The Family Meal – Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Hello Tuesday,

It’s hot. Damn hot. Let’s get to it…

The Big List – Everyone is talking about Epicurious’s “100 Greatest Home Cooks of All Time”. It’s yet another subjective list, yes, but don’t read it because of who is or isn’t on it; read it for the links to great bios of famous folks like J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (Serious Eats), Joan Didion (here known as “the Queen of Parsley Salad”), and Martha Stewart (Connecticut resident of note), as well as lesser-known influential cooks like Zephyr Wright (personal chef to Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson), Sandor Katz (“the Faerie Godmother of Fermentation”), and more.

Any excuse for a party – Daniel Humm sprayed the crowd with champagne, and staff spray-painted the walls at Eleven Madison Park’s “final service” before renovation. The staff had good reason to celebrate: they’re all headed to the Hamptons for an AmEx sponsored summer… (Make it) Nice work if you can get it.

The Critics are noticing those extra tables you squeezed in, and calling the crush “European” can only go so far. Tom Sietsema’s “Latest trend I loathe in restaurants: No space between tables” includes a lot of anecdotals, but it’s well worth a read because it not only gives a voice to both sides (Mike Friedman, of DC favorite All Purpose, notes ditching even one table could cost hundreds of thousands in revenue), but also brings some hard numbers: “A 2009 study in a New York restaurant, the recently closed Public in SoHo… found that diners spent less time and less money at seats that were close together. Customers with 12 inches between tables stayed an average of 110 minutes and spent 73 cents a minute. Those with six inches between tables stayed an average of 102 minutes and spent 66 cents a minute.” Do with that math what you will.

The Obit – “[Sam] Panopoulos, who is widely credited with having created and named the Hawaiian pizza, died June 8 at 83” Full obituary via WaPo.

Talk to PR, because if you don’t, you’ll wind up with something like this story from popular L.A. blog Foodbeast, where a certain chef wound up looking a bit precious in front of media his team had apparently invited to the restaurant without his knowledge. “Little did we know that the next story we’d tell would be of one Chef Wes Whitsell showing us a level of disrespect we’d expect if we cut him off on the 10… Yes, that Wes Whitsell, of Osteria La Buca and Soho House New York. And now, of Manuela, the restaurant we were set to highlight that day…. He turns to some folks sitting at his restaurant and bellows, ‘They’re trying to put my deer burger next to some Spam fries!!!’ Cool, man. Heard you the first time.” (Thanks to EaterLA for the link.)

This Family Meal is brought to you by Add Passion and Stir: Big Chefs, Big Ideas, a weekly podcast about inspirational people who are changing the world. In each episode, Billy Shore, the creator of the No Kid Hungry Campaign (, brings together prominent change-makers and guests from the culinary world to discuss how food is at the intersection of social transformation. 

Guests on the podcast include James Beard Award-winning chefs who have amassed a host of Michelin Stars, joined by leaders in the public and private sectors who are making profound positive changes in the world: Chef José Andrés, U.N. Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin, Shake Shack CEO Danny Meyer, Chef Traci Des Jardins, and many more.  Listen, Subscribe, Rate, and Review:

For Empire Builders – Need staff for your fast casual expansion? “Last year, more than half of McDonald’s new summer hires were between the ages of 16—24, the company says. With that in mind, McDonald’s coined a new term: ‘Snaplications.’…[The] tool allows job seekers to see an ad and begin the application process through the Snapchat app…. McDonald’s is also using Spotify and Hulu to reach potential employees.” Full story in QSR Mag.

For the Somm – Climate change from a wine perspective in Eater: “The frost thing we had last year, it’s become an annual thing. I don’t know what we’ll be able to do with that. Right now, we’re a little lost… I think adaptations are possible, but for our region (Burgundy), what this means, we do not yet know.” Featuring Jeremy Seysses (Domaine Dujac in Morey-Saint-Denis, Burgundy), Jeremy Mustakas, (abcV, NYC), Aldo Sohm (Aldo Sohm Wine Bar and Le Bernardin, NYC), and writer Carson Demmond.

Last and Least: The Gimmick – Japan’s ZAUO has finally found its first US location in NYC, and is working to open early next year. “First and second-floor customers will be able to sit in a boat and reel in fish from an adjacent tank stocked with around 10 different types of fish… After the fish have been caught, a chef will prepare them ‘in any style.’” The accompanying video ad is a “miraculous symphony” of translation – both linguistic and cultural.

One more… From The Post’s coverage of “momo-gate” in India: “‘Our teenagers are getting addicted to the dumplings like drugs. It’s spoiling their health. We have to stop it,’ Arora said at a demonstration Wednesday, during which he stood in front of an image of a momo with a large red cross and a slogan that read ‘Say no to momos.’”


And that’s it for today. Quick shoutout to the team at The Honey Paw in Portland, ME who handled our big, chaotic table this weekend with a lot of… mercy and grace. Thank you! I’ll see everyone back here Friday with more news from around the industry.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or invites to your pre-Hamptons Gatsby party to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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