A Super Week of Dining = February 10- The Connected Table LIVE

Predictions are restaurants will score well this week starting with Super Bowl Sunday February 7 and ending with Valentine’s Day February 14 with Chinese New Year (starts Feb. 8) and Mardi Gras (culminating Feb. 9) in between. A few statistics we found:

On Super Bowl Sunday Americans will consume
1.3 billion chicken wings
278 million avocados
325 million gallons of beer
11.2 million pounds of potato chips
and 31% will order takeout
Source: Time.com/money (2/6/2016)

Check out this Guacamole recipe from Avocados from Mexico

Check out this Guacamole recipe from Avocados from Mexico

Restaurant and retail spending for Chinese New Year exceeds Thanksgiving: Last year Americans spent around $60 billion during the four-day Thanksgiving holiday. In contrast the week of Chinese New Year generated nearly $100 billion for Chinese shops and restaurants. Source: World Economic Forum (Nov. 2015)

Mardi Gras generates $850 million annually for the City of New Orleans. Source: New Orleans CVB

Valentine’s Day is the second most popular holiday for dining out after Mother’s Day with one-quarter of Americans making reservations. 31% of adults favor restaurant gift cards as Valentine’s Day gifts.Source: National Restaurant Association (2/3/2013)

2016 is the Year of The Monkey

Wednesday, February 10, we’re celebrating Chinese New Year with two native New Yorkers, each fluent in Chinese cooking with his own signature style. First is Ed Shoenfeld (EatingwithEddie), a pioneering restaurateur with an encyclopedic mind when it comes to Chinese cooking. His current concepts include top rated Red Farm (2 locations) and Decoy.

Ed Schoenfeld, Restaurateur, Red Farm and Decoy, both in New York City

Ed Schoenfeld, Restaurateur, Red Farm and Decoy, both in New York City

Ed’s interest in food and cooking was nurtured by his Hungarian grandmother, broadened by his own studies, and honed by chef-emigres from China in the late 1960s. In the 1970s Ed was front in center in the movement to bring authentic regional Chinese dishes to the US. He began his restaurant career as the maitre’d in charge of the front of the house at Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan, one of New York’s first Hunan restaurants and one that garnered four stars in its New York Times review.

Torched Salmon Cocktail by Red Farm Chef Joseph Ng

Over the years, Ed has created dozens of restaurants as an owner-operator and as a consultant. Among them are Chinatown Brasserie, Pig Heaven, Chop Suey Louie’s Litchi Lounge, and away from the Chinese culinary idiom, The Bear Cafe in Woodstock, NY; Cafe Marimba, City Cafe, and the eponymous Vince and Eddie’s in New York City. Of course, one of the best Chinese meals we ever had was cooked by Ed himself at his home. If he ever invites you to dinner…Accept!

Chef Chris Cheung

Next we speak with Chef Chris Cheung whose latest concept is East Wind Snack Shop in Brooklyn. Chris’s grandparents, came from Taishan, in Guangdong Province and settled in Chinatown where his mother worked as a seamstress, and Chris grew up surrounded by Cantonese food and culture. After graduating from New York Restaurant School, Chris worked at restaurants that included Nobu, Jean Georges and Celadon and later held Executive Chef positions at Ruby’s Foo’s and Monkey Bar. He traveled to Shanghai to cook and immerse himself in the local food culture, working with local farmers and fishermen.

Chef Chris Cheung’s Sweet Chili Ribs (photo: Leslie Brienza)

East Wind Snack Shop, based on traditional Chinese tea rooms and coffeehouses, is a far cry from the high end restaurants where Chris earned his chops and made a name for himself. Now you could say he’s earned his chopsticks with a casual, appealing concept featuring Chris’s handmade dumplings, bao buns, sweet chili ribs and other dishes that will appeal to both Brooklyn hipsters and the old guard.

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3 Must Have’s That Resolve Conflict

Conflict is a natural and even healthy aspect of life. It enables us to see another perspective of an issue, to creatively discuss and seek solutions to our differences, to learn to be open-minded and flexible, to practice the fine art of compromise or in some instances to graciously concede to the other party’s wishes. On many levels, it can be a very useful tool for our personal growth and development enabling us to better get along with one another. Yet for a large portion of the population, conflict spells f-i-g-h-t, from which we either prepare our defenses or flee the scene in haste. It’s not uncommon for some to engage in the conflict resolution process only to be met with frustration and an unsatisfactory conclusion. Here are three must have’s that enable us to determine the success of finding a solution to our differences. They are:

Communication: a critical technique that few are proficient in, communication is absolutely essential to successfully expressing our point of view, to clarify what outcome we are seeking, and to be able to listen to and understand the other party’s position as well.

Here are a few simple but powerful techniques to employ when expressing yourself:
• Listen and speak from a compassionate position rather than a purely intellectual one. Be willing to not only understand logically what the other person is saying but also to feel their emotions as well. This provides a deeper level of understanding. Listen with the intent of understanding, not to determine your response.
• Speak without offending; listen without defending. That means to speak truthfully and honestly but with concern for the other person’s feelings. Listen with an open mind and seriously consider what the other person is saying.
• Avoid using the terms right or wrong. Differences are simply that: differences. They do not necessarily denote right or wrong. Allow each person to have their own opinions or preferences.
• Eye contact conveys both confidence (in the one speaking) and interest (in the one listening). Maintaining eye contact indicates both are engaged and invested in this process.
• Keep it brief, simple, clear, and respectful at all times. Failure to do so can lead to a breakdown in the negotiation strategy.

Care and Concern: It is absolutely critical that each individual feels they are important. From the get go, express your concern for their feelings, needs, and their satisfaction with the outcome of this process. This alleviates concerns from the other party about being treated fairly and enables them to be more relaxed, open, and cooperative.

Capability: It is critical to be realistic in what we are seeking which will resolve this issue. Do the current circumstances allow for the outcome we desire? is the other party capable of doing what we’ve asked or giving us what we are seeking? An unrealistic expectation sets us up for failure which will only raise our levels of frustration and prolong the process of resolution.

Most of our disagreements are relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of life. Keep everything in perspective. Any conflict can be reasonably resolved if both parties follow these simple recommendations.

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January Jones with Terry Levine Worldwide

Terri Levine
Best-selling author Terri Levine is the owner of Terri Levine Worldwide. She is known as one of the top business and executive coaching experts in the world. She assists businesses worldwide with business growth, sales and marketing. She has more than 30 years of business experience, encompassing work with more than 5,000 business owners and entrepreneurs in a variety of industries. She is also a best-selling author and keynote speaker.

Terri has owned multiple successful businesses in various industries, the first of which she started at age 22. An expert in consulting, coaching, advising, training and all aspects mentoring, her company takes a comprehensive and individual look at the sales, marketing operations and even the owner’s mindset in each business her firm works with to find hidden income opportunities, to unlock new sources of revenue and to create massive profits.