April 2021

École Ducasse Culinary Schools to debut in Thailand with Nai Lert Group

In an exclusive partnership with the renowned Thai hospitality Nai Lert Group, École Ducasse, together with its majority shareholder, world-leading hospitality management education group Sommet Education, is announcing the creation of a network of training centers throughout Thailand dedicated to culinary and pastry arts.

As a chef, Alain Ducasse has achieved global renown by never settling for second-best. École Ducasse follows the same single-minded approach to the quality of teaching it provides. Comprised of Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (Best Craftsmen of France), world champions, renowned chefs and pastry chefs, École Ducasse teams bring together a unique mix of expertise.

As a result, since its founding in 1999, École Ducasse has become an established benchmark for excellence in education and training in culinary and pastry arts and has revealed some of the most renowned talents on world gastronomy scene.

A network of École Ducasse Culinary Schools in Thailand

The first establishment in the setting-up of this network will be developed under the École Ducasse "Studio" brand which originates from École Ducasse - Paris Studio located in the heart of the 16 th arrondissement of the French capital.

Nestled among the century-old tropical gardens of Nai Lert Park in the heart of Bangkok, the "École Ducasse - Nai Lert Bangkok studio", will span on nearly 1,000 m2, will open in the first semester in 2022.  This will mark the start of a broader rollout in Thailand that will see the expansion of École Ducasse Studios and other campuses over the next few years.

The practical and academic courses offered will jointly celebrate the heritage of French and Thai cuisine, while echoing trends in contemporary gastronomy and in the philosophy of the institution's founder and eponymous Chef.

The future École Ducasse culinary schools in Thailand will deliver programs in culinary, pastry and sommelier arts aimed at professionals, amateurs, young graduates and children.

Hard Rock International Brings Back The Joy Of Music Festivals To Its Cafes With The First-Ever Hard Rock Cafe® Festival 2020

   Hard Rock International is introducing an innovative way to bring back the summertime music feel with the first-ever Hard Rock Cafe® Festival 2020, taking place from Saturday, Aug. 29 through Friday, Sept. 25 at participating restaurant locations worldwide. For guests dining in at the Cafe, the Hard Rock Cafe Festival 2020 will feature limited-time food and cocktail menus, as well as a night of live music, a face glitter application station and themed photo opportunities in compliance with public health guidelines at participating locations. With summer winding down, guests can end it on a high note at Hard Rock Cafe.
Hard Rock's SAFE + SOUND program implemented at every location will ensure that guests can enjoy their in-person festival experience in a safe and sanitary environment. Hard Rock International partnered with world-renowned public health and safety organizations like EcoSure, an Ecolab Division, and NSF International, formerly known as the National Sanitation Foundation, to ensure its properties are SAFE + SOUND, meeting the highest standards of safety, sanitation, food handling and employee training. The enhanced SAFE + SOUND safety protocol includes, but is not limited to procedures such as a state-of-the-art, non-intrusive thermal temperature screening process before entering, social distancing measures and protective mask requirements for all team members.
Hard Rock Cafe Festival 2020 South Florida
Festival merchandise, including branded bottle openers, bottle holders, waist bags, shoulder bags and classic tees, will be available for purchase at Hard Rock Cafe Rock Shops® or online at www.shop.hardrock.com.
Hemingway Rum Company in South Florida Magazine August 2020 issue
Papa's Pilar Rum
By Eric Althoff

   Captain Shawn Martin was intimately familiar with the waters—both fresh and salted—of the Florida
Keys well before he started making rum from them. Martin, a marine biologist, Coast Guard veteran and
diving instructor, began toying with home distilling at his home in Key West when not taking customers
onto the Gulf of Mexico.
“It all started as a hobby, and somehow it has turned into a career,” said Martin, now the rum maker and
distillery manager at the Hemingway Rum Company in Key West. “The idea of ever getting to be a
distiller was never something I thought possible or entertained.”
The Hemingway Rum Company opened its renovated Key West tasting room in 2017, not far from the
Spanish Colonial home where “Papa” Ernest Hemingway penned some of his greatest novels—all the
while surrounded by his ubiquitous six-toed cats.
Martin and his fellow distillers were actually contacted by Hemingway’s descendents at the beginning
stages, leading to an eventual collaboration. The fact that the distillery’s managing director, James
Kempland, had previously sold the Angel’s Envy bourbon brand into the Bacardi portfolio gave the
Hemingway family assurances that the budding Key West enterprise was in fact the real deal.
“The Hemingway family approached us and basically said ‘We hear you are thinking of creating a rum in
Key West and we want in,” Martin said, thus leading to the birth of the Hemingway Rum Company.
Ernest Hemingway was famous for his 90-mile voyages from Florida to Cuba aboard his vessel, the
Pilar. On the island nation he would fish, winter at his home at Finca Vigia, write and, frequently, drink
prodigiously. It is said that some of the Cuban fishermen he met there inspired “The Old Man and the
Sea.” (Tours of “Hemingway’s Havana” are now popular in Cuba.)
Today, the Hemingway Rum Company retails various rums under the label “Papa’s Pilar,” named for the
vessel and her captain.
“Ernest was the type of man whose passions ran strong, and he was passionate about rum—the drink of
pirates, scoundrels, scholars, and adventurers. He was never shy about his taste for the spirit, and no
analysis of his life is complete without a mention,” Patrick Hemingway, the writer’s great-grandson, said
in a statement provided via email. “The family very enthusiastically supports the mission of Papa’s Pilar
to produce the kind of rum that Ernest would love.”
These include the 84-proof blonde rum blended in bourbon barrels and Spanish sherry casks, as well as
the 86-proof dark rum blended in port wine, sherry and bourbon casks. The bottles for both are in the
shape of a canteen, in honor of Hemingway’s service in an Italian ambulance corps during the First
World War. (This period would form the basis of his novel, “A Farewell to Arms.”) The bottle screw tops
—which hang from a small chain, much like the top of a real army canteen of the 1910s—are also
emblazoned with the image of a compass, in tribute to Hemingway’s love of the seas.
It made sense, Martin said, to honor the writer-sailor with a namesake rum in Key West, but that wouldn’t
solve the notable issue of a dearth of fresh water. The Keys sit mere inches above salt water, and thus
all potable water must be shipped into the island chain from the Florida “mainland,” be it for drinking,
bathing or distilling.
Martin said the mineral composition of mainland water necessarily alters the taste of anything made from
it. To head off “city” taste in Papa’s Pilar rum, the distillery applies chemistry to transform it into as local
a source of water as feasible.
“During the proofing process—bringing the alcohol content down from barrel proof of 130 to bottle proof
—we use water that has gone through a water softener and then through a reverse osmosis system,”
Martin said of the distillation. “This essentially purifies the water so there is no [adverse] taste.”
Key West comprises barely seven square miles, and thus only so much Papa’s Pilar can be produced
onsite. The brand has a much larger facility in Lakeland, Florida, from where the company can produce
in greater quantities and distribute to its retailers around the country, including in California and
Paradoxically, this creates an incentive for rum enthusiasts to visit the Key West facility because
anything made onsite can only be sold direct to the consumer and not beyond due to local ordinance.

Thus, bottles sold there are specifically labeled as produced in Key West.
“In Key West we have our craft distillers license [so] whatever is created in Key West must be bottled,
must be sold in Key West and directly to the consumer,” Martin said. This means that even
distribution to restaurants and bars on the island itself must be handled by the distiller’s facility on the
Florida mainland.
Walking through the company’s facility is to get a quick history of a half-millennium of Caribbean rum
making, but also through Ernest Hemingway’s life. Photos of the young and not-so-young author
grace the walls from his time in World War I and up through his many fishing expeditions near here.
Hemingway smiles in almost any photograph with a netted fish, belying the lifelong depression
beneath that led to him taking his own life in Ketchum, Idaho, on July 2, 1961.
A rather spirited tour guide named Kirk—nicknamed “Captain” for the Enterprise skipper—vacillated
between anecdotes from the distillery’s namesake and rather raucous denunciations of what precisely
is meant by “spiced” rum. Kirk said that other rum distillers—he hesitates to name them, but the
implications are clear—aren’t required to inform consumers what precisely are the so-called spices
they infuse in their rums. It could, in theory, be anything, but whatever it is, it’s almost certainly

Papa’s Pilar, then, has plans for its own spiced rum, but Martin insists the flavors will be natural.
“We would use real spices, not the syrups, artificial flavors and extracts that many others use,” he
said. “Right now in my lab I have around 20 bottles with rum infused with natural spices that we
sourced from an organic spice retailer. Once we determine our ratio and steeping times for blending,
the final product will be done by weight of dry spices and actually be steeped in a large bag similar to a
tea bag.”
Key West continues to draw a steady stream of visitors to Hemingway’s home, where dozens of cats
of the six- and five-toed varieties still roam. But just like the island’s human residents, the felines must
contend with a hurricane season that is lengthening year by year and increasing in intensity.
Hurricane Irma swept the island in 2017, but Martin said tourism has only increased in its wake, with
visitors coming to see Tennessee Williams’ house and also enjoy the island’s prodigious cigar
selections from around the Caribbean.

“We are here for the long haul,” Martin enthused of the rum operation.
Added Patrick Hemingway, Ernest’s great-grandson, “The endeavor has created an opportunity for the
family to celebrate and participate in the culture of Key West—and to give back to the people and
places that celebrate the life of Ernest Hemingway.
“We donate the majority of the family profit to charities that we feel embody the vigor and vision of
Ernest’s passions: the ocean, wildlife conservation and the proliferation of literature.”
Papa’s Pilar rum can be found at BevMo and other retailers in the Napa Valley.

Pink Taco Celebrates Opening in Miami's South Beach with an Exclusive VIP Party Featuring Celebrity Guest Snoop Dogg and Live Set by DJ SNOOPADELIC

Pink Taco (or "the Company"), the iconic, playful Mexican restaurant brand, today announced the opening of its latest location in Miami Beach, Florida, as part of Pink Taco's strong growth strategy.

Founded in 1999, Pink Taco is a unique restaurant brand that serves tacos with local, fresh ingredients. The opening of Pink Taco in Miami will mark the second new location in the last six months, following the successful launch of Boston in October 2019, and will complement existing Company-owned restaurants in Los Angeles and Chicago, and food trucks in its operating markets supplementing Pink Taco's core restaurant operations. As Pink Taco continues to grow in premier metropolitan areas, it stays true to its 'Keep-It-Real' and 'Uncomplicated' foundation, in an entertaining 'Kick Ass-Good Time' atmosphere; serving up real food and great service.

"We are excited to bring Pink Taco to Miami and delight guests with the world-class dining experience for which this iconic brand is known," said Randy Sharpe, Chief Executive Officer of Pink Taco. "We see compelling opportunities to continue to expand and execute on the Company's accelerated growth strategy, with additional new locations to announce later in 2020."

Pink Taco will celebrate the opening at 1200 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach with an exclusive VIP party on January 10, 2020, featuring celebrity guest Snoop Dogg as well as a live set by DJ SNOOPADELIC, and will open to the public on January 14, 2020. The restaurant will have indoor and outdoor seating, and offer its unique guest experience that includes Pink Taco staples such as the signature house-made guacamole and premium tacos and unique cocktails, such as strawberry margarita served in a real pineapple and shareable cocktails.

Two of 25 Foodie Destinations Worth Flying Too Found in South Florida - A Third in Orlando!
September 23rd, 2019
  Spanning the globe, from Australia to Canada, Japan, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and across Europe and the United States, these restaurants from KAYAK's most popular cities will fulfill diners' appetite for an authentic dining experience.

Featuring under the radar establishments and off the beaten path hotspots, the list compiles local favorites, as well as details on flight cost and when to book both your flight and your dining reservation.  Additionally, KAYAK and OpenTable share how to tip and what to order, including many of the restaurants' most well-known dishes, so food-focused travelers can confidently plan their next vacation to the cities that ranked among KAYAK's most popular destinations over the last six months.

"As travelers look for more authentic dining experiences, we teamed up with KAYAK to create a guide that helps food focused travelers find all of the best tips and recommendations in one place," said Caroline Potter, OpenTable's Chief Dining Officer. "From where to eat and what to order to when to book and how to get there, our goal is to make dining decisions in some of the world's most popular cities even easier."

To help uncover how travelers and diners are approaching their foodie escapes, KAYAK and OpenTable commissioned a survey which revealed 1 in 5 Americans will plan a trip based solely on how good they expect the food to be.

A separate survey, conducted on KAYAK's behalf by YouGov, found that nearly three quarters (73 percent) of Americans would pick a local restaurant over a high end restaurant when traveling. Additional key takeaways from the survey include:

Americans will travel for a good meal. 44 percent of Americans said they would book a flight or train or even take a road trip or bus ride just to dine at a specific restaurant. Many also noted that they'd take a long detour (30 percent) or a day trip (42 percent) just to dine at a restaurant they wanted to try.
Good food is worth buckling in for.  61 percent of Americans would travel an hour or more to eat at a restaurant on their wish list.
Travelers seek local vs. familiar Over 6 in 10 Americans (62 percent) agree they prefer to eat the local cuisine over more familiar food when on vacation.
To help the traveling foodie uncover the best hidden gem restaurants in some of KAYAK's most popular travel destinations, OpenTable looked to diners for their top recommendations. Here's what we found:

1.12th Avenue Grill - Honolulu, Hawaii
2.Alux Restaurante - Cancun, Mexico
3.Battista's Hole in the Wall - Las Vegas, Nevada
4.Bistro Campagne - Chicago, Illinois
5.Cafe Luxembourg - New York, New York
6.CRUST - Miami, Florida
7.Frances - San Francisco, California
8.Gilda by Belgious - Barcelona, Spain
9.Mamma Maria - Boston, Massachusetts
10.Musso & Frank Grill - Los Angeles, California
11.Nusret Dubai - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
12.Omonia Taverna & Bar - Frankfurt, Germany
13.Osteria Savio Volpe - Vancouver, British Columbia
14.Paddock & Vine - Sydney, Australia
15.Rosetta - Mexico City, Mexico
16.Schnitzelei Charlottenburg - Berlin, Germany
17.Serafina by the Water - Fort Lauderdale, Florida
18.Stella Cocktail Club - Dublin, Ireland
19.Terroni Queen - Toronto, Ontario
20.Tatel Madrid - Madrid, Spain
21.The Tap Room at Dubsdread- Orlando, Florida
22.Van Speyk - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
23.Westerns Laundry - London, England
24.Wirtshaus in der Au - Munich, Germany
25.開花屋 (Kaikaya by the Sea ) - Tokyo, Japan
Greek Lightning Liqueur arrives on the shores of South Florida
June 8, 2019  No Gen-X girls we did not say Greased Lightning but something to get just as excited about has arrived on the shores of South Florida.  Greek Lightning is a Rakomelo, a liqeuer from from Greece which resembles its Italian cousin Grappa.  An aromatic mythical beverage made with grape brandy, secret herbs and honey.  Cinnamon and honey comprise the gestalt of the flavor profile and while this meld is a Mediterranean favorite, many are unaware of the mythical qualities and health benefits long associated with the two.  The natural beverage weights in at a moderate 48 proof and is bottled in the famed olive producing region of Kalamata, Greece.  The honey comes from the Taygetos Mountains of Sparta. 
Greek Lightning Liqueur in South Florida

Park Tavern Announces Changes to Menu Lineup

 “Feel Good Food” and a Private Barrel Bourbon flight are just some of the highlights.

park tavern delray beach - spring salad

  Neighborhood restaurant Park Tavern in Delray Beach is debuting a new menu for the fall season. With a focus on farm-fresh ingredients, the restaurant is lightening up the menu and adding some healthier, “feel good” options.

Known for its warm hospitality, unparalleled service and casual American fare, the restaurant, under co-founder Chef Anthony Pizzo, changes the menu seasonally. This time around the dinner menu has expanded to include falafel, green chili hummus, cauliflower fried rice, avocado toast and imported Italian burrata on its “Snack” and “Starters” lists. New burgers include the California Turkey Burgerwith crispy tofu, crushed avocado, radish sprouts and chili-lime glaze on a multi-grain bun and the French Onion Burger, with caramelized onions, steak sauce and cave-aged Gruyère. A Spiced Duck Breast has been added to the “Signature Dishes” lineup and features wild Florida berry a l‘orange, ginger-scented red quinoa, Oregon pecans and blueberry-onion marmalade.


“We wanted the menu to offer feel-good food without losing our great Tavern-style menu,” said co-founder Brian Able. “We remain committed to elevating our food. The new offerings include vegetarian and gluten-free options, putting a stronger focus on feeding into Florida’s healthy lifestyle.” 

The brunch menu, which is served on Saturdays and Sundays, has added green chili hummus, falafel, avocado toast and burrata to the lineup. There are also add-on options for pancakes [wild blueberries and banana fosters] and Antarctic salmon for the salads.

The Happy Hour “Snacks & Shares” portion of the menu features green chili hummus, falafel and the Tavern Burger served with locally grown tomatoes and onions on a toasted brioche bun. The spirits side of the menu has added a sparkling option for wine by the glass and a new cocktail selection featuring Champagne Daiquiri, Mai Tai, tequila old-fashioned and more.

Also new to the bar program is a private barrel bourbon flight. The restaurant’s beverage team traveled to Kentucky to hand-select the barrels — Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare and Blanton’s — for its private label. Blanton’s Barrel #237 is 93 proof and has been aged six years, seven months. Buffalo Trace Barrel #44 is 90 proof and has been aged eight years and four months and Eagle Rare Barrel #405 is 90 proof and has been aged 11 years and seven months.

“These bourbons were chosen for their layered spice, complexity and quality,” said Able. “We hope our guests enjoy the bourbons as much as we had choosing them.” 

Park Tavern is located at 32 SE 2nd Ave. in Delray Beach. The website is http://parktaverndelray.com.

RumChata Freedom Bottle Salutes Veterans and Families

8/27/2018 - The Freedom Bottle Program has raised more than $750,000 over the past five years for Lone Survivor Foundation's mission to restore, empower, and renew hope for wounded veterans and their families through health, wellness, and therapeutic support. During that time, over 800 veterans and military family members have attended LSF's therapeutic retreat programs, thanks in large part to RumChata's generous support.  

"The RumChata Foundation is proud to support the Lone Survivor Foundation through its annual Freedom Bottle Program," said Tom Maas, RumChata Founder and Master Blender. "We are excited to see the funding being put to work for our veterans and their families and provide great LSF programs to support their lives."

"During LSF's progressive retreat program, we empower our participants with the skills and resources necessary to take ownership of their healing process and experience improved quality of life, which would not be possible without the support of organizations like the Rumchata Foundation. We are very grateful for the RumChata Foundation's continued support of LSF's mission and our nation's veterans," said Kevin Barber, LSF Executive Director.


Founded in 2010 by retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor Foundation provides therapeutic retreats for veterans and their families affected by Post Traumatic Stress, mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Chronic Pain, Military Sexual Trauma, and Care Giver Stress.

LSF's progressive retreat program utilizes a holistic approach to helping the entire family unit, all at no cost to them. Retreats provide tools and techniques that are immediately applicable to combat stressors in daily life, allowing the veteran and their family to adjust following military service.

LSF is hosting 31 retreats at their Texas retreat facility in 2018, serving almost 300 veterans and family members. To learn more about LSF, call 832-581-3592, visit www.lonesurvivorfoundation.org, connect with LSF on Twitter: @ls_foundation or on Facebook: @lonesurvivorfoundation.


The RumChata Foundation was formed to share in the world-wide success achieved by the RumChata brand. Its mission is to provide financial support to worthy causes that align with a brand enjoyed by millions around the world who work hard, are passionate and want to do good.

In addition to supporting Lone Survivor Foundation, The RumChata Foundation has also supported local and national charities, including but not limited to, various grass roots charitable organizations, The American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association, Variety Clubs and Gridiron Greats in addition to graduate student scholarship programs at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Illinois Restaurant Association Education Foundation.

Benihana Brings Iconic Dining Experience to Boca Raton

  August 2018 -Benihana, the nation's leading operator of Japanese-inspired Teppanyaki and Sushi Restaurants, is excited to announce the opening of its newest Benihana Restaurant May 23 at 9918 Glades Road, at the intersection of FL State Road 7/US Route 441 and Glades Road, in Boca Raton, Florida.

To celebrate this grand opening, Benihana is hosting two high school marching band performances during their opening festivities with Spanish River Community and West Boca Raton High Schools. Benihana will also make a donation to the Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund, helping those impacted by the heartbreaking events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high School in Parkland, Florida.

"We are proud to join Boca Raton and the nearby communities and welcome our newest Boca Raton team members to our Benihana family," said Benihana Chief Executive Officer and President Tom Baldwin. "We have developed a great local presence throughout South Florida and we are thrilled to be able to continue to expand where guests have always embraced our Benihana dining experiences."

The 7,800 square foot restaurant includes 21 teppanyaki dining tables where guests can enjoy the full Benihana experience. This new Benihana restaurant also includes a full-service cocktail bar with seating for 30 people. Guests looking to celebrate a special occasion can dine in our private dining or semi-private dining rooms each of which include four Teppanyaki dining tables.

Cuban & Miami-esque Inspired Version Of Fleming's Prime Steakhouse Opens On Brickell Avenue

  It's time to usher in a new era of a classic steakhouse. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar will soon be part of the irresistible pulse of Brickell, offering a one-of-a-kind dining experience with the finest cuts and local chef features inspired by the flavors of Miami. The new restaurant opens in the Brickell World Plaza on March 26. 

Guests will experience Fleming's Brickell's unique look and feel while wining and dining in the comfort and sophistication for which Fleming's is known. Whether it's the restaurant's award-winning wine program, which features an expertly curated list of wines available by the glass or bottle; or signature, hand-crafted cocktails, ranging from strong aromatic flavors like the Old Cuban to light refreshing tastes like the Blueberry Lemon Drop, there is something for every palate to savor and enjoy.

As guests enter the two-story restaurant's stunning glass storefront, they are warmly greeted with vaulted ceilings and a view of the 12-foot high, all-glass wine room, which houses almost 900 of Fleming's red wines as well as a refrigeration display case for non-red wines and champagnes. The spacious main dining room features booth seating and a view of the open kitchen. The bar offers a welcoming and open environment, featuring a liquor display island and beach-inspired quartz stone bar top. Guests can also enjoy a unique outdoor dining experience on the convertible patio. Inspired by Miami's unique arts and culture, Fleming's has commissioned three large paintings from Alex Mijares, merging his artistic style around delicious food, premium wines and an exciting atmosphere, as well as a 20' tall art piece from Mari Carmen Fernandez who focuses on experimenting with new techniques, adding textures and unique materials while also mixing colors to create one-of-a-kind hues. Weekday lunch has something for every appetite, from salads and sandwiches to flatbreads, including the Salmon Mediterranean Salad and California Burger. Fleming's lunch offerings are available Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Guests can also indulge in the restaurant's "Prime Happy Hour" from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. offering a wide selection of bar a la carte selections daily. For the guest who needs a bite to keep up with the non-stop Brickell nightlife, Fleming's "Late Night Lounge" will remain open Sunday through Wednesday until midnight and Thursday through Saturday until 1:00 a.m. 

Private events and VIP dining are a premier experience at Fleming's. Each private dining experience provides top-tier service and expertly curated menus to ensure each event is memorable. The private dining rooms include a 75" recessed TV with video conferencing capabilities, a 114" ceiling mounted retractable screen and drop-down projector and other audio capabilities for easy connectivity and presentations. The new restaurant will be led by Operating Partner Edward Everett and Chef Partner Carlos Sanz and is located at the Brickell World Plaza, 600 Brickell Ave., Suite 150, Miami, FL 33131.

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