Blog

4 Great Foodie Podcasts

For a foodie, the second best thing to picking up a fork and indulging in a delicious dish is to learn about how the food was crafted. Today, learning about the art of food is as easy as popping on headphones and pushing play. Below is a list of the best foodie podcasts sure to take you on a culinary adventure.

A Time and a Plate

This is the food podcast for history buffs. A Time and a Plate delves into the basic notion that everyone has to eat to live. The peasant in medieval times had to eat in the same way that a CEO of a Fortune 500 company today has to eat. Consuming food connects us to our human nature and to each other throughout history. While episodes are sporadically released averaging at only a handful per year, each one explores the historical and cultural context of a general food that we enjoy today, such as bread, spices, or chocolate. Each episode explains how the food came into existence, what its purpose was, and how it functioned in the society of the time period.

Bite by Mother Jones

Bite explores the science behind food and its consumption. Mother Jones editors Kiera Butler and Maddie Oatman collaborate with food/farming blogger Tom Philpott to interview acclaimed experts on all things related to food, including chefs, farmers, and scientists. The panel discusses the sociology and politics behind what we eat with topics ranging from how hippies reinvented American cuisine to whether fast food can be considered healthy.

Spilled Milk

The premise of this podcast is that comedians Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton decide to talk about a specific food and see how long they can keep the conversation going. When they say specific, they mean very specific; With episode topics such as handheld meat pies, breath mints, Hawaiian junk food, and boxed macaroni and cheese, it’s a comedic ride through common eats. Each installment is a quick listen, with most episodes clocking in around half hour and with over 300 episodes released you’ll be able to indulge in binge listening.

The Slow Melt
Devoted solely to chocolate, The Slow Melt was awarded 2017’s best food podcast by Saveur Magazine. This podcast explores every aspect of the $100 billion chocolate industry from its flavor to its impact on climate change. Interviews are conducted with individuals involved in every step of the chocolate making process, from farmers to the chocolate makers themselves. Simran Sethi, the podcast’s host, views chocolate just not as a simple food, but as “a delicious lens through which to explore the world.”

*Originally published on PhilipWardSeattle.net

Advertisements

5 Youth Sports Your Child Should Try

Participating in sports gives children an outlet for physical activity, and serves as a fun alternative to electronic games. The experience also gives them a chance to develop communication skills and cooperative behavior patterns. Sports offer opportunities to instill self-discipline and foster a competitive drive to achieve. By joining a team, children learn how to balance their time commitments and gain experience in vibrant interpersonal environments. With all of the possible benefits, the challenging part isn’t deciding whether or not to enroll a child in a sport, but deciding which ones may be best. Read on for some helpful information about five appealing sports options.

 

Soccer

 

This sport offers plenty of opportunities to develop fast footwork and quick-thinking skills. Players use core muscle strength to maintain balance while shifting directions and scanning the field to decide on their next move. Spending time on the field will help children develop their communication skills and push them into greater cardiovascular exercise. Boosted endurance and better-developed interpersonal skills typically follow as a result.

 

Swimming

 

Children who swim learn the importance of water safety, the value of which extends way beyond the arena of sports. They also complete exercises that tone muscles and improve lung capacity. Unlike some sports, swimming is low-impact and allows competitive participants to take part both as individuals and team members.

 

Archery

 

Children who dedicate themselves archery hone their ability to concentrate and wait patiently. Archery practice is wonderful for hand eye coordination. All this said, finding a qualified teacher may prove challenging to find in some regions.  If you are lucky, you may be able to find a formal archery learning center that offers indoor and/or outdoor experiences. However, less specialized venues such as nature centers and athletic clubs may also provide seasonal or limited classes.

 

Dance

 

Creative children often love the self-expression found in dance. This sport improves flexibility and emphasizes good posture. Students who take part in dance classes memorize various routines and positions, and learn to keep their composure in front of an audience.

 

Volleyball

 

Students who take up volleyball have many chances to practice communication skills. Hard work and social skills are big components of playing competitive volleyball. Practicing and playing volleyball is a great way to improve both physical and mental power.

 

With all of the great options available, there is really no reason not to try out a youth sport option. By enrolling their children in sports, parents help their children learn about commitment and how to balance their victories and defeats. Moreover, young athletes can find a lifelong passion take strides to develop their interpersonal and physical skills by trying out a sport. It is a well-rounded learning opportunity and worthwhile experience.

*Originally posted on PhilipWardSeattle.org

End Hunger in America: Why We Need Soup Kitchens

It’s five o’clock on a school night, and the cupboards are stripped bare. A mother scans her cupboard shelves, hoping in vain that she overlooked something – a stray bag of dried lentils or a can of chicken soup. She steps back a few minutes later with empty hands. Her children are eligible for free lunches at school and so haven’t become hungry enough to ask for food yet, but she knows that they will soon. She herself opted out of lunch, rationalizing that the money she would make in the hour was worth a few hours of hunger. But now, facing the empty shelves, the pangs she feels take on a greater intensity. She worked all day to feed her children, but the shelves are bare and payday a week away – so what can she do?

 

Hunger is a real and serious problem in America. In my home state of Washington, one in eight people lack the food needed to fulfill basic nutritional needs. The statistics are even worse for children; according to an October 2017 report by Northwest Harvest, one in five Washingtonian children live in a family that struggles to put food on the table. Between 2008 and 2011, the number of hungry families in the state skyrocketed from 88,000 to 163,000. These statistics are made more frustrating by the fact that the vast majority of working-age Washingtonians who grapple with poverty are actively working or looking for work. Despite working long hours and putting in Herculean efforts, many parents are left unable to provide for their children’s basic nutritional needs and give up their own meals to feed their families. Like the mother above, they are left in the frustrating position of coming home from a long day of work, only to be met by an empty pantry.

 

Hunger and its frequent companion, homelessness, is a widespread and complex issue that can’t be solved in a day. Rather, these issues will require close collaboration between communities and lawmakers to ensure that hardworking parents have the means and opportunity to provide for their children. However, this process will likely be years in the making and will not solve our real and present need. In the meantime, soup kitchens can help alleviate some of the burden that providers like the mother in the opening scenario face. Food banks and charity kitchens are vital to every community; Northwest Harvest reports that one in six Washington residents – well over a million people total – rely on their local food bank for sustenance. We need to come together as community members to aid those who struggle with hunger.

In the past few months, my family and I have taken strides to help fight the hunger epidemic in Washington. In late December, we held a dinner at the Renton Salvation Army Food Bank in Seattle. By the end of the night, we had fed over 200 people. We look forward to doing our part to end hunger in America by supporting more events in the upcoming months.

*Originally posted on PhilipWardSeattle.net

Keeping Cool: Strategies for Crisis Management

Philip Ward Washington suggests a few crisis management strategies.

 

Crisis is inevitable, especially for rising businesses. Eventually, some communication mix-ups will occur; important projects will fall apart, colleagues will clash, details will be missed, and company missteps will blare across social media platforms. In situations like these, it’s easy for CEOs and team leaders to fall into a panic and begin rushing about attempting to solve the issue – only to find that their mad attempts to patch problems has made them significantly worse.

Needless to say, crisis management can make or tank a business. Successful entrepreneurs must fight the urge to panic and keep a cool head in order to guide their company through troubling times. A few strategies for handling unforeseen company meltdowns are listed below.

Stay Calm

Employees take their behavioral cues from their leaders. Think, would you be able to rationally tackle a problem if you saw your boss storming about, raging online and snapping at employees? Keep calm and set an example for your employees by staying positive. Try to steer clear of stressful hypotheticals. Odds are, the disaster you envision befalling your company won’t occur unless you panic and grossly mishandle the situation. Stay focused and take steps to solve the issue at hand rationally!

Communicate Effectively

Communication is key, both internally and in the media. Make sure to circulate a memo or set a meeting to lay out the facts about an incident before going to the press; the last thing you need in a crisis is to see a disgruntled employee tearing the company apart online after taking office gossip as fact. Then, make a plan. Decide who will talk to the press and what they will say when they do so. Our instinctual response to accusations of wrongdoing is to defend ourselves – however, an impulsive answer can land even a well-meaning representative in hot water if their words are ill-spoken or misconstrued by the media.

Implement Preventative Measures

When faced with work-related stress, most people search for someone to blame. However, starting a witch hunt and offering up a scapegoat for the company’s problems won’t solve the core issue at hand. Take a day or so to find out the root cause of the problem. If a person or persons caused said issue, consider why and how they were able to throw the company into a problematic situation. Times of crisis are stressful and unwanted, but they also serve as learning experiences. What might your company learn about it weaknesses in a crisis? Consider the question carefully, and implement changes that will strengthen your company’s structure and systems for the future.

*Originally published on PhilipWardWashington.Strikingly.com

Tips and Tricks for Training a Restaurant Employee

You walk into your restaurant one morning to find the place slightly…off. Nothing is out of place or mishandled, but you have the gnawing sense that something has been mishandled somehow. So, you get down to it. By the time your staff meanders in for the opening shift, you’ve noticed over ten points of disorganization, messily handled equipment, and more than a few service complaints in the feedback box you keep on the counter. Concerned, you hold an impromptu staff meeting, only to find that a number of your employees have been mishandling or outright ignoring restaurant policies. When you ask them why, they shrug and reply, “I thought we didn’t need to do it that way.”

 

Training is everything in a restaurant given that a food establishment dines or dies by its customer service. Consider these stats: according to HelpScout, a full  78% of consumers will opt out of a product they had intended to buy after a poor customer service experience. Moreover, 94% of dissatisfied customers don’t report their unhappiness – meaning that your establishment’s poor service could be driving away customers, and you would only know when your regular stream of consumers dried to mere trickle. To quote restaurant consultant and blogger Ryan Gromfin, “Bad restaurant onboarding is like throwing money into your oven and watching it burn.”

Needless to say, a proper training program is integral to a restaurant’s survival. Consider the following tips when preparing to onboard a new employee!

 

Set Expectations Early

Your new employee should understand your restaurant’s goals and expectations before they ever don a uniform. Sit down with them for a few hours on their first day to review the role. Outline in specific terms how a successful employee behaves and what they achieve on any given day. The more guidance your trainee receives early on, the less likely they are to perform poorly or lazily later on.

 

Make an Orientation Program

“Go do it” is not a workable training program. Take the time to sit down and write a full-blown, structured plan for employee training. Schedule formal training and recap sessions into their workday so that they have the opportunity to learn and put that learning into action.

 

Designate a Trainer

If you don’t have the time to onboard a new staff member yourself, choose an experienced employee to do so in your stead. Make certain that the person you select is up to speed on all aspects of training; it might even be worth taking the time to assess their performance before asking them to train others. The last thing you want is for one employee to unintentionally pass misinformation onto your trainee!

 

Check In Periodically

Continued training is a must, even for long-time employees. Periodically check in with each employee individually to assess their work performance and happiness. These one-on-one meetings serve as wonderful opportunities for applauding any recent successes or sharing positive customer service reviews. If you demonstrate care for your business and customers, your staff will follow your example!

 

*Originally posted on PhilipWardWashington.net

Not Everyone Likes the Food: How to Define and Appeal to a Target Consumer Base

For hopeful entrepreneurs who invested months – if not years – of their lives in building what they hoped would be a successful restaurant, this defeat can be crushing. However, this dismissal is easily avoidable if a savvy restaurateur markets their food effectively to their defined target audience.

The hard truth is that not everyone will like your food. Sure, you can sweat over your recipes for months, wondering whether this dish needs a little more spice, or that one a little less – but in the end, you will still encounter hungry people who barely spare your hopeful new restaurant a passing glance. For those restaurateurs battling through their first few years losing even a handful of patrons can be nerve-wracking; after all, according to a study conducted by researchers at Cornell, as many as 59% of restaurants shutter their storefronts within their first three years of business.

For hopeful entrepreneurs who invested months – if not years – of their lives in building what they hoped would be a successful restaurant, this defeat can be crushing. However, this dismissal is easily avoidable if a savvy restaurateur markets their food effectively to their defined target audience.

Think of it this way. Odds are, you won’t find an high-end French restaurant offering meals starting at $100 a plate on a block dominated by working-class, fixed-income retirees. The reason seems obvious; the demographic that would realistically buy the food doesn’t match up with demographic near the food. Any aspiring entrepreneur worth their wooden spoon needs to consider the age, economic bracket, culture, and location of their customer base.

Before opening – or even purchasing – a location, aspiring restaurants need to ask themselves the following questions:

 

What is the demographic of my target audience?

Are your prospective customers teenagers? Families? Upper-middle-class businessmen and women out for a fancy dinner? You will need to narrow your target customer base to determine your menu, pricing, and marketing strategy.

 

Does my location suit my target customer base?

It’s worth noting that the client base that the entrepreneur wants isn’t always the same as the one the entrepreneur gets. For example, if a cafe targeting business professionals is geographically closer to the local high school than to any corporate buildings, its owners may find themselves needing to shift their menu offerings from paninis and lattes to milkshakes and burgers to stay in business. Save yourself the scramble by setting up shop in an area with a dense population of your target consumers.

 

Will my prices and promotions appeal to my target customer base?

If you intend to sell burgers to teenagers, you shouldn’t charge $30 a plate. Think about the financials of your target demographic; what can they afford? A buy-5-get-1-free punch card is appropriate for a coffee house, but a steakhouse might be better rewarded offering a free appetizer to customers who spend over $50. Consider what your consumer base will be able to pay within the context of your establishment, and work within what you would expect their budgets to be!

 

Even the best restaurants can’t please everyone. For many, success is dependent on a restaurateur’s ability to define and market to a specific customer base. If you plan to open a restaurant, make sure that the food and services you intend to offer will appeal to those in the area!

*Originally posted on PhilipWardWashington.net

Quotes from Successful Innovators on Why We Shouldn’t Fear Setbacks

Philip Ward presents a series of quotes from successful innovators who believe that entrepreneurs shouldn’t fear failure.

Failure is scary. No hardworking, determined entrepreneur wants to admit defeat, or give up on a venture they’ve poured months – if not years – into developing. But sometimes, undertakings do fall flat, and entrepreneurs find themselves in the unenviable situation where they either have to pull the plug on a project or risk going under.

The fact is, businesses fail. In-business ventures fail. Sometimes, ideas simply don’t work out, and entrepreneurs are left in the dust to wonder how they can possibly move on from their dustup with defeat.

But success isn’t a one-shot game – it may seem counterintuitive, but failure is a necessary part of the business process. Without setbacks, entrepreneurs are unable to learn which approaches work, and which are better left unpracticed.

Even the most notable innovators admit to facing losses before big wins. These are a few notable quotes from successful people on their philosophy towards failure.

 

Lance Armstrong:

World Champion cyclist

“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.”

 

Neal Shusterman:

Award-winning novelist

“I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.”

 

Thomas Edison:

Renowned inventor

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

 

Bill Gates:

Co-founder of Microsoft

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

 

Mark Twain:

Internationally-renowned writer and humorist

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

 

Denis Waitley:

Noted author and motivational speaker

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing”

 

Vince Lombardi:

Noted American football coach

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

 

Chris Hardwick:

American comedian

“No human ever became interesting by not failing. The more you fail and recover and improve, the better you are as a person. Ever meet someone who’s always had everything work out for them with zero struggle? They usually have the depth of a puddle. Or they don’t exist.”

 

Christopher Morley:

Noted Poet

“There is only one success- to be able to spend your life in your own way.”

 

Albert Schweitzer:

Nobel Prize winner

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

 

Adam Osborne:

Noted entrepreneur and author

“The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake- you can’t learn anything from being perfect.”

 

Winston Churchill:

Former UK Prime Minister

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

 

John Green:

American novelist

“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”

*Originally published on PhilipWardWashington.com