Tag Archives: good

Good anniversary

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Jeanne Huff, Good News Ambassador

Jeanne Huff, Good News Ambassador


Good Anniversary

Believe it or not, it’s only been about a month since I started “First, the Good News.”

BY THE NUMBERS:

— “First, the Good News” now also appears bi-weekly in print in “the Idaho Business Review”
— I’ve had more than 3,700 visitors to the Web edition.
— I’ve posted 45 stories online.
— Readers have made 72 comments, each and every one (so far) encouraging!

And now, “First, the Good News” is a television star! Stories about “First, the Good News” have appeared on two local television stations, KTVB Channel 7 and KTRV FOX Channel 12.

Here are the two videos and don’t worry, more good news is on its way!
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Good tips

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The following article was sent to me by John Berryhill, chef and owner of Berryhill & Co. Restaurant, Bar, Special Event Catering and Gourmet TO GO. He said a friend of his sent it to him and “I really like the last four bullets,” Berryhill said.
I did a little digging and found out the article was written by Scott M. Thomas, a self-proclaimed positive thinker.
“I wholeheartedly agree with Zig Ziglar when he says, ‘You can have anything in life you want if you just help enough people get what they want!’ I believe wonderful things are waiting to happen every day and it is our job to notice or discover those things,” Thomas writes in his author’s bio.
Thomas’s article is about winning in today’s world. He gives nine tips for making that happen. If you know of any others, SEND THEM IN or add them in a comment. Let’s make this list never-ending.
Here is the article. Have a great Saturday!

9 Ways to Win in Today’s Economy
by Scott M Thomas
Article Source:ezinearticles.com http://ezinearticles.com/

In competitive sports, defense is important but offense wins the game! You can have the best defense in the world, but if the offense can’t score any points you will never win.
The popular media continues to provide daily reminders of the economic woes, job losses, home foreclosures, stock crashes, etc. If you only listen to these stories, it’s easy to fall into a defense mode. You scale back and hunker down for the inevitable crash. By doing this, you are essentially inviting failure and loss into your life. You lose focus on the opportunities and see only the problems. You have no momentum. You stagnate. You begin to feel helpless. Your perception shifts to continually seeing the evidence that supports the bad things that seem to be surrounding you. You no longer see the good and abundance that is everywhere.
How do you push past this? How can you switch to offense?
You need to change your mindset and change the input (what information you let in). You can’t control the economy, but you can control how you view it. The following list provides tips that can help you move forward:
— Search for positive messages and examples of people who are thriving right now (or who have thrived in past economic downturns). Focus on opportunity, not problems. SUCCESS Magazine is a great place to read positive stories (online or in print). iLearningGlobal.tv also provides excellent personal development training to help maintain a positive attitude through continuous learning.
— Quit listening to the mainstream media and start focusing on positive stories of success and achievement. Don’t watch TV news and be careful what you read online or in newspapers.
— Don’t cower and wait for things to get better; take positive action to find ways to make it better for you right now! Don’t fall in the trap of thinking “I’ll do it when…” or “As soon as xyz happens, then I’ll …”
— Be creative. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. You need to change things. Start mixing up your routine to get out of a rut and start blazing a new trail. This will lead to new thinking and new ideas.
— If something you perceive as negative happens, say “that’s good” and then write down all the reasons why. For example, if you lose your job think about the potential benefits…you didn’t like the job, there was no advancement, it’s an opportunity to learn new skills, you may be able to change careers to something you’ve always wanted to do, you can spend more time with your family, you have time to exercise and get in shape while you search for a new opportunity, etc. Yes, losing your job is typically not a great thing but focusing on the potential good will keep you in a better mindset to move forward.
— Realize that money is just a tool. Don’t focus on a lack of money or a need for money. Focus on what you do that provides value. You are compensated for the value and service that you provide; therefore you should focus on what you can DO, not what you can GET.
— Forget about all the things you can’t do and instead think about what you can do! Don’t waste time making excuses.
— Learn new skills to make yourself more valuable in the marketplace. Be willing to do those things that other people avoid. Build a reputation as a “can do, will do, go to” person. Make continuous learning and personal development a part of your daily routine.
— Take full accountability and responsibility for everything that happens in your life. This will give you control over any situation and prevents wasting time and energy playing the blame game.

Information is free; but not applying what you learn can be very costly! Don’t let fear stand in your way. You already know what you need to do to ensure a great future. Start playing offense today and guarantee yourself a winning life!

Good interview

Gary Bermeosolo

Gary Bermeosolo


“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

These days, it’s hard to be an optimist. But it’s good to know that the breed does still exist.

Meet Gary Bermeosolo. What follows is an interview I had via e-mail with Bermeosolo, who also happens to be a former well-known Idahoan. The interview was spurred by an article written by Bermeosolo for The Boulder City News in Nevada, where Bermeosolo now lives (see the previous post “Good View”). A number of readers sent the article to me and I was intrigued.

I sent Bermeosolo some questions and here’s what he had to say:

JH: Gary, can you give us a short bio, little about yourself and your ties to Boise?
GB: About me: Let me begin by sharing that I don’t consider myself a “journalist,” but I do occasionally get an urge to write. Consequently, our weekly Boulder City Newspaper, which is owned by the Greenspun Corporation, has agreed to publish my articles from time-to-time. My optimism article was the latest.

I was born and raised in the Boise area. I attended Cole and Koelsch grade schools and, after moving to Southwest Ada County, Meridian High School. I left Idaho for a four-year tour in the US Navy, but returned to attend BSU, where I earned a BA in Communication Arts.

I worked in marketing for a couple of years and then returned to BSU as their Administrator of Veterans Affairs. While working at BSU, I pursued graduate courses in Adolescent Psychology in preparation for working with the Idaho Legislature.
While working at BSU, I was elected to a four-year term on the Board of Ada County Commissioners.

After completing my term of office, I spent the next 20 years as the Idaho State Administrator of Veterans Services. During this time, I also had the privilege of serving as a Garden City Councilman, completing the term of a councilman who had fallen ill.

In 2001, I retired from Idaho State service. My retirement was brief, however. The Nevada State Veterans Home was having difficulty meeting stringent federal nursing home standards, so the State of Nevada hired me as a “consultant.” Three months later, they asked me to assume the administrator’s helm at the Boulder City Home. So, I have been enjoying the desert sun for over six years now.

JH: What prompted you to write an article about optimism?
GB: The optimism article is actually an old speech of mine, reincarnated. While serving as Idaho’s Director of Veterans Services, I was sometimes accused of being an “eternal optimist.”

At first, I was offended, but I later came to understand the accusation was actually a compliment. I felt compelled to write a speech about what it is like to be an optimist in a pessimistic world.

Today, with our economy in the pits, and all the resulting pessimism, it seemed like a good idea to update my speech into an article.

JH: What were the most surprising things you learned during your research on the subject?
GB: I think the thing that surprised me most was learning how few true optimists there are. Optimists are an endangered species. They need reinforcements!

JH: What kind of response has the article engendered?
GB: I’ve been surprised at the interest this article has generated. For me, it was just another article about something I am passionate about. I don’t think the article is particularly well written, so I am somewhat astonished at the interest it has generated.

Complete strangers are calling thanking me for writing it. This piece is getting more attention than any article I have previously authored.

JH: Why do you think this topic touches such a nerve with people right now?
GB: Timing. I believe people are depressed with the state of our Nation and they are looking for something, anything, to be positive about. That’s why we have a new idealistic President and that’s why there is a quiet revolution occurring to change the status quo.

JH: Anything else you’d like to say?
GB: My hope is that people will take the article seriously and understand that the more optimistic we are as a society, the more likely we are to realize positive change.

The journey begins with encouraging words, which alter feelings, which transform actions. Just being positive about the way we see ourselves will enable us to embrace accountability, be responsible, and finally, reach a state of self-actualization.

Good day, good night!

43east_thumbumbrella_lobby_thumbking-room_thumbThe Hotel 43’s Web site got a facelift.
http://www.hotel43.com/
While that’s not usually something to shout about, this one includes an invite for guests to share their “43 story” — and a “43 Things” to do in Boise list.
Hat’s off to the inventive person behind the list, but, just for fun, I used the original 43 list as a sort of jumping off place to embellish — and add to.
Wanna get in on the fun? I bet we could notch up the “43” to a much higher number. Don’t worry Hotel 43, you don’t have to change your name (the moniker denotes the 43rd parallel and Idaho, the 43rd state), but you might want to re-title the list to:
43 — AND COUNTING — THINGS TO DO IN BOISE
1. Enjoy a steak or seafood dinner at swanky Chandler’s Steakhouse, 981 West Grove Street, just 43 steps from our lobby. Chandler’s is one of THE places to see and be seen and you MUST try the award-winning 10 Minute Martini created by Chandler’s mixologist Pat Carden.
2. Visit the city Rose Garden in Julia Davis Park, 700 S. Capital Blvd. When the roses are in bloom, this is one of the most magical places, folks love to get married here in the midst of literally thousands of roses.
3. Catch a movie at the historic Egyptian Theatre, 700 W Main Street. In the 1940s, Jimmy Stewart, stationed at the air force base, played the organ here regularly.
4. Reflect at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, 777 S. 8th Street. Walk among the 60 quotes drawn from leaders and human rights figures throughout history, representing almost every region of the world.
5. Have a burger and local brew on the patio of Bittercreek Alehouse, 246 N. 8Th Street. Then go next door to Red Feather for a fancy cocktail and dessert!
6. Run, walk or bike the Greenbelt along the Boise River. There’s nothing like strolling along the river, look for wildlife: deer, ducks, geese, hawks — even bald eagles! Wow.
7. See what’s up at the Boise Art Museum, 670 Julia Davis Drive. Exhibits, events, education — and a fantastic gift shop!
8. Get a classy men’s haircut at Napoleon’s, 110 North 8th Street. Or a shave. Or a massage, or ….
9. Count the murals downtown. While you’re at it, take a nice long look at these beauties.
10. Get the shoeshine of your life at Downtown Shoe Repair at 101 N. 10th Street.
11. Catch a Boise State Football game and see the Broncos on the famous blue turf. Or go to a Boise State Basketball game, men’s and women’s. Go Broncos!
12. Vogue with a chocolate eclair and cafe au lait at La Vie en Rose Cafe, 928 West Main Street. This place is inside the historic Idanha Hotel, which, some say, is haunted.
13. Visit the famous Basque Block, the entire 600 block of Grove Street, for chorizo, Basque history and a good time. This could take days. Get a lesson in history at the Basque Museum. Cooking classes and great lunches and soups at the Basque Market, great food and spirits with an in-house distillery (!) at Bardenay and great times, conversation and the best cheeseburger and fries at Bar Gernika. Don’t miss the Basque Center for some of the cheapest drinks in town and go across the street to Leku Ona for authentic, sit-down Basque dinners.
14. Hop a trolley for a narrated tour of Boise’s downtown and historic neighborhoods. This is especially fun on First Thursday, when art galleries, coffee shops and many retail stores Downtown feature local art and artists.
15. Browse books by Western authors at A Novel Adventure, 906 W. Main Street.
http://anoveladventure.com/
16. Start with a decadent Eggs Benedict breakfast at Goldy’s, 108 S. Capitol Boulevard.
17. Stroll the art galleries downtown—you may find something irresistible.
18. Acquire a fresh twin-set and capris at Cricket Clothing Company, 817 W. Idaho Street. Still feel like shopping? Get some fresh, hip threads and more at Urban Outfitters, 328 S. 8th Street.
http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/index.jsp
19. Step in to the Old Ada County Courthouse, 514 W. Jefferson Street, to see WPA murals many find controversial.
20. See an exciting Boise Steelheads hockey game at Qwest Arena, 850 W. Front Street, up close and personal. You can get seats right on the ice for a song!
21. Hear live symphony at the Boise Philharmonic, 516 S. 9th Street, which draws musicians from around the world.
http://www.boisephilharmonic.org/

22. Get soaked in the fountain at the Grove, 850 W. Front Street. In the summertime, there’s also “Alive at Five,” a weekly concert featuring live music, food and drink.
http://www.boisecentre.com/clients/boisecentre/
23. Find Los Angeles style at Foxtrot in the Linen District, 1419 W. Grove Street, high fashion for men and women. Then hop across the street for the hippest cocktails in the hippest bar in town at The Modern, 1314 W. Grove Street.
http://www.foxtrotstyleforliving.com/
http://www.themodernhotel.com/
24. Take your picture with Lewis and Clark, bronze statues by the Old Post Office downtown, 750 W. Bannock.
25. Then go see Sacagawea’s bronze in front of the Idaho Historical Museum, 610 North Julia Davis Drive.
26. Buy a weird chochke in the gift shop at the Flying M Coffeehouse, 500 W. Idaho. Don’t forget to grab a cuppa delicious, delicious Flying M coffee.
http://www.myspace.com/flyingm
27. Meet the locals at Pengilly’s Saloon, 513 W. Main Street, for great conversation and top-notch live music — and one of the cheapest happy hours in town!
28. Eat a cherry scone as big as your head at Big City Coffee o, 1416 W. Grove Street. (That’s across the street from Foxtrot, too.) And, seriously, they really are as big as your head.
29. Go out for sushi at Happy Fish, 855 Broad Street, Superb Sushi, 280 N. 8th Street, or Shige. Or go out for sushi at all three, even better. (Check out this cool video I did at Shige!!)
http://videos.idahostatesman.com/vmix_hosted_apps/p/media?id=1575753&item_index=403&all=1&sort=NULL
30. Find lavish papers, notes, invitations, and gorgeous frippery at Paisley Roberts, 237 N. 9th Street, stationers. Don’t forget to tie it all up with ribbons and bows!
31. Shop for fresh flowers, produce and local goods at the Capitol City Market. You can also get great finds fashioned by local artisans and there’s live entertainment.
32. Try on wedges, slides, pumps and platforms at Shoe Fetish on 9th.
33. Visit Goody’s old-fashioned ice cream and candy shop in Hyde Park, 1502 N. 13th Street. (This is a bit of a hike from Downtown, you might want to take a cab.)
34. See an avant-garde play at Boise Contemporary Theatre, 854 Fulton Street.
35. Hear the African American story at the Idaho Black History Museum, 508 Julia Davis Drive. The permanent exhibit, “The Invisible Idahoan 1805-Present,” spans over 200 years of African Americans in Idaho.
36. Check out the wine list at the Red Feather Lounge, 246 N. 8th Street. Then go next door to Bittercreek for a fantastic salmon Ceaser salad.
37. Stroll through Old Boise and check out the brickwork. Then go across the street to Pengilly’s for happy hour.
38. Experience Opera Idaho, 513 S. 8th Street, where it’s okay to weep in the aisles. This is not a weekly gig. Be sure to check for dates and times.
39. Browse CD’s at The Record Exchange, 1105 W. Idaho Street, with its completely muraled exterior
40. Buy your pregnant wife something amazing at The Stylish Stork, 405 S. 8th Street in BoDo.
41. Sip a locally-distilled gin and tonic at Bardenay, 610 Grove Street, America’s first restaurant distillery.
42. Head to the East End to see geothermally-heated mansions on historic Warm Springs Avenue.
43. Visit the 1925 Boise Depot, 1104 Royal Blvd., and its gardens overlooking the city. (Free!)

44. Visit the Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 N. Old Penitentiary Road. In the summertime, it’s a magical, lush Alice-in-Wonderland garden. At Christmastime, the garden is transformed into a twinkling holiday extravaganza. Don’t miss the summer concerts on the lawn.
http://www.idahobotanicalgarden.org/

45. Take a tour at the Old Idaho State Penitentiary, 2445 Old Penitentiary Road. Walk the cement floors, peer into the cramped cells, read the sensational stories of the Idahoans who spent some time here. (Free!)
http://www.idahohistory.net/oldpen.html

46. Hike up to Tablerock — ar any of the Ridge to Rivers trails in the foothills, where you can see for miles. (Free!)
http://www.cityofboise.org/parks/R2R/

47. Take your puppy to one of the two off-leash dog parks and see what happy pooches look like. (Free!)
http://www.cityofboise.org/Departments/Parks/ParksAndFacilities/DogOffLeashAreas/page16518.aspx

48. Go see an indie movie at The Flicks, 646 Fulton Street. http://www.theflicksboise.com/
. Oh, and while you’re there, sip a glass of wine or beer with your popcorn that has REAL butter drizzled on top!

49. Check out Zoo Boise, 355 Julia Davis Drive. http://www.zooboise.org/home.aspx You can get up close and personal with zebras, red pandas, monkeys, lions, tigers and bears, oh, my — and more.

50. Go ice skating at at Idaho IceWorld., 7072 S. Eisenman Road. http://www.cityofboise.org/Departments/Parks/IdahoIceWorld/index.aspx
You can learn to skate, play hockey and “curl” — even have a party.

Good grades!

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You’ve heard the gloomy stories about our ill-equipped youth and the shoddy education our kids are getting compared to those on the global circuit. Well, here’s a news item that will put a smile on your face: Capital High School was recently awarded the 2009 Siemens Award for Advanced Placement. It was one of only 50 handed out in the U.S. and the only one given to an Idaho school. Advanced Placement, or AP classes are actually college level classes for students in high school.

“AP at Capital High School is changing students’ lives,” said Capital principal Jon Ruzicka. “Through college-level AP courses, students enter a universe of knowledge that might otherwise remain unexplored in high school; through AP exams students have the opportunity to earn credit or advanced standing at most of our nation’s colleges and universities.”

And so, Don, tell us what they’ve won:
— $1,000 grant to support math and science education
— A featured article in the Feb. 23 USA Today newspaper
— A listing on the Siemens Foundation Web site:
www.siemans-foundation.org

Borah High School won this award in 2005-2006.

If you know of any young person, school or organization that deserves a pat on the back, please send information to: jeannehuff@gmail.com.

For more information, go to the Boise Schools Web site:

Good chat!

Carol Ann and Michael Boss

Carol Ann and Michael Boss


Since starting this blog project, I have been bowled over by support and helpful suggestions. Being the sole reporter and editor, I’m doing my best to keep up, but I’m more than happy to tell you: there’s a lot of good news out there!

In this chapter — actually, this might even suffice as a Web-sized tome — I introduce to you Michael Boss. Boss is a fellow Web entrepreneur. He started his own Web site:

http://www.behindthemenu.org/Behind_the_Menu/Welcome.html

and his game is all about food. And local restaurants. But, as you will discover, Boss is, well, his own boss, and, like Thoreau once wrote, he’s taken the restaurant review less traveled. Boss’s delightful restaurant revelations fall more into the category of fireside chats with each restaurant owner.

Intrigued, I thought it would be fun to turn the tables on Boss. The result is a comfortable, relaxed conversation. I’ve not yet met Boss in person, but I know when I do, it will be like meeting an old friend. I invite you to pour a cup of coffee (or glass of wine), set out a plate of sweets (or hors d’oeuvres) — and enjoy.

JH: Can you tell us a little about yourself, please? Sort of a mini-bio?
MB: (I was) born and raised in San Francisco between the era of the Beat Generation and the Flower Children (I went to the same junior high as Jerry Garcia, thanks for asking). I credit growing up in The City with one of the things that motivates me to write about food: the recognition that the world is full of a lot of amazing cultures and traditions that all find their way into what we eat.

This conviction was further reinforced by living a number of years in the Middle East, where, at one stage, I taught rotary wing aerodynamics to Irani army cadets in the legendary city of Esfahan. Throughout my world travels I became increasingly fascinated with culinary traditions and with how the subject of food can unlock so many stories about place, tradition, and ethnicity that few other subjects invoke with so little controversy.

Having had my own public relations agency in Boise for ten years, I got to know a number of local restaurant owners through a marketing program sponsored by SYSCO. The program evolved into more of an advertising co-op model, which was a disappointment to me in that my interest was in the multitude of stories behind the menu items of locally owned restaurants.

The conventional media pipeline didn’t allow for those stories to be told, and it took another five+ years for the technology of Web 2.0 and social media to create the kinds of tools and communities to allow for the audacity of creating my own “media source” for local restaurants to tell their stories.

And then, of course, losing my job as the PR Manager and Media Strategist at MPC Computers gave me the perfect excuse to follow my muse. Necessity is, if not the mother of invention, than at least the father of opportunity.

JH: Michael, your Web site “Behind the Menu,” features local restaurants. However, instead of it being a clearinghouse, listing or even a collection of reviews, your Web site is more about taking a look at what goes on behind-the-scenes. Can you tell us a little more about your Web site’s mission statement?
MB: Good insight, Jeanne. You’re right. This is not a directory or site for conventional restaurant reviews. I find both of those to be limited in their story telling potential, and there are already some good sites out there for listings and reviews. My personal favorite is http://www.idahoeats.com. (It’s a ) great concept, and really well executed except for all the Google Sense ads.

If you look at the title on my business card, it’s “Culinary Raconteur.” The mission of Behind The Menu is just what the name suggests: to tell the stories behind the food in local restaurants and businesses that make up the culinary environment in the Boise Valley.

What is the experience that a chef/restaurant owner is trying to create for the customers? What are their inspirations and associations with the foods they serve? What are their relationships with local growers and producers? What are the family and ethnic influences on their cooking? What culinary causes are they passionate about?

You can walk past the double fudge brownies at the Brick Oven Bistro and never know that the recipe came from a legendary culinary diva of Denver who used to hold court with visiting celebrity chefs. If you knew that story, you’d never again think about that brownie in the same way. That’s the story I want to tell — more to the point, that is the story I want people to hear from the restaurant itself through the podcast series (now available on iTunes as “Local Food, Local Voices,” by the way).

JH: How did you get so involved with food? Did you spend time in the kitchen as a child? Fascinated with making mud pies? What’s the story?

MB: I came to the kitchen late in life, but now do most of the cooking at my house. I love to cook.

You also have to go back to the answer to my first question. My very first epiphany around food came during my sophomore year in college, which I spent in the South Indian city of Bangalore. The food was a VERY powerful experience, and I realized that it embodied so many things about the culture that you couldn’t have learned as powerfully in any other way. To this day I believe that you can’t really begin to know a culture until you learn to speak at least some of the language and eat the food.

Those two things will tell you a lot about how other cultures perceive the world. I also discovered along the way that when you ask people about their relationships with food, you’ll learn a lot about them that other questions might not have uncovered. It’s a safer subject than politics and religion, but it can tell you a lot about both of those as well as others.

JH: What’s the funniest story you’ve heard during your interviews?

MB: Funny you should ask! I think it actually came out of this morning’s interview with Chef Lou Aaron (the Behind The Menu blog and podcast will be posted this coming Monday).

MB: Chef Lou earned his chops in the biz by starting in the “dish pit” of the Gamekeeper. He got “promoted” to pantry chef, and one of his duties was to prepare king crab legs. The process resulted in his going home each night with bloody hands. He told me that to this day he still has nightmares involving what many would consider a delicacy!

JH: Most touching story?

MB: Has to be Michael Mohica’s story from Ono Hawaiian Cafe. Michael started his culinary career as a little boy cooking with his grandmother. She died last year, and was never able to visit the restaurant that her grandson created, although she did see photographs. If you read one of the comments to the blog about Ono, you’ll see that one of his family members wrote about how proud their grandmother would have been.

Having that connection with my food as a chef would sure make me put an extra dollop of love into whatever I served. It’s not just food, it’s memories of a much loved grandmother that I’m sharing with the people who come to my restaurant.

That’s powerful stuff. I want people to know about that connection when they eat Michael’s food!

JH: So, Michael, how do you choose your subjects, how do you decide where to go next?

MB: In getting this project off the ground, I’m initially going with places I’m familiar with and recommendations from people whose taste I trust. My rule of thumb is that while I don’t write reviews, I won’t write about any place that I wouldn’t want my family or friends to experience. You know the feeling that you have when you recommend a restaurant to someone you love, and they call you one day and say, “wow, thanks so much for that recommendation — that was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.” That is giving someone you love a special gift.

As time goes on, I’m going to “mine” the Idaho Eats Web site and seek out the places that are getting the best user-generated review buzz. I know it sounds snobbish, but since I don’t take money for content creation, I have the journalistic prerogative of writing about what pleases me or captures my attention based on word-of-mouth (which is what this site is all about to begin with). Over time, I’d like Behind The Menu stories to be associated with recognizing the best restaurants, chefs, and culinary businesses, whether the subject is a steak house or a local winery. Presumptuous, perhaps, but as Robert Burns said, “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” I said that in my best brogue, by the way. (Smiles.)

JH: Where will you go next?
MB: Damned glad you asked that question, Jeanne! On Monday my partners (Scott Nicholson, a local commercial real estate agent, and Brian Critchfield, a social media visionary and ace marketing maven) will be hosting a focus group at the BSU Culinary Arts Program. We’ve invited a number of local restaurant owners, who will be attending along with some of the culinary program faculty who are intrigued with the Behind The Menu concept.

During the focus group we’ll be teaching some basic social media skills that a restaurant owner can put to use the minute they get back to their office/kitchen. We are also going to introduce a social media association concept that we hope to refine through restaurant owner feedback, and that will provide ongoing social media marketing services to deliver the content that the site creates around our local food scene.

Ultimately, it will be the association fees along with sponsorship from non-restaurant culinary businesses who want to reach the local foodie audience that will pay the freight for creating the content in an “ad free” environment. We are taking a more innovative approach to the business model that we believe is in keeping with the more innovative nature of social media as a marketing strategy.

I don’t believe in pouring new wine into old skins. We also want to form relationships with other organizations who promote local businesses, which would include the Downtown Boise Association, Think Boise First, Buy Idaho, etc. We share their belief that the high tide floats all boats.

Finally, we want to find ways of using the site and social media model to create interesting synergies between different members of the culinary community. Imagine events, promoted through “Tweet Ups” (Twitter gatherings) that are culinary-themed, such as pairing chocolate and wine, or that tie some of our restaurants to historical subjects (imagine Bar Gernika and the Basque Block history), or that feature “progressive meals” with a particular ethnic theme?

And we haven’t even touched on the content possibilities with creating a YouTube channel for five-minute video vignettes, or guest blogs, or inviting well known community folks to do a podcast interview at a favorite local restaurant to talk about their connection with its menu.

The mind spins…Which also leads to another potential revenue stream: content syndication.

But the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, and the first step is simply telling one good story, then the next one.

JH: Wow. That “big-picture” future is, well, I won’t say mind-boggling, but it does offer food for thought. What’s next for you, Michael? A book? Oprah?
MB: I used to do a seminar presentation entitled “Be Your Own Oprah” based on the belief, which is fast coming to be common wisdom, that social media and Web 2.0 tools that I can access by simply opening up my MacBook can make any of us the Oprah of our own community, depending on how we define “our community.”

Right now, I want to be the Oprah (or at least the white, middle-aged, male version) of the local restaurant scene. My community will decide if they want to bestow that honor upon me, and I trust their judgment.

Book? Probably not, but we’ve already talked about rolling the “long form” blog and podcast stories into Web site profile pages for each of the participating restaurants. No reason these profiles couldn’t be packaged as print pieces for the hospitality industry as “Signature Dishes of Boise.” I’m open to whatever digital media opportunities grow organically from the single-minded intention of telling the “tales of culinary adventure from the City of Trees.”

JH: Would you like more input/suggestions from local gastronomes?
MB: Absobloominlutely! I’m a big believer in collaboration, and in taking an idea that you think is a good one, sharing it with people whose creativity you trust without the expectation of any particular outcome, and then seeing what develops organically. I’d hate to be tied to any project that depended on me being the smartest guy in the room! But then, like Groucho Marx, I probably wouldn’t join a club that would have me as a member.

JH: Michael, this has been a great interview. I think what you’re doing for local restaurants, getting their stories out, getting to the heart of the matter, is a great service. Is there anything we’ve left out, anything else you’d like to say?
MB: I’d like to thank the members of the Academy, my mother and father for always believing in me, and of course, Jesus. (Sorry, I’m a bit of an iconoclast, but I also know my priest would think that was funny. He’s an iconoclast too).

JH: Thanks Michael!
MB: Au contraire, Jeanne. Thank YOU!

Good university!

boise-state-university-3e27e1ebgif$36,000 in Scholarships Awarded Saturday, Feb. 28 at BSU —
High school students from Idaho and Eastern Oregon will compete for plaques, medals, trophies — and two $18,000 scholarships to Boise State University — during Science Competition Day on Saturday, Feb. 28. Now in its 42nd year, the annual event is an academic challenge that tests students’ knowledge in biology, chemistry, engineering, geosciences, math and physics.

“The scholarship competition is a great way to attract talented students and introduce them to the quality education available at Boise State,” said Brad Bammel, an associate chemistry professor and chair of this year’s event.

Details about Science Competition Day are available online at http://coen.boisestate.edu/sciday.