The Family Meal – Friday, March 17th, 2017

Hello Friday, and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

If your establishment’s name starts with an O’ or a Mc, good luck out there…

For the rest of you, here’s the big industry news this week:

“It was an honor just to be nominated” – Congrats to all the 2017 James Beard Award nominees. The big announcement was Wednesday, but if you missed it, here’s the official list. Quick taste: Best New Restaurant nods went to In Situ and Tartine Manufactory in SF, Le Coucou and Olmstead in NYC, and Pineapple and Pearls in the District.

DEATH, (blood red, all caps), is the final word on Lucky Peach from editor Peter Meehan. Though exactly how it will all end is not clear because Meehan tells Tim Carman that Eater’s Tuesday evening scoop on the magazine’s impending demise – “entire staff … their employment would end in May”- is “mostly” correct, but not entirely. For those who like to mourn in good company, Eater has a collection of mini-eulogies from the likes of Eric Ripert, Ruth Reichl, John Birdsall, Brooks Headly, Jonathon Gold, Ivan Orkin, and more (no, not David Chang) – here.

Life after DEATH: Former LP editor Chris Ying’s new “All Consuming” column properly launched in the SF Chronicle Wednesday. This is going to be a different kind of food writing for a major newspaper… “Then there’s the truffle oil… Sure at first whiff it stinks in that acceptable way, like one’s own flatulence, but by the time it reaches your face it reeks of someone else’s fart.”

Andy Ricker packs up in LAHe’s closing his Pok Pok Chinatown location less than a year after shuttering Phat Thai. The place was huge and funky (pics here), but the math didn’t work. Now he’s just trying to make sure his staff have places to go, so if you’re looking for experienced folks in L.A., give them a shout.

James Kent moves on from EMP – In NY, The Nomad’s exec chef got some Instagrammed well wishes from Daniel Humm, implying a solo project may be coming soon: “ Chef, I wish you massive success on your next big solo adventure and thank you for years of loyalty, laughter and delicious food!” – Flashback to the Bloomberg profile showcasing Kent’s other artistic talent – graffiti artist. UPDATE: Today’s NY Post says “the owners of [FiDi’s] 70 Pine St. are in heavy talks with… Kent to head up a restaurant and lounge at the Art Deco tower.” That’s the same space where a proposed April Bloomfield / Ken Friedman project fell through last year.

This Family Meal is brought to you by Bilgola. Bilgola is a creative agency providing design services for the food service industry. The Bilgola team takes a straightforward, collaborative approach to solving problems for businesses of all sizes, from startups to global brands. Services include beautifying emails and invites, event pages, websites, menus and more. Happy customers include Jamie’s Italian, Nespresso and Kingsley’s Steakhouse. Have a creative challenge? Hit Bilgola with it –

John Tesar to SF – Referencing the immortal words of critic Bill Addison, Eater SF says, “It looks like San Francisco might soon get a ‘beefy joyride’ of its own, as former Top Chef contestant Tesar says he plans to expand his critically-acclaimed Dallas steakhouse with a location in SF’s Metreon Center.” Maybe 2018-ish.

For your Poissonnier: The Codfather goes down – Mother Jones tells the fascinating story of seafood kingpin Carlos Rafael, who at one point controlled around 25% of New England’s legal groundfish revenue, and apparently a lot more of the not so legal kind. “‘I am a pirate,’ he once told regulators. ‘It’s your job to catch me.’” – Spoiler alert: They did.

For the cookbook fans – Check out this remarkable look back at Chef Irene Kuo. A star of the late 60s and early 70s who hosted Barbara Streisand’s 20th birthday at her Lichee Tree in NYC, Kuo “vanished into the smog of an intensely private life” shortly after writing seminal work, “The Key to Chinese Cooking.” In the article, Food52’s Mayukh Singh refers to the stunning, 500-page book as being out-of-print, with used copies selling on Amazon for as little as $7.79. Now that his story is online, the going rate has jumped to 15 times that. Better get one quick

Add Trump to taste – POINT: The NYT has an article out titled “Chefs Struggle Over Whether to Serve Up Politics” with cameos from chefs Andrew Zimmern and Stephanie Izard, and JBF’s Katherine Miller, among others. The gist: it’s hard to navigate just how much personal politics to mix into a business designed to serve all. COUNTERPOINT: D.C. chef Frank Ruta is opening a new spot near the White House with restaurateur Hakan Ilhan, who “is looking to lure lobbyists and lawmakers, and… claims Republicans… ‘have more disposable income.’” Politics, shmolitics.

Last and least, Thomas Keller was on Jimmy Kimmel a few nights ago, making the carrot garnish from Team USA’s Bocuse platter. Some called it awkward. I found it kind of charming. It’ll cost you 8 minutes, but here it is.

That’s it for today! Good luck out there tonight. Insert joke about how green is the color of money and I hope your drunk customers give you a lot of it.

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and send tips and/or pdf copies of  your favorite out-of-print cookbooks to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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