Are you looking for the best reasons why healthy food is good for you? While weight control is a popular reason why you may consider eating healthy, there are many other benefits to eating healthy food. If you want to understand more about what this means for your body, take a moment to review the following information.
The Benefits of Eating Healthy Foods for Weight Control. It is easy to see why you should take the time to eat healthy when you think about all the weight-loss benefits it can have. Weight loss is often a major reason that you may consider eating healthy but this alone is just one of the many benefits that come along with eating healthy food.
In addition to helping you shed pounds, eating healthy food is also good for you because it helps keep your body healthy. By eating healthy foods, you will improve your digestive system and you will get a better night’s sleep. This will help you feel better throughout the day and sleep at night which will help you to be better able to deal with life’s demands.
The Benefits of Eating Healthy Foods For Weight Control. Eating healthy does not just help you lose weight but it is also good for your heart. Heart disease is known to be an increase in risk for people who do not eat healthy foods. Eating healthy helps to lower the amount of cholesterol that builds up in your blood which helps to reduce your risk for heart disease.
Another benefit of eating healthy is that it can also help you stay healthy during pregnancy. The effects of having a baby on your health can be drastic so it is important to pay attention to what you are doing to your body and make sure that you are taking in the proper nutrients that your baby needs. Eating foods that are high in vitamins and minerals will also be important to your baby’s health.
In addition to the many reasons that eating healthy is good for you, it is important to know how to cook healthy foods so that they are easy to prepare. The last thing you want to do is spend your time chopping up vegetables and fruits only to find that your healthy food takes longer to prepare than you would prefer. When you are cooking healthy foods, remember to use ingredients that are low in calories but high in nutrition. You want your food to be flavorful but not so flavorful that it will give your stomach acid reflux.
Why Healthy Food is Good for You. Many of us enjoy eating healthy food on a regular basis but there are times when we need to go to extremes to help our bodies get the right amount of nutrients we need. If you eat too much junk food or eat too much fat, you may find that your body is not getting all the nutrients that it needs to function properly. There are many different foods that are high in calories that you can eat in order to ensure that your body is getting everything that it needs.
Avoiding these foods will help you avoid health complications like high cholesterol and heart disease. Eating healthy foods will keep your heart healthy by keeping your body properly hydrated, reducing your chances of becoming overweight and developing certain cancers, improving your digestion and improving your digestive system and reducing your risk for various types of cancer. By eating a wide variety of healthy foods you will have an easier time living your life and enjoying all that food has to offer.
Distinguished by an increased emphasis on marketing, the 1987 Monterey Wine Festival brought together 1,100 attendees and more than 200 California wineries in the nation’s largest and most comprehensive wine event, March 8 to 11, in Monterey, CA.
Restaurateurs, retailers, distributors, and consumers participated in three premier wine tastings, daily luncheons with prestigious winemakers, and educational sessions by some of the biggest names in wine. Attendees also were on hand for historic firsts, the first Advanced Sommelier Course and Master Sommelier Examination held in America, and the subsequent certification of the nation’s first woman Master Sommelier.
This year’s festival was bigger and better due to an important change in leadership. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) brought its resources and convention experience to Monterey, succeeding the 10-year sponsorship of the Monterey Peninsula Hotel and Restaurant Association, by unanimous agreement of the boards of directors of both groups. The event, formerly known as the California Wine Festival, suffered declining attendance in recent years, due to poor programming, a policy which excluded many wineries from participating, and competition from other festivals, according to wine industry sources.
The NRA increased the number of exhibiting wineries from 100 to more than 200 and strengthened the educational program. It also made the event more convenient for restaurateurs and retailers by switching the dates from early December to March. Providing access to key winery figures was another priority. Winery owners, presidents, and winemakers participated in the evening tastings, which featured sparkling and dessert wines as well as red and white varieties. They poured their wines, mingled, and answered attendees’ questions.
Ted Balestreri, co-owner of The Sardine Factory restaurant in Monterey and immediate past president of the NRA, was instrumental in achieving NRA sponsorship. “This is what it takes to put wine on the map,” he said, observing hundreds of attendees tasting red wines in the Monterey Conference Center ballroom. “We’ve got the wines and the people, and now we have the way to broker wine to the public without all the mystique.”
TASTE OF MONTEREY
The opening night reception at the Monterey Bay Aquarium set the tone for the festival–an informal gathering marked by the warm welcome of the wine and hospitality industries. Attendees would spend the next three days enjoying fine wines and food as well as increasing their knowledge. Chefs of local restaurants and hotels presented “A Taste of the Monterey Peninsula” in the Aquarium, reserved that evening for the festival. It was a lavish array of local specialties such as chicken in roast garlic cream sauce, artichokes with red pepper mayonnaise, and the peninsula’s smoked shellfish and prawns. Vintners poured more than 100 selections, including California sparkling wines in a variety of styles, plus late-harvest Rieslings, ports, and propietary dessert wines. The Aquarium’s renowned marine life collection provided the evening’s entertainment. Sharks, bat rays, wolf eels, and scores of other sea creatures glided by in their realistic habitat exhibits as attendees strolled and sipped.
Educational presentations offered choices for a range of interests. A panel of distinguished California winemakers explored the various styles of Cabernet Sauvignon produced in California, Bordeaux, the Loire, and Italy. The technically-minded delved into a discourse by a University of California-Davis enology professor on research developments such as improved yeast genetics. Lighter sessions such as “Wine Through Art” and “Entertaining By Women In Wine” balanced the program.
Sessions on wine marketing for restaurateurs drew crowds. Three nationally-recognized restaurant professionals discussed their successful merchandising programs in a panel chaired by Michael Hurst of 15th Street Fisheries in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, himself an award-winning owner-operator. Thad Eure, Jr., owner of The Angus Barn restaurant, Raleigh, NC, spoke about wine displays and other methods he used to sell $500,000 in wine last year, including placing a bottle on each table in his 550-seat restaurant. Donald Monette, owner of The Flagstaff House Restaurant, Boulder, CO, spoke in favor of half bottles of wine for marketing flexibility. His award-winning wine list has 75 half bottles. Mary Ross, cellarmaster of The 95th Restaurant in Chicago, discussed special tastings and wine symposia that make a restaurant a destination for the knowledgeable wine customer.
A presentation by Restaurant Business wine columnist Edmund Osterland, America’s first certified Master Sommelier in 1973, focused on staff training as a remedy for low wine sales in restaurants. His program of sales and service training combined with wine tasting practice eliminates the “product ignorance, low self-confidence, and poor merchandising skills” by which he defines the poor wine salesperson. “Wine Lists Made Easy” by wine consultant and fellow Master Sommelier Ronn Wiegand of Napa, CA, covered the style of wine lists, selection of wines, pricing theory, and the merits of private labeling.
A panel discussion on American cuisine trends, moderated by former Restaurant Business editor Joan Black Bakos, brought together three of California’s top culinarians, Bradley Ogden, Cindy Pawlcyn, and Piero Selvaggio. The trio reached consensus on the continuing importance of fresh ingredients and regional-ethnic cooking styles in the American kitchen. They also looked forward to greater use of hot peppers and spices, herb-infused and flavored oils and vinegars in sauces, dressings, and marinades, and Asian techniques and ingredients.
Bradley Ogden, executive chef of Campton Place Hotel, San Francisco, predicted success for bistro-style concepts giving the customer a wide variety of tastes. His own kitchen splits and combines orders for no extra charge. Ogden also called for “more straightforward food and better price-value” for a discerning public.
Pawlcyn, executive chef/owner of San Francisco’s Fog City Diner and two other California restaurants, Rio Grill in Carmel and Mustards in the Napa Valley, noted, “a definite increase in hot foods, both in the Mexican genre and Thai cooking.” She added that she now finds available a wide variety of chili peppers, including anchos, pasillas, fire chilies, and Thai peppers. Pawlcyn combines hot ingredients with Asian elements in eclectic dishes such as swordfish flavored with jalapeno pepper, cilantro, and lemon grass.
Selvaggio, owner of a pair of Italian restaurants, Valentino in Santa Monica, CA, and Primi in Los Angeles, agreed with his colleagues that dining on a variety of small dishes remains in vogue, although he declared the word “grazing” passe, and likewise “yuppie.” Also receiving his thumbs-down was Cajun food: “The poor fish cannot be blackened any more.” He predicted that restaurants with convenient service hours and diverse menus will do well. “People are coming to restaurants whenever they want to eat, for whatever they want to eat,” he said.
Most restaurant operators spoke highly of the festival’s organization and content. A common complaint bemoaned choosing between appealing educational sessions offered concurrently. “Some of the presentations were so good, it was hard to decide where to go,” said Bob Rohden, general manager of Geja’s Cafe in Chicago. “I wish I could have seen more. I would have liked one more day, and repeats on some of the sessions I missed.”
Mitch Berman, food and beverage director of Embassy Square Suites in Washington, DC, said he came to Monterey in search of wines for the company’s new American cuisine restaurant which will debut this summer. “It was great to go to one place and have so much access to owners, winemakers, and their wine,” he said. “Trying to get that much information and tasting from your local distributors would take months.”
Robert Lahrman, manager of St. Elmo’s Steak House in Indianapolis, IN, found two new Cabernets and a late-harvest Riesling for his 130-bottle wine list, one of the city’s largest. He praised the hospitality. “Everyone was so friendly and outgoing, inviting you to private tastings and winery tours, treating you like a VIP. There was very little hard-sell.”
Rohden added that the festival gave him an opportunity to meet new people, renew relationships, and accumulate anecdotes as well as new labels for the customers of Geja’s, a 100-seat basement spot with a fondue menu and a commitment to wine merchandising. “Just to be able to mention “this wine I first tasted at the Monterey Wine Festival’ indicates that we’re out looking for new things, keeping abreast.”
The American debut of the Master Sommelier examination program was a coup for the nation’s wine identity. Invited by the NRA, the British Court of Master Sommeliers conducted the course work and testing for the first time outside London at a nearby Monterey location during the festival. Five British Master Sommeliers presided along with four American Masters: Osterland, Wiegand, Fred Dame of Monterey, and David O’Connor of San Francisco.
Eighteen candidates from restaurants, hotels, and the wine trade, selected on the strength of their resumes, took the Advanced Sommelier Course, an intensive review of wine theory and practice. Five passed on to the grueling three-part Master Sommelier diploma examination. The first part consisted of questions on the service of wine, sherry, port, Cognac, and cigars. The second part tested worldwide viticultural theory. In the final part, the candidates were asked to identify a selection, of wines by vintage, origin, variety, and shipper in a blind tasting.
The sole successful candidate, sommelier Madeline Triffon of The London Chop House in Detroit, MI, became the first American woman Master Sommelier and the sixth American overall. Triffon said she was very honored and surprised to have earned the diploma. “The program far exceeded by expectations,” she said. “The course work was terrific. It was such an opportunity to learn from the British Masters who were here.” In England, only 10 candidates are accepted for testing yearly, and only one or two will pass.
Bringing the prestigious program to America was the idea of Fred Dame, The Sardine Factory’s cellarmaster and resident Master Sommelier, and co-owner Ted Balestreri. “This program makes the job of sommelier/wine steward a profession,” says Dame, who traveled to London to earn his diploma in 1984. He likened the exam to “the Mt. Everest of the sommelier profession.”
A successful wine promotion can be as small as a tasting lunch for a group of local wine and food lovers or as grand as an 80-wine, 1200-person tasting such as the one Meadowood Country Club hosts each summer during the Napa Valley Wine Auction.
A wine event can have widely different goals, from focusing press attention on your restaurant, hotel, or club to bringing in new customers and generating excitement among your existing clientele.
But no matter what its size or who it’s for, a wine event is never as easy to organize as it sounds.
WORTH THE TROUBLE
Don’t let that stop you. Because when it’s done right, a wine tasting is one of the trendiest, most successful methods for building business and establishing a sophisticated reputation at the same time. “Promotionally, wine tastings are worth every bit of work they take,’ says Barry Mills, cellarmaster at New York City’s Windows On The World, unquestionably one of the country’s leading wine-oriented restaurants with $2.5 million in wine sales per year. “Each time the press mentions that an existing tasting is taking place at Windows On The World, it enhances our reputation as a serious restaurant committed to the best in food and wine.’
Wine events are, of course, no longer new. Restaurants such as Windows On The World or hotels such as San Francisco’s Stanford Court have been mounting tastings for years. But the majority of restaurants, clubs and hotels still haven’t tried the idea.
“It’s surprising to me that more restaurants don’t do tastings because they’re a perfect promotional and educational opportunity and customers love them,’ says Richard Lavin, owner of 100-seat Lavin’s in New York City, now in its fourth year of Invite-The-Winemaker luncheons. About 40 winemakers and winery owners a year pour their wine at Lavin’s midtown Manhattan restaurant.
“A lot of restaurants, clubs and hotels in California and New York will host tastings,’ stresses Michaela Rodeno, vice president, communications for the sparkling wine firm Domaine Chandon. “But as a winery, we’d like to see tastings done in other cities around the country.’
Rodeno says this has already begun to happen. (Domaine Chandon began a program of “wine training staff seminars’ for restaurants and hotels a year and a half ago and has done more than 125 of these seminars for the trade thus far.)
Now that some pioneering restaurateurs have broken the ice, other restaurants are adapting past successes– and avoiding past mistakes–in creating their own wine events. By knowing what’s worked for others in the past, you can tailor a wine tasting to fit your own business needs, which will give added thrust to your existing promotional activities.
NOT JUST FOR SNOBS
The first myth to erase from your mind is that wine events are somber affairs that take place in staid settings. The restaurants and hotels that do the best tastings have one thing in common: They all make the experience casual and fun.
Lavin’s Invite-The-Winemaker program is an example. At lunch (two seatings), every customer is given complimentary 2-ounce “tastes’ of two different wines from a single winery. The visiting winemaker or winery principal (Lavin does not invite wine sales reps) is on hand to introduce himself and chat briefly–and informally –with customers.
“I often walk around with the winemaker,’ explains Lavin. “Generally, we just ask customers “Which wine do you prefer?’–not “Do you like wines?’ This isn’t a wine class. We don’t want to put our customers or the winemaker on the spot. As a restaurant, we want people to enjoy themselves; and we don’t want to be pretentious.’
The visiting winemaker’s wines–besides being offered as “tastes’–are also featured by the glass and are availability by the bottle. At the same time, the regular selection of wines by the glass and bottle is available so customers don’t feel compelled to order the featured winemaker’s wine if they’d prefer to drink something they are already familiar with.
KEEP IT CASUAL
Casualness is equally important when a hotel restaurant does a wine tasting. At New York City’s year-and-a-half-old Novotel Hotel, wine tastings in the Wine Bistro are stand-up, impromptu, and complimentary. And, they are open to hotel guests and general public alike. “We don’t want to have businesslike tastings,’ says food and beverage manager Richard Chanofsky. “We’re trying to do something different and we’re not just looking at the hotel market. We want to create a new era for hotels by encouraging business from hotel guests, local business people, and city residents.
The Novotel tastings are held several times a month, always on “slow’ (Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday) evenings. A tasting table is set up near the bar and anyone in the hotel is encouraged to wander in for complimentary tastes. A winery representative is on hand to pour and talk about the wine. “Depending on when a customer walks in, he might be offered anything from three different Cabernets to new releases from a boutique California winery,’ says Chanofsky. The tastings, he adds, have acted as “a profitable venture,’ because they encourage other wine sales. Incidentally, the complimentary tastes offered at the tasting table are provided by the winery, not purchased by the hotel.
There are two basic types of wine tastings: stand-up and sit-down. Stand-up tastings are generally for larger groups of people. They’re also best when you want to stage an event that is as much social as it is serious.
Sit-down tastings are more structured and generally more academic. That doesn’t mean they’re less fun– simply that the tasting has a purpose and the tasters have a goal. “Some of the best sit-down tastings involve a dinner,’ says Richard Lavin. “We did one tasting dinner with vintages going back to 1946 as aperitifs, then we matched the winery’s new releases to a multi-course dinner–all new American cuisine.
A stand-up tasting of old wines and new releases wouldn’t have been as exciting. The sit-down tasting dinner put the wines in perspective and gave the tasting meaning.’
Whether your tasting is sit-down or stand-up, the most innocuous details can be devastating when they’re overlooked, so plan carefully. “I remember a tasting in a hotel ballroom where the hotel staff had shampooed the carpet the night before,’ says Michael Rodeno. “The place reeked so strongly of chemical solvent, no one could taste the wine.’
Sometimes even obvious details–like having enough corkscrews–are overlooked or neglected. At the pre-auction Napa Valley tasting that Meadowood Country Club hosts each year, 80 vintners pour their wines for 1,200 people on the club’s fairway. Because the event is large and held outdoors, it requires a significant amount of organization and has a chairman who begins planning nearly a year in advance. Most of the tasters strolling along the green on that summer evening have no idea of the behind-the-scenes details that make the event a success. For instance, parked and camouflaged on the perimeter of the fairway is a refrigerated milk truck hooked up to a generator to make sure all the white wines remain properly chilled throughout the evening.
Besides attention to detail, the establishments that put on successful tastings say the most basic necessity is a well-trained staff. “Eighty percent of our wine sales are due to staff training,’ says Windows’ Barry Mills. “We couldn’t do 800-person stand-up tastings such as the New York Wine Experience without a well-trained staff.’
Staff training is your responsibility, but wineries are often willing to help. Many wineries offer operators free-of-charge staff training seminars to help restaurants promote their products. “We go to the restaurant or hotel and teach the staff how to encourage wine sales and conduct wine events,’ says Rodeno. “It’s basic stuff and we make it fun.’
If you’re thinking about hosting a wine event and you’d like to have a winery involved, remember that you have something valuable to offer. Groups of vintners that tour the U.S.–such as the Napa Valley Wine Forum–are always looking for new restaurants and hotels to display their wines and hold events. By having a reputation for good food and good service, you’ll be noticed by wine distributors and others in the industry that report back to the wineries. You may even want to write several wineries directly, suggesting a tasting.
But whether a tasting has a participating winery or not, the bottom line is the same–successful wine tastings are a proven way to enhance your image and build your business.
This is the third article in our special series–Sales, Service, Taste–on how to develop a successful wine training program.
SALES: THE SECOND BOTTLE
Since 1983, when wine first exceeded beer and liquor sales in our restaurants, it has become increasingly important to take advantage of your customers’ keen interest in wine.
Customers who begin with wine in your lounge or bar seem more likely to order more wine at the dining room table than those who do not. This certainly represents a solid sales opportunity to offer these guests new and different wine selections with their dinner. This trend also suggests that a more aggressive attempt at merchandising wine in your bar can make suggesting wine easier for your waitstaff in the dining room.
If you decide to increase your emphasis on the wine in the lounge, here are some points to remember:
1. When ordered in the bar/lounge, wine is often one of the first impressions of the quality that your operation offers; make sure the wine you serve is a quality product.
2. Make sure you let the customer know that they are getting a recognized brand when it comes to house wine. Make an effort to pour house wines from the bottle. This shows that you’re proud of what you serve (a glass of red or white on a cocktail tray has no perceived quality or brand identity).
3. When in the lounge, try to pour wines from the bottle so that the customer can see the label. If the customer knows what they’ve been served in the lounge, it’s easier for them to request the same wine in the dining room.
One of the best ways to increase your average check is, of course, to sell more appetizers and desserts. Similarly with wine, the sale of that “second bottle’ can significantly increase profits. Here are some points to teach your sales staff that will enable them to sell the second bottle more easily:
Obviously, the second bottle can’t be recommended until the customer has been served the first one. Stress the importance of taking the wine order with the food order. This way, the waiter can get the first bottle on the table as soon as possible.
In order to sell the second bottle, serve the first bottle with the appetizers so that a new wine can be suggested with the main course. In order to use “The Recommended Approach,’ you must train your staff how to create the opportunity to sell the second bottle. Once the fundamental technique is understood everyone will become more successful salespersons. Examine the appropriate steps to be taken.
Assume you’re serving a party of four persons who have just ordered a bottle of wine.
Make sure that your staff brings the bottle to the table first (before serving the appetizers). This gets everyone involved in tasting the wine.
Just before the main course is served, teach your staff to approach the table and pour the remaining wine into the glasses.
Have the staff then say . . . “Your dinner is almost ready to be served, would you like to try a different wine with the main course or perhaps you’d like to stay with another bottle of your first choice.’
By using the latter approach your staff will be much more successful in raising their average checks, not to mention their tips!
Remember, it all hinges on getting the first bottle served early, the second should soon easily follow.
SERVICE: HANDLING WINE
Good service in the restaurant is something that customers expect and usually receive. Exceptional service, especially when it comes to wine is what creates particular interest in your operation such that it becomes a “wine destintation.’
Your goal should be to have everyone who handles wine in the dining room, do it with an air of professionalism. Customers are not used to seeing professional wine service because most waitstaff persons haven’t been trained properly. Here, is your opportunity to polish your staff’s wine service skills and impress your clientele.
Basically what you need to do is to educate your waiters and waitresses as to what the customer likes and dislikes regarding the service of wine. Here are some things to focus on:
All staff should carry bottles of wine in the dining room with an air of respect for their contents. Many waiters can be seen running with bottles, finally plunking them on the table as they would a bottle of catsup. Teach them to move slowly and gracefully in approaching the table. This leads the guests to believe something special is about to arrive. The bottle should be placed gently on the table with the label facing all the guests.
The capsule should be cut cleanly around the top without picking up the bottle from the table. Care must be taken not to tear the capsule as it is part of the aesthetic presentation of the wine. Never twist the bottle; twist the corkscrew until all of its five coils have completely penetrated the cork. This ensures a secure grip on the cork so that it can be removed in its entirety.
Once the cork is removed it should be placed to the right of the host. Never smell the cork! The cork’s purpose is to protect the wine from air and thus, is inspected to ensure that it’s not all dried out. The wine itself is what should be smelled; teaching your waitstaff not to smell corks, and why, is an important step in improving your wine service.
Careful attention must be paid when the wine is actually poured. Most often this is done in a hurried fashion. Time should be taken to pour slowly and elegantly, again showing respect for what’s inside the bottle. Never let the mouth of the bottle touch the wine glass. Handling the wine with respect each time it is poured has a profound effect on the image of professionalism of your operation.
Many customers do not feel comfortable with the ritual of tasting the wine to see if it is all rights. I don’t blame them. After all, we don’t ask them to taste their steak, do we?
In order to make the customer more at ease with the initial sampling procedure, ask that the person who pours the wine for the host stand out of direct contact (sight) with them. Many waiters pour a taste sample and then stare at the host. This makes the person uncomfortable, leading them to rush through the procedure just to get it over with. This is precisely what inhibits people from ordering wine with their meal.
The term body refers to how the wine feels in the mouth or how it “fills’ the mouth. In all wines we find sugars, alcohol, glycerine, acids, tannins, etc. Some wines, we say, are better endowed than others because they have more of these particular substances. When you describe a wine’s feeling in the mouth, you say it is either “light-bodied,’ “medium-bodied,’ or “full-bodied.’
Light-bodied wines are easy to drink. They go down as easily as water. They go down as easily as water.
Medium-bodied wines have more substance to them; they seem to weigh more on the palate. They fill the mouth with a richer, more velvety quality.
Full-bodied wines make their presence known in the mouth. They are assertive, they can coat the tongue. A simple analogy is that light-bodied wines are like water, medium-bodied wines can be compared to skim-milk, and full-bodied wines are like rich, whole milk.
Body is an important concept when it comes to matching wines with foods. Light-bodied wines go better with simple, everyday foods that don’t require seasonings or sauces. As the wines become full-bodied, they tend to go better with dishes of a more assertive nature. The more intensely flavored (strong spices, rich sauces) the food, the more full-bodied the wines must be so as not to be dominated by the food flavors.
In order to ensure that your staff is comfortable with the term “body,’ and how to use it, you should conduct tastings to demonstrate wines of differing bodies. The easiest way is to start with a simple house white wine and compare it simultaneously with a full-bodied Chardonnay from California (e.g. Edna Valley, Chalone, and Far Niete.)
Don’t forget to conduct these tastings for your staff in a blind, side-byside comparison format. Then it will be easier to perceive the taste difference that you’ll be trying to demonstrate.
After they have tasted the two wines, ask them to identify on the scale where each wine falls in relation to body as far as the other is concerned.
Once your staff is familiar with describing wines of extreme differences, than you should compare two Chardonnays blind. This is where you should start if your staff is more advanced than others.