A lot to cover today, including some very sad news. Let’s just get to it…
PSA: Not black? DON’T DO BLACKFACE. You may be charming. You may be funny. You may be Ann Tuennerman – famous founder of Tales of the Cocktail – and you may have been invited on Zulu’s traditionally blackface float at Mardi Gras. You may even have some black people defend your use of blackface in this context. It doesn’t matter. There is no context that will save you from the context. Do not do it.
From WaPo: “In her public apology, Ann wrote, ‘It was an honor to ride with the Zulu organization, but in my ignorance, I did not consider how videos and photos of my participation in this parade would cause pain and incite anger for so many.’”
Atchaz to New York: You’ll be shocked to learn he’s opening his first NYC restaurant in… a fancy chain hotel! “After years of teasing, an official video reveals that award-winning Chicago chef Grant Achatz…[will] debut an outpost of the acclaimed experimental cocktail bar the Aviary at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Manhattan this summer.”
FYI: “Yelp Starts Tracking Gender-Neutral Bathrooms for Transgender Users” – In yesterday’s NYT: “For now, Yelp is inviting users and business owners to identify establishments that offer locking, single-stall bathrooms that are available to individuals of any gender, with plans in the coming weeks to let users filter results based on that data, once enough is collected.”
Some very sad news this week:
“He was 38.” D.C.-by-way-of-Michigan Chef Aaron McCloud (Inn at Perry Cabin, Cedar, Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm) was diagnosed with cancer March 10, 2016, and passed away on March 5, 2017.
“Tursi was 30 years old.” Charleston City Paper was “told that Saturday night Le Farfalle sous chef Drew Tursi unexpectedly passed away in his sleep.” – Full obituary here. “Tursi was from Westport, Conn., but… the chef moved from the Northeast to Pawleys Island where he worked for Louis Osteen. Later, he came to Charleston and worked for Ken Vedrinski at both Sienna and Trattoria Lucca, and [came back again] after a stint in New York City, at Coda del Pesce.”
Waffle House co-founder Joe Rogers Sr. dead at 97. “’I’m not an executive,’ he told the AJC in 2004. ‘I’m a waffle cook.’” – Obit in the Daily Mail.
A good start – Minneapolis’ Gavin Kaysen opened up reservations to his new restaurant Bellecour yesterday, and by 5pm Eater noted 1,125 bookings. “The chef tells Eater that the restaurant looks on track to have the first two months booked on its first day taking reservations.” That should make some other chefs very happy too, as “Bellecour boasts an impressive list of investors… including Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Jérôme Bocuse.”
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A bird by any other name – Apparently, Adam Tortosa’s Hayes Valley sushi project in SF is now called Robin. It was going to be The Starling, but that name was taken, and Tortosa loved the logo so much he just decided it’s now a drawing of a different bird. Wonder how much logo-based merchandise he ordered before he found out he had to change the name…
IACP 2017 Awards for food writing and cookbooks are out, and Faye Dunaway announced that I won for Best Restaurant Industry Focused Newsletter! Of course, I’d like to thank the real winners, including Vivian Howard, whose Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South cleaned up the cookbook section. Full list here.
Leaving The Source – It’s been a long time coming, but hard to overstate how big a move it is for D.C. favorite Scott Drewno to be leaving Wolfgang Puck’s The Source this year. According to the WBJ: “Drewno’s next act is Fried Rice Collective, a new restaurant group he’s forming with with Chef Danny Lee of the Mandu restaurants and Drew Kim, one of the founders of Matchbox Food Group.”
Trois Mec’s Doug Rankin partnering with Beau Laughlin in Los Feliz – Eater LA has the details on his new project with the Sawyer and Kettle Black restaurateur.
Do you need a $115 Apron? Racked profiles Alex McCrery (once Jerry Seinfeld’s private chef) and his Tilit company, as they aim to solve “the problem of unwearable workwear.” “As chefs grow ever more visible in restaurants — open kitchens everywhere! — it’s only natural that they are moving away from the pajama pants of the past to a more modern look, like a pair of $85 tactical pants adorned with ‘pockets, crotch vents, key loop and reinforced knees.’”
Wake-up Call: “Bay Area Mexican restaurant chain Tacolicious has agreed to pay $900,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by employees who claim they were denied meal and rest breaks and had their wages improperly withheld.” – CEO Joe Hargrave says everyone was actually treated fairly, but “loose record keeping” means the company can’t prove it. How’s your labor-related mise en place?
Duck Dynasty of Seafood – Hat tip to Eater LA for spotting FoodBeast’s new show “Kings of Fi$h” which follows the families running the massive San Pedro Fish Market. “With a 50,000 square foot facility… On an average Sunday, the market will see about 20,000 visitors.” The trailer makes it look like reality TV at its worst, which means some of you are going to love it.
And finally, the WSJ put out a very short Jean-Georges Vongerichten profile if you’re in the mood for one of those. “When he turned 16, his parents took him to Auberge de L’Ill, a three-star Michelin restaurant in northeastern France. He loved it so much that he wanted to work there, and soon after that visit began training at the restaurant. (His position was so lowly that he spent some time cooking for customers’ dogs.)”
GIF of JGV playing peekaboo with spoons available here.
And that’s it for today. A lot of sad news this week, but I’m trying to take it as a reminder to “Live life and enjoy it!” as Zorba would say. Hope you can too.
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