A Video Podcast for the Hospitality Industry
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Ep. 11: A Chef’s Journey Leads to Giving Back when it Mattered Most - Chef Diana Dávila of Mi Tocaya Antojeria
Everyone knows the restaurant industry is difficult. From long, stressful shifts, to working the majority of nights, weekends, and holidays, to hyper-competition and low-profit margins, it takes a special breed to stick with it and succeed. Then try doing that during a pandemic while having to open and close your business to react to ever-changing mandates! Keeping inventory and staff while strategizing on the various programs and grants available is draining at best, crushing to most. A recent report by the National Restaurant Association compiled the data and 110,000 US restaurants have permanently shut down in the past year! And many others are hanging on a thread. One Chicago chef found a way to not only survive but to give back to those in need.
Published April 8, 2021
Ep. 10: Innovation In The Industry, Part I: From Distillation to Hand Sanitization with Mississippi River Distilling Co. and Forbidden Root Restaurant & Brewery
No one looks forward to times of adversity, but we all face difficult challenges at some points in our lives. COVID-19 brought a systemic shock to not only the hospitality industry but to the entire world this year. As devastating as the pandemic has been to bars and restaurants, it has also been a call for us to innovate, bond together, and solve problems. In this new series, “Innovation in the Industry,” we will be exploring just that. This first episode of the series explores the massive shift many distilleries underwent in converting their production facilities into hand sanitizer factories to supply the world with this crucial product at a time when we were running dangerously low. We sit down with our good friend Sam Bergren to talk about how Mississippi River Distilling Company got into the hand sanitizer game. In the second half of the episode, we talk with Brian Krajack, Director of Operations of Forbidden Root Restaurant & Distillery in Chicago, Illinois; which is where we recorded at. In addition to learning more about how they became the premier botanical brewery in the States with food so good they are equally known as a restaurant, Brain shares how they have faired during the era of COVID, their expansion to Columbus, Ohio, and the crowler craze.
Published October 29, 2020
Ep. 9: Nightlife Under COVID Pt. 2 - The DJ Perspective with Chicago-based DJ Silkee (Shannon Currie)
Everyone is well-aware of how hard the restaurant industry has been hit from government-mandated COVID-19 restrictions. Bars have even more restrictions, and the nightclub segment has been impacted the most. Even if they have great food, clubs aren’t thought of a dining meccas, so offering carryout and delivery isn’t the financial crutch that it can be to restaurants. And limitations on capacity and social distancing requirements make it extremely difficult for these establishments to do what they do best - create experiences where people can get lost in the music and dance the night away in a sea of like-minded revelers. This is the second episode in our “Nightlife Under COVID” series where we’ll sit down with club owners, DJs, and promoters to better understand what they’ve been experiencing. Our guests today is Chicago-based Shannon Currie, AKA DJ Silkee. Like many of his fellow DJs, he found himself out of work when the government mandated that all bars and restaurants (and other businesses) shut their doors in mid-March due to the coronavirus. After two months and feeling a bit stir crazy, Shannon decided to dust off his turntables and throw a party for his neighbors in the South Loop from his balcony. Neighbors emerged on their balconies to check out what was happening, grab a mimosa, and dance along. For several months, this was something that we looked forward to - a DJ set from noon to 2:00 PM every Sunday. After realizing he had an audience that wanted to know who they were listening to, DJ Silkee put out a banner and decals on his windows; which is how we tracked him down for the podcast!
Published October 2, 2020
Ep. 8: Nightlife Under COVID Pt. 1 - The Nightclub Perspective with Chicago House Music Mecca, Le Nocturne
Everyone is well-aware of how hard the restaurant industry has been hit from government-mandated COVID-19 restrictions. Bars have even more restrictions, and the nightclub segment has been impacted the most. Even if they have great food, clubs aren’t thought of as dining meccas, so offering carryout and delivery isn’t the financial crutch that it can be to restaurants. And limitations on capacity and social distancing requirements make it extremely difficult for these establishments to do what they do best - create experiences where people can get lost in the music and dance the night away in a sea of like-minded revelers. This is the first episode in our “Nightlife Under COVID” series where we’ll sit down with club owners, DJs, and promoters to better understand what they’ve been experiencing. Our guests today are Francoise Crokaert and Miguel Castro from one of Chicago’s newest nightclub - Le Nocturne. Their club focuses on house music and all of its derivatives, paying homage to the city where house music began - Chicago. Le Nocturne opened up one year ago and consistently pull in house legends and hot new DJs. Their residency list includes Ron Carroll, Randall Dean, Paul Johnson, and Victor R. Six months into their run, they, along with the rest of the industry and world, were punched by the COVID-19 pandemic and were forced to shut their doors for an extended period of time.
Published September 18, 2020
Ep. 7: Being Black in the Hospitality Industry Pt. 3 - Jeremy Joyce of Black People Eats and Krystal Long of Chicago Food On The Run
To close out What’s On Tap’s “Black in the Hospitality Industry” series, we sit down with Jeremy Joyce, founder of Black People Eats (@blackpeopleeats) and Kristal Long, Business Manager at Chicago Food on the Run, a newly opened black-owned restaurant. Although the end of the series doesn’t mean our listening phase is over, we certainly hope that we have a better understanding of the experiences of our friends and coworkers. We are humbled by our guests’ openness to share their personal experiences and perspectives. This episode brings us to a Chicago neighborhood that many “foodies” normally wouldn’t seek out.
Published August 31st, 2020
Ep. 6: Being Black in the Hospitality Industry - Part II: Chef Brian Jupiter (Frontier, Ina Mae Tavern) and Kurtis Lott (Cajun Boil & Bar)
In our second episode in What’s On Tap’s “Black in the Hospitality Industry” series, we sit down with Kurtis Lott, Co-owner & Chief Operator of the four-location restaurant concept Cajun Boil & Bar (@cajunboilandbar), and Brian Jupiter (@chefjup) award-winning Executive Chef & Partner of two Chicago restaurants, Frontier (@frontierchicago) and Ina Mae Tavern (@inamaetavern). They both have been in the bar and restaurant industry since they were teenagers and share with us their unique experiences and perspectives on what it is like coming up “black in the hospitality industry.” We also discuss the challenges of having black-owned restaurants, the change they see happening in America, and give simple tips on what we can all do to make the world a better place. “Soul Food Sundays” anyone?
Published July 28, 2020
Ep. 5: Being Black in the Hospitality Industry with Black Horizon Brewing Company's Charles St. Claire and Hope Johnson
What’s On Tap was originally created in response to the systemic shock bars and restaurants were facing due to COVID-19. Little did we know, 2020 had something else up its sleeve. While many of us were hunkered down from the pandemic, the video of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officers came to light. Already on the heels of other high-profile injustices against Black people, the Black Lives Matter movement swelled like never before. TappedIn, the creators of the What’s On Tap video podcast, posted on social media (@get_tapped) a declaration that we wanted to “Stop, Listen, Empathize, and Act” on this issue. This is our listening phase. We decided to pause our coronavirus-focused podcast episodes and listen to what it is like to be “Black in the Hospitality Industry." The next few episodes will be a series of interviews with people who have these unique and personal perspectives. We are seeking to better understand how our Black brothers and sisters in the food and beverage industry might experience life differently, with an emphasis on their career in the industry. We are committed to listening with an open mind and asking questions with answers that might make us uncomfortable so that we can learn and grow.
Published July 13, 2020
Ep. 4: The Voices of Hospitality Industry Employees in the Midst of COVID-19 Pandemic
Although What’s On Tap represents the entirety of the hospitality industry, our first few episodes featured owners, who provided their unique perspective on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected them. But what about their employees? They make up a far larger portion of the bar and restaurant industry population, and they are the lifeblood of every establishment. On this episode, we get to hear from three Chicago industry veterans on the employee side (Brittany Lee, Jon Hewak, and Milan Milanovich) who share their experiences navigating the pandemic. We touch on everything from unemployment, to concerns about reopening, to the difficult career choices they are being confronted with. And that part in the show intro about having a drink or two? Well, we had a couple this time and the result was a conversation that was unfiltered, challenging, and lighthearted.
Published June 11, 2020
Ep. 3: Food & Bev Lawyers Unpack COVID-19 for The Industry
Not all bar and restaurant owners and most employees can afford high-powered lawyers, especially when their businesses are shut down or they are unemployed (as is the situation for many during the pandemic). Yet, in a time when the stakes are higher than ever, having sound legal advice is critically important. TappedIn gathered two legal titans who specialize in the hospitality and alcohol beverage industries to discuss the most important topics facing this group. Nothing in this episode should be considered legal advice, but we do hope that it will add perspective and point our listeners in the right direction. Our expert guests are Chicago-based Jim Webster (Webster Law Partners, PC) and Mark Wilcox (The Wilcox Law Firm, PC).
Published May 22, 2020
Ep. 2: The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group Feeds Chicagoans in Need during COVID-19
Two of the four pillars of What’s On Tap are to 1) make sure that industry people know about all of the resources available to them, and 2) to shine a light on the good things that this group is doing for one another. On this episode, we get to talk about both of those. We sit down with the cofounders of the Chicago-based Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, Scott Weiner and Greg Mohr, who have converted two of their nineteen restaurants into take-home meal pickup sites for the restaurant industry and for others in need. They’ve teamed up with several organizations including The Lee Initiative, Makers Mark, World Central Kitchen, and countless other individuals and companies to feed over 1,000 people every day during this pandemic. With a staggering TWO-THIRDS of bar & restaurant professionals out of work right now, a free (and tasty) meal sure can help out. We also get the opportunity to talk to them about their meteoric growth from a single concept in 2008 to one of the most successful restaurant groups in Chicago today.
Published May 9, 2020
Ep. 1: The Moment Our World Changed - COVID-19’s Shutdown of the Restaurant Industry with Acclaimed Chef Jason Vincent of Giant and Chef's Special Cocktail Bar
It is only fitting that the maiden episode of What's On Tap features Chef Jason Vincent, as it was a text that he sent to a fellow chef, friend, and mentor that was the catalyst for this show. That text thread expanded to other Chicago chefs and restauranteurs, and in less than 24 hours it culminated in an impromptu meeting of the biggest names in city's restaurant scene. The topic of that text? How the spread of the coronavirus was forcing him to take a step back from business-as-usual and re-assess everything. The outcome of the meeting was a unified message to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker declaring what the hospitality industry needed to survive. This coming together of our industry leaders to share, collaborate, and take action spurred us to create a video podcast that keeps a light on these issues. Award-winning chef and restauranteur Jason Vincent shares his unadulterated viewpoints on healthcare, finances, what the “new normal” might hold, as well as some suggestions on how to support neighborhood businesses.
Published April 23, 2020
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