Nyanlända räddar sommaren

När besöksnäringen skriker efter personal krävs nya lösningar. Michael Carlsson och Pernilla Eriksson på Kustcamp i Gamleby anställde en arabisktalande arbetsledare för att lättare kunna anställa nyanlända som ännu inte hunnit lära sig flytande svenska.

Det är bara maj när vi besöker Kustcamps anläggning i Gamleby utanför Västervik, men solen värmer som om det vore högsommar. De välklippta gräsmattorna i slänten ner mot havet är intensivt gröna, och fåglarna håller konsert i trädtopparna. Intill receptionsbyggnaden vid infarten till campingen jobbar tre vaktmästare med att spola rent minigolfbanan. En av dem är Alaa Mareek. Det är hans allra första dag på jobbet.

– Det känns jätteskönt att ha fått börja jobba här. Det är svårt att få jobb, säger han, när gänget slagit sig ner för en fikapaus.

– Här kan du få stanna så länge du vill. Vi har bara jobbat ihop sedan klockan sju i morse, men Alaa är redan väldigt självgående, berömmer en av kollegorna.

Alaa Maarek är från Syrien och har tidigare jobbat som elektriker, målare och rörmokare. Han är en av sex nyanlända som hittills fått anställning på Kustcamps anläggningar. För Kustcamp, som precis som många andra i turistbranschen haft svårt att hitta personal inför sommaren, är de nya svenskarna en viktig tillgång.

– Utan dem hade vi haft på gränsen till olösbara problem. Samtidigt är det himla kul för oss att ge de här personerna en chans. För många är det den högsta drömmen att få komma in på arbetsmarknaden, säger Michael Carlsson, som driver campingen tillsammans med sambon Pernilla Eriksson.

För kustcamp är det bråda dagar just nu. Mycket behöver fixas och planeras, och ny personal ska introduceras så att de är varma i kläderna lagom till den stora turistanstormningen.

Samtidigt har det varma vädret bidragit till att försäsongen redan är i full gång. Utanför flera av de uppställda husvagnarna sitter campinggäster i uppvikta fällstolar med ansiktena vända mot solen.

Kustcamp har två campingplatser – en här på  Hammarsbadet i Gamleby och en i Valdemarsviks kommun. Campingarna har successivt byggts ut och vuxit till kompletta anläggningar, med moderna servicebyggnader, restauranger och stugverksamhet. Nästan varje år har Michael Carlsson och Pernilla Eriksson haft nya byggprojekt på gång, för att höja standarden och öka utbudet för campinggästerna. Något som gett resultat.

– Den sommar då vi hade byggt ny reception och en restaurang, för fyra år sedan, ökade vi med 17 procent. Det var en jättesuccé som vi inte hade kunnat förutse, berättar Michael Carlsson.

Men för att fortsätta växa krävs personal. Att rekrytera har blivit tuffare i takt med att arbetslösheten gått ner. På Kustcamp insåg man tidigt att det behövdes nya lösningar för att överhuvudtaget kunna hålla öppet i sommar och bland nyanlända från Syrien finns många människor med arbetsvana och relevant utbildning som står utan jobb, men som kanske inte lärt sig tillräckligt mycket svenska ännu.

Michael Carlsson och Pernilla Eriksson anställde därför en arabisktalande arbetsledare – Ahmed Arabi – som kan hjälpa och stötta dem på plats när problem uppstår. Ahmed Arabi har också hjälpt till med att tolka vid anställningsintervjuer.

– Vi har gäster från många länder och har gärna personal från alla möjliga länder. Språket kan vara en tröskel för många att ta sig in i arbetslivet, men för oss är egentligen språket bara ett måste i receptionen. Med engelska kommer man långt. För Pernilla, som gör intervjuerna, har det varit en trygghet att Ahmed kan hjälpa till att ställa frågor på de sökandes språk, säger Michael Carlsson.

Ahmed Arabi är glad över att ha fått chansen att hjälpa andra in i arbetslivet. Han har många års erfarenhet av restaurangbranschen i Syrien, även om det finns stora skillnader mellan köket han jobbade i och Kustcamps restaurangkök.

– Där jobbade jag i ett kök med 200 anställda. Men arbetssättet och tänket är egentligen detsamma. Man måste lägga ner sin själ i matlagningen. Det ska vara hundra procent perfekt, säger Ahmed.

Besöksliv har tidigare berättat att besöksnäringen är den näring i Sverige som i förhållande till sin storlek erbjuder flest jobb till utlandsfödda (nummer 3, 2018). I dag är 39 procent av de som arbetar inom näringen födda utanför Sveriges gränser, enligt en kartläggning från Visita.

Men Michael Carlsson tror ändå att ännu fler företag måste bli öppnare när det gäller att anställa människor som inte behärskar språket ännu.

Ditt bästa tips till de som vill hitta nya förmågor bland nyanlända?

– Allt bygger på kontakt och personliga relationer. Man måste börja med att inte vara rädd. Ta kontakt med Arbetsförmedlingen eller kommunen, där det finns folk som jobbar med integration. Med lite tur kan det gå väldigt fort, säger Michael Carlsson.

Text: Caroline Petersson redaktionenbesoksliv.se

Bild: Besöksliv

LA Is America’s International Fast-Food Capital

The city’s fast-food and immigrant cultures combine to form some of Los Angeles’s most democratic dining rooms

Los Angeles is a city where even prosaic food can be gilded. Breakfast eggs and bacon land on top of inventive rice bowls made with high-end ingredients, ordered from a counter with a line snaking out the door. A tostada of high-quality, perfectly spiced mariscos from a truck might be ordered not for the joy of it, but for the likes. The city’s iconic burger stands are dying, but a classic burger, sold for the price of a Coachella weekend pass, is everywhere.

Many of LA’s best chefs make their mark by slathering loving, creative attention on classic dishes — and the city’s media culture celebrates the “best” of every type of affordable meal. But remaking the city’s fuel with upscale ingredients, and turning mom-and-pops into destinations, has fostered a new kind of elitism. The stylishly unkempt cafe interlopers standing in line broadcast their freedom — financial, social, existential — to linger in the ever-present heat, driving up the price of quality food, maybe not in money, but in time. Standing among them, you might hear a rave about a new Thai strip-mall restaurant, or a spectacularly elusive truck, flashed as a badge of cultural cache.

Meanwhile, a genuinely affordable type of restaurant fueling the city attracts no lines and little attention, despite its roots in 20th-century culture and the city’s endlessly overlapping immigrant communities. Most LA residents pass them on the way to work, or home, or to stand in line. Few have been certified as “authentic,” even though they serve food beloved by people from far-flung places, with the prices and consistency to satisfy homesickness at scale. Modern Los Angeles thrives in outposts of international fast-food chains.

Southern California was the incubator of America’s fast-food revolution, not just the heavy hitters like McDonald’s and Taco Bell, but In-N-Out, Baskin-Robbins, and Panda Express, among many others. The city’s kaleidoscope of fast-food restaurants captures, yes, the rampant inequality and class disparity funded on the backs of the poor and marginalized. But these are also some of the most democratic restaurant spaces in Los Angeles, safe havens for those without homes, for the widowed elder who relies on dinner at the local Jollibee or for the commuter driving an hour and a half into the city for work, looking for a getaway at Ono Hawaiian BBQ, or the trans person employed and treated with respect at their local El Pollo Loco.

In our splintered democracy, as our dining culture becomes ever more elaborate and, often, inaccessible, the chain is where everyone is welcomed, even if you only have $5 in your pocket.

Jollibee

Founded in 1975 in Quezon City, in the Philippines, Jollibee now has more than 750 locations in the Philippines and 26 in the U.S., where their openings are often greeted with great fanfare. Jollibee began as a family-owned ice cream parlor and now serves fusion items like sweet-style spaghetti alongside homey, comforting Filipino food like palabok (sauce-heavy noodles with seafood) and halo-halo, while creating a community space where Filipinos can connect with each other over a meal and catch up in Tagalog.

Sheng Jara has been restaurant manager at the Beverly branch of Jollibee for almost a decade. Sheng, who is from the Philippines, knew no one except for her husband and a few family members when she migrated to the U.S. “Filipinos are known for our hospitality and we love family, so Jollibee feels like home because you’re interacting with other Filipinos. You can speak Tagalog or speak English here, and nobody cares!”

Allen M., 16, loves the chicken at Jollibee. After some prodding from his excited mother — she shoved Allen in front of my lens after she noticed my camera — he shares why he loves the chicken so much. “I’m from the Philippines and it is ubiquitous there. Jollibee is different from the other fast-food places: You can have a full meal here with rice and stuff.” Allen is referring to the rice meals, one protein served with steamed white rice and gravy; rice can also be added to any Jollibee meal as a side in much the way you’d order curly fries with a burger.

Bryan P., 19, and Edwin M., 25, grew up in Los Angeles. It’s Bryan’s first meal at Jollibee, thanks to Edwin, who recommended he try the chicken and the pineapple juice. Edwin first started coming with his parents.

Unlike other fast-food restaurants, Jollibee is rarely occupied by solo diners. The dining room is filled with families of all sizes — parent and child; parents, children, and grandparents; aunts and cousins — the room buzzing with conversation.

El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco was founded in the Mexican state of Sinaloa in the mid-1970s and made its American debut a decade later, opening a location on Alvarado Street in the MacArthur Park neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles. El Pollo Loco is really two distinct restaurant chains: The original Sinaloa-based El Pollo Loco is still owned by the Ochoa family, while the U.S. locations are independently run. El Pollo Loco meals are built around grilled marinated chicken, often served with tortillas and fresh pico de gallo.

Claudia Valenzuela, general manager of the Silver Lake location, moved from Mexico to Los Angeles a decade ago. “My coworkers are Latinx people, mostly from Mexico so it’s like being in Mexico,” she tells me with a laugh.

The chicken avocado burrito isn’t just Lauren E.’s favorite dish — she is a super fan. “I was totally surprised the first time I came here. The people who work here seem to enjoy their jobs, the food is legit — I come to this El Pollo Loco all the time.”

Lauren then goes on to tell me about a short documentary she watched recently about the Pollo West franchise that works with TransCanWork to employ trans womxn within the franchise.

While watching the doc, Lauren learned that because the unemployment rate for transgender Americans is twice that of the general population, LA-based transgender activist Michaela Mendelsohn founded TransCanWork, creating the first large-scale program to help get trans folx employed in the fast food industry. This alone made Lauren a forever fan of El Pollo Loco.

The location seems to be popular with 50-somethings, at least on this particular day, but Claudia assures me the joint sees a diverse group of diners. For a while, the primary customers were hipsters, but lately her location seems especially popular with single men and college students.

Ono Hawaiian BBQ

Hawai‘i is part of the U.S., but food from the islands can be difficult to find on the mainland, so Ono Hawaiian serves a function more like an “international” chain in California than a domestic one, by offering a mass-produced version of classic foods unfamiliar to the local population and the promise to transport diners somewhere else. A minority-majority state, despite what travel magazines may illustrate, Hawai‘i’s unique cuisine is a blend of native Hawaiian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Filipino, and other food traditions brought by waves of plantation workers and immigrants.

The menu at Ono Hawaiian BBQ is inspired by the Hawai‘i plate lunch, which likely has its origins in the bento, thanks to the influence of Japanese immigrants. Plate lunches at Ono comprise two scoops of steamed white rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, and a choice of protein over a bed of steamed cabbage. The pulled kālua pork is slow-cooked and tossed in a teriyaki sauce while the katsu plate — a ubiquitous Japanese meal of fried, breaded chicken or pork cutlet — is served with a savory puree almost reminiscent of American barbecue sauce.Two sisters, Star J. and Tonisha J., make lunch at Ono Hawaiian BBQ their ritual, complete with regular orders: grilled chicken breast with lemon or Hawaiian BBQ chicken, both with two scoops of rice, one scoop of mac salad. “Ono feels like a vacation, so we can kind of have that feeling of Hawai‘i here in Los Angeles,” Tonisha tells me. Star interjects, “The food is really, really good.”

Zankou Chicken

Generations before the recent boom of Israeli-, Middle Eastern-, and North African-influenced restaurants, immigrants from Iran, Armenia, and Palestine were serving shawarma, falafel, tabbouleh, and couscous salads here in Los Angeles. Glendale is home to a huge Armenian diaspora, so it’s no surprise that a 56-year-old, family-run Armenian business, with humble beginnings on a street corner in Beirut, thrives here. The Los Angeles Times has called the chain one of the city’s “most revered restaurants.”

An LA transplant from Atlanta, Martha K. always gets the No. 13, the shish kebab plate. “[Atlanta] is full of culture, but I never had Mediterranean food until I moved to LA,” she said.

Tina Ovsepyan, an executive assistant at Zankou, grew up on the chain. Her family went to Zankou for lunches and dinner often, and her favorite dish, the Chicken Tarna plate, is one she remembers enjoying as a child.The dining room is packed during the lunch rush, primarily with young professionals running to the counter to grab a wrap or a plate meal, only to dash right back out, but a smattering of diners linger. An older Iranian mother and her middle-aged daughter dine together, sharing a whole chicken meal as they catch up, laughing and speaking in Farsi; a solo middle-aged white dude carefully tends to his crossword puzzle while dipping bites of pita in the famous garlic sauce; a trio of friends, visiting Los Angeles on vacation, Instas the neon-pink pickled turnip on their glossy white disposable plates. The dining room is a stage for the diversity of Los Angeles, with no prize beyond community and a great meal.

Text och Bild: Eater.com

Kritik mot köttutspelet: Kan bryta mot EU-regler

Landsbygdsminister Sven-Erik Bucht (S) möter nu kritik för sin uppmaning till köp av svenskt kött, rapporterar Ekot. Erik Lagerlöf, professor i juridik vid Handelshögskolan i Stockholm, anser att Buchts uttalande kan strida mot EU:s regler för den inre marknaden. Enligt Lagerlöf får en minister inte vidta åtgärder som hindrar marknaden eller inskränker rörligheten.
Bucht själv slår ifrån sig kritiken:
– Att jag själv som svensk köper svenskt kött och att jag hoppas att andra gör det kan inte vara förbjudet i någon EU-förordning, säger han till Ekot.

Text och Bild: Omni

Martina Johansson är född och uppvuxen i en av Marstrands mesta krögarfamiljer. Som vd på Grand Hotel Marstrand och dessutom djupt involverad i familjens krogar på ön är hon nu inne i en intensiv arbetsperiod. Och hon älskar det.

Hennes familj har drivit restauranger på Marstrand på Västkusten sedan slutet av 1960-talet. För Martina Johansson har det alltid känts självklart att gå in i familjeföretaget, och sedan 2011 är hon vd för Grand Hotel Marstrand.

 Jag har känt mig hemma i verksamheterna från första stund så valet föll sig väldigt naturligt, säger hon till Besöksliv.

Varför är krogbranschen intressant för dig?

– Det är nog inte svårare än att jag älskar att vistas i den miljön. Det händer alltid något nytt eller oväntat och jag får förmånen att träffa och arbeta med en massa härliga människor.

Vad är bäst med ditt jobb?

– Variationen, tempot och att man måste vara lösningsorienterad.

Vilka möjligheter finns det för folk, inte minst unga, att göra karriär i den här branschen?

– Hela näringen skriker efter kompetent personal och vår är en av de branscher där tröskeln in på arbetsmarknaden är mycket låg. Många unga får sitt första jobb i restaurangbranschen och det finns goda möjligheter att göra karriär genom att arbeta sig upp och utbildas på sin arbetsplats.

Du är personalansvarig för sommarkrogar. Hur hittar du bra personal?

– Kompetensförsörjningen är vår absolut största utmaning. Konkurrensen om kompetent personal är stenhård, vilket gör att vi måste arbeta aktivt för att skapa attraktiva arbetsplatser och anpassa oss efter vad unga söker hos en arbetsgivare idag.

Hur ser du på utmaningen att driva företag där högsäsongen är så kort?

– Det är på något sätt lika spännande varje år. Allt måste klaffa på kort tid och man hinner knappt blinka innan det är över.

Som säsongskrog med personal som kommer och går, hur ser du på kravet på personalliggare som sedan den 1 juli har nya regler?

– Syftet och tanken bakom personalliggaren tycker jag är god, men så som den används idag ställer jag mig mycket tveksam till om den egentligen minskar den svarta arbetskraften. Den nyttjas snarare som ett medel att driva in höga kontrollavgifter. Den nya regeln att jag i mina egna verksamheter ska stämpla in och ut så fort jag utför en syssla känns helt befängd. I vår bransch jobbar man som de flesta andra egenföretagarna lite hela tiden vid olika tillfällen på dygnet och gränsen mellan när man är verksam eller inte är diffus. Rör man sig dessutom mellan flera olika verksamheter under en arbetsdag så är det upplagt får att man ska glömma att skriva in eller ut sig och få dryga böter.

Vilka förändringar skulle du vilja se för att underlätta för näringen?

– Ett regelverk som är anpassat efter verkligheten (inte teorin) och kortare handläggningstider.

Havshotellet byggs ut, det ska byggas nytt varmbadhus och mängder av nya bostadsrätter på Marstrand. Hur ser dina förväntningar ut?  

– Jag förväntar mig fler besökare som kommer att gynna hela ön och bidra till en starkare destination och ett mer levande samhälle. Dessutom kan vi med fler boendemöjligheter möta och attrahera fler stora evenemang till Marstrand.

Hur jobbar du själv för att utveckla Marstrand som destination?

– Främst genom mitt engagemang och styrelsearbete i Marstrands företagarförening. Marstrand har en stark och aktiv förening med närmare 100 medlemsföretag. Vi vet att vi blir starkare genom samverkan och arbetar aktivt med besöksnäringsfrågor, kommunikation och evenemangsutveckling.

 

Torkan glädjebesked för svenska vinodlare

Sommarens exceptionellt varma och torra väder ställer till problem i hela landet. En yrkesgrupp har dock hittills haft all anledning att jubla över väderleken – de svenska vinproducenterna.

Skogsbränder, bevattningsförbud, brist på djurfoder – den varma och torra sommaren slår hårt mot Sverige.

Det råder risk för skogsbrand i hela landet förutom i fjällområdena, och SMHI har utfärdat risk för vattenbrist i landets södra delar.

För den soldyrkande vindruvan har väderförhållandena varit perfekta.

– Hittills har vi nypt oss i armen och tyckt att det är fantastiskt, säger Sveneric Svensson, ordförande i Föreningen Svenskt Vin, till TT.

Bästa sommaren hittills

Ungefär 35-40 yrkesvinodlare är verksamma i Sverige. De allra flesta är koncentrerade till Skåne, men även i Halland, i Blekinge, på Öland och på Gotland finns odlingar. Därutöver finns ett stort antal hobbyodlare.

Sveneric Svensson har odlat vin i halländska Brattås sedan 2002. Enligt honom är årets sommar den bästa hittills.

– Jag trodde aldrig vi skulle uppleva ett så bra år som 2016 igen, men det här är ännu bättre. Det har varit en väldigt gynnsam start med fin blomning, säger han.

Årets skörd väntas bli både tidig och riklig, men även vinodlarna har anledning att oroa sig om torkan består.

– Jag har inte hört några rapporter om skador på grund av torkan än, men jag blir mer och mer oroad. Det som kan hända är att rankorna blir stressade av vattenbristen, och då lättare angripna av svampsjukdomar, säger Svensson.

Hoppas på regn

De effekter som fortsatt torka och bevattningsförbud kan få på vinodlingen skiljer sig åt lokalt, enligt Svensson.

– Vinrankor har djupa rötter, och så länge de når ned till grundvattnet går allt bra. Nyplanterade rankor måste dock bevattnas, så om torkan fortsätter kan det gå illa för odlingar i grunda jordar, säger han.

Druvorna skördas i slutet av september, och nu hoppas Sveneric Svensson på regn framöver.

– Det bästa vore om det kom regn så fort som möjligt, och att det sedan blir en torr höst. Regnar det på hösten blir det i regel svampsjukdomar, säger han.

Text: TT

A Restaurant Takes On the Opioid Crisis, One Worker at a Time

A Kentucky couple realized that restaurants have an unusual power to help addicted people recover, and created DV8 Kitchen to hire, train and encourage them.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Five years ago, Rob and Diane Perez found a spoon and a ramekin in the trash at a branch of their Saul Good Restaurant & Pub, and realized that their top server was doing heroin in the bathroom.

They had already lost the first manager to join their staff; she died in jail after trying to obtain prescription pills illegally. But they didn’t put the pieces together until last year, when they got a call that a cook would not be coming into work because he had overdosed on opioids and died.

They realized that they had lost 13 employees to addiction over 10 years,and that half the cases were related to opioid drugs. “They were not fired,” Mr. Perez said. “They were dead.”

So Mr. Perez, 53, and Ms. Perez, 51, decided to take a nationwide crisis into their own hands. Last September, they opened DV8 Kitchen, a restaurant that not only hires people in treatment for addiction to opioids or other substances, but also focuses its entire business model on recovery, using the restaurant setting as a tool for rehabilitation.

An estimated 115 Americans die every day of opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One of the hardest-hit states is Kentucky, which in 2016 recorded nearly 24 opioid-related deaths for every 100,000 people, almost double the national rate, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports.

Here in Lexington, a charming, pasture-draped city known around the world for its horse farms, there hasn’t been a single day since July 2016 when paramedics have not administered Narcan, the lifesaving drug for opioid overdoses, to at least one person, said Lt. Jessica Bowman, a public information officer for the Lexington Fire Department.

Restaurant culture has long been steeped in alcohol and drugs. Many places offer free shift drinks, and servers earn tips in cash, the common medium for drug transactions. Mr. Perez, who started working in the business at 19, struggled for a decade from alcohol addiction but has been sober since 1990. In restaurants, he said: “There are more late nights than early mornings, and it’s acceptable to have a hangover. You think all this is fun and normal, because everyone else has that lifestyle.”

Still, the Perezes saw restaurants’ unusual potential for helping addicted people recover. “There’s customer service, culinary, baking, finances,” Mr. Perez said. “We can teach you any of these businesses from scratch.”Cooking, in particular, he sees as “100 percent therapy.” In making bread, for example, “there is something magic about kneading the dough side by side with someone else, not making eye contact,” he said. “It is very tactile and freeing.”

A number of restaurants in the United States are giving workers with addictions a second chance, including Sérénité in Medina, Ohio, and Archie’s Grill in Shelburne, Vt. The Perezes visited several of them, but thought the standards that some set for troubled employees were too low.

“My guess is that they wanted to meet people where they were,” Mr. Perez said, but “I didn’t see a spark in people’s eyes, or pride in the food. I didn’t see professional behavior. I could always tell who the heroin addicts were.” Many of these places, including one of the couple’s favorites, Blochead Pizza in Cincinnati, ended up closing.

At DV8 Kitchen, one of four restaurants they own, the Perezes pay just over $12 an hour on average, which Mr. Perez said is 20 percent above the rate at many local fast-food chain restaurants. In turn, employees are held to exacting standards. There is no bar, and a zero-tolerance policy for tardiness. Tips are pooled, then added directly to paychecks, so no cash is exchanged. (The name is a play on the word “deviate” — a reference to the employees’ aim to detour from their pasts and rebuild their lives.)

The couple also hire from and work directly with treatment centers, adding an additional level of accountability for employees.

“We are not certified experts on this, nor do we claim to be,” Ms. Perez said. “We are just providing the piece of the puzzle that is giving people a job right away when they are getting clean.”

The restaurant, opened with $300,000 invested by local people who believe in the cause, is a plant-filled, garagelike space in a strip mall within walking distance of the area’s three largest rehabilitation centers. Its walls and tables are adorned with colorful graffiti by local artists. An open bakery lets customers watch employees as they pound dough into brioche buns.

The menu is simple — sandwiches, salads, eggs, baked goods — and intended to teach widely applicable cooking skills. Employees greet every guest, bus every table, learn to cook sous vide, and bake their own bread for the sandwiches.

On a recent afternoon, a sign in the kitchen read: “Attention all staff: When cutting cucumbers, use the mandoline at the specific size, every time. Failure to do so will result in termination.” Mr. Perez sheepishly admitted that he occasionally calls the restaurant to make sure that the person answering the phone is greeting customers enthusiastically.

Initially, business at DV8 Kitchen was slow: The restaurant, which proclaims its mission on its website and on the front of each menu, lost $30,000 in its first five months. “When people heard ‘second chance,’ they were either concerned with their personal safety, or they were thinking second chance means second rate,” Mr. Perez said.

The couple soon realized that they couldn’t offer dinner service, since most of their employees — 18 out of 23 are in what Mr. Perez calls active recovery — had to attend support meetings at night.

The Perezes leaned into breakfast and lunch, pushing the homemade breads and baked goods. By March, they said, the restaurant was turning a profit. It started selling the bread wholesale to other restaurants, and DV8 was one of a few places in town that catered breakfast. The hefty cinnamon rolls, made with croissant dough to add more labor to the process, have drawn a cult following.

Marsha Elliott, an office manager at Berea College, south of Lexington, said she originally stopped by DV8 because she had heard the food was good; she only later learned about its purpose. Now, she visits whenever she is in the area. On a recent afternoon, she carried a box containing two cream cheese muffins (her favorite) and four cinnamon rolls.

“You wouldn’t pay $4 for a cinnamon roll anywhere else here, but I don’t mind paying a little extra to help people get back on their feet,” she said.

Another regular, Jason Johnston, the director of teaching and learning at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work, had the opposite experience: He came because of the social mission, then discovered that “the food was actually really good,” he said. (Mr. Johnston had two cinnamon rolls on his table for one.)

He said he brings friends to DV8, but often doesn’t tell them that the place is staffed by workers recovering from addiction. When he reveals the truth, “they are always surprised,” he said.

After nine months in business, DV8 seems to be serving its dual purpose as restaurant and recovery setting.

Dan Rison, 29, who greets customers and serves dishes, among other tasks, said he first started taking pain medication when he was 14, after an operation intended to correct a birth defect. He eventually became an alcoholic, was arrested and pleaded guilty to cashing a forged check, and went to jail.

When he got out, he was unable to hold down a job for more than a few months, and once he did find one that he liked, at an antique store, “there was a lot of drug and alcohol abuse during the workday,” he said. “I stopped caring whether or not I lived.”

This is his first restaurant job, and the environment at DV8, he said, builds camaraderie.

“In the darkest part of my addiction, I isolated myself,” he said. “Here, if you withdraw, the guest will notice you aren’t bringing their food or asking how they are doing. Your co-workers will notice if you don’t have a smile on your face.” At DV8, he added, he doesn’t have to hide his past — everything is out in the open.

Mr. Rison is 19 credits away from earning a bachelor’s degree in social work, and would like to earn his master’s in the same subject, so he can give others with addictions the kind of help he received.

Jennifer Ratliff, 42, a cashier and cook, used to work at a Cracker Barrel and a Waffle House, “but a lot of people came in high,” she said. “There was no understanding or togetherness.”

After her husband killed himself several years ago, she turned to opioids to “numb the feeling,” she said, and began selling heroin. Arrested and convicted on drug charges, she lost custody of her three children and served time in prison.

Working the grill, she said, “is a huge coping skill for me.” Making burgers, “adding the spices, the egg on top, making the homemade Dijonnaise,” and then seeing customers’ reaction when they take a bite, brings “a sense of accomplishment,” she said.

Hoang Dong, DV8’s general manager, who worked with Mr. and Ms. Perez at their Saul Good restaurants, said he was concerned at first “about whether or not these people were going to be aggressive, or trainable, or relapse,” he said. Instead, “everyone is wanting to turn their lives around, and they hold each other accountable.”

The most difficult part, he said, is that the restaurant doesn’t have enough jobs to keep up with the number of applicants. “There was a guy I had to turn down from employment because we were full, and he died of overdose a week later,” he said. “I know there is not much we could have done, but I felt horrible. What if I had hired him, and he had a chance?”

Local treatment centers are thrilled about their members’ progress, and how closely they are able to work with DV8.

Jerod Thomas, the chief executive of one center, Shepherd’s House, said that while he had been approached by other employers about hiring people recovering from addiction, no one except Mr. and Ms. Perez wanted to take such an active role in treatment. Other owners “may give somebody a second chance, but that’s not their motive,” he said. “Their motive is to get the work done. Rob wants to get the work done, too, he’s just invested in offering support, and being a part of the treatment team.”

Several local restaurateurs who have also had workers with addictions said that approach seemed difficult to sustain.

The Perezes have “combined the toughest industry with the toughest social problem we have,” said Ouita Michel, the chef and an owner of Holly Hill Inn, just outside Lexington. She added that she would love to hire recovering addicts, but only after they worked at DV8. “That’s why the work DV8 is doing is so valuable.”

Debbie Long, who owns Dudley’s on Short, recalled hiring a man who was highly recommended by his treatment center. “We noticed a decline in productivity, and then the police showed up all of a sudden because he had some outstanding warrants for his arrest,” she said. “We have not heard from him, and we don’t know how to get in touch. You feel bad, but what do you do?”

“Running a restaurant is difficult in and of itself,” she said, “and then you add the employee element, plus knowing these individuals have a past and can relapse at any time. It’s challenge on top of challenge.”

The low turnover rate at DV8 Kitchen suggests it can be otherwise. Only five of the 25 or so recovering people they have hired have left because of a relapse or firing. (The national turnover rate for the hospitality industry, by comparison, was 70 percent in 2016, according to the National Restaurant Association.)

Mr. and Ms. Perez have been lobbying the state government for money to help open other DV8 restaurants, and for incentives for businesses to hire people in recovery from addictions.

Every Tuesday at 3 p.m., the restaurant holds a mandatory workshop for employees. Lawyers explain how to get criminal convictions expunged from records, accountants talk personal finance and professional athletes discuss teamwork.

At one recent workshop, Vitale Buford, a transformational coach who was addicted to prescription drugs, quizzed workers about the everyday troubles they take for granted.

“What are you tolerating?” Ms. Buford asked.

The employees scribbled down their answers: not getting custody of their children, being 50 pounds overweight, having strained relationships with parents. Then Ms. Buford told them to write all their excuses for tolerating these problems on a piece of paper, and toss it into the garbage.

As they turned, one by one, toward the trash bin to discard their worries, the backs of their uniforms became visible.

Inscribed on the shirts was a single phrase: “Life changing food.”

Text och Bild: New York Times

Svenska skördar bortom räddning: ”Historiskt tufft”

Den svåra torkan som råder har gått hårt åt de svenska spannmålsbönderna. Så mycket som 40 procent av årets skörd kan vara helt bortom räddning, även om det skulle komma regn, rapporterar SVT Nyheter.
Enligt Lennart Nilsson, ledamot i LRF:s förbundsstyrelse och själv lantbrukare, handlar det om inkomstbortfall på miljarder för bönderna. Han säger sig aldrig ha varit med om något liknande.
– Jag har pratat med de äldre bönderna och de har inte heller varit med om något liknande. Det är nog historiskt tufft, och historiskt extremt väder, säger han till SVT.

Text och Bild: Omni

Landsbygdsministern hyllar matbutikernas köttbojkott

Landsbygdsminister Sven-Erik Bucht (S) hyllar de matbutiker som valt att bojkotta utländskt kött för att stödja svenska bönder i sommartorkan, skriver Aftonbladet.
– Det är hedervärt att man har sett den allvarliga situationen och agerar på det, säger han till tidningen.
Vidare uppmanar Bucht alla att tänka på vad de köper för livsmedel, för att hjälpa de svenska bönderna.
Det är det torra vädret som gett upphov till foderkris i landet, vilket fått bönder att larma om nödslakt av djur.

Text och Bild: Omni

True Food Kitchen, the Restaurant Chain Oprah Just Invested In, Explained

Everything you need to know about the rapidly expanding, health-focused brand

Today, Oprah added a restaurant to her investment portfolio. True Food Kitchen announced that the Queen of All Media made a “significant equity investment” in the health food restaurant chain.

The move isn’t a complete surprise, given Oprah’s previous millions-making investment in diet program Weight Watchers. She also has her own line of prepared foods called O That’s Good!, which she advertises as “comfort-food classics” with a “nutritious twist.” Her latest investment is likely to be a boon for the restaurant brand — Oprah endorsements have impact, so much so that “The Oprah Effect” is a real finance term.

With Oprah’s investment, True Food Kitchen plans to accelerate its expansion, with a focus on the East Coast. But although True Food Kitchen seems poised to become the next big restaurant chain, those without a restaurant in their area probably haven’t heard much about it. Here’s everything you need to know about Oprah’s newest favorite thing:

What is True Food Kitchen?

True Food Kitchen is a health-focused restaurant chain with 23 locations in 10 U.S. states, with most locations in California and Texas. It focuses on serving healthy, seasonal, sustainable, and organic food with plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. The restaurants are casual, full-service venues open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, a style the restaurant bills “conscious casual.” More specifically, True Food Kitchen serves food in line with an “anti-inflammatory” diet. (The restaurant’s health claims have drawn criticism.)

Where did it come from?

Integrative medicine doctor Andrew Weil opened the first True Food Kitchen with restaurateur Sam Fox in Phoenix, Arizona in 2008. The idea was to promote Dr. Weil’s “anti-inflammatory” lifestyle with a restaurant, and the menu was designed to adhere to his “anti-inflammatory food pyramid,” which he’s proselytized on the show of fellow Oprah-affiliated integrative medicine doctor, Dr. Oz.

True Food Kitchen is a part of a universe of Weil-created products: He also sells cookbooks, vitamins, meditation CDs, and more as a part of a philosophy he claims reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other ailments.

Dr. Weil is still attached to the restaurant brand, but in 2016, True Food Kitchen spun off from Fox Restaurant Concepts and hired Starbucks vet Christine Barone as CEO. In the years since, True Food Kitchen has expanded from 12 locations to 23 and has plans to double that number over the next three years.

What’s on the menu?

Although it prioritizes vegetables, fish, and whole grains, as per Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid, True Food Kitchen’s menu is intended to reach a broad audience, and the menu at any given location can span more than 30 dishes for dinner. “We’re really going after a wide range of guests,” Barone says.

The menu doesn’t stick to any one flavor profile. “There are both Mediterranean elements and lots of Asian food, especially ingredients from Japanese cuisine. It’s a mix of the two healthiest food cultures in the world,” Dr. Weil said on his website’s blog when the first True Food Kitchen opened. Today, there are bowls, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and entrees that for this spring included a poke bowl, Moroccan chicken, and gluten-free lasagna bolognese.

True Food Kitchen also serves sustainable wine, local beer, and cocktails with fresh juice and house-made syrups — a feature Barone believes sets True Food Kitchen apart from other restaurants in the health food space. (Alcohol isn’t off limits on Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet, and red wine is even encouraged.) “You really can come to True Food and enjoy a complete meal,” she says. There’s also a wide selection of tea, another key anti-inflammatory beverage according to Dr. Weil’s philosophy.

According to Barone, almost 10 years after opening, True Food Kitchen’s menu still has some of Dr. Weil’s original recipes, and he continues to be actively involved in menu development by suggesting ingredients, like black rice, which is included in a dessert on the just-launched summer menu.

What does Oprah’s investment mean for the brand?

In addition to her financial investment, Oprah will join True Food Kitchen’s board of directors. “We believe this really sets us up for great success,” Barone says. “It’s not only a partnership from a financial point of view, but it’s also a partnership where she as a great business woman will be lending her thoughts on the market and how we evolve.”

In the coming years, True Food Kitchen will open its first locations in New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina, and expand its presence in Florida and Maryland. Already, True Food Kitchen is in the process of opening two new restaurants, one in Nashville and another in Jacksonville, Florida, both set to open before the end of the year.

True Food Kitchen is also sure to fit seamlessly into Oprah’s personal brand. Like Weight Watchers, the restaurant presents consumers with a healthy lifestyle that’s easily attainable, just so long as they buy the right foods. Plus, Dr. Weil and Oprah go way back — he made an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2000, and while that may not have launched him to Dr. Oz levels of fame, this new partnership could make True Food Kitchen an even bigger name.

Text och Bild: Eater.com

Stora namn till kärleksfestivalen på Gärdet

I slutet av sommaren går gratisfestivalen och manifestationen Let’s Make Love Great Again av stapeln på Gärdet. Då står bland annat Familjen, The Sounds och Jaqee på scen.

Den 11-12 augusti är det för första gången dags för den kombinerade manifestationen och festivalen Let’s Make Love Great Again.

Initiativtagaren Niclas Lagerstam fick idén när han hörde Donald Trumps slogan Let’s Make America Great Again under presidentvalskampanjen.

– När jag sedan tänkte på näthat och samhället i övrigt, hur vi ställer människor mot varandra, såg jag motsatsen, säger han i en kommentar.

Vill bidra till en mer mänsklig och kärleksfull värld

Festivalen bygger på tron om att kärlek, respekt och vänskap är störst av allt och har som syfte att bidra till en mer mänsklig och kärleksfull värld.

Evenemanget hålls på Gärdet och är gratis för alla. Utöver föreläsningar, panelsamtal, konstutställningar och andra kulturframträdanden blir det också flera livespelningar.

Mikael Wiehe och Familjen på scen

Lineupen innefattar sedan tidigare artister som Darin, Loreen, Julia Frej, Kaliffa och Mikael Wiehe.

Nu sällar sig även den musikaliska kameleonten Jaqee, artisten och producenten Familjen, det internationella succébandet The Sounds och musikerna och underhållarna Johan & Björn till skaran.

Text och Bild: Allt om Stockholm