Photo: By Yogma on Flickr
Business ideas are often prompted by a single moment of clarity.That’s what happened to Adam Fleischman, founder of Umami Burger, one of the “better burger” chains that’s on the rise right now.
Fleischman described his burger epiphany to Leslie Bargar at LA Magazine:
“Hunched over a ketchup-red plastic cafe-teria tray at the Culver City In-N-Out Burger, Fleischman, a 35-year-old wine entrepreneur, peers into a cardboard box flecked with french fry grease. He ponders the questions that bedevil future restaurant moguls: Why do Americans hunger for pizza and hamburgers more than any other dishes? And why, exactly, is the In-N-Out Double-Double he’s devouring his most beloved indulgence, not to mention one of Southern California’s premier sources of bragging rights?
“Somewhere between bites of the dripping cheeseburger, a word comes to mind that afternoon in 2005. It’s one Fleischman has been encountering often, on select food blogs and in books by the pioneering British chef Heston Blumenthal. That word is umami.”
The umami flavour is the fabled “unique fifth taste distinct from the sensations of sweet, sour, salt, and bitter.”
He realised, while chomping away at the Double-Double, that his love for the burger has nothing to do how it was prepared. Hamburgers are America’s “preferred umami intake device,” and are eaten in gargantuan quantities.
A few years later, he opened a restaurant focused on the umami flavour, and he did it without a business degree or much experience in the food industry.
It’s a good thing he had that “aha moment.” Fleischman now has a multimillion-dollar restaurant empire in Umami Group, including the L.A. burger joints, a pizza place and more.
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