The Family Meal – Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Hello Tuesday,

Real quick: If you haven’t done so yet, sign up for yourself by clicking the green button over yonder. Family Meal is a twice-weekly roundup of news that actually matters to industry folks. No clickbait ever (except that weird video of Danny Bowien in the fifth paragraph, and sometimes some other stuff, but usually very, very little).

Let’s get to it…

Critical Conversation – The critics are holding a public roundtable about how nice they should be to you. John Birdsall started it off with this tweet: “How much deference do food writers owe chefs and restaurateurs? Access yields insights, but does that serve readers better than skepticism?” Pete Wells, Besha Rodell, Nick Zukin, Brett Martin, and Jon Bonné all jump in, along with a few brave chefs like Andy Ricker and Jen Agg. Thread starts here, but you have to click on some of the replies (like this one from Pete Wells) to get into some of the longer arguments.

Some of the most direct comments come from Eater editor Helen Rosner (surprise surprise, if you follow her), who started her own thread on the matter where she says, “Man, I feel truly super weird all the time about having friendly relationships with chefs… I do believe I’m totally willing to burn one of you if news warrants it though…. In general, I don’t understand why ANYONE trusts the media EVER. Even other media people.” (Her capitalization, my bold font.)

The Profile Treatment – Sucks to be him? “I’m convinced Nick Dostal is Chicago’s next great chef. That is, if people can get past a third boss in his career, after Thomas Lents and Curtis Duffy—the man whose name is on the hotel, the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.” – via Michael Gebert in Fooditor.

Another 35k sqf, por favor –The NYPost has word that now that Danny Meyer has backed out of talks at Hudson Yards in Manhattan, José Andrés has agreed to develop the huge space with a Spanish-style Eataly of sorts slated for next year.

Danny Bowien to host Mind of a Chef Season 6 – The announcement video is 22 seconds of throbbing music, flashing lights, and the chef at a… spin class?

Chicago moves – “Chef Bill Montagne, owner of the counter-service cured-fish spot Snaggletooth, has been named chef de cuisine at Nico Osteria. Montagne succeeds Erling Wu-Bower, who is leaving Nico Osteria to open (with Cosmo Goss and Joshua Tilden) a River North restaurant in partnership with Nico principals Paul Kahan, Donnie Madia and Terry Alexander.” Full story in the Trib.

Damon Wise heads (back) South – “About four months after his homecoming from Charleston, S.C. in January, Wise has already left Sauvage in Greenpoint [NYC] for Atlanta, Georgia. Today is his first day as the culinary director for Linton and Gina Hopkins’ Atlanta restaurants, which include Restaurant Eugene, in a new role for Resurgens Hospitality Group.” Eater NY talked to him about the move here.

Shot: Maple ceases operations in NYC – The David Chang-backed delivery-only startup has sold to the UK’s Deliveroo and shuttered its New York service for now.

Chaser: The old ways return – Panera is hiring up to 10,000 delivery people in house.

This Family Meal is brought to you by World Central Kitchen‘s Dine N Dash event in Washington, D.C. On June 7th, join hosts José Andrés, Andrew Zimmern, and Ted Allen for a tour of some of the District’s best restaurants. All proceeds go to support World Central Kitchen’s mission of using smart solutions to hunger and poverty to make sure food is an agent of change around the world. Tickets and more information here. PS – I’ll see you there!

Two stories for your chicken farming radar, if you have one – One: “China is currently in its fifth and by far its largest wave of H7N9 infections.” At least one farm lost 5k chickens to the disease and had to cull 80k more… And as far as humans are concerned: “China has now reported at least 680 cases during the fifth wave, including at least 197 deaths.” To be honest, I have no idea what to do with this information, but here’s the full story if you do.

And two: A not so fun read in the New Yorker about exploitation at Case Farms chicken processing plants. “I didn’t want Mexicans… Mexicans go home at Christmastime… Guatemalans can’t go back home. They’re here as political refugees. If they go back home, they get shot.”

Security Check – “A black market for the golden gunk is growing as U.S. refiners process record amounts… to comply with government mandates for renewable fuels.” Translation: Thieves are after your grease. The article in Bloomberg is complete with both hard numbers and yet another NRA to keep track of – the National Renderers Association.

Queer Food History – Apparently inspired by Frank Bruni’s NYT piece on James Beard and the silence around his sexuality, someone has begun a “Queer Food and Foodies Chronology” wiki on If you’ve got something to add, they ask that you “please send full citations to Jonathan Ned Katz at”.

Seafood CSA: Dock to Dish is adding cities (and chefs) to its networks. Kyle Bailey is the latest to partner with them on the novel concept, but “Washington is the fourth city to welcome the program that’s already working with chefs like Eric Ripert, Mario Batali and April Bloomfield in New York City and Thomas Keller in the San Francisco area.” If they’re not in your town yet, maybe forward this WaPo article to your PR team…

Last and Least – Jeff Jetton, part-owner of the District’s Toki Underground noodle shop (among other places) has been investigating possible Trump-Russia connections in his spare time, and actually gotten pretty far (not like impeachment far, but interviewed-Carter-Page-and-some-secret-sources-on-that-infamous-dossier far).

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

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and send tips and/or more Danny Bowien exercise video footage to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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