The Family Meal – Friday, July 21st, 2017

Hello Friday,

If you’re reading this in New Orleans, I hope Tales of the Cocktail is going swimmingly (especially since it’s the first since co-founders Paul and Ann Tuennerman’s blackface fiasco at Zulu this year – he stepped down, she apologized).

If you’re not boondoggling down south, they have an official twitter account and a hashtag doing a reasonable job of keeping up with the action for all your voyeurism needs.

And now, this…

“Understandably upset” – Chef Barbara Lynch apparently hit a parked car at 4:34am on Tuesday morning, and “registered a blood-alcohol content of 0.159 — nearly twice the legal limit of .08 — in a breath alcohol test administered by police at the scene.” A statement from Lynch’s rep said, “Chef was shaken up, but no one else was injured. For that, she is extremely grateful, however still understandably upset.”

Closing Salvation – Eater NY got their hands on this letter to staff from April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman: “Due to the devastating fire at Salvation Burger last year, coupled with the challenges of being closed for the subsequent seven months, and ultimately, difficulty picking up steam following our reopening, Ken and I have decided to close the restaurant on Saturday, July 22.” Ironically, according to Eater, “Another factor in the decision is Bloomfield’s commitment to cooking with fire, which has been an ongoing point of negotiation with the hotel.” Go figure.

The Review – I rarely include reviews here, but the recent Hollywood Reporter take on Vespertine has pitted critics against critic. Gary Baum, who had dinner at Jordan Kahn’s space restaurant on just the fourth night of service, has been taking heat for going too early, and not waiting the 4-6 weeks that Jonathan Gold said “has been the standard since the beginning of time.” Baum’s response to criticism from Gold, Pete Wells, Besha Rodell, and others is a fantastic read whether you agree with it or not.

Wells tweeted that Baum’s rebuttal article has no “substance”, but I ask Baum (and you) to please forgive me excerpting an entire paragraph worth of substance, because… wow: “Professional dining critics — even the most justly lauded — are an anxious bunch. In an already antagonistic media environment, their readers, including those in their own newsrooms, are often intensely jealous of their expense accounts and frequently suspicious of the supremacy of their expertise. It’s an understandable instinct to defensively rally around the remaining bulwarks of tradition (however anachronistic), to attempt to disguise a craft of analysis and opinion as one involving some tenuous relationship to the soft sciences (hence the ingrained theatrics of the multiple visitations and invocations of blind subject tests via anonymous visits).”

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 Award – Did I mention Tuesday that chef Leonor Espinosa of Colombia won the 2017 Basque Culinary World Prize? She did. “Through the Funleo foundation, Leonor Espinosa has revived the ancestral knowledge and know-how of mainly indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples. She supports rural development based on food sovereignty, and promotes routes to market for small producers as well as spaces for education, nutrition, enterprise and tourism.” The award comes with €100K to put towards a cause of Espinosa’s choosing.

For the bar – D.C. writer Laura Hayes has a dive into the world of cocktail consulting this week, including a bit on the $ involved: “Most operators hope to hire a cocktail consultant instead of an in-house, full-time bar manager, beverage director, or similarly titled salaried employee. [Gina] Chersevani puts the going rate for such a job at $80,000 a year and compares that to a consultant who can curate four menus (one for each season) for $5,000. If there are 10 drinks on each menu, that’s 40 drinks at $125 per drink. And that price folds in training, organization, and oversight.”

Rorschach Test – “It’s inspiring to look at an empty space, because I think an empty space is more beautiful than a space with the wrong things on it.” – Daniel Humm. You will either love or loathe this GQ mini-doc (19 minutes) on Eleven Madison Park’s final days before moving to the Hamptons for the summer. Here you go.

Last and Least – Tim Carman‘s TOTC Instagram post about an abnormally large King Cake baby, led me to a picture of the absolutely terrifying King Cake baby that occasionally serves as a mascot for their NBA team, the Pelicans. Do not click link if you are alone in the dark, and/or on drugs.

And that’s it for today. I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or your (hopefully lurid) tales of Tales of the Cocktail to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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