A Brand New Recipe For Branding

In a recent article, I told the story of when I was a young whippersnapper, attaining classes at what was then and still is called "one of the more famous hotel schools in North America", the marketing professor gave us an interesting, but quite challenging assignment.

We were to find a hospitality business that marketed itself by using the participation of the owner as part of the "distinctiveness" of the business. At the time, this seemed like a most difficult assignment, because in those days, it seemed that not too many people really stood out in this field. At least that what it seemed like to me in my youth. Or maybe it was just that they did not want to either make a fool of themselves. There seemed little need to drive the world to their door. I chose a very different restaurant enclosed within an old 19th century Mansion in this very cosmopolitan city. It was called Julie's Mansion and was owned and operated by a very eccentric, but wonderful showman who knew that he had to differentiate his restaurant from all the rest. He knew that the best way to do that – after the assumption of great food, entertainment and service – was to turn himself into the "brand."

My job, as a young hospitality student, was to watch him carefully and learn as much as I could. One Saturday night I showed up and Julie was trying to 'insert' himself into the home team's pro hockey uniform. It was immediately obvious that Julie had never played hockey. To see a middle-aged man struggling to get into and then have to have me extricate him from the jersey, equipment, elbow pads et al, was hilarious for a young guy like me, who had been on skates and playing the game since age four. He certainly was not afraid to make a fool of himself. When I showed up that night, he had less than no idea what piece of equipment went where, and was struggling with the shin guards. He had got himself all tangled up with what he thought were hip guards, when in fact they were shoulder pads, worn over the shoulders. It was indeed the first time I had ever seen a 'player' wearing shoulder pads, stretched around his butt.

I helped him get 'dressed'. Next came the taping of the hockey stick. This was really hilarious, watching this fellow trying to figure out the right way to tape a hockey stick without making a mess of it and looking foolish to his customers. He had a special plan for that stick.

I taped his stick and now he was ready. He had on his uniform, equipment and helmet, borrowed from one of the local NHL players who were a frequent guest at the mansion. Now, he actually looked like a real NHL hockey player … in black and white running shoes, sans skates!

Then Julie 'flew through' the different alcoves and floors of the restaurant with a big ball of foodservice aluminum foil as his 'puck'. He stick-handled in and out and between tables, took shots with the aluminum ball off the walls, cross-checked his own waiters trying to serve tables, all the while yelling cheers and the phrase made famous' round the world, by Foster Hewitt : "he shoots …. he scores!" All this, at the top of his lungs. Then he had planned for a horn to sound loudly indicating that the 'period of play' in his imaginary 'game' was over. It was now time to go to the dressing room. In a flash, just like an on-stage magician, he quickly disappeared into thin air, hidden in his office.

My face was covered in tears. I could not stop laughing! The restaurant was in an uproar. Guests were laughing so hard … one guy literally fell off his chair. The waiters were laughing, the guests were laughing, I was laughing and all the while Julie was having a ball too. Here was a restaurateur who made his work fun.

I had not met one of these types before. I really liked and respected this fellow. But I figured then, and still today, that anyone who had that much fun … and made that much money … must know something the others did not. And he did. He became his own brand. 'Distinctive. 'Differentiated. 'There is attractive to people who are sick of seeing the same old, same old every day. People are attracted to differences not similarities. Take a look at what you can do with yours. It's right under your own nose.

© Copyright, Roy W. MacNaughton, 2006

Spruce Up Your House by Gardening!

It’s a good time to start thinking and planning ahead for your garden. A neat and tidy front yard can enhance a property, but a beautifully planned one can really make an ordinary house look special.

Some accessories that will make your yard look really good can be very inexpensive. Most of us are on a budget, especially these days when we never know how much it will cost to fill up our gas tank. Sometimes at this time of the year, you can find last year’s garden accessories discounted. Benches or garden lights may be listed for sale before the new stock comes in.

There are some basic rules which apply to every garden. Before you start you should try and afford a soil test. This is quite inexpensive and either your local nursery or the Internet will tell you how to go about it. You can also buy do-it-yourself kits. The second thing is to dig compost into your garden, and now (winter) is a good time.

If you are having a soil test carried out, you will know from the results if you should add any other nutrition to your soil. A soil test will mean you will not be buying the ‘wrong’ shrubs, plants etc for your soil type.

There is one last thing that you should monitor: how long and where the sun shines on different parts of your garden. Plants can thrive without direct sunlight, but only if you plant a type that likes the shade. This can still include many bright, colorful plants (i.e. impatiens), so you can still brighten up dull areas.

Once you decide to buy, you do not want to waste your money by having the plants or shrubs die on you. The soil test will curb some of these mistakes. The other thing to do is to look up, on the Internet or from a book, your particular growing zone. If you live in an area where, for instance, you come into the ‘Hardiness Zone’, it will enable you to pick the type of plant that has the best chance of surviving in your type of climate.

Always put short and stocky plants in front of taller ones. Remember to check the expected height to know this information – do not decide by the height at purchase time. Remember that short and stocky plants are generally tougher and more resilient, so choose more of these.

Try to resist buying plants in bloom at the time of purchase. The ones that still have to bloom will probably be stronger for the transplant process. If you have more shady areas than you wish, think about drastically trimming a tree to get more sunlight onto certain patches. Remember that some plants like a lot of water, so group these together to make the watering less laborious for you.

There are many small accessories that will really make your yard stand out. Obviously a strategically placed bench -or chairs and small table- under a tree will look welcoming and relaxing. A small bridge can really enhance a yard, and you can use it as a focal point for a few reeds or grasses to give the impression of water. Or if you feel daring you can try digging your own long shaped pond. Instructions on this are easy to find in books or on the ‘net.

For cheap plants (in fact free ones!) buy a can of ‘rooting powder’ and offer to swap cuttings with your neighbors. It is not recommended to sneak out at midnight with your scissors in hand!!

Scottsdale Culinary Arts School

Getting a formal education for whatever career you want to pursue allows you to get a secured position in the industry. But to succeed in any field, your mind should be in tune with what your heart desires. It's true, is not it? How can you last in a job that you are not happy doing? This also applies in the world of culinary arts. If you believe deep in your heart that your greatest passion is cooking, then you have a bright future in the food service industry.

Before you aim in getting a higher position in the industry, you should first get a formal education in culinary that many top culinary school provide, such as Scottsdale culinary school – the Scottsdale Culinary Institute or SCI. There is no better way to prepare you for a career in the field of culinary than taking the world-restructured courses included in the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts program. The institute gained its international popularity from the quality culinary programs of Le Cordon Bleu in culinary or patisserie and baking. SCI is accredited by the Accreditation Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology and the Culinary Arts Program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Educational Institute Accrediting Commission.

This top Scottsdale culinary school, SCI, offers degree programs that prepare students for an exciting and rewarding career in the field of culinary arts. With a stern emphasis on hands-on training, the school's programs provide graduates with a degree and the experience to immediately advance in their careers. Beside the student study center and library, the campus houses 8 kitchens, bakery, and meat shop- all equipped with the latest culinary equipment in the industry, enabling the students to keep up with the modernization of today's food service establishments.

To help you set your goal in the food industry, here are some of the Culinary Arts and related courses of study and degree programs of Scottsdale culinary school:

Associate Degree of Occupational Studies in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary, which can be completed in as early as 15 months and an externship that will last for 3 months at a food service establishment of facility of your choice.
Bachelor Degree in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Management, an advanced program of Scottsdale culinary school that provides advanced culinary education together with the management and communication skills required managing a restaurant. If your goal is set in a way that you run a business in food service industry, this program of Scottsdale school of culinary arts is the best for you.

Associate Degree in Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality and Restaurant Management, a combination of culinary arts program with practical knowledge of restaurant and guest service operations, which prepares students for entry-level positions.

Motorcycle Footwear

When a motorcycle is purchased there are many other purchases to consider. Every biker describes to have riding gear that will keep them safe while riding. Out on the open road there are road hazards and weather conditions to deal with.

Leather motorcycle jackets come in different types of cowhide and buffalo, along with chaps. These protect a rider from the elements, rocks, debris, and road rash. Leather gloves keep the hands warm in cold weather and dry in wet weather. Gloves also protect the hands from road rash. In the case of an accident and being thrown from a motorcycle the natural instinct is to put the hands out to break the fall. With gloves the skin on the hands can stay intact. A helmet is always important. Use your brain to protect your brain.

A long with leather jackets, chaps, gloves, and a helmet the footwear is also an important part of riding gear. Even picking the correct footwear takes careful consideration. A pair of tall leather boots works well when riding a motorcycle. This will protect the riders ankles from being burned on the exhaust pipes and from debris and stones. On a bike it is important to have the soles of the shoes be grippy; these will make the soles of the shoes like an extra set of tires. The feet are what hold up the motorcycle when you are at rest.

Some bikers may where fashion boots or cowboy boots, but these have slippery soles. Fashion boots are available in a work style with grippy rubber soles. Other bikers prefer a boot with Velcro or latches rather than a lace up boot. First they take less time to put on, and second the laces may come loose and get caught in moving parts, like the drive train.

Along with choosing the perfect bike that is comfortable and fits your cycling style, remember to purchase the riding gear including footwear that looks cool and keeps you protected while riding.