The Family Meal – Friday, May 26th, 2017

Hello Friday,

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and I actually have a chance to get out of dodge this afternoon if I can get myself together, so here’s an early edition of Family Meal for you…

Lists I like – Eater’s Young Guns 2017 search has been whittled to 55 semifinalists from all over the country. Not generally a fan of lists, but it’s good to see them highlighting up and comers instead of just reminding us who’s on top already. Full list here.

Speaking of Up and Comers – A little press release tells me that Jon de Paz, vet of Eleven Madison Park, Nomad, The French Laundry, and (briefly…) Shaw Bijou is taking the reins at D.C.’s Jack Rose and heading up the kitchen for that group’s The Imperial when it opens in 2017…

The Suits – Investor Scott Kasen – a “former vice president of The Trump Organization” according to Bedford and Bowery – is suing Danny Bowien for the $426k he says the chef owes him from their now shuttered joint venture, Mission Cantina. I wonder if Bowien’s turn hosting Mind of a Chef next season will discuss the business side of things…

As NY goes, so goes… – The NY Post reports: “The City Council Health Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill requiring the Health Department to post sanitary grades for food carts, just like it does for restaurants.”

Key quote: “If they relieve themselves, do they wash their hands? …It’s something the public has a right to know.”

The Rorschach Test – If you’ve heard of Kooks Burritos in Portland, OR, chances are it’s because critics have accused the founders of a particularly egregious form of cultural appropriation basically amounting to intellectual property theft (from tortilla-making village grandmothers in Mexico, no less). The story is part of a larger debate about what’s appropriate when a white chef cooks an “ethnic” food from another culture, and even if you haven’t heard of Kooks, this UPROXX article sums up the debate nicely. You’ll probably be angry at one side or another. Enjoy!

Next up in that debate: Some Scandinavian guy named Magnus is opening a Chinese pop-up in Sweden this summer. According to Eater: Nilsson “will open Hoon’s Chinese, a Singaporean pop-up, in Sweden… The family-style menu will draw on Singapore’s ‘melting pot of different Chinese food cultures,’ but true to Fäviken’s focus on local ingredients, Hoon will use products from Jämtland County.” No one will be talking about this at all.

The Documentary Treatment – American Masters—Jacques Pepin: The Art of Craft premieres tonight at 9:30 p.m. EST on PBS.

Doc Treatment Part 2: Chef Edward Lee stars in “Fermented” a new doc debuting this week at the Seattle International Film Festival. Tag line: “Find beauty in the rot”. Trailer here.

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!

The Buck Stops Somewhere Else – After the new 50 Bowery hotel in NYC’s Chinatown caught some heat for describing their bar as capturing the history of the neighborhood through an “Opium Den” theme, head chef Dale Talde told Eater NY, “That never was the intent. The PR team for the hotel and the design team for the hotel are the ones who did this. They’re the ones who fucked up.” Wagstaff Worldwide PR, meet the undercarriage of this bus.

Chain Invasion – NYC’s The Smith, fresh off its foray into D.C., is heading to Chicago next, according to a company rep who leaked the plan to Eater this week. “Managing partner Jeff Lefcourt said on Tuesday that a ‘few’ cities are on the expansion radar, including Chicago, but declined to comment further.”

Three’s a chain? – “Restaurateur Charles Phan is taking The Slanted Door to The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where it’s expected to debut in 2018.” He’s been planning an L.A. location for a few years too, replicating the concept for obvious reasons: “For several years, The Slanted Door reigned among California’s top-grossing independent restaurants, raking in almost $17 million in sales in 2014.”

The non-review review – Discussing Noma Tulum without having been, Pete Wells takes up cultural appropriation in the NYT: “At this point in his career, Mr. Redzepi could sell out a weenie roast in Death Valley. What I find hard to run through my critical algorithms, though, is the idea of a meal devoted to local traditions and ingredients that is being prepared and consumed mostly by people from somewhere else.”

Watch your back (of house) – “Ann Arbor restaurant says ICE agents ate breakfast, then detained 3 workers.” You read that right. They ordered food, ate it, then walked back and arrested the people that made it. Damn.

Policy Piece – If you’re a Tom Colicchio type, fretting over the SNAP (food stamp) funding debate, check out this Atlantic article summing up some wishy-washy research that may be used against the program. “The Messy Relationship Between Food Stamps and Health: Several studies show beneficiaries of the program are more likely to be obese.” Gist: People who use SNAP are often unhealthier than the general population. Caveat: They’re also much poorer.

Last and Lynch – Tell your Twin Peaks fan / Somm: Kyle MacLachlan (AKA Agent Cooper) is fondling a damn fine bunch of grapes in this tweet. (Not clickbait – he’s literally just holding a bunch of grapes and explaining that “It takes roughly seven clusters to make one bottle of wine.” That’s it.)

And that’s it for Friday. Back Tuesday, ostensibly rested from vacation, but I have a two year-old and a 5 month-old, so who am I kidding. I’ll be beat. But I’ll be here.

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and send tips and/or whatever you think “the public has a right to know” to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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