10 Reasons Hiring Restaurant Staff Is Harder Than Ever

Categories: Bites & Dishes

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Brenda Gottsabend, Flickr
Staffing a restaurant (and keeping it staffed) is one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks owners and chefs face. And turnover? The industry's nearly famous for it.

Although the hiring of both back- and front-of-the-house positions has always been a challenge, is hiring restaurant staff today harder than it's ever been?

Many Valley chefs and restaurateurs say yes. Here are 10 reasons.

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10 Kinds of Restaurants Chefs Wish Existed in the Valley

Categories: Bites & Dishes

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

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Cinnamon Girl, Flickr
Although several new restaurants are scheduled to meet up with thousands of existing ones in the Valley this year, the Phoenix dining scene, for many of us, still could use a bit of tinkering.

Valley chefs and restaurateurs agree. And when it comes to the restaurants they wish existed in the area, ten of them had these suggestions:

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15 Pieces of Advice Valley Chefs Would Give to Their Younger Selves

Categories: Bites & Dishes

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

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Unknown
With the New Year now officially underway, it's tough not to reflect on life lessons learned, experiences undergone, trials and tribulations endured, etc., during our brief existence on this planet up until now.

What advice would Valley chefs and restaurateurs give to their younger selves -- and younger human beings in general -- on the secrets to culinary happiness, success, and well-being? Here are 15 of their philosophies.


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Food and Drink Trends for 2014 as Predicted by Valley Chefs

Categories: Bites & Dishes

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

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As Sriracha, foam, and molecular gastronomy slowly fade into our culinary memories, a new group of food and drink trends are jockeying for position in the New Year.

What can we look forward to (or not) in 2014? I asked 15 Valley chefs what they see coming to restaurant menus next year, and this is what they had to say.

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14 Favorite Restaurants of Valley Chefs for an Unconventional Christmas Dinner

Categories: Bites & Dishes

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Chinese restaurant from "A Christmas Story."
For non-celebrants or those interested in an unconventional Christmas meal (turkey burners included), several restaurants throughout the Valley -- those serving up dishes like rice and noodles, sushi, and pizza -- are happy to accommodate.

Here, Valley chefs share their 14 favorite spots in town for a decidedly different take on Christmas dinner.

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Does Time Magazine's Male-Centric "Gods of Food" Issue Reflect the Reality of Women in the Restaurant Industry?

Categories: Bites & Dishes

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

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Chefs David Chang (Momofuku), Alex Atala (D.O.M.), and René Redzepi (Noma) on the cover of the November 18 issue of Time, which ran in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the South Pacific.
Last month, Time magazine published an issue called "Gods of Food," a male-centric look on those who influence "what (and how) we eat." The main portion of the article, the 13 Gods of Food, did not include a single female chef.

When the food blog Eater asked Time magazine editor Howard Chua-Eoan why no female chefs made the list and why the only two covered in the section were pastry chefs with a brief sidebar mention, Chua-Eoan said Time "simply reflected the 'harsh reality' of the culinary world."

Is Time's lack of representation of female chefs a product of restaurant industry reality, media bias, or both? And how does it reflect the reality of the restaurant industry in Phoenix?

Here's the perspective of 10 Valley chefs.

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12 Ideas for Thanksgiving Leftovers from Valley Chefs

Categories: Bites & Dishes

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

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Kristen Taylor
The turkey sandwich isn't the only dish on the leftovers list.
Nearly as anticipated as the feast, the post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich has a place in our hearts all its own.

This week, I asked Valley chefs and restaurateurs their favorite ideas for Thanksgiving leftovers. Here, along with tips for stepping-up turkey sandwiches (think slathered in jalapeño and cilantro aioli and wrapped up as a burrito), you'll find leftover love in the form of soups, noodle dishes, and even breakfast items.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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What's a Restaurant's Responsibility Regarding Gluten-Free Items?

Categories: Bites & Dishes

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

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Jewel's Bakery & Cafe
Strawberry Shortcake With Fresh Whip
For people with celiac disease, ingesting just a little bit of gluten (a protein in wheat, barley, and rye) can mean serious problems.

And when it comes to finding restaurants aware of the auto-immune disorder that, according to the New York Times, affects about 1 in 100 Americans, those who are gluten-averse may be having an easier time than they did, say, five years ago, but more understanding doesn't necessarily mean a better dining experience.

What's a restaurant's responsibility when it comes to gluten-free products? I asked several Valley chefs and restaurateurs and this is what they had to say.

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25 Thanksgiving Dinner Tips from Valley Chefs

Categories: Bites & Dishes

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

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Fox
Thanksgiving, pretty much everyone's favorite holiday, is just around the corner. And if you're looking for ways to kick this one up a notch, you're not alone.

I asked Valley chefs, restaurateurs, and wine gurus for their ideas on how to re-invent this year's celebration and received tasty turkey and cooking tips, twists on traditional dishes and wine pairings, and even a recipe.

See which ones might work best on your table.

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Should We Be Concerned About Radioactive Fish After the Fukushima Dai-ichi Meltdown?

Categories: Bites & Dishes

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Nuclear Regulatory Commission officals at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex.
In the aftermath of radiation spills from Japan's Fukushima nuclear reactor in the 2011 earthquake, one question remains regarding its effect on our seafood: Is it safe to eat?

In a recent article, the Los Angeles Times reports that, "according to the scientists who are studying the issue, the short answer is no."

What do Valley chefs and restaurateurs have to say? While some agree there is little cause for concern, others aren't so sure -- and a few say there are more pressing threats to the safety of our seafood than the spread of contamination from Fukushima into the Pacific Ocean. What do you think?

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