Felix Bazgan

Interview with TILIT Founders: Jenny Goodman and Alex McCrery – Cambro Eats – Episode 39

tilit logo

Join us on Cambro Eats for an exclusive glimpse into the story of Tilit, a brand that has been revolutionizing chef wear since its inception. In this episode, our host Felix Bazgan engages with Tilit’s founders, Alex McCrery and Jenny Goodman, to uncover the roots, evolution, and exciting collaborations of this dynamic brand.

Origin Story: Commander’s Palace to Tilit Tilit’s journey began at Commander’s Palace Restaurant in New Orleans, where Alex and Jenny’s paths first crossed. Their combined experience in the hospitality industry led to a shared vision: creating chef wear that paralleled the pride and professionalism of culinary arts.

The Big Apple Beckons Their transition to New York, with Jenny moving in 2004 and Alex following a year later, set the stage for Tilit’s birth. Post-Hurricane Katrina, New York became the launching pad for their innovative venture.

The Essence of Tilit Starting with a modest range of garments, Tilit has grown to offer a diverse product line, including pants, shirts, aprons, and more. Integral to their process is a strong emphasis on customer feedback, ensuring their offerings meet the rigorous demands of culinary professionals.

Collaborations and Innovations Throughout its growth, Tilit has engaged in various collaborations, continuously pushing the boundaries of culinary fashion. A notable mention is their partnership with Cambro, where a unique product idea was brought to life, highlighting Tilit’s innovative spirit and dedication to practical, stylish solutions for chefs.

Future Endeavors and Continued Growth Looking forward, Tilit aims to maintain its focus on high-quality, specialized products. Upcoming launches and collaborations are set to further cement their position as leaders in culinary fashion, with partnerships like the one with Cambro underscoring their commitment to industry-relevant innovation.

Guest: Jenny Goodman and Alex McCrery

Host: Felix Bazgan

TILIT: Website | TikTok  |  Instagram

Cambro: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |  Tik Tok | Cambro Eats Website

Interview with Matt Kirschner – Cambro Eats Episode 38

red knapps logoIn this episode, we have an interview with Matt Kirschner, the owner of Red Knapp’s Dairy Bar in Rochester, Michigan. The restaurant, established in 1950 by the original Red Knapp, has stayed true to its roots through generational ownership. Matt took over the business three years ago, promising to uphold the legacy left by the Knapp family. Matt’s journey in the food service industry is one of twists and turns. From being offered equity in a pizzeria at 22, to working in fine dining during the COVID-19 pandemic, he always had a desire to own a business. Eventually, he found his opportunity with Red Knapp’s.

Marketing for Red Knapp’s has been unique and interactive. One notable approach is Matt’s social media series, where he hands out milkshake samples in public spaces like Target and Oakland University and asks people to rate them. This has garnered significant attention and customer engagement. Another creative marketing initiative involved adding unconventional ingredients to burgers, a tactic that even caught the attention of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay on TikTok.

Matt discusses an innovative marketing strategy where he offers free milkshakes to anyone who follows him on Instagram and agrees to be featured in a video. This series alone, sparked by a random customer, has brought in impressive views and substantial food sales, proving the ROI of his social media efforts.

Matt also delves into his history and the driving force behind his business. With a background in entertainment and a deep-seated desire to entertain and educate, Matt leverages social media not just for financial gain but to fulfill his personal vision. He emphasizes that even small mom-and-pop shops can benefit immensely from dedicating time to social media, citing his own success as proof.

On a more serious note, Matt talks about his community outreach programs. Once homeless himself, Matt feels a deep responsibility to give back to the community. He started with an annual coat drive six years ago, which has since expanded in scope thanks to big-name donations. Additionally, he has been visiting shelters to provide food and essentials for the last three months. Matt believes in balancing the fun, engaging aspect of his business with meaningful community contributions.

Matt reveals a glowing 30% year-on-year growth rate for his restaurant, a feat he attributes primarily to organic content. While Matt’s passion isn’t driven by the financial bottom line, he’s keen on leveraging paid advertising methods to catapult that growth rate to potentially 60 or 90%.

When probed about his long-term strategy, Matt paints a bittersweet picture. He sees the eventual fate of his restaurant as part of a bigger life plan. Matt signed a five-year lease with an aim to gather sufficient capital and experience for his future ventures. In a somewhat emotional reveal, he talks about prepping his loyal team for life after the restaurant—some of whom are already taking those steps.

Additionally, Matt brings up his concerns about the fragility of the current economy. Anticipating the possibility of a downturn, he’s already designed an “emergency menu” that could offer more affordable meals.

Outside the restaurant world, Matt has another exciting chapter unfolding. He and his wife have recently embarked on an e-commerce business journey as they also start their family. Moreover, Matt wants to continue entertaining and educating people through his personal brand.

On a lighter note, when asked about his favorite milkshake, Matt roots for the classic chocolate malt, elaborating on his preference for fresh-scoop ice cream over soft serve.

Guest: Matt Kirschner

Host: Felix Bazgan

Red Knapp’s: TikTok  |  Instagram

Cambro: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |  Tik Tok | Cambro Eats Website

Interview with Mike Bicocchi – Cambro Eats Episode 37

Welcome to a new episode of the Camera Eats podcast, where host Felix Bazgan interviews Mike Bicocchi, the executive chef at Elegant Affairs, a full-service catering company serving Manhattan, New York City, Long Island, and the Hamptons. They discuss catering trends for 2023 and how Elegant Affairs distinguishes itself in the competitive market with exceptional presentation, service, and reimagining catering food. Mike shares his journey from working in restaurants to catering and the growth of Elegant Affairs from a basement business to a powerhouse.

Mike highlights some trends in catering, such as the popularity of mini meals and individual small plates that emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic, the increased use of sous vide cooking techniques, and the focus on personalization and emotion in event planning. He also emphasizes that catering doesn’t have to be limited to buffet-style food and can be elevated with proper planning and resources.

Join Felix and Mike as they explore the world of high-end catering and discuss the importance of a strong team, overcoming misconceptions about catering, and the exciting future of Elegant Affairs.

Guest: Executive Chef Mike Bicocchi

Host: Felix Bazgan

Elegant Affairs: WebsiteInstagram

Cambro: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |  Tik Tok | Cambro Eats Website

Interview with Cara Wade [Butterface Lunchlady – TikTok] – Cambro Eats Episode 36

In this episode, Cara Wade, a kitchen director at a K-12 facility and TikTok star known as ButterFace Lunch lady. Cara talks about her journey into the food service industry, from wanting to be a restaurant manager to eventually majoring in hospitality business management and getting industry experience. She also shares her experience working for a nonprofit running a coffee shop and bakery in Thailand. Cara explains that she started sharing content on TikTok because she loves food and loves what she does. She had plans to open a food cart before COVID-19 hit, and had already designed the Butter Face logo, which became the face of her TikTok account. The name “Butter Face” was a funny play on words, given that the food cart was going to be low-carb or keto-focused and involve a lot of heavy fat content.

The name certainly is eye-catching!

At school, she currently provides meals for 500 students. She shares the challenges and the fun of sharing her day to day activities with such a wide audience.

When asked “What are some of the misconceptions or things that that the public may not know about school food service that you wish they knew a little bit more about?” she replied:

“I think the biggest thing that people you know especially in my interactions with people in the TikTok comments and all that people don’t seem to understand the implications of how much, how big, how many less quantity of stuff we’re doing. And people have just they just do this. Why don’t you just do that and like there is no just doing anything 500 times. And I know, especially for public schools, that their hands are tied a lot and your lunch staff cares about your kids. And if something is not the way you would want it to be, I guarantee it’s not because that staff in the kitchen didn’t care about it.”

Enjoy the episode and check out Cara on TikTok.

Guest: Cara Wade

Host: Felix Bazgan

Cara Wade TikTok

Cambro: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |  Tik Tok | Cambro Eats Website

Interview with Sawyer Hemsley – Cambro Eats Episode 35

Crumbl Header

On this episode of Cambro Eats, I had the pleasure of interviewing the co-founder of Crumbl Cookies, Sawyer Hemsley.

Sawyer started Crumbl with his cousin in 2017 while at Utah State. Focusing on making their signature milk chocolate chip cookies the best it could be while adding weekly flavors turned out to be a winning combination. Customer flock to the stores and online delivery for weekly tastings!

In a very short time, Crumbl has become one of the fastest growing cookie businesses ever. With almost 600 locations and on target for 1,000 by the end of 2022, Crumbl is on course for a meteoric rise.

In this interview, we discuss the start of the business, on-going business challenges and what the future holds for Crumbl.

Guest: Sawyer Hemsley

Host: Felix Bazgan

Sawyer Hemsley – Crumbl Cookies: WebsiteTikTok | Instagram  |  Twitter

Cambro: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |  Tik Tok | Cambro Eats Website

Interview with Kix Nystrom – Cambro Eats Episode 34

Kix Nystrom

On this episode of Cambro Eats, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Kix Nystrom.

Chef Kix is the Senior VP of Kitchen Operations at The Cheesecake Factory. And quite unusual in the world of foodservice is the fact that he’s been with The Cheesecake Factory for over 30 years! Chef Kix has been with The Cheesecake Factory since their 5th store opening and over that time has seen the company grow to over 300 global locations and several new concepts.

In this inteview Chef talks about getting started in foodservice at an early age and finding his way to The Cheesecake Factory.

Cambro has had a great relationship with him and the entire team at The Cheesecake Factory for many years.

Fun fact: Cambro Camshelving Premium Series was first put into test at The Cheesecake Factory in Marina Del Ray, Calif. over 20 years ago and it’s still there!

Enjoy the show!

 

Guest: Kix Nystrom

Host: Felix Bazgan

Kix Nystrom – The Cheesecake Factory: WebsiteTikTok | Instagram  |  Twitter

Cambro: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |  Tik Tok | Cambro Eats Website

Interview with Kyle Inserra – Cambro Eats Episode 33

kyle inserraOn this episode of Cambro Eats, I’m joined by Kyle Inserra.

Kyle is a self-described “recovering restaurant owner” turned real estate advisor and he assists emerging restaurant brands.

With his culinary background and experience, he also creates some great content for restaurant owners – especially on Tiktok where I was first introduced to Kyle.

We discuss his background and evolution to where he is today – we invite you to check out Kyle’s content on Instagram and Tiktok.

Enjoy the show!

Guest: Kyle Inserra

Host: Felix Bazgan

Kyle Inserra: WebsiteTikTok | Instagram  |  LinkedIn

Cambro: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |  Tik Tok | Cambro Eats Website

 

Bracken’s Kitchen: Interview with Bill Bracken – Cambro Eats Episode 32

Bracken's kichenOn this episode of Cambro Eats, we talk to Chef Bill Bracken, founder of Bracken’s Kitchen. Bracken’s Kitchen is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Orange County California. Through food rescue, culinary training and their community feeding program they are committed to rescuing, re-purposing and restoring both food and lives.

Through our Cambro Cares initiative we’ve had the chance to volunteer and help out at Bracken’s Kitchen.

Bracken’s Kitchen will make and serve almost 2 million meals in 2021. That is an overwhelming number since Bill started the organization just in 2013.

In this interview, Chef Bill discusses his background, the idea for Bracken’s Kitchen and the continuing need for their work in the community.

Enjoy the show.

Guest: Chef Bill Bracken

Host: Felix Bazgan

Bracken’s Kitchen: Website |  Twitter | Instagram

Cambro: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |  Tik Tok | Cambro Eats Website

Stuf’d Catering Truck: Interview with John Locasio – Cambro Eats Episode 31

Stufd Podcast - Cambro Eats

On this episode of Cambro Eats, we talk to Chef John Locascio, co-founder and co-owner of Stuf’d Catering Truck in New York City.

Some of the topics we dive into with Chef John are the idea and pursuit of starting the business, growth, pandemic challenges, and future outlook.

Check out some of these awesome food pics and listen to the show!

Enjoy the interview and connect with John and Stuf’d Catering Truck on social:

Guest: Chef John Locascio

Host: Felix Bazgan

Stuf’d Catering Truck: Website |  Twitter | Instagram

Cambro: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |  Tik Tok | Cambro Eats Website

The Camtray: Cambro’s First Product – Interview with Argyle Cambro – Episode 30

2021 is Cambro’s 70th anniversary. In 70 years, the company has grown from 1 product to 14,000+ products. The first Cambro product was the Camtray. In this episode we talk to Argyle Campbell, the owner of Cambro, about the development of the first product and how far it has come in 70 years. Cambro is now the largest manufacturer of trays in the world with a wide variety of options, colors, sizes, and uses.

Older Camtrays:

 

Newer Camtrays:

Enjoy the interview and connect with Cambro on social:

Guest: Argyle Campbell

Host: Felix Bazgan

Cambro: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |  Tik Tok | Cambro Eats Website