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Hospitality industry veterans, Max Trujillo and Matthew Weiss, get behind the scenes of North Carolina's burgeoning food and beverage culture. Hear from local chefs, sommelier's, distillers, farmers, brewers and the whole lot of them in the NC F&B podcast. 

"Our intention is to create a behind-the-scenes conversation between industry professionals. Whether we are speaking with an advanced level sommelier about their wine program or a chef about breaking down an entire pig, we just want the conversation to be real, unedited and honest. The food and beverage world is a unique industry, and North Carolina's food scene is growing everyday.

Take a listen. We hope to entertain, teach and inspire while offering some specific information about the NC food scene."

 -Max & Matt

Apr 18, 2024

Chef Bennett Depew, Director of Italian for Sysco of the Carolinas. The discussion covers the rising popularity of Italian cuisine in America, particularly in the Carolinas, and the evolution of Italian cooking from traditional dishes to novel ingredients like 'nduja and Taleggio cheese. Chef Bennett shares insights on how the Italian segment of the restaurant industry uniquely thrived during the pandemic due to the travel-friendly nature of Italian cuisine. They delve into how restaurants can maintain profitability amidst changing trends like gluten-free diets and the use of technology to streamline operations. The conversation also touches on the importance of work-life balance in the restaurant industry, the role of Cisco in supporting local businesses, and the benefits of utilizing technology and local sourcing to improve restaurant operations and menu offerings.


00:00 Welcome to the North Carolina Food and Beverage Podcast

00:49 Introducing Chef Bennett Depew: A Deep Dive into Italian Cuisine

01:13 The Evolution and Resilience of Italian Food in America

04:57 The Art and Zen of Pasta Making

10:32 Navigating the Business Side: From Chef to Cisco Specialist

16:40 The Journey to the 'Dark Side': Transitioning from Chef to Sales

22:45 Reflecting on the First Day and Sales Experiences

22:56 The Evolution of Work-Life Balance in the Restaurant Industry

24:02 Improving Quality of Life for Restaurant Workers

25:45 The Impact of Minimum Wage Laws on the Restaurant Industry

27:55 Rethinking Tipping and Sales Commissions in Restaurants

29:17 Leveraging Technology for Restaurant Efficiency

33:35 Exploring Italian Cooking Trends and Ingredients

39:10 The Significance of Local Sourcing and Cisco's Role

42:13 Big Business Supporting Small: A New Era of Convenience

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