Q&A with Square Feet Studio’s John and Vivian Bencich

ATL Food Chatter: December 6, 2011 (To receive the Chatter and other culinary tidbits directly in your inbox, sign up for our weekly dining newsletter)With a portfolio that includes the likes of Abattoir, Floataway Cafe, and West Egg Cafe, Square Feet Studio is hardly an ingénue among Atlanta’s restaurant design firms. But rave reviews of its work on Inman’s Park instantly popular Barcelona Wine Bar has spiked attention for the ten-year-old firm. The owners, husband and wife team John and Vivian Bencich chatted about how they got started and what’s on the drawing boards.

Villains Wicked Heroes begins pop-up series

Normally closed on Monday nights, Villains Wicked Heroes now features a pop-up restaurant of the month. For February, executive chef Jared Lee will be working with guest chef and Puerto Rican native Carlos Collazo to host PR 184. Inspired by the Puerto Rican “pork highway,” PR 184 focuses on cuisine from “lechoneras,” or South American restaurant shacks centered around roasted pig. PR 184 will run until March 3. Look for a paleo-concept starting March 10.

Checking in with Kevin Rathbun

ATL Food Chatter: August 30, 2011 (To receive the Chatter and other culinary tidbits directly in your inbox, sign up for our weekly dining newsletter)Kevin Rathbun recently took some time from planning for his airport project, an American diner called The Atlantan; preparing for the Inman Park Restaurant Week, scheduled for September 19 to 25; and wrapping up a guest judging appearance on a Food Network show to talk about how he got to Inman Park, the next hot intown neighborhood, and where he is looking for future projects.

Q&A with Real Chow Baby’s Chip Joyner

ATL Food Chatter: April 11, 2011 (To receive the Chatter and other culinary tidbits directly in your inbox, sign up for our weekly dining newsletter)Chip Joyner, co-founder of The Real Chow Baby, and his wife, Carol, are examples of some of the younger restaurateurs in town who involve themselves in community service and philanthropy in some new and creative ways. They help support the City of Atlanta’s youth recreation centers with an ongoing program at both locations of the create-it-yourself Asian stir-fry concept. Last year, the Joyners donated over $7,000 to the city’s Centers of Hope recreation centers. Diners at their restaurants have been encouraged to include an additional tip on their bills that go directly toward the centers. In 2010, a nickel from every stir-fry sold was donated to the centers.

Todd Ginsberg leaves Bocado to open the General Muir

Yesterday, Westside restaurant Bocado announced that chef Todd Ginsberg would be leaving the restaurant on October 20. Rumors have been circulating for months now that Ginsberg would be opening a Jewish deli with Jennifer and Ben Johnson, owners of West Egg, and Ginsberg has finally confirmed his involvement in the project. The General Muir, slated to open in Emory Point by the end of 2012, was announced earlier this year with a press release that promised, "traditional deli classics, such as pastrami and corned beef, chopped liver, smoked fish, and hand-rolled kettle-boiled bagels, as well as innovative takes on traditional dishes."

Abattoir meats its public

ATL Food Chatter: May 22, 2009Abattoir, the highly anticipated opening of Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison’s homage to “locally-raised proteins” opened last night, Thursday, May 21. Thanks to Quatrano and PR maven Mary Reynolds, I got a sneak peek on Wednesday night and I was blown away! From the china to the lettering on the back of the bar stools, there is clear attention to whimsical details in this intimate space.

Revolution Doughnuts opens on National Doughnut Day, Twitter celebrates

The big news on this past National Doughnut Day in Atlanta was the opening of Revolution Doughnuts in Decatur, right next to the popular craft beer market Ale Yeah!. The venture comes from the folks formerly behind Little Red Hen Bakeshop, the name under which proprietor Maria Riggs had been selling baked goods at area farmers markets and through Farm Burger. The shop boasts admirable ingredients (organic flour, local dairy, bacon crumbles from the Spotted Trotter, fresh fruit) as well as some vegan and gluten free options. Peach fritters, bacon and salted caramel, and blueberry were among the selection available when I dropped in on Friday.

Cacao’s Kristen Hard has advice for women working in the male-dominated restaurant industry

Cacao's Kristen Hard discusses why chocolate is healthy, travel, and Steve Jobs.

Forthcoming Loews Atlanta restaurant now called Eleven

This just in: The flagship restaurant of the new Loews Atlanta hotel, opening April 1, was previously announced as Jasmine’s, but the owners have rechristened it Eleven—an obvious nod to the hotel’s street address, 1100 Spring Street. The hotel has also hired an executive chef, Olivier Gaupin. According to a profile on Naymz.com, Gaupin was educated in Orleans, France, and has a long history of working in some of the fancier hotels and resorts around the U.S.—including a stint in the kitchen at the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead from 1997 to 1999 (which put him squarely in the middle of Guenter Seeger’s exit as the restaurant’s executive chef and Joel Antunes’ entrance). His most recent job has been as director of food and beverage/executive chef at Alys Beach Resort in Florida.

Joy and the Chocolate Factory: local pastry chef studies at prestigious Valrhona

When it comes to chocolate, Valrhona is king. The French brand is used in desserts at our city's finest restaurants, and recently the company invited nine American pastry chefs, including Sarah Koob of Canoe and Joy Jessup of Kevin Rathbun Steak, to attend a week-long training program at its prestigious academy, Valrhona Ecole du Grand Chocolat. “I’ve done classes there before, but not since the late ‘90s,” Jessup says. “I was excited to do it again. It’s hardcore class training, but it’s really fun.”

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