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Behind the story

From the editor: It all comes down to food

Jenna-Telesca_0.gifNRN editors take you beyond the headlines and offer perspectives on the issues and events shaping the industry. Get more inside takes from Behind the Story >> 

There’s this thing I do when I eat something that makes me happy. 

I start nodding, and I gently point to the meal with my fork. 

It’s an involuntary movement. I’m not thinking about anything really. I’m not thinking about who the chef is, how beautiful the dish is, how trendy the restaurant is, or frankly, how the food was prepared. 

I don’t really care. I’m just thinking, Man, this is good. 

We want more people to have that feeling. It’s why we’re in the foodservice industry, after all. We want to share our food joy.

Sure, marketing is important and Instagrammability is important and the brand story is important and service is important. Yes, yes, yes, so many of these things are so important. 

But really, it all comes back to the food, doesn’t it?

If the food is lame, no restaurant will have staying power. 

This is why we are bringing you the series of case studies, “In pursuit of flavor.” This is a look at quiet culinary innovations that get customers thinking with their stomachs. 


Check out how to improve the single most popular American side dish — the French fry; how to use techniques behind the CBD craze to enhance cocktails (sans CBD!); how to slow bread way down; and how to use sausage-making techniques for burgers. 

Our food editor Bret Thorn also shares how chef Chris Cheung meddled with a classic Cantonese dish with positive results.

“It would be like putting pineapple on pizza to a New York old-school guy,” Cheung said.

(This point is well taken. I recently got into a heated argument about what real NY pizza is — at a work event, no less. I will spare you my thoughts on pizza, but my fervent pizza beliefs do underscore how impressive Cheung’s accomplishment is.)

Some of the ideas behind the case studies are complicated and some are dead simple, but all of them are effective. And all of them are in pursuit of better flavor.  

Chefs and bartenders can sometimes be the unsung heroes in today’s crowded culinary media world, but trust me, your customers notice your efforts.  

How are you pursuing flavor? Drop us a line. 

Contact Jenna Telesca at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @JennaTelesca

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