From the Editor: The Style FIle


While many aspire to have it very few actually do. And though some come by it naturally, others have to work extremely hard to achieve it. We’re talking about style, of course.

Like age, some believe style is a state of mind. But, these days, whether we’re talking about food or fashion, good style is paramount. As we know, it’s more than good food that draws us to restaurants. Certainly, we’re interested in trying new and inventive dishes, looking to understand what makes top-rated toques good at what they do. But, more often than not, we choose to dine at an eatery for a variety of reasons: food, service, the look and feel, and, of course, its overall vibe. No longer do we just want to be sated, we want to escape — to be taken away from the everyday mundane to experience the sublime.

0512-FH-cover-200x200That’s a tall order for any restaurant. It was much simpler in the days when consumers just wanted a good dish. But now consumers want to be part of an overall more impactful experience. They want good food, they demand great service and they expect convenience, but they also want to know that a restaurant is socially and ethically responsible. And, aesthetically, they want to be surrounded by beauty. Ultimately, who can dispute that the look and feel of a restaurant adds to its charm? Yes, it’s the steak, but it’s the sizzle, too. And, today, that sizzle has to have style.

There’s a reason food and fashion are oft compared: both are dictated by the trends of the day and both make statements about who we are and what we enjoy. Sure we want clothes that fit well, make us look good and last, but most of us also want to make a statement by how we dress, helping us impart a bit of who we are in the way we look. Similarly, we’re also looking to make a statement by where we choose to eat. There’s much to say about style, but ask someone to define it, and you may have some trouble; it’s personal and subjective. And, although we may not always agree as to what constitutes good style, we can usually pinpoint whether a restaurant has that special je ne sais quoi.

Like fashion, restaurant style is fluid and ever-changing. What makes the grade today may be vastly different than a few months ago, and yet there are some restaurants that manage to remain successful for decades by remaining true to their trademark style. Go figure. Perhaps that’s the point — there is no defining what works, it just does.

This month, as part of our examination of restaurant style, we look at three foodservice concepts to understand how design helps impact their success. We also travel Down Under with chef John Placko, to see how several Australian chefs are achieving success by infusing their own culinary style into their restaurant menus. Additionally, we profile two winning concepts: Menchie’s, a cool “fro-yo” chain that was recently imported to Canada from the U.S.; and The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro, a tried-and-true Ottawa franchise, which is undergoing massive Canadian expansion. Happy reading.

In this issue:

A Study in Style: Restaurant Style Trends

On The Side: A Look at Condiments

Cocktail Connoisseurs

Dining Down Under

In the Works: Profiling the Expanding Burger Chain

Hot Concept: Frozen is the New Hot

The Science of Cooking: Sous Vide

Let’s Do Lunch: Building Midday Business

Scene Stealer: Profiling chef Michael Howell

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Rosanna Caira is the editor and publisher of Kostuch Media’s Foodservice and Hospitality, and Hotelier magazines. In her capacity as editor of Canada’s two leading hospitality publications, Rosanna directs the editorial and graphic content of both publications, and is responsible for the editorial vision of the magazines, its five websites as well as the varied tertiary products including e-newsletters, supplements and special projects. In addition to her editorial duties, Rosanna also serves as publisher of the company, directing the strategic development of the Sales and Marketing, Production and Circulation departments. Rosanna is the face of the magazines, representing the publications at industry functions and speaking engagements. She serves on various committees and Boards, including the Board of Directors of the Canadian Hospitality Foundation. She is a recipient of the Ontario Hostelry’s Gold Award in the media category. In 2006, Rosanna was voted one of the 32 most successful women of Italian heritage in Canada. Rosanna is a graduate of Toronto’s York University, where she obtained a BA degree in English literature.

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