The Family Meal – Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Hello Tuesday,

Quick bit of housekeeping: If you’re new to this site, sign up for yourself by clicking the subscribe button. And if you forwarded this on to a friend, thank you! Readership has gone from a few close friends and industry pros to thousands of chefs, restaurateurs, staff, PR folks, and food writers across the country in just a few short months. I do zero advertising, so that’s all word of mouth / mouse. Thank you!

Done. Let’s get to it…

Noma in Tulum – Because whatever you think of the hype, the chef, the concept, the price, or the food, you know you want to look. Link goes to Tom Sietsema’s long, glowing review, plus a slideshow of pics. “Champagne is poured the second you’re seated and the first few minutes are a blur of color and discovery (Pigs shiny with coconut fat! Ice cream that sets the tongue on fire!).”

James Beard was gay. And the NYT’s Frank Bruni wonders if a lot of people didn’t miss out on a role model because no one really said it during Beard’s lifetime, or even in his obituary. “He received tributes galore. They took ample stock of his dimensions. But they didn’t come close to rounding him out.”

Now, Bruni notes, there’s going to be a lot of rounding out. John Birdsall is working on a big biography, and the PBS “American Masters” series will feature Beard in a documentary – “America’s First Foodie” – next month. Trailer here.

James Beard Media Awards are tonight. Andrew Zimmern is hosting. Looks like if you need results live (and remote), best you can do is follow on Twitter.

ATTN: Samuels, Son, et. al – “Fish sold right off the boat: The old ways resurface.” The Chronicle’s Tara Duggan has the not-quite-a-trend-yet story of fishermen getting “receivers” licenses to sell wholesale at the dock in San Francisco: “‘It’s definitely really disruptive to the industry,’ said Charlie Lambert of Ocean2Table, a Santa Cruz fish company that buys from [fisherman Joe] Pennisi and is helping him work with buyers. ‘In many ways, if more fishermen start taking this kind of example and doing this, then it really eliminates a really huge income source’ for the distributors.”

Speaking of Seafood: PBS has a new fish/fisheries documentary debuting today called “The Fish on my Plate”. The whole film should be up online tonight. Trailer here.

Of Wages, Yelp, and Closures– Also in the Chronicle is Jonathon Kauffman’s look at the impact of minimum wage hikes on closure rates: “Authors of a new Harvard Business School study say… the rate of Bay Area restaurant closures can be tied to the region’s rising minimum wage levels. But the research adds a significant asterisk to the impact of wage hikes: The lower an area restaurant’s Yelp rating, the higher its risk of shutting down… For the average restaurant, with a 3.5 star rating on Yelp, the risk of closing goes up 14 percent for each $1 the minimum wage rises… Restaurants with 2.5-star ratings were 25 percent more likely to close. For restaurants with 4.5 and 5 stars, the risk increase dropped to 0.”

Best quote calling BS on HBS: “Math is black and white, and restaurants operate in the gray” – Gayle Pirie, (Foreign Cinema and Show Dogs).

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 – alex@bilgolacreative.com – www.bilgolacreative.com

Tell the bar – Don’t play fast and loose with new ingredients unless you know what you’re doing. Carrie Allen breaks down the dangers with tales of the poisonous cocktail in Imbibe: “He realized that what he was experiencing—including ringing in the ears and muscle weakness—was quite distinct. It turned out to be cinchonism, a type of poisoning caused by an overdose of quinine…. A local bar… had been making its own tonic with cinchona bark chips but had recently switched to cinchona powder, without making the necessary adjustments to the measurements in its recipe.”

Tell the Somm – “The wine world is abuzz over a new book, “Cork Dork,” by Bianca Bosker, that is both an exposé and a love affair with wine. It’s a memoir of how Bosker quit her job as an editor for the Huffington Post and immersed herself for a year and a half in the world of wine obsession, eventually achieving the certified sommelier rank in the Court of Master Sommeliers.” – Full review ( “Another hatchet job on wine lovers… We are an easy target.”) in the Washington Post.

List you can actually use: Bay Area rising stars 2017Reem Assil (Reem’s, Oakland), Chris Kiyuna (The Perennial, SF), Tu David Phu (Ăn, SF), Fernay McPherson (Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, SF), Michelle Minori (Barzotto, San Francisco).

The Profile Treatment: Mark Musick – The “Johnny Appleseed of sustainable living in the Pacific Northwest” who brought “local” “sustainable” etc. into the lexicon of Seattle and beyond by bringing formerly “exotic” ingredients into regional marketplaces. He created “innovations like using UPS to ship peerless produce to nationally famed Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, Calif. (‘My mouth absolutely fell open’ at a sample package, owner Alice Waters wrote in a 1983 letter.)” Full profile by Rebekah Denn in Pacific NW Magazine here.

In-N-Out Dynasty: Current CEO and President Lynsi Snyder talks with “religious publication” I Am Second about her family and personal history, and the 10-minute video is on Eater LA. It’s ostensibly about her relationship with her Christianity, but also gives a candid – and very sad – look behind the scenes of the not-so-easy life of a burger heiress.

PS – Flashback to this fantastic deep dive into In-N-Out family history, if you want the whole story.

Celebrity Chef Island: “This week, two Food Network alums with experience opening Manhattan restaurants are going in for another round, with Scott Conant opening Fusco in the Flatiron this week and Jose Garces debuting Ortzi in the Luma Hotel in Times Square.” Full write-up for both in Eater NY.

Last and least – This guy frying gnocchi and dying laughing at the results is pure joy. You have to watch with audio, and skip straight to the 1:15 mark if you can. Short version on Twitter here. You’re welcome.

That’s it for today. Back Friday with more / better…

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and send tips and/or polonium-centric cocktail recipes to andrew@thisfamilymeal.com. If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at thisfamilymeal.com!

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