His quality of life is so much better now, he says, and he even gets to see the sun. He’s able to spend plenty of time with his wife and 9-year-old daughter, and while he works around one weekend a month, “that doesn’t batter you too much. If you always work when everyone else is enjoying life, that’s hard,” he says. “Owning a restaurant is brutal—it’s 24/7 you are on.”
The recipes Boni develops are for the product packaging, for the company’s website, and for new product launches. He also works with clients such as Amazon Fresh to provide recipes using Barilla’s product. On the restaurant and hotel side he works with chains to implement line cook training with Barilla products.
But perhaps the people Boni loves working with most are children. He helps chefs in school districts optimize their use of Barilla’s products, and he runs hands-on cooking activities with kids in schools. “It’s about the experience of cooking fresh food and showing them how easy it is,” he says.
Having spent more than 20 years working in restaurant and hotel kitchens, Mark Adair is enjoying the job he started 18 months ago: vice president of R&D and corporate chef for World Beer.
The hours he worked in the restaurant industry were too much, he says—around96 hours per week at his last hotel restaurant job. “My family would come to the property for lunch and dinner just to see me,” he notes.
Now, he spends about half of his time in the kitchen, though it’s very different, he says. “It’s not taking care of consumers in the immediate sense, as in a restaurant, but in the long-term sense, developing food.” Adair works hard to ensure the food served in World of Beer’s 70-plus locations is on trend and complementary to the beer the locations are pouring.
He spends around 20 percent of his time talking to brewers and chefs at craft breweries like Dogfish Head and Stone Brewing. “I pick their brains about the flavors and textures they’re bringing to the beer world.” The remainder of his time he spends training the company’s young culinarians.
Adair wanted the ability “to affect the world in a greater way rather than in just an independent restaurant,” he says. “It’s a bigger picture—you don’t have your individual stamp on the food like you do in an independent restaurant, but you’re affecting food across the world.”
A recent Sunday found him in his home kitchen, cooking while Skype connected him to the brewery chefs for Dogfish Head and Stone Brewing. The trio were working on food to match new fall beers.
“We created dishes together at the same time. It was an amazing exchange of thoughts and ideas,” he says. “We could develop recipes that really resonated with our customers.”
Being a people-person, one thing Adair loves about this job is the access it gives him to consumers, which helps him hone what he’s creating. He loves developing recipes in World of Beer’s taverns, then getting feedback on the dishes directly from the customers and from the chefs on the food’s execution.
However, everything is a trade-off and there is one thing Adair misses from the restaurant world: the family. In restaurants you really become part of a family because you’re working many hours with the same people. “Now I meet great people and have friendships but you don’t have those bonds,” he says.