Meet Jay Forman, Food & Dining Magazine’s humor columnist. A New Orleans native, Forman is the only member of the F&D staff not based out of Louisville. Jay also serves as the food and dining editor for New Orleans Magazine, and has appeared as a judge on the Food Network series Throwdown with Bobby Flay. In addition to writing the occasional screed, Jay and his wife own Gracious Bakery, an artisan bakery and cafe with four locations in New Orleans.
Ah, America. Land of opportunity and home of the Snuggie. While I’m as ensorcelled by infomercials as the next guy, their common denominator is that they present solutions to problems that don’t actually exist. As the owner of Gracious Bakery + Café here in New Orleans, I can say with absolute certainty that in this line of work exists a plethora of actual problems in drastic need of actual solutions. So for all you food lovers out there reading this magazine, I offer up this set of pitches melding the unique challenges restaurant owners face with the secret sauce of late night TV. Maybe this will offer a little insight into the zany world of restaurant ownership and the little ways us business owners keep trying to laugh so we don’t go insane.
(Originally published in the Winter 2016 issue of Food & Dining)
Pokémon Go – “Yelp Edition”
In this landmark new augmented reality game, restaurant owners can use their cell phones to scour the city for customers who gave them a negative Yelp review through an ingenious algorithm powered by Google Maps, accelerometers and the offender’s Yelp profile cat photos. Once found, players can “capture” the Yelp user by flinging a virtual “Pokéball” at the reviewer that destroys their credit rating and forces them into foreclosure. Be part of this new game craze that’s sweeping the nation! Pokéballs cost $100 each, but I don’t care. I’ll start with a case. Actually, make that two cases.
Hot Line – the free phone for service industry employees
In today’s world, everybody has phones. Homeless people on corners, first graders, grandparents and even pets are all digitally connected thanks to the ubiquity of these miracle devices. So why don’t line cooks ever seem to be able to own one? They can now. Introducing Hot Line, the world’s first mobile phone exclusively for line cooks. Made from a unique polymer resin, Hot Line is virtually indestructible. No longer will the excuse “I accidentally sent my phone through the warewasher” carry water. Hot Line can survive 5 minutes in the fry basket, 20 minutes in the mop bucket and even overnight under the salamander. And it’s more than a phone. It’s a combination breathalyzer and GPS tracker so you can find your line cooks whether they are sleeping one off under the bridge or were left tied to a chair at that motel on Airline Highway for failure to pay their dealers again. What’s more, order today and you’ll get a free dose of Naltrexone and a coupon for 50% off their next visit to Urgent Care. Check with your local Restaurant Association to see if you qualify for a discount. Phones are transferable, a big plus given high turnover. Supplies are limited so order now.
Traditional whites are going the way of the toque in today’s contemporary kitchens. And what kind of professional chef has time to iron all those jackets? Sure, the French, but that’s only because they work 30-hour weeks. This is America. We’re all about speed, comfort and a dash of style. Introducing Pajama Chef – the world’s first line of chef’s wear that is equally at home in the bedroom or on the line. Made from a secret blend of flame-retardant synthetic fabric and available in either classic white, tropical flair, traditional checks and whiskered denim patterns, this breathable, stain resistant miracle uniform will bring the comfort of nap-time to the bustle of your kitchen. Keep linen costs down and comfort way up. Available with and without footie clogs. Order yours today.
Dave Barry’s Boomerang Wings
Save on time and food cost with our new line of gnawable, reusable chicken wings. Made from a patented blend of organic Mayan rubber infused with Tabasco flavor crystals, for service all your cooks need to do is simply toss them in Buffalo sauce and serve them with blue cheese dip and celery sticks. Your guests will happily chew the sauce off the hygienic, reusable bone. When done, send the bones through your dishwasher (safe for both high and low temp), rinse and repeat. Studies show that restaurants can save up to $500 on Sundays alone. Serve them with lots of frosty pilsner and your patrons will never be the wiser. But act soon – supplies are limited and football season is in full throttle.
Big Gulp Guacamole
Chunky. Zesty. Full of flavor. Guacamole might just be the perfect snack food. So who says you have to serve it with a side of chips? This football season, set your restaurant apart from the pack. Introducing Señor Guac, the hospitality industry’s first drinkable guacamole. Imagine a double serving of delicious Hass avocado, cilantro, lime and diced onion in a portable foil pouch. Just punch in the Bubble Tea straw and you can slurp guacamole on the go. No dishes to clean up and no chips on the table. And as a plus – it’s gluten-free.
Expo-Pro Hover Chair
You love to work in kitchens but hate to work on your feet. Dogs getting tired? Then get yourself the Expo-Pro Hover Chair, the food service industry’s first sedentary work station. Kiss your gel mat goodbye as you hover up to the line in this sleek, battery-powered gizmo that raises itself up with the press of a button. Fully FRP compliant, it includes handy-dandy hooks for knives, pans, thermometers and more. Order today and we’ll include our hand-sink attachment – a must for code in kitchens everywhere. F&D