In 2001, Nina began her professional journey at Daniel in New York City, working and continuing her culinary education alongside world renowned chef/ restaurateur Daniel Boulud. After moving to Miami, she joined Norman Van Aken at his namesake restaurant Norman’s and then Philippe Ruiz located at Palme d’Or. Eventually Nina moved to Casa Casuarina, a private club and boutique hotel in Miami Beach where she rose from Sous Chef to Executive Chef of the highly acclaimed property. With the excitement of the renovation of Fontainebleau Miami Beach in 2008 combined with the chance to work with Scott Conant at Scarpetta, Nina leapt at the chance to join the pre-opening team as Sous Chef and went on to be appointed Chef de Cuisine. During a star turn on BRAVO’s Top Chef, on which she was a finalist and fan favorite, Nina fell in love with the Crescent City. An opportunity with Provenence Hotels lured Nina to New Orleans where she opened her first solo restaurant, Compère Lapin, at the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery in the Warehouse District. Since opening in June 2015, Compère Lapin has received critical acclaim including a rave review in The New York Times, Top 10 Winner of Playboy‘s Best New Bars in America 2016 and “Best New Restaurant” nods by New Orleans Magazine and Times-Picayune.

Lu Brow, Beverage Director, DTB

Lu Brow, Beverage Director at DTB is an expert of historic cocktails. Brow has extensive experience as a mixologist, having studied with Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh, author of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails and Dale DeGroff, known as “The King of Cocktails” and founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail. Brow served as Bar Chef at Café Adelaide & The Swizzle Stick Bar in the French Quarter in 2005, part of the Commander’s Palace Family of Restaurants in New Orleans. In her time there she introduced the “Bar Chef Table,” a concept modeled after the chef’s table, where the menu is paired with unique cocktails served in tasting-sized glasses, at a bar right next to your table. Her talent has since been recognized in Santé Magazine’s 2006 Spirits Hospitality Award, which honors restaurants that exhibit a high level of professional standards in spirits, service and hospitality. Then in 2014, she migrated to the recently reopened Brennan’s to create their beverage program. Now, as Beverage Director for the soon-to-open modern Southern Louisiana concept DTB, which stands for Down the Bayou, Brow will continue to use her talent and ingenuity behind the bar to wow guests and critics alike with creative concoctions using Louisiana ingredients.

Liz Williams, President/Founder Southern Food and Beverage Museum

Elizabeth (Liz) Williams is the Founder and President of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFAB) in New Orleans, which falls under the umbrella organization of National Food & Beverage Foundation (NatFAB) – a nonprofit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of food, drink and its related culture and folklife in America and the world. Liz wanted to integrate her love of food and history and was amazed that the South did not have a museum dedicated to its extraordinary and unique culinary traditions. After collecting numerous artifacts, organizing exhibitions, and recruiting nationally recognized chefs and food industry leaders to serve as the Board of Directors, Liz and her team developed the concept of SoFAB, which opened its doors in June of 2008 in New Orleans and recently reopened in it’s new, larger location on the city’s up and coming Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.  SoFAB has earned praise and accolades, including being named one of the  “11 of the World’s Top Food Museums” by CNN. Liz is the author of several books, including her latest book, coauthored with Chris McMillian, about the drinking culture of New Orleans, entitled Lift Your Spirits. Other books include The Encyclopedia of Law and Food, and New Orleans: A Food Biography.

Poppy Tooker, Culinary Historian, Author, Cultural Ambassador

Poppy Tooker is known for her NPR affiliated radio show, Louisiana Eats! which carries her message state-wide and beyond. The New Orleans Press Club named Louisiana Eats! best radio show of 2014. In 2013, her radio show inspired her to write her Louisiana Eats! book, which was given the Literary Award of the Year by the Louisiana Library Association. After being tapped to update one of the earliest Louisiana cookbooks, Madame Begue’s Creole Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery (first published in 1900) Poppy went on to continue the story of Begue’s with the recently published Tujague’s Cookbook, Creole Recipes and Lore in the Grand New Orleans Tradition. As a culinary activist, Poppy has been instrumental in reviving endangered local foods such as Creole cream cheese and rice calas. She was a key element in the success of the Crescent City Farmers Market and, in 2007, Poppy authored the Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook which was given the Eula Mae Dore Tabasco Award for its historical and cultural content. Poppy also appears weekly on the WYES public television show, Steppin’ Out, dishing out spicy food commentary. Visitors and locals alike savor the opportunity to enjoy many speaking engagements and culinary demonstrations which tie together her passion for the delicious history and recipes of Louisiana’s foods. She’s a cultural ambassador on a mission and her life’s mission has been to work as a culinary activist, promoting and preserving food culture and history while safe guarding the planet’s bio-diversity. Poppy founded the Slow Food New Orleans Chapter in 1999 creating one of the first 10 chapters in the United States. She was selected to serve as an International Governor with the movement. Following Hurricane Katrina, Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini awarded Poppy with its first ever leadership award and at that time she was also recognized by the Times Picayune as a “Hero of the Storm”, a story which was nationally told on the Weather Channel. The International Association of Cooking Professionals recognized Poppy’s efforts in April 2008, with their first ever, Community Service Award. In 2012, Southern Living magazine named Poppy a “Hero of the New South” for her work in foodways.

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For more info on International Women’s Day, visit their website

Please share this post and tag it with #beboldforchange!

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Olive Garden unveils new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean” menu

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Olive Garden Tastes of the Mediterranean Menu

I had the opportunity to attend a special preview tasting of Olive Garden‘s new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu this week at a lovely event held at Haven’s Kitchen in NYC with a group of other food bloggers, writers and journalists.

Media Preview Haven's Kitchen

Olive Garden Team

We sampled a (generous!) variety of delicious food and wine, and learned more about the new menu ideas and inspiration from the Olive Garden team and Executive Chef, Jim Nuetzi

Olive Garden Tasting Event

Inspired by the flavors of Italy’s Mediterranean Coast, Olive Garden is evolving its popular Lighter Italian Fare menu to the new ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu, which celebrates the flavors and cooking styles from the popular Mediterranean region of Italy with all entrees under 600 calories.

Chicken Margherita

Beginning Jan. 2, two new entrees – Chicken Margherita and

Linguine Di Mare

Linguine di Mare – will be available in restaurants. Following, the fully evolved ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ rebranded menu section, which includes guest favorites as well as the new entrees, will be introduced on Jan. 23.

Executive Chef Jim

“Healthier dishes at restaurants can often be perceived as boring or unsatisfying. However, our Mediterranean-inspired Shrimp Scampi with its flavorful ingredients was our second most popular entrée on the entire menu last summer,” said Jim Nuetzi, Executive Chef for Olive Garden. “The positive reaction from our guests further showed that we could create indulgent and craveable entrees that just happen to have the added benefit of lower calorie counts.”

Shrimp Scampi

The guest-favorite Shrimp Scampi, which was introduced to the Olive Garden menu last year, has exceeded any other Olive Garden lighter fare entrée in popularity. Many guests were surprised that the flavorful and satisfying dish was only 500 calories.

Grilled Chicken Parmigiana

The guest reaction to the Shrimp Scampi inspired chefs to explore additional ingredients that would excite guests in the same way, leading them to the cuisine of Italy’s Mediterranean coast. The region is long known for healthier lifestyles and cooking with light, flavorful ingredients such as seafood, olive oil, fresh vegetables, whole grains and Italian spices.

Chicken Margherita & Zucchini

Chicken Piccata

Herb Grilled Salmon

The ‘Tastes of the Mediterranean’ menu features:

Olive-Garden-Chicken-Margherita

  • NEW! Chicken Margherita: Grilled chicken breasts topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto and a lemon garlic sauce. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Olive-Garden-Shrimp-Scampi

  • Shrimp Scampi: Shrimp sautéed in a garlic sauce, tossed with asparagus, tomatoes and angel hair pasta.

Olive-Garden-Linguini-di-Mare

  • NEW! Linguine di Mare: Shrimp and mussels sautéed with homemade pomodoro sauce and whole grain linguine.

Olive-Garden-Herb-Grilled-Salmon

  • Herb-Grilled Salmon: Filet grilled to perfection and topped with garlic-herb butter. Served with parmesan-garlic broccoli.

Olive-Garden-Chicken-Piccata-Dinner

  • Chicken Piccata: Grilled chicken topped with a lemon garlic butter sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and capers. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Olive Garden Tilapia Piccata

  • Tilapia Piccata: Delicate white fish baked in a lemon garlic butter sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and capers. Served with parmesan crusted zucchini.

Entrees on the rebranded menu start at $14.29.

Warm Chocolate Baci Cake

And last but not least, we enjoyed a gorgeous dessert, Warm Chocolate Baci Cake with coffee..simply divine. 

Olive Garden

..and got some take home goodie bags with a bottle of wine and some wine glasses!

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ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN

Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.8 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated more than 35 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country.

Guests can join the conversation and connect with Olive Garden at Facebook.com/OliveGarden, Twitter.com/OliveGarden and Instagram.com/OliveGarden. For more information and to find your nearest Olive Garden restaurant, visit OliveGarden.com.

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Olive Garden unveils delicious new menu items!

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I recently attended a super fun event to celebrate the delicious new items that Olive Garden has introduced on their menu.

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I joined the Olive Garden team along with several other local journalists and bloggers at Elevated Acre in Downtown Manhattan which is a beautiful outdoor space overlooking the East River with views of the Brooklyn Bridge.

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We enjoyed their private label wines out on the deck

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(I love their new Tuscan Red table wine!) and then all sat down at a huge table to start the festivities and get first dibs on the menu tasting. #NeverEndingTable

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We met the Olive Garden marketing team and their Executive Chef who told us about their new menu innovations,

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and then we got to taste all of them over a few hours, which of course was the fun part!

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We all love their classic breadsticks and salads right?

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Well you have to try their new Breadstick Sandwiches – we tried the Eggplant Parmesan and Spicy Calabrian Chicken..delicious!

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The coolest new items we tried are their new Deep Dish Spaghetti Pies..they’re like spaghetti quiches baked in a shell with all kinds of yummy fillings but in pie form! The Chicken Alfredo Pie was amazing…

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and so was the classic Spaghetti and Meatballs Pie made with 7 cheeses, bacon, meatballs and homemade sauce.  So good and totally fun.

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And we can’t forget dessert – they served us an incredible Chocolate and Caramel Lasagna – layers of gooey caramel, chocolate and cake similar to Tiramisu..OMG. TO. DIE. FOR. And the perfect ending to a perfect Italian meal!

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Check out the great photos of the event below and visit their website for more info on these awesome new menu creations and specials in your area.

Visit Olive Garden on Facebook

Visit Olive Garden on Twitter

Visit Olive Garden on Instagram

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National Concert Day & Pringles Summer Jam in NYC!

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National Concert Day

I recently attended a super fun concert – Live Nation’s Pringles Summer Jam for National Concert Day on Tuesday May 3, 2016 at Irving Plaza in NYC.

Dierks Bentley
Dierks Bentley

The house was packed full and we had a blast seeing some live music with old time and new superstar artists such as Snoop Dog and Wiz Khalifa, Dierks Bentley, Cheap Trick, and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Nick Jonas, Goo Goo Dolls and more!

Joan Jett
Joan Jett
Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick
Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa
Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa
Dierks Bentley
Dierks Bentley
Nick Jonas
Nick Jonas

National Concert Day 2016 was brought to fans by Citi and Pringles. Citi is the preferred credit card of Live Nation, offering Citi debit and credit cardmembers access to presale and preferred tickets for select tours throughout the summer via Citi’s Private Pass Program, the bank’s entertainment access program. Last year alone, Citi worked with more than 1,400 artists ranging from preferred tickets and early access to concert tickets, to curated special events and VIP experiences.  For more information, or to purchase presale tickets to the after show on May 3, Citi Presents AWOLNATION, visit www.citiprivatepass.com.

Pringles is helping fans celebrate summer with music and memories, kicking off at Live Nation’s National Concert Day. For those looking to make the most out of summer, head to LiveNation.com/Pringles for the Pringles Summer Jam offer – score four tickets for the price of three! Share all of your summer fun and check out the memories from other fans across the country by following #PringlesSummerJam.

Live Nation

From experiencing live music under the stars at an outdoor amphitheater to rocking out at an arena or taking a road trip to a music festival, this summer 2016 will bring millions of music fans together to see their favorite artists.  From Country, Indie & Alternative Music, Classic Rock, Rock, Metal, Hip-Hop, Electronic Music, Comedy and Pop – there is something for everyone. For tickets and more information, visit www.livenation.com

Pringles Summer Jam 2016
Pringles Summer Jam 2016

CHECK OUT THE VIDEOS OF JOAN JETT AND CHEAP TRICK PERFORMING LIVE BELOW!

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Designing Dining Workshop at Bard Graduate Center NYC

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I’m excited to announce that I will be participating in the Designing Dining Workshop at Bard Graduate Center in NYC on Saturday April 16th! This three-session workshop (over 3 weekends, see schedule above) investigates the visual design, materials, and traditions of presenting creative tablesettings. Participants experiment with table stylings, craft their own metal spoon, and learn how best to photograph food and drink.

I will be teaching the Session 3: Framing Food workshop where I will be discussing the principles and history of food styling and photography, with a hands-on workshop experience for participants to style and photograph their own culinary masterpieces at the event.

We are currently raffling off one (1) free ticket (worth $250) to the workshop to all three sessions! All you have to do is leave a comment below on why you would like to attend the workshop and I will be choosing a winner randomly who will be contacted by email before the event by March 25th. Make sure to include your email when you comment below!

The Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture is a graduate research institute located in New York City, offering exhibitions, degrees and research initiatives exploring new ways of thinking about decorative arts,
design history, and material culture.

Click here for the full schedule and details for the Designing Dining event

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Food Styling & Photography: #DineintheDarkNYC Event @CitizenM!

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Dine in the Dark Experience - CitizenM + The Artful Gourmet

I recently hosted a super fun Dine in the Dark Event at CitizenM hotel in Times Square NYC. They invited me to host the event by presenting some delicious nibbles and foodie creations to serve to a great group of food bloggers to do a blind tasting.

Food Blogger doing blind tasting

The idea was to pair flavors and tastes that the bloggers had to experience and guess, which were all revealed at the end of the dining experience by me.

Dine in the Dark Experience

I made 7 different small bites for the bloggers to do the tasting of: Blue Cheese, Apple and Walnut Salad in Endive, Manchego & Fig Jam Tarts, Sesame Sriracha Chicken Bites, Prosciutto, Melon & Feta Mini Skewers, Strawberry-Watermelon Coconut Rum Shooters, Smoked Salmon with Chive Sour Cream & Dill on Cucumber Rounds, and Tart Cherry Pistachio Honey Energy Balls.

CitizenM rooftop CloudBar

CitizenM is a lovely modern hotel in the heart of Times Square, who let us have the space to do my event. They provided us afterwards with cocktails and more nibbles up on their rooftop CloudBar, where I gave a food styling and photography discussion and Q&A with the bloggers.

Food Styling + Photography Q&A - The Artful Gourmet

Everyone had a fantastic time and got the opportunity to learn some of my tips and tricks on food styling and food photography and how to break into the business. The group got to sample some tasty food, sip some delicious cocktails and meet new blogger friends from the city. All and all we had amazing views and it was a fun, lively evening for all.

CitizenM NYC Rooftop CloudBar

Thanks to CitizenM for being such a lovely and accommodating venue! And thanks to all the bloggers* that came and made the event a smashing success! *see list at end of post

Dine in the Dark NYC - The Artful Gourmet

Happy Summer and Cheers to all! Enjoy some photos from the event below and I’ll post my recipes soon – stay tuned! 🙂

All the Food Bloggers — thanks for coming and making the #DineintheDarkNYC event at #CitizenMnyc a fun time for all 🙂

@citizenM

@mealsandreels

@mizchefcooks

@NewYorkcliche

@_theblvd

@msrenelevyabdo

@maryinmanhattan

@PrettyPri

@spersaud04

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How 3 NYC Restaurants are using Social Media creatively to break through the clutter

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Most restaurateurs are beginning to understand the power of social media and online marketing.

Running a print ad or spending money on television ads is expensive. Smart operators realize the importance of connecting with consumers and influencers, and how positive online engagement can affect their brand, business, foot traffic and reputation. Social media can be an effective communication tool to inform customers of daily specials, promotions, events, menus and more. But in a crowded online marketplace, how can you break through the clutter?

The three New York restaurant owners/marketers below give us real-world examples of what’s working for them, what tools they’re using, and successful campaign ideas they’ve implemented to increase online visibility and engagement.

Want to build customer loyalty and brand buzz? Here’s some inspiration.

Read my full story on Foodable: http://www.foodabletv.com/new-york-city/2015/6/23/how-3-nyc-restaurants-are-breaking-through-the-social-media-clutter#BYzSALiH8PWQbkbm.99

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5 New Good Food Companies to Watch in NYC

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Foodstand Event

On Monday, June 1st, Foodstand partnered with Slow Money NYC to host a special event called the Foodstand Spotlight Series, featuring five budding ‘good food’ entrepreneurs. Each took to the stage to share their business ideas and work, where in return they got advice from a panel of experts including investors, marketers and innovators.

Sweetist Co

The audience also provided the entrepreneurs with live feedback — advice and creative ideas to help them grow their businesses — via text polling. This will be an ongoing monthly event that will feature five of the newest and brightest in the food industry and help them shine.

Foodable Food Spread

The event was very inspiring and highly recommended for anyone in the food industry looking to expand their food companies, business networks, share new ideas and support ‘good food.’

Read my full story and meet the Food Stars on Foodable TV Network:

http://www.foodabletv.com/new-york-city/2015/6/4/5-new-good-food-companies-to-watch-in-nyc

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Cooking with Color 4 Kids TV Show wins ‘B Healthy’ B FREE Award

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BRIC B Free Awards

It gives me great pleasure to tell you that my Cooking with Color 4 Kids cooking TV show was selected as an honoree for this year’s BRIC B Free Awardsand was a finalist of three for the award. We didn’t win the overall category but we DID win   “Outstanding Program Feature/Segment” for the “B Healthy” category which was quite the honor!

BRIC’s second annual B Free Awards took place Saturday, March 21, 2015 at BRIC Arts | Media House to celebrate the diversity and excellence in Brooklyn Free Speech television programming. David Hillman, my Producer and Co-Creator and I had a great time at the awards show and met other honorees and award winners on the red carpet at the after party. Congratulations to all and a big thanks to BRIC, our production crew and everyone that has helped make our TV show a reality and success. #DREAMBIG 🙂

WATCH THE SPRING 2015 EPISODE BELOW!

SPRING 2015 EPISODE

For my new Spring 2015 episode, I came up with some great recipes that celebrate the vibrant light and bright colors of Spring: greens and yellow, red and pink, blue, etc.

I made three colorful and healthy recipes including Ham, Cheese, Asparagus and Spinach Quiche with a Quinoa Crust, a Spring Mixed Berry Salad, and Black Bean Raspberry Brownies for dessert.

We also included some fun video footage from the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami this past February, and interviewed some kids and cooking instructors at one of the local HealthCorps after school cooking programs at a high school in Brooklyn.

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