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Posts Tagged ‘food’

Horse Meat Scandal Touches IKEA’s Meatballs

Today everyone’s favorite paperboard furniture provider IKEA announced plans to remove its famous Swedish meatballs from the menu at every in-store cafeteria in 21 European countries after confirming that Czech food inspectors had found “traces of horse” in those round, sauce-covered meat globes. Now we have a few questions:

  • Is any company safe at this point?
  • Will this scandal convince Europeans to re-examine their relationship with red meat and enact stricter regulations on those companies that include it in their products? (You really don’t know what you could be eating in most cases.)
  • Did you know that horse meat is supposedly “leaner” and “sweeter” than cow meat and that it contains twice the Iron and three times the essential omega fatty acids? Doesn’t it feel kind of strange to consider that information?
  • Finally, what good is an IKEA with no meatballs anyway?

 

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PR Innovations: Top Chefs Star in ‘Trading Places’

Today in truly interesting PR schemes: Eleven Madison Park and Alinea are two of the most esteemed restaurants in the country. Spending an evening (hell, even an abbreviated lunch hour) at either location is a true event for those among us fortunate enough to have the opportunity (we haven’t been so lucky, and now we’re sad). The chefs at these top kitchens also happen share both a friendship and a mutual respect. The problem? Eleven Madison Park is in Manhattan and Alinea is in Chicago.

The restaurants’ runners have found what may be the most innovative possible solution to this challenge: they’re trading faces. Or places.

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America’s Perplexing Relationship with Food

Food is very big business in America, and that means companies and brands with immense advertising and PR heft competing for consumer dollars. On the surface, this strikes most Americans as harmless; it’s capitalism, after all: It’s the way things work.

But on a deeper psychological level, most consumers perceive food not only according to their specific likes and dislikes, but within the context of an unnatural vacuum created by decades worth of marketing campaigns from food growers, distributors and sellers.

For example, we like our food to be flawless; why else would so many supermarket customers spend time examining melons, tomatoes and onions as if they’re precious stones? Our trained eyes also like big, colorful displays of food lining the aisles, and we don’t see overwhelming portions as sources of waste but ways to get more for our money. So a little excess occurs every now and then; no big deal, right?

Well, consider this quote from a recent article in The Washington Post:

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Lights-Out Dining Venture Trips, Falls Flat

Every fine restaurant needs a little mood lighting, but how would you like to eat in total darkness? No? Didn’t think so, but somebody in the industry felt like it was a brilliant idea.

Fussy New Yorkers love some high-concept dining—our restaurant industry is notoriously brutal, and if a new Manhattan kitchen doesn’t have a great pedigree and a killer hook then it’s not likely to last a year. High-end restaurateurs don’t just sell great food, they sell an experience—for example, the recent re-branding of five-star eatery Eleven Madison Park includes card tricks, smoke-filled domes and cheese courses served in tabletop picnic baskets.

That being said, we think we can add “dining in the dark” to the long list of business ideas best kept in the board room. Midtown Manhattan’s Danse le Noir? (question mark theirs!) claims to free diners from their “inhibitions” and “awaken” their senses by empowering them to “completely re-evaluate…perception[s] of taste, smell, and texture.”

Yeah, OK. But the food fanatics at Eater make short work of that idea in a hilarious blog post describing dinner at Danse as “the worst experience I’ve ever had in a restaurant.” One editor writes that “I’ve never come so close to having a panic attack in my entire life.” More, please!

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New All-Food PR Firm Launches in Manhattan

Check out the logo! Today in things you may not know: It’s tough to run a successful restaurant in New York City! For readers looking to open the East Village small plates-fusion gastropub of their dreams (you know who you are), look no further than the newly formed Metro Restaurant Marketing Group – they launched today in Manhattan, and they’re fresher than a well-made mint julep! These foodie Svengalis specialize in “social media, e-marketing and public relations” to help eatery clients stand out in a city with more than 24,000 of ‘em.

Of course, such things don’t happen in a vacuum: The heads behind Metro are also associated with Long Island’s masters of hospitality, WordHampton Public Relations. Restaurant owners and PR pros looking to enter the edible arena should keep an eye out. The rest us will practice using our Instagram filters just in case anyone actually DOES want to check out the sweet lobster rolls we ate last night.