The weird and wonderful cooking world of Heston Blumenthal

If you’ve ever fancied snail porridge or Ice cream that tastes like Egg and Bacon then a trip to the Fat Duck in Bray might be the place for you. It’s the invention of the experimental chef come chemistry boffin Heston Blumenthal. Blumenthal ‘s restaurant’s are some of a handful in Britain that has a Michelin Star one of the highest food awards in the world and certainly the most prestigious. So how did this culinary genius get to where he is now? It may have been through using a Lincat LMR9 6 Burner Gas Oven like the one you can see at https://www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk/catering-appliances/commercial-ovens-and-ranges/commercial-ranges/lincat-lmr9-medium-duty-6-burner-gas-range-oven of course, but let’s delve into his story for some clues.

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His love of food and its preparation and creation started early at the tender age of 16. A visit to a 3 stared Michelin restaurant inspired the young Heston to embark on a world of culinary adventure. The whole experience of the environment of the restaurant in L’Oustau de Baumanier, the serving of the food and its quality all contributed so that a young impressionable Heston decided that the dining experience was not just about the food, although this is very important, but begins the moment that the diner enters the restaurant. The sights and sounds, the very aesthetic of catering was all important.

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His first port of call was also France and he began to heavily study and be influenced by series of cooking manuals Les recettes originales. At Eighteen Heston left school to go straight into a coveted spot in Raymond Blancs Le Manoir. He only managed to see though a week at the school and undertook a series of jobs and low paid work in a variety of sectors not related to catering. He never forgot his dream of being a chef and in the night he would study French classic cuisine and refine it in his head. However the moment of change in his life when he chanced upon the book On Food and Cooking: the science and Lore of the Kitchen. This changed the whole perception that Heston had over food and its construction. He began to challenge everything he had read and decided that it was time for a change and by using chemistry and food science he would effect that change.

He purchased the Fat Duck in Bray and completely reinvented the food it served. He was determined to introduce a multi-sensory approach to food. For example he would use smell to increase taste i.e. the smell of the sea when eating a fish dish. Food is also educational. His Mock Turtle soup for example has references to history and he also reawakens past food after studying recipes from the fifteenth century. I quick note it’s very, very expensive to eat there.

Get Rid of Bad Foods and Drinks to Get Rid of Weight

Being overweight is truly disturbing, especially if we are highly preoccupied with the way we look. It can stop us from fitting into the clothes we like, and make us feel bad and unattractive. Even worse, having more weight than we normally should have can affect our health. That is why, for the sake of our looks and health, we should take care of our eating and drinking habits and change our life style. We will notice the difference after a while and realize all the effort is worth it.

I say effort because it is never easy to follow a diet, work out every day, and stick to the plan. Probably the hardest part of all it is giving up all the food and beverage we are used to. The problem is that some of the food and drinks we really like are harmful to us. Junk food is on top of most people’s preferences, but it is also responsible of them gaining a lot of weight in a short time, that is why, it is the first thing we need to give up when we start a diet. It will be hard to walk on the street and notice people eating a burger when we know we are not allowed to, but we must remember that a strong motivation is the key to success. Along with the harmful food there are the harmful drinks that enlarge our stomach and help the fat deposit in our body. Soda is the first beverage we need to eliminate from our daily routine. Not only it is completely unnatural, but it also contains a lot of sugar and most of the times it has more calories than a healthy meal. It is a well-known fact that soda enlarges our stomach, which is another thing to be concerned about.

Scientist have proven through several studies made on human organism that it is better to replace soda with water, which is easier to eliminate and it won’t be responsible for enlarging stomach either. That is why, in order to take care of both our health and looks, it is best we get rid of soda.

The author likes to write about a variety of subjects, including health, diet, travel, and technology. Check out some of the sites of interest, including Dreamkeepers Forum at

Restaurant Imitation Recipes

Restaurant imitation recipes is simply a phrase that describes recipes that imitate those of a certain restaurant or restaurants. The word, imitation, defines anything that may resemble or copy that of an original or genuine article. To copy or imitate an original source is a testament to the credibility of that source for the quality it provides. If it was not of high quality, no one would even make the effort to imitate or copy it. It has also been said that the imitation of anything is a form of flattery, but not every imitation is exactly flattering.

Food is sort of boring in that the basic forms are the same. There may be certain varieties to some degree and some times highly advertised as an edge to promote it, however, chicken is chicken, beef is beef, broccoli is broccoli and so on right? How these get prepared and put together to be served though, is what truly makes the difference.

Recipes for these foods have been handed down through the generations using the basic forms of preparation from the skillet, ovens and grills, to boiling pots and now microwaves. Keen thought and purpose to introduce new combinations of spices, sauces and marinades to these basic methods help to enhance the flavors of these basic foods. This is, has and will continue to be goal of many people and certainly with restaurants to help set their style and food apart from others.

This may be a silly reflection, but highlights the points mentioned above. When I was growing up, I could not stand the taste of cauliflower. I saw no purpose for this food. To me, it was a useless vegetable that took up space on our planet. I am not joking! Later, when I actually worked in a supper club, one of the appetizers we served was deep fried cauliflower with a side of cheese sauce. Ever since then, cauliflower has become one of my favorite foods and in all of the traditional ways, from raw to steamed and I still love the deep fried method as well. If it were not for that deep fried recipe, I may never have had the pleasure of enjoying this healthy and now tasty food.

I think it is important to recognize Restaurants themselves, whether they be a fast food, independent, mom and pop, big chain type or even 5 star, all bring in millions of people every day across our nation. Their business is simply to serve and sell us as many items from their food and drink menus in an atmosphere where we can relax and enjoy. It is true though that many of these restaurants have worked hard to develop their own signature recipes, techniques and themes to set themselves apart. They spend millions on advertising their uniqueness to keep bringing customers back for more. The restaurant business is a huge business and very competitive.

How big is the restaurant industry in the U.S.?

According to the National Restaurant Association, it is estimated the industry to reach $604 billion dollars in sales for 2011. That is $1.7 billion on a typical day. There are 960,000 locations nationwide that employee approximately 12.8 million people and get this, of the dollars spent on food in the U.S., 49{c3355559f817107fef63778bad7ae06f506111c493e00205bc4fa14ff1db9fc1} is shared with the restaurant industry. I don’t know about you, but that is some serious cabbage. It is also goes to show why restaurants are certainly a credible authority and why someone may go out of their way to imitate or copy a recipe or two.

If you were to choose any one of your favorite restaurants or even one that may just be starting up, this same basic description will apply. This restaurant will make a discovery of a new method or combination of sauces or seasonings for a new food recipe. I should say, they work at making the discovery, putting in time and effort initially, so this new recipe could be tried and tested over and over until finally reaching the menu. The restaurant may advertise the new release to let the public know it has a great new recipe to come in and try out. Ideally it becomes a success and a featured item on their menu. If the public loves it, the restaurant has another source of new revenue. In the case of a new startup, it could also be a featured recipe that helps them to get noticed to help get them off the ground and running overall.

Believe it or not, restaurants themselves can be considered one of the biggest copy cat artists out there but in a way that doesn’t try to make an exact copy, They will proceed in a way that may use the same name of the dish, but pride themselves to make theirs stand out differently by adding their own signature touch and right down to what else may be included in addition to the entree to help set it apart from others.

With the exception of serve your self style of service, restaurants basically copy each other on the overall operating format of how the customers are served and taken care of right down to including “similar” items being listed on the menus. They all keep a watchful eye on each other to see what is working well and may change a menu, method of service, cost or whatever the case may be to accommodate current customers and coax new paying customers to spend money in their establishments. It is a constant see saw battle.

Regardless of these restaurants copying and competing with each other for our dollars, they clearly are the bar to which we compare the taste of our favorite foods to. They continue push each other in developing recipes, techniques and signature menus that keep us coming back for more. We all have our favorite menu items and while one person may prefer one restaurant over another for a particular entree or appetizer, the fact is, they all are a genuine article and clearly worth the effort to imitate.

Just a note, in regard to businesses (especially non-restaurant) some have to take steps and go further and get patents or licenses on their discoveries to help protect them from being copied. With restaurants, it is a little tougher as getting patents and licensing on food is much more difficult and not quite the same as building up a new technological advance like an I-pad. Restaurants may need to have some legal assistance and agreements arranged with their employees to not give up any secrets to their signature ways in effort to keep their secrets in-house should an employee decide to leave. There have been some court cases where a cook or chef leaves and starts a new restaurant using the same signature methods but calling it something else and well… more money spent to get it straightened out.

Over time, there have been many others that have tried to imitate a restaurant recipe from grocery store food suppliers, right down to good ole Mom. Ask them all and most would agree that the task may not be so easy to recreate. There are those that come up with recipes that are similar in general yet lack that signature flavor of a specific restaurant. Have you ever tried to make something just like your favorite restaurant and while it turned out ok, it just didn’t quite taste the same as what TGIF or Olive Garden serves? I know I have and it seemed like all the effort was fine, but the result, on a scale of 1 to 10, was maybe a 6 at best. To get a 9 or 10 just seems impossible and you are better off giving up and just go to the restaurant instead.

Well, guess what? As there is with anything worth while, there are those few people who do try to imitate these restaurant recipes to the Nth degree. You could almost refer to them as recipe hackers. They can be moms, dads or professionals and no matter who, these people have a goal and will put in the time and effort to break a recipe down. They want to figure out the details of that signature flavor and replicate it in a fashion that truly does imitate the original flavor. Focus, dedication and the will to succeed is a must for many of these individuals. There are also those who are simply great cooks and through their experience and intuitive nature are able to hone in on the original restaurant recipe. I have some experience cooking and can follow a recipe, but, I certainly am not a restaurant recipe hacker.

If it is a difficult task to try to copy or imitate a successful genuine article then why do others try to imitate it?

Great question.

It often times can be related to money and someone else wanting to get in on the action. There also those that will do it to see if they can save some money. Some may even look to make improvements on the original. It can be for other reasons like notoriety or personal challenge for pride and maybe even some kicks. Think about this, comedians can get more laughs if they are good at imitating some one else right? If they are really good at it, this helps bring more people to their show.

Just as is done with so many other things that are made, there is always a group of these interested individuals that like to do things themselves. These people will go out of their way to copy favorite recipes from all of these restaurants. I would venture to say that if one were to interview many of these DIY (Do It Yourself) people, it would be primarily in an effort to be able to save money as a main reason initially. Remember earlier I mentioned that 49{c3355559f817107fef63778bad7ae06f506111c493e00205bc4fa14ff1db9fc1} of the dollar spent on food is shared in the restaurant industry? That is a lot of dough that one can save!

Money or the spending of it, is actually how and why I began to take note of these restaurant imitation recipes. I have been reviewing our family spending habits and when looking at groceries vs. dining, I was actually pretty shocked. Dining out has become a habit for us and while it is one that we do enjoy, it is also one that has been adding up significantly. This is what started that flickering of the old light bulb for myself and my family.

I consider myself to be in that DIY group of people on a number of things and while I have come to enjoy doing many things myself (Not all of the time mind you.), I realize the impact of learning how to do something yourself can and has saved me a good amount of money. From car repairs to home carpentry, it also has opened my eyes to appreciate what others are doing as a business for their livelihoods. It has helped make a difference in wiser spending as well as saving money even if I do not do something myself.

Knowing that my family has developed this habit of eating out more than eating at home, getting them to eat typical home cooked meals more often is not going to be to easy. The flickering light bulb moment or idea mentioned earlier was to see about getting some recipes from the restaurants that I could cook at home with the idea of saving some money initially. I also began to see how we have lost touch with the skill of cooking. We sure have all become masters of the microwave, but the rest of the kitchen starts to get a little sketchy.

So the journey began in search of restaurant recipes. Most restaurants do not give out their recipes and why would they? They might lose a return customer if they did. I do see some restaurants that are selling some of their menu items in the grocery stores more than before, but sort of limiting it to just a few items. I have also read about a person that would ask the cooks for their recipes and how some might spill the beans once in awhile, but again, fairly limited results.

I remember one time my wife and I were at a Denny’s restaurant late one night and how much we enjoyed their marinara sauce used with the mozzarella sticks we had ordered. We asked the waitress about it and she did check with the cooks on that, but they really didn’t know much about it and we thank her for trying. When we got the check, we also got an unexpected surprise. She brought out a large vacuum sealed plastic bag of the marinara sauce from what appeared to be directly from their food supplier. We didn’t get the recipe but we sure got a large quantity of sauce to bring home. So it does pay to ask and while you may or may not get a recipe directly you never know what might happen I guess.

There are of course a good number of books, many articles online and numerous websites all claiming either access to or having themselves, restaurant secrets and copycats recipes for many favorite American restaurants. Whew, it sort of makes my head spin a bit, but in order to help me achieve this quest of mine it has been worth the effort. Many sites are recommending the same key original sources (recipe hackers) of the imitation or copycats recipes and in my experience this is usually a good hint as a reasonable place to start.

Why?

There is always someone who highlights their experience and discovery of things that have had impact on their life with how and why they did it. Many times they get even further into it and begin marketing their efforts to generate some additional income. It may be the result of a friend or family member that cheers them on, but if it is done well and the quality is there, it often times catches enough attention to make it worth the while. Plus, there are always others that have like interests. It really becomes a win-win for everyone and can spur on even more ideas and experiences from others who are interested.

As with anything, one has to dip their toes in and get a feel for it of course. I have been trying out some of these imitation restaurant recipes sources and have been truly impressed. I have been learning a lot more than first thought and it has been a lot of fun to top it off. The people who have created these copycat recipes have really done a fantastic job. My quest is to save some money of course, but making some of these recipes is also a great way to learn how to cook. Think about it for a second, one can actually learn how to cook an appetizer, entre or dessert that they know is good at their favorite restaurant and get great results for their effort right out of the gate. I don’t know about you, but I get a great sense of accomplishment when taking time to learn something and it works out.

Should you get the urge to try these imitation or secret recipes of the restaurants, I think you will be more than pleasantly surprised. I know I have been. If you want to save some money, learn how to cook or simply to get a hold of one of your favorite restaurant recipes, you won’t regret it.

I have not tried any of the “700 FREE restaurant recipes” type of sources online. They may be alright too, however, it has been my experience that if something is really worth while, there should be some cost associated for the effort of making it available. They certainly don’t have to be expensive either. Most cost about the same as a nice dinner for two and can include extra information from making wine to growing your own herbs if you are in to that. It is really pretty incredible what some have included along with the recipe books they are promoting.

As with anything, do take some time to review before making any purchase of course, but once you do get your feet wet have some fun and be prepared to be amazed with the results.

How to Find a Restaurant For Large Groups and Events

Birthdays, anniversaries, retirement parties and even wedding receptions can be difficult events to plan. We want to make sure that the person of honor has a great time and that the party is an occasion to remember. Well, one doesn’t always need to rent out a lavish hall to have a grand celebration. Local restaurants can act as a venue that offers a fun, cozy or sophisticated atmosphere for your private affair.

All well and good you say, but how do you go about finding a suitable restaurant venue?

Online search

Believe it or not, the Internet can be your friend when it comes to locating a restaurant that could also serve as a party venue. The beauty of the internet is that there are literally thousands of businesses, many in your area, that will cater to the needs of you and your guests. The Internet also offers a plethora of advice via a restaurant guide or two that will make shopping for a happening place to hold your event even easier.

After you have made a top five or ten list of places that may be suitable, call and ask if the establishment hosts private functions. If they do, inquire about the costs. If the place is local (which it probably should be unless you plan to fly guest to the destination) you can visit the restaurant in question. Make sure the person responsible for party planning will be there during your visit, so you can discuss what you’d like for your affair.

Word of mouth

Word of mouth has always been, and perhaps always will be, the best form of advertisement around. This invaluable tool can act as a restaurant guide that will help you locate a prime location for your special occasion.

If someone you know has recently thrown a party, enquire about the venue that was used. Most any business will tell you they are the best of the best, but friends and family and acquaintances won’t steer you wrong in this regard.

Booking the right restaurant

Ritzy, high class or five star restaurants will require a pretty sizable deposit for the day in question. You may also need to discuss some aspect of your budget with the organizer or planner, so you can realistically see what you can or cannot do. Many restaurants will be willing to work with you to ensure you get precisely what you want. In return, you have to be honest and forthcoming about what you can reasonably afford.

Getting Outside entertainment

If the restaurant doesn’t have regular entertainment, you may consider getting some of your own. If this is one of your goals, make sure the eatery knows as they will have to accommodate you. For example, a bistro may not have a stage area or dance floor in the establishment and would need to move chairs, tables and furniture around for a band. If you desire to have a band or some sort of live entertainment, then your best bet is to find a restaurant that is already set up for something like of that nature.

Of course, there may be a café or tavern that the person or persons of honor really likes that would be the perfect spot to host their function. Yet and still, you would have to call the establishment to see what the protocols are for securing the place for a private event.

Even though it may seem like a lot of work, finding an online Toronto Restaurant Guide or relying on word of mouth is one way to locate a venue that will add a festive air to the proceedings and make you the quintessential host or hostess to beat when the next big event comes around.

Do You Have An Overactive Bladder Certain Food And Drink Could Be To Blame

If you’re like several of my patients you may have an overactive bladder which keeps you running to the bathroom to urinate frequently. Some people have smaller bladder capacities than others and therefore naturally have to urinate more. Other people may be eating certain foods that can irritate their bladder causing the need them to urinate. I’d like to explain to you what some of these foods are and what you can do to minimize your “going” issues.

Overactive Bladder – What Is It?

Overactive bladder is a mild to severe condition that can not only become a nuisance in always creating the to find a restroom while you’re out in public, but can also have some embarrassing consequences. It is also a condition that can be accompanied by something called “urge incontinence”, or UI, where you have to go so badly you just can’t hold it and urine leaks into your clothes; or “stress incontinence”, or SI, where you have involuntary leakage of urine through laughing or sneezing. Usually UI and SI are just variant symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome which also can include nocturia (waking up at night to urinate) and frequency, just “going” a lot all day long.

As mentioned above, overactive bladder can be caused by a few things which include:

  • A congenitally small bladder that has less holding capacity than most people
  • A “neurogenic bladder” – caused by damage, or pressure, pinching of the nerves of the spine that may occur in certain medical conditions like spinal injuries, epilepsy, Parkinson disease, MS, and stroke, that can result in involuntary emptying of the bladder.
  • Certain medications used to treat other conditions like diuretics for high blood pressure, or medications that contain caffeine.
  • Hormonal. Decreasing estrogen in menopause can cause bladder and urethra muscles to weaken and fall forward, resulting in more frequent urination and leakage. In men, an enlarged prostate can cause frequent urination as well.
  • Constipation. Pressure from retained waste in the rectum can aggravate the bladder.
  • Obesity. Too much abdominal fat can put pressure on the bladder as well.

However, the most common cause of overactive bladder is simple foods that we eat everyday! These are foods that have certain compounds in them that can irritate the bladder and sometimes result in a chronic inflammatory condition. The bladder attempts to wash these irritants out through triggering frequent urination. Here’s a list of the top bladder trigger foods:

  • Tomato products – tomato products generally have a lot of acid in them and can really irritate the bladder. In an attempt to get rid of the irritant, the bladder tries to flush itself out with frequent urination.
  • Caffeine – a stimulant present in coffee and tea can really irritate the bladder and make you go more. Decaf varieties can help, but they also have very small amounts of caffeine.
  • Chocolate – also contains caffeine plus other compounds like theobromines that can irritate the bladder. White chocolate has less caffeine but still has some. Try to cut down on the amount of chocolate you eat.
  • Citrus fruits – also highly acidic, lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, can also irritate the bladder like tomatoes. Try to cut down on citrus fruits and supplement with an Ester-C type of Vitamin C to avoid further irritation.
  • Beer, wine, hard liquor – “spirits” draw more water out of your body to process it through your kidneys and make you urinate more.
  • Carbonation – soft drinks, champagne, tonic water, all contain carbonation that can trigger the bladder and make you urinate frequently.
  • Hot spices – like cayenne, jalapeno, especially when combined with tomato, can really keep you hopping to the bathroom. Not only does the spice itself irritate your bladder but they prompt you to drink a lot more cold fluids to wash them down.
  • Sweeteners – real sugar, honey, and artificial sweeteners like Equal, Splenda and Sweet N’Low, can over-stimulate the bladder as well.
  • Preservatives/Spices – MSG, salt, pepper, other kitchen spices and certain herbs like oregano and dill also have diuretic action that can keep you urinating more frequently.
  • Onions, cranberry – like tomatoes, are acidic based, which can irritate the bladder. However, cranberries can also help keep the bladder free of bacteria by neutralizing it with the compounds it contains and flushing them out.

What Can You Do To Slow Your Go?

The best recommendation I give my patients who seem to have overactive bladder symptoms from food sources is to do the following:

  • Keep track of your symptoms and what foods seem to irritate them the most. Then, try to reduce the amount, or eliminate, these foods altogether to cut down on your frequency of urination.
  • Keep drinking your recommended amount of daily water intake, generally eight 8 ounce glasses a day, or more if you’re sweating a lot. Adequate water intake dilutes your urine so that if you do eat some of these foods, they will be less of an irritant to your bladder.

If you have symptoms of overactive bladder, visit your doctor for an evaluation to determine if there is a medical condition behind it such as those mentioned above. If you’re like my patients, however, most likely foods and drinks that you take in every day are causing over active bladder symptoms. To get your “going” problems under control, try the recommendations noted above, watching what foods you eat and what your symptoms are. Continue to drink your recommended amount of water to flush out any irritants and keep the rest of you healthy as well!

I am one of the few doctors in this country who is board certified in anti-aging and am currently the Director of South Florida’s Institute For Healthy Aging. With more than two decades of experience in treating thousands of patients, you could say I’ve seen it all. I treat a wide range of medical conditions- from cancer to obesity- and believe that natural, practical alternative carry the day. I believe that education is fundamental to prevention and wellness. I’ve partnered with other medical experts and developed an online health education site,

The Best Restaurant Hotel and Spa

Paris, also known as “The City of Light”, is one of the top tourist cities in the world, with over 30 million visitors every year. Having been a Paris shuttle driver for many years, it’s safe to say that I’ve got to know the city very well! I’ve written previously about visiting Paris on a shoestring budget – though the city is typically an expensive place to go, you can travel on relatively little if you plan carefully and know where to stay. But what if money is no object? Where do you go in Paris if you’ve got money to spend, and only the best will do? Fine restaurants, stunning hotels and fabulous spas are just the tip of the iceberg…

Restaurant – Pierre Gagnaire

French cuisine is justly world renowned, and Paris is liberally peppered with truly outstanding cafes, restaurants and patisseries; the larger and famous places in the main streets and the smaller, quieter eateries tucked away down the side streets. Asking a Parisian which restaurant is the best in the city is likely to ignite a fiery debate; everyone has a different opinion, but one name you’ll hear more often than the others is the Pierre Gagnaire Restaurant. Run by the legendary chef who has given his name to the establishment, this 3 Michelin Star restaurant offers up a feast of unusual flavours in truly stunning surroundings. The a la carte menu clocks in at a cool EUR300, but this is recognised as perhaps the finest restaurant in Paris…and one of the best in the world!

The Hotel – The Four Seasons George V

Whenever I pick up a customer for a Paris airport transfer and they are headed to the Four Seasons Hotel, I know they are in for a treat. Room prices can reach an eye-watering EUR1500 a night, but if you want to stay at the best hotel in town, this is the place for you – stunning décor, superb facilities and great service are the hallmarks of the Four Seasons chain, and this particular one has a premium location just off the Champs-Elysees. If you are looking for the most luxurious base imaginable for your holiday in Paris, you can’t beat a stay at the Four Seasons.

The Spa – The Ritz Health Club

The Four Seasons hotel is also home to one of the city’s finest spas, but judging from the reports of my Paris shuttle passengers, the spa over at the Ritz might just edge it out if you are looking for the finest pampering the city has to offer. Designed in a Greco-Roman style, the facilities are everything you’d expect from the Ritz – my passengers bring back reports of a spectacular array of treatments and high-tech facilities that need to be seen to be believed. Each of the top spas in Paris has its adherents, but I’ve heard the Ritz praised more highly than any of the rest.

There’s more to a holiday in this city than fine dining, grand hotels and luxurious spas, but take it from a Paris shuttle driver – these three places really do offer the last word in luxury, and are a great place to get started, so long as you can afford them!

New Restaurants Are Waiting For You

Are you tired of eating at home every night? Having the same old meals, week after week? If you think you’ve tried every restaurant in town and are getting tired of the true home cooked meals, or even the reheated leftovers, you might want to think about branching out and finding a new restaurant. There are plenty of these establishments around you, regardless of where you are located, while some may be farther than others, you will be able to find some fine dining somewhere near you.

The best part is that because owning a restaurant is so profitable, more and more are popping up all the time, which means that you have an increased variety when it comes to thinking about what is for dinner or where to meet for that next business lunch. There are new restaurants waiting for you all over town, if you take the time to discover them.

If you aren’t the brave type that will just go out and test a new restaurant without hearing anything about it, then you may want to ask around to see if anyone you are familiar with has been there or has heard anything about it. Word of mouth is the best business for restaurants, and if your prospective diner has a good reputation, you are going to hear about it from friends and family, or other associates that you ask.

If you are brave though, you can find new restaurants and head out to enjoy a great meal, most of the time. If you fall into this category, you are going to stumble across a few that just have plain poor service, bad food, or lousy facilities, and this is all part of finding the best restaurants. Thankfully though, there are other people who are going to want to know what your bravery has earned you, whether it was a fantastic meal, or something that should be avoided at all costs.

Getting out of the house for the evening, or arranging a business lunch for a few of your associates is a great way to test out new restaurants. The owners will be grateful to serve you on most occasions, and you will add another diner to your list of places to visit when you are getting the home cooking blues. There are plenty of places to find new restaurants to dine at, but asking your friends and family for suggestions or checking out the Internet are going to be your best avenues.

Restaurants In Maidenhead

I don’t own an eating establishment, I have no shares in any restaurants which some sites may well do. No I just wanted to produce some information which may help people in making an educated choice.

I’m actually an impartial resident of the area, who was once in a position in looking for somewhere to eat, with a good menu, not really having access to restaurant reviews and I had a ‘not so good’ experience looking for and trying to book a restaurant; and so I decided to make a website to help out.

When I talk about Restaurants in Maidenhead, I have included the surrounding areas, most notably Cookham which has a high percentage of great restaurants.

You only have to think of the best place to get a Curry and one of the first words on anyone’s lips is of course Maliks in the high street. However, I would suggest in addition that the much maligned Cookham Tandoori should be looked at because the prices are a little more reasonable and the food is in my opinion just as good.

In addition the gastronomic pubs of The Bel and Dragon, and The Kings Arms are excellent. I think the Bel and Dragon is a tad expensive, but the dining experience is excellent, and their soups are to die for!

Maidenhead itself (as in the town centre) is of course made up with many chain restaurants, and a lot of those are now going the way of the economy.. (down the pan).. Pizza Hut still offers a great quick meal, by the cinema, and the opportunity to use your money off vouchers exists, as they are always running great promotions.

The two other Maidenhead restaurants that I do have a lot of time for are Boulters lock, and The Blue River Cafe.

Both places offer exquisite views of the Thames, and I’m pleased to see that Boulters now has started offering a more extensive menu upstairs again(which they stopped a while back – to try to force more customers downstairs to the more expensive restaurant area).

Anyway, I’m not going to bash any specific local restaurants but I might make a couple of recommendations for maybe two very good restaurants, that are reliable and that are ideally part of the British Hospitality Association or even National Restaurant Association, if the restaurant is an international company.

When investigating various options, it then occurred to me that in these difficult times using and finding vouchers for all sorts of things are very valuable to consumers and customers. I decided that learning how to book a restaurant in Maidenhead and how to find out that particular eatery would go about letting your redeem your vouchers or restaurant gift certificates was of paramount importance. Additionally I wanted to ensure that when using restaurant coupons, the customer was not left feeling a ‘cheapskate’ or second class customer; which is always a fear.

It took a little bit of time for me to start this project of finding the best restaurant (in my opinion) in Maidenhead. I didn’t realise that trying to find one that was able to fulfill the essential criteria of having a great menu, a fantastic ambience and of course one that makes you feel special and not excluded if you use a voucher or two. I was later to find out that there is a huge gap between establishments, which are often in the same genre of food, even on the same road!

If this is starting to sound a little involved and complicated, fear not. I want to ensure that I have that in hand. I will take into consideration the very finest and most applicable alternatives for your requirements.

Getting the best seat or table for you and your party is something you would be a lot happier if you know you had it covered. I wanted to also investigate this.

In addition I will look at how and when to use any discount or special menu deals you have, and indeed how to do it discretely. Sometimes I know that it can be embarrassing when you want to use restaurant coupons, but we live it tough times, why not take advantage?

It’s true that many restaurants are happy to accept your coupons quietly. There are some rules to using them though. Sometimes you have to let the waiter or waitress know before you order that you intend to use vouchers. Personally I hate this, as it makes you feel that they will set out the left over food for you! (I have no evidence of this at all though, it’s just my paranoia!) In some cases you can just show something on your phone which can be scanned, but in other cases you may need an actual printed voucher.

The experiences that I and other people have had will help you and your friends to come to your own conclusions. But a little help along the way can’t harm.

Restaurant Maidenhead is a site developed to give an impartial opinion of the best couple of places to eat in the town of Maidenhead and surrounding areas.

This site isn’t all about gift certificates, but about choosing the best restaurant for you and considering you, your friends and family; primarily as the restaurants customers.

Restaurant Marketing Indecision

Yesterday I went for a beer with a friend of mine who owns a small restaurant. We talked about the business (slow these days), we talked about his family (busy running the business) and, at one point, we talked about marketing.

“You know?” he said “These days, there are so many marketing people trying to get your money… ” He paused, drank a sip of Guinness and proceeded.

“They want me to do coupons, they want me to invest in my web site, they want me to advertise in the Yellow Pages, in magazines… I am not rich, I can’t afford all of this!”

I looked at my friend, and I understood what he meant. Marketing professionals pitching -of course – his or her product as the best way to promote the business bombard restaurant owners on a daily basis.

They all look good in paper, but which one is the right one for you? How do you know if a marketing initiative will bring you the clients that you so desperately crave for?

The answer is: you don’t, unless you have a marketing strategy in place.

You see, some of these initiatives might be beneficial for your business – and most will be a waste of money – but you won’t know which ones will work unless you know what to look for.

Before you start spending money in marketing, you need to have a strategy, a vision in place. You need to analyze your needs.

Ask yourself:

– Does your business struggle all week long and you are looking to attract more customers?

– Or perhaps you have slower days of the week that you would love to fill in with clients?

– Have you just opened your restaurant, and you want to increase awareness about your great food and service so that people know about your place?

– Do you want to market to your best customers to encourage them to become repeat clients? (This, by the way, is the best marketing strategy that you can implement.)

– Do you want to promote an event? (Such as a wine dinner, menu change, charity event, etc.)

– Do you want to target some specific customer profiles (such as families or professionals or older people, etc.)

You see where I’m going?

Each of these examples will require a different marketing approach.

If you are aiming to capture older, retired people, you may not gain much by having a great Web presence, since most are not very Internet-savvy.

Similarly, if you have a family-friendly restaurant, an ad placed in a weekly entertainment magazine devoted to young, concert-going people won’t work because your target audience won’t see your ad.

Ads in traditional broadcasting media like newspapers and radio are great for promoting a newly opened restaurant or announcing special events or promotions. They reach a wide audience and can spread the word about your place. However, they are ineffective marketing techniques if you simply want to fill your place; they are expensive and it’s difficult to quantify their results.

Coupons, however, are interesting.

They could be very effective since they allow you to measure their impact (you can count how many of them are redeemed at your place) and can be targeted to fill empty tables on specific days (valid only on Mondays, etc.).

However, it is important to consider how they will be distributed and, if they go in coupon packages, which other restaurants are advertising in them (you don’t want to be the only upscale restaurant packaged with fast-food joints and pizza delivery services).

So you see: Before you spend any money in marketing, sit down and look at your needs. Think strategically and make a master plan.

These are some of the questions that you’ll need to ask yourself:

  1. What kind of customers do you want? (Unless your restaurant is already very geared to a specific audience, such as families – with decor and food for kids, etc. In this case you’re already got the answer.)
  2. When do you need to fill the seats the most?
  3. What’s your profit margin per dish? (So that you know exactly how much can you afford to give away in coupons, etc.)
  4. What can you do to attract repeat clients?
  5. Do you have a formalized referral system in place? If not, you should! Not only is this the most cost-effective and revenue-generating system, but you can implement this yourself easily without spending any extra money!
  6. Do you need to promote a special event?
  7. Etc.

If all these considerations overwhelm you, perhaps you should call in an expert consultant.

Having a consultant that sits with you for a few hours or days and helps you design your own master Strategic Marketing Plan could save you thousands of dollars a year in wasted money and time.

Just make sure that this expert doesn’t waste your time going over your operational details. You want somebody that can help you define your strategy!

You need to make sure that you spend your marketing dollars wisely and you can ONLY accomplish this only with strategic thinking and planning.

Otherwise, it’s like starting a road trip in an unknown territory without a clear destination or a map that shows you the way. You may end up in some interesting place, but most of the time you’ll be wandering lost in small roads that take you nowhere.

You can’t afford to run your business this way.

To conclude: Sit down and create a marketing strategy for your restaurant. This strategy will drive your marketing plan and expenses, and will help you decide what works for you.

An Elementary School in North Carolina Rethinks Student Rules on Food and Drink

No gum. No food. No candy. No drinks. It’s easy to understand why elementary school students are asked to follow classroom rules. Teachers are too busy to spend time scraping gum off the floors and the underside of desks and mopping up spills made by their students. Perhaps it is far easier to simply forbid all food and drinks from the classroom. However the teachers and parents at the school where I serve as principal recently decided to rethink some of their rules nor the benefit of the students.

Why? Think about it this way. Let’s say a child eats dinner at home at 6:00pm on most evenings. The child goes to bed around 8:30pm and awakens early enough to get on the school bus at 6:30am. At this early hour there may not be time for breakfast. School lunch is served at 12 noon during the school day. That is a whopping 18 hours without food, an unreasonable amount of time for a tiny growing body.

Similarly, students may never have the opportunity to drink fresh water. Dehydration can cause students to become sluggish and tired. Drinking water helps curb the appetite and flush out toxins in the body.

What did our school do about this conundrum? For starters, our district approved free breakfast for all students. Already about 75{c3355559f817107fef63778bad7ae06f506111c493e00205bc4fa14ff1db9fc1} of our students were receiving free or reduced meals from a federal government program, so allowing the remainder of the students to have breakfast at no charge wasn’t a huge burden for the district.

We take upon ourselves at the school to encourage students to eat breakfast at the school. Our cafeteria staff works to make sure the morning line moves fast and the food is tasty. Often the kids eat a fortified cereal bar, a fruit, and a milk. Our bus drivers and teacher assistants make sure the students move from the school bus to the cafeteria first thing in the mornings. Our teachers allow car students to bring their cafeteria meal into the classroom if they don’t have time to finish their meals prior to the sound of the tardy bell. I occasionally check our numbers with the cafeteria manager to see how many students are getting breakfast, and I send out reminders to parents that it is important for students to have a nutritious breakfast each morning.

Furthermore, we encourage students to keep water bottles with them in class. We ask that the bottles be clear so that we can ensure that they are indeed drinking water and that the container have a lid. Teachers often prefer that the water bottles are made with a sports top, in which a stopper can be opened or closed easily.

The results so far appear to be very positive. It seems to me that student behavior is better and that teachers are able to get a lot of work out of their students. Students able to focus on their studies instead of their stomachs. Students continue to bring their water bottles. At least one student reportedly asks for water at home instead of sodas.

Just is week I got a call from the local fire department. They had heard about our new initiative and offered to provide all of the students with fire-safety themed water bottles. It is great to know that the community is getting on board with what we at the school feel is an important way to educate our students from head to toe.