June 13th, 2013
05:15 PM ET
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Alex Atala is a punk rock fan with tattoos decorating both arms, and he runs his kitchen like a monastery.

“You won’t hear shouting. People are very concentrated,” he said as he welcomed us into his Sao Paulo restaurant D.O.M.

Atala has built D.O.M into Latin America’s top restaurant by featuring native ingredients in meticulously created dishes that even include insects. Recently, it was ranked sixth in the world on the 2013 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

Serving up comfort food after a tragedy
April 18th, 2013
03:30 PM ET
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Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Jason Bond is the chef at Bondir in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Follow him on Twitter @jwadebond.

The day started with the Boston Marathon and a state holiday. It ended in tragedy and left residents, like me, with so many unanswered questions.

Why would someone attack an event that was about celebration, one where many of the thousands of participants were raising money for over two thousand charities? Why would they use such a ferocious method as bombs packed with ball bearings and nails?

In the span of 15 seconds, three people lost their lives. Hundreds of others, from the injured and their families to those who witnessed the blast firsthand, were cruelly ripped from the lives they'd always known and forced into a darker view of the world. The residents of Boston were shocked, sickened and even pissed off.

Most of us felt helpless, but wanted to be of use. The city and its people quickly mobilized to help each other. Boston is tight and takes care of its own.

We realized that we each help by doing what we do; medics medicate, journalists report, the police protect. As a restaurateur I did what I do, which is care for people and provide sustenance and healing.

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Filed under: Boston • Chefs • Chefs with Issues • Culture • Feed the Soul • Restaurant News • Restaurants • Rituals • Travel

April 16th, 2013
04:15 PM ET
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The identity of a second victim of the Boston terror attack was revealed Tuesday. Krystle Campbell, an employee of Jimmy's Steer House in Arlington Heights, died in the bombings, Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn said. Campbell, 29, recently left her position as general manager of Summer Shack restaurant's now-shuttered Hingham location, and her former employer paid tribute to her in a Facebook post, which read in part:

The Summer Shack family is devastated by the loss of our beloved Krystle. No words can describe how much she meant to all of us. She was an incredible woman, always full of energy and hard at work, but never too tired to share her love and a smile with everyone. She was an inspiration to all of us. Please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

"She was a fun, outgoing person," said her grandmother Lillian Campbell, told CNN. "She was always there to help somebody. And she was just beautiful."

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Filed under: Restaurant News • Restaurants

No-show for your reservation? Shame on you!
April 3rd, 2013
12:45 PM ET
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When it comes to putting your money where your mouth is, Los Angeles restaurant Red Medicine takes the old adage quite literally. On March 13, the restaurant dealt with that evening's reservation no-shows in a very unique way: by calling out the delinquent diners by name via their official Twitter account.

The outspoken dining spot took flak for their transmission almost instantly, but they also gained some praise. "These so called 'customers' could have the decency to cancel their res instead of no showing. Empty seats cost $$$," a New Jersey restaurant tweeted in return.

February 8th, 2013
11:30 AM ET
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Editor's note: Saru Jayaraman is the co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an advocacy organization, director of the UC Berkeley Food Labor Research Center and author of the forthcoming book "Behind the Kitchen Door" (Cornell University Press, Feb. 2013).

Like millions of Americans this winter, my toddler has the flu. The good news is that, unlike most of our nation's restaurant workers, my baby doesn't have to go to work sick.

Give a snarky quip (and no tip) and thy receipt shall end up on the internet
January 31st, 2013
10:00 PM ET
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Before making the career jump to journalism, I worked in the service industry for several years as a server - or waitress, depending on what generation you’re from. While I loved my job most of the time (great guests and cheap food whenever I wanted it), I quickly realized that some people didn’t quite understand the difference between server and servant.

Like every server, I had my fair share of horror stories: a 25-cent tip on a $19 bill, men who felt it was socially appropriate to pinch me as I walked past and, of course, the customer who was never wrong (even if they sent their steak back more than twice). So while I adhered to the idea that the customer was always right, that didn’t give the customer free rein to act like a jerk.

It appears that not everyone shares my opinion, though. After dining at an Applebee’s in St. Louis, Missouri, one customer not only left no tip, but also wrote a snarky comment on her bill.

Chelsea Welch, another server in the restaurant, snapped a picture of the receipt and posted it to the social media-sharing website Reddit. The Consumerist later picked up the story, if only for Welch’s equally snarky picture title, “My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries.”

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Filed under: Applebee's • Chain • News • Restaurant News • Restaurants • Service • Tipping

'Worst. Meatballs. Ever.'
January 25th, 2013
07:30 PM ET
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I have absolutely no business reviewing restaurants. Consider the facts: I like Ramen noodles. I burn my meat. And I'm pretty sure the Klondike Bar is the pinnacle of modern cuisine.

I've also heard good things about Applebee's.

But when it comes to restaurant feedback, someone like me can just go online and write literally anything. And people might actually read it.

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Filed under: Critics • Restaurant News

January 8th, 2013
12:00 PM ET
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Eat This List: Tater tots, invasive entrees and other food trends we'd like to see in 2013
January 1st, 2013
09:30 AM ET
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This is the inaugural installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about.

As managing editor of Eatocracy, I'm lucky enough to get to travel and eat all over the country, both for work and because it's what I love to do. I've seen some trends (in addition to the ubiquitous charcuterie, pickles, aged cocktails, salted caramel desserts, and foraged tidbits) start popping up in restaurants from coast to coast, and in 2013, here are a few I'm hoping will catch on.

1. Lots and lots and lots of tater tots
And please don't get all schmartisanal with them. Frozen tots are fine; feel free to get inventive with the toppings. They're the perfect combo of salt and crunch and starch and they're starting to pop up on menus across the country. People love them for their nostalgic deliciousness, but some chefs are trying to get fancy and make them in-house with hand-shredded potatoes, heirloom or sweet spuds and whatnot. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Just have fun with great house-made sauces, toppings, herbs and flavorful oils. The Company Burger in New Orleans (tots pictured above) hand-makes a bunch of different flavored mayos, ketchup, mustard and other toppings every day, and they're insanely delicious. Restaurateurs - please consider hopping on the tot train.

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