Author Robbie Samuels: “Croissants vs Bagels,” Food Analogies & Networking

Taste Buds with Deb - Episode 6
May 25, 2023
Robbie Samuels

“Croissants vs Bagels” by Robbie Samuels is not a cookbook. It’s a business book with a powerful food analogy. What could be better?

Samuels, whose TEDx is called, “Hate networking? Stop bageling and be the croissant!” is a speaker, virtual producer and event design consultant.

“At a networking event or reception, people tend to stand in these clusters … that are impossible to break into,” Samuels told the Journal. “That’s the bagel.”

If someone in that circle shifts their body language to make space for others to join, it becomes more like a croissant.

“For open body language, croissants vs bagels is a great metaphor,” Samuels said. “It’s sticky like jam. It’s memorable.”

So what is it about food that makes it the perfect metaphor?

“Food is nourishment,” he said. “It’s community, connection and social memories.”

When you think about moments in time and cherished memories, there’s usually a meal involved.

“It’s the whole Jewish thing,” Samuels said. “‘They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.’ So there’s a context in which we bring people together.”

For years Samuels hosted dinner parties, related to conferences, whether or not he was attending.

“If it was in my area, I would host it for speakers I knew coming in,” he said.  “Meeting with people and gathering over meals was a big part of my life.”

When the pandemic hit, he had to find new ways to nourish those connections.

Eating together in person is not the same as online; the former in theatrical, the latter is cinematic. However they both inspire community and relationship development.

“I do have rules for Zoom,” Samuels said. “I say, first date rules apply. If you would eat it in front of me on a first date, you can eat it in front of me on Zoom.”

If an online meeting happens during lunch, go ahead and bring some snacks.

“We can have a little nosh together,” he said.

Zoom friendly foods include finger foods, fruit, apples, nuts are all acceptable to eat online. Spaghetti, not so much.

While bagels are in that gray area – it depends what you put on them – Samuels’ favorite food, burritos, would also be a no-go for Zoom.

“I once went to the Mission District in San Francisco, and I had this amazing burrito,” he said. “I spent the next 4 days trying to find it, [eating] burritos for lunch and dinner. … I ate a lot of really good burritos and I never got sick of them.”

For years, Samuels ended his bio with, “I love Burritos,” as a conversation starter, point of connection and a hint.

“I spoke for 11 years before someone [took my cue and] served burritos,” he said.

People caught on to the bagel analogy right away.

“I’ve been brought into leadership conferences and summits. and they’ll serve bagels and croissants,” Samuels said.

Samuels added that being raised Jewish in New York might have had something to do with his love of bagels. One of his new favorite bagel recipes is below.

In early notes, Samuels had it as croissants vs donuts. However, since people rarely have to choose between those two, he changed “donut” to “bagel.”

“Also, bagels are hard,” he said. “The whole idea of [bagels] being hard to break into, whereas donuts crumble at first touch.”

All this talk of food left one question for Samuels. When does his book on burritos come out?

Learn more about Robbie Samuels.

For the full conversation, listen to the podcast:

Watch the interview:/p>

bhofack2/Getty Images

Egg on Toast, Bagel Edition


This is Robbie’s version of the bagel moats he mentioned during the conversation.

1 bagel

2 eggs

1 Tbsp water or milk

Fillings (to taste) can include:

Shredded cheese

Onion, chopped

Broccoli, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Slice a bagel in half. Cut a slit in the bagel and push the innards to the side, creating a moat.

In a small bowl, beat to 2 eggs, add water and milk. Combine. Mix in “fillings.”

Fill both bagel halves with the egg mixtures.

Place on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 mins or until the egg mixture is cooked.

Alternative cooking option: Preheat the air fryer. Cook at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until the egg mixture is cooked.

Debra Eckerling is a writer for the Jewish Journal and the host of “Taste Buds with Deb.” Subscribe on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform. Email Debra: tastebuds@jewishjournal.com.

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