Monthly Industry Insights
Hear from industry leaders their guilty pleasures, the oddest thing in their refrigerator, their inspirations and take on new trends. We've asked all of questions and have the answers for you here.
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August's Featured Interview: Richard Pink, Pink's Hot Dogs
Richard Pink oversees the menu creation at the famous Pink's Hot Dogs in Los Angeles. He will be presenting a culinary demonstration at the upcoming Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo on Sunday, August 23.
What made you want to work in the restaurant industry?
My parents started Pink’s Hot Dogs in 1939 before I was born. Growing up I became fascinated with the various ways in which a hot dog can be the foundation on which various creative toppings can be placed in order to make a hot dog a true meal, and not a snack food. My interest in this approach has resulted in 35 different types of hot dog combinations at Pink’s and the expansion of Pink’s hot dogs to various types of sausages.
What is the newest trend you see emerging?
For hot dogs, it is the expansion of the ways in which hot dogs can be made creative and interesting.
If you could eat anywhere in the world, where would that be?
Any Michelin star restaurant in Paris (for taste) or Tokyo (for the presentation). In Los Angeles, it would be Republique restaurant for fun and great food.
Is there one comfort food that you're secretly obsessed with having at home?
At home, our fridge is filled with fruit and yogurt to keep our weight under control. My wife loves See’s suckers.
Which talent would you most like to have that you don't possess?
Painting, singing and gourmet cooking
What’s your favorite meal to cook for friends?
Pink’s Chili Cheese Dogs.
Who was your mentor as you were gaining more experience in the industry?
Learned at the grill and steamers at Pink’s by experimenting with different toppings on hot dogs.
If you could cook for and dine with anyone, who would that be?
Any of the great chefs of the world.
More about Richard Pink:
Pink’s, a Hollywood Legend Since 1939, is the most famous hot dog stand in Los Angeles…and one of the most famous in the country. It is often seen in movies, television shows and on the food channel and travel channel. It is known for its huge variety of hot dogs – over 35 varieties – its celebrity clientele, its infamously long lines and its 76 years of operating at the same location by the Pink family. Paul and Betty Pink opened their hot dog stand in 1939 by borrowing $50 from Betty’s mother to purchase a pushcart and rented a vacant lot at the corner of La Brea & Melrose in Hollywood. In 1946 Paul and Betty gave up their pushcart and built a 500 square foot hot dog stand building on very same spot where the wagon stood.
Today, Pink’s hot dog stand, the original built in 1946, is one of the most unique restaurants in LA with over the counter, sidewalk service, where the food is prepared right in front of customers and now enjoys lines down the block. Pink’s now has seating for 80 people and parking for 25 cars. Back in 1939, Paul and Betty were lucky to sell 100 hot dogs a day. Today Pink’s sells over 1500 hot dogs a day. It also sells hamburgers with over 12 varieties offered.
Pink’s is still family operated and overseen by Richard, Gloria and Beverly Pink. Richard and Beverly grew up in the hot dog business. Richard was groomed early to run Pink’s by working behind the counter since the age of 16. Paul and Betty wanted to be sure that Richard received a proper education. Richard graduated from UCLA and then decided to go on to law school and obtain an MBA as well. So today, when asked what does it take to run a hot dog stand… we have kiddingly say a Law Degree and an MBA. In 1985 Paul and Betty realized they were too elderly to operate the hot dog stand so Richard took over the operations of the hot dog stand, which he shared with his wife, Gloria and his sister, Beverly. Gloria was put in charge of promotions and staff and Richard oversaw menu creation and licensing. Beverly has supported both of them in these roles. During this time, Richard was focused on creating new hot dogs and expanding Pink’s menu in order to be the most unique hot dog stand in LA by having the greatest variety of hot dogs on its menu. The goal was to be unique and distinctive from every other hot dog stand by the variety of hot dogs. Richard’s personal palette determines the new menu items. However, if a new hot dog does not sell more than 30 hot dogs per day, it is removed.
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April Chef Insights - Megan Johnson, Casellula
March Chef Insights - Sara Moulton, Chef, Cookbook Author, TV Personality
February Chef Insights - Barret Beyer, Hell's Kitchen
January Chef Insights - Anton Testino, Mulberry Street Cafe
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August Chef Insights - Cal DeMercurio, Corporate Executive Chef, Black Bear Diner
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