The Family Meal – Friday, July 14th, 2017

Hello Friday, and Joyeux Quatorze Juillet!

Today’s Family Meal is short and sweet, but first a quick reminder: If you’re getting this as a forward, don’t forget to sign up for yourself at

And now, the (industry) news…

The Apprentice(s) – Quick follow-up to the Seattle Times story about the Dept. of Labor fining the Willows Inn on Lummi Island $150k for their unpaid stagiaire program: Eater has an interview with Blaine Wetzel about how it all went down and what happens next. It includes talk of internship programs and “workshops”, but the key section for any restaurant running anything resembling a traditional stage program in the U.S. is this:

Eater: “Will this ripple throughout the industry in the U.S.? Is the DOL cracking down?”

Wetzel: “That was made clear, that this has been a focus nationally. In conversations with the agent, she’d been specifically assigned to target staging.”

Bullinians – What are Bullinians, you ask? “Bullinians are all those people who have participated in projects promoted by Ferran Adrià , Albert Adrià and Juli Soler and also those who do it today or will do so in the future.” And they are all listed on a new website, complete with pictures, maps, and a searchable database that lets you filter by year, location, and/or job. There are still some glitches, but if you want to get a rough idea of who was in the kitchen with, say, Rene Redzepi back in 1999, there’s a filter for that.

Chef, chef? – FYI: Some folks on Twitter are trying to decide whether critics and other outsiders should call chefs “Chef” when they talk to / about them. Pete Wells, Kathleen Purvis, Francis Lam, and others get in on it here. Key takeaway: you should make Pete Wells call you Chef.

That Fast Casual $$$ – If you’re in the design dreaming stages of your fast casual empire (who isn’t?), heads up: CNBC reports “Investment firm Cowen is forecasting a massive 79 percent surge in the total U.S. food home delivery market over the next five years… [and] cuisines outside of pizza and Asian are handily outpacing the traditional delivery staples.” In other words, fetishize your in-store assembly line layout all you want, but don’t forget to factor in where to prep parallel orders for the backdoor…

Speaking of delivery – SF’s delivery-only Young Fava is pivoting to brick & mortar, according to chef Anthony Strong. Per Eater SF, “The launch was so successful, says Strong, that he’s temporarily halting service as of July 10 as he looks for a bigger kitchen space — this time, with room for diners.”

This Family Meal is brought to you by Devoured, a new food recycling service supporting restaurants and foodservice businesses. Devoured provides food waste composting services, supports food donation program implementation, and helps restaurants with their waste and recycling needs. Be a part of the national food waste conversation. Visit Devoured on twitter to follow their new graphic adventure (@_Devoured_).

The very bad review – In the tradition of critics reviewing places that will continue to make outrageous amounts of money no matter what the critics say, I give you Besha Rodell on the new Tao in Los Angeles. Title: “Tao in Hollywood Is Worse Than We Imagined.”

For the Somm 1: There once was a magazine called WineX, devoted entirely to the oenophiles of the Reality Bites generation, and this Punch nostalgia piece is worth the read not only for the tasting notes (“Stylistic. ‘Black Hole Sun’ by Soundgarden—an anthem of intensity.”), but also for the collage of old covers featuring such noted wine entheusiasts as Tori Amos, Moby, and Jason Priestly (Full tease: “Jason Priestly on Barenaked Ladies, alien abductions, and getting hooked on wine.”).

For the Somm 2: While under renovation, a museum in New Jersey recently “discovered almost three cases of Madeira wine from 1796 and about 42 demijohns from the 1820s.” They think the Madeira was brought from Portugal to celebrate John Adams’ inauguration. No word on possible sale, or price…

Mid-Atlantic cookbook fans – As D.C.’s legendary Restaurant Nora prepares to close, Nora Pouillon is liquidating her library this weekend. “Literally more then a thousand to choose from. Some are rare, and some are no longer available. There are also many valuable Special editions. Book prices range from $2 to just $10!!! Every Book must go. Priced to move. This SATURDAY & Sunday, July 15th and 16th from 11AM – 4PM.”

Last and Least – In honor of his birthday yesterday, here’s a shirtless José Andrés diving for wine with Grizzly Adams. You’re welcome.

And that’s it for today. Short and sweet as promised. If your restaurant flies the Tricolour tonight, I hope folks tip as aggressively as Trump and Macron shake hands. See you Tuesday for next Family Meal.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or pictures of undercover Dept of Labor detectives to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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