The Family Meal – Friday, December 9th, 2016

Hey there Friday,

Welcome back to your twice-weekly Family Meal. Quick reminder: If you’re getting this as a forward, sign up for yourself at It’s real, and it’s spectacular.

Let’s get to it…

Rorschach’s Jr.: The industry is having predictably mixed reactions to Trump’s choice of Andrew Pudzer for Labor Secretary. Pudzer is the “pro-robot” CEO of Carl’s Jr., and well, I’ll let two very different tweets sum up the positions…

  • The NRA (@weRRestaurants): “We congratulate @AndyPuzder, an active member of our Association, on being named @realDonaldTrump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor!”

  • Eater editor Helen Rosner (@Hels): “Not just ANY fast-food CEO! It’s an anti-labor, anti-minimum-wage-raise, pro-repulsively-sexist-advertising fast-food CEO!”

And one final one from Pete Wells, who helpfully posted a (safe for broadcast TV, but still probably NSFW) supercut of all the “sexy” Carl’s Jr. ads Pudzer proudly presided over as CEO. Some – including your Evangelical voter friends – might find these… questionable.

After gunshots in DC, PizzaGate conspiracy-theory grows to includeBrooklyn favorite Roberta’s. If you missed this whole terrible thing, there are plenty of sad-to-read summaries out there. But if you prefer to laugh while you cry, I recommend Stephen Colbert’s take. “These Da Vinci choads.”

About Last Night: The MGM National Harbor casino complex opened just outside DC, with new restaurants from José Andrés, Marcus Samuelsson, the Voltaggio brothers, and more. The casino filled to capacity within 30 minutes of opening, and had to start turning people away.

Pic of the night: Jessica Sidman captures Wolf Blitzer getting an earful from DC’s most passionate chef.

But MGM shouldn’t spike the ball just yet. Yesterday, the Washington Post ran a big story on why DC City Center – a huge downtown development hosting DC’s Momofuku outposts and Amy Brandwein’s Centrolina among others– can’t seem to draw crowds a few years after opening…

Lists on lists on lists: More of these, please! Zagat’s local writers are churning out lists of up-and-coming chefs to keep on your radar. Some cities so far include Washinton, D.C., Atlanta, New York, and LA. And there’s also a national list featuring folks like Gita Kantrow of Boston’s Wink & Nod, Jacob Hilbert from The Hollow in Austin, and Hamakasu’s Yoya Takahashi in LA.

And more lists: Eater is out with their most anticipated openings of the winter 2017. You may recognize some familiar faces in D.C. (including Erik Bruner-Yang, and Spike Gjerde’s Line Hotel spot), Charleston (with Rodney Scott’s new BBQ joint, and a Rappahannock Oyster Co. expansion), Miami (where Empowered Youth is bringing its strategy of on-the-job training for at-risk young men to a new Café 305), Chicago (“coming months will see talented chefs like Thai Dang and Zoë Schor make triumphant returns with their own restaurants”), San Francisco (new Lazy Bear concept), and Austin (where SF’s own Max Snyder is heading).

This Family Meal is brought to you by Add Passion and Stir: Big Chefs, Big Ideas, a weekly podcast about inspirational people who are changing the world. In each episode, Billy Shore, the creator of the No Kid HungryCampaign (, brings together prominent change-makers and guests from the culinary world to discuss how food is at the intersection of social transformation. 

Guests on the podcast include James Beard Award-winning chefs who have amassed a host of Michelin Stars, joined by leaders in the public and private sectors who are making profound positive changes in the world: Chef José Andrés, U.N. Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin, Shake Shack CEO Danny Meyer, Chef Traci Des Jardins, and many more.  Listen, Subscribe, Rate, and Review:

BAD LIST: The list you don’t want to be on? Robert Sietsema’s Worst Dishes of 2016. “What arrives is gray and thin, like water lying in a ditch.” Ouch.

Mission Cantina closing – According to EaterNY Danny Bowien‘s popular “test kitchen” is offline. “It’s transformed too many times to count. Over the years, the restaurant’s served pumpkin congee, rotisserie chicken, burgers, Vietnamese breakfast, fried rabbit, animal-style fries, chicken pho, and fried chicken. At one point, Bowien even got rid of everything but burritos.”

True Sandwich Artists – Yet another reason not to foist non-compete clauses on your staff: Jimmy Johns has to pay $100k and clean up its contracts because it tried to keep hourly employees from working at another sub shop for TWO YEARS after leaving.

LA Hypothetical – Despite most chefs (and Jonathon Gold) not caring, EaterLA is still pissed that the city has no Michelin Guide, so they did up a “fan fiction” version of their own. The only 3 faux star restaurant? n/naka!

PSA: SantaCon is this weekend. Love it or hate it, be prepared. Good luck if you’re working it! Hope you make gobs of money for your trouble…

Niche Pursuits PSA: Abalone restrictions in northern CA are much tighter this year.

And finally: Hey, food writers, want to go on a late night pho run with Carlos Salgado? He’s down.

See you Tuesday. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and send tips and/or unused abalone tags to

A note to PR folks: I’m especially interested in news about up-and-comers in your kitchens. And for food writers and newspaper types: send links you think’ll fit, and I’ll see if I can fit ’em in! All links go directly to your articles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s