City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Help! How do you moderate a panel?

Image: Wikimedia

Image: Wikimedia

So Thursday at 4:30 I’m supposed to moderate this panel discussion with a bunch of really great food people:

  • Marcus Samuelsson (left) — the Ethiopian-born Swedish chef who made his name at Aquavit in New York 15 years ago, and has since gone on to many impressive accomplishments. Plus, he just won that “Top Chef Masters” thing.
  • Christiane Lauterbach — the Atlanta magazine columnist and publisher of the estimable  Knife & Fork newsletter, which is the first source I turn to when I am cribbing ideas.
  • Bill Addison — Atlanta magazine’s dining critic, who is worried about revealing his identity, so he will come wearing either an elaborate costume or a pair of  “Risky Business” era Ray Bans and a porkpie hat.
  • Barbara Petit — the director of the Atlanta Local Food Initiative and Georgia Organics bigwig.
  • Tami Hardeman – the Running with Tweezers blogger who styles glistening food photography for chain restaurants during the day and cooks like Alice Waters at night.

Samuelsson will be in town as a member of the Macy’s Culinary Council – this group of hugely famous chefs who travel around the country and do cooking demonstrations at the stores. The rest of us were invited to come and talk chow with him at the North Point Mall branch of Macy’s before his 6:30 p.m. cooking demonstration. We’re even planning to live stream both the discussion and the demonstration on this blog.

So, what will we talk about? That’s up to me.

I should have told the organizers of this event that it’s a bad idea to have me moderate anything, as I’m prone to changing thoughts mid-sentence due to my deficit of attention.

But here are some ideas:

  1. The burger craze: Samuelsson has two branches of Marc Burger and another fast-casual joint in Sweden that serves burgers.
  2. The onslaught of citizen critics online. Addison made some insightful comments on the subject on the Bon Appetit food blog, the BA Foodist.
  3. Swedish food. Why aren’t there more Scandinavian restaurants around? And what about that dude in Denmark, Rene Rezepi, who was named the best chef in the world recently?
  4. Samuelsson’s plans for a Harlem restaurant. I guess for that I should read and crib from the AJC’s Sheila Poole’s excellent Q&A with him.

But if you have any ideas on what I should ask or how I should behave, I’m all ears. Thanks.

15 comments Add your comment

hudson rouse

June 16th, 2010
6:41 pm

how important is a wine/cocktail list? are you involved in this process at you establishments?


June 16th, 2010
6:44 pm

Call me at home. I have moderated things before.


June 16th, 2010
7:43 pm

John, here are a few thoughts:

1. What is the future of fine dining in today’s economy? Will the younger generations perpetuate it?
2. Has “food” TV helped the culinary world? It’s made chefs stars but has it made better food?
3. What’s the next big food crave…? Burgers, steaks, small plates have had their day… what’s next?
4. Do you eat to live or live to eat? And why?
5. OK so you’re this famous chef who fixes all of this great food but… when you’re alone and no one’s looking what store bought junk food or fast food fix do you indulge in?

Good luck! Let us know how it goes….


June 16th, 2010
8:24 pm

i’ve been wondering for years when the next “trend” in restaurants would be Scandinavian …. Seriously almost every major cuisine in the world is represented in major cities, except Scandinavian.


June 16th, 2010
9:30 pm

Which do you prefer: biscotti? or crumpets? Talk amongst yourselves…


June 16th, 2010
11:51 pm

Ask him if he likes beets.

tami h.

June 17th, 2010
12:19 am

Damn you for using the word “glistening”.


June 17th, 2010
1:12 am

Ask Mr. Samuelsson about behind the scenes ‘dish’ during his recent White House dinner he prepared as guest chef in March? April? How many diners? What occassion? Menu? How sweet must be the equipment in the White House kitchen? And where at night does Tami Hardeman cook and how do I get there?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by . said: [...]


June 17th, 2010
8:00 am

Yelpers make some insightful comments based on what was said in the Bon Appetit food blog:

Ford's poppa

June 17th, 2010
8:54 am

Make sure your questions ensure all teh panelists are engaged and sharing. i sat in on a panel with some authors and the questions seemed to favor one author over the other, not the best way to run a panel. Ask about the local food movements and how they go about local sourcing for their restaurants. It would be great to here how/if Samuelsson stocks his Marc Burger pantries with locallly grown ingredients. Carts and trucks are becoming popular ways to prepare and sell food, even haute cuisine, why? and for the chefs int eh panel, a follow up might be, have you thought about opening a truck/food cart?


June 17th, 2010
12:40 pm

What about the increasing number of people who photograph their meals?

I heard that many chefs are becoming annoyed with the food bloggers who take twenty minutes photographing their food before eating it. While most seem annoyed because that’s 20 minutes more until the table’s emptied, I would think that they would appreciate the interest and spreading their menu visually online.


June 17th, 2010
1:53 pm

Why don’t you ask them if they have tried the New Spicy Chick-Fil-a sandwich?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pearl Jones and accessAtlanta, Culinary Council. Culinary Council said: @JDkess is moderating a panel w/ @MarcusCooks @BillAddison @runwithtweezers & other #ATL foodies today – #MarcusATL [...]


June 17th, 2010
10:46 pm

Where is Tami Hardeman cooking at night? I would really like to go there and eat, I knew her mother and she was a really good cook.