Tag Archives: food

Barista, lei è proprio un cafone!

Il 29 agosto scorso mi sono recato all’aeroporto di Bologna, per partire alla volta di Catania e quindi raggiungere Messina. Un importante incontro di lavoro mi stava aspettando.

Visto che il mio volo era previsto subito dopo l’ora di pranzo, mi sono avvicinato al bar Bollicine, quello situato proprio frontalmente alla salita delle scale mobili, zona partenze ovviamente. Dopo aver aspettato il barista che doveva monitorare il passaggio delle turiste e dopo essere riuscito a fare lo scontrino per: panino, bibita e caffè, mi sono spostato al lato della cassa per poter consumare il mio “pasto” in tranquillità.

Ecco l’assurdo manifestarsi improvvisamente: dopo aver provato a masticare il panino, impresa ardua dato la sua consistenza – avete presente il pane scongelato e riproposto probabilmente dopo alcuni giorni? – mi sono rivolto al barista dicendo educatamente: “mi scusi, ma questo pane è immangiabile”. Di tutta risposta il barista mi ha lanciato un sguardo di insufficenza, come se il pane fosse cattivo per colpa mia, e dopo aver allargato le braccia come se fosse passato li per caso, se ne è andato dall’altra parte.

Per il nervoso, pur di non aver a che fare con quel cafone, non ho neanche chiesto il caffè. Naturalmente il panino è finito nel bidone.

Andando verso l’imbarco, mi sono detto: quest’episodio è da condividere ed ho incominciato a scrivere col cellulare su Twitter: “Il barista del Bollicine e’ veramente un cafone!!!” Stavo per inviare, quando la provvidenza mi ha portato davanti un cartello dell’aeroporto che invitava i passeggeri a comunicare attraverso Twitter, questo l’indirizzo: @BLQairport

Letto, aggiunto, fatto!

Al mio arrivo a Catania, mi sono piacevolmente trovato la risposta: “@norman_cescut Ci dispiace per l’accaduto, lo segnaliamo subito affinchè non si ripeta più”. Il tutto visibile nella mia Timeline di Twitter.

I famosi “complain form” presenti all’estero, non hanno mai funzionato in Italia, ma finalmente adesso c’è la possibilità di comunicare in diretta con chi d’interesse.

Ora, non ho la certezza che abbiano preso veri provvedimenti, anzi invito l’aeroporto di Bologna a comunicarmelo, ma certo è che comportamenti del genere non possono e non devono passare inosservati.

Aggiungo solo una cosa: saper fare un caffè o allungare un panino al di là del bancone, non significa essere baristi, professione nobile e altamente qualificata ma non è solo colpa del barista ma anche del gestore che non fornisce la formazione adatta o se lo fa, non monitora l’operato.

Fino a prova contraria, mai più al bar Bollicine!

Do you Eataly?

Many people have called me to ask me a review about Eataly. Many times I said that I would rather not comment, because I have the utmost respect for Farinetti’s vision and his hard work.

However, if I met him personally, a couple of things I would argue willingly.

Eataly is to visit, to live and to understand. For you some pictures of my visit to Rome site. Enjoy.

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Kitchen nano garden

I never thought of buying a Hyundai!

Trust me, if this beautiful concept will be soon available, I will be the first out of the store and I guess, the first of a long queue. 

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I can already think about the same concept applied also to our business. Whatever will be an hotel, a restaurant or just a coffee shop, this could be a very revolutionary equipment that could solve lots of environmental and economic problems.

That’s for sure: I will surely add it to the ECOFFEE equipment list.

This cool concept could be the best way to sensibilities the people about sustainability and responsibility, especially young generation, enabling you to add a real vegetable garden to your apartment kitchen or coffee shop, without too much of trouble!

There’s anybody of Hyundai management reading this post? Please contact me, thanks!

FOOD is all around – three days in London with Jonathan Doughty, Managing Director of Coverpoint Foodservice Consultants – (part 1 of 3)

Food and foodservice? A perfect relationship – a foodservice consultant must take into account many things. What customers eat, the correct support provided by the right chair, the colour and presentation of the food, how to be enhance and not alter the ambience and lighting and how to provide a pleasant and empathetic welcome from the staff. We also have to carefully design balanced spaces, use appropriate furnishing to create the perfect atmosphere, giving substance to the initial idea, or better, to the finished concept.
I have always wondered whether it is really possible to split the relationship between food and the tools used in its processing, its creation, its packaging, its availability and what gives it a meaning and a key to its interpretation.

I have been working in the design concept field since 1997, and to me the word “food” has a very extensive and multi-faceted meaning, touching the highest peaks of the “philosophy of life” and the “pleasure of taste and sharing” to be transferred in design and in projects and finally, in emotions. The challenge is to be able to mix the tools and know- how to improve the work of what I call the “food master” (bartender, chef, sommelier, consultant, etc.) thus amplifying the pleasure of the guest, the foodies.

This must be why I loved the three days I was invited to spend in London together with Jonathan Doughty, Coverpoint Managing Director and FCSI EAME President.
Coverpoint offers highly professional advice in the foodservice sector, supporting its customers with a wide range of services, from consumer behavior trend analysis to location services. Coverpoint services are complementary to what I am actually offering with my company DESITA.

But how I ended up in London? At the end of March 2012 I was visiting Hostech 2102 in Istanbul, representing Italy at the FCSI EAME booth. During that event, I had the chance to meet Jonathan Doughty again, and it reminded me of the idea I had during our previous meeting at the Gulfood Dubai expo, I asked him whether it was possible to organize a visit to his company’s headquarter to watch him and his team at work. To me it was like going back to school and act as an “intern”, but to Jonathan my request had an all together different meaning: “You’ll come to work”.
JD agreed and this made me wonder a lot about the differences between the Italian entrepreneurial approach, sometimes so self-flattering, and the one of other countries, very often less formal and more professional.

On Monday, May 21st I was at Heathrow, where James, one of JD’s consultants, was waiting for me to drive me to Coverpoint’s headquarter. I did not know what to expect, but I was sure I was going to spend three days at their office. (Office? Coverpoint’s heart beats in a charming renovated 200 years old barn in the middle of the country!

Once I arrived at the headquarters, I was warmly welcomed by the Coverpoint team. I immediately felt at home, settling into such a professional “vision” and environment. It was there that my learning process began: I was invited to study some of their more interesting projects. Data is of primary importance to Coverpoint’s work: data collection, analysis, interviews with customers, best practices implementation. I could not believe I was allowed to see all that information, and time passed very quickly.

Between a chat and a coffee, I was handed a four-page detailed visit schedule. I was speechless: I was invited to follow Jonathan during his meetings. I became very excited by reading the name of the clients I was suppose to meet: The British Library, Cabot Circus, Harrods to name a few.
At the end of that exciting day, I had a delicious dinner together with Adam and Ian, JDs Senior Consutlants at The Royal Oak, where I had the chance to enjoy the atmosphere of the traditional British pub, which has a Michelin star!

When is a restaurant’s atmosphere good? It is when you do not feel out of place, when the environment seems familiar, but at the same time you are getting curious to discover each and every single location detail. You never get bored in a great restaurant.

At The Royal Oak we were immediately greeted by a beautiful girl in traditional uniform. We settled in the lounge for a cocktail – a beer of course, then went to have dinner in the main hall. The food was very good; Diver Caught Scottish Scallops with celeriac puree and Hazelnut Vinaigrette – 8oz Black Angus Sirloin Steak, “on the bone” Chips, Bone Marrow and Madeira Sauce and as a dessert Chocolate Fondant, Toffee Sauce, Almond Biscuit, Coffee Ice Cream. All beautifully prepared but in a relaxed and informal environment.

There was only one negative point for me. That was the cheese trolley behind us. Quite often, the air became unbreathable with the smell of cheese! I would highly recommend that the restaurant owners never leave cheese on a trolley for too long without some form of cover. It is not that beautiful to see and even less to feel and smell, but most of all it is not particularly hygienic. What would the HACCP manager say?

It was a very cheerful evening. And that was only my first day and the fun was yet to come … (to be continued)

How to achieve Sustainability in the Restaurant Industry

The notion of sustainability will remain for countless years to come. No matter if you’re talking about the product design, agriculture, construction, food or restaurant industries, sustainability is at the forefront.

While most industries are developing more sustainable approaches to products and services, the food and restaurant industries are making tremendous headway, in alliance with health and environmentally-conscious consumers.

Nowadays, consumers are taking note of how they eat and are taking strides to make changes. Not only do they want healthier foods on their tables, they want a cleaner, healthier planet. In fact, an increased portion of food dollars are being spent at local farmers markets, as well as an overwhelming number of consumers taking part in Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.

Furthermore, the One Green Score for One Earth sustainability research study revealed some 63% of those surveyed said they were extremely committed to buying sustainable goods. It doesn’t stop there. More and more, consumers are taking on the task of self-farming. In fact, Forbes predicts that by the year 2018, 20% of all food consumed in U.S. cities will come from rooftop and parking lot farms.

The restaurant industry, one of the most wasteful industries in the world, as a whole is seemingly tackling sustainability in its own way as well. By adopting certain practices such as utilizing solutions like Foodem to purchase sustainable, organic food products, putting food education at the heart of their businesses, realizing industry partnerships are mandatory, creating ways to reduce and reuse food waste and being environmentally-conscious when designing and building dining locations, the restaurant industry has finally wrapped its head around what needs to be done, even though there remains tons to accomplish.

To put the vision of sustainability and the restaurant industry into perspective, check out Chef Arthur Potts-Dawson’s enlightening Ted Talk.

via Sustainability and the Restaurant Industry: It Can Be Achieved | Foodem.com.

NEW: Objects without barcodes scanned at supermarkets

Toshiba Tec has recently created the Object Recognition Scanner, which reads items without the use of barcodes.

According to the Japanese company, barcodes can sometimes fail to register with scanners in supermarkets, leading to longer waiting times for customers and requiring checkout assistants to enter the code by hand. DigInfo report that the Toshiba Tec scanner, which is still in development, uses alternative technology which scans items based on their appearance, doing away with the need for barcodes altogether.

This is particularly useful for fresh produce, where barcodes are often absent. The firm says the device processes items based on color and pattern and is nuanced enough to tell the difference between two types of apples. It can rapidly separate the object from its surroundings and can scan items when they are in motion.

The video below from DigInfo offers a demonstration of the device in action:

via Supermarket scanner recognizes objects without barcodes | Springwise.

Bringing nutritional advice directly to consumers’ table: Tanita Shokudo

In Tokyo, Tanita Shokudo offers a way to bring nutritional advice directly to consumers’ tables.

The brainchild of Japanese health device manufacturer Tanita Corp, Tanita Shokudo provides expert culinary information about all items on the menu, aiming to help those wanting to eat out without compromising their diet plans.

Each table is fitted with a weighing scale to ensure healthy portions can be measured out, while a timer tells the diner when the optimum duration of 20 minutes for completing their lunch is over. Professional dieticians are also on hand to provide free advice on eating regimes in a special counselling room.

Tanita Corp has tried and tested the concept in its office cafeteria and it has proven successful enough among its employees to roll out to the public. Lunch options come from the company’s successful cookbook, which first introduced Japanese food lovers to healthy set meals of 500 calories or less.

Consumers are becoming ever more health conscious and nutrition transparency in restaurants is a trend that has grown around the world, but the mix of a good-for-you lunch alongside professional dietary advice takes these services to another level. Could this be picked up in other countries?

via Japanese cafeteria offers diners in-depth advice on health and nutrition | Springwise.

SAPORE Trade Expo: a Tasting Experience

The next event in our hectic February agenda is SAPORE Tasting Experience (at Rimini Fiera from 25th to 28th February) is more than a trade expo. It is the event dedicated to all those wanting to know the future of foodservice for eating out.

At its disposal, there are eight halls of the west wing of the Rimini expo centre for updating on tastes, rites and trends in a world with a continuously changing demand. The inauguration ceremony is scheduled for 10.30 am on Saturday 25th in the south foyer. Maurizio Melucci, Emilia Romagna Regional Councillor for Tourism, will take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Two important events will follow: the assignment of the 2012 Innovation Awards for the most innovative products on the market and the appointment with the inauguration conference organized by Fipe Confcommercio. Business unit manager Patrizia Cecchi confirms, ´Rather than a showcase, SAPORE will be a real… tasting experience, thanks to the new products on show and the countless appointments to innovate the Horeca channel´s business (show cooking with award-winning chefs, Sapore University courses, guided tasting sessions of wine and Italian craft beers, fresh and dry pasta and brewery specialities from all over the world, as well as conferences to analyze the latest trends and the presentation of interesting successful cases in the foodservice world.´

The expo therefore features a complete showcase of products and technologies from the world of catering, pasta, beer, seafood, pizza, oil, wine, regional specialities and frozen produce. Each of these sectors will be represented by the excellence of the enterprises and their proposals, alongside events and opportunities for discovering first-hand new experiences of business formats. Approximately 400 foreign buyers are awaited at the exhibition, where they will meet exhibitors according to an agenda scheduled online during the days before the expo.

This is a very effective innovative system for increasing opportunities for business between companies and foreign markets, as well as optimizing buyers´ visits to the expo. Among the key events, the Large-scale Distribution Buyers´ Day scheduled for Monday 27th and dedicated to the new trend ´AYCE´ All You Can Eat – the format with which restaurants charge a fixed price for access to food, then allow customers to consume as much as they want at no additional charge) and the debut of the Sapore Chef Grand Prix Contest

SAPORE 2012 will be held with the patronage of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies, Emilia-Romagna Regional Government, Rimini Provincial Government and CNA Alimentare.

And if you had already planned to visit the SAPORE exhibition, please  know that we will be there the whole time meeting prospects and clients. It will be a great pleasure to meet you in person: just send us an email at norman|at|desita|dot|it to set up an appointment.

U.S.A Supermarket Food Trends for 2012

Americans love their foods – in supermarkets, on television, at restaurants and now even on their mobile phones.  But there is little doubt that in the coming years, we will continue to see food prices rise based on environmental conditions as well as higher production costs. 

Many of the savings tactics most shoppers deployed in 2007 as the recession began are still being used each time they shop for groceries – using coupons, frequent shopper cards, shopping lists, shopping at non-traditional foods stores and even trading down their choices to less expensive brands are part of the regular routine.  Following are the top ten food trends predicted for 2012, according to Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert.

TREND #1: FOOD PRICES

Look for consumers to shave costs by augmenting their recipes by decreasing the amount of the more expensive meats and seafood and adding more non-meat proteins that are filling and less expensive, including whole-wheat pasta, tofu, lentils, brown rice and vegetables to recipe.  Expect shoppers to use their mobile devices to calculate a price per portion cost rather than the unit price of individual products listed on the shelves. Just as the younger generation uses social networking as part of their everyday lives, expect this generation to be the “forever frugal consumer” using more coupons (higher than any other demographic) and searching for deals on line (63% spend 3 hours or more each week – double that of any other group).

TREND #2: SHARED FOOD EXPERIENCES

Apps like Foursquare, GoWalla, Living Social and Yelp have shown how “group” is better than “self.” Expect to see super food apps that bring previously unknown people together with common likes; to eat, prepare and shop together.

TREND #3: BOOMERS CONTINUE TO INFLUENCE

The generation of 76 million who started turning 65 years old last year will control 52% of the total $706 billion spend on groceries by 2015 – making them the largest food influencers and purchasers.  Expect supermarkets to cater to the Boomers, not only by offering the foods, beverages and services to satisfy their growing interest (and need) for health — but to take a good look at the physical shopping experience, to make sure that the aisles are wide, to lower the shelves and most importantly to make them feel welcome and respected.

TREND #4: INCREASED EMPHASIS ON ‘FARM-TO-FORK’

Shoppers have become increasingly interested in knowing where their food comes from and how it is produced, which is why 2012 will bring an added emphasis to a different kind of food celebrity — the farmer.   Expect to see more advertising and television programs starring these real food experts (vs. actors pretending to know their food).

TREND #5: THE END OF THE CHECKOUT LANE

Many shoppers are learning to appreciate the tech-savvy nature of self-checkout – the ability to compare prices at nearby retailers, cell phone scanners, in-store interactive media devices, QR codes, RFID and mobile coupons.  For many shoppers high-tech adds to personalization with suggested purchases and targeted offers based on their histories in the store, which is typically delivered in a functional way.

TREND #6: ETHNIC FOOD REVOLUTION

Food trucks are replacing gourmet and specialty stores as the channel to experiment and discover new food experiences — especially when it comes to ethnic foods.  More often than not, these ethnic food trucks are actually manned by descendants of the actual cuisines and cultures being offered; with the ability and knowledge to share the heritage and romance of the food — a benefit many shoppers have come to enjoy and expect from shopping at Farmers’ Markets for produce.

TREND #7: THE MALE SHOPPER

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 41% of men are now doing the food preparation as compared to just about half that amount in 2003.  Because of the economy, more men are at home, suggesting there is an opportunity for marketers to engage men who are taking on the role of family caregiver.

TREND #8: EATING AT HOME, WITH A TWIST

With continued pressure on the economy more men and women will be choosing to eat at home to save money, which has happened before – but this time around expect a twist. Think of it as Xtreme Home Cooking where, following the lead of Extreme Couponers, these everyday cooks pride themselves on making the most for the least.  Look for food groups to form that cook together, crowd sourcing in the kitchen if you will, with the same primary focus on cost – shopping, cooking, eating and storing leftovers in bulk.

TREND #9: REDUCED SUGAR INTAKE

Sugar has been an ingredient that has been the center of a lot of debates, especially as the latest update on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends reducing the amount of added sugars of all kinds (especially in soft drinks.)  Look for reduced-sugar products to be the biggest health claim in the coming year along with a revised Nutrition Facts Panel.

TREND #10: THE SOUND OF FOOD

Consumers judge the readiness of foods like microwave popcorn or burgers on the grill by the sounds that these foods make. They judge the freshness of carbonated beverages based on the sound of the gas escaping the container as it opens, and the duration of the sound of the bubbles as they pour. Multisensory perception will be one of the new “food sciences” in 2012 as psychologists and food scientists join forces to design, create and influence the sounds of our foods to convey freshness, taste and even health attributes.

via Supermarket Guru Predicts Top Ten Food Trends for 2012 | Marketing Forecast from Ad-ology.

Meet us at SIGEP!

The next days are going to be very busy ones for us at DESITA, ECOFFEE and showfood. SIGEP – the 33rd International Exhibition for the Artisan Production of Gelato, Pastry, Confectionery and Bakery – will take place in Rimini from Jan.21st to 25th and we will participate meeting our current customers and prospects.

Artisan confectionery is one of the sectors for which Italy is famous worldwide. According to Confartigianato, between January and August 2011, Italian companies in this sector exported products for a value of 224 million euros, with an increase of 8.6% compared to the first eight months of 2010. The country that is fondest of Italian delicacies is France, followed by Germany and Austria. Since the beginning of the year, Italy´s ´cousins´ from the other side of the Alps have bought 50.3 million euros of confectionery (equal to 22.4% Italian exports of this type of product). Italy exported 35.8 million euros of pastry produce t o Germany (15.9% of total exports), whereas exports of confectionery to Austria totalled 16.8 million euros (7.5% of the total).

These results were achieved also thanks to the contribution of SIGEP, the world´s most important artisan confectionery expo, with its 90,000 m2 of exhibition space 850 companies taking part and approximately 20,000 foreign trade visitors over the five days.

The international success is the result of a precise strategy in event organization, with participants from the five continents, in sales communication and advertising and in the widespread network of relations set up through the years. A precise project is dedicated to internationalization activity – Top Buyers from 5 continents – which focuses on the qualified attendance of trade members from nations selected along with the exhibitors. Plus, to schedule effective business meetings before SIGEP, by means of the online Marketplace platform, precise daily agendas of meetings are programmed between Italian and foreign trade members, bringing together supply and demand.

With a view to SIGEP 2012 and to favour the arrival of foreign buyers, Rimini Fiera foreign marketing office concentrated on the so-called BRICST countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Turkey), as well as on the neighbouring nations: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Egypt, Ecuador, Singapore, United States, Malaysia and Qatar.

Further promotional activity was carried out in Morocco, France, Arab Emirates and Canada

Also worth stressing are the numerous contacts made by the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Germany for the promotion of the SIGEP Neo program during SIGEP 2012. The major German Chambers of Commerce and Artisan Business were contacted and several of them expressed interest in divulging Rimini Fiera´s invitation among their ´young´ member companies. Also on behalf of the most important German associations there is willingness to distribute invitations to the sector´s new ´recruits´: many regional bakers associations, such as the Verband des Rheinischen BBckerhandwerks, BBckerinnungsverband Hessen and associations that include large-scale bakeries such as the Verband Deutscher Groobbckereien, just like the Uniteis e.V., whose members are all the ice cream parlours in Germany, have confirmed that they will distribute the program among their members.

Please feel free to contact me normanatdesitadotit if you want to arrange an appointment – our schedule is very busy but we will do our best to get to know you in person.