The Underground Culinary Tour

The Underground Culinary Tour by Damian Mogavero, Crown Business 2017, cloth $27.00, 320 pages

The Underground Culinary Tour by Damian Mogavero, Crown Business 2017, cloth $27.00, 320 pages Thanks Blogging for Books!

I never eat in a restaurant that’s over a hundred feet off the ground and won’t stand still.

Calvin Trillin

Chef’s are stars and restaurants are their stages, and who doesn’t love a backstage tour?

Foodie and data geek, Damian Mogavero runs the backstage tour of all time, but you have to be invited. And to get invited you have to be a food exec at a place like Cinnabon, Buffalo Wild Wings, or California Pizza Kitchen. One of the people who will make kale, kombucha, and green tea trickle down into what most of us eat. Pumpkin spice anyone?

So if you can’t get on the tour, read this book. You’ll learn why your waiter is making you happy–it’s not the upselling, it’s the attentiveness. You’ll learn why small plates are on everyone’s menu; it seems to be because Tom Colicchio and his wife were always ordering appetizers when they ate out–so why not design the menu that way?

Sliders, craft cocktails, and Neapolitan pizza don’t just happen. It takes a data guy to spot a trend and make it marketable. But he digs in even deeper, figuring out why one restaurateur can sell oysters at cost and still make a profit. Or why one server just needed a little training to move from selling glasses of wine to bottles.

And if you’ve ever wondered how restaurateurs know how much food to order–a lot of time they don’t–until Mogavero comes along with his analysis of operational data. He looks at what guests are doing–when they eat, how much they spend, on what drinks and food–to spot trends that a restaurant can capitalize on.

There’s a lot back-patting of his corporate clients, but also some great background on who really develops the dishes for celebrity restaurants and the genius bits of presentation that get us all instagramming. So while it may no longer be the height of sophistication to eat at the rotating top of a skyscraper, you can hardly put too many chairs on a rooftop bar these days.

And that’s how Mogavero sums it up. Restaurants are complicated organisms and you can spot innovation in four places–ingredients, beverage, space, and and ineffable X-factor. So anyone for a green tea latte on the roof delivered by instagram-ready wait staff?

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About Appetite for Books

read, cook, eat, repeat
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