GREAT INTERVIEW: Learn how the leadership of Alinea Nick Kokonas @nkokonas are handling the crisis via @timferris podcast. Tim has always been a GREAT resource for smart people talking about interesting things, this interview should be required listening for anyone in the food business. They of course had a lot of concern about the viability of their businesses, and a lot of sleepless nights. We all know that we sell food, but really it is emotional experiences that bring people back (the kayfabe varies from place to place of course). 
 Eventually they came up with an attack plan. 

Here is the tl;dl version (too long, didn’t listen version):

 Takeaways (ha!):
+ Management and ownership took no salaries or cut paid out to investors
+ Reuse the existing space for preparation, eliminates crowding
+ With enough volume sold you can rehire your staff and keep them happy
+ Flat rates of $15 given to all the working staff, regardless of position or experience, creating a team spirit. 
+ Any profits made above salary/payroll was distributed to the staff, after a small amount set aside for the reopening (we all know how expensive that can be) 

+ Food should be fun + delicious. Anything else is a fail. 
+ Comfort food will win the day. Also easy to make, affordable to make and to buy 

Kokonas says that
+ GCs and Gofundme will be more of a headache for balancing sheets. ‘its mortgaging the future’
+ Maybe try pre-paying to negotiate deals, along with bulk purchases (save against price increases) (also gives favourable terms) so think about them as futures 
+ Resist urge to expand when you see revenue. May be a long slog. 
+ Try alternatives to delivery services, their big cuts are not good for you

+ Humor will be key, along with safety. Have guests maybe do some kind of ritual before entering? 
+ Make distancing and masks an asset, not a liability 
+ Virtual experiences can still count, so think about virtual dinner parties or collective cooking classes 
+ schedule pickup times, think of them as derivatives 

Who will survive?
Kokonas thinks that only the scrappy and adaptable will win. So do!
+ Think about having an alternative model to your business. 
+ check out what @addo restaurant is doing, constantly nimble, over 20 concepts tested  for takeout!
+ Have and give staff a sense of purpose, It really is what we all need and want. 

Hope this helps everyone out there. If you need fresh and creative ideas don’t hesitate and reach out, we’d be happy to help.

Picture credit Sir Joseph Paxton, “Capsicum ustulatum,” Paxton’s Magazine of Botany and Register of Flowering Plants, 1838.


There was a time when curry did not have chilli peppers. I know, unthinkable. I never really thought about it but it makes sense, but chilli peppers arrived to India much after Columbus ran into the new world.

So how’d they cook before that? Seems lots of garlic, ginger and the pungent asafoetida. Not until the 1600 there was a record of chilies making curry. Wild eh? Via @contingent_mag

picture credit:


This is an interesting and intriguing story. Did you know that they make Christmas cake in India too?

as it has been with other food from other places, it took the hand of an entrepreneur filling the needs of a local market, namely Brit expats that lived in India.

Also helped that although India is not a majority catholic country that celebrates Christmas, some people do enjoy the flavour and richness of the cake (I, for one, do!), and adding a little extra alcohol I guess helps seal the deal.

Naturally the cake changed, mutated and adapted to the local ingredients and flavours, and one could easily imagine that there would be a local equivalent existing that then merged along into something greater than the sum of the parts.

Thank you Tejasvi for sharing this cool story!