Posted on Jun 22, 2018

How Many Chefs Does It Take To Make A Food Tour?

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Like soup on a slow simmer or wine in barrels aging, a food tour starts long before you walk through the door and say “hello”. Food tours can be found in over 200 cities in the U.S., last around three hours and can be complex for many reasons, first and foremost because they involve, well….. food. Small plates served shortly after the group is seated at multiple restaurant stops takes coordination, planning, and timing. And many people. Aside from chefs preparing awesome plates of yumminess, there are so many other people who make a food tour what it is. The restaurant host/hostess who takes the reservation and makes sure there is a place set aside for us. The staff who set up our spot the day we arrive. The manager or owner who visits the table during a busy night to greet our group. The chef, who not only prepares and plates the food, but often emerges from the kitchen to greet visitors with a smile, tells them about the dish and answers questions. Then there’s the wait staff who refill water glasses and take drink orders. And finally the someone or someones who whisk away our dirty dishes...

Posted on Jun 15, 2016

Stumped. And By A Simple Out-Of-The-Blue Question

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At step 93 I saw them. A family of three, dressed in casual attire, taking photos, looking around. Clearly not here for a workout. The steps I was climbing, known locally as The World’s Largest Outdoor Stair Master, the McKinley Monument steps, 4 tiers of 24, can put an amazing amount of hurt on your buns, thighs and calves. Peering over that last set to flat ground (yay), my gaze caught white tennis shoes, plaid shirt, and slow casual gate. Visitors. At first I ignored them. Completely out of breath and sweating profusely is no way to begin a conversation.  Maybe they’ll be gone, I thought, when I round the Monument.  But there they were, still in sight, the younger boy and older man had walked halfway down the steps to read the statue’s text.  Actually interested in the history of the place? I couldn’t resist. I approached the woman slowly, acting like I was adjusting my headphones, and asked, “Is this your first time here?” She smiled and said, “No, not for us, but for him”, and she pointed to the younger boy (20-something). “He’s a McKinley, he lives in Wheeling.  This is his first time here and...

Posted on May 07, 2013

What I Learned From A 98-Year-Old Guest

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98-years-old on a Canton Food Tour? I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I walked up to Pat to introduce myself and he handed me a sticker.  It was small and shiny.  I put the sticker on my shirt near my logo and it sparkled in the sun. That’s when I noticed he had “blinged” himself and others in the group.  This was going to be fun. The rest of the group soon joined us, we piled in the van, and were off.  First stop was Ben Heggy’s Chocolate Company.  Boy did it smell good when we opened the door.  As our group selected chocolates, Pat remarked, “I remember when those chocolate covered marshmallows were a penny”.  Everyone laughed. Basil Asian Bistro was next.  Pat slurped up the Asian noodles while others in the group were more picky.  Before we left, I noticed that restaurant owner, Tony Ly, had been “blinged” too.  After Basil it was on to Hazel Artisan Bakery. I enjoyed listening to the group chat, reminisce, and laugh together.  Chef Lonnie Ball placed scrumptious dessert platters down, two with lit candles, celebrating two Birthdays in the group, the reason for the tour.  The girls laughed. In between...

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