On Air

Can you Beat Bobby Flay?

  • "CanYou Beat Bobby Flay?" Pt. 1 - June 13th, 2015
  • "Can You Beat Bobby Flay?" Pt. 2 - June 13th, 2015
  • We Sell Restaurants: Restaurant Reality - June 13th, 2015

Are you looking to franchise your company overseas? How do you know when you are ready? What are the challenges of international expansion versus domestic expansion and where can you get help? This week, the restaurant brokers along with CEO of Buffalo's Cafe and CEO of YoBlendz and JuiceBlendz tackle international franchising.

Industry Guests Join the Restaurant Brokers

Chef Adam Halberg
Chef Adam Halberg
Adam Halberg made the decision to pursue a restaurant career at an unusual moment. In Chicago, he was mid-way through managing a traveling show celebrating the 25th anniversary of LEGO in the United States when he began plotting a return to school for a culinary education. A spin through jobs spanning 'newspaper reporter' to 'summer camp director' to 'improv comedian' had failed to sate his desire to learn a craft and use it to create public experiences which were both exciting and home-spirited. 

Adam Halberg made the decision to pursue a restaurant career at an unusual moment. In Chicago, he was mid-way through managing a traveling show celebrating the 25th anniversary of LEGO in the United States when he began plotting a return to school for a culinary education. A spin through jobs spanning 'newspaper reporter' to 'summer camp director' to 'improv comedian' had failed to sate his desire to learn a craft and use it to create public experiences which were both exciting and home-spirited.

After taking a degree from the Art Institute of Atlanta, Halberg paired a push through some of Atlanta's most respected restaurants (Justin Ward's Harvest, La Grotta Ristorante in Buckhead) with a year working in Florence and Modena, Italy.

With a growing passion for American ingredients and Mediterranean sensibility, he traveled to Maine to work at James Beard winner Melissa Kelly's seaside Italian restaurant Primo. This was followed by seven years in Boston, consulting for popular restaurant/caterer Bakers Best and running restaurants for both Laura Bren  Best and running restaurants for both Laura Brennan and James Beard winner Michael Schlow. Each year that he helmed Schlow's Via Matta, that restaurant was recognized as 'Best Italian' by Boston Magazine. Before leaving Boston, Halberg also oversaw the opening of the giant bohemian eatery and live music venue The Beehive.

In Connecticut, Halberg has found his place overseeing the kitchens for the Barcelona Restaurant Group, developing a strong group of creative, collaborative chefs for a local bar and dining institution. Still, every once in a while, he sneaks away from the 'small plate' leanings of tapas to cook a big bowl of pasta.

Adam has a BA in Religion & Culture from Emory University, has visited 42 states and a dozen countries. He plans on returning to live in Italy someday ... or building something almost as satisfying here.
  • Phone
  • mpini@benvenutipr.com Email
  • Website
  • Barteca Restaurant Group Barteca Restaurant Group
Brian Tsao - Confirmed
Brian Tsao - Confirmed
Chef Brian Tsao started out wanting to be a musician but teen years spent in China and immersion in its culinary diversity led him on a different path, to the world of restaurants. The son of a Chinese father and Korean mother, Brian grew up in Queens, New York before journeying to Beijing at age fifteen to study at the World Youth Academy, without even knowing Chinese. During his six years in China, he also became guitarist for the country’s first touring thrashcore band and traveled extensively, learning about the specialties of each region including Beijing’s dumplings, Guang Dong’s roast goose with plum sauce, Xin Jiang’s lamb kabobs, and more. 

Brian returned to New York needing a job before college and his father directed him to a longtime client who needed help, Michael Hu (former Executive Pastry Chef of the Waldorf Astoria and Grand Hyatt) of Hana Pastries. With no culinary training, Brian truly started at the bottom as a dishwasher, before moving on to packaging and eventually the kitchen. There he discovered a love of pastry as well as learned the skills of chocolate sculpture and sugar showpieces, which Hu was known for. “A highlight of my time there was helping to build an all sugar Gibson Explorer Guitar show piece. After this experience, I decided to skip college.” After two productive but tough years at Hana, Hu suggested Brian further his skills by working for his friend Wojtek Stachura, former head baker at Eli's Bread, at his wholesale bread factory Solina Bakery. Though Stachura was capable of making fantastic bread show pieces, he usually turned down such projects to focus on the 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of dough he processed on a daily basis from a single mixer. 

While at Solina, Brian’s mentors convinced him to pursue a formal culinary education and he enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He also undertook an externship at Telepan, which with its highly seasonal, ever-changing menu was a formative experience for the young chef.
“Telepan taught and exercised everything I needed to know to become a line cook,” he says. “Telepan was by far the most educational culinary experience in my entire career by far.”

After graduation, Brian moved to the West Coast to work for his uncle, Taiwanese restaurateur Ivan Liang. A year later, he returned to New York and opened Liang’s with his uncle in Flushing, Queens. Unfortunately, Liang’s closed after two years and Brian, though “tired and jaded, but humbled and wiser,” counts the experience as a foundation for his future success.  

In 2013, Brian brought his heritage and travel experiences throughout Asia to Mira Sushi & Izakaya. By fusing Japanese, Chinese, Korean and American cuisines, he has created an adventurous, delicious menu of Asian street-food inspired dishes that take a traditional concept in an exciting direction. His mission as a chef is to “remove the stereotypes of Asian cuisine, make good, interesting but still authentic food and keep things approachable.” 

In March 2014, Brian appeared on Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay,” where two chefs compete by cooking a dish with an ingredient chosen by Flay. Then the winner faces off against the Food Network star – this time the challenger picks the dish and a panel of three judges chooses the winner. Brian challenged Flay to a taco battle and prevailed with his Beef Bulgogi Tacos, making him the only chef to beat Flay during the first season. Brian has also appeared on Fox 5 Good Day New York, CBS TV and Food Network’s Chopped.
  • 347 986 7092 Phone
  • brianjtsao@gmail.com Email
  • www.mirasushi.com; http://www.briantsao.com/ Website
  • Mira Sushi & Izakaya Mira Sushi & Izakaya
Chef J. Jackson
Chef J. Jackson
Chef J. Jackson has become synonymous with great food and is a successful private chef and motivational speaker based in the DC metro area. Jackson has created his own personal style by mixing his love of food with that of techniques from some of the best chefs in the country and beyond.  Jackson has been a self-taught chef for the past few years and is a regular culinary contributor on Fox and Friend’s Morning Show. He has also made appearances on Neighborhood Chef and ABCs The Chew. His accomplishments include “Crowd Favorite” at The Travel Channels Fiery Foods Challenge, winner of the DC local competition of Top Chef for Love Night Club and a Season 4 Contestant on Food Networks Beat Bobby Flay!  Jackson has provided his culinary services to the likes of Jill Scott and has toured the world with Lady Gaga.  He also speaks to youth about achieving their dreams and mastering their craft.
  • Phone
  • entreemetropolitan@gmail.com Email
  • http://www.chefjjackson.com/ Website
  • Entree Metropolitan Catering Entree Metropolitan Catering