Author Archives: Maddie DeWitt

In Search of Lost Cake

The van careened into the parking lot, screeching to a halt in front of us and the handful of other bleary-eyed travelers, shivering in the pre-dawn cold of the Sicilian spring morning. As we slowly came to the realization that this mini-bus was the low-capacity stand-in for a 2am train that would never fill its […]

The Chicken Rant

Every so often, I get asked about my love of Italy. Why I went there for three years, what were my favorite parts, would I ever go back, etc. It’s always a difficult question to answer as I know what made my experience so wonderful is directly influenced by the fact that I was there as […]

The Soul of a Restaurant, Part II – Tipping Points

A while ago I considered the idea of the soul of a restaurant – those intangibles, or, as the case may be, tangibles, that contribute to the very essence of a place. The soul can be anything really, derived from anywhere. It can be a person, the menu, the structure, the music – all of […]

The Culture of Food

I’ve been giving my spiel a lot lately. The “how did you end up in Napa” spiel. Which, on the one hand, is good, because it’s the spiel I give when I meet someone new, and if I’ve been giving it a lot lately, it’s because I’m meeting a lot of new people. Which has […]

On Hospitality, Part I

I have now spent two years in the hospitality industry. Hardly anything at all in the grand scheme of things, and, the whole time, while certainly in customer-facing positions, in situations that are far less rigid and structured than much of the industry. I struggled early on. Balancing my natural inclination to correct (err…educate), with […]

The Soul of a Restaurant, Part I

Two and a half years ago, I talked my parents into a dinner. They were coming to visit me in Italy, we were going to spend a few days in Bologna, and so, I figured, we should probably take a short train ride down to Modena and dine at Osteria Francescana. I’m no star chaser, […]

Value Meals

As a member of the greater customer service field, one of the most simultaneously entertaining and frustrating activities in which I participate is the occasional reading of online reviews. At Foodshed we have been lucky enough to receive an overwhelmingly positive response on Yelp and whatnot, and while there are always gems within the friendly […]

The Distillation

Last November, I arrived back in California with three years in Italy, a Masters in Food Culture and Communication, and a few extra wine and pasta-fueled pounds under my belt. My thought process and passions that had led me to pursue a degree at the University of Gastronomic Sciences were still intact, but I was floundering […]

A Normal Pizza

So we opened a pizza shop a few months ago. Well, it’s a little more than that. Take out restaurant, pizza by the slice, and a full beer, wine and spirits shop that I’ve had the pleasure to stock. But in the end, like most things in life, it’s really all about the pizza. And […]

The Future of Buying Food

Last month at the La Cocina Food + Entrepreneurship Conference I moderated a discussion on the Future of Buying Food. We gathered together a panel featuring reps from two models of online grocery shopping, the culinary director of a local good food market, a buyer and product scouter for Whole Foods, and a rancher. The […]