Thinking of all those in the path of Irma today. Stay safe out there! A brief request for stories once the wind has died down is at bottom.
Let’s get to it….
For Shame – On Instagram this week, Dominique Crenn told off San Pellegrino for including almost no women in its Young Chef juries around the world: “Your leadership skills are disappointing, You are not inspiring and I hope you learn from this.” Ouch.
Delivery Wars – Latest salvo from Postmates in TechCrunch (brace for lots of numbers): “Unlimited, Postmates’ Prime-style loyalty program that gives subscribers free deliveries for $9.99/month, will now cover all 250,000+ restaurants and other merchants listed on its app, and it has lowered the minimum order value to $20. On top of this, Postmates is also lowering fees outside of Unlimited. Those who order from Postmates’ Partner merchants (which number 12,000) now pay $3.99 with no service fees nationally. Any purchase outside of that network — that is, the most basic Postmates service — will cost $5.99, with a maximum $20 service fee that will vary based on basket size (in other words, distance will no longer be factored into the delivery price).”
And if you’re really into delivery issues, TechCrunch is also tracking ongoing testimony in Lawson v. GrubHub, a lawsuit arguing the company is using 1099 contractor status to underpay and mistreat workers.
Sup – “Former 42 Grams chef Jake Bickelhaupt is launching a ‘wandering supper club’ pop-up starting this month,” according to Eater Chicago. Konrowill be a return to roots for him, and comes at the same time he’s getting renewed attention for an upcoming documentary on his previous transition from in-home supper club to storefront restaurant.
Tru – Also in Chicago: “After 18 years of raising the bar on fine dining, showcasing world-class chefs and winning myriad prestigious culinary awards and accolades, Tru will serve its final dinner on October 7.” Lettuce Entertain You founder Rich Melmann tells Chicago Magazine he doesn’t want to do 4-star dining anymore, and has something “cute” for the Tru space in mind. (Chasing them fast casual $$$?) Meanwhile, chef Anthony Martin is leaving LEYE to do his own, uncertain thing, and “former Tru chef Rick Tramonto will return to Chicago to work with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises inside the former Pump Room in Gold Coast.”
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The Profile Treatment – Chef’s chef Akhtar Nawab gives hope to those hovering around rock bottom in EaterNY this week: “The months following the shuttering of Elettaria were brutal for Nawab. His marriage fell apart, his career was on the rocks, and he was broke. ‘It was very hard,’ he says. ‘It seemed so insurmountable. I could not see my way around it.’” (Spoiler: he surmounted.)
If it looks like a chain, and it clinks like a chain… Down South, Eater has a profile of Sean Brock’s growing empire this week: “Husk isn’t a chain – but it’s definitely growing. Sean Brock is bringing his regional southern restaurant brand to Greenville and Savannah this fall.” (Itallics on the words meaning “chain” are mine.) And out west, Daniel Patterson is finally confirming Alta (his multi-location California casual restaurant brand?) will arrive in L.A.’s West Adams sometime next year.
Nature of the beast – “Uptown Oakland Loses Major Food Hall Project as Uber Stalls on Headquarters” or, in other words: Don’t bet all your money on one horse, especially if that horse is a tech company in turmoil.
For Design Fans – State Bird Provisions is back from their revamp with these pics. Will miss the funky tabletops, but place still looks pretty, pretty, pretty good.
For Design Fans 2– Cautionary tale: It’s Corporation Food Hall in downtown L.A., and it’s brick, metal, and chalkboards. I only include it so that someone, somewhere, will be inspired to break these weird homeowners association rules and do something fun with a “food hall” for once. Bring back markets as chaos. Customers will thank you (translation for food hall corporations and investors: you will make money).
Last and Most – I am obliged to tell you that René Redzepi and the Nomacrew can now charge $2k per person at invitation-only (not charity related) dinners in private NYC clubs. And yet, many will still mistake the chef for a homeless man when they spot him wandering Central Park gathering wild ingredients for the elite…
And that’s it for today.
One last note to those either in the path of Irma or planning to respond to it: As with Harvey in Houston, I will do my best to spread the word about how the restaurant industry is coping/helping, so if you have any good links to stories you think might fit, please send to email@example.com. Since most Family Meal readers are in the industry, I especially want to highlight the suppliers and other providers who don’t necessarily get the mainstream press that chefs and consumer-facing brands get. Thank you!
And I’ll see you Tuesday – safe and sound – for next Family Meal.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or pictures of Redzepi foraging Sheep Meadow to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at thisfamilymeal.com!