The Family Meal – Friday, September 15th, 2017

Hello Friday,

Several lawsuits to cover today, so apologies if that’s not your thing. Also, congratulations if you’re not currently being sued. Seems like everyone is getting sued.

Let’s get to it…

Awards Season – Cities are gearing up for Michelin Guide releases next month, with tickets on sale now for NYC’s Guide Gala here: “Join us as we celebrate the unveiling of the 13th edition of MICHELIN Guide New York City and the launch of the inaugural Robert Parker Wine Advocate Extraordinary Winery Awards.” Ah, the soon to be much coveted RPWAEWAs.

Lists I Like – Food & Wine’s “Most Innovative Women in Food & Drink” 2017 are out. Samples: #18 – Rosio Sánchez (Noma Tulum among many other projects), #12 – Karissa Kruse (President of Sonoma Winegrowers), #5 Joy Spence (Master Blender at Appleton Estate), and #1 – Katherine Miller(Founder of Chef Action Network).

The media – Eater editor Helen Rosner just announced on Twitter that yesterday was her last day at Eater.

That Fast Casual $$$ – The Voltaggio brothers (pictured in the article as two competing visions of men’s fashion) are opening a made-to-order sandwich shop called STRFSH (which Eater says is “short for starfish”, but is obviously short for Strangle Fetish) in Santa Monica. Key tidbit: “The most interesting little takeaway from the press release: the Voltaggio brothers are partnering with global talent agency UTA on the project. Perhaps STRFSH will be home to the next big reality TV show on Bravo.”

And speaking of terse restaurant names… “Self-described ‘world’s leading plant-based chef’ Matthew Kenney (of Irving Place’s embroiled yet now defunct Pure Food + Winewill open XYST in early November.” Pronounced Exist; definitely not Cyst.

The Profile Treatment – Drew Nieporent gets a full NYT bio from Alan Richman, and it’s a whirlwind of NYC and its restaurants, past and present: “His mother taught him (wrongly, he points out) to twirl spaghetti with a fork, then capture it on a spoon, when the family was dining at San Marino. He was eating egg rolls and sweet-and-sour pork at China Song, next to the Ed Sullivan Theater, the night in 1964 when the Beatles first performed there. He learned the difference between Wiener schnitzel and schnitzel à la Holstein (which is about anchovies and capers) at Janssen’s. He sighs when recollecting his first chicken Kiev and the thrill of its bursting butter, at Two Guitars, a Russian nightclub in a basement on 14th Street…”

The Suits – Per Grubstreet in L.A.: “Workers at Au Fudge — Jessica Biel’s kid-friendly West Hollywood restaurant where elites can park children in front of food while they go enjoy a $14 ‘MILF’ cocktail — are suing the restaurant for a variety of labor violations, the worst of which is allegedly $430,000 worth of wage theft.” Those $ are alleged to have resulted from the old catering tips = management bonuses mix-up.

And per Gothamnist in NYC: “A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Brooklyn Supreme Court accuses chef Dale Talde and his Three Kings Restaurant Group of fraud, alleging that the celebrity chef used resources, equipment and personnel from the Atlantic Social restaurant he runs in Fort Greene to benefit other restaurants owned by the group elsewhere in New York City.” Problem is: Talde operates that restaurant on behalf of George and Steve Menexas, who are not involved in the other Three Kings locations. There’s also a possible cover-up making things worse: “After being confronted with these allegations, the Three Kings trio are further accused of asking a kitchen manager to delete information from an Atlantic Social computer, a move which the plaintiffs argue could show ‘willful spoliation of evidence.’ The lawsuit furthers that this employee was then fired and allegedly rehired at a different Three Kings-operated restaurant. The lawsuit seeks $3.5 million in damages.”

And per Eater NY: “A high profile lawsuit against Mexican restaurateur Julian Medina, which included allegations that the chef blackmailed a staff member with a sex tape, was dismissed from the courts less than three weeks after it was filed…. [The manner of dismissal agreed to in this case] typically means that the parties have come to an out-of-court agreement.”

(And just because this Family Meal is already a legal mess, two side notes: A Denver woman took the hot drink lawsuit trend a bit further than usual and says scalding hot tea killed her dog at a Starbucks drive-through. Damn. And there’s a lawyer in Michigan who is bringing Jews and Muslims together through a shared mission to sue anyone who accidentally adds bacon where it shouldn’t be. Great Times of Israel headline: Shaken by Bacon, She Sues. OK, that’s it. Sorry.)

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:

Some sad news – “Winnie Yu, co-founder of Teance Fine Teas in Berkeley, and a woman whose influence on American tea culture was quiet but pervasive, died in Berkeley on September 11 after a year-long illness. She was 47.” Full obituary in the Chronicle.

For design fans – Here’s the photo spread for Merakia: Greek MountainThief Spithouse + Steak (yep, full name). Check out the curves that lighting creates in front of the kitchen. And that wood-ringed skylight…

The Digits – I’m a sucker for “By the Numbers” features, so here’s one for Delmonico’s, which turns 180 years old this month. Favorite stat: “$10,000: The largest tip in Delmonico’s history, left to a bartender on a bill for one Corona.” Great lime?

Last and least: What is Anal Cleft? – Bikini baristas are suing for their right to keep on wearing bikinis in Everett, WA, and The Stranger has appropriately titled its article on the matter, “What is ‘Anal Cleft’?” You won’t find pictures here (sorry, cleft fans), but you will find a rundown of legal arguments in the case, which are well worth the read and could come in handy for future use. (Slowly removes pants… “THIS IS HOW I EXPRESS MYSELF, OFFICER.”)

And that’s it for today. Hope your weekend is all big covers and $10k Corona guys. I’ll see you Tuesday for next Family Meal.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or links to hot drink lawsuits where the problem is the drink is too cold to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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