The Family Meal – Friday, October 6th, 2017

Hello Friday,

Let’s get to it…

Some sad news – Jon Rowley – “fish missionary,” “culinary evangelist,” “tastemaker” – died Wednesday at 74. There are (at least) two fantastic obituaries to read on him. His hometown paper has remembrances from “chefs Shiro Kashiba (Sushi Kashiba), Tamara Murphy (Terra Plata) and Wayne Ludvigsen (formerly of Ray’s Boathouse), and food writer Ruth Reichl,” while the Washington Post has Rebekah Dean with a great pic of Rowley fishing with Julia Child and many wonderfully personal observations (“I visited him on Vashon Island near Seattle recently, after the diagnosis. Family photos were displayed more prominently than his 1987 James Beard Foundation Who’s Who Award.”).

Bad PR, for good reason – Everyone is talking about the big NYT exposé of film producer Harvey Weinstein and his history of sexual harassment. Everyone is also starting to talk about comparisons in their own industries… This week, Todd English stands accused of playing a part in the mess at the Plaza, sexually harassing a server and “setting the tone for a ‘toxic, objectifying and hostile’ work environment.” And over on Page Six “’Meatball Queen’ Donatella Arpaia and celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos ​are being sued by a Staten Island woman who claims she was ‘aggressively groped’ while working at a pizzeria they co-own in Grand Central Terminal.”

A well-connected @shitfoodblogger notes “Reports coming to me about the possible Harvey Weinstein of food. Keep them coming.” First comment: “Which one?”

Michelin Season – The Bib Gourmands are out in SF, with a lot of speculation about whether notably absent Rich Table is moving on up to a star. Kate Krader has the full list in Bloomberg, under the title “San Francisco Is Losing Its Great, Inexpensive Restaurants,” which begs the question: When will Michelin raise the $40 ceiling on the Bibs in some of these towns?

Details via Krader: “Of the four newcomers to this year’s Bib Gourmand list, none is in San Francisco proper. They are the soul food-inspired Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland; Playa, a Mexican restaurant in Mill Valley; and two Peninsula spots, Pausa in San Mateo, which specializes in authentic Italian food, and the Sichuan-focused Royal Feast in Millbrae.”

Next up is D.C. A reminder of the 2017 U.S. Michelin release schedule:

SF – Bibs out 10/5, stars out 10/12, guide on sale 10/17.
DC – Bibs 10/10, stars 10/17, on sale 10/20.
Chicago – Bibs 10/13, stars 10/20, on sale 11/3.
NYC – Bibs 10/23, stars 10/30, on sale 11/3.

And for perspective before the stars come out next week, Food & Wine has this rundown on the business pros and cons of red book rankings. Point: Joël Robuchon tells F&W, “With one Michelin star, you get about 20 percent more business. Two stars, you do about 40 percent more business, and with three stars, you’ll do about 100 percent more business.” Counterpoint: “According to a study published in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, nearly half of the sample group of 26 two- and three-Michelin-starred restaurants from across Europe were found to not be making a profit, regardless of their ranking.”

Award Season – For the Bar: The 50 Best Bars 2017 list came out yesterday, with London and NYC taking all five top spots. (1) American Bar, London (2) Dandelyan, London (3) The NoMad, NYC (4) Connaught Bar, London (5) The Dead Rabbit, NYC. And the wild card coming in at #48… Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco!

The big close(?) – Per the NYT: “LE CIRQUE The celebrity haunt that Sirio Maccioni originally opened on East 65th Street in 1974 (it’s now in Bloomberg Tower on East 58th Street, its third location) will close after dinner on New Year’s Eve… High rent is the reason.” But son Mauro Maccioni says “Running Le Cirque is the only thing I know how to do,” so they’re looking for a new location… again.

This Family Meal is brought to you by World Central Kitchen, which is currently raising funds to help support their chef-driven relief in Puerto Rico. Restaurants looking to get involved can sign up to participate in World Food Day on October 13th, here. Your support will be showcased through José Andrés, PR, media partners and World Central Kitchen’s marketing. If you have questions about World Food Day or World Central Kitchen, contact

TV Watch – The second season of L.A.’s The Migrant Kitchen comes out next month, with a focus on shifting views on authenticity and tradition. Trailer and description here, but their website is having trouble today, so youtube version here too. “Episodes will feature Los Angeles chefs and food influencers including Ray Garcia (Broken SpanishBS Taqueria), Carlos Salgado(Tacos María), Bryant Ng (Cassia), Sonoko Sakai (Chuka Soba), Wes Avila(Guerilla Tacos) and the Mahendro family (Badmaash).”

Lists I like – If you’ve got time for books these days, J. Kenji López-Alt is spending each day in October writing about a different food book that “had a major influence either on [his] career or on [his] day-to-day cooking.” Sample post, day 3: Michael Ruhlman’s The Making of a Chef. “Ruhlman is a dork, but in the best possible way. The kind of dork that I aspire to be.”

The Suits – Tell the Bar: FYI – A man was awarded $750k after he ingested cleaning fluid from recently serviced beer lines at a McCormick and Schmicksin Atlantic City. Rinse, repeat.

Last and least – Hat tip to the excellent Racist Sandwich podcast for spottinga new dumpling emoji, coming soon to Apple’s iOS 11.1. Still waiting on gnocchi.

And that’s it for today. Sending all my strongest anti-hurricane thoughts to the Gulf Coast right now… Not another one, please.

See you here Tuesday for next Family Meal!

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or video of Ruhlman yelling “NO, YOU’RE A DORK” at Lopez-Alt to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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