FriendsEAT.com

Archive - March 2011

Thumann’s & Dutch Quality House Chicken Fillet Recall

Thumann's

 

Thumann'sWayne Farms has recalled close to 53,000 pounds of frozen, breaded, fully cooked Italian-style chicken breast fillet products. They contain egg, which is not noted on the label and is a known allergen.

According to the USDA, the following products are part of the recall:

  • 10-lb. cases of Thumann’s “The Deli Best” FULLY COOK BREADED ITALIAN STYLE CHICKEN BREAST FILLET W/RIB MEAT with each case containing bulk packed 7 oz. chicken fillets.
  • 10-lb. cases of Dutch Quality House DIST. BREADED FULLY COOKED ITALIAN STYLE CHICKEN BREAST FILLET W/RIB MEAT with each case containing bulk packed 7 oz. chicken fillets.
  • 10-lb. cases of non-branded BREADED FULLY COOKED ITALIAN STYLE CHICKEN BREAST FILLET WITH RIB MEAT with each case containing bulk packed 7 oz. chicken fillets.

The packages are marked “P-33885″ inside the USDA mark of inspection and may contain the following code numbers: B13464, 13464 or 20947 in large bold print. The products were produced between Aug. 3, 2010 and Nov. 13, 2010. The recall affects New Jersey and Massachusetts.

People who are allergic to eggs react because the body thinks it is a harmful substance. In allergic individuals, the immune system overreacts to egg protein.  This allergy affects the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and the cardiovascular system. Symptoms can be wheezing, nausea, headache, stomachache, and itchy hives.

If you have these products at home, return them to the place of purchase.

Obesity May Be Solved with Plant Oil

Obesity on Rise

Doctors and scientists have known for a long time that the amount of abdominal fat present in a person’s body is directly proportional to the likelihood of that person to suffer from heart attack, high blood pressure, hypertension, and other health problems. Now, a research reveals a plant oil contains a compound that may be able to fight against belly fat accumulation, and obesity in general.

Dr. James Perfield, assistant professor of food science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR), of the University of Michigan found that sterculic oil, extracted from the seeds of the Sterculia Foetida tree, can reduce the amount of fat formed in the abdominal area of rats. The oil contains certain fatty acids that have been known to suppress a body enzyme connected to insulin resistance. This could then indirectly help in reducing belly fat.

“This research paves the way for potential use in humans,” Dr. Perfield said. “Reducing belly fat is a key to reducing the incidence of serious disease, and this oil could have a future as a nutritional supplement.”

In the study, Dr. Perfield added a small amount of sterculic oil (akin to giving 3 grams of the oil to a 250 pound person) to the feed of rats that were genetically pre-disposed to accumulate a high amount of abdominal fat. He then tested the rats during a 13 week period, where he found that rats supplemented with sterulic oil have less belly fat than those than those that were just given feeds. They were also observed to be less likely to develop diabetes as well.

There are no studies yet conducted on humans, but there are plans to do so. With commercial interest piqued by the possibilities of sterculic oil, researchers are now working on other research studies about the oil. Dr. Perfield even added that another study, with entirely different research parameters, is about to wrap up. The results would then be announced in the near future.

It’s All About Clams

Clams

One of the most delicious seafood that you can ever eat is clams. There’s no questioning the soft, succulent flesh almost melting in your mouth. Eaten raw, fresh clams have a consistency akin to young coconut meat and a taste that is reminiscent of lychee.

Clams are also versatile ingredients in many dishes. It can be used in clear soups and chowders. It can be added as topping for spaghetti or cooked along with gumbo. It can even be eaten on its own, with some people preferring to grill it, others go for baked, and still more who like the sweet and juicy taste of raw clams.

Health Benefits of Clams: As seafood, clams are also noted for being a healthy alternative to meat. It is high in protein and low in fat. It is also rich in iodine and natural sodium that is needed by the body to function. Clams are also a good source of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that helps maintain the proper performance of the brain. Since clams have virtually no cholesterol, you can eat as much as you want, with little to know chance of heart complications.

How to tell if clams are fresh: Just make sure that the clams you buy are fresh. To check raw clams for freshness, look for those with their shells still closed. Clams that are already open are no good so you should dispose of them. When dealing with cooked clams, the reverse holds. Shells that are still closed after cooking should be thrown away, since the meat have most likely gone bad inside.

Once you have good clams, ready to be cooked, the imagination is the limits. Since today is Half Shell Day, then you should try making some fried clams, boiled clams, and baked clams.

They are so easy to make that you should try them all.

 

Culinary Courses Becoming Top Choice for College

Student with the Executive Chef

Good never ceases to be the object of fascination for people. We’ve seen some dishing out excellent dishes on their cooking shows, some guy raising hell in his kitchen, a bunch of chefs trying to best each other in cooking contests, a couple of more creating disaster while they’re holding a knife, or even an entire TV network created solely for food.

With all these happening, it won’t come as surprise that this fascination about food would translate into an increased interest of people in cooking. This is an interesting trend, if you would look at the numbers. Five or six years ago, culinary arts and other studies related food are in the decline. It is a different story today, with culinary courses among the top choices of graduating students and those seeking additional education.

The reason that most of these culinary hopefuls give for studying in this field is because of Gordon Ramsay’s show, shorts on Heston Blumenthal, Food Network, and other personalities that they get to see on TV. This would be the answer to the problem faced by culinary schools in the past: the profession has a very low public profile. Now, with TV networks churning out various shows related to food, and the celebrity status achieved by the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Alton Brown, culinary arts have become an attractive course.

The probable downside of this trend is the expectations. Because most people equate culinary arts with being famous or popular, they might get disappointed once they get down to the task of learning itself. Cooking is both an art and science, and good chefs know that they need to be good at both. They would also need to spend years honing their craft in order to stand on the same level with the big names in the culinary world.

It is an issue that may need some addressing. It is good to learn how to cook well, but if the number of people studying the art is only there for the popularity and the money, then that would be create some problems in the near future. A bubble burst might be in the making.

What’s in the Aroma?

Coffee Aroma

How do perceive aroma in food? Is it in the ingredients used for a dish? Is it in the way it is cooked? Or is it something else? According to a study presented to the Flavor and Fragrance Journal:

Food acceptability “is governed to a considerable extent by their organoleptic properties, and mostly by aroma perception…”

“As food is consumed, the overall sensory perception that includes texture, taste and aroma occurs simultaneously and/or consecutively and is then integrated by the brain to produce a global and complex sensation…”

The proponents of the study say that aroma and fragrance perception depends largely on how the aroma is released. When it comes to food, aroma perception can be influenced by how we chew our food, what the structure of the food was like, as well as the proportion of the ingredients used. In addition, food must be broken down in the mouth in order for aromatic compounds to reach our olfactory nerves in the nose.
In other words, the way we perceive aroma is actually a mix of two factors: the composition of chemicals found in food, and our body’s ability to sense aroma. The interchange between the two is the reason why there are people who can sense aromas better than others. The study shows that there are plenty of factors that can influence aroma perception.

This opens up some interesting possibilities. We are aware that they way we perceive taste is also dependent on our ability to perceive aroma. In fact, much of the flavors that we taste in food, like vanilla and cinnamon, are actually more appreciated when they are smelled. From what the researchers are saying, we can actually enhance the flavor of food without actually adding anything into it. Maybe a few drops of orange oil to make a tastier marmalade can actually do the trick.

It is an interesting discovery, one with many potential applications. What do you think?

Interview with Chef Michelle Garcia

tartine-bakery-cookbook

 

Doing something you love is one of the most important things to consider when it comes to a job. After all, it helps you keep going with your work, and it serves as a motivation for you to continue with what you do. Take Chef Michelle Garcia as an example. She has been cooking since her teen years. Garcia does her work quickly and silently, with the music from the speakers blaring. Her specialty is American pastry, which she peppers with French design. She uses only the best seasonal ingredients, organically grown and sourced locally. Her love for punk and rock culture in everything she creates at the Bleeding Heart Bakery.

It’s something you don’t get to see with traditional bakeries. Come to think of it, Chef Garcia is no ordinary pastry chef.

FriendsEAT:  Let’s start off light, where have you worked in the past?

MG: Whole Foods Market, Vosges Haut Chocolat, The Four Seasons, Spago and De Taart Van M’n Tante

FE:  So we know where you honed your skills, but when did the passion begin?

MG: I started to learn profession baking and pastry from age 13 and I just never stopped!

FE:  Who in your life has influenced your cooking the most?

MG: My husband, Valentin, has influenced my pastry the most. His mexican American culture is so rich is delicious history.

FE:  What made you decide you would become a professional cook?

MG: I spent most of my teenage years cooking my ass off…and I always got rave reviews, but it took a Chef enrolling me in Kendall College for me to commit….I always thought I was going to be a rockstar!

FE:  What misconceptions do people have coming into the field?

MG: Fists, that they will instantley become rock star chefs with their own TV show. Second, that they will ever go home for a holiday. Third, that they will make millions of dollars at the drop of the hat.

FE:  Best cooking tip for a novice?

MG: ****LEARN**** Everything is a learning experience. You should take a job for how much you will learn, not how much $$ you will make.

FE:  Which three cooking tools or gadgets are your favorites?

MG: Small offset spatulagram scale and my paring knife

FE:  Funniest kitchen incident?

MG: I was working the hot line for brunch and was wearing overalls….I move VERY fast and I don’t always pay attention to dangers around me. I side swiped the syrup ladel that was sitting in a steam table and it lifted up and poured boiling hot maple syrup inside my overalls. I didn’t scream….but I have a very large tattoo planned that goes down my entire leg…. I got second degree burns!.

FE:  I am not sure if that was funny or just plain painful, let’s get back to something lighter…favorite food to cook with?

MG: chocolate, hands down.

FE:  When at home, what do you like to eat?

MG: Im a HUGE fan of yellow curry. Second to that would be my husbands Pozole.

FE:  Your favorite cookbook?

MG: The Tartine Bakery book.

FE: Is there a specific etiquette in your kitchen that you pride yourself in?

MG: I work fast and clean….I don’t talk and I don’t waste time…but I HAVE to have the music cranked up high!

I’d like to thank Chef Garcia for taking the time to chat with us and even more for sharing her Bacon Bread Pudding recipe, I’ll be trying it out asap.

 

4 cups of cubed and toasted brioche (challah works too)

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 banana, sliced and roasted in oven at 250 degree for 15 minutes

3 whole eggs

1 slice of bacon, minced and rendered on the stove until crispy (dont toss fat)

1 pinch cinnamon

METHOD:

Mix all liquids, sugar and eggs together

Place bread cubes into a large bowl

Place bacon, bacon fat and banana on top of bread cubes, sprinkle with cinnamon

Pour liquid mixture over bread and mix together by hand, cover bowl and allow mixture to soak in fridge over night

Line mold (can use ramekins or coffee cups) with butter and sugar, then fill with bread pudding mixture

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until no liquid rises to the surface when pressed on top.

The Bleeding Heart Bakery is located at 1955 West Belmont Ave. Chicago, IL 60657 773-327-6934 and at 1010 North Boulevard in Oak Park, IL

 

 

Trader Joe’s Pizza Al Pollo Asado Recalled

Images via Greenzer

131,000 pounds of 10 oz packages of Trader Joe’s Pizza Al Pollo Asado products were recalled because they contain an allergen, wheat, not declared on the label. Wheat is a known allergen.

 

From the USDA:

“Individual packages bear the establishment number “EST. P-974″ inside the USDA mark of inspection. The products were produced on various dates between Jan. 27, 2011 and March 27, 2011 and shipped to Trader Joe’s stores nationwide. The products include one of the following Julian dates embossed on the retail carton: “02711,” “02811,” “03011,” “03111,” “03311,” “03411,” “03811,” “03911,” “04011,” “04111,” “05211,” “05311,” “05411,” “05511,” “05911,” “06011,” “06111,” “06211,” “06711,” “06811,” “07311,” “07411,” “07511,” “07611,” “08111,” “08211,” “08411,” “08511″ and “08611.”

Those with a wheat allergy may experience symptoms including hives, difficulty breathing and nausea. Wheat allergy can also cause anaphylaxis which may be lethal.

Radioactive Iodine Detected in U.S. – Natural Alternatives to Potassium Iodide Tablets

Homemade Miso

As the tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in north eastern Japan spirals out of control, most nuclear experts agree a meltdown is in progress. There is damage to fuel rods, radiation in the water leaking from the plant is at 100,000 times the normal level, and plutonium has been detected in the soil at five separate areas near the Fukushima plant.

Kyodo News reports radioactive iodine-131 at a concentration of 3,355 times the maximum allowable level under the law was detected in a seawater sample taken Tuesday afternoon near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, according to the government’s nuclear agency.

In fact the Guardian reports that Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, claims workers at the site appeared to have “lost the race” to save a reactor core, which appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor.

RadioactiveRadioactive Iodine-131

Traces of radioactive iodine-131 have been detected around the globe. Low levels of radioactive iodine have been detected in the US, the UK, Iceland, Switzerland, South Korea, the Philippines, and China. In the UK, low levels have also been detected at monitoring stations in Oxfordshire and Glasgow.

According to Forbes, the Environmental Protection Agency reported finding elevated levels of iodine-131 in rainwater in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

And although the EPA continues to assure the public there is no need for alarm, the EPA notes that iodine-131 levels in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts exceed the maximum contaminant level (MCL) permitted in drinking water.

And radioactive Iodine-131 in a Pennsylvania rainwater sample was 3300% above federal drinking water standard. This video forecasts that radioactive particles will be concentrated over the Midwestern U.S. on April 1, 2.

Potassium Iodine TabletsPotassium Iodide Tablets

Within a few days after the nuclear incident in Japan, potassium iodide tablets were sold out across the U.S. and were selling on ebay for $200 a bottle.

Potassium iodide — approved by the FDA in 1982 — is said to protect the thyroid gland from radioactive iodine. The idea is to saturate the body with potassium iodide prior to exposure which in turn prevents radioiodine from accumulating in the thyroid. By blocking the gland from absorbing radioactive iodine, the risk of the thyroid developing radiation-related diseases is lower.

Arnold Gundersen, a 39-year veteran of the nuclear industry, stated publicly that he’s taking potassium iodine tablets against radiation. Gundersen worked as a nuclear plant operator and served as an expert witness in the investigation into the Three Mile Island accident.

CNN reported that potassium iodide tablets were given to U.S. Naval air crew members flying within 70 nautical miles of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant.

Japan Times reports that embassies throughout Japan are passing out potassium iodide tablets as a “precautionary measure” to protect their citizens from radiation exposure in case the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant gets worse.

“The Swedish Embassy is recommending on its website that citizens within 250 km of the Fukushima plant take [iodide tablets] once every three days.”

Miso SoupNatural Potassium Iodine Alternative

The good people at Shirley’s Wellness Cafe point out that “the electrolytic magnetic action of sea plants releases excess body fluids from congested cells and dissolves fatty wastes through the skin, replacing them with depleted minerals, particularly potassium and iodine. Sea Vegetables (Spirulina – kelp – Chlorella) have been acknowledged as a detoxifyer, a balanced nourishment and a miraculous healing plant.

“Ocean/Sea algae are the richest natural source of minerals, trace minerals, Iodine and rare earth elements. If there is enough iodine in our bodies, radioactive fallout is no longer able to concentrate in the thyroid and it will simply pass through.”

On his blog, Christopher Lowman claims “Miso soup is a regular at the Japanese dinner table and, in fact, has been directly credited with the high survivor rate of victims of radioactive poisoning in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

Lowman says Miso is “a radioprotective, which accounts for the phenomenon witnessed in the aftermath of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. A daily bowl of miso soup is like a daily multi-vitamin, with B group vitamins, vitamins K and E as well as antioxidants, fiber and essential amino acids.

“The older the miso, the more potent the enzymes, so go for the darker blends if health is your main objective. The older, strong flavored misos are fermented for years at a time, while the lighter and more delicately flavored misos are usually only a couple of months old. Most commercially sold miso soup (blech) is made with lighter varieties of miso, and it is this kind of miso that is available in miso soup sachets as well. However, a real Jedi makes their own from scratch, here’s how.”

Homemade MisoBasic Miso Soup Recipe Courtesy of Christopher Lowman

The most basic miso soup is made with only the addition of a few strips of wakame (seaweed) and two or three cubes of silken tofu. The key to preparing miso soup is to not put the miso into boiling water, as this will kill the live enzymes. Putting the miso into the bowl first and then adding hot water is the normal way of making the soup.

For a hearty miso soup recipe that is far superior to any chicken soup and will fight a cold or flu 100x better, try the following:

Ingredient (shop the macrobiotic section at health nut food stores):

Wakame

Fresh Ginger

Carrot

Celery

Silken Tofu (ensure it is not genetically modified, most soy beans are now)

Mugi Miso (Barley Miso)

Soak the wakame for about ten minutes until it is tender. Bring filtered water to a boil adding thinly sliced ginger, carrots and celery. These ingredients contain potent minerals and infection-fighting power that you want to extract. When the celery and carrot are softened add the wakame (cut into strips) and cubed silken tofu and take off the heat. Let the soup cool a little. Place a tablespoon (or to taste) of miso in each bowl and ladle in the broth once it is not so hot and mix well. You can watch the live enzymes making patterns in the soup, but don’t watch too long or else the soup will get cold.

 

Most Expensive Meals in the World

Eating a Dollar

Eating a DollarIf you are thinking that you have spent an awful lot for that dinner date with your girlfriend. Sorry to say, but it is likely that you only spent a fraction of what a truly expensive meal is. There are expensive meals, and there are expensive meals. There are price tags that might leave your head buzzing.

You don’t believe me? Then take a look at the list of expensive meals that man has ever paid, or is yet to pay. From the sands of Egypt to the valleys of New Zealand, you would be shocked at the price of a single meal.

1. Heston Blumenthal’s six-course dinner at Cape Kidnappers resort in New Zealand ($7,000 per head). The hefty price tag also fits the class of people that have reserved seats for that dinner: there’s a prime minister, rich people, celebrities, and food critics for and against Blumenthal’s style of cooking.

2. The Dome Restaurant’s ten-course gourmet dinner in Bangkok, Thailand ($25,000 per head). Foie gras, Beluga caviar, Kobe beef, premium crayfish, morel mushrooms, truffles, lobster, premium lamb, and Dom Perignon are just some of the pricey stuff served.

3. Nino’s Belissima Pizzeria’s Belissima Luxury in New York City ($1000 per order). If you think good pizza is cheap, then you haven’t heard of this kind of pizza. Believe me, there are people who are willing to buy a thin-crust pizza that is topped with chives, lobster, crème fraîche and a half-dozen kinds of caviar.

4. Serendipity, a restaurant at the East End of New York City, serves Serendipity ice cream ($1000 per serving). If you’re looking for something to cool you up this summer, then you might want to try this. With a ridiculous price of a thousand dollars, this refreshing sundae will also be a sure-fire way to break your bank.

5. Le Parker Meridien Hotel in New York City serves a special omelet ($1000 per plate). The Zillion Dollar Frittata is not just your ordinary omelet. It is made of eggs, premium lobster, and ten ounces of sevruga caviar, one of the most expensive caviars in the world.

6. Westin New York Hotel has their restaurant serving warm bagel to guests ($1000 per piece). Bagels are filling food, but you might want to skip this pricey kind of bagel. Just think of it as your usual special bagel, only that it has a gold leaf-white truffle cream cheese spread inside.

7. Bombay Brassiere creates the Samundari Khazana, a seafood curry dish, in London ($2000 per plate). This tasty dish will go down in history as the most expensive curry served. It has the most expensive ingredients ever used like Devon crab, white truffle, beluga caviar, Scottish lobster, abalones, and quail eggs, dusted with gold and gold leaf inlays.

8. A Fence Gate Inn chef created a mushroom and beef pie in Burnley Lancashire, England ($8, 195 per pie, serves eight people). Mushroom and beef pie will never be the same with this one. Red wine, Wagyu beef, matsutake mushrooms, and gold leaf are just some of the things that gives this a hefty price tag.

9. Nobue Ikura, a Japanese jewelry decorator, created a cake with real platinum designs in Tokyo, Japan ($130,000 for each cake). Talk about expensive desserts. This cake is not just expensive because of the ingredients, it is also because it is glittering with precious metals that you can wear as well.

10. The winner? A meal served to Queen Cleopatra VII in Egypt way back in the past. She drank two pearls worth ten million sesterces (which, by modern estimates, would cost around $21,000,000 per cup). And the reason? She and Mark Anthony had a bet that she couldn’t serve the most expensive dinner in the world. Guess the record still stands until this day.

 

The Comfort of Comfort Foods

Fried Eggs

Chicken SoupDo you know what chicken noodle soup, kim chi, fried chicken, and that odd sunny-side up fried eggs have in common? They are all considered as comfort food. While each person has his own preferred dish, the fact that they derive some sense of contentment and peace when they eat these foods brings up some interesting possibilities.

Based on a study conducted by Jordan Troisi, researcher and doctoral candidate from the University of Buffalo, people who eat a specific kind of food with those they are close with often associate that food with them. By consuming comfort foods, people find that they are less lonely since the food reminded them of the companionship they enjoyed with others.

KimchiAccording to Troisi, the food itself has nothing to do with the effect. It is the people who consume comfort foods who have developed a connection between this specific dish to that specific person or group that they enjoy eating with. Comfort foods, in other words, serve as a bridge between people and those they are close with. Even when that close someone is not around, as long as the dish is there, then the people who consume it is more content.

This opens up one good question about this study: if comfort foods serve as a reminder of close relationships, and it can be any kind of food, then is it possible that all the stuff we hear in advertising and the likes may not actually be true? After all, we get all those hype on TV and radio about eating this and that to improve our relationship, the stuff that they call “comfort foods”.

Fried EggsThis study shows is that we are the ones who are actually in control. We are the ones who decide about what kind of food that we associate with someone. Personally, it does pretty much jive with my thinking.

Come to think of it, some people I know find it weird that my comfort food is a bowl of chicken arroz caldo (rice porridge). But I can’t help it. It reminds me of those cold, rainy nights when me and my family would think of something nice and warm to eat.

Interview with Michelle Garcia

michelle garcia

“Twitter is a great tool to get on the same wave length as your customers. No one is above anyone and really cool conversation can come from that.”

Those are the words of pastry Chef Michelle Garcia, co-owner and Executive Chef of Bleeding Heart Bakery. Her bakeshop is the latest talk in town. That’s probably because her pastry creations have that punk-rocker feel about them which makes them so fun and unique.

But that’s not all. Bleeding Heart Bakery believes in keeping open communications with customers. By keeping lines open, not only would they be able to inform customers about the latest promos and products, they can also get instantaneous feedback from their customer base.

That’s the nice thing about Twitter. With its ease of use and personal approach, Garcia is able to stay abreast with the trends and keep her loyal customers informed about what she has to offer.

FriendsEat:  What was your first reaction when you heard of Twitter?

Michelle Garcia: I was very confused…and intrigued, but mostly confused.

FE:  Did you initially think that Twitter was something your restaurant could put to use?

MG: YES, most definitely. You usually cannot get me to say something with more than 140 characters, so it is well in my comfort zone.

FE: When did your restaurant start using Twitter?

MG: We started using twitter in 2008

FE:  Can you share with us the first Tweet? Was it hard composing the first Tweet?

MG: I cannot, for the life of me remember…. I’m sure it had something to do with how much I hate yelp. I used to talk about that a lot.

FE:  How important is Twitter in your restaurant business?

MG: Nowadays, twitter is VITAL to our business. It gets people in and out fast when we have deals and reasons to pack the place more than normal. It also helps us get out personalities across and help customers get to know what we love about life, beyond the bakery.

FE:  Has Twitter significantly contributed to the restaurant? How?

MG: Yes, for sure. We were never able to let people know what was right out of the oven before, or what we made too many of…we do trivia questions and contests…it’s simply a part of our daily life…like breathing.

FE:  Your restaurant is very active on Twitter, how much time do you devote daily to this task?

MG: I’m very fast and I usually tweet while baking, so really maybe only an hour… but it’s a jam packed CRAZY hour of fun and excitement spread over a 24 hour period of time.

FE:  How is the interaction with other people on Twitter?

MG: Great, we have developed a lot of friendships on twitter and have had a lot of political discussions :)

FE:  What advice would you give to a restaurant that is just starting to use Twitter?

MG: Do not just post specials,, post personal things, jokes, whatever comes to your mind…then slip in a few sales etc.

FE:  Was there any memorable Twitter-related incident that will go down with the history of the restaurant?

MG: I posted a response back to a customer who I love, bringing up a recent email complaint I had gotten. The person who had sent the unruly email complaint actually emailed back, apologized and sent tickets to a show at the House of Blues!

FE:  Have you ever experienced anything negative from Twitter? How did you handle it?

MG: I used to rant and rave about how much I hated Yelp….most folks agreed about me, but not all our followers are fans, some are jerks who are looking for fuel to hate us with….those people took my tweets and posted them on yelp to use as target practice against me and my business.

FE:  What is your opinion on the validity of Twitter as an effective tool in marketing the restaurant?

MG: I think that people are fools if they don’t see how important twitter is to the future of commercial marketing.

FE:  How do you fit tweeting into a restaurant’s already busy schedule?

MG: I run my business from my phone…and I tweet from my phone, any spare second I can…when I’m waiting for something to come out of the oven…etc.

FE:  Do you see Twitter as a long-term component in your restaurant’s activities?

MG: 100% yes.

FE:  What do you find are the most effective tweets?

MG: Tweets with pictures ALWAYS grab people’s attention!

FE:  Do you see any changes or modifications in the future as to the Tweet content of your restaurant?

MG: I’ve been told by my partners that things will be changing, but we shall see about that!

FE:  What strategies should restaurants utilize when Tweeting?

MG: You really need to divide up the content, some personal, some funny nonsense and some business

FE: How active do you get in order to increase your number of followers on Twitter? Does it even matter?

MG: I do not believe it matters at all.

FE:  Have you studied the profile or demographic of your Twitter followers?

MG: No, I have not.

FE:  Has there been an unexpected result from using twitter?

MG: Twitter has increased the number of large groups that visit together for things like bakery crawls and tweet-ups.

FE:  Can you share with us the most effective or interesting Tweet of your restaurant?

MG: Honestly…we make cake balls….anytime we say “balls” we get SOOOO many responses…silly people :)

FE:  If your restaurant can get a celebrity to Tweet about it, whom would you choose?

MG: Charlie Sheen…really…people listen to crazy.

FE: Do you think Twitter is instrumental to the success of the restaurant business in general?

MG: I believe it is a very important element to the success.

FE:  Do you use other social networking sites other than Twitter to promote your restaurant?

MG: We also use Facebook.

FE:  If your restaurant can contribute to improving Twitter to provide certain features, what would those be?

MG: Abandon the new twitter interface and stick with the old….I hate the new one.

FE:  What is your name and give us a brief bio so we can write our introduction.

MG: My name is Michelle Garcia. I am both the co-owner and Executive pastry chef of Bleeding Heart LLC.

FE:  Free Form: let us know something that you would like included in the interview

MG: Twitter is a great tool to get on the same wave length as your customers. No one is above anyone and really cool conversation can come from that.

The Bleeding Heart Bakery