Saturday, May 9, 2009

Graf #11

Great class! I can't believe that I could even write this much. I've never written this much in any class I've ever taken. It was a little trying at first, I'm glad the assignments start out smaller and easier it definitely helps ease you into it, it was a bit like getting into the hot tub. I wouldn't change a thing, like Mainer's say “Can't fix what ain't broke”. I commend John too for his guidance, he was a good true north for me in my writing and helped me see the places where I was falling a bit off the path.

I really liked my very first Graf it made me smile every time I read it. I can see that it was a bit choppy and it was a bit of a run-on, but I still get a kick out of it. It's real obvious that my life is focused on my career, almost everything I wrote was about work in one way or another. The essay I wrote on the different types of employees was a cool one looking back at it. I probably got the most out of the I-search, that was a really refreshing experience for me. I used it as an opportunity to write about something that I really wanted to learn something about. I've got plans now based on my research to start my own little small business, you don't get that out of most classes!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I-search Summary

I wanted to know how to make meat and savory flavored liquors so that I could try and produce them and cash in on a trend that I believe is soon to form. I checked a lot of websites, I consulted with friends in the beverage industry that work closely with or directly in manufacturing plants, and I emailed some of my contacts in the local government to ask how I could get this off the ground. I know have samples of flavor concentrates that I can start preliminary testing with, I have a meeting with the state to discuss the venture, and I've got a better idea as to how I want to proceed with this project.

Annotated Biblio #2

Works Cited

"Alcohol Distill Machinery(WZJN-SERIES) - China Ethanol Distillation Machine, Ethanol Equipment, Concentration Machine in Chemical Equipment & Machinery." China manufacturer directory, China products, China suppliers, China trade, China factory. 03 Apr. 2009 <>.

Here I found a lot of different types of manufacturing equipment for sale. I couldn't believe how many different stills and types of equipment there were. There are many ways here to skin a cat so to speak. You can really tailor the equipment you need to the volume you expect your business may need to produce. After finding out that I probably wasn't after making the alcohol myself, I really didn't need to get into the production capabilities of the equipment.

Bellanger, Carolyn K. "Small Project." E-mail to the author. 5 Apr. 2009.

Carolyn is an experienced Public Safety Inspector for Liquor licensing and compliance. She handles licensing and inspections relative to alcohol for off premise, on premise, and manufacturing. I sent her an email on the 5th of April asking for some help on the legal requirements for this project. I only had two questions, what permits or licenses do I need to set up a place of business and then make alcohol in it, and what permits or licenses do I need to distribute the product? Carolyn pointed me at the ATF, the department of agriculture, and the liquor licensing and compliance division for forms. The ATF website pointed me to the TTB website where I found what I needed. She also offered to bring one person from each division over to the office to meet with me to discuss doing this, we are planning on meeting in May!

"Find Companies By Keywords." IFT Food Technology Buyer's Guide. 03 Mar. 2009 <,%20savory>.

This website lists contact information and websites for hundreds of flavor manufacturers and types, I found several that offer liquid concentrates and requested samples. Most of these companies listed are in business to flavor beverages. I noticed there are a lot more fruit and sweet flavors than there are those that fall into the “savory” category of meats and vegetables.

"Flavored alcohol production." Telephone interview. 7 Apr. 2009.

I reached out to a subject matter expert that I've known for a few years, Monika Baldwin with White Rock Distilleries. She was able to tell me more than anything else I found. She told me about production techniques and flavorings. She also knew a lot about distribution and mass marketing for new products. She was by far the most helpful resource when it came to finding out more about this new and exciting component to the business.

"Liqueur Making Principles." Gunther W. Anderson. 29 Mar. 2009 <>.

In this website I found how alcohol can be flavored with steeping and sweetening. This wasn't very helpful for applying meat flavoring to alcohol however it did shed some light on an infusing like process that may come in handy later. It also mentions that the best base alcohol is Smirnoff 80 proof red label, a helpful place to try and start with some small scale experimentation.

"Maine State Police Liquor Licensing and Compliance Division: Liquor Laws: Rules and Regulations." 05 Apr. 2009 <>.

This is where I started my search for state documentation. What an incredible waste of time this was, you can't find anything in here. It turns out was not where I would look for forms on starting a business in Maine, who would've figured. It's almost as though they made this website as a bit of an entrepreneur endurance test, to see if you had the patience and the wear with all to really start a business.

"Public Laws, 1st Special Session of the 122nd." 05 Apr. 2009 <>.

Here I actually found something of use, this is what should have been. Here I found out that there is a license needed. I also found out that there is a license that allows for 50,000 gallons of production per year and it is what I would call inexpensive. The web still was no match for what Carolyn could tell me, all of the forms and processes she told me about weren't anywhere on the Internet as far as I could tell. There is definitely no easily found “Start your business here” website for distilleries.

"Vodka Sellers, Suppliers, Manufacturers, Exporter & Trade Leads. Buy Vodka Here. Business To Business Marketplace-Fuzing." - Where buyers and suppliers connect! 29 Mar. 2009 <>.

Here I found a list of vodka manufacturers and their contact information. Most of them are out of the country, Russia in fact which comes as no surprise. With this I can reach out to them and get a quote on purchasing base alcohol they manufacture. This will be helpful, however I will continue to search for something a little closer to home to try and curb shipping costs early.

"Vodka—Still-Crazy After All these Years Food & Wine." Food & Wine Magazine Recipes, Menus, Chefs, Wine, Cooking, Holidays, Entertaining. 05 Apr. 2009 <>.

This was my favorite article, I have a few recent web periodicals that discuss the same. It's all about trends and the new things happening in the industry. A few people have done some real small scale experimentation in bars and nightclubs with Bacon bourbon and I saw a BLT cocktail with a Bacon fat washed vodka. I can feel the new trend on the tip of my nose, it's coming right up and I want in!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I-search Future

After finding the real questions and sculpting my search through asking the preliminary questions, I've got a good idea of what it is I would need to do to be successful with a product like this. Now that I know how to make the product and I have an idea where to start with some testing I can at least put a demo on someone's desk. I think I'll end up taking this information and using it to try and pursue this interest of mine.

I've discovered that I am much better off developing a recipe and trying to pick up a company that is interested in selling it for me. So from here I'm going take some base “canvas” spirits and some of the savory flavor samples that I have to try and create some trial products. I'll then take the trial products and run them through a test panel made up of probably friends or peers with a wide range of pallets. Once I've got what is perceived as a suitable recipe, if that's even possible, then I'll be ready to ask a distiller to try and hopefully produce my new product.

So, I'm going to reach out to the distilleries that I met with to see if either of them are interested in this new product line. I'll offer them samples of the product to evaluate and then hopefully they'll get into the idea. I've got a lot of friends in the industry, especially the promoting end that could help influence some of the decision makers at both of these distilleries.

Then with any luck I'll have a new hobby in continuing to experiment with new flavors while making a small profit or margin on the product being manufactured and sold. I'll have a blast trying out new flavors with friends. I'll probably look to a few friends to write a couple of articles or blogs about how I've created these new savory spirits. Ooh, I like that name “Savory Spirits”! Once they've written the articles I'll try to push them through the local paper on a slow news day and I'll try to get them dispersed through the Internet through a couple of industry e-zines.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I-search Answer

I'm amazed at how much I was able to find. The more answers I found the more guided my questions became. The journey actually changed what I thought I was looking for and helped me sort of zero in on what I really hoped to accomplish with this. More important to me than the answer here was having the right questions, once I discovered those this became a really enjoyable research project. I am now very close to where I think I need to be to make a product suitable for the masses and I know what steps I need to take to get this project off the ground.

What are the best sources of information regarding production techniques? There is a lot of information on this subject available on the Internet. I would also recommend talking to a plant manager at a distillery.

What are the benefits of the different production techniques? The more you filter the alcohol, the less taste it has. Charcoal filtration seems to be the most widely applauded and filtering more than once has the best results.

What types of equipment used? There are tons of different types of stills. They come in all sizes and can produce very small or very large quantities.

What are the advantages of each type of equipment? It really depends on the size of your operation. There are some with larger columns like condensers that collect the vapor and allow it to cool faster, these are good for producing large quantities.

What practices are used for clarifying concentrated flavorings? This I couldn’t find anything on but I did find that most concentrates are available for purchase and are already clear. They fall into two categories, oil and water based. For alcohol flavoring you need water based.

What are the advantages of infusing vs. Flavoring? Infusing provides a more subtle flavor, it’s trendy, and it typically affects the color of the alcohol if that is an effect you desire. Flavoring is more consistent, it can remain clear, and it is the most commonly used means of flavoring alcohol.

Can infusions be done with Meat? The closest I found to a fusion with meat was a bar that took bacon grease and poured it into a half full bourbon bottle. They let it sit for weeks and then strained the bourbon. The result was a smoky bacon flavoring mixed into the bourbon, genius!

Are concentrates usually purchased or made? This is definitely purchased, I found almost nothing that suggest liquor manufacturers make their own flavor concentrates.

If they are purchased, where? The international food technology websites buyers guide offers dozens of different flavor concentrate manufacturers. I found the samples I received from savor flavor to be exactly what I was looking for.

If they are made, how? Again, little information here. Admittedly I stopped searching in this regard once I found the plethora of concentrate manufacturers.

How long does it take to make a bottle of flavored alcohol from beginning to end? Depending on the plant size, machinery, and process like fermentation time, distillation, and the like, about a month.

How do they develop the right flavor, smell, look? The good old fashioned way, testing. They typically use a sensory panel to evaluate the products look, smell, and taste. New products go through several trials before becoming a final product.

What are the advantages of the different types of ingredients used to make vodka (grapes, potatoes, etc...)? All the information I researched for making vodka was using sugar, water, and yeast. Once I realized I could also get a manufacturing plant to sell me alcohol for what is very possibly cheaper than the start up costs and short term return on investment given a small distillery license, I decided to stop pursuing this as well.

What kind of permits or licenses are required in Maine to make alcohol? All kinds! I've got a working list and I am waiting on a little more confirmation. Basically you need a license to make the product, a license to sell it, a license to be a small business, and a I'm still waiting to find out how they prefer to tax me for this.

What kind of licenses are required to sell and/or export massive quantities of alcohol? This turns out to be a whole different ball of wax, it seems like it's easier actually to get make it and then use a distributor that is licensed to sell it to the masses. Turns out that this is the most common and sort of customary practice.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I-search Search

I thought there would be more information about this on the Internet than I would be able to sort through, boy was I wrong. I tried every different type of search I could conceive of. I got a lot more out of the interviews that I conducted than I did from anywhere else. It was really cool getting the inside scoop from the people that do this everyday. I have however decided that this is a good thing, the fact that there is little information available specific to making meat or savory flavored alcohol means that no one has done it yet. If I’m the first and this sparks interest in even a small percentage of bars I could do enough business to keep this interesting.

The first searches I did on the Internet were all about equipment. This was pretty helpful when it came to making alcohol and finding alcohol making supplies in general. I learned about pot stills and micro stills and turbo yeasts. I saw stills in all sizes, little stove top ones all the way up to giant barn sized ones. I also was able to find a lot of videos of people actually making alcohol. When it comes to making booze and finding the places to buy the stuff to make it, there is plenty of information out there.

Then I did some searches on companies that make alcohol. I was looking around to see if this was possible and if it was I wanted to know if it was cost effective. I found out that there are websites for several different companies that make alcohol that are looking to sell it to the highest bidder, sort of like EBay. Almost all of these manufacturers are Russian but I did find some from India. I was intrigued by this whole process and I was surprised to find what seems like no manufacturers in the US that participate in this bid type process.

Next I looked around for flavoring manufacturers. It turned out I was looking specifically for water based liquid savory flavorings. It took a lot of searching to find out that I was even looking for this. I checked out the International Food Technologies website on a recommendation from my mother, a food science professor at UMO. I found an army of flavoring resources here and several companies that made exactly what I was looking for. Almost all of them had a very easy to fill out form to request samples of there concentrates. I filled out several sample request forms and already have samples to try some first step trials and some very preliminary testing.

Then before I went to interviews I went to compliance. I toured and Janus (also a state website) and began to poke around with some key words like Distillation, small brewer, wine production. I tried Google and I tried searching Maine’s websites and still couldn’t find all the information I was looking for. Not to be that guy, but this was the least helpful area to search. It’s very hard to find exactly what you want on the states website. Additionally, when I tried to reach out to state employees that I know in the field it took a very long time to get a response if I got one at all.

Lastly and most beneficially I looked to consulting with contacts that I had in the business that produced liquors for the masses. There are two distilleries in Maine, White Rock, and Maine Distilleries which makes cold river vodka. I was able to arrange tours of both facilities and was able to talk to the plant managers about the entire process. Between these two experts and the others that work for these companies that I was able to talk to, I found out more than I did anywhere else. It became real clear to me that the internet is no substitute for talking to a subject matter expert.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Process Essay

It was the summer of '07 and I had just finished the design plans for the permanent gaming facility when I caught the inbound email outlining an upcoming meeting to discuss the merging of all our “projects”. Having successfully opened several restaurants and one casino I was very familiar with time line's, dependency charts, and Gantt's. I knew what I needed to do to make the door swing open, however a project of this size required more. I needed to know who was responsible for certain items and when they would be completed. With something this big it's not just the one guy that keeps track of all the tasks associated with opening. There was a person responsible for every group of tasks and we were each interdependent on certain items completion before certain other tasks could begin. Steve, the AGM sort of spearheaded the meeting. He's opened dozens of property's all over the world, he's a real calm collected kind of dude that just seems to know everybody. The meeting helped us identify the critical path, the items that directly affected the opening date. It also guided us through the project's process in a few key ways.

The first thing Steve asked us to do was to decide on our individual tasks. We individually brainstormed for a few weeks and compiled a list of tasks. This was a daunting task at times. You think about the big picture, the Casino opens. Then you start listing off the larger tasks that have to happen before the big picture, IE the restaurant is ready to open, the lounge is ready to open, the offices are ready, etc... Then you get into the good stuff, the real meat of a project. You drill down on each of these items, flooring is complete in the restaurant, the staff is hired, trained, clothed, and scheduled, the furniture, fixtures, and equipment have been identified, ordered, delivered, and installed, the food has been identified, ordered, prepared, tested, tested again, and re-ordered. What starts as one goal, or an “end” if you can picture it becomes a list of thousands of tasks.

Then came the post-its. Each task is elaborated on in a few ways: who is responsible for the completion of the task, what are the short details of the task, when must the task start, how long will it take, and when must it end. Steve had us take our lists and hand write each of the pieces of information on a yellow post-it. We then littered our individual office walls with this venerable flurry of notes and began to sort logically. We developed individual trees of sorts where the tasks started in chronological order, from beginning to end, but they had to be trailed by their dependencies. This took weeks to complete, each of us trying to put together a building but with missing pieces. The object of the exercise was to identify the gaps created by others tasks and to become intimate with our own. Then each of us took the notes in the order and arrangement that made the most sense to us and captured them in our respective project time lines.

Lastly, we met with intentions of merging all of our post-its in an effort to come up with a comprehensive project time line. Each of us arrived to the meeting with all of our post-it's in an ordered stack. We then individually presented our tasks to the executive committee and talked through where we saw their places in the time line. The discussion was as a group, we all help guide each others tasks into the mass, the matrix that was evolving a little more as each presenter finished. This helped us bind our tasks together and fill in all the gaps. We completed the exercise and ended it with a 25' by 20' boardroom wallpapered with post-its. From here all of the data was collected and entered as one large project with several milestones based on departmental achievements. The post-its were torn down and the new plotter printed time lines then covered the walls.

We now had a formal plan of attack, an approach, a guide, and a way to know when we had finished. This process as unusual as it seemed to me at the time, was probably the most effective way I've ever seen a large scale project organized. I believe that it was this plan and our strict adherence to it that made this opening happen the way it did. Our property's opening was acclaimed as the smoothest and most successful property open in the companies short history. Several of us caught a lot of positive industry attention as the word spread of our success. I was happy to be a part of this process and the opening, but I'm happier still that I can say to a degree that “I did that”.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Contrast Essay

Ever since I began my career in gaming I've heard how incredible Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun were. I've noticed it's common for people to make a comparison between these two different properties. I hear the differences people see between the two all the time since I represent a sort of nearby similar option. They always tell me they were each so big you couldn't see from one end to the other. They had the best of everything. But I've heard they each do some things better or worse than the other. I never was really sure of what to think about either place because a lot of the information contrasted, but they both sounded so impressive. Well, I finally made may way down there and got to see these man-made marvels, these venerable behemoths, these towering city like structures first hand.

During my trip the first thing I noticed as a difference between the two was the level of service. At Mohegan Sun there was a noticeable absence of slot attendants. The casino floor was not speckled with security officers. Most teller windows and table games were closed. The restaurants felt light on staff through each meal. The servers, which cost the least, were hard pressed to visit the table or to replenish drinks. I punished the Texas no limit hold'em table for a few hours and only ever managed to get a cocktail waitress three or four times, with tipping generously to boot. Most casinos require cocktail servers to reach every gaming position in their section every 10 minutes. At Foxwoods it was quite the opposite. The entire facility was a flutter with service employees. Most of the tables were open. The restaurants were well staffed. Their was a cocktail waitress at every turn. In fact the only employees that I didn't see in abundance were EVS (environmental services) or maintenance folk.

The second thing I noticed was how these places were maintained. At Foxwoods the decor was falling apart. The video walls and bits of marketing collateral were half functioning, half not. There were cigarette burns every few feet of carpet, on any ledge or railing, and on the majority of the gaming tables. There was noticeable dust collecting on all of the sills, in the elevators, and on the fake vegetation. The windows were yellowed with residue from collecting the smoke of millions of cigarettes. However, Mohegan was the positive opposite this time. It was very clean in all regards. I didn't find a single cigarette burn or any dust. All of the slot signage was functional, the video displays were pristine, and the decor was in good repair. The most impressive to me in this area was that I was unable to find a single light bulb out!

The last thing I noticed was the different amenities that each had. They were probably closest to each other here. They both had several restaurants, though I found Mohegans most appealing and in greater abundance. In fact the buffet at Foxwoods was so bad I found it offensive. The stores at Foxwoods seemed to be more high end or expensive, I think they had a Rolex store. They both offered complimentary alcohol, of course as I mentioned earlier Foxwoods provided it better. They both had very impressive night clubs, but the mountain-like lounge and the Italian bar over water at Mohegan were my favorites. They were beautiful shops and stores, but I think you could find anything you were looking for at either really.

I've been to dozens of casinos all over the US and Canada. I've worked in the business for about 4 years and have been consulting on Casino Food & Beverage operations for just as long. Being intimately familiar with Quality Assurance from having conducted so many inspections at many facilities over the years has really given me sharp eye for these kind of things. I've never seen facilities as large as these two, but I've seen close. I think it's safe to say that these two mighty, once largest in the world, casinos were both very impressive in some areas, and fell down in others. If your considering a trip, I'd say you could have a good time at either, but if it were up to me and I had to chose one or the other it would be Mohegan for sure.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I-search What

I know what I like in flavored alcohol. I know that I have a lot of questions to answer. I know the more you filtrate vodka the cleaner and better the taste is which at first seemed a little off subject but to properly flavor the alcohol I think you probably need a fairly clean taste, kind of like a blank canvas. I know that you need a still to make alcohol and there are many kinds of stills and alcohols. I know that flavoring is more common today than infusing, but that infusions are gaining in popularity. I have a good feeling that most alcohol manufacturers purchase their concentrates for flavoring. I'm pretty sure most vodkas don't take long to make and are not aged for a long time. I'm not certain beyond a shadow of a doubt how they determine the right flavor, smell, or look but I think that it is done through a test panel and a series of trials. I know it is illegal to make alcohol in your own home in Maine, but I know there is a manufacturing facility in Lewiston so there is a way to make it in a place of business. I think I should probably focus on where to buy meat flavorings, how to clarify them if they aren't clear, and possibly if it's cheaper to buy alcohol and flavorer it than it is to make alcohol and then flavor it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I-search Why

I believe there is a real potential for Meat flavored liquor to gain some steady popularity and then to become a hot new trend in the industry. I believe that this product will hit the market hot and fast and will then burn out quickly, which means it's important to get in on this just before it hits so that I can maximize the potential gains. I am really big on the beverage business so being the guy that comes out with the hottest new trend in the industry would be totally awesome, a huge career booster, and has the potential to be a very lucrative endeavor.

What are the best sources of information regarding production techniques?
What are the benefits of the different production techniques?
What types of equipment used?
What are the advantages of each type of equipment?
What practices are used for clarifying concentrated flavorings?
What are the advantages of infusing vs. Flavoring?
Can infusions be done with Meat?
Are concentrates usually purchased or made?
If they are purchased, where?
If they are made, how?
How long does it take to make a bottle of flavored alcohol from beginning to end?
How do they develop the right flavor, smell, look?
What are the advantages of the different types of ingredients used to make vodka (grapes, potatoes, etc...)?
What kind of permits or licenses are required in Maine to make alcohol?
What kind of licenses are required to sell and/or export massive quantities of alcohol?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I-search Background

I guess my infatuation with the beverage industry started about 10 years ago when I started slinging booze professionally. I spent years experimenting with drink recipes, different preparations methods, and pairings. I even built my own full bar in my basement complete with over 100 different liquors and draft beer. Being young and in love with the creature made it easy to experiment with drink recipes and new types of tastes. Every time a new liquor came out I had to get my hands on it (this is still true) so that I could try it out and begin to find ways of serving it best as I saw it. I was lucky to have started in the beverage racket when I did, I saw the explosion of flavors and new preparation methods really take off. When I first started bar tending the only flavored alcohol that anyone knew of was Absolut Citron. Today there are hundreds of flavored spirits in every variety from Bourbon to Tequila. I've stayed close to the heart of the beverage industry over the years. I've closely monitored every beverage magazine in the US for the last decade, taking note of every change that shows promise. I've had the advantage of attending dozens of beverage conventions and shows over the years and I've worked first hand with all of the most advanced technological changes the industry has made. About 5 years ago I predicted Meat and/or meal flavored liquors would hit the industry in about 10 years. Believing still that I am right, I'd like to capitalize on this forecast and ride the wave. With the rest of this essay I hope to answer the questions I have yet to answer, to learn the methods required to produce flavored alcohol, and to determine what types of equipment are necessary for production.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Essay #2

I was touring and talking with an employee that had just started when I noticed it... It's a funny thing the way the mob classifies the newbies. No sooner than they were brought through the door and walked past the employee break area they were subjected to the masses judging gauntlet. I could see their scanning eyes probing the new girl, was she going to get along with them, what position did she have, and most importantly what type of employee was she? They see everyone as fitting into one of three categories. There are the Short-termers that think they are just using the job as a stepping stone. The Greenies, they are the ones that have just landed their first jobs. And lastly there are the Pro's the ones that are well seasoned, they come with experience and are here with more permanent intentions.

The Short-termers make the majority. Most of them have been in the industry a long time. I like them because they have a good understanding of how it is they need to do their job. There is only one difference between them and the Pro's, they won't accept that what they are doing just works for them. It's unfortunate because their jobs aren't the jobs they want. They are more often people that have tried a different line of work, or aspire to. They are always trying to convince me that they are only going to cook or wait tables until they get back on their feet, finish school, or hit it big on their next trip to AC. It's this group that I have the most empathy for. They know what they are doing but they don't like where they are at. I wish for their sakes that they could just be happy being good at their jobs but it seems that isn't enough to them, they haven't lived up to their own expectations. I suppose we can all relate to the situation in one way or another.

“Greenies”, they are referred to as such because of the relation to unripened fruit. They don't come with all of the experience and understanding of how to do their job, they aren't yet ripe. I like these people because they haven't developed any bad habits. They don't know yet to complain about a tip under 15% or that they can cook things their own way but still have the food come out looking the same as what is specified. They are about to learn so much. How to interact with peers professionally and how to complete tasks associated with their job proficiently. I am always so excited for these individuals. I cherish every opportunity I have to pick up a new trick. I love learning and like others to have the opportunity to learn, so I like to see the Greenies coming into their own and getting to take it all in. The biggest benefit for me with Greenies is that they only know how to do things one way, the way we taught them.

Then there are the Pro's. These are the people that have chosen their career and exhibit great skill in it. These are of course the ones I like the most. They come with a wealth of knowledge and are only interested in applying it along with their ability to the job I've hired them for. They take pride in their work, they work hard and are precise, and they complain less because they like where they are at. These people have a spark, they are passionate about people, good food, and fast paces. I'm happiest for these folks because they only want to do their job, they've reached the point that they had hoped to achieve and are successful in it. I make an extra point to touch base with these individuals because they always have the best suggestions.

I manage a team of almost 150 very diverse individuals in an assortment of over 20 different types of positions. All of them bring something different to the table and they were all hired for a reason. There is something I like about each type of person even if there were only these 3 types of people. I don't really dig the whole, ”let's divvy ourselves up” kind of mentality that always seems to happen when you group people together, but I think everyone ends up sort of programmed with it from youth. In the end, I finished the tour with the young lady and congratulated her on her new position. I watched her walk into the employee restaurant, look around the room, and eventually sit down with a group of young girls that had all started within the last month. I suppose she may have done the same thing they did and had decided just as they probably had that she was one of them.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Graf #8

Thanks for sharing those other cause essays. They were all a little unusual. I'm not sure I actually liked any of the topics but I did get a good feel for how to set these up. They all start off with a good opening paragraph. The “meat” of these are all a little different, I like the way the first was set up the best. In the first, the thoughts were clearly separated and sort of “captured” in their respective paragraphs. The closing paragraphs all seem to summarize or wrap up the whole essay very well. I'm sure I have a better handle on how I'll lay mine out now that I've had a few examples.

I-search Brainstorm

I've worked in, and only in, the Food & Beverage industry for my entire working life. I started in the business cooking at a small family restaurant. After gaining a firm understanding of how to succeed in the kitchen it was time to move to the “front of the house”, I was always told this was where the money was. Once I made it to the front of the house, I spent years bar tending. It was during these years that I was able to develop a healthy infatuation with the beverage industry. I spent years experimenting and eventually writing original drink menus. Ever since I've closely monitored all of the trend magazines and regularly reviewed all the websites I could find. About 5 years ago I started telling a few peers that I saw Meat flavored liquors hitting the market withing 10 years. I'd like to make a modest attempt at riding the wave of this movement, so now I need to research how to make the product.

I've spent the last 10 years monitoring magazines like Beverage Spectrum, Bartender Magazine, Night Club & Bar Magazine, Sante, Food & Wine Magazine, The Nations Restaurant News, Food service Director, Hotel F&B, Hotel Magazine, Catersource, and many others. Over the last few years I've continued to see increased signs that someday soon we will have meat and/or food flavored liquors. Most recently I saw a bar that infused Bourbon with Bacon, it was a simple concept however I'm unsure of the quality of the end result.

Both of my parents are Doctors of Food Science. I tested more experiments of theirs when I was a kid than I can remember. If I had to guess, I'd say this probably made me more curious and apt to try my own experiments.

What are the best sources of information in regard to the various production techniques?

What are the benefits of the different production types?

Once I know what equipment is necessary the manuals for the equipment should tell me how to use the equipment.

Are concentrates even the right way to go? I've noticed a lot of buzz around infusions. Can infusions be done with meats?

What types of concentrates are used, are they normally purchased or made, if they are purchased where from, if they are made, how?

How do they engineer the right flavor, smell, look (clear), etc...

How long does it take from beginning to end to make a flavored vodka?

What ingredients are used to make the vodka and how are they used?

This must require some kind of permits, I wonder what they are in this state?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Graf #6

I'm glad that I had the opportunity to read all of those past projects. Some were more interesting to me than others, but they all helped me kind of wrap my brain around this. I decided to pick something that I've always wanted to learn more about and something that relates to my line of work. I plan on doing my Isearch on making liquor, grain alcohol, and/or flavored spirits. I've had a lot of marketable ideas for these types of products but never had the knowledge I needed to actually consider an attempt at creating any of them. I've seen a lot of stills and some newer emerging technology that I've heard about sounds like it could even be used at home. So, bottoms up, here's to my new Isearch topic:

Making Liquor, grain alcohol, and/or flavored spirits!

What do you want to write about? Making Liquor, grain alcohol, and/or flavored spirits!

What do you want to find out about your topic? I want to know from soup to nuts how to make liquor, grain alcohol, and/or flavored spirits. If I had to narrow this down I'd want to know more about Vodka and flavored liquors specifically.

What are your questions about the topic?
1. What ingredients are typically used for production?
2. What equipment can be used in manufacturing?
3. What are the most common steps taken to make the product?

How does it connect to your life?
My career in the Food & Beverage industry mixed with my natural creativity has helped me put together a lot of interesting and potentially marketable ideas based on my observations of recent trends in the industry. Gathering this information could help me develop a strong interest into a potentially viable project.

Give three reasons you like the topic
1. It might make me money.
2. It's directly related to my field.
3. Who doesn't want to learn more about booze?

Give three ways your life might change if you answer your questions
1. I might make more money.
2. I might have a great new sales pitch.
3. I could end up with a fun small business.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Graf #4

I'm a clever bag of squirrels, I believe it's cheaper and certainly easier to visit the tailor twice a year than it is to visit the gym every month, I love making myself laugh, I have two really old tattoos, one on each forearm but no one ever sees them because I wear a suit and tie everyday (maybe not a tie everyday), I grew up too fast, I partied so hard in middle school I had it all out of my system before I would have ever started college, I love things we are told are bad for us like cigars, booze, thick barely cooked steaks, and red bull. I started working full time at 13. My friends told me when I was a kid that there was a constantly spinning wheel in my head that was full of words, it would stop randomly and whatever it landed out would blurt out of my mouth, that was apparently how I formed sentences. I have a very smart and handsome 11 year old son that I love more than anything. I have a beautiful fiancée that I have spent the last 8 years with. I love my job, I work hard “and smart”, I care about people, I believe in doing things so well it literally surprises people, I travel a lot and I've been a lot of places. I've seen a lot of success and a lot of good times for a 27 year old knuckle head. I get a lot of satisfaction out of contributing to the success of others, I like seeing a new supervisor or manager “get it”, I like to have the right things to say when people need advice, I'm very social, I love a crowd and laughs and beers and funny commercials but I'm not really into TV. I love the Wii, what a riot those are!

That's a glimpse at me, who are you?

Graf #3

Inventory of my refrigerator:

The Freezer (it's on the top it must go first right?)
An ice bin
1 ice cube tray
a bag of frozen corn
a partial bag of frozen peas (it really only looks like about 1 serving)
2 boxes of “steam in the bag” frozen vegetables
a pint of mango sorbetto
a freezer burned bag with 4 links of mystery sausage
a pork chop in a ziploc bag
3 flat bags of cooked brown rice
1 package of chicken breasts
5 sirloin steaks
4 ziploc bags with assorted cuts of pork
1 bag of 16-20 peeled deveined head off shrimp
a kielbasa
most of a box of weight watchers nasty Popsicles (sorry hunny)

The Refrigerator door:
2 sticks of butter
a squeeze bottle of grey poupon
a bottle of French's honey mustard
a jar of Caesar dressing
a bottle of Heinz chili sauce
a bottle cocktail sauce
kraft zesty Italian
kraft free peppercorn ranch
half a bottle of ketchup
a big jug of world harbors hot wing sauce
ken's red wine vinegar and oil dressing
a jar of canola based mayonnaise
a really old bottle of cole slaw dressing
a jar of whole pepperoncini peppers
smuckers strawberry preserves
kraft Catalina dressing
red pepper jelly
a jar of baby gherkins
a jar of sweet relish
A1 steak sauce
French's yellow mustard
Ragu pizza quick sauce
World Harbors Australian BBQ marinade
a jar of medium taco sauce
a carafe of some awful looking homemade dressing

The Refrigerator shelves:
2 jugs of milk
a water bottle
a pint of chicken lo mien
a jar of bread and butter pickles
a small container filled with lobster infused butter
a bottle of Bailey's caramel
a pitcher filled with some random red drink
garden vegetable cream cheese
regular cream cheese
sour cream
low fat vanilla yogurt
a block of sharp cheddar
a small container of blueberries
half a loaf of whole grain bread
a dozen eggs
4 everything bagels
a chicken quesadilla casserole on a plate
3 red bulls
1 stuffed pepper
some chopped red onion in a ziploc bag
1 bag of brown rice
1 bag with some thin cooked chicken breasts
3 burger buns
a little jar with a few black olives in it

The Drawer: (it's at the bottom so it must be last, right?)
Some Garlic and Herb Boursin Cheese
a bag of shredded Parmesan
6 maple sausage links
a ham steak
half a stack of American cheese slices
a head of leaf lettuce
2 lemons
2 limes, one is half zested
half a green pepper in a ziploc bag
a cucumber

This pork loving condiment freak needs a bigger refrigerator. It seems like there are two entirely different food personalities trapped in this fridge, one tries to buy healthy foods and prepares meals in advance, the other buys take out and more unusual cuisine. He must be a heavy bastard, the refrigerator is loaded with unhealthy foods, however there is a lone box of Weight Watchers Popsicles in the freezer and an empty space on the bottom shelf where you can faintly make out the rings left behind from diet coke cans, these are the classic “healthy effort” items that make most diets a farce. She must be trying to get him to eat healthier, the half eaten remains of the home cooked meals must be the proof that she from time to time achieves small victories over his weight. There is plenty to eat, they must really enjoy food.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Graf #1

I see a collection of nimble breakfast sausages when I look at my hands. The digits are splattered with short straight scars the result of many broken beer bottles and brushes with the razor sharp stainless steel edges of industrial restaurant equipment.The nails are neatly groomed and free of debris, the palms are thoroughly washed and fit for food preparation. These hands have reduced many pencils to shavings by having sketched designs for many restaurants, they have been part of many welcoming grips, they have been the devices responsible for boundless merriment through their crafting of food and drink, and they have long been the soft familiar pads that warmly pat deserving backs.