Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

Chicago Mixologist Jason Cevallos Dies at 35

Chicago Mixologist Jason Cevallos Dies at 35


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

The award-winning bartender contracted salmonella poisoning

Jason Cevallos, one of Chicago's best bartenders, passed away at the age of 35.

It hasn’t been the brightest month for Chicago’s chefs and bartenders. A couple weeks back, Chicago was hit with the death of chef Charlie Trotter, and now, according to Eater, the mixologist Jason Cevallos has also passed away.

Cevallos died in Asia this past weekend due to salmonella poisoning complications. He was only 35 years old.

At such a young age, he accomplished so much. He was part of a team that won the James Beard award for Outstanding Bar Program. Cevallos previously worked at Brasserie Jo, Perennial, 33 Club, and Folklore. His most recent job was a sous chef for the cocktail programs at The Office and The Aviary.

Salmonella is a food poisoning that is can be contracted by not washing your hands after dealing with feces, and after touching reptiles and small rodents. Foods such as beef, poultry, milk, and eggs have the highest risk for infection. Symptoms include fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.

About 40,000 Americans contract the disease annually, and out of those, only 30 of those end up passing away. Unfortunately, Cevallos was one of them.

There’s no doubt that he made his mark in history, and without a doubt Cevallos will be missed.


Bar Rescue Cast: Where Are They Now And What Are They Doing?

They say no one is an island, and that has been proven many times over the years. While Bar Rescue might derive its prestige and popularity from its host, Jon Taffer, it still has a cast that works in tandem with Jon to deliver one of the top-rated shows on the Paramount Network. If Jon Taffer is the captain of the Bar Rescue squad, the rest of the team are sergeants and foot soldiers who go into the battle every episode, ensuring victory against struggling bars.

In this article, we took a look at some of the cast members of Bar Rescue, who they are, and what they are doing now. Check it out below.


A drink fit for food lovers

Dale DeGroff - the master of mixology, the king of cocktails - had a daunting task. DeGroff, the author of the recently released "The Craft of the Cocktail" (Clarkson Potter, $35) was participating in a question-and-answer chat online at eGullet.com, a Web site known for its spirited discussions on food by opinionated enthusiasts, when he was issued the ultimate challenge: To create a cocktail for the anti-cocktail set.

It's not that the folks at eGullet don't like a stiff drink. But some of them don't see the point of numbing their taste buds with booze before sipping fine wines and dining on delicacies.

DeGroff had to convince them cocktails may numb your brain, but not necessarily your tongue. Some people say DeGroff's tenure at the Rainbow Room - where he treated a cocktail like a composition and used the proper balance of fresh ingredients to compose the chords - was responsible for the cocktail renaissance we see today. He even worked with chef Waldy Malouf to present several cocktail dinners there, paired with Malouf's Hudson Valley-inspired food. In other words, he's already done a lot of convincing.

But knowing whatever he came up with would be tested (nay, prodded and poked) by the eGullet experts made this job a bit more difficult.

"I wanted a cocktail that would meet the challenge of the experienced palates in the group," he says.

He says he didn't want to get too esoteric, but when creating a drink specifically for lovers of food, you've can't pull any punches. He pulled this one right out of his carry-on bag after a trip to London, where he found an intriguing ingredient from Barbados called Velvet Falernum, a syrup infused with clove and almond that on its own tastes like a cough remedy.

Combine it, though, as DeGroff did, with orange vodka, lime juice, bitters and freshly squeezed orange juice, shake some nutmeg over it and light the oil of the orange garnish on fire (DeGroff's trademark), and Velvet Falernum becomes the magic carpet upon which the cocktail sails through the air. The first thing to hit the palate is the fresh orange taste, which folds under the tongue, allowing the clove to bite. It's a beverage with food flavors.

Because DeGroff thought the drink tastes like spicy orange with clove and nutmeg flavors, and because of that signature lighted garnish, he named it the Flaming Orange Gully, partly after the Web site's mascot, Gully, a Keith Haring-ish character swallowing a mouse (a computer one, that is). The eGulleteers quickly shortened the name to FOG, which is also appropriate. Even though it's a little sweet, it's potent. Have more than two and you will become quite foggy.

The eGullet London contingent gave it a sample at a recent gathering where DeGroff taught the bartenders to shake it. The New Yorkers tried it last week at Beacon, where Malouf, now the chef and co-owner there, has it on the cocktail list - crediting eGullet with its inspiration.

Sample it there (it's selling briskly) or do as the eGullet gang does, and make it yourself. The Velvet Falernum should be available in retail stores or online by spring, but until then, it's not too daunting of a task to make it at home.

Somer Perez, bartender at the Beacon Restaurant in Manhattan, lights the orange peel acid as she makes a Flaming Orange Gully cocktail on January 30, 2003. It is made of Stoli orange vodka, lime juice, bitters, orange juice, Velvet Falernum and it is topped with nutmeg and a burnt orange peel. (Photo: File/The Journal News)

1 1/2 ounces Stolichnaya Ohranj vodka

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

2 dashes Angostura bitters

1 ounce Velvet Falernum Syrup

1 ounce fresh orange juice

Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish with a flamed orange peel and fresh grated nutmeg.

Until Velvet Falernum is available in spring, DeGroff's recipe to create it at home is as follows:

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Marinate first three ingredients in the rum for 24 hours. Strain and bottle the rum. Store in a cool place.

To make syrup, add 8 ounces of rum marinade to 1 quart of simple syrup. Adjust to taste.

Rachel Perlow, one of eGullet's site coordinators, adapted the recipe to make a smaller amount:

Marinate lime zest and cloves in rum for 24 hours. Strain and add the rum to 1 quart of simple syrup. Add 2 to 3 drops almond extract.

A story by Steven Shaw for The Journal News, published May, 2005:


Details Of Las Vegas Mass Shooting Victims’ Lives Emerge

LAS VEGAS (CBSNewYork/CBS News/CBSLA.com/CBS Sacramento/CBS Minnesota/CBS Chicago/CBS Boston/AP) — The people killed in the Las Vegas mass shooting came from around the U.S. and Canada from a variety of walks of life.

Altogether, 59 people were killed — including the suspect — and nearly 500 others were injured after a gunman opened fire at a country music festival in Las Vegas.

Authorities say the 64-year-old gunman, Stephen Paddock, fired from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino at a crowd attending a music festival below. When police entered his hotel room, they discovered Paddock had killed himself. A motive has not yet been determined.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for all the Las Vegas victims by Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak. As of Friday night, it had collected $8.2 million &ndash far past the initial goal of $1 million. The goal has now been raised to $10 million.

These are the stories of 58 victims:

1. Charleston Hartfield

Charleston Hartfield (Credit: Hartfield Family)

Charleston Hartfield, 34, was a Las Vegas police officer who coached youth football, CBS2&rsquos Jessica Layton reported.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Hartfield was also an Army guardsman sergeant first class and a veteran and wrote a book about life on the police force, titled &ldquoMemoirs of a Public Servant.&rdquo

A friend, Stan King, told the Review-Journal that Hartfield was &ldquoseriously one of the nicest guys ever.&rdquo King told the paper that the officer coached his son on the Henderson Cowboys football team with the Nevada Youth Sports Program.

Brig. Gen. William Burks, the Adjutant General of the Nevada National Guard, said losing any member of the Guard family is difficult, especially in such an unexpected manner. “Charleston Hartfield lived to serve the public and protect his family, he is the epitome of a citizen-soldier,” he said.

“Sgt. 1st Class Hartfield epitomizes everything good about America,” said Brig. Gen. Zachary Doser, the commander of the Nevada Army National Guard.

Charleston leaves behind a wife and two children.

2. Rachael Parker

Rachael Parker (Credit: CBS Los Angeles)

Rachael Parker worked for the Manhattan Beach, California Police Department for 10 years, CBS Los Angeles reports. She worked as a police records technician with the department for 10 years.

A second employee, an off-duty officer, suffered a minor injury at the music festival, the department said.

3. Sonny Melton

Sonny Melton, right, with his wife Heather (Credit: Facebook/Union College)

Sonny Melton, 29, a registered nurse, died in the shooting, the Henry County Medical Center in Paris, Tennessee, told The Associated Press. His wife, Dr. Heather Melton, is a surgeon and was with him when the shots rang out.

Heather Melton told WZTV in Nashville, Tennessee, that her husband sacrificed his life to save her.

“At this point, I’m in complete disbelief and despair. I don’t know what to say. Sonny was the most kind-hearted, loving man I have ever met. He saved my life and lost his,” she told the station.

Dr. Melton said she tried in turn to save her husband’s life, but could not.

&ldquoI was trying to talk to him and he wasn’t responding, and I started doing CPR, and people were yelling at me to get down and I kept feeling the shots all around me,&rdquo she said.

Though Dr. Melton tried to save her husband&rsquos life as the bullets went on flying, she soon realized it was too late.

“Finally, the shots stopped and he started bleeding from his mouth,&rdquo she said. &ldquoI knew he was probably gone, but I still had hope.”

Friends back home were also in agony.

&ldquoOur whole town is shook, turned upside down and flipped around,&rdquo said longtime friend Autumn Ratliff. &ldquoGoing to be rough for us for a couple weeks, months, years.”

In a White House press briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the couple had been married for just over a year. Sanders said they traveled together from Tennessee to attend the concert: “When the bullets began raining down from above, Sonny shielded her from danger, selflessly giving up his life to save hers.”

He was a 2015 graduate of Union College in Jackson, school officials said on Facebook.

“You know how when you met someone and you just know that they’re good and kind? That was Sonny,” Christy Davis, an assistant professor of nursing, wrote. “He just had a sweet, kind spirit about him.”

4. Angela Gomez

Angie Gomez (Credit: GoFundMe)

Angie Gomez was a cheerleader from Riverside, California. Her GoFundMe page has surpassed its goal to help her family with the costs of funeral arrangements.

“She was a cheerful young lady with a warm heart and loving spirit,” the fundraising page reads, adding that all money would be sent directly to the family. “Most of all, please raise this family up in prayer. Keep them in your thoughts and celebrate the life of a young woman who has gone home too soon.”

AP writes that Gomez graduated from Riverside Poly High School in 2015, where she was a cheerleader. School staff remembered her as a “fun-loving young lady with a great sense of humor.”

AP adds that Gomez participated in the Riverside Children’s Theater and was involved in choir. The school district said Gomez was a hard worker who “always challenged herself academically.”

5. Lisa Romero

Lisa Romero (Credit: Angel Jax Pinto/KRQE-TV)

Lisa Romero, a high school secretary in New Mexico, was one of the victims killed in the shooting, CBS affiliate KRQE-TV in Albuquerque reports. She worked for Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools for 14 years.

A friend of Romero’s said she was a “sweet and beautiful woman” who worked with children. The friend said many of the students at the high school looked up to her.

Students, friends and family gathered Monday night for a vigil, KRQE-TV writes.

“When I was in middle school she helped me through a lot with my family. You could trust her with anything,” high school freshman Shelby Silva said, according to KRQE-TV.

The station said that hugs, tears and memories were shared at Miyamura High School on Monday.

KRQE-TV says the superintendent remembers Romero as a mentor and advocate for students.

“She gave me advice to like keep pushing through the hard things and so when I heard she passed it kind of hit me in my heart,” freshman Jazmine Arreguin said.

“I was trying not to get angry, it’s just that’s a lot of what I’m feeling right now is just, why? It’s just senseless,” said Darci Sanchez.

Lisa’s husband, Chris Muniz, released a statement to say thank you for the condolences and to urge people to continue to pray:

“I want to thank the people of Gallup, Las Vegas, state of New Mexico and the nation for their outpouring of support and condolences on behalf of my wife Lisa, our family is deeply touched. Please continue to pray for her, our children and grandchildren during this tragic time. While we understand the concerns and questions from the media regarding our family’s loss, we request that everyone please respect our privacy during this time. Lisa will be missed by her daughter, two sons, four grandchildren, our entire extended family and the community she loved.”

6. Jordan McIldoon

Jordan McIldoon
(via Facebook)

Jordan McIldoon, a 23-year-old mechanic’s apprentice from British Columbia was also among those slain, CBC News reports.

“We only had one child,” Al and Angela McIldoon told the news outlet. “We just don’t know what to do.”

Heather Gooze, who was working the event as a bartender, held McIldoon’s hand as he died from a gunshot wound.

“His fingers were kind of wrapped on my hand,&rdquo she said. &ldquoHis hand kind of squeezed a little bit, and then just, like, went loose.”

Gooze added, “I’m connected to him now for my whole life.”

Gooze took his cellphone and broke the news to his girlfriend who got separated in the crowd.

“She said, ‘Be honest with me, like, what’s going on?’ And I said, ‘He didn’t make it. I’ve been with him over an hour now.’ I go, ‘He’s dead,'” Gooze said. “She said to me, ‘You know, he’s the love of my life, like, are you sure?’ I said, ‘Yes, yeah.'”

7. Jennifer Topaz Irvine

Jennifer Topaz Irvine (Credit: Thomas Slattery/Facebook)

Jennifer Topaz Irvine, 42, a San Diego-based attorney, was identified as one of the victims by her coworker and friend, CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal reports.

Irvine was a family law attorney and her co-worker, Thomas Slattery, said she was a “great attorney” who was always “happy and energetic.”

Slattery shared an image of Irvine on Facebook with a caption that read: “A tragic loss of a kind, generous, and beautiful lady. She will be greatly missed.”

Kyle Kraska, a sports director for the CBS affiliate KFMB-TV in San Diego, was a close friend of Irvine’s and posted on Facebook that she was singing and dancing to country music when she was shot in the head. Kraska — who survived after being shot multiple times outside his home in 2015 by a house painter — wrote that Irvine’s death felt like “I have now been victimized by gun violence twice.”

“When does it stop?!” he wrote.

8. Bailey Schweitzer

Bailey Schweitzer (Credit:
Facebook/Bailey Schweitzer)

Bailey Schweitzer, a 20-year-old receptionist, was identified by her boss and friend who worked closely with her family, CBS News’ Villarreal reports.

Schweitzer attended the concert with her mother and best friend but there were no immediate reports on their injuries.

“Bailey was a ray of sunshine. She brightened everyone’s day. She’s one of the best people I’ve known,” Amy Campbell told Villarreal.

9. Susan Smith

Susan Smith
(Credit: Vista PTA/Facebook)

Susan Smith, 53, was a victim of the Las Vegas shooting, Jake Finch, a Simi Valley Schools spokeswoman confirmed.

Smith worked for Simi Valley School District in California for 16 years, serving as the office manager at Vista Fundamental Elementary School for three years, Finch said.

“She’s the hub,” Finch told the AP. “She supported the principal, taking care of the many things that happen in the school. She was patient. She was kind, especially with the kids. Even when it was chaotic she would smile.”

She was married and the mother of two adult children and was a big fan of country music.

10. Sandy Casey

An undated Facebook picture shows Sandy with Christopher Willemse.
(Credit: Facebook/Christopher Willemse)

Sandy Casey was a special education teacher in Manhattan Beach, California. Her partner, Christopher Willemse, confirmed the 35-year-old’s death to CBS News in a statement Monday.

“The world lost one of its true bright spots when Sandy was taken away from it. She made the world a better place. She’s been teaching for 11 years primarily at MBMS in Manhattan Beach [California]. She’s kind, witty, and extremely funny! She loved the simple things, country music, running, and yoga!”

Willemse also took to Facebook to announce the news of Sandy’s death.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) also expressed his condolences for Casey — a Vermont native — saying “our hearts are with her friends & family.”

Jane and I are deeply saddened to hear that Vermonter Sandy Casey was among the victims in Vegas. Our hearts are with her friends & family. https://t.co/igPQZGqn5Q

&mdash Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 2, 2017

11. John Phippen

John Phippen (via CBS Los Angeles)

John Phippen, 56, was a general contractor from Santa Clarita who went to the country music concert with his son, CBS Los Angeles reported. Longtime friend John Polucki described him as having the personality of a celebrity or a politician.

&ldquoHe was unflappable, just this big guy&rsquos guy&hellip.John was that guy that you always wanted to hang out with.&rdquo

12. Rhonda LeRocque

Rhonda LeRocque (via CBS Boston)

Rhonda LeRocque, 42, was a resident of Tewksbury, Massachusetts. LeRocque&rsquos mother was still in shock Monday night.

&ldquoI was devastated this morning at seven o&rsquoclock to find out she&rsquos been shot, murdered, in a senseless, horrific act,&rdquo Priscilla Champaign told CBS Boston.

LeRocque was with her husband Jason, young daughter and father-in-law on a family trip to Las Vegas specifically for the country music festival.

&ldquoShe was enjoying her concert and this all happened, she&rsquos a loving mother, she&rsquos a loving wife,&rdquo Champaign said.

Rhonda&rsquos mother says the couple has been married for more than 20 years and are active members of the Wilmington Jehovah&rsquos Witnesses chapter.

&ldquoShe was the one who threw all the events and family gatherings and she was the hostess with the mostest and she was just beautiful inside and out,&rdquo Champaign said.

Relatives and friends came by the family&rsquos home throughout the night consoling each other while word of Rhonda&rsquos death spreads around the community.

13. Jessica Klymchuk

The CBC reported Jessica Klymchuk, 34, was a mother of four who worked at a Catholic school in Valleyview, Alberta, Canada.

The outlet reported students and teachers cried upon hearing about her death.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley confirmed Klymchuk’s death on Twitter. In a statement, she said “Albertans are shocked, outraged and unspeakably saddened by the horrifying attack.”

14. Adrian Murfitt

Adrian Murfitt (Credit: Adrian Murfitt)

Commercial fisherman Adrian Murfitt, 35, of Anchorage, Alaska, was among the killed, according to a family member.

Shannon Gothard, his sister, said the family heard from one of Murfitt’s friends who was with him when he died, though they haven’t received official confirmation about his death.

Asked if the family was holding out hope that he made it after all, she said, “No. No.”

Gothard described her brother as a man with a hearty laugh and a former competitive hockey player who still dabbled in the game. “His whole life was always around hockey,” she said.

After graduating from high school, he became a fisherman, picking up odd jobs in the offseason.

He had just come off an extremely successful fishing season when he made the trip to Las Vegas with some good friends, Gothard said.

Her brother “was happy to pay some things off and had made some really good money and decided to go out and celebrate and go to the concert and treat himself to something nice and fun,” she said.

15. Quniton Robbins

Quinton Robbins, 20, was a resident of Henderson, Nevada, and studied at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas where he worked for the city government, AMP 103.7 DFW reported.

The station repoted his aunt, Kilee Wells Sanders, wrote on Facebook: &ldquoEveryone who met him, loved him. His contagious laugh and smile. He was truly an amazing person. He will be missed by so many, he is loved by so many. So many awesome talents. I can&rsquot say enough good about this sweet soul.&rdquo

16. Jenny Parks

Jenny Parks (Courtesy: family friend, via CBS News)

Jenny Parks was a kindergarten teacher for the Lancaster School District in California. Her husband&rsquos uncle, Steven McCarthy, told CBS affiliate KLAS-TV, Las Vegas she was one of the victims.

“She was truly one of the most loving people you could ever hope to meet,” McCarthy told the station. “She always went out of her way to help anybody.”

Jenny Parks&rsquo husband, Bobby Parks, was in surgery Monday night after a bullet inured his arm and finger, McCarthy told KLAS. He said Bobby Parks is aware that his wife has died.

Jenny Parks has two brothers who live in Las Vegas, and she and her husband were visiting them, the station reported.

17. Neysa Tonks

Neysa Tonks (Credit: GoFundMe)

Neysa Tonks, 46, was a Las Vegas resident and a mother of three. Her employer, Technologent, confirmed to KLAS. She leaves behind three sons &ndash Kaden, Braxton and Greysen, the station reported.

“Neysa has brought so much joy, fun and laughter to Technologent — she will be greatly missed by all!” the company was quoted by KLAS.

18. Dorene Anderson

Dorene Anderson, 49, of Alaska, who is identified on her Facebook Page as a stay-at-home mom, was also killed in the shooting, CBS affiliate KTVA-TV, Anchorage reported.

A member of the Alaska Aces organization told the station that Anderson had been a member of the Aces Cowbell Crew and lived in Anchorage.

19. Jack Beaton

Jack Beaton, 54, of Bakersfield, California, was shot and killed as he shielded his wife, Laurie, CBS affiliate KBAK-TV, Bakersfield reported.

If every1 could please pray for my dad and every1 else at the rout 91 he jumped in front of my mom and got shot. I love youdad #atruehero pic.twitter.com/Nj7Y8E4yE5

&mdash Jabroni (@BeatonJakeOff) October 2, 2017

Beaton&rsquos father-in-law, Jerry Cook, told the station that Beaton was a kid at heart who loved to drive his truck with his hat on sideways, but also a responsible father who always gave others a hand.

“He put Laurie on the ground and covered her with his body, and he got shot I don’t know how many times,” Cook was quoted by KBAK-TV as he recounted what his daughter told him by phone just after the shooting. “Laurie was saying he was bleeding through the mouth, bleeding profusely, she knew he was dying. He told her he loved her. Laurie could tell he was slipping. She told him she loved him, and she would see him in Heaven.”

20. Victor Link

Victor Link, 55, who grew up in Shafter, California and lived in San Clemente, was also among those killed, his sister told KBAK-TV.

“Victor Link savored life and was always so generous. Residing in San Clemente, California, Victor loved to travel and he loved music,” a GoFundMe page said. “He and his fiancée, Lynn Gonzales, had spent months traveling up and down the state for one concert or another. Lynn was treated for shock in the hospital but was not wounded.”

21. Melissa Ramirez

Melissa Ramirez (via Facebook)

A cousin of Melissa Ramirez, 26, confirmed to KBAK-TV that Ramirez was killed in the Las Vegas shooting. She is a graduate of California State University, Bakersfield, and most recently lived in North Hollywood, KBAK reported.

22. Christopher Roybal

Christopher Roybal (via Facebook)

Christopher Roybal, 28, was described as jovial and fun-loving, despite experiencing intense combat during four tours in the Middle East.

“He is a guy that could always put a smile on your face … after all the stuff he had been through,” said David Harman, who founded a company that owns the Colorado gym where Roybal worked.

Roybal, 28, worked at Crunch Fitness in Corona and Riverside, California, before he moved at the beginning of the year to help open franchises in Colorado Springs.

“He was the guy who if your car broke down in the middle of the night, you could call him and he would come help you,” Harman said. “He is that guy who would find solutions, not report on problems.”

Harman said Roybal served in Afghanistan and was coping with the loss of a friend who was killed by an improvised explosive device. Roybal adopted his friend’s bomb-sniffing dog, Bella, but was devastated when she died of old age.

“That dog saved his life quite a few times,” Harman said.

Roybal mentioned the dog in a July 18 Facebook post that also included a lengthy description of his experience getting shot at in combat.

He ends the post: “What’s it like to be shot at? It’s a nightmare no amount of drugs, no amount of therapy and no amount of drunk talks with your war veteran buddies will ever be able to escape. Cheers boys.”

23. Austin Davis

Austin Davis (via Facebook)

Austin Davis, 29, of Riverside, California, was confirmed dead by his girlfriend, Aubree Hennigan.

“From Lori and Gary and Stacey and the rest for the family and myself: tonight we lost an amazing man. Austin, my love, I can’t believe this happened. You didn’t deserve this,” Hennigan wrote on Facebook.

Acording to the Press-Enterprise, Davis was attending the concert with this friend Thomas Day Jr. — who was also killed.

Reuters writes that Davis loved softball and singing karaoke to country songs. He leaves behind his parents and his girlfriend, high school sweetheart, according to the Press Enterprise.

24. Lisa Patterson

Lisa Patterson (via CBS Los Angeles)

Lisa Patterson&rsquos wife, Robert Patterson, raced to Las Vegas when he learned she was missing in the chaos of Sunday night&rsquos shooting. She was the mother of his three children, and they were married for more than 30 years.

&ldquoI don&rsquot know what to do. That&rsquos why I&rsquom out here so early in the morning because&hellip I&rsquom lost right now,&rdquo he told KCBS-TV, CBS2 in Los Angeles early Tuesday.

Patterson, of Lomita, California, was at the concert in Las Vegas with friends when the shooting started. Soon afterward, the call came in that she was missing.

&ldquoSo Bob and his two oldest kids, Amber and Robert, drove down there to see, you know, to make sense of this madness. He was driving around pretty much all day trying to find her and locate his wife,&rdquo said family friend Dennis Kim.

Lisa Patterson had been rushed to the hospital where she died. Kim said she was her husband&rsquos rock and a wonderful mother.

“I mean, she loved her mommy so much that — it’s going to be just devastating,&rdquo Bob Patterson said. &ldquoI don’t know how she is going to handle it. Even my older kids are just basket cases right now. Like me.”

25. Heather Alvarado

Heather Alvarado (via CBS Los Angeles)

Heather Alvarado, 35, was a recent transplant recipient.

Alvarado was the wife of Cedar City Firefighter Albert Alvarado, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. She had just moved from Riverside, California to Cedar City, Utah, CBS Los Angeles reported.

The fire department writes that Alvarado “always saw the good in others. She spent her whole life serving others in her family and community. She and Albert loved traveling with their children and went on many trips, cruises and day trips, too many to mention. She was happiest when she was together with her family, especially her children and she would do ANYTHING for them.”

Alvarado ran an in-home day care center in Cedar City, according to the AP, and was a devoted mother, said longtime friend Megan Jackson Gadd.

“She has made huge impacts on those around her with even the smallest gestures,” Jackson Gadd said in a Facebook messenger conversation. “A person like her will never be replaced or forgotten and will be missed dearly every day for the rest of our lives.”

She had taken her family to Las Vegas &ldquoto go to a concert and get away&rdquo when she lost her life, according to a GoFundMe page.

26. Carrie Barnette

Carrie Barnette (via Facebook)

Carrie Barnette, 34, was identified her sister, Amy Castillo. She had worked at Disneyland for 10 years and had saved for months to make the trip to Las Vegas, Castillo said.

“She’s my best friend and I don’t know how I can live without her,” she said. Barnette was an aunt to two nieces and three nephews.

Robert Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, mourned Castillo on social media. “A senseless, horrific, act, and a terrible loss for so many,” he tweeted. “We mourn a wonderful member of the Disney family: Carrie Barnette. Tragic.”

27. Cameron Robinson

Cameron Robinson (via GoFundMe)

The death of Cameron Robinson was confirmed by his sister, Meghan Ervin.

She told CBS affiliate KUTV that Robinson, 28, was an employee with the city of Las Vegas. She said Robinson attended the festival with his boyfriend, and he had been struck in the neck. His boyfriend took shrapnel to his back but was expected to survive.

Robinson was a records specialist for the city, and his infectious personality made him the heart of the office, Brad Jerbic, the city attorney, said Tuesday. Robinson had moved to southern Utah about a year ago to be with boyfriend Bobby Eardley, and commuted two hours each way to work every day.

&ldquoHe was just so happy &mdash you could see it in his face,&rdquo Jerbic said. &ldquoIf he was alive, he would say this is the best time of his life.&rdquo

The couple was together when Robinson was shot and bled to death, Jerbic said.

&ldquo(Eardley) actually held him. He was with him when he died. He tried to stop the bleeding. There was so much chaos,&rdquo Jerbic said.

28. Rocio Guillen

Rocio Guillen (via CBS Los Angeles)

Rocio Guillen of Eastvale, California gave birth to her fourth child just six weeks ago, and her family was torn apart by the sudden loss. Even though Guillen was shot, she managed to climb a fence and get out but later died at the hospital, CBS Los Angeles reported.

She leaves behind four children — Marcus, 18 Chris 13 Sophia, 1 1/2 and Austin, 1 month.

“The older of the two youngest — she’s calling mommy today and it just breaks my heart,” said Brent Stowers, her future son-in-law.

Son Chris loved it when his mother watched him play football.

&ldquoI’m not going to be able to see her in the crowd again, and that was my last memory, of her cheering me on,&rdquo he said.

Family members said Guillen and her fiancé were at the concert in Las Vegas celebrating friend&rsquos birthday.

29. Hannah Ahlers

Hannah Ahlers, 34, was a stay-at-home mother of three who lived in Beaumont, California but was originally from Redlands, CNN reported.

Her husband, Brian Ahlers, said she was &ldquoshot in head while dancing&rdquo with him at the music festival.

Ryan Chiaverini, who was friends with Ahlers, told CNN that she &ldquocouldn&rsquot hurt a fly&rdquo and &ldquowas one of the kindest people I&rsquove met.&rdquo

Hannah Ahlers’ father-in-law, Dave Ahlers, called her a young Mary Tyler Moore and said “she could have “lit the world up with her smile.”

30. Stacee Etcheber

Stacee Etcheber (via CBS San Francisco)

Stacee Etcheber worked as a hairdresser in of Novato, California, and was attending the festival with her husband, San Francisco Police Officer Vinnie Etcheber.

On Tuesday, Etcheber was being remembered by friends and family as a beloved mother, wife and daughter.

&ldquoIt&rsquos with a heavy heart and deep sorrow, Stacee Etcheber has passed away,&rdquo Al Etcheber, Stacee&rsquos brother-in-law, said in a statement posted early Tuesday morning on Facebook. &ldquoPlease pray for our family during this difficult time. She leaves behind two adoring beautiful children and an amazing husband. Thank you to everyone for all the support in this past few days.&rdquo

In a news conference, Al Etcheber said his sister-in-law was trying to keep others safe when she was killed.

“When the shooting occurred, it was all about helping other people,” he told reporters. “When my brother went out to help other folks and put her in safety and told her to run out of there, she didn’t run out of there. She came back and helped other people as well.”

The SFPD also released a statement saying the department is grieving today after this senseless act of violence.

31. Michelle Vo

Michelle Vo (Credit: KLAS-TV)

Michelle Vo, 32, was identified by her employer, the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce, KLAS reports.

The San Francisco Bay area native graduated from San Jose’s Independence High School and attended the University of California, Davis. She had been living in Los Angeles prior to the shooting.

“It is with great sadness that the staff and leadership of the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce mourn the passing of Chamber member, Michelle Vo,” the company said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to Michelle’s friends and family, and to anyone else affected by this heartbreaking tragedy.”

32. Thomas Day Jr.

Thomas Day Jr. moved to the Las Vegas area about three years ago after he raised his family in Corona, California.

A builder, he raised his son in his business and watched as his son became a successful and respected builder in his own right.

33. Denise Burditus

The AP writes that while the sun was still shining Sunday at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Denise Burditus posted a photo on Facebook of herself and her husband standing in front of the stage, smiling broadly.

Later, after news of the massacre spread, a friend asked simply: “Are you two ok–”

MetroNews, a West Virginia-based radio network, reported that Tony Burditus wrote on his Facebook page that his wife was among the victims, according to the AP.

“It saddens me to say that I lost my wife of 32 years, a mother of two, soon to be grandmother of five this evening in the Las Vegas shooting,” Tony Burditus wrote. “Denise passed in my arms. I LOVE YOU BABE.”

Denise Burditus’ Facebook page includes a photo of her and her husband at the same festival last year. Mandalay Bay, the hotel where the gunman opened fire, is shown in the background.

34. Bill Wolfe

Bill Wolfe (Credit: Shippensburg Wrestling)

Bill Wolfe, a Shippensburg University wrestling coach, was among the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, the Shippensburg Police Department said in a statement on Facebook.

A post on the wrestling team’s Facebook page said they were “broken-hearted” by the loss.

Wolfe leaves behind a wife and a son. The AP writes that Wolfe and his wife, Robyn, were celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary in Las Vegas.

35. Kurt Von Tillow

Kurt Von Tillow (Credit: Las Vegas United)

Kurt Von Tillow, 55, of Cameron Park, California, was killed while two of his relatives were wounded in the Las Vegas shooting, CBS Sacramento reported.

The news of his death came as a shock and heartbreak for the whole community. They called Von Tillow a great golfer and most patriotic guy they knew.

&ldquoIt&rsquos very sad what&rsquos going on here, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time,&rdquo said Marcie Peterson, an old friend and neighbor.

Von Tillow was with his wife at the concert and two other family members when he was hit.

&ldquoThey&rsquore just good Christian people. They both work and wonderful neighbors,&rdquo Peterson said.

36. Calla Medig

Calla Medig was a resident of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the CBC reported. Her boss told the outlet that she had taken time off from her job at Moxie&rsquos Restaurant in West Edmonton to attend the Las Vegas concert.

Medig&rsquos boss, Scott Collingwood, told the CBC that he called her right away when news of the shooting broke, but the call went straight to voicemail and other attempts to reach her failed. On Monday, he called her roommate and learned of the tragedy, the CBC reported.

In a Facebook post quoted by the CBC, a former co-worker, Bailey Huebner, called Medig &ldquoamong the kindest and warm-hearted, beautiful souls I have ever had the pleasure to know.&rdquo

A Facebook post by Jasper Royal Canadian Legion Branch 31 said it was lowering its flag:

37. Tara Roe Smith

Tara Roe Smith (via GoFundMe)

Tara Roe Smith of Okotoks, Alberta, Canada went to Las Vegas and attended the concert with her husband Zach for a weekend getaway, CBS Las Vegas reported.

Roe Smith was the mother of two and an educational assistant with the Foothills School Division in High River, Alberta. She was also a model for Calgary-based Sophia Models, CBS Las Vegas reported.

Roe Smith’s aunt, Val Rodgers, said Roe Smith, a mother of two, died Sunday.

“She was a beautiful soul. She was a wonderful mother and our family is going to miss her dearly,” Rodgers said when contacted at her home in Brandon, Manitoba, on Tuesday.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help her family.


White Castle Flips for Flippy and Burma Bites

Ordermark closed its $120M Series C funding round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2[1] and joined by returning investor Act One Ventures. The funding will be used to help more restaurants transition to online ordering during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

&ldquo2020 has been a tough year for restaurants and that&rsquos why we&rsquore focused on providing products and services to help keep their doors open,&rdquo said Alex Canter, Ordermark CEO and Co-Founder. &ldquoWith 92% of restaurant traffic now off-premise, this funding gives us the opportunity to provide more restaurants with innovative ways to reach more consumers. The restaurant industry is in the midst of the e-commerce phase, where restaurants must get creative by embracing technology and new sources of revenue generation to reach customers outside of their four walls.&rdquo

Ordermark&rsquos online order management technology consolidates mobile orders across online ordering services and sends them to a single printer — enabling omni-channel ordering and delivery.

&ldquoWe believe Ordermark&rsquos leading technology platform and innovative virtual restaurant concepts are transforming the restaurant industry,&rdquo said Jeff Housenbold, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. &ldquoAlex and the Ordermark team have a deep understanding of the challenges that independent restaurants face. We are excited to support their mission to help independent restaurants optimize online ordering and generate incremental revenue from under-utilized kitchens.&rdquo

White Castle® plans to expand work with Miso Robotics &ndash creators of the first autonomous grilling and frying kitchen assistant, Flippy &ndash to target up to 10 new locations (in addition to the initial testing location) following completion of their current pilot, top photo. The announcement comes following early results at one test location. The move will accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence and robotics in the restaurant industry, critical technologies needed to tackle new pandemic challenges such as social distancing in kitchens, takeout and delivery demand, and higher standards for health and safety via contactless solutions. White Castle will implement the new commercially available version of Flippy Robot-on-a-Rail (ROAR) into kitchens.

&ldquoArtificial intelligence and automation have been an area White Castle has wanted to experiment with to optimize our operations and provide a better work environment for our team members,&rdquo said Lisa Ingram, CEO of White Castle. &ldquoWe believe technology like Flippy ROAR can improve customer service and kitchen operation. This pilot is putting us on that path &ndash and we couldn&rsquot be more pleased to continue our work with Miso Robotics and pave the way for greater adoption of cutting-edge technology in the fast-food industry.&rdquo

Flippy ROAR is able to optimize staffing during late night shifts for the 24-hour restaurant, traditionally difficult slots to fill, now further challenged by social distancing &ndash ensuring White Castle customer service standards stay high at all hours. With labor able to focus on front-of-the-house needs, team members are increasing their attention to order fulfillment for delivery and takeout. Miso Robotics&rsquo recent advancements to the platform and proprietary software, ChefUI, which powers Flippy ROAR, further assist team members in quality assurance by integrating with delivery applications to sync order completion with driver pick-up time, optimizing food prep production lines and freshness upon customer delivery. More sensors and camera capabilities also provide chain operators with visibility into real-time inventory needs and intelligent insights &ndash such as projection and recommendations for bulk orders. Production speeds are being tracked to increase and meet demand needs, reaching an average of 360 baskets of fried foods a day. In total, approximately 14,580 lbs. of food over 9,720 baskets since the pilot was instituted in late September 2020. All meals are equipped with an added layer of health and safety &ndash with Flippy ROAR serving as a contactless, automated solution with NSF International certification, a trusted industry organization providing standard testing and registration for commercial foodservice equipment and nonfood compounds.

&ldquoWe have been so excited to work closely with White Castle to optimize Flippy ROAR to meet the needs of their kitchen for increased production, team member optimization and quality assurance,&rdquo said Buck Jordan, President and Chairman of Miso Robotics. &ldquoOur platform has become increasingly powerful and intelligent &ndash allowing us to quickly scale, integrate into operations and show our ability to help keep customer service standards on par with White Castle&rsquos industry reputation of excellence. As we move into the next phase of our partnership, we look forward to accelerating our results and delivering even greater value across White Castle locations.&rdquo

Lunchbox Secures Funding

Lunchbox raised a $20 million Series-A round to further accelerate its growth as the company positions itself as the future of digital commerce solutions. Coatue led the investment in this round alongside other prominent industry innovators and investors in Lunchbox&rsquos seed round. Coatue&rsquos Rahul Kishore and Bennett Siegel will join Lunchbox&rsquos board of directors as part of the new investment. Lunchbox plans to use the capital to scale growth nationally to serve the restaurant industry&rsquos need for efficient and revenue-driven solutions to sustain the current economic depression. Lunchbox will also focus on acquiring top-tier talent and invest in further development on its platform and expand to new markets.

&ldquoOur mission is to help restaurants survive this pandemic and thrive beyond it. When we started Lunchbox 18 months ago, we wanted to help restaurants with a strong ethos and identity speak to their guests directly. That is more important now more than ever before,&rdquo says Nabeel Alamgir, CEO, and Co-Founder of Lunchbox. &ldquoWe&rsquore honored to be here with the Coatue team and to learn from their vast experience working with brands like Doordash, InstaCart, and many world-leading companies. Together we are ready to help restaurants realize a new level of success.&rdquo

Joining Coatue in this round are renowned celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, Behance founder Scott Belsky, Former Venmo COO Michael Vaughan, HelloFresh founder Bryan Ciambella, Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl, and Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani. Lunchbox&rsquos initial investors, 645 and Primary Ventures, are also joining this round.

&ldquoLocal businesses have been hard hit this year, but we think Lunchbox can help enable these businesses to move online, engage with their customers digitally, and build back stronger than ever,&rdquo said Rahul Kishore, Managing Director, at Coatue. Bennett Siegel, Partner at Coatue, added, &ldquoLunchbox&rsquos software turns every restaurant into a tech company. We&rsquore excited to partner with Lunchbox as they continue to reinvent the way restaurants reach, engage, and serve customers wherever they dine.&rdquo

&ldquoLunchbox has proven itself to be an invaluable partner in future-proofing our ghost kitchen business and tapping into the massive potential in the online ordering boom. We&rsquore looking forward to working with them as they start this new stage of growth and are eagerly anticipating more innovation from the platform,&rdquo says sbe and C3 Founder & CEO Sam Nazarian.

The company recently partnered with restaurant technology leader Ordermark to integrate with its online ordering management platform to provide restaurants with more opportunities to grow and retain revenue. Lunchbox also partnered with Beam Social Impact to make it easier for restaurants to increase social responsibility by easily facilitating nonprofit donations from guest orders. Lunchbox has also begun venturing into autonomous delivery with a partnership with Sodexo and Kiwibot.

Chowly Teams with Grubhub

Chowly entered into a partnership with Grubhub to bring independent restaurants a frictionless menu management and order fulfillment solution, helping restaurant owners more easily leverage Grubhub&rsquos marketplace to drive more orders online.

This partnership allows Chowly and Grubhub to closely collaborate on configuration and onboarding efforts for mutual restaurant clients. By leveraging Grubhub&rsquos POS integrations and technology with Chowly&rsquos domain knowledge and services, owners and operators can optimize their takeout and delivery order intake process and streamline their operations, making it easier to fulfill off-premise orders with timeliness and accuracy.

&ldquoIt has always been our mission to simplify technology for restaurants, and this partnership allows us to do just that for the thousands of brands leveraging Grubhub&rsquos marketplace,&rdquo said Sterling Douglass, co-founder and CEO of Chowly. &ldquoThis is a time where everyone in the restaurant ecosystem needs to come together and support the industry we love so much. This partnership further enables more help when restaurants need it the most.&rdquo

&ldquoSolutions that enable easier onboarding and increased takeout and delivery sales are crucial as the industry navigates this challenging time,&rdquo said Harald Prokop, senior vice president of restaurant product and technology at Grubhub. &ldquoThrough our partnership with Chowly, we aim to simplify onboarding for our restaurant partners and help them grow their takeout and delivery capabilities."

Burma Bites

Burma Superstar and DoorDash, are teaming up to launch Burma Bites, a quick-service restaurant experience built for on-demand delivery from the ground up.

Burma Bites was originally developed due to the incredible delivery demand for Burma Superstar restaurants. Now, at a time when dine-in remains limited, Burma Bites enables Burma Superstar to experiment with a scalable model to reach new and existing customers, all while creating jobs in their community.

This marks the first time DoorDash has co-invested with a restaurant brand to build a new brick and mortar store, purpose-built for delivery. Burma and DoorDash have rethought the entire Burma Superstar menu and dining experience for off-premises. The experience features:

● Brand new menu items: Items from their secret menu will be offered including the Superstar Spicy Mango Wings and Balachaung Fries.

● More efficient prep: The kitchen has been built for delivery with &ldquocommercial&rdquo equipment that has a larger capacity and is designed to fulfill to-go orders.

● Environmentally-friendly containers: To-go containers have been designed specifically for travel.

&ldquoEmpowering restaurants with the tools to connect with more customers and build new revenue streams is in our DNA, and we&rsquore taking our mission one step further by creating a to-go restaurant concept from scratch for one restaurant brand,&rdquo said Georgie Thomas, Head of Regional Merchant Partnerships at DoorDash. &ldquoCOVID has accelerated the need for restaurants to be online and meet customers in new ways. We&rsquore excited to partner with Burma Superstar and innovate on the delivery experience to help their brand continue to grow during this time.&rdquo

&ldquoWe&rsquove been honored to be a part of the Bay Area community as cultural and culinary ambassadors of Burmese cuisine and tradition for more than 20 years.&rdquo said Desmond Tan, owner of Burma Superstar restaurants. &ldquoAt such an uncertain time, we&rsquore excited to introduce this new model that enables us to continue to bring Burmese food and culture to the community in a safe and accessible way. Through our partnership with DoorDash, we are rethinking the possibilities of our founding vision through our first delivery-only restaurant to bring affordable, quality, delicious fast-casual Burmese food to the Bay Area.&rdquo

Burma Bites will open its doors on Telegraph Avenue. This is Burma Superstar&rsquos second Oakland location after opening its first in the Temescal community over 12 years ago. The restaurant will serve a delivery radius of 3-5 miles, reaching parts of surrounding neighborhoods including Berkeley, Alameda, and Oakland Hills.

Reopen for Delivery

Krazy Hog BBQ and DoorDash, teamed up to open a delivery-only location eight months after the restaurant shut its doors due to COVID-19. The partnership reopens Krazy Hog for delivery, helping the restaurant reach new customers and grow their business amidst one of the toughest times in the restaurant industry. The announcement is part of a new initiative from DoorDash which sets out to help select local merchants who have shuttered operations to strategically reopen for delivery.

Krazy Hog BBQ, owned by Victor and Dana Cooksey, quickly became the heartbeat of their community. Like the Cooksey&rsquos home, the restaurant was a place for celebrations, post-church gatherings, happy hours, and birthday parties. The restaurant is known for its rib tips and its &ldquoMagnolia Sweet&rdquo sauce, a made-from-scratch sauce and a recipe handed down from Dana Cooksey&rsquos grandmother.

In March of 2020, faced with a statewide executive order to shut down dine-in operations, supply chain shortages, and safety concerns for their staff, the Cookseys made the hard decision to close Krazy Hog BBQ.

&ldquoWe could plan for our futures, but we couldn&rsquot plan for the pandemic,&rdquo said Dana Cooksey. &ldquoThe first thing I thought of when I heard the executive order in March was, &lsquoWho is going to feed our customers? There was a massive fear factor – the future was uncertain and overnight our business came to a halt.&rdquo

DoorDash has worked closely with the Cooksey family over the last few months, alongside virtual kitchen operator Á La Couch, to help bring the Krazy Hog vision to life in a new delivery-only model. Krazy Hog staff will continue to cook their food, including barbecuing their meats and making batches of their world famous sauces, Á La Couch staff will prepare and assemble the orders, and DoorDash will support by facilitating the last-mile delivery. The new location, operating out of Á la Couch&rsquos Lincoln Park facility, will reintroduce the feeling, flavors, faith and familiarity of Krazy Hog while helping them reach new customers for the first time. This enables the restaurant to regain their footing as they set up a new, permanent location in the South Side. Eventually, both the delivery-only kitchen and a new southside location will operate in Chicago.

&ldquoEvery business needs to learn how to pivot. It feels like DoorDash said, &lsquoWe got you.&rsquo We understand your business and we&rsquore going to find a way to make it work. Together with DoorDash&rsquos expertise, this new concept will help us sustain an off premise operation and ultimately help us focus on bringing back the neighborhood restaurant how we want to,&rdquo said Victor Cooksey.

&ldquoI like to think of DoorDash and delivery – as the new potluck,&rdquo Dana Cooksey added. &ldquoThe experience is and will always be the food – my grandma&rsquos sauce, the sides, the platters of my dad&rsquos meat – it&rsquos just about how to get it to you. We see our business shifting towards virtual parties and gatherings in this new world but the heart and soul remains the food.&rdquo

Now, starting with Krazy Hog BBQ in Chicago, this new initiative, Reopen for Delivery, helps restaurants to reopen by operating low-cost kitchens in order to grow their business and reach new customers – without the same overhead costs.

&ldquoWhile the odds of DoorDash restaurant partners remaining open during the COVID-19 pandemic are six times better compared to U.S. restaurants as a whole,* there is much more to be done to continue supporting restaurants,&rdquo said Tom Pickett, Chief Revenue Officer at DoorDash. &ldquoCore to our founding mission is a commitment to providing multiple solutions for restaurants to come online in a way that makes sense for their business, and this new program is another way restaurants can adapt to the new normal. We believe that restaurants, and the people who eat there, are at the core of their local communities and cultures. and we want to help merchants who have shuttered operations to strategically reopen while adapting to the realities of operating a restaurant in today&rsquos environment.&rdquo

With Reopen for Delivery, DoorDash is committing to providing another option for restaurants to come online with additional infrastructure, marketing and last-mile logistics support so that merchants can focus on their passion, serving their communities with great food. More specifically DoorDash is planning to:

  • Help restaurants to rebuild operations through opening delivery-only spaces designed for off-premise or licensing their brands to kitchen fulfillment companies
  • Provide last-mile logistics support to help merchants accelerate into this new delivery-only model
  • Invest in operations and marketing support to ensure the companies can navigate the re-opening process while maintaining and growing their brands
  • Consult with restaurants on small business issues to ensure restaurant owners can accelerate into this new normal.

Get the Holiday Scoop

US Foods Holding Corp. launched Holiday Scoop 2020, &ldquoWow Your Diners On- and Off-Premise.&rdquo With this special edition of Scoop, operators can design family-style take-out meals to meet increased demand during the busy holiday season, and develop a new rotation of on-trend menu items to help fight menu fatigue whether diners are ordering to-go or dining in. Holiday Scoop features 14 items to help restaurant owners create standout menu items that not only meet diner demand but increase revenue opportunities this season.

&ldquoDining trends have evolved rapidly since the pandemic hit, and this holiday season is certainly no exception,&rdquo said Stacey Kinkaid, vice president, product development and innovation, US Foods. &ldquoIn fact, according to a recent US Foods survey, one in three consumers report that they plan to order more from restaurants for the upcoming holidays. Families are faced with less time and more responsibilities and want take-out solutions to make family feasts easier. And, at the same time, diners have been stuck in a rut and want new, wow-worthy menu options that will keep them engaged and coming back for more. With Holiday Scoop, we have addressed these needs head-on with innovative products that will help operators boost both off-premise and on-premise offerings with versatility and labor savings in mind.&rdquo

Family-Style Made Easy: Take Home Items to Help Diners Celebrate the Holidays, Minus the Stress

With 73 percent of millennials and 71 percent of households with children interested in ordering a holiday family-style meal to-go from restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic,1 Holiday Scoop offers a variety of family-friendly options including:

Patuxent Farms® All Natural* Brined Turkey Breast Roast: A center-of-the-table holiday favorite, this whole-muscle, double lobe turkey breast is pre-brined and boneless for easy preparation and portioning. It can be used for roasting, smoking or many other applications.

Roseli® Premium Organic Three Cheese and Garden Vegetable Tortelloni: Certified USDA organic, this tortelloni (large tortellini) is made with peas, zucchini, asparagus and a blend of parmesan, smoked mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. It pairs perfectly with a variety of sauces, including US Foods&rsquo Roseli® Organic Marinara Sauce.

Roseli® Organic Marinara Sauce: This USDA-certified organic sauce is a classic recipe taken back to the basics. Made from vine-ripened, fresh-packed, California-grown organic tomatoes, organic extra virgin olive oil and a special organic spice blend, this sauce has a simple, delicious flavor that harkens back to old Italy.

Devonshire® Premium Belgian Chocolate Chip Waffle: Made in Belgium, this tasty treat features Belgian chocolate chips and crunchy sugar pearls. It is as perfect for a family-style holiday brunch as it is to serve as a delectable dessert. It&rsquos individually wrapped making it an attractive grab and go or retail offering as well.

Fresh Menu Ideas: On-Premise Attractions and Off-Premise Add-ons to Keep Diners Coming Back

Whether diners are eating on-premise or taking their meals to-go, they are looking for variety to relieve menu fatigue and keep their menus fresh year-round. Holiday Scoop offers solutions to attract and retain diners including:

Chef&rsquos Line® All Natural* Pulled Uncured Bacon: This product is tender and easy to serve &ndash similar to pulled pork. A versatile ingredient, it can top a burger or salad or flavor a breakfast dish. It is made with pork belly and simple ingredients &ndash designed for maximum convenience. And it meets the criteria for the US Foods Unpronounceables List&trade** initiative.

Metro Deli® Uncured Bacon Jam: This decadent, savory spread is made with more than 25% uncured bacon that contains no added nitrates or nitrites.*** It&rsquos perfectly balanced with savory and sweet, features pieces of smoky uncured bacon, onion and brown sugar and can be used to elevate toasted sandwiches and shared appetizers. It also meets the criteria for the US Foods Unpronounceables List&trade** initiative.

Devonshire® Bomboloni: Produced in Italy and pre-fried, these fluffy doughnuts are traditionally filled with fruit or chocolate. They&rsquore not too sweet, which makes them versatile, and can be used in a variety of applications such as savory, filled, baked or fried, and can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

Devonshire® Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake: Made with REESE&rsquoS Peanut Butter Cups, this item is all indulgence and labor-savings.Pre-cut and separated with paper leaflets, this cake features two layers of chocolate cake with a dense, crunchy peanut butter filling that&rsquos so thick, peanut butter is the first ingredient. The cake is covered in chocolate ganache and topped with real REESE&rsquoS Peanut Butter Cups.

In addition to providing operators with the right food products to meet emerging dining trends, Holiday Scoop also features a new sink and surface cleaner to support restaurant operators&rsquo in their commitment to diner and employee safety. The Monogram Clean Force® Sink & Surface Cleaner Sanitizer is an EPA-registered, no rinse, 2-in-1 cleaner sanitizer that can be used against the virus that causes COVID-19 and helps prevent cross-contamination to keep staff and guests safe from foodborne illnesses.

Frederick 'Freddy' Simon Dies

Frederick &ldquoFreddy&rdquo L. Simon, co-founder and namesake of Freddy&rsquos Frozen Custard & Steakburgers® died on Sunday, October 25. Along with his sons Bill and Randy, and Bill&rsquos business partner Scott Redler, he opened the first Freddy&rsquos Frozen Custard & Steakburgers® restaurant in 2002 in Wichita, Ks. The quick service concept not only bears his name, but also includes his family values and patriotic service to his country as the foundation of the brand.

Freddy Simon

The youngest of nine children, Simon grew up on a farm near Colwich, Kansas. He joined the U.S. Army infantry in 1943 and was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. While serving in the Pacific during World War II, he earned the Purple Heart for injuries sustained, as well as a Bronze Star for valor and was awarded other ribbons and medals for his service to his country. After being honorably discharged from duty, he returned home and attended Wichita University under the GI Bill. In 1947, Simon married Norma Jean Kerschen while earning a degree in Accounting. Together they started a family and raised six children (five sons and one daughter). He spent 55 years with the same company in the hospitality industry before starting Freddy&rsquos. He was a friend and trusted business partner to restaurant owners and operators across the state. In his retirement, he generously gave his time and resources to many military and charitable organizations.

Simon was an avid hunter and sportsman, but his greatest joy was his family. Every family gathering and all other interactions in Freddy&rsquos life provided him the opportunity to offer an encouraging word, share relatable stories of days gone by and give hugs.

Giordano's Selects SevenRooms

SevenRooms was selected by Giordano&rsquos. as the restaurant group&rsquos front-of-house platform. The Chicago-based chain is rolling out SevenRooms&rsquo across 67 locations to deliver experiences that drive revenue and repeat business.

Using SevenRooms&rsquo online reservation and virtual waitlist tools, Giordano&rsquos will be able to collect and leverage guest data to provide personalized, consistent service and marketing at scale to customers across their portfolio. Additional benefits include streamlining walk-in management, optimizing online booking channels, advanced seating and table management, and full ownership of their guest data.

The implementation of the SevenRooms platform will enable Giordano&rsquos to create efficient processes that will result in increased revenue while improving guest experiences and boosting loyalty. Using SevenRooms&rsquo suite of tools, the chain will be able to optimize their front-of-house strategy and operations for today's dining environment including:

  • Improving data capture for online reservations and digital waitlists
  • Maximizing the number of table turns per shift to boost profits
  • Accounting for increased times between seatings to ensure advanced cleaning efforts
  • Contact tracing through the collection of guest details during the online booking process
  • Personalizing marketing communications towards guest preferences and behavior

&ldquoDuring this new era of hospitality, it&rsquos more important than ever for operators to prioritize technology integrations that not only help keep diners safe, but do so without sacrificing the memorable, personalized experiences guests seek while dining out,&rdquo said Joel Montaniel, CEO of SevenRooms. &ldquoWe are thrilled to welcome Giordano&rsquos to the SevenRooms family as they use our data-driven platform to better personalize their guest experience, build deeper guest loyalty and, ultimately, increase revenue for their venues through repeat business.&rdquo

&ldquoFrom our first conversations with SevenRooms, we were incredibly impressed with both the platform and the team,&rdquo said Jason Levinson, Vice President Technology at Giordano&rsquos. &ldquoWhen looking for a new partner to help us take our guest experience to the next level, SevenRooms stood out throughout the process. We knew we needed a tech partner who would not only streamline our operations, but also help us further personalize the experience for guests. During this time, it&rsquos vital that we&rsquore doing everything we can to keep our guests happy and healthy and SevenRooms is an essential component to our success in those endeavors.&rdquo

Scan to Order

Restaurants that utilize Clover® point-of-sale (POS) platform from Fiserv, Inc.,are now able to offer guests a touchless experience from order to payment.

The new Scan to Order feature for Clover equips restaurants to operate in a pandemic-conscious, digitally driven world. Guests scan a Clover-generated QR code with a smartphone camera to access a digital menu, select their orders, and securely pay, all within a digital environment.

&ldquoAs COVID-19 continues to disrupt communities across the country, restrictions limit operations, and delivery service surcharges eat away at profit margins, table service restaurants remain among the most severely impacted businesses,&rdquo said John Beatty, co-founder of Clover. &ldquoWith the launch of Scan to Order, we are helping our restaurant merchants get back to business, responding to the way customers want to interact with a touchless order and payment process that is safe, convenient, and cost effective.&rdquo

&ldquoScan to Order allows us to provide a touchless ordering option that we could not enable previously. As customers order and pay digitally, their order information is communicated instantly to our kitchen and payment information syncs with our Clover POS device. The entire experience has been very well received by our customers and seamless for our staff to implement,&rdquo said Kathy Fives, owner of The Jambalaya Shoppe Acadian in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

In addition to facilitating a touchless experience, Scan to Order:

  • Eliminates the need to update and print paper menus and providing the ability to update customer facing menus on the fly
  • Enables servers to cover more tables and drive faster table turns and larger transaction volumes with customer-centric ordering
  • Increases security of customer payment data with encrypted digital payments processed through the Clover POS system

&ldquoThe digital menu feature of Scan to Order saves us time and money by allowing us to completely eliminate three types of printed menus, saving us hundreds of dollars per week,&rdquo said Ben Bate, co-owner of Ludwig&rsquos German Table in San Jose, California. &ldquoWe can update a single online menu on the spot to highlight specials or remove sold-out items. And now we usually sell-out of the daily specials that appear at the top of our digital menu.&rdquo

Slice Eliminates Fees

Slice will eliminate its industry-low standard fee to shops on small orders as well as $10 pickup minimums. Slice&rsquos CEO Ilir Sela issued a challenge to all ordering services to follow suit by adjusting their own fee structures to be fairer for small businesses. When a customer places an order on Slice for $10 or less including taxes, the partner shop will no longer be charged the standard $2.25 per order from Slice. As a result, each of the over 13,000 local pizzerias on the Slice marketplace will keep more of the revenue and pass that value down to the consumer. With small order fees and $10 order minimums eliminated, some shops will be able to add lower ticket lunch items that previously may not have been included on the menu. These changes will go into effect on November 1 and will remain in effect indefinitely.

&ldquoRemoving fees on small orders for our partner shops was a no-brainer. The pandemic is far from over, and I challenge all online ordering services to make similar adjustments to their fee structures to better support small businesses,&rdquo said Slice Founder and CEO, Ilir Sela. &ldquoWhen the local pizzerias in our network thrive, we thrive. Our flat fee is low, but Slice is committed to passing as much of the revenue as possible to each shop.&rdquo

BentoBox Launches Catering and Events Capabilities

BentoBox launched two products, Catering Store without a BentoBox website and Enhanced Events Management, to expand restaurant capabilities during the 2020 holiday season. As restaurants prepare for a different holiday season impacted by COVID-19, these products will enable them to adapt and create unique and safe on- and off-premise experiences.

&ldquoRestaurants are expected to lose $240 billion by the end of 2020 and this holiday season is a pivotal opportunity for restaurants across the nation,&rdquo said Krystle Mobayeni, Co-Founder and CEO of BentoBox. &ldquoCOVID-19 forced restaurants to shift their approach to hosting events and accepting large orders and we&rsquore committed to providing restaurants with new tools that help them adapt and maximize their revenue.

Catering Store without a BentoBox website enables restaurants and caterers to offer large-volume orders. The product provides an exceptional guest experience from the start and allows restaurants to easily manage orders, update menus, set fulfillment and blackout dates and more, all from an easy-to-use dashboard. It includes fast, full-service setup and support. With BentoBox, restaurants can start accepting catering orders and inquiries in under seven days&ndashjust in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In addition to catering capabilities, BentoBox rolled out a feature enhancement to its event management product to help restaurants deliver on safe, seamless on- and off-premise experiences. The enhanced Events Management feature builds on the original product to help restaurants adapt, improve guest relationships and maximize profits during the holiday season and beyond. As COVID-19 forces restaurant operators to adapt to social-distancing restrictions, this expanded product centralizes all event logistics in one place, from initial inquiry through contract generation and signing to ensure safe, seamless events. Events Management will be offered to new and existing Bentobox customers for per month through January 2021 with a $99 set up fee.

Free Menu QR Codes

TouchBistro now offers free (FOREVER) menu QR codes to any restaurant to help them engage safely and easily with customers.

Eataly Joins Mercato's Digital Platform

Mercato partnered with Eataly that will allow same day delivery of food to consumers living in and around four American cities where the renowned Italian market currently operates.

"While fewer people may be shopping in the markets themselves, Eataly continues to import and prepare an exceptional variety of high-quality Italian foods and culinary products. Mercato is thrilled to partner with this organization and to add Eataly's offerings to our online marketplace," said Bobby Brannigan, founder and CEO of Mercato.

Founded in 2007, Eataly operates quality Italian markets in 11 countries around the world. Eataly is well regarded for its authentically prepared Italian foods and its use of high-quality Italian and local ingredients. Eataly locations offer an expansive marketplace, restaurant and even cooking classes – the combination of which makes for an experience not found anywhere else.

"We are happy to partner up with Mercato and make all of our high-quality grocery products available to a wider customer base," comments Raffaele Piarulli, Executive VP of Eataly North America. "During the pandemic, we have seen our grocery customer base expand. Also, thanks to the delivery business, we are thrilled to see that the interest for high quality Italian and local ingredients is ever growing!"

"I grew up in New York City where my father has long run a small Italian market. He and I visited Eataly's Flatiron location early on and were impressed with the variety and quality offered and how well it presents legitimate Italian cuisine," added Brannigan.

ParTech Adds OpenEye

ParTech, Inc. added OpenEye, a cloud-based video platform, to its Brink POS integration ecosystem.

Thousands of restaurants across the United States use OpenEye&rsquos video surveillance software to get a better return on their loss prevention efforts while also reducing the workload for their IT and operations teams. Cloud-to-cloud integration allows Brink customers to integrate Brink POS data with video so they can verify transaction events and work with loss prevention teams to improve their return on investment (ROI). This ultimately helps restaurants fight fraud, gain valuable business intelligence, and improve service for their guests.

The surveillance software also contains a built-in systems health monitoring service that sends email or text alerts on hard drive failures and exceeded storage levels, minimizing system downtime. OpenEye Web Services also backs up surveillance footage to the cloud so restaurant operators can easily and securely share password-protected video with system administrators and local authorities.

&ldquoWe are pleased to have OpenEye in our Brink POS integration ecosystem,&rdquo said Stephen Lee, Director of Strategic Partnerships at ParTech. &ldquoOpenEye&rsquos cloud-managed security solutions allow Brink customers to improve operations and expand their loss prevention capabilities.&rdquo

Ian Siemer, Vice President of Product and Marketing at OpenEye, said, &ldquoOpenEye provides our partners with increased business and operational intelligence by incorporating POS data from PAR into our cloud-managed video platform. Our customers can make more informed decisions and verify POS transaction using video. Both of our organizations are leveraging cloud solutions to offer a more scalable and user- friendly solution to our restaurant customers.&rdquo

BHC Acquires Catering by Lovables

Bill Hansen Catering (BHC) acquired Catering by Lovables and the renaming of the brand to Lovables Catering + Kitchen. The merger marries two South Florida catering brands, adding a new dimension to Bill Hansen Catering&rsquos 40-year culinary journey by offering expanded culinary offerings for budget-conscious clientele. Hansen and Lovables founder Elizabeth Silverman will now collaborate together under one roof at Hansen&rsquos 8,000-sq. ft. Commissary Kitchen in Opa Locka, FL.

Lovables Catering + Kitchen is offering 20% Off Lovables Corporate Delivery Menu through Nov 20. Lovables Catering + Kitchen has served South Florida for 35 years. The brand provides meals for weddings, corporate and social events at venues across the region. Silverman collaborated with Hansen throughout the years and looked to him for advice as they grew the Lovables brand. In August 2019, Hansen purchased the company for an undisclosed amount and rebranded it to Lovables Catering + Kitchen.

Both brands will continue to operate as usual, servicing event venues from Palm Beach to the Florida Keys, however the culinary components at both companies will receive modern touches, including new menus for home delivery services. Bill Hansen Catering&rsquos menus will continue to be created and curated by corporate executive and culinary mastermind chef Dewey Losasso. Both brands will utilize the commissary&rsquos fleet of temperature-controlled vans to offer residential and corporate delivery services for catering throughout South Florida.

Relay+ Debuts

Relay, the cellular walkie-talkie replacement from Republic Wireless, announced today the launch of Relay+, its next-generation enterprise model. The new Relay+ unveils improved features built specifically for businesses at a time when people have been increasingly working remotely in geographically distributed teams, making team communication more difficult yet important than ever. Relay+ is designed for the 55 million-plus U.S. frontline workers who require easy and safe push-to-talk voice technology with unlimited national range so they remain focused at work with hands and eyes fully engaged, undistracted by a smartphone screen.

In addition to Relay&rsquos simple one-button, voice-first communications, GPS tracking, and Slack-like dashboard that it&rsquos best known for, the new Relay+ adds powerful features including enhanced waterproof rating, a longer-lasting battery, and the ability to connect to multiple LTE networks. Relay+ is integrated into the powerful and flexible software platform that makes Relay+ adaptable to almost any team. The complete features include:

  • Integration of the Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear&trade 2500 Platform chipset with 4G LTE
  • A water protection rating of IP-X8 for full submersibility, and MIL-STD-810G for durability
  • WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity for integration with other products and USB-C for both secondary charging and audio output
  • An extended battery life of up to 2 days on a full charge
  • Improved audio with dual noise cancelling digital microphones and dual speaker output and a 2X louder speaker
  • New form factor with a softer texture, larger side keys and still lightweight – the size of a Post-It note and weighs about the same as a deck of cards – 79g
  • New accessories that include a custom wireless charging pad, headset, belt clip and wireless multi-charger
  • Built to be extensible through software configuration and integration

&ldquoThere has been a lack of innovation in tools for frontline workers for decades, resulting in major inefficiencies and wasted time and money," said Jon Schniepp, SVP of Product and Marketing, Relay. &ldquoSmart workforce communication tools need to evolve beyond just screen-first applications. Frontline teams need to be in constant communication to meet customer needs, and those who invest in frontline technology will shape the future of work particularly for businesses rebuilding after COVID-19. Relay+ focuses on creating smart solutions that are easily customizable for every kind of frontline team.&rdquo

&ldquoChallenging economic times is often when new innovation thrives. Businesses are looking to streamline and optimize the best they can to survive and invest in creating new efficiencies to save money. This is where Relay+ will have its greatest impact,&rdquo said Chris Chuang, CEO and Founder, Relay. &ldquoWhen we outline how Relay can integrate into a customer&rsquos current operations, we frequently get stunned expressions followed by the question, &lsquoYou can do that?&rsquo The answer is always, &lsquoYes, Relay can do that because our solution is rooted in a powerful and flexible software platform.&rsquo&rdquo

&ldquoMobile and wearable technologies have played a crucial role over the last few months as enterprises have navigated the macro-economic challenges,&rdquo said Pankaj Kedia, Sr. Director and Global Head, Smart Speaker and Wearables segment, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. &ldquoRepublic Wireless&rsquo efforts in using its Relay device to serve the needs of frontline workers are to be applauded. We are delighted to be working with the firm to continue to innovate and bring the Relay+ to market. Based on Qualcomm&rsquos Snapdragon Wear, the Relay+ takes full advantage of the platform to deliver an always reliably connected product while enabling extended battery life in a sleek form factor.&rdquo

Food Services Relays are being used to maintain distance and supplement smaller staff working in kitchen and delivery operations as food services reopen. Additionally, with the growing trend of consolidated service management (ghost kitchens) and increased reliance on delivery, Relay is being used to keep crews connected in real-time regardless of distance.

Gamifying Food Ordering

PyePOS teamed up with PM Orchard to gamify the food ordering process.

PyePOS developed their product to streamline and elevate the ordering process for restaurants through technology and self-service innovation. The current economic and social environments have exacerbated the need for this in the foodservice industry. PyePOS product design already meets the needs of many of the challenges which have arisen during the pandemic, such as their secure self-service QSR Kiosk which meets social distancing and reduced capacity restrictions. Or their turnkey mobile ordering system, which allows restaurants to manage their own delivery service, empowering owners to control finances and adapt to the rising in food cost. However, Jegil Dugger, Founder and CEO of PyePOS wanted to solve the emerging concerns restaurants have in engaging and retaining loyal patrons. With this mission in mind, PyePOS teamed up with the gamification company PM Orchard to enhance the ordering experience. Gamification applies game elements and design techniques to non-games.

Dugger filed the patent on the new technology, stating, &ldquoI have seen gamification used commonly as a reward for ordering after the order is complete, but I haven&rsquot seen it used before or during the ordering process. We converted the entire ordering process from a task to an experience, integrating game elements throughout.&rdquo Mr. Dugger continued, &ldquoNo one to date has implemented a gaming experience into the eCommerce process as we have designed.&rdquo

The PM Orchard and PyePOS duo designed a new ordering process integrating game elements in every step of the ordering process. &ldquoFrom the moment the customer walks up to a PyePOS QSR Kiosk or mobile app, they embark on a unique ordering experience. These subtle yet engaging elements allow the restaurant to connect with their customers from the moment the patron walks in,&rdquo explained PM Orchard CEO Eve Horne. &ldquoCustomers may not recognize it is a game, but the user experience is designed in a way that the patrons walk away feeling accomplished and like a winner when they finish making their order,&rdquo Horne added.

PyePOS QSR kiosks have shown a 20 percent increase in order size, reduced wait times, allow for upselling and cross-selling, and improve labor efficiency, before adding gamification elements, according to Dugger. One of the significant game elements introduced to the process is Avatars' use, which allows restaurants to personalize recommendations based on customer preselected profiles. For example, a Family Avatar could include targeted selections like Kids meals or Family Meal deals recommendations.

HungryUS Expands Internationally

HungryUS announced its expansion plan to Japan, China, and the rest of the U.S. It is aiming to enter the two overseas markets in Q4 2020, as well as Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, and Washington D.C., in 2021.

HungryUS provides a sustainable solution to the current pricey third-party delivery scene. It is projecting revenue growth of 134 percent in 2020 compared to last year while doubling its profit margin.

&ldquoWe build this platform to help,&rdquo the founding team speaks about the vision and mission of HungryUS, &ldquoWe started with helping to bring more varieties of cuisines to professionals and students. Under this unprecedented pandemic, we are helping these mom-and-pop shops in California to not only survive, but thrive and turn a considerable profit. Now that our business model is proven, we envision more cities in the world to benefit from it.&rdquo

HungryUS currently has three main business sectors &ndash MealBus, ToDoor, and GroupOn.

Ziosk Platform Expands

Ziosk expanded Ziosk Platform, its suite of products to help restaurant improve operational efficiency, further facilitate safe and secure contactless payment, and grow the top and bottom line. Additionally, Ziosk launched its COVID Relief Pricing Program that will waive new restaurant partners&rsquo monthly fees until its locations are allowed by local government to operate at 100-percent occupancy.

&ldquoOur mission is to help restaurants strengthen their operations through our expanded technology platform, and in this extremely challenging environment the experience of every guest is more important than ever,&rdquo stated Jack Baum, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ziosk. &ldquoSafe and secure contactless ordering and payment is paramount to today&rsquos consumer. While previously it was a requested convenience, today it is a demanded necessity for guests to feel comfortable dining out, particularly for a dine-in experience at the restaurant.&rdquo

Tillster Partners with Tortas Frontera

Tillster is partnering with Tortas Frontera to support the brand&rsquos pivot to 100-percent digital ordering amid the Coronavirus pandemic. With the unanticipated closure of some of their locations, the restaurant selected Tillster to deploy a rapid solution for online ordering and delivery and increase operational efficiencies.

In January 2020, Tortazo, the newest restaurant concept by chef Rick Bayless, opened its doors to great fanfare in Chicago&rsquos Willis Tower. The dine-in, Mexican-inspired eatery was in the process of expanding its business with the addition of online ordering however, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic caused Willis Tower to empty, resulting in Tortazo to temporarily close its doors in March. The restaurant has since reopened and sought to pivot quickly and adapt to the new environment by creating brand awareness and reaching customers through a digital interface.

Adopting the more familiar Tortas Frontera brand, a chef Bayless cult-favorite found in the Chicago O&rsquoHare Airport, the brand opened a ghost kitchen to serve customers in a 100% digital environment. &ldquoWe wanted to meet our customers where they are, so the transition to a ghost kitchen and digital ordering was critical,&rdquo explained Patrick Little, Director of Operations. &ldquoTo be successful, we needed to get up and running quickly with a familiar and beloved brand, and Tillster&rsquos solutions allowed us to deploy a new integrated digital system.&rdquo

In the effort to bolster Tortazo&rsquos business, Tillster leveraged the well-known Tortas Frontera name for the secondary branding of the ghost kitchen and also quickly built a brand-specific website to support both direct delivery and delivery through third-party partners, including DoorDash and UberEats. The highly automated system accepts orders through a digital ordering platform, seamlessly integrates them into the restaurant&rsquos POS system, and dispatches the delivery service provider&rsquos driver to pick up the order and deliver it to the consumer.

&ldquoAt Tillster, we are committed to providing our customers with the needed flexibility to do what is best for their business as quickly as possible. In the current environment, that means pivoting quickly to adapt to digital ordering while continuing to foster exceptional customer service,&rdquo says Hope Neiman, Chief Marketing Officer at Tillster. &ldquoArmed with our tools, Tortazo has an arsenal of tools at their disposal, for both direct and third party usage, and will continue building brand equity and a success that will thrive beyond the current pandemic.&rdquo

WorkJam I0 Composer

WorkJam released WorkJam IO Composer. The new module opens up the WorkJam platform to other business systems, digitally automating frontline processes and driving breakthrough labor productivity and utilization benefits. WorkJam is a complete platform that includes multiple modules for frontline employees, which can be purchased individually or together, including scheduling, task management, learning and development, and communications. With the addition of the WorkJam IO Composer module, organizations now have limitless flexibility in how they use data &mdash in any form &mdash to orchestrate the work of their frontline employees.

With WorkJam IO Composer, an organization can move any type of information input or output between WorkJam's Frontline Digital Workplace Platform and any other business technology used by the organization, including IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Moreover, this new module allows for internal automation within the WorkJam platform allowing further digital automation of the employee experience. This powerful tool allows for organizations to quickly link existing business processes together, and create new processes that synchronize frontline employee execution and communication with the rest of the organization. The connectivity of once isolated, siloed systems and processes as well as manual processes, will create unprecedented increases in productivity, allowing for true Frontline Team Orchestration.

New Model for Online Ordering

Dingmenu released a new model for online ordering that takes neither sales commission nor ongoing subscription fees from its customers.

Instead, restaurant owners pay a one-time $99 setup fee to create their branded online menu. Restaurant customers who place a takeout or curbside pickup order through Dingmenu pay a .99 fee. The app also supports online ordering for restaurants offering in-house delivery to patrons. Stripe handles the transaction and assesses restaurants its standard credit card processing fees of 2.9 percent plus .30 per order.

Customers can place their order through a link on the restaurant&rsquos existing website or in a text message sent by the restaurant, or through a printed QR code scanned with the patron&rsquos smartphone. Clicking the link opens the interactive ordering system and posts a bookmark to the restaurant&rsquos menu on the customer&rsquos home screen. This keeps the restaurant top of mind with a persistent reminder for customers thinking about ordering food while cutting out the competition restaurants face on the big platforms.

&ldquoRestaurants today face unprecedented challenges to survive through the COVID crisis, and the big-name platforms are taking advantage of that by gouging owners with crazy fees,&rdquo says Dingmenu founder Debbie Popkin. &ldquoThe time has come to disrupt the status quo in online ordering. Dingmenu is that disruption.&rdquo

Bio-Shield&trade Antimicrobial

In response to the evolving needs for cleanliness in the foodservice industry, Hoffmaster Group, Inc® launched its new Bio-Shield&trade antimicrobial product line: an applied technology that stops the growth of bacteria and fungi on contact.

Bio-Shield&trade utilizes silver ion technology to create permeant product protection. If bacteria were to land on a Bio-Shield&trade product, antimicrobial technology binds to the bacteria, stopping it from growing or replicating.

This process is applied to some of Hoffmaster&rsquos best-selling disposable products ranging from tissue and linen-alternative napkins to disposable hand towels and placemats and traymats.

Though antimicrobial napkins and placemats are ideal in restaurant settings, Bio-Shield&rsquos usage extends beyond the restaurant sector. Disposable hand towels are great replacements for dispenser towels or hand dryers in restrooms, while traymats can be used in healthcare, hospitality room service, and the school classroom.

&ldquoBio-Shield&trade reaffirms that our company is continuously innovating and looking at trends that are truly needed in the space,&rdquo adds Hoffmaster CEO Rory Leyden. &ldquoHoffmaster is committed to transforming and elevating our offerings as the foodservice industry evolves.&rdquo

Welcome to the Lemon Age

For the first time in history, the European lemon is launching a promotional and information campaign to publicize its virtues in the United States. Under the slogan &ldquoWelcome to the Lemon Age&rdquo, the mission of this campaign is to give visibility to the values of the European production model, including the certified guarantee of quality, sustainability, food safety and traceability and identifying the European lemon with the Mediterranean Diet, declared by UNESCO in 2010, as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of the United States considers the lemon as a food without fat, without saturated fat, very low in sodium, without cholesterol, low in calories and with a high content of Vitamin C that contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system. It is, therefore, a product appreciated in American homes and that Americans frequently add to water, salads, pastries and cocktails. Between 2010 and 2018, the consumption of fresh lemon in the United States has experienced an increase of 31 percent, going from 438.00 to 635,000 tons.

Aimed at young people between the ages of 25 and 45, Welcome to the Lemon Age campaign, which will also take place over the next three years in Canada, Spain, Germany and France, introduces Lemonencer, the first lemon in the world to become an influencer.

Lemon production in Europe, mainly Spain, amounted to 1,557,000 tons on average between 2010 and 2018, according to data from Eurostat, Faostat and Comtrade, thus leading the world ranking. With a turnover of more than 700 million euros per year and more than 20,000 direct jobs, the lemon sector has 40,000 hectares dedicated to production, housing more than 9 million lemon trees that are located mainly in the Mediterranean basin and that contribute, in addition, to environmental sustainability, with a positive net balance of 304,840 tons of CO2 sequestered per year.

Williams Sonoma Chefs&rsquo Collective

Williams Sonoma, named of fourteen chefs and bar experts as the latest members of the Williams Sonoma Chefs&rsquo Collective. Each new member will serve as advisors and ambassadors for Williams Sonoma. The diverse group of restaurant, chef and bar industries professionals were selected to offer their unique expertise to Williams Sonoma by guiding future product and recipe development opportunities and providing personal insight as to how Williams Sonoma can continue to support the culinary hospitality industry and chef community.

Through the Collective they are giving back to their communities and will provide culinary insights, feedback on product development, testing, testimonials, exclusive content and new recipes.

The 2020 Williams Sonoma Chefs&rsquo Collective is celebrating its five year anniversary of the Chefs&rsquo Collective, but Williams Sonoma&rsquos history as a culinary connector began over sixty years ago, when Chuck Williams introduced home cooks to iconic chefs, like James Beard and Julia Child, and the tools and equipment they used in their professional kitchens. Throughout the years, Williams Sonoma&rsquos chefs have served as a voice of authority for the brand about what to cook, how to cook it, and what tools and ingredients should be used.

&ldquoFor over 60 years Williams Sonoma has been at the forefront of connecting our customers with innovation and expertise in the culinary community,&rdquo said Williams Sonoma President Ryan Ross. &ldquoWe feel privileged to bring a group of individuals we admire together in order to share their expertise with our team and to share their insights as to how we can continue to support an industry that is an integral part of our brand&rsquos DNA.&rdquo

The 2020 Williams Sonoma Chefs&rsquo Collective members include:

Bay Area native David Nayfeld is the Executive Chef & Co-Owner of the award-winning restaurants Che Fico and Che Fico Alimentari in San Francisco. Nayfeld boasts a venerable restaurant pedigree, having worked alongside some of the most esteemed names in the industry. Nayfeld held positions at Aqua, Joël Robuchon at The Mansion, Cru and Eleven Madison Park. He also received a Michelin Guide The Plate Award &ndash and Che Fico was featured in Bon Appétit as one of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America. A powerful culinary voice during the current crisis, Nayfield founded the Family Dinner Fund to help provide meals for those in need.

Mashama Bailey is the award-winning executive chef and partner of the critically acclaimed The Grey and The Grey Market in Savannah, Georgia. Since opening in 2014, The Grey has earned a number of accolades including being named a Food & Wine Restaurant of The Year, one of TIME Magazine's "The World's Greatest Places&rdquo and a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation&rsquos Best New Restaurant award, thanks in large part to Mashama&rsquos flavorful dishes that highlight regional ingredients. With the premiere of Netflix&rsquos Chef&rsquos Table Season 6, Mashama became the first African American chef to star on the show. Mashama is the chairwoman of the Edna Lewis Foundation, whose mission is to honor and extend the legacy of Edna Lewis by creating opportunities for African Americans in the fields of cooking, agriculture, food studies, and storytelling. Mashama&rsquos book, Black, White and The Grey debuts in 2021.

Claudette Zepeda is the Executive Chef of Alila Marea in San Diego. A James Beard Best Chef West semifinalist, she's a former Top Chef and Top Chef Mexico competitor. Zepeda has been featured in the New York Times, included in Esquire&rsquos 2018 Best New Restaurants and recognized by Michelin&rsquos 2019 Bib Gourmand list. In support of Feeding America's efforts to raise funds that will help hungry Americans, she has joined Storytellers Project&rsquos "LIVE, in Your Home" &ndash group of nationally renowned chefs sharing their personal stories around food with USA TODAY.

Shannon Mustipher is an independent spirits consultant with a strong focus on rum. Her passion for education is conveyed through Women Leading Rum, a cane spirit-centric professional development organization she co-founded &ndash and Women Who Tiki, a pop-up tropical cocktail series celebrating talented female bartenders across the country. Earlier this year, Mustipher released her first cocktail book, Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails, an essential guide to the ultimate rum and Tiki classics which is nominated for an IACP award.

She is also the recipient of the Tales of The Cocktail Pioneer Award for 2020, as part of her induction into their Dame Hall of Fame. Mustipher launched Glady&rsquos Caribbean in Brooklyn, where her tiki drinks received rave reviews.

Alba Huerta is a bartender turned bar owner/writer &ndash and one of the country&rsquos most celebrated mixologists. At her Houston bar, Julep, Huerta serves up her own Southern-inspired craft cocktails. In 2018, Huerta released her first cocktail book, Julep. She was named Imbibe's 2013 bartender of the year, one of Food & Wine's top 10 mixologists, and Texas Monthly's 2015 best bartender in Texas. Huerta is part of Full Hands In, Full Hands Out, a group working to help lead recovery efforts for Bar Owners. She's also a long-time supporter of No Kid Hungry and served as bar director for Taste of the Nation, Houston.

Miles Macquarrie is the co-owner and bar manager at Kimball House in Decatur, Georgia. A nationally celebrated mixologist, he worked his way through the Atlanta cocktail scene, spending time behind the bar of Holeman & Finch Public House and Leon&rsquos Full Service. Famous for his passion and technique, he culls from local traditions of the Southeast, including mixing his own house-made bitters. Macquarrie has been named Rising Star Mixologist and featured in both Imbibe and Food & Wine. In addition to professional accolades, he has developed a cult following among industry and civilian tipplers alike.

Kwame Onwuachi is a former Top Chef contestant based in Washington, D.C. A James Beard Award winner, he was named Esquire&rsquos Chef of the Year, one of Food & Wine&rsquos Best New Chefs in 2019, and a 30 Under 30 honoree by both Zagat and Forbes. Onwuachi also co-wrote Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir, which received a 2019 Goodreads Choice Award nomination for Best Food & Cookbooks. He has partnered with the Bronx Community Relief Effort to feed healthcare workers, first responders and students in his hometown &ndash and is an avid supporter of the Independent Restaurant Coalition.

Timothy Hollingsworth is a restaurateur and winner of Netflix&rsquos cooking competition show, The Final Table. Formerly the Chef de Cuisine at Thomas Keller&rsquos The French Laundry, he later opened his own L.A. restaurant, Otium. This fall, he'll open his new San Francisco restaurant, All This Time. Hollingsworth has won multiple awards, including James Beard Foundation's Rising Chef of the Year Award, the S.F. Chronicle&rsquos Rising Star Chef Award &ndash and placed 6th in the Bocuse d&rsquoOr. He has also joined with Ask Chefs Anything to raise funds for immigrant workers in service industries affected by the current global situation.

Gregory Gourdet is a chef and television personality known for being the runner-up on Bravo&rsquos Top Chef Season 12 &ndash and is currently competing on the current Top Chef All-Stars Season 17. A three-time James Beard Award semifinalist and native New Yorker, he honed his culinary skills in celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten&rsquos restaurant dynasty. In 2010, he became Executive Chef at Portland's Departure, gaining praise for his innovative dishes and taking on a key role in the local culinary scene. Gourdet's first cookbook, Everyone&rsquos Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health, is slated to come out in Spring 2021.

Melissa King is a chef and television personality who was a finalist on Bravo&rsquos Top Chef Season 12 &ndash and is competing on this season&rsquos Top Chef All-Stars Season 17. She has been recognized as one of the best female chefs in San Francisco, a 40 Under 40: Rising Star &ndash and was co-host of the James Beard-nominated special "Taste Buds: Chefsgiving." King also helmed several legendary Michelin-starred kitchens in San Francisco. As a proud Asian-American and queer woman, she works passionately with nonprofit organizations and LGBTQI charities, including The Human Rights Campaign and Tegan and Sara Foundation.

Husband-and-wife team Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito are chefs/owners of Don Angie in NYC. They're known for refined Italian-American dishes, which have earned them two-star reviews from The New York Times and Eater NY. Most recently, Don Angie was named one of Esquire&rsquos Best New Restaurants in America. The duo was among Zagat&rsquos 13-under-the-radar-chefs-to-watch in NYC and received a 2019 James Beard Award nomination for Best Chef New York City. They're now partnering with Ask Chefs Anything to raise funds for immigrant workers in service industries affected by the current global situation.

Phil Krajeck is a chef celebrated for his original work at some of the world's best restaurants. As Chef de Cuisine at the Water Color Inn & Resort&rsquos Fish Out of Water in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, he earned four James Beard Award nominations. Later, he opened the critically acclaimed Rolf & Daughters in Nashville, which earned "Best New Restaurant" nods from Esquire and Bon Appétit, as well as a Kentucky-Tennessee Rising Stars Award. To support the local community, Krajeck has teamed up with the CEO of Shearwater Health in Nashville, delivering weekly meals to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center staff.

Mason Hereford is a chef best known for his popular New Orleans sandwich shop, Turkey and the Wolf, which Bon Appétit Magazine named America&rsquos Best New Restaurant. He's also a 2020 James Beard Award finalist for Best Chef. Hereford developed his passion for creative cooking with restaurant jobs around the country, including San Francisco and Charleston. He later moved back to New Orleans, working as Chef de Cuisine at Coquette and Sweet Olive &ndash opening Turkey and the Wolf in 2016. Hereford has now teamed up with Duke&rsquos Dishes for Donations in support of the Southern Smoke Foundation&rsquos Emergency Relief Fund.

Food Waste Furniture

M​odel No.​, the on-demand custom furnishings company, today announced the launch of their sustainable home furnishings line after over a year of perfecting the supply chain and manufacturing process, ethically sourcing materials and partners, and deploying its proprietary design process to deliver the ultimate upcycled collection.

Innovation in the furniture business has remained stagnant while consumer and environmental needs have changed. Model No. caters to today&rsquos consumer&rsquos desires for quality and accessible products that are responsibly-made. The company&rsquos cutting-edge approach to producing furniture serves as the first home products model to prioritize technology, customer experience, design and environmental integrity within the furniture industry.

&ldquoBuying furniture from mass-market brands&rsquo &lsquoone-size fits all&rsquo approach is painful and fails to take into consideration the environmental needs of eco-conscious consumers, said Phillip Raub, CEO of Model No. &ldquoBy modernizing the design and manufacturing process, we provide consumers with tools to easily customize furniture on-demand in a matter of weeks using materials that are 100-percent renewable.&rdquo

Through the adoption of 3D-printing technology using agricultural waste from corn husks, sugar cane and sugar beet as materials, Model No. minimizes carbon emissions and toxic byproducts, making the company&rsquos home collection the largest eco-friendly furnishing offering for today&rsquos conscious consumer.


Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 | ‘He lit up any area’

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20, was among the youngest of the victims of the Orlando shooting. Ocasio-Capo graduated from La Vergne High School outside of Nashville, Tenn., in 2015.

In Florida, Ocasio-Capo worked as a cashier and then barista at a Target in Kissimmee, according to the Associated Press and social media posts. Ocasio-Capo’s co-worker Claudia Mason said in a post on her Facebook page, “RIP Omar Capo. He lit up any area he worked in, especially Starbucks.”

Ocasio-Capo was also an aspiring dancer. Daniel Suarez-Ortiz, a friend who took a Snapchat video of Ocasio-Capo dancing before the shooting, told the Orlando Sentinel, “The reason why he moved to Orlando was for his acting and dancing career, and it hurts that he is not able to do that anymore.”

Suarez-Ortiz set up a GoFundMe account to help Ocasio-Capo’s family pay for funeral expenses.


Disaster expert Angela Blanchard: Dealing with Houston's fear of COVID-19 and a possible rebellion

2 of 67 Alfredo Gutierrez, left, fills out paperwork as Conner Scott donates plasma at Houston Methodist Hospital on Friday, May 15, 2020 in Houston. Scott, a sophomore at Texas A&M University, has donated his plasma for a Houston Methodist study seven times since recovering from COVID-19 in late March. He researched plasma treatments himself before deciding to contribute. “It’s pretty selfish if I have something that could help people and I’m not doing anything about it,” he said. Brett Coomer/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

3 of 67 Stephen Olivares, left, talks with Antanique Landry as he disinfects her gym Friday, May 15, 2020, in Houston. Landry, who said she isn't nervous but ready to reopen, is set to open her gym soon. "It's actually a blessing that I was able to transition to virtual," she said of operating during the shutdown. Olivares owns a gym maintenance company, and he said he started providing disinfecting services about a week before the shutdown, after about 80% of his clients asked for them. Jon Shapley/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

4 of 67 Heavy rain comes down on pedestrians in the Texas Medical Center on Friday, May 15, 2020 in Houston. Thunderstorms are forecast through Saturday. Brett Coomer/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

5 of 67 New Houston ISD Police Chief Pedro Lopez Jr. speaks to the media during a press conference in front of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, in Houston, Friday, May 15, 2020. Karen Warren/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

6 of 67 Parents and students hold signs asking for real graduations as Houston ISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan held a press conference in front of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, in Houston, Friday, May 15, 2020. Karen Warren/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

7 of 67 Houston ISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan speaks to the media during a press conference in front of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, in Houston, Friday, May 15, 2020. Karen Warren/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

8 of 67 Harris County Sheriff’s Honor Guard member deputy Darryl Peaks salutes as he practices for honor ceremony at the funeral service for Harris County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Raymond Scholwinski held at Humble First Assembly of God, 1915 FM 1960, Thursday, May 14, 2020, in Humble. Sgt. Scholwinski, 70, died May 6 after falling ill from COVID-19. He was a 39-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Melissa Phillip/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

9 of 67 Julia Geer, center, shares a laugh with Piper Jones, left, and Addison Kaye as the trio visits using social distancing from the back of their vehicles at The Woodlands High School parking lot, Thursday, May 14, 2020, in The Woodlands. Jason Fochtman/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

10 of 67 The Village at the Heights resident Melbalene Cohen enjoys a one-hour concert performed by musician John Curry for them Thursday, May 14, 2020, at the Heights in Houston. The Village at the Heights is a senior living facility. Yi-Chin Lee/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

11 of 67 Alexander Montis and Kellyn Evans shop at Vinal Edge Records Thursday, May 14, 2020, at the Heights in Houston. The record shop has been limiting four guests inside the shop, using hand sanitizer once they walk in and requiring them to wear a face cover. Yi-Chin Lee/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

Paramedics with the Montgomery County Hospital District administer tests for COVID-19 outside of an elderly care facility, Thursday, May 14, 2020, at Focused Care at Beechnut in Houston.

Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer Show More Show Less

Harris County Public Health Department Contact Tracing Team Lead Jochebed Maduagwu, 28, shares her experience as one of the first trained contact tracers to fight coronavirus outbreak in the county Wednesday, May 13, 2020, in Houston. The HCPHD currently has about 50 contact tracers and the agency is aiming to have 200 by the end of the week, and have 300 contact tracers next week.

Yi-Chin Lee/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

14 of 67 Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo watches the newest class of the contact tracers get trained through a glass door Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at Harris County Public Health Department in Houston. The HCPHD currently has about 50 contact tracers and the agency is aiming to have 200 by the end of the week, and have 300 contact tracers next week. Yi-Chin Lee/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

15 of 67 Jamaurei Jackson dons a mask given to him by rap artist Trae The Truth in the Third Ward on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 in Houston. The rapper spent the day handing out 10,000 masks to people in neighborhoods all around the city. "I am trying to get masks to people who wouldn't normally be able to get one," he said. Brett Coomer/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

16 of 67 Rap artist Trae The Truth hands out masks to Kayla Stelly, Serenity Johnson and Kassie Kinds in the Third Ward on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 in Houston. The rapper spent the day handing out 10,000 masks to people in neighborhoods all around the city. "I am trying to get masks to people who wouldn't normally be able to get one," he said. Brett Coomer/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

17 of 67 Jacquelyn Guyton is a single mother on disability who while trying to apply to a city of Houston rental assistance program was left out. The city of Houston on Wednesday exhausted its entire $14.4 million stock of rental assistance funds within 90 minutes. Wednesday, May 13, 2020, in Houston. Marie D. De Jesús/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

18 of 67 Nassau Bay, Webster, and Johnson Space Center first responders pose for Bryan Anderson, as he photographed the group shot for his personal project, "First Responders Texas Strong" at Space Center Houston, in Houston, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Anderson, a local wedding photographer, has been photographing multiple first responder departments around the Houston area, shooting dramatic socially distanced group shots for a project he calls "First Responders Texas Strong". "First responders and medical teams need to be reminded we support them, ad they have each other's back." Karen Warren/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

19 of 67 Bryan Anderson, directs a group shot of the Nassau Bay, Webster, and Johnson Space Center first responders from a bucket truck for his personal project, "First Responders Texas Strong" at Space Center Houston, in Houston, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Anderson, a local wedding photographer, has been photographing multiple first responder departments around the Houston area, shooting dramatic socially distanced group shots for a project he calls "First Responders Texas Strong". "First responders and medical teams need to be reminded we support them, ad they have each other's back." Karen Warren/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

20 of 67 People enjoy mild weather along Buffalo Bayou near Eleanor Tinsley Park, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, near downtown Houston. Mark Mulligan/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

21 of 67 People use a sign urging people to practice social distancing as a net to play volleyball along Buffalo Bayou near Eleanor Tinsley Park, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, near downtown Houston. Mark Mulligan/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

22 of 67 City Council meets for their last in-person session Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at City Hall in Houston. Councilmembers plan to meet over video for future sessions, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jon Shapley/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

Michelle Nguyen, a Kroger pharmacist, takes a self testing kit from a driver at the COVID-19 testing site held at Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner, 19110 Unity Park Drive, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, in Magnolia. This location of the free Kroger Health free COVID-19 drive through testing is open from 9am to 4pm and will continue through Thursday, May 14.

Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer Show More Show Less

24 of 67 Debbie Veselka, a Kroger pharmacy practice coordinator, is reflected in window as she takes a self testing kit from a driver at the COVID-19 testing site held at Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner, 19110 Unity Park Drive, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, in Magnolia. This location of the free Kroger Health free COVID-19 drive through testing is open from 9am to 4pm and will continue through Thursday, May 14. Melissa Phillip/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

25 of 67 Michelle Nguyen, a Kroger pharmacist, gives a driver a self testing kit at the COVID-19 testing site held at Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner, 19110 Unity Park Drive, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, in Magnolia. This location of the free Kroger Health free COVID-19 drive through testing is open from 9am to 4pm and will continue through Thursday, May 14. Melissa Phillip/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

26 of 67 Debbie Veselka, a Kroger pharmacy practice coordinator, gives direction on the self testing procedure at the COVID-19 testing site held at Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner, 19110 Unity Park Drive, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, in Magnolia. This location of the free Kroger Health free COVID-19 drive through testing is open from 9am to 4pm and will continue through Thursday, May 14. Melissa Phillip/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

Anaiya Jackson, a senior at Scarborough High School, wears her graduation gown and holds the cap she dedicated to her grandmother who passed away in January in front of her Houston home on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

Elizabeth Conley, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer Show More Show Less

28 of 67 YMCA After School Counselor Kamran Assadi plays a small game with Sophia Khademi during class Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at the Weekley YMCA in Houston. The YMCA of Greater Houston, which has been operating 19 sites for the children of essential workers, will screen students and staff members' tempertatures three times a day, and will have smaller group size ratios of nine children per one counselor. All counselors are required to wear a face mask, and students are asked to stay six feet apart from each other. Yi-Chin Lee/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

29 of 67 Keegan Crosby, 5, washes his hands before leaving his classroom and head home Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at the Weekley YMCA in Houston. The YMCA of Greater Houston, which has been operating 19 sites for the children of essential workers, will screen students and staff members' tempertatures three times a day, and will have smaller group size ratios of nine children per one counselor. Yi-Chin Lee/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

Roosevelt-Wilson Elementary Principal Wendy Patterson and assistant principal Angela Randall, of Texas City ISD, work with deputies Cipriano Ruiz and Louis Maldonado to reach out to some of their students on Friday, May 8, 2020 in Texas City.

Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer Show More Show Less

Principal Wendy Patterson and Angela Randall, assistant principal, of Roosevelt-Wilson Elementary in Texas City ISD, talk to the grandmother of one of their students while reaching out to some of their students on Friday, May 8, 2020 in Texas City. Patterson and a small team of educators went out in the community to try and contact some parents and students who have dropped off the radar during the COVID-19 shutdowns and school closures. Deputy Cipriano Ruiz, right, escorted the educators.

Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer Show More Show Less

Roosevelt-Wilson Elementary Principal Wendy Patterson and assistant principal Angela Randall, of Texas City ISD, talk to an older brother of one of their students on Friday, May 8, 2020 in Texas City. Patterson and a small team of educators went out in the community to try and contact some parents and students who have dropped off the radar during the COVID-19 shutdowns and school closures.

Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer Show More Show Less

33 of 67 Emelia Herrera, 30, feeds her one-month-old baby Selina Herrera at her home in Cypress on Saturday, May 9, 2020, after a month of being hospitalized for COVID-19. Marie D. De Jesús/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

Houston Police Dept. Color Guard lines up before the casket for Houston police officer Jason Knox arrives to the funeral at the First Baptist Church on Katy Freeway, Sat. May 9, 2020.

Elizabeth Conley, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer Show More Show Less

Houston Police officers salute as they lined up for the arrival of Houston Tactical Flight Officer Jason Knox's body from the funeral home during his funeral at Houston's First Baptist Church, in Houston, Saturday, May 9, 2020.

Karen Warren, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer Show More Show Less

36 of 67 Boy Scout James Custer with Troop 776 helps place small flags at the Montgomery County Veterans Memorial Park, Saturday, May 9, 2020, in Conroe. Volunteers planted more than 1,000, red, white, and blue flags representing those who have died from COVID-19 from Texas so far. Jason Fochtman/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

37 of 67 Owner Leon Apostolo carefully shapes a flat top for a customer at Shepard's Barber Shop, Friday, May 8, 2020, in Conroe. Gov. Greg Abbott modified initial executive order to reopen the Texas economy on Tuesday to allow barbershops, nail salons and hairdressers to reopen Friday with some social distancing and hygiene protocols. Jason Fochtman/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

38 of 67 The statue of Charles Bellinger Stewart, designer of the Texas flag, is seen with a facemask at Cedar Brake Park, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Montgomery. Jason Fochtman/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

39 of 67 Susan Russell waves goodbye to her mother after wishing her a happy Mother's Day as she speaks with her on a video call Friday, May 8, 2020, in Houston. Russell has been trying to find ways to stay connected with her mom since coronavirus precautions started preventing her from visiting her in person at the Houston memory care facility where she lives. Mark Mulligan/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

40 of 67 The procession of law enforcement vehicles escort the hearse carrying Harris County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Raymond Scholwinski Friday, May 8, 2020, as it leaves Memorial Hermann hospital in The Woodlands, TX en route back to Houston. Scholwinski, age 70, died of COVID-19 after a weeks long battle with the virus at the hospital. Michael Wyke/Contributor Show More Show Less

41 of 67 Harris County. deputies salute as funeral home staff load the casket of Harris County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Raymond Scholwinski into a hearse to be taken back to Houston, May 8, 2020, outside of Memorial Hermann hospital in The Woodlands, TX. Scholwinski, age 70, died of COVID-19 after a weeks long battle with the virus at the hospital. Michael Wyke/Contributor Show More Show Less

42 of 67 Carol Shirley talks with her grandson, Mitchell Brogan, before a parade at Spring Creek Village Assisted Living & Memory Care, Friday, May 8, 2020, in Spring. Jason Fochtman/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

43 of 67 A woman waves to residents during a parade at Spring Creek Village Assisted Living & Memory Care, Friday, May 8, 2020, in Spring. Jason Fochtman/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

44 of 67 Monica Hughes, left, holds a sign for seniors as the graduating class at Lake Creek High School picked up graduating appeal and yard signs, Friday, May 8, 2020, in Montgomery. Jason Fochtman/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

45 of 67 Noah Cantu shares a laugh with Lake Creek High School Principal Phil Eaton as seniors at Lake Creek High School picked up graduation appeal and yard signs, Friday, May 8, 2020, in Montgomery. Eaton was released from the hospital Tuesday after battling COVID-19 for 51 days. Jason Fochtman/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

46 of 67 Karli Beallew cries as she is handed her graduation robes as seniors at Lake Creek High School picked up graduation appeal and yard signs, Friday, May 8, 2020, in Montgomery. Jason Fochtman/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

47 of 67 Allan Anderson ties a blue ribbon around one of the trees that surround Memorial City Mall on Friday, May 8, 2020 in Houston. Memorial City will Shine Blue, with blue ribbons and the buildings, bridges and garages lit in blue, in recognition of National Nurses Week and National Hospital Week and to honor those healthcare heroes fighting on the frontline against COVID-19. Brett Coomer/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

48 of 67 Mike Cummings ties a blue ribbon around one of the trees that surround Memorial City Mall on Friday, May 8, 2020 in Houston. Memorial City will Shine Blue, with blue ribbons and the buildings, bridges and garages lit in blue, in recognition of National Nurses Week and National Hospital Week and to honor those healthcare heroes fighting on the frontline against COVID-19. Brett Coomer/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

49 of 67 Tammy Young takes the temperature of stylist Brittany Purr before she starts her shift at Salon on Kirby in Houston on Thursday, May 7, 2020. Elizabeth Conley/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

Alden Clark, owner of Salon on Kirby works on Pat Gilmore-Maass' hair at the salon in Houston on Friday, May 8, 2020.

Elizabeth Conley/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

51 of 67 Hong Le works on Antajea Hood's nails at Premier Nail Salon in Missouri City on Friday, May 8, 2020. Elizabeth Conley/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

52 of 67 Customers get their nails done at Premier Nail Salon in Missouri City on Friday, May 8, 2020. Elizabeth Conley/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

53 of 67 Bartender Sarah Miller irons masks on the bar inside of the Maple Leaf Pub, in Houston, Thursday, May 7, 2020. Courtney and Micahl Wyckoff started making masks out of their home after both finding themselves out of work because of coronavirus. Courtney, a seamstress, used leftover fabric she had lying around the house to start making the mask. They also started hiring their other out of work friends to help them. Their business is Grab Bag Masks.com. Karen Warren/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

54 of 67 Teacher Cynthia Cornish wears "Grad" glasses while cheering as YES Prep: Public Schools White Oak campus graduating seniors drive by and pick up their caps and gowns in a parade of cars Thursday, May 7, 2020 in Houston. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, caps and gowns were required to be picked up in drive-by fashion. These seniors are the first graduates from the White Oak campus. Brett Coomer/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

55 of 67 Hector Gomez, left, catches a ride from geography teacher Ronald Castro as YES Prep: Public Schools White Oak graduating seniors drive by and pick up their caps and gowns in front of the school on Thursday, May 7, 2020 in Houston. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, caps and gowns were required to be picked up in drive-by fashion. These seniors are the first graduates from the White Oak campus. Brett Coomer/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

56 of 67 Cindy Hutchinson (with hat) and Minda Kilpatrick measure the distance between their salon chairs as they readied their salon, Cin & Min Studios inside of Sola Salon Studio in the Heights, in Houston, Thursday, May 7, 2020. Salons are set to open across the state on Friday. Karen Warren/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

57 of 67 Art Car Museum preparator John Linden wears gloves to work on Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Houston at the museum now that it has been reopened to the public after many weeks closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Marie D. De Jesús/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

58 of 67 Laure Harrell worships during a National Day of Prayer, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Willis. Jason Fochtman/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

59 of 67 American Legion honor guard members Jack Clemons, left, and Ralph Massengill salute the American flag while wearing facemasks during a National Day of Prayer, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Willis. Jason Fochtman/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

60 of 67 "I'd rather people be safe. It's not about the money," said Joseph Hayes (left), manager of Phayes Two Barber Shop on W. Bellfort at S. Gessner, as he pulls everything out of the shop to continue a deep clean before their planned reopening Friday morning, while working on the shop on Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Houston. Hayes and manager Quincy Floyd (right) have been cleaning the shop for a week after learning that they would be able to reopen. Patrons will be expected to wear a mask, they will only take appointments, chairs will be at least six feet apart and no more than 10 people will be allowed inside at any time. Mark Mulligan/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

Quenby Mott helps her daughter, Sydney Mott, 9, sets up a 30-minute Zoom meeting with Kinkaid School 10th-grader Clayton Rice Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Houston.

Yi-Chin Lee, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer Show More Show Less

Medical workers wanted to send a message to the United States Navy's Blue Angels after they performed a flyover the Medical Center Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Houston. The Blue Angels flew over the area in tribute to frontline workers.

Steve Gonzales, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer Show More Show Less

63 of 67 Harris County Jail clinic medical staff Shannon Kloeber, Cathy Rossi, and Beverly Howard wave at the United States Navy's Blue Angels from the rooftop of the county jail as they fly by on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Houston. Marie D. De Jesús/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

64 of 67 The U.S. Navy Blue Angels fly past downtown as seen from over the Buffalo Bayou, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Houston. Mark Mulligan/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

65 of 67 Medical workers react as the United States Navy's Blue Angels performed a flyover on the old Memorial Hermann helipad Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Houston. The Blue Angels flew over the area in tribute to frontline workers. Steve Gonzales/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

66 of 67 Ashley Armendariz, left, Amanda Trimble, center, and Noelia Flores, right, along with other staff members of UT Physicians Clinics watch the United States Navy Blue Angels flyover from the parking garage roof during a tribute to healthcare workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Houston. Melissa Phillip/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

67 of 67 Medical school graduates Dr. Jayme Castillo, left, and Dr. Ashley Mack jump from the Alkek Fountain for a photo as they celebrate after picking up their graduation gowns outside Baylor College of Medicine on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 in Houston. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the medical school will holds a live virtual graduation on May 21, 2020. Brett Coomer/Staff photographer Show More Show Less

Since early March, the Chronicle has been checking in with disaster-recovery expert Angela Blanchard.

While head of the Houston nonprofit Baker Ripley, Blanchard was on speed-dial for the Houston and Harris County leaders who dealt with catastrophes such as hurricanes. After Katrina struck New Orleans, her nonprofit team helped more than 30,000 Louisiana families deal with the storm&rsquos aftermath here in Houston. And after Hurricane Harvey, in only a matter of hours, she oversaw the opening of a mass shelter at NRG Center.

Now, though still based in Houston, she teaches a Brown University public-policy graduate course in disaster response.

Wednesday night, on Medium, she posted a dramatic open letter to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo . She wrote that unless they begin bringing more of Houston&rsquos other leaders into a disaster-recovery council, they risk facing a rebellion by business people and others around the region.

&ldquoYou ordered us home to save lives,&rdquo Blanchard wrote. &ldquoNow it&rsquos time to bring us together to save livelihoods.&rdquo

On Thursday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that he and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo will each appoint coronavirus-recovery czars, who&rsquoll co-chair a recovery panel.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Would you describe what you wrote in that open letter?

I was advocating strongly for something that I've been asking for since early March . I don't want to portray myself as some lone voice. Many leaders in Houston or thinking as I am about the need to come together.

Why? Because from the multiple disasters that have befallen this region, we have experience with the power of collective action. We know the results that we can get when we bring in leaders from all three sectors: the public sector the private sector and the philanthropic and faith sector. When they're at the same table, comparing their dashboards, their views of the unfolding challenges, then we craft better responses.

How is that different from what you see now, from the people already advising the mayor and county judge?

I'm not privy to a list of everyone that our current elected officials are listening to. I'm certain many people are weighing in about how to handle this.

But here's what I'm seeing that is of great concern. What is damaging to individuals, to those of us merely trying to get on with our lives in some fashion, is tension and tug-of-wars between the people who are making decisions about our lives and our livelihoods.

MORE FROM LISA GRAY: At one Houston highrise, coronavirus has set off a court battle over lives vs. livelihoods

When those tensions instigate wars and create rifts, that then leaves us with a void of information, a void of clarity, about direction and duration.

It&rsquos past time to bring people together. There are many leaders from every sector that deeply care about the people of the region, our well-being, our economic success, and our triumphing over this virus. If we convene people at the same table, with the same set of information, they can reach a consensus about how to do things.

What we don't want is a battle at every milestone as we work our way out of this.

It was fair for us to struggle going in. It was certainly fair for there to be conflict and confusion about who was in charge, who went first, what restrictions were necessary when. Everyone was in a heavy learning mode.

But we have a chance now be unified as we work our way out of this. It's time to pull leaders together.

You wrote to the judge and the mayor, &ldquoIf you don't do this, you will find yourself managing a rebellion.&rdquo What sort of rebellion? What signs of rebellion do you see?

Well, I was deeply disturbed by an email that was circulated. It was an appeal to sign a petition to demand reopening of businesses on May 1.

I believe, as Dr. Fauci says, the virus dictates. When will we be past the surge? The virus dictates. Do we have community spread? Are we at the peak? The virus dictates.

I understand the motivation to pick a date for reopening. I understood the urgency and the feeling of desperation. But we don't know that May 1 is a good day for reopening in fact, in all likelihood, it's not.

I saw that email, circulated amongst business leaders, and I saw the support it had received. I also saw another email, essentially saying that the Houston area&rsquos leaders don't know what they're doing.

First, that's not fair. Second, there's a chance here right now to put the same set of facts in front of all of the well-meaning people in this region so that we have a collective view.

We also will ask any members of this council that they not only represent the sectors from which they come, but that they also be ambassadors back to those sectors, to their constituencies and to their colleagues about why any particular agreed-upon action is necessary.

We have had to all become educated very quickly about a whole set of things that we haven't lived before. Two elected officials alone cannot possibly reach all the people who need to understand the intricacies and the nuances and the details that we&rsquoll need to grasp as we work our way out.

Could you give examples of the sorts of actions or questions that this group might handle?

Let me start first with the most prevalent and pressing question: How long? How long does this go on? Where are we headed?

I don't think there's anyone with a crystal ball so perfect that they can say, &ldquoAt this date, we will be at the point where we're not identifying new cases, and at this date, we will have all the testing done that will be necessary to anticipate hotspots. And then at this date, we'll have a vaccine.&rdquo

These are the actual parameters of disease control. We don't have those dates.

But what we can communicate is a common understanding of what those parameters are, who's tracking them, who will have that information, how we&rsquoll know when we've reached those milestones.

In this vast region, where over 6 million people go about their daily lives &mdash working, getting educated, celebrating &mdash and we're going to have to imagine how we reopen in a way that is clear enough, day by day, so that people know what they can and cannot do .

This is not a time when we have a nickel to waste &mdash not a minute, and not a nickel.

If you're running a foundation, you've seen your portfolio severely dented by what's happened in the marketplace your grant-making powers have been impacted.

If you're in the medical center, you switched from your customary operations as a hospital now to virus COVID-19 treatment, you're not doing surgeries . Your budget is impacted by not doing surgeries. We're going to have a significant amount of uncompensated medical care because Texas, unfortunately, has a very high rate of uninsured people because of decisions made at the state level.

We are seeing a time when the very people who often give generously when we face down a flood or hurricane are also losing their jobs .

MORE FROM LISA GRAY: 'So fire me.' Houston's age of coronavirus has its own Robin Hood for surgical masks.

So we can't afford to be inefficient &mdash not with public sector resources, not with private sector resources, not with philanthropic and faith resources.


Not your average mini-bar at the James Hotel


In-room mixology at The James Hotels (Leigh Loftus/ThinkLeigh Photography)

Without a doubt, the most depressing of spirits “occasions” has to be when you open the average hotel mini-bar. Whenever I’m in a hotel room (which is too often), I always peek into the little fridge — above the Heineken and bad chardonnay — to confirm the lackluster selection of miniature booze on offer.

There’s almost always an Absolut vodka, a Crown Royal, Johnny Walker Red or Jack Daniel’s, a Gordon’s gin or Bacardi rum. The usual. Though sometimes you’ll encounter an absurdist mini-bar and find, say, a Malibu coconut rum or a tiny bottle of Grand Marnier (to mix with what, exactly?).

I never open one of these tiny bottles, but I often wonder who does. And to what purpose. For instance, if you open a mini-bottle of gin or rum, what do you mix it with? The accompanying can of Coke or Schweppes tonic is usually of regular size. Is it part of a scheme to get you to open two miniatures of gin?

On desperate occasions, I might break down and open a $9 bottle of Perrier, a $7 bag of M&M’s or a $6 can of Pringles. But there’s something about popping the top off a little white bottle of Malibu that feels like a step in the wrong direction along life’s journey. Alone in my hotel room, sipping my Malibu, I feel certain I will begin to ponder ideas best left unpondered.

I was talking about all that recently with several bartenders, all of whom scoffed at the average mini-bar. Adam Bernbach, of Estadio and Proof, said the only time he had ever partaken of a mini-bar was when he received a $15 credit with the room. “I opened a beer,” he said.

Mini-bars usually have crummy liquors, said Derek Brown, owner of the Passenger and Columbia Room. “When’s the last time you saw a good rye whiskey or artisanal spirit in a mini-bar? I wouldn’t expect a chef to make a dish of the Pringles and M&M’s. So how can you expect to make a drink with Malibu, Grey Goose and maybe, if you’re lucky, Dewar’s?

“I’d prefer to go out to a bar and have an experience,” Brown explained. “Drinking is, to me, more than a few bottles mixed together. It’s about being with people, enjoying the skillful production of a beverage.”

So you can imagine how surprised I was, when I checked into the super-fancy James Hotel in New York’s SoHo a few weeks ago, to find almost everything that Brown says is missing from the mini-bar drinking experience.

Instead of a mini-bar, the James offers something called an “in-room mixology experience.” The rooms are stocked with pretty decent 375-milliliter bottles such as Gosling’s Dark Rum ($35), Macallan 12-year-old ($65) and Patron Silver ($45), and even some good artisanal spirits such as Tuthilltown’s Hudson Baby Bourbon ($50) and Corn Whiskey ($45).

But the twist is that, for $28, guests can call down and have a full array of mixers brought to the room: bitters dry and sweet vermouth fresh lime lemon and orange juices ginger beer Cointreau Lillet Blanc simple syrup cherries and fresh mint along with a shaker and other bar tools.

Julio Quijada, the James’s amiable in-room dining manager who has taken an in-house crash course in bartending, came with the set. He demonstrated a few cocktails such as a Corpse Reviver, a daiquiri and a margarita. Then, as we talked, Quijada watched me mix a few drinks of my own, such as a rum Manhattan and a mint julep. (You pay per-bottle fees for the spirits you open.)

The experience, which also is offered at the James Hotel in Chicago, was so much better than the typical mini-bar that I wondered why more hotels don’t do this.

When I told Brown about the James’s in-room mixology program, we agreed that it seemed like a step forward, an improvement whose time had come.

At the very least, Brown noted, it would be helpful for the traveling bartender, amateur or professional. Brown generally brings his own bartending kit, “but it’s like forgetting your toothbrush,” he said. “ ‘Hey can you send up a Boston shaker? I left mine at home.’ ”


Brand New digital album Releases!

Digital Download: AAC 320 kbps high quality: This is a Special EXPANDED edition, exclusively available at Platetectonic Music. A Sprawling 27 songs! This expanded version will not be available on iTunes, Amazon, Google or Spotify etc. only here. (DOWNLOAD TIP: when you get your email with the download link, click on it to download, but, Wait For It To Download Fully, before trying to open it - that will assure a smooth download).

Digital Download: AAC 320 kbps quality.

Due to it's close to 2 hour length, this will most likely remain a Digital download only release.

Dance floor Rarities & Remixes pour la discothèque : 1994 - 2018

Remixes by:
Gavin Hardkiss, Mike Dunn, Maurice Joshua, LEGO, Matt Warren, Frique, Jevon Jackson, Martin Stebbing, 8fatfat8
Scott Ramsayer, Mel Hammond, Poi Energy Inc.,
& Soul Cosmonaut

Demos and Out Takes from the Poi Dog Pondering Album "7" (available as a digital download only - Digital Download: AAC 320 kbps high quality.)

On the eve of the 10th year anniversary of the release of “7”, we are releasing the Original Demos that were the ‘song seeds’ for the album versions (as well as a couple outtakes that didn’t make it on the album,

Poi Dog Pondering Historical Timeline

:
1984-86: Frank Orrall records a series of 3 full length cassette albums on home 4track under the moniker "Poi Dog Pondering".
1987: The original Hawai'i line up of PDP (including Abra Moore, Ted Cho and John Nelson) Travels across north America for a year playing on street corners for gas and food money, and camp out all along the way.
1988 - 1991: PDP re-locate to Austin and release 3 records: "Poi dog pondering", "Wishing like a mountain. " & "Volo Volo". Tour heavily in the States, Canada, Europe and Japan.
1992: PDP relocate to Chicago and develope it's big band Rock and Soul sound.
1995/1996: PDP Start their own Record Label (Platetectonic Music) and release "Pomegranate" & perform the album from start to finish with the Grant Park Symphony in Chicago's Grant Park. (Susan Voelz, Paul Mertens and Max Crawford score and arrange for the first time on this large scale).
1997: PDP draw over 20,000 people and sell out Ravinia Festival, an attendance record that holds to this day, 2015.
1999: PDP release "Natural thing"
2000: PDP release the live album " Soul Sonic Orchestra" which captures the band re-inventing itself once again as a live disco orchestra.
2001: Band Front-man, Frank Orrall's interest in electronic music leads him to become a member of Thievery Corporation's live band as a percussion player and singer, which he continues to this day, when not playing with PDP).
2003: PDP release their 6th record "In Seed Comes Fruit".
2005: PDP Collaborate with the Chicago Sinfonietta and compose and performe a "remix" version of Dvorak's "New World Symphony" at the Chicago Symphony Center and use "projected-still and moving imagery with the intent to form a subconscious relationship between the notion of the hopes of what people associated with starting a new life in the new world and life's passage from birth to death".
Spring 2007: PDP compose and arrange a re-invention of the music and themes from the opera "Carmen" and performed it live with the Chicago Sinfonietta. PDP founder Frank Orrall & film maker Marco Ferrari collaborate to make a stream of consciousness silent film to accompany the performance. The result was a sort impressionistic mini opera.
Winter 2007: PDP compose and performe an original score for the film "Limite" (1930), the preeminent work of the Brazilian silent era, Directed by Mario Peixoto. This was in conjunction with the Chicago Cinema Forum & Sonotheque.
2008: PDP finish and release the album "7" & tour North America.

2009: PDP voted "Best Rock / Pop Act" in the Chicago Reader's 2009 reader's poll.
2010 PDP record and release "Audio Love Letter", a 7 song love letter to Steve Marriott, Jeremy Brett, Van Morrison, Matt Johnson & David Bowie. a mini album for the pure fun of it.
2012: Brian Liu & Poi Dog Pondering film and record a sweeping 51 song quadruple c.d. box set & 4 hour DVD movie: "Live at Metro Chicago". The film encapsulates the band's early history as Bohemian Street Musicians all the way to present day Chicago Orchestral Rock and Soul stalwarts.
2013/2014: Frank Orrall released 3 solo Solo albums: "Never Trade These Days" , "AMA" & "8fatfat8: Music from the Gaijin Hotel":.
2015: Frank Orrall and Poi Dog Pondering record the new Album "Everybody's Got A Star"

2018: PDP Release thier 9th studio recording: “Remnants of Spring”

ABOUT THE BAND MEMBERS of Poi Dog Pondering

________ FRANK ORRALL: (Various Instruments & Vocals) Son of a Solar Physicist Father and a Carter Family song singing Mother. Raised in the Hawaiian Ocean. As a young musician, I cut my Teeth on Disco, Punk Rock & Brit Pop. Founded PDP originally as a Solo effort in 1984 releasing Cassette Albums recorded out of my bedroom, on consignment in local record shops. Met a lot of truly Marvelous musicians, bandmates and Comrades along the way. I'm a Street Musician. Drummer. Guitar Player. Writer of Prose. Body Surfer. Collector of instruments, Record albums and Swim Fins. Touring Musician: Poi Dog Pondering, Thievery Corporation & Federico Aubele. I Love to Cook, Drink Wine & Play Records. Biggest Dream: To voyage the Pacific on a sailboat.

________ SUSAN VOELZ: (Violin and Vocals) A Chicago radio host called the sound of my violin: “A bat with butterfly wings.” I am from Wauwatosa, (Wisconsin) - Wauwatosa means ‘little firefly’ in Menomonee Indian.
Using my grandfather’s violin that I converted to a 5 string violin, recorded on the very first Poi record.
Solo artist: Released two solo records (13 ribs and summer crashing). Soon to release a Prince cover record The Monarchy Treasure and a 40 minute Symphonic Octet The Pali Chant Suite - setting a series of Thai stretches to music.
Composing and String Arranging: Peabody Award winning Frontline “Children of Conyers County” and its follow up “Merchants of Cool.” 2006 Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject, “A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin” Jonathan Demme movie “Jimmy Carter: A Man from the Plains.” James McCartney (that McCartney) in Steve Albini’s studio.
Published Author: Musicians Guide to the Road - Billboard Books/Random House - 2007. I just went through my touring journals and wrote a remedy for the road the best I could.
Performing with other artists: Alejandro Escovedo, (recently with Peter Buck of REM as the backing band), John Mellencamp, giant sand, British rock legend Ronnie Lane, Charlie Sexton.
Rock Violin Teacher: Created a Rock Violin Studio on the north side of Chicago.
Original Austin Poi Dog Pondering Member since 1988

________ DAVE MAX CRAWFORD: (Various Instruments)
• Recordings with Stereolab, Wilco, Archer Prewitt, Scott Lucas & the Married Men, Mono, and countless others. • Founder of The Total Pro Horns: live shows with Wilco (including SNL), Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Walkmen, Broken Social Scene, Afghan Whigs, Expo 76, and many more.
• Conducted a 30-piece orchestra for Japanese band Mono at their 10th- anniversary concert in Tokyo (December 2009) • Bartender at the rock club Metro for the past 23 years, Lincoln Hall for 6 years. • LED/Video board operator at Wrigley Field for the past12 seasons • Appeared in the film “Dazed and Confused” as an extra. I had scenes with both Ben Affleck & Matthew McConaughey. • In high school, I sat next to Wynton Marsalis in the Louisiana All-State Orchestra of 1978. • This is a lot harder to do than I expected. I’m sure there’s more. I am super- interesting.
Original Austin Poi Dog Pondering Member since 1988

________ EL JOHN NELSON: (Drums & Percussion)
A self taught drummer, el john was raised in a musical family in the New York neighborhoods of Crown Heights and West Harlem. el john learned piano at home and sang in church choir at an early age. By age 12 el john was participating in West African drum and dance ensembles at Babatunde Olatunji's Center for African Culture in Harlem while also being invited to drum in street rhumbas with Cuban and Peurto Rican congueros in the neighborhoods of Harlem. Eventually developing a natural interest in the trap drum set, el john studied privately with master drummers Alan Nelson, Anthony Williams, and David Girabaldi. In 1982, el john joined the Pagan Babies as their percussionist, an experience that honed practical knowledge and skills of African and Carribean rythyms such as zouk, high-life, reggae, and Nyabinghi. It is during this period also that el john met Poi Dog Pondering founder, Frank Orrall which developed a lifetime friendship and musical partnership.
Among the artists el john has worked with: Thievery Corporation, Poi Dog Pondering, Victor Krummenacher, Charanga Cakewalk, Federico Aubele, Penelope Houston, and Benny Rietveld, Captain Bringdown, Candy Machine, and The Pagan Babies,.
Presently, el John resides and works in Austin, TX. When not touring providing services to artists /bands as a touring percussionist/ drummer, John teaches both drum set and hand drumming on private arrangement.
Original Hawai'i Poi Dog Pondering Member since 1986

________TED CHO: (Guitar & Mandolin) Born and raised in Hawai'i. Original Hawai'i Poi Dog Pondering Member since 1987. Also played Guitar and Recorded with Hollowbody (w/ former PDP guitarist, Adam sultan), Palaxy Tracks and The Going Along Feeling Just Fines. Mary Dee Reynolds, Sattelite 66 and Chiyoko Yoshida.

Recording Engineer & Production for PDP, Hollowbody and Palaxy Tracks along with other diverse artists like Nathan Hamilton, the Gold Stars, Canasta, the Peelers and Chris Larumbe.

________ PAUL MERTENS: (Saxophone , flute, clarinet) - Performer and arranger/orchestrator. - Poi Dog Pondering Since '94 - Brian Wilson since '99, music director touring and recording including Smile and Pet Sounds - Wilco, Ashes of American Flags, tour and documentary. - recordings with:Mavis Staples, Stereolab, The Sea and Cake, Jarvis Cocker, Mono, Burt Bacharach, The Beach Boys.

________ DAG JUHLIN: (Guitar)
Guitarist for Poi Dog Pondering since 1992 Formed popular cover band Expo'76 in 2009 Has written music for plays, indie films, TV Day job is on WLS AM 890 Chicago, alongside radio legend Steve Dahl Formed Chicago band The Slugs in 1983
Lives in Woodstock, IL, Father of two Six foot three, 170 lbs, Bald "I'll have the chorizo taco dinner and a margarita, please"

________ ROBERT CORNELIUS: (Vocals) Nephew of the late great Don Cornelius Front Man for The RC7 Band Performed w/ with Mavis Staples, Dave Matthews, Aretha Franklin, Buddy Guy, Syd Straw, and Otis Clay. Robert is the Arts Education Director for Tony Award recipient Victory Gardens Theater, providing arts programs and tickets to see plays at the theater free of charge to Chicago Public School students. Band Mate with Poi Dog Pondering since '94

________ KORNELL HARGROVE: (Vocals) Fireman w/ the Racine Wisconsin Fire Dept., Singer / Band Mate with Poi Dog Pondering since '94

________ CHARLETTE WORTHAM: (Vocals) Church Choir singer in Chicago, Lover of Dogs, Delightful Rascal, Fabulous Pedicurist. Singer / Band Mate with Poi Dog Pondering since '99

________ CARLA PRATHER: (Vocals) Carla is a solo Artist in House Music and R&B and, has worked with: Jellybean
Benitez, Terry Hunter, Vic Lavender, The Funklovers, Quentin Harris, Josh Milan, Lilac Jeans, Dolls Combers & Maurice Joshua
"My biggest moments in music have occurred in my General Music classes with my students as a Music teacher in Chicago, they sheepishly "google" and find out that I'm a real recording artist. they usually call me old school :) ! " Band Mate with Poi Dog Pondering since '99

________ RON HALL: (BASS) From Jazz to R&B to House Music, Ron is top call bassist in Chicago. Band Mate with Poi Dog Pondering since '99

________ RICK GEHERENBECK: (Keyboards) Artists i've performed Keyboards with: Bootsy Collins, Gladys Knight, Charlie Wilson, Talib Kweli, Pharaoh Monch, Sugar Blue, J Davis Trio
Bands i've played in: Poi Dog Pondering, Swimmer, Peven Everett's Seance Divine, Mr ALI, RC7, Booty Movement Coalition, Q Brothers,Will from Brazil
Solo: Mr Egg Germ releases: Loveslap, ILI, D'lectable, Bass X, Esntion, Fourplay, and LAY Records.
As a remixer: Patricia Barber, Jesse De La Pena, Uncle Milty, DJ Dealer, Gene Farris, Anthony Nicholson
other work: Chief Web Architect at HealthString
Palindromes I've written: Mr Egg Germ Party Rat in a Sanitary Trap Hell is not a tonsil, leh
Band Mate with Poi Dog Pondering since '99

________ JULIO DAVIS: (Vibraphone) - Son of Chicago soul music producer Carl Davis - member of hip-hop jazz band, The J.Davis Trio - member of South American/Bossa Nova band, The Mourning Doves - martial arts and comic book aficionado - avid baseball and tennis player - sexy. Band Mate with Poi Dog Pondering since '99

________ RYAN MURPHY: (Drums & Percussion)
As my job as a lighting designer/director I've been able to work with diverse and great artists ranging from Leonard Cohen to Wilco. Andrew Bird to Morrissey. It was my good fortune to be Cohen's Lighting Director for his entire comeback run from 2008 to 2013. Strange as it may seem I got my start as a designer for bands as the LD for none other than. Poi Dog Pondering! Thus began a long friendship with the family. All whilst lighting the lights I was playing in many different bands, playing on commercial spots and with various Poi members in either their solo or side projects. I've played Drums and/or Percussion with Julio, Dave Smith and Rick G (J Davis Trio) off and on for many years. I've played for Susan Voelz with her solo work as well as a few side projects. I also play with Robert Cornelius in his band, the RC7. I guess it was inevitable, at some point I'd play with them all together in Poi.
In the PDP Family and crew since the late '90s, Co-Drummer since 2014.

Press Quotes:

"Poi is becoming one of the longest running and most spirited do-it-yourself musical institutions in the country, defying the odds of commerce and interpersonal relationships by keeping a 12 piece band viable. "
- GREG KOT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

"For all the changes of two decades, Poi Dog Pondering holds onto a constant, wide-eyed sense of artistic curiosity and discovery. On 7, looking back and moving forward, the band remains open-hearted and open-minded."
"The Poi Dog sound happens because of the real and deep connection between the players, which shows in how they listen to one another in performance. The fact that most of them have been doing just that for two decades only increases the power of community they bring to the stage."
- NO DEPRESSION

"It's a muscular soul revue, a transcendental dance band. Poi Dog Pondering rose like an even brighter phoenix from the ashes, spreading it's wings confidently and soaring into realms few stage bands today can reach."
-AUSTIN CHRONICLE

"Often knocked for cheerfulness bordering on naivete, Poi Dog has sometimes gotten a bad rap from critics looking to have their hip card punched."
"The musical communication between these players and the newer members springs from the pure joy of playing together".
- MICHAEL CORCORAN

"Impossible to categorize, the joyful music of Poi Dog Pondering is truly transcendent."
-CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Poi Dog Pondering & House-O-Matics Dance Team

Photos by: Alex Cohen / Poi Dog Pondering at the Paramount Theater 2014


Tony Bourdain Would Pimp for Prada

Anthony Bourdain was in Chicago late last month on a book tour for No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach, the behind-the-scenes journal of his hot series on the Travel Channel. Over a few beers at his hotel bar, Bourdain proudly flashed a photo of his then-seven-month-old daughter, Ariane, for whom he made the ultimate sacrifice: quitting smoking. But even without nicotine, Bourdain is still Bourdain: He relived the horrors of a recent shoot in a Jamaican cave, spoke of his hopes to produce yet another epic travel series with a certain Crocs-clogged chef, and revealed that he’s going back to cooking.

Why did you quit smoking completely—rather than just not smoke around the baby?

It just became so hard. I mean, where am I going to smoke? I can’t smoke in my own apartment—the last refuge. … [A]ll that would be left would be the short distance between the hotel and the media escort’s car, and during shows, in which case I’d kind of only be smoking for television, and that seems fundamentally wrong. I’m going to end up like Hunter Thompson—tragic. And I’m not wearing the leather jacket anymore either. I mean, occasionally I’ll bring my old friend down. I joke about bobbleheads: I’m not going to become an action figure.

What’s with the book?

You were there! It’s our never-ending summer vacation isn’t it? Who gets to do what we do? It’s fun going where we go. Being able to go to cool places and be treated well and have lusty adventures in faraway places that you’ve only seen in movies. It doesn’t suck. It just absolutely is great.

What’s been the best show for you?

Tuscany was the most fun show to do ever. We were staying in this incredible villa. Right in the same town as Dario [Cecchini]—and Dario drops by. Faith Willinger was in town. Cesare [Casella] comes up to cook, hang out, and bring us gigantic truffles. People are giving us cheese that’s so good you want to black out. It was ludicrously good.

How was Jamaica? I heard you had a tough scene.

The single hardest scene [we] ever shot. Ever. Ever. Insane. We went caving. In the middle of the jungle. Down a shit-filled, guano-slicked tube. [Cameramen] Todd [Liebler] and Zach [Zamboni] are going, “This is fucked up. This is insanely reckless behavior.” [Segment producer] Diane [Schutz] said, “I thought there were going to be guardrails. And a gift shop.” You had to lower yourself down through moss-covered tree roots. It was horrifying. And covered with cockroaches.

But it’s going to make great television.

I heard you were going to be producing another show?

I hope this Mario [Batali] thing really goes through [for Travel Channel]. It looks like it’s going to happen. I think it’s going to be the greatest thing on television ever.

It will be an exhaustive, definitive Italy series with the kind of production values that Planet Earth had. It will let Mario be the fucking genius that we know he is: able to talk about everything from Renaissance architecture to rock-and-roll b-sides to food, geography, everything. It will just unleash him.

It is my expectation that it will be a series. Especially given his shoddy treatment at Food Network. Who wouldn’t want to make TV with us?

Why don’t you do endorsements?

I’ve done no endorsements ever. Amstel had some deal with MSN—they were paying for the page or something like that. I got no money. I got paid to write prose for MSN, which I did. Amstel? I don’t drink it. I’ll tell you right up front.

I think it’s vanity. I was having a very thoughtful conversation about this with Rocco DiSpirito—whom I make a lot of fun of, but who’s not a stupid guy—and another chef, whom I won’t mention, whom I really respect. I felt foolish at the end of the conversation. I mean, what is my problem? I think I’m behind the curve on this. Maybe it’s cynical, but I think to be honest with myself it is sheer vanity that prevents me from doing it. At this point it’s almost a fault. I’m looking to lose my cherry to the right guy, I guess. I’m thinking Aston Martin—my ankles will be behind my ears in a hot second! Aston Martin, and Prada, I’m there!

What about offers to be a partner in a restaurant?

It’s happened recently. “Here are monstrous sums of money to just show up with your friends once a month.” And it’s in a city I really like. And it’s not even once a month: “When you can, bring some friends. Spend as much money as you like. Stay in the presidential suite.” But you know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking, “I’ve been in the restaurant business long enough to know that you want to put your name anywhere near the door, you better know everything—everything.” The bartender serves some 17-year-old girl, and she goes out and gets into a car wreck, and it’s “Girl Dies at Bourdain Restaurant.” No way. I’d be freaked out if I saw online that somebody found a fly in their soup or their plate was crusty. I’d take that personally. With the restaurant business, you’re either crazy enough to go all the way or you don’t bother.

What about a place like Mario’s with the Spotted Pig? Let’s say Fergus [Henderson] wanted to open a place?

Fergus? I’d do anything with Fergus. Anytime. Blind. I don’t care. We could kill 17-year-olds with regularity! I will personally serve 17-year-olds if I’m in business with Fergus!

How’s your cooking these days?

Well we’ll find out for sure on the “Into the Fire” special we’re doing Christmas week. We’re shooting it. We’re going back to Les Halles. I’m doing a double shift on sauté station. There are twice as many seats as there used to be. I will work sauté station for lunch and dinner.

And my grill bitch will be Eric [Ripert]! Can you imagine? Customers are going to shit themselves when they see us there! You know, “[It’s the] fish dude!” Most I ever did at Les Halles was 365 [plates]—that was when the dining room was half as big as it is now. Lunch was about 120, 140—it’s turn and burn.

Photograph courtesy of Diane Schutz and the Travel Channel photo-illustration by Sean McCabe

Louisa Chu is a chef and food writer who’s cooked her way through the world’s hottest kitchens, from El Bulli to Alinea. And yeah, that’s her taking Anthony Bourdain on the Paris meat market tour in No Reservations on the Travel Channel. Louisa can currently be found in Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie on PBS, Gourmet’s Choptalk, and her own food blog, Movable Feast.


Watch the video: Jasons ACAAN Story (June 2022).