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From Godfather’s Pizza to the GOP

29 Nov

Is it all over for the former Godfather of pizza? Herman Cain announced that he is "re-assessing his campaign for the Presidency."

Herman Cain‘s run for the Republican Presidential nomination might soon be coming to an end. Not that I’m surprised at this, but it is surprising that it is the sexual allegations he faces that will be his undoing and not the fact that he exhibits so little of the intelligence and poise that should be required of the Leader of the Free World. He wouldn’t be the first politician to survive a sexual scandal (Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton) and at least it would have made him more interesting. His platform is so conservative and simple that it comes off (at least to me) a little like ignorance and a severe lack of awareness of the world we live in.

This week, Ginger White, a business woman from Atlanta alleged that she carried on an extramarital affair with Cain for over a decade (now that’s interesting to say the least!)  And since this is the second accusation of sexual impropriety against the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and former President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, it doesn’t look good for him in the race for the Presidency. Perhaps the problem is that these offenses have occurred before he has yet to hold public office?

Now I am not by any means knocking Cain’s accomplishments in the restaurant business world. Being the head of two successful enterprises in this industry is completely respectable and not an easy achievement. But he doesn’t seem to be transitioning well from pizza to politics. This 2012 race for the Presidency is not the first time he has run for office nor even the first time he has run for President. Cain ran for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2000 and in 2004 he ran for the US Senate seat in the state of Georgia, but lost in the primaries.

Isn’t it suspicious that the Republicans criticized Obama in 2008 for being too inexperienced, but now are embracing Cain as their front runner even though he has never won a political race? Food for thought. At least President Obama was a Senator and had engaged in politics at an international level. And I know that the Democrats are just as capable of slinging mud as the Republicans, but as far as über conservative and yet potentially adulterous Herman Cain is concerned I’d prefer it if he’d stuck to slinging (and singing about) pizzas!


Celebrity Restaurant Owners Have Their Cake But Not All Get To Eat It

1 Sep


celebrity owned restaurants

Celebs have the where-with-all to start restaurants, but not all have the ability to sustain them

With a good buzz, owning a restaurant can be a very lucrative business. A lot of what creates a good buzz is the kind of atmosphere a spot has and the kind of clientelle it attracts. If a restaurant is known for having celebrities frequent their establishment it can be just as valuable to their business as having a reputation for excellent food. Celebrities are aware of the effect that their presence can have on a restaurant’s business and a lot of them have decided to own and invest in restaurants themselves and cash in on some of that buzz.

Some celebs are very open about using their popularity to attract visitors their restaurants, like P. Diddy, Michael Jordan, and Britney Spears; they are involved in the restaurant’s PR campaign and either frequent the establishments themselves or host events that attract other celebrities to the establishment.

Others are real foodies and their involvement is more low-key like Robert DeNiro, Ryan Gosling, Cathy Moriarty, Tony Hawk and Stephen Baldwin. For these celebs, partnering with talented chefs and restaurant groups is a passion and a smart investment. Not all celebrity owned restaurants are an automatic success. A high-profile name might get an establishment the initial recognition but it doesn’t necessarily come with a guarantee, even in the restaurant business fame is a fickle friend and the food and service still have to be “A-list” to last.

Here are some of the most successful celebrity restaurant business ventures:

Robert Di Nero

 Ashton Kutcher

 Sean ‘P Diddy’ Combs

  • Justin’s – Serves upscale southern and Caribbean cuisine

 Justin Timberlake

 Ryan Gosling

  • Tagine– Moroccan cuisine and an intimate setting


  Quentin Tarantino

  Cathy Moriarty

 Toby Keith

  • I Love This Bar & Grill – Named after his #1 hit single ‘I Love This Bar.’ Serving American and southern cuisine.

 Don Shula


Meet the (Top Chef) Masters

11 Jul

Bravo TV's Top Chef Masters LogoBravo’s Top Chef Masters, a spin-off of the hit show Top Chef, is a reality show where 24 world-renowned chefs compete against each other in weekly challenges. Now that Top Chef Masters has wrapped its third season let’s take a look at who has won so far and where you can stick your fork in some of their delicious food!

Season one winner- Rick Bayless.

Rick Bayless

  • Claim to Fame: Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, and XOCO, franchise Mexican restaurants located in the Chicago area.
  •  Latest Venture: Bayless published his sixth cookbook on Mexican cuisine, Fiesta at Rick’s in 2010.
  • Also Noteworthy: Bayless created the Frontera Farmer Foundation; a nonprofit organization that promotes and funds small, sustainable farms serving the Chicago area. The Foundation’s goal is year-round interchange between  farmers and consumers,  in which seasonal local agriculture provides the foundation for sustainable regional cuisine.

Season two winner- Marcus Samuelsson.

Marcus Samuelsson

  • Claim to Fame: Aquavit in NYC, chef and co-owner of the hit Scandinavian inspired restaurant.
  • Latest Venture: Red Rooster which opened in Harlem in 2010 was the venue for a fundraising dinner for the Democratic National Committee attended by President Barack Obama.
  • Also Noteworthy: You can taste his food at C-House located in the Affina Hotel in Chicago, or the more casual burger joint Marc Burger in Chicago, IL and Costa Mesa, CA.

Season three winner- Floyd Cardoz

Floyd Cardoz

  • Claim to Fame: Tabla (closed December 2010 after 12 years)
  • Latest Venture: North End Grill is set to open at the end of 2011. This new collaborative effort with longtime parner, Danny Meyer will have a seafood focus, quite different from the Indian inspired Tabla
  • Also Noteworthy: If you happen to be a Mets fan, Cardoz is the consulting chef at El Verano Taqueria at Citifield.