The Raw Hospitality Show
Ep 12: Nasser Jabber - Founder The Migrant Kitchen
Today’s guest Nasser (Nas) Jabber (from The Migrant Kitchen amongst other things) is proof that resilience, determination, a strong moral compass and doing good for others can positively change your life. This guy’s story is truly fascinating and incredibly humbling. From growing up in a tight-knit community and loving household , to finding himself living on the streets of NYC, we hear about his tenacity to keep going, even in times of great adversity. Two global crises nearly ruined him, this latest one propelled him forward, and what started out as a way of emptying his fridges when he was forced to close his operation in order to help feed frontline workers has now become a full time job, empowering the migrants he employs to produce food from their homelands to feed not only those in need but discerning customers across the city.
Originally from Ramallah, Palestine, Nasser Jaber came to the United States to study. Working at restaurants to pay his way, Nas discovered that his true passion was food. His talents would take him from waiting tables to training under some of the best chefs in New York City. Inspired by the diverse stories of America’s immigrant communities, Nas developed his acclaimed project Displaced Kitchens. Passionate about culinary diplomacy, Nas has worked with the U.S. government in Turkey and Sweden to provide real solutions to the refugee crisis through food hospitality and farming.
We hope you enjoy this heartfelt exploration of a life that has had many twists and turns but ultimately allowed him to find his true calling/
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15. EP 15: Nic Wood & Joel Valvasori41:45On today’s episode I talk to not just one but two acclaimed Australian Chefs, Joel Valvasori-Pereza, chef & owner of Lulu La Delizia. And Nic wood, executive chef from Santini at QT Hotel, both based in Perth, Western Australia.During the show we explore why they both chose to specialize in Italian cuisine, albeit with very different approaches, and their paths to get to where they are now.We discuss their shared passion for all things Italian, their belief in simplicity and delivering perfection in every dish they produce, how they had to learn to adapt dishes based on ingredients available, the highs and lows of being based in an idyllic yet quite isolated part of the world, what impact the recent Covid crisis had on their operations, what life is like now they’re on the other side and their ambitions for the future.It’s an honest, open, down to earth chat with two brilliant guys, who can rightly claim to be responsible for some of the best Italian food not only in Australia, but I dare say the world., and that’s coming from someone with Italian heritage.So pour yourself a negroni and enjoy. Ciao
14. EP 14: Liam Tomlin - Chef and RestauranteuraN:aNToday I am joined by the esteemed chef and hospitality entrepreneur Liam Tomlin, who made his name as a renowned chef working in Australia before settling in South Africa where he has built a solid and ever growing business enterprise that involves 8 restaurants and a food market, whilst also consulting to the Singita group. During the show we talk about his rise to stardom, his thoughts on the industry and how tough it can be at times on mental health. How he has changed his approach over the years and rather than being all about fame and fortune, he now derives satisfaction not from the accolades he receives but from giving back to the community, through the dining establishments he has built up and the social impact projects he is involved in.We talk about sustainability, local sourcing, feeding those in need, why employing passionate people is critical, the importance of fostering teamwork and giving employees ownership and his latest initiative, launching an internship program enabling those that may otherwise have not had the chance, the opportunity to break into the hospitality industry and master their craft.He’s a real inspiration to listen to, full of respect for those he works with and has lots of ideas on how to take challenges head on in order to establish future proof entities, from concept design to bring an idea to life. We hope you enjoy his wisdom and advice.
13. Ep 13: Marlene Leslie01:00:51I am delighted to be joined by the renowned hospitality expert & executive coach Marlene Leslie, a woman who is living proof of the power of reinvention and resilience.During the show we explore the evolution of her career through the industry - from waiting tables in Texas as a young girl, to landing her first Restaurant Manager job in NYC aged only 23, going on to work with Chef Morimoto, then moving into hotels, joining The Standard group initially as Director of Operations then taking on responsibility for all their F&B, before finding her true passion, coaching others to be their best.In this episode she shares with us what she has learned along the way - the importance of people, teams and a strong culture to build a successful brand and following, how to stand up for yourself, especially as a woman in a macho industry, the impact #metoo had on giving women a voice, and why having a clear vision of who we want to be and what matters to us, both professionally and personally, is critical to help us navigate through uncertain times. She’s full of insights and wisdom and is certainly more than resilient herself, having caught and fought covid last year, been responsible for having to lay off 100 people, all whilst handling being a new mother, she’s had it tough at times but remains optimistic about the future. Hope you enjoy the positive energy and advice she has to give.
11. EP 11: Greg Sherry - Co-owner Old Homestead Steakhouse NYC48:26Today I am joined by Mr Steak aka Greg Sherry, one of the brothers behind the iconic 150 year old Old Homestead Steakhouse in the infamous meatpacking district in NYC.This show is a real insight into why it’s important to be passionate about what you do, stay true to your beliefs and values, the importance of focusing on quality produce and not to diversify and dilute your offering too much.The Old Homestead Steakhouse NYC has been a family run business for the last 70 years when paternal grandfather Harry Sherry purchased the establishment after starting out as a dishwasher at the nearly century and a half old restaurant. Whilst the area around them may have evolved, one thing that hasn’t changed is what they do. They know their patrons come to them for one reason, mammoth cuts of the highest quality USDA prime dry-aged beef. It’s a proven model for success and has earned them a loyal following of customers, including a number of high profile diners, Whoopi Goldberg and Axel Rose to name a few.Brothers Greg and Marc have been pioneers in many industry firsts. Always on the cutting edge to introduce new experiences to their patrons, they were the first establishment in the USA to bring prized Wagyu, the most decadent, expensive and exquisite beef on the planet, to their patrons. Whilst Covid forced them to cease restaurant dining for a while, it also allowed them to evolve their business model and look at new ways to allow people to experience their amazing selection of meat. If you’re not in NYC but hankering for a delicious steak, check out their produce available to order on Goldbelly.It’s a really heartwarming, honest and uplifting story about resilience and reinvention with a couple of celeb stories peppered throughout. Enjoy.
10. EP 10: Ming Tsai - Chef, Entrepreneur And Philanthropist52:53Today I am delighted to be joined by the awesome and very entertaining restaurateur, television personality, celebrity chef, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Ming Tsai. Ming is an absolute legend, famous for beating Bobby Flay on Iron Chef, being named “Chef of the Year by Esquire, winning an Emmy, receiving the James Beard Award for his restaurant Blue Ginger, authoring 5 cookbooks and hosting his weekly cooking show Simply Ming to name a few. We catch up with him from the site of his latest venture BABA, an Asian fusion restaurant based at the Yellowstone Club in glorious Montana. During the show we hear how food is so central to his culture and how he learned early on that he could make people happy through cooking and that’s what set him on his course. He’s lived a fascinating life and though all his celebrity encounters he remains grounded and passionate about not only what he does, but looking after the people around him. He tells tales of cooking for industry icons like Jacques Pepin and Julia Childs (the latter berating him for having no female staff back in the day), how he got dubbed the Asian expert, the tough decision to close his much famed restaurant after 19 years and his current mission to help improve the health of all people, producing his own line of plant based, highly nutritious, delicious food @MingsBings from which he donates a portion of proceeds to Family Reach and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. We also touch on the impact covid has had on the industry, protocols and his thoughts on how to move forward and with clean air being the next commodity, a much deserved plug for @rensair I hope you enjoy the energy, enthusiasm and optimism from this humble human being.
9. The Foodie Magician - Josh Beckerman54:33The first time I met Josh he told me he makes food disappear. He then proceeded to eat an entire foot long lamb chop in my restaurant in under one minute right in front of my eyes.Josh Beckerman AKA the Foodie Magician is a professional entertainer and a consumer of every great restaurant in New York.He intertwines magic, mentalism and comedy around the world.This guy is no wall flower, he’s funny, entertaining and makes most rooms fall in love with him within a few minutes. That’s his real magic.The New York times stated, go out often enough and the food magician will materialize at the edge of your table.He has done tonnes of TV shows, the today show, late night with Seth Meyers and the of course cooking channel.For a healthy dose of magic and food updates in real time you really have to follow him on social media.I get most of my latest food updates from his IG stories.A true entrepreneur that has squared away a unique career and craft for himself in a true compelling strategy and role that no one can compete with or probably eat more in in day than him.He is the Food Magician
8. The Hospitality Tactician - Adam Block01:08:12Our next guest is Adam Block, probably the most important player in over 1200 hospitality venues across the United States.He has owned, run, negotiated, reinvigorated, leased, litigated so many deals my head spinning.Yet he manages to stay super humble. He talks partners, deals, covid and re imagining the hospitality space.He gives insights on how to pivot and lean forward in the new playing field in front of us and how to navigate the sharks.This guy is super informative and an old mate of mine who I used from time to time as mentor and ear for advice.
7. Reinventing the Club & Nightlife Scene - David Rabin01:01:25This weeks guest is David Rabin, an iconic figure in the New York Club & Bar World.He was one of the founders in the 1990s of Double 7 and Lotus clubs and later on Rex, V-Bar, Union Bar, and many more just to name a few.Currently, he has the Lambs Club, Cafe Clover, American Bar, The Skylark, and Jimmy’s on the roof of SoHo’s James Hotel. He’s also an advisor for The Dorsey (Las Vegas)He’s also opened gigs in Las Vegas and Moscow.This guy grew up in the late 70s 80s 90s Think Studio 54 and Ian Schrager's Palladium Club and many more.He’s known as an innovator of the entertainment industry, and Icon of the club and bar world, and an all-around good human.Page Six calls him the Club Guru.Market Watch calls him the New York Nightlife pioneer.He creates community programs to embrace and better understand the future of hospitality and probably one of the dudes that helped the Meatpacking district become what it is today.An ex-lawyer who walked away from his career and started his dream.