The Family Meal – Friday, August 11th, 2017

Hello Friday,

Let’s get to it…

Tell PR – Seems Eater is starting an L.A. Facebook group where “members ask for restaurant recommendations, post photos of their latest favorite restaurants, debate which burger spot reigns supreme, and just generally share thoughts with other avid Eater LA readers.” Guessing other cities won’t be far behind (if not already out there), so keep the concept on your radar wherever you may be. L.A. folks can join here.

The Profile Treatment: Charlie Trotter gets a posthumous write-up in Chicago Magazine this week, awkwardly titled “Charlie Trotter is Alive and Well”. I highly recommend it. Even if you don’t have time for the long read, there’s a great little timeline to skim through, and scroll all the way down for a video of the “Charlie Trotter diaspora” of chefs who’ve worked in his kitchens (starting, of course, with 1995 line cook Grant Achatz).

And speaking of the Chicago crowd… The Chicago Reader is out with a profile of Michael Carlson and Schwa: “Schwa has always been BYOB, which in practice has meant not only bottles being shared with the staff and other diners, but customers drinking and indulging in other substances with chefs after hours, sometimes into the early morning. Carlson has spoken frankly about his drug use, especially after a high-pressure private meal in October 2008 during which Achatz arranged for a crew of renowned international chefs to toast Charlie Trotter on the occasion of his restaurant’s 20th anniversary. Schwa wowed them with 14 courses over four hours. But the stress of pulling it off had left him exhausted physically and mentally. Overworked and anxious, he went on a three-day binge of alcohol and drugs—then shut down Schwa and dropped out of public view… Carlson is now 43, and his restaurant is not unlike a veteran rock band: The party days aren’t exactly gone…”

On the Homefront – “Blue Apron rival Chef’d reels in $35 million from Smithfield and Campbell Soup” – Headline says it all, details on CNBC.

The Suits – The NY Post reports Top Chef alums and JBA finalists Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth are being sued by Richard Freedman, their Root and Bone landlord and partner in NYC, for allegedly skimming “‘over $286,000 in cash distributions’ including $136,000 they used to renovate their apartment above the East 3rd Street restaurant, $85,000 for rent for their pad, and payments to a PR firm for outside ventures like the pop-up restaurant in Puerto Rico.” McInnis and Booth tell the Miami Herald they’ve done nothing wrong.

And in the sushi world, EaterNY says it “looks like the nasty break-up between acclaimed sushi chef Eiji Ichimura and the partner at his short-lived, eponymous Tribeca restaurant just got nastier. Ichimura owner Idan Elkon shot back at the Michelin-starred chef in court this month — accusing him of threatening staff, stealing fish from the restaurant, and lying about not being able to work.” Full back and forth of accusations and counter-accusations (“You never had cancer!”) are here.

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

For the Somm – A big excerpt from Peter Hellman’s new book In Vino Duplicitas is out this week. It tells the story of 26 year old Rudy Kurniawan’s massive wine fraud operation in the heady days just before the Great Recession: “Kurniawan had a knack for gaining the trust of wealthy collectors, whether they were corporate kingpins, investment bankers, Hollywood types, or real estate moguls…. The key to an outsider’s entrée into these rarified tasting circles is pinpointed by Wilfred Jaeger, the physician turned venture capitalist who was already a noted collector when Kurniawan was still a boy: ‘If you brought a great wine, you got invited.’”

BoH Empire – In SF, Adriano Paganini is taking over the old La Urbanaspace on Divisadero, and hoping to open in November. EaterSF points outthat’s four big openings for Paganini’s Back of the House group this year: “A ManoThe BirdFlores, and the aforementioned Divisadero concept.”

Tell the bar – Turns out the Anchor sale to Sapporo did not include Anchor Distilling, which is where owner Keith Greggor is shifting his focus now.

Tell the bar 2 – Per the ChronicleColorado-based New Belgium BrewingCompany has agreed to purchase the assets of San Francisco’s MagnoliaBrewing. The deal, which is part of a bankruptcy proceeding, cost New Belgium $2.7 million.” Less than a decent two-bedroom in SF!

Last and least: For future arguments about the future – A coffee-making robot at Café X in SF is spitting out bills that include a surcharge for employee health care.  I get the manager’s argument that there are human employees involved somewhere in the process, but… do robots dream of electric colonoscopies?

And on that note… Here’s hoping the global nuclear tensions give people some strong “eat, drink, and be merry – and tip well while we’re at it” vibes this weekend!

I’ll see you Tuesday for next Family Meal.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or secret Facebook groups to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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