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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

Cool Food Jobs

A Hotel Empire’s City and Culture Scout

Dino Michael.

Though he studied to be a lawyer, Dino Michael’s work is more befitting for a trained anthropologist. As the senior director of food and beverage concepts for Hilton, he spends about half of the year traveling the globe, absorbing cities and their cultural trends to inform the megabrand’s local food concepts: Should the hotel restaurant be a franchise? An original? Or a partnership with an established company?

When he and his team researched the concept for the Waldorf Astoria’s Amsterdam location, Michael spent two weeks in the city visiting shops, restaurants and competing hotels. He discovered that the Dutch like dining in relaxed environments and that the concept of coziness and togetherness is at the heart of their culture. This influenced the build-out of the hotel’s intimate, low-ceilinged bar, which lacks the traditional barrier separating bartender and patrons: “It’s just a talented individual making a drink,” Michael says.

Bartenders, he adds, “are always a great source of information: They always know what’s hot and what’s not.” For example, he learned from Berlin’s Soho House bartender that the local bar scene was as important as its restaurant scene in understanding Berlin and its culture.

Michael got his start carrying menus at Planet Hollywood while he was studying to be a lawyer; law school didn’t take, but the hospitality industry did. Today, he juggles three to four projects a week. “I think the pendulum is swinging back in our favor,” he says of hotel dining. “For a long time, people rejected hotels because the industry had lost its way completely. But now there’s such choice, such diversity.”

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F&W Pie Week

Show Us Your Best Pies

Flaky Pear Pie

Throughout next week, Food & Wine is celebrating pie with features on our favorite apple pies in America, pie-making tips, genius pie upgrades, pie cookbook intel, Twitter #piekus and pie porn from the country's best bakeries. We'd also love to see your pies. Post your weekend baking experiments on Instagram using #fwpie for the chance to be featured on foodandwine.com.

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Best Thanksgiving Tips

Grateful for Gadgets This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Gadgets: Waring Pro Turkey Fryer

We’re always testing new gadgets in the F&W kitchen. Some of them are just the things I need to simplify my Thanksgiving prep. Others, unfortunately, are no more than a waste of precious space in my small New York City kitchen. Here, six recent tools that passed the test and just might end up on my holiday wish list. Read more >

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New Slideshow

A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Pulled Pork

Making Pulled Pork.

Traditional Carolina barbecue begins with a whole hog smoked over coals; here, Sean Brock cooks pork shoulder for 12 hours in a 275° oven before smoking it for about 1 hour in a backyard grill. Click through the slideshow for his grill-and-oven method for Carolina pulled pork, plus three key sauces.

New Slideshow: DIY Pulled Pork

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Kitchen Trash

The World's First Fry Museum, How to Open Beer Like a Pilot

Kitchen Trash

The Internet is a black hole for strange, weird and wonderful things—especially when it comes to food. Rather than dive in yourself, let F&W do it for you. Here, five of the most absurd food items we saw this week. Read about competitive dairy tasting, a museum dedicated to fries and the best new way to open a beer. >>

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

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