It’s party time! Well, almost. At Z2, we appreciate everyone we work with and who supports us—from staff, vendors, and clients to family and friends. For the ninth year, we will be hosting Club Z2 to celebrate all those individuals who have helped make it another amazing year. So, please save the date for this year’s celebration on the evening of Friday, Sept. 14, 2012.

As always, there will be great food, live music all night long—this year’s headliner will be Pinstripe, a local band featuring three musicians from The Toys—plenty of drinks, and tons of fun. New this year, we’ll be collecting donations for the This Time Tomorrow Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps families affected by cancer, founded by our own Cory Zimmermann.

Once again, we’ll be offering free rides from our designated drivers, and you’ll get a special rate at a nearby hotel if you choose to stay the evening in Pewaukee. Please check back for additional updates over the next couple months, and don’t forget to save the date!


July 13, 2012 · Posted by in event  

Shoot Your Meal

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Food Photography

We’ve done a fair amount of food photography here at Z2, and it’s usually a lot of fun. Seeing chefs make food look beautiful is amazing, and capturing it is a satisfying experience, but some chefs think that photographing their food is talking away their intellectual property. Is it just me or does that sound crazy?

Chefs, you should welcome people taking photos of your food. You should love the fact that people want to share photos of your creations with others. The new culture of sharing is here to stay, so don’t fight it, find a way to accept it, and even embrace it. It may be just what you need to spread the word about your culinary excellence.

One chef did have the comment “generally, the photographs are terrible” and I do agree with that, but again, I work with amazing photographers, and while seeing blurry cell phone pictures of a meal do make me cringe on occasion, I’m not going to try to stop anyone.

Food is Good

The next time you’re dining out, and a gorgeous plate of food is placed in front of you… take a picture! Take a picture to remember it… to remember the food, the experience, the company, and if you want to share it with others, I say “go for it!”

May 30, 2012 · Posted by in photo  

Brand Overload!

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April wrote a post about her new favorite kind of Cheerios, and asked about putting a new spin on existing brands… but the curmudgeon in me wants to start my reply with “Well, when I was a kid…”

So I will.

(First, a disclaimer: I’m old. When I say “When I was a kid” I’m referring to the 1970s.)

So, when I was a kid, there was one kind of Oreo. There were not Oreo cookies filled with peanut butter, or orange creme for Halloween, or green stuff for St. Patrick’s Day, or dipped in fudge, or available in miniature sizes, or as an ice cream sandwich… We just ate plain old Oreo cookies and we survived. And it was good.

Oh sure, Oreo Double Stuf(f) came out in 1975, but it was one variation on the original, just with more… stuff.

But somewhere along the line, every product started to have all sorts of variations. Take the Ritz cracker. There was the plain old Ritz, and then Ritz Bits, and Rizt with cheese, and Ritz Sticks, and Ritz peanut butter and jelly. (Really!?)

Is it just the snack food industry that does this? If someone asks you for chips, do they want “regular” or cool ranch, or salt & vinegar, or jalapeño, or some other crazy flavor.

As of this post, I can view 47 different Oreo “products” available.

But is this all just the process of “extending the brand”? Are companies doing this sort of thing just to get more shelf space? To appeal to wider and more peculiar tastes? For publicity?

Oreo just had a birthday, and here at the office we had some sort of “Birthday Cake” Oreos and they were terrible. Well, I thought they were terrible, but as I said, I’m old. Maybe a kid would love them. (Especially a kid who loves cookies dipped in frosting and then rolled in sugar.)

Anyway, enjoy whatever weird flavored product you have in the name of extending a brand. :)

March 26, 2012 · Posted by in branding, marketing  

Eat your Brand Flakes!

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Kelloggs recently said that they are considering burning their logo into corn flakes with a laser. (Talk about branding!) One of their representatives had this to say: “We’ve established that it is possible to apply a logo or image onto food.”

It’s true! In fact, look at this chocolate bar…


Chocolate is a little easier to get your name on, as molds are used instead of lasers. Lasers tend to melt chocolate. Sure, you can blast a laser at any piece of food, but I don’t want to get too deep into laser etching food right now…

Hey look, even our friends at Roundy’s have their name on their chocolate bars… which are the generic equivalent of a Hershey bar.


The idea behind Kelloggs “branding” some of the flakes in each box is to ensure that you’re getting genuine Kelloggs brand Corn Flakes™ and to let you know that some knock-off brand is just that, a cheap knock-off of the original.

So where will the future of branded food take us? I’ve got my own ideas (and I’ve done a few experiments) but I’d love to hear what others think.

January 2, 2012 · Posted by in branding  

2011 z2 Holiday Party

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Last week we celebrated another year with our “z2 inspired Holiday Party” which included a 5-course breakfast at The Pfister Hotel, followed by a train ride to Chicago for a bit of shopping before heading out to Moto in Chicago for a 15-course meal (yes, I said 15!) that included 9 savory dishes, 6 desserts, and edible paper and ink along the way.


And the chefs? You may have seen Richie Farina and Chris Jones on Top Chef: Texas. Yeah, those were our chefs…

It was definitely an experience to be remembered. A big thanks goes out to Cory and Deb from all the Z2 staff for this one.

Happy Holidays everyone! :)

December 5, 2011 · Posted by in event, misc  

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