The Family Meal – Friday, August 25th, 2017

Hello Friday,

Last weekend in August already. Damn. Let’s get to it…

Lists I Like – Eater’s Most Anticipated Restaurants of Fall 2017 are out, and as usual they are a great way to keep your finger on the pulse. There is a national rundown where you’ll see some familiar names (including Jessica Largey’s Simone and Dave Beran’s Dialogue in LA, Chris Bleidorn’s Birdsong in SF, Douglas Kim’s Jeju Noodle Bar in NYC, plus Theodore Rexin Houston, of course, and the entire Line Hotel lineup in DC), as well as 22 city by city lists for all the usual suspects.

NB: Some of the “expected opening dates” on these lists are December 2017, so I’d like to take a moment to appreciate the PR people who stoked anticipation early and will still be fanning its flames well into spring 2018… Good work, and good luck!

And for the Somm / Bar – The Wine Enthusiast 40 under 40 list also came out this week. Too many to list (40, actually), so I’ll just leave the link here.

Some sad news – In Charleston, “Virginia’s Executive Chef Anthony Shane Whiddon was shot and killed during an altercation with a suspected disgruntled employee which ended in a hostage situation at the restaurant Thursday afternoon.” Details in Charleston City Paper. A GoFundMe page has been set up for his family, and there are more fundraising efforts for locals here.

The Profile Treatement – What do you think of Alice Waters? Read this NYT write-up and have it confirmed. It doubles as a promo for her upcoming memoir, and attempts to get more personal than usual. The chef would like you to know, for instance, that she is single and looking, “younger men are [her] Achilles heel,” and she’d like to live out her later years “in a multi-generational commune of her own design.” Makes sense.

Speaking of food memoirs… Eater has a 2017 list of those as well, and buried in this Washington Post story on Kwame Onwuachi’s comeback plansis news that he too will have a book out next summer (hat tip: Max Falkowitz).

Very, Very Bad PR – Who is advising this woman? Becca Brennan, of Crown Heights’s Summerhill bar is refusing to back down from her “bullet-hole ridden wall” controversy, and dismissing protestors with a “sorry you were offended” and “you’re not listening to me” defense. It is not going over well (with video).

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:

White Food Supremacy – Chef / author Tunde Wey famously prefers to let people sit in discomfort, rather than immediately dig into questions of “the solution” at his Blackness in America dinners, so I’ll follow his lead and just leave his latest Chronicle piece here for your thought: Regarding the recent praise given to a certain fancy sandwich shop in New Orleans, Wey writes, “If the ownership and staff of Turkey and the Wolf were to be replaced exclusively with black New Orleanians, it would hardly be interesting to most food publications. Its kitsch would be deigned bad design; its off-kilter take on conventional staples would be judged too baroque and gauche; that charming laid-back service would be registered as rude and incompetent.”

Pop-up cheap –Delivery-only pop-up is the new brick-and-mortar pop-up. Case study: Greek fast-casual Souvla in SF is using a community kitchen to prep meals for the Caviar delivery service in a part of the city (Oakland / East Bay) where they don’t have a foothold yet. The delivery wars have all these apps looking for a competitive edge, so if you’ve got a big enough name, I bet you could negotiate some pretty sweet terms…

Portuguese for Boondoggle? – Need a reason to go to Brazil this winter? Alex Atala has you covered. Per Eater, “In the footsteps of René Redzepi’s MAD SymposiumAndoni Luis Aduriz’s Kitchen Dialogues, and the recent Farm of Ideas, promoted by Danish chef Christian Puglisi last weekend in Denmark… Brazilian superstar chef Alex Atala has announced plans for ‘Fruto — the possibilities to feed the world,’ which will take place in São Paulo next January.” (Side note: I speak Portuguese and would be happy to tag along to translate if you’re buying… don’t tell Atala I said boondoggle!)

Design Fans – In Chicago, “Goose Island Brewing Co. has enlisted the talents of chef and restaurateur Stephanie Izard to attract customers into its newly-remodeled private event space” which has gone all in on bricks, barrels, and subway tiles in a literally cavernous space. There’s also a “cheese room where chefs could engage in ‘culinary theater’” (or possibly culinary slasher film cosplay?).

Last and least – I’m not exactly well-versed in the Queens of the Stone Agecatalog, but if you’re looking to spice up your to-go gear, maybe rock-n-roll butcher paper is the right touch?

That’s it for today. There’s a banh mi truck out front that is calling my name. Hope the checks this weekend help you finish summer strong, and if you’re part of one of the many anticipated fall openings, I’m rooting for you.

See you Tuesday for next Family Meal!

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or business class tickets to Sao Paolo in January to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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