Chipping Away at the “Gastro Ceiling”
Brittany Walker, of Accokeek, Md., has just received a James Beard Foundation “Women in Culinary Leadership” (WCL) Program grant for 2017. The WCL Program is an accelerated, learning-by-doing mentorship initiative. Since launching in 2012, WCL has provided mentorship opportunities for over 42 women in the culinary industry, paired with top industry leaders from across the country. One of fifteen 2017 awardees, Walker will complete a chef program overseen by James Beard Award Winner Jose Andrés of Think Food Group in Washington D.C. The other grantees will work with mentors at top restaurants from New York to Atlanta to Chicago, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and more.
The program, spearheaded by Rohini Dey, JBF trustee, and Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, aims to build in-depth skills in the kitchen, restaurant management, and hospitality fields. “By creating this program five years ago to break through the barriers of the ‘gastro ceiling,’ the goal has been to build women’s operational skills, financial literacy, confidence, and networks in the field,” said Trustee Dey. JBF President Ungaro noted, “It has been very rewarding to watch the growth of our Women in Culinary Leadership Program, but our industry still has a long way to go to help women thrive in leadership roles. It is more important than ever to bring attention to the need for even more opportunities.”
JBL has also launched the Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) Program to increase opportunities for women and in the food and hospitality industries. The inaugural class of 21 women
for this week-long class, taking place September 10-15 at Babson College, includes three local chefs: Suzanne Simon (Chaia – Farm to Taco), Amy Brandwein (Centrolina), and Shannan Troncoso
(Brookland’s Finest Bar & Kitchen). For more information, go to:

Call for Proposals
The American Culinary Federation (ACF), the leading membership organization for chefs and culinary professionals in North America, will host three professional development events in 2018:

• ChefConnect: Charlotte, February 25-27, 2018, Charlotte, North Carolina;
• ChefConnect: Newport Beach, March 18-20, 2018, Newport Beach, California; and
• Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show, July 15-19, 2018, New Orleans, Louisiana.

The ACF is currently seeking culinary influencers and industry leaders to present educational sessions, demonstrations, and hands-on workshops at all three events. Topics can range from
innovative trends and techniques to skills development, baking and pastry, health and wellness, culinary management, educator development, and more. The deadline for proposals is September 30, 2017. For more information, visit


Leesburg’s Wine Kitchen Gives Hope
The Wine Kitchen, known for its farm-to-table fresh menus and abundant and exclusive wine listings, held a special evening in August to benefit local Mobile Hope. Mobile Hope is a non-profit
organization that supports Loudoun County children and young adults (24 years of age and younger) who are precariously housed, homeless, or at risk, and provides essentials like clothing, emergency food, housing referrals, and life counseling and emotional support services. After the benefit, the Wine Kitchen gave Mobile Hope a check for $2,000.
Co-owners Jason Miller and Michael Mercer offered special tastes from the kitchen as featured wine specials for the event. “Michael and I were excited to open our restaurant to the community and give back to such a worthy cause,” said co-owner Jason Miller. “While Loudoun County has been recognized as the richest county once again, it is important that we all recognize the need of
those less fortunate and give back.” In addition to the benefit, the Wine Kitchen also donates a portion of all weekday lunch proceeds — through its Lunch for Health initiative — to the Loudoun Free Clinic to support health care services for Loudoun County residents who would otherwise do without. Now, that’s a fine wine!

A Rum Competition to Help our Own
Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar and The Cocktail Nation will host a fundraising cocktail competition to benefit CORE — Children of Restaurant Employees — on Tuesday, September 12 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. This is the restaurant’s first fundraiser for CORE, a non-profit organization whose mission is to grant support to children of food and beverage service families navigating life-altering circumstances. Barry Gutin, principal and co-founder of GuestCounts Hospitality, LLC, which owns and operates Cuba Libre, serves on the board of directors for CORE so it is a cause close to his heart. Since its inception in 2004, CORE has raised over $2M to help over 165 children from families across the industry and the country (
During the competition, eight of the city’s leading mixologists will create a cocktail using one specific brand of rum from one of the following categories: white, añejo, spiced, flavored, 100 percent sugar cane, or dark. An expert panel of judges, to include award-winning mixologist Todd Thrasher and Wine, Spirits & Lifestyle writer Kelly Magyarics, will sample the libations. Attendees of the event will also have an opportunity to cast their votes after sampling each of the competing cocktails. Three prizes will be awarded: $400 for the grand prize and $200 for runner-up (selected by the judges) and $200 for the popular vote. Tickets are priced at $40 per person and can be purchased online at:

Eat Up and Fight For Children, too!
The first-ever Fight For Children Week kicks off September 25-29 with special offers and promotions from restaurants in Washington, D.C. Proceeds from the promotions will go directly to Fight For Children, a D.C.-based nonprofit whose mission is to ensure that all kids in the city, especially those in the highest need areas, receive a quality early education and a solid foundation for future success. “We know from experience that real, sustainable change is possible when our community comes together,” said Keith Gordon, president and CEO of Fight For Children. Restaurant options are listed below. For more information, please visit
• Month of September: A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Pie of The Month at Joe’s Seafood Prime Steak and Crab will be donated.
• Week of September 24-30: All Washington, D.C. Taylor Gourmet locations will donate proceeds from the sale of their cookies.
• Monday, September 25: The Dupont Circle location of Cava will donate 10 percent of every sale from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Fight for Children must be mentioned at check-out.
• Wednesday, September 26: & pizza locations in Chinatown, Dupont Circle, and Columbia Heights will donate $2 from the sale of every pizza sold from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Follow Fight For Children on Facebook and Twitter to get the digital flyer that must be shown at check-out.

Tabletop Marketing to the Rescue
Earlier this year, market research firm NPD Group, Inc. reported that Americans made nearly half a million fewer lunch trips to restaurants in 2016, resulting in nearly $3.2 billion in lost revenue for the foodservice industry and the lowest level of lunch traffic in decades.
With this recent decline in “lunching out,” mom and pop eateries and independent restaurant owners are looking for cost-effective and efficient ways to attract new clientele and keep repeat diners coming back. One way is through social media and tabletop marketing. Tork® Xpressnap® AD-a-Glance® is a product solution that allows independent restaurant owners to transform traditional napkin dispenser ads into onsite and online vehicles to showcase menus, promotions, and events to drive and sustain in store traffic.“Our goal is to arm small restaurateurs with the products and resources to change the lunchtime dynamic,” said Suzanne Cohen, foodservice marketing director for Tork. “AD-a-Glance offers the marketing tools the big-name chains use, such as a consistent campaign messaging strategy and social media amplification tools, to boost tabletop marketing and communicate specials and offerings to people inside and outside of the dining room. We want to see our customers win back the lunch hour with increased traffic and sales.” For more information, go to

Way to go! Metropolitan Meat, Seafood & Poultry…
Metropolitan — a Mid-Atlantic center-of-the-plate and specialty food distributor — has become a Certified Chain of Custody (CoC) Supplier of MSC and ASC seafood products. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) are two of the largest and most recognized of the independent seafood industry governing standards. The purpose of the certification is to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by recognizing and rewarding sustainable fishing and to influence the choices people make when buying seafood. Certified products have been assessed and certified as “ecologically sustainable and fully traceable.”
In addition, Metropolitan has become SQF-2 Certified from the SQF Institute. The SQF Program is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and links primary production certification to food manufacturing, distribution, and agent/broker management certification. It is the only certification program to integrate a quality component as well as food safety. Metropolitan received an outstanding grade on its recent audit.
According to Metropolitan President Scott Willard, “It was truly a team effort that virtually everyone participated in. Not only did everyone’s commitment to excellence create marvelous audit results, it created noticeable improvements in every area and every department.”

Please note a correction in the August FSM Craft Beer story (hard copy, pg. 16). What should have been said:
Dan: I had to learn the many franchise and craft beer laws that are unique to Maryland. Maryland laws state that breweries who produce under 22,500 barrels of beer per year can self-distribute up to 3,000 barrels annually.
Not: …who produce under 3,000 barrels of beer per year can self-distribute their products.

We regret the error.

Editor’s Note:If you, your restaurant, or someone in the industry is doing something good for others in the region, we will try to include it in FSM News. Email your ideas to Lisa Keathley,

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