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Lean in on being human

In our business, it’s not enough to prepare and serve fabulous food. Hospitality is about how we make people feel while they are enjoying the fabulous food. It’s about the whole experience. In other words, our soft skills must be equal to our technical skills: “as artificial intelligence makes further inroads into your daily work these uniquely human skills are what will differentiate your team members from the bots… If we are to successfully co-exist with increasingly sophisticated technology, we need to amp up our humanity.”

Ways to do this? Be as focused on how something went well as you are on what was achieved. Acknowledge set-backs and encourage those close to it that, yes, this is a tough time – but we will get through it! Recognize soft skills in action, and specifically (great job handling that frustrating situation calmly and with kindness!).

In the end, it’s making real connections with one another that makes us all feel better.

Radish & Goat Cheese Farro Salad

Serves 6-8

6 c vegetable broth
2 c quick cook farro*
2 T salt
1 lb small radishes, 1/2 lb cut into quarters, other 1/2 lb sliced
3 T olive oil
2 T fresh garlic, minced
pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 t dijon mustard
2 c lightly packed baby arugula
1 c soft goat cheese, crumbled

Procedure

1. Bring broth to boil, add farro & salt, return to boil, cover, reduce to simmer; cook until tender 30 min
2. Drain, transfer to large bowl, set aside
3. Heat sauté pan over medium heat, add oil, quartered radishes, garlic, s&p; sauté until crisp
4. Remove from the heat, add lemon juice & mustard, mix, pour over farro
5. Add sliced radishes, arugula, toss to combine, let cool & then top with goat cheese

Where’s your focus?

Switching up the order of MG core value number 5: Be positive, be gracious, be kind. Don’t ask me to pick which behavior is most important…can’t do it! But this article (Choose your focus because your eyes control your tongue) zeros in on being positive. What does that really mean? Here are some points to consider…

    It’s not enough to accentuate the positive. You have to eliminate the negative.
    Walk around looking for mistakes and all you talk about is mistakes.
    Repeated complaining hard-wires the brain to do more complaining. The more negative you are, the more negative you become.

Steps to help?

    1. Focus on solutions when problems emerge.
    2. Focus on strengths. High performance comes from leveraging strengths not fixing (all) weaknesses.
    3. Focus on the future. Remember the future is built today.
    4. Focus on gratitude.
    5. Focus on progress. Energy increases with forward movement, as long as you don’t complain that it’s not enough!

Where’s your focus?

Switching up the order of MG core value number 5: Be positive, be gracious, be kind. Don’t ask me to pick which behavior is most important…can’t do it! But this article (Choose your focus because your eyes control your tongue) zeros in on being positive. What does that really mean? Here are some points to consider…

    It’s not enough to accentuate the positive. You have to eliminate the negative.
    Walk around looking for mistakes and all you talk about is mistakes.
    Repeated complaining hard-wires the brain to do more complaining. The more negative you are, the more negative you become.

Steps to help?

    1. Focus on solutions when problems emerge.
    2. Focus on strengths. High performance comes from leveraging strengths not fixing (all) weaknesses.
    3. Focus on the future. Remember the future is built today.
    4. Focus on gratitude.
    5. Focus on progress. Energy increases with forward movement, as long as you don’t complain that it’s not enough!

Strawberry Shortcake Sandwiches

Serves 50 Sandwiches

2 pt fresh strawberries, sliced, sugared*

1 ea 10″x15″ sheet puff pastry, thawed

2 T flour (approx)

1 egg, beaten

1 T water

2-3t sugar (raw, turbinado or granulated) whipped cream, real

Procedure

1. *Sprinkle sliced berries with 3 T sugar, refrigerated 2-4 hrs

2. Unfold puff pastry on floured surface, cut in small (2″x1.5″) rectangles

3. Place on parchment lined baking sheet

4. Combine egg & water, brush on pastry, sprinkle with sugar

5. Bake 15 mins, until puffed & brown, cool

Assemble Sandwiches:

6. Split pastry rectangles in half

7. Top bottom half with 1-2 T berries, dollop whipped cream, pastry top

Simply Fresh Spring

As I sit here on this dreary rainy day, I am dreaming of sunshine and spring menu planning. Fresh strawberries, crisp lettuce & of course asparagus, just to name a few of my spring favorites. Last week at the farmer’s market I saw signs of spring popping up with fresh ripe strawberries for sale (granted, they were from North Carolina, not Virginia, but it is a sign of what is to come). As I have gotten older, I have developed a much greater appreciation for the simplicity of fresh, local food. Additionally, fresh produce is loaded with vitamins & minerals & offers a whole host of health benefits. This recipe will most definitely be prepared in my house after the first sighting of asparagus at the Lynchburg Farmer’s Market.

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest & Cheese

Ingredients:

· 1 pound asparagus (skinnier may be better)

· 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

· 1-2 tablespoons finely grated hard cheese, such as 3-year gouda or parmesan

· 1 tablespoon lemon zest, plus lemon slices for garnish

· Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Fit a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cut the last inch from each stalk of asparagus and discard. Spread stalks out on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, using a pastry brush to coat each stalk, or simply turning the stalks over with a fork until they are well coated. Sprinkle with cheese and lemon zest, and then season with salt & pepper.

3. Bake for 10-13 minutes, until tops of the asparagus, start to turn crisp and stalks are bright green. They should be tender through. Serve hot, with lemon slices for garnish.

Source: Foraged Dish

Simply Fresh Spring

As I sit here on this dreary rainy day, I am dreaming of sunshine and spring menu planning. Fresh strawberries, crisp lettuce & of course asparagus, just to name a few of my spring favorites. Last week at the farmer’s market I saw signs of spring popping up with fresh ripe strawberries for sale (granted, they were from North Carolina, not Virginia, but it is a sign of what is to come). As I have gotten older, I have developed a much greater appreciation for the simplicity of fresh, local food. Additionally, fresh produce is loaded with vitamins & minerals & offers a whole host of health benefits. This recipe will most definitely be prepared in my house after the first sighting of asparagus at the Lynchburg Farmer’s Market.


Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest & Cheese

Ingredients:

· 1 pound asparagus (skinnier may be better)

· 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

· 1-2 tablespoons finely grated hard cheese, such as 3-year gouda or parmesan

· 1 tablespoon lemon zest, plus lemon slices for garnish

· Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Fit a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cut the last inch from each stalk of asparagus and discard. Spread stalks out on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, using a pastry brush to coat each stalk, or simply turning the stalks over with a fork until they are well coated. Sprinkle with cheese and lemon zest, and then season with salt & pepper.

3. Bake for 10-13 minutes, until tops of the asparagus, start to turn crisp and stalks are bright green. They should be tender through. Serve hot, with lemon slices for garnish.

Source: Foraged Dish

The R’s in April

In case you missed it as you were scraping the snow off your car, spring officially began over a week ago. But the signs are there, with more every day! Among other things, spring is characterized as a season of renewal, rebirth, refresh, re-imagining. Sometimes that means cleaning up or cleaning out; donating clothes and stuff; planting flowers, fertilizing, pruning.

How do these activities and intentions manifest at work? April tends to look like an episode of Survivor in the MG world. Thinking about anything other than the work at hand is difficult if not laughable. And, yet, as we plow through the busy day-to-day demands and #allthatextracatering, we still have our own spirit to nurture and tend as well as the spirits of our teammates.

“Life is like an echo, what you send out comes back to you.” —Chinese proverb

Miriam’s Tortilla Soup

Miriam’s Tortilla Soup

Serves 8

1 T olive oil

2 ea corn tortillas

½ c ea celery & onion, diced small

1 ½ t fresh garlic, minced

2 ½ c marinara sauce

1 ¼ c canned diced tomatoes, with juice

1 qt vegetable broth

3 T fresh cilantro, chopped

Procedure
Heat oil in saucepan, medium heat. Fry tortillas until crispy, remove. drain well, set aside.

Add celery & onions to pan, sweat 6-8 mins

Add garlic, sweat 1 minute

Add marinara sauce, diced tomatoes & broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, simmer 30-45 minutes

Crush up fried tortilla, add to soup. Simmer 10 minutes

Use immersion or traditional blender, puree until very smooth

Garnish with cilantro

All About Weight?

Does weight loss equal improved health? This is one of the questions that a recent article sought to answer by talking to various health experts about weight and health. It’s no secret our sedentary society is predominately overweight & seemingly always on a diet. Yet, only 20 % of people are successful at long -term weight loss. We know that obesity is a series risk to our physical health, yet our tactics to lose weight often backfire, introducing anxiety about foods, body dissatisfaction and eating disorders. What is the ultimate solution? One expert’s common sense recommendation is to take the focus off weight loss and on how to improve our fitness & nutrition, which is a far more achievable long-term goal. Rather than defining our health based on a single scale number, we can make positive lifestyle choices such as being physically active, eating healthy & not smoking.

Check out the full article here:
Why you should stop trying to lose weight

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