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Culinary Spotlight: The 40 Percent Rule

by on Feb 24, 2014
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So, what does it take to be one of the 40 percent who will make it? For me, two options come to mind. Either you posses a tremendous business strategy and business plan, or you have so much money that you don’t mind wasting it on a failing operation. Personally, I prefer the first scenario. We have a business with overhead that is kept at a bare minimum, a staff that is well trained and a turnover rate that challenges the industry averages. Not to mention, good food.

So many folks have dreams of investing in or operating a restaurant. It sounds fun that’s for sure. However, the reality is that it could leave you emotionally beat down and financially devastated. After all, the average net profit margin of a restaurant with a $25 average ticket price or higher, is a very modest 1.8 percent. So, when mom and dad were persuading us to be doctors and lawyers, maybe we should have listened.

On the other hand, what about passion? By the time I was 14 I knew I wanted to cook for a living. There was no way I was going to pursue a career that required an office and a chair. I spent several hours a month as a high school student experimenting with food and recipes. I remember always preparing a sauté of fresh mushrooms and feeling like it was just too boring. So, I took my step-father’s Jack Daniels out of the cupboard and took those mushrooms to a whole new place (trust me, I only cooked with it). To this day one of my favorite side dishes is Bourbon Crimini Mushrooms. If you told me in high school that I wouldn’t make a dime in the restaurant business I’m sure I would have pushed forward regardless. It’s like telling an aspiring musician or actor that they’ll get eaten alive if they move to Los Angeles. You simply need to try or you’ll never know.

I am not an expert on the subject of financial success. Nor am I an expert regarding success in general. I am, however, a good example of someone who has failed more than once and keeps pushing forward, trying to accomplish good things and trying to find success. This may sound a bit cliché but everyone knows that behind any successful man is a brilliant woman. After all I’m just a cook. So, if anyone asks me how I’ve managed to be part of the 40 percent for the past 10 years the response is easy: I married my beautiful wife, Sara.

“This may sound a bit cliché but everyone knows that behind any successful man is a brilliant woman. After all I’m just a cook. So, if anyone asks me how I’ve managed to be part of the 40 percent for the past 10 years the response is easy: I married my beautiful wife, Sara.” 

 

Culinary Spotlight Bourbon Crimini Mushrooms featured in Fargo Monthly Magazine

Bourbon Crimini Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 Large Shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. Fresh Garlic, minced
  • 2 oz. Olive Oil
  • 2 lb. Crimini Mushrooms, or baby Portobello mushrooms, washed and halved
  • . cup Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Butter. Room temperature
  • 2 tsp. Fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 2 oz. good quality bleu cheese, freshly crumbled
  • 3 slabs bacon of thick cut, cooked and roughly chopped
  • Salt & fresh ground black pepper, as needed

INSTRUCTIONS 

Bring a large sauté pan to medium high heat and quickly sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil. Add mushrooms to the pan and continue to sauté on high heat until mushrooms are tender. Deglaze the pan with Bourbon (remember to stand away from the burner while doing this as mixture surely will ignite over an open flame). Once the flame is gone, continue to cook on high heat to quickly reduce the remaining liquid. Add the butter and quickly mix into the mushrooms to give a glossy appearance. Season with fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Top with bleu cheese and bacon and serve immediately.

By Eric Watson

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