The Family Meal – Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Hello Tuesday,

Let’s get right to it…

Congrats, Chicago! Named Bon Appétit’s Restaurant City of the Year today.

CDC CC – “Thomas Keller has announced that Corey Chow will be the new chef de cuisine at Per Se, replacing Eli Kaimeh, who is leaving for a three-month sabbatical on Sunday.” Brief announcement here.

The Critics – “Leslie BrennerThe Dallas Morning News’s restaurant critic for the past eight years, has resigned… In her role as the top critic in Dallas, Brenner rose to national notoriety largely due to an epic feud with local chef/Top Chef villain John Tesar.” The Eater write-up has a link to Tesar’s infamous tweet (still up), as well as a few choice quotes from some of her harsher reviews. Sample: “If you’re thinking of venturing into Ida Claire anyway, and ordering something relatively simple and straightforward, like a muffuletta sandwich (how can it miss?), hear this: It was the foulest thing I’ve tasted in some years.”

Brenner “will be taking a ‘senior management’ job in-house at the Rebeesrestaurant group.”

Some sad news – From a full obit in France24: “The French food critic Christian Millau, who whetted the world’s appetite for nouvelle cuisine, has died aged 88, his friends said Monday.” As one half of the famous Gault-Millauguide, “he revolutionized the world of gastronomy by supporting chefs he discovered like Joel Robuchon and Michel Guerard. He was also close to Paul Bocuse and helped (officially) launch nouvelle cuisine in 1973.”

Paying dues – The NY Daily News has a bit of a window into what Institute of Culinary Education instructors were thinking when they decided to join a teachers union in December. “As its footprint and reputation have grown, so has its tuition — to nearly $40,000 for a diploma. But the pay for its chef-instructors has hardly kept pace, several staffers told the Daily News. One of ICE’s most senior instructors, Scott McMillen, a chef in the pastry and baking arts program, was paid $150 per class when he first started teaching in 2002, he said. New hires today are paid $156 per class, he said.”

Ugh – In the NYPost: “The chef-owner of a slew of hot Manhattan eateries such as Toloache and Yerba Buena is blackmailing his former [girlfriend] with a sex video, a new lawsuit charges. Julian Medina, a respected restaurateur — and married dad — secretly filmed one of his bartenders… giving him oral sex, then used the footage to threaten her to keep quiet, the woman’s $500,000 suit alleges.”

Not not safe – “Impossible Foods wants the Food and Drug Administration to confirm that [leghemoglobin, the ‘secret sauce’ in its Impossible Burgers,] is safe to eat. But the agency has expressed concern that it has never been consumed by humans and may be an allergen.” Still, the burger – “a darling among high-end restaurants like Momofuku Nishi in New York and Jardinière in San Francisco” – hasn’t been found to be unsafe, and can continue to be sold as is for now. Full story in the NYT.

This Family Meal is brought to you by Chefs for Equality, the premier event benefiting Human Rights Campaign and their work to to end discrimination against LGBTQ people and realize a world that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. Chefs Ed LeeJeremiah LanghorneAmy BrandweinPatrick O’ConnellCindy Wolf, and many, many more will join select guests at Union Market in Washington, D.C. for a spectacular night of food, cocktails, auctions, and music. Chefs and industry friends looking to get involved can get in touch here. For tickets and more information, check out

Fast Casual Dreamers – Here are a few pics of Jonathan Waxman’s new JBird in SF, in case you’re wondering what kind of décor puts out the “this take out roast chicken will be $19.50, please” vibe.

Wanna see some big numbers? – Check out QSR Magazine’s new top 50 chains chart. A few fun facts: An average Chick-fil-A does $4.4M in sales / year(!), Starbucks opened 651 new locations in the last two years, and despite Jay Z’s best efforts, Captain D’s was the only seafood place to make the list.

For the bar – One of the original pre-boom craft breweries in the U.S., Sacramento’s Rubicon (Est. 1987) is closing up shop.

And on a decidedly non-craft note… If your bar needs a gimmick, the MillerCoors blog reports: “Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to release this fall a new competitor to MillerCoors’ Steel Reserve Alloy Series, a high-gravity flavored malt beverage called Natty Rush.” Featured flavor in the image? Watermelon Smash – 25 ice cold ounces of 8% ABV watermelon-flavored malt liquor…

Bay Area Organic History – Star Route Farms in Bolinas, a pioneering organic farm that has been a favorite of Alice Waters and other Bay Area chefs for decades, has found an unexpected buyer. The University of San Francisco has purchased the farm, which is the oldest continually operating certified organic farm in California, for $10.4 million… Warren Weber, 76, who founded the farm in 1974, will continue to stay on for a time as a consultant.” Full story in the Chronicle, including a surprise pic of Prince Charles and Camilla touring the grounds.

Last and least – To forward on to that friend dreaming of their first expansion, a bit of satire from The Onion: “Local Restaurant Makes Foolhardy Attempt at Second Location.” Short and sweet and best line is the last: “At press time, Angelo’s Pizzeria, unhindered by any notion of common sense or decency, announced they would now be open for brunch at both locations.”

And that’s that. I’ll see you Friday for next Family Meal.

PS – A quick note to my critic readers: I know you’re going to want to chronicle Corey Chow’s first few days in charge at Per Se, and I am happy to announce my availability to join you there. I drop a napkin like a champ, and, despite moderate effort, remain almost completely anonymous.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or the time and date you’d like to take me to Per Se to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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