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Posts Tagged ‘Mario Batali’

Can Crocs Make a Comeback?

Nothing exemplifies the unpredictability of public opinion more than the success of Crocs.

Crocs are the platypus of the shoe world. They look funny, but they’ve somehow managed to dominate a certain segment of the footwear market. Renowned for their vibrant color, orgasmic comfort and a fashion sense that combines the best attributes of a Nerf football and a kitchen strainer, Crocs have enjoyed an inexplicable level of popularity with the public–particularly the American public (we’re looking at you, Mario Batali).

While almost every other fashion line at least tries to combine both style and functionality, Crocs focuses on comfort above all else, and consequently revolutionized shoe design as a result. Most readers won’t be too surprised to learn that the original Crocs were designed as spa shoes. No one will ever win an Olympic competition in Crocs, but the line has made its way into mainstream life for many Americans.

Though the popularity of Crocs appeared to peak as their novelty factor faded, the company recently implemented a marketing strategy designed to re-brand its products as (wait for it) an upscale alternative to competitors—namely Skechers and Wolverine Worldwide—offering similar but less expensive shoes. Read more

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Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

Famous Chefs Protest Against Seafood Fraud

Everyone loves the name Chilean Sea Bass. But when you think about it for a while, it begins to lose its appeal.

Chile, after all, is damn far away. Where in Chile was this sea bass caught, and by whom? How was it transported all of those thousands of miles only to end up in an alley behind the restaurant you are currently sitting in as a candle flickers on your table next to a hip Italian clay pot of fresh rosemary growing beside a bubbling indoor waterfall? It all seems so contrived.

That’s because it is. For starters, at home, the Chilean Sea Bass is also known as the Patagonian Toothfish, which sounds like something out of Jurassic Park III. Secondly, the fish has been the center of controversy among chefs, foodies, purveyors and environmentalists for a decade because it represents a much broader problem: seafood fraud.

Chances are, if that Chilean Sea Bass you just ordered could pull up a chair and join you for dinner, his version of his journey would differ greatly from the waiter’s version. Officially, all imports of Chilean Sea Bass should be accompanied by an official Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, which chefs are supposed to check upon purchase.

But with so many customers craving that full, buttery taste–and so many restaurateurs and seafood providers willing to look the other way in order to remain competitive, the situation is ripe for corruption.

Now celebrity chefs Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Thomas Keller and others are protesting for change by signing a petition demanding that the U.S. government prohibit illegal seafood from entering the marketplace by enforcing stricter regulatory policies regarding imported fish. The public should applaud this effort. Read more

Why Is the Restaurant Industry Such a Boys’ Club?

There’s a reason the restaurant business plays host to so many big egos: Everybody loves fancy food, and reality TV has only encouraged the industry to grow flashier while elevating its baddest (or lamest) dudes to larger-than-life status. One question, though: Where are all the women?

Beyond April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig and Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune, we can’t think of too many prominent female chefs (sorry, but Sandra Lee, Paula Deen and Rachael Ray do not count). Sure, we know that our knowledge is pretty much limited to New York, and there are quite a few very talented women running kitchens around the country right now—check out The Daily Feast’s great list of 15 “badass” female chefs—but guys’ guys like Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali still hog the lion’s share of the spotlight.

In a telling interview with the Village Voice’s Fork in the Road food blog, current James Beard Foundation president Susan Ungaro talks about why the industry feels like such a boys’ club—and what it will take to encourage young female chefs to take the reins and step into the spotlight. Here’s the money quote:

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A Stove-Side Chat at a Food Network Fête

Culinary treats were on full display on Wednesday evening when PRSA NY held their holiday event at the Food Network in one of their kitchen studios. Although Iron Chef America’s “Battle Fruitcake” episode aired this past week, the show’s kitchen stadium set was temporarily down for the season.

The Food Network, launched nearly twenty years ago, was a pioneer in featuring food as entertainment on TV and highlighting celebrity chefs. Last year their Cooking Channel launched to appeal to more serious food lovers.  Overall their TV audience numbers over one hundred million U.S. households. Since it’s the more established brand, the Food Network is more active in social media. Over two million fans like their Facebook page and over eight hundred thousand follow them on Twitter.

We spoke briefly to Irika Slavin, VP of communications and public relations, about her experience working at the network for the past year.

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