The Family Meal – Friday, October 13th, 2017

Hello Friday the 13th!

Let’s get right to it…

Wine country fires – The SF Chronicle is doing an incredible job covering all aspects of the Northern California fires, with what feels like an entire sitededicated to live updates and maps. At least 31 related deaths are now reported.

They are also keeping an updated list of wineries affected, and though there are reports of many vineyards surviving the flames, it makes for a tough read: Oster and Frey in Mendocino are “largely destroyed”, as are Napa’s VinRocand Signorello, and Sonoma’s Paradise Ridge. “White Rock Vineyards, one of Napa’s oldest wineries, has suffered significant damage and is likely lost, according to staffers.” Stag’s Leap, like many others where owners have not been able to get back onto properties yet, is listed as “extent of damage unknown.”

Related official statement: “Michelin will postpone the release of the 2018 starred restaurant selections for San Francisco and the Bay Area due to the unfolding wildfire disaster affecting Bay Area residents and the region’s community of cuisine. The Company was scheduled to announce the 2018 Michelin star selections for San Francisco, the Bay Area and Wine Country on Thurs., Oct. 12. The announcement will be rescheduled on a future date, yet to be determined.”

Eater SF has a list of ways restaurants are helping and can get involved.

Chicago stars – Far from the fires, Chicago got its Bib Gourmands today, including eight new entries: Longman & EagleGiantHaiSous, Mango Pickle, Mi Tocaya Antojeria, Pleasant House PubQuiote, and True Food Kitchen.

And the complete 2018 Michelin Switzerland guide was released this week, with two new two-star entries (Einstein Gourmet in Sankt Gallen, and Tavern zum Schäfli in Wigoltingin), 14 new one-stars, and no changes at the top (where Basel’s Cheval Blanc by Peter Kongl, Crissier’s B. Volier, and Fürstenau’s Schauenstein held on to three stars each).

Also in international news: “After marking its seventh anniversary in Singapore on Oct 10, Taiwan-born chef Andre Chiang has announced that he will close his two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Andre … on Feb 14 next year.” Restaurant Andre is the current #2 in 50 Best Asia, after Gaggan.

The Great No-Tipping Conspiracy of 2014 – Avid restaurant-goer (chyron copyright) Timothy Brown alleges, no joke: “In the fall of 2014, a handful of Bay Area restaurants agreed ‘as a group’ to eliminate tipping and increase prices by twenty percent. They are part of a larger conspiracy spearheaded by the Union Square Hospitality Group out of New York City and its founder and CEO Danny Meyer. The conspiracy is in its early experimental stage, focused on developing and disseminating best practices for switching to a no-tipping, ‘hospitality-included’ business model… The ongoing conspiracy unlawfully transfers millions of dollars from customers and servers to restaurant owners in violation of federal and state antitrust laws. Participating restaurants and a compliant media have portrayed the no-tipping/higher prices movement as intended to promote social justice and equality, while the real aim and effect is greater profit at the expense of workers and consumers.”

The LA Times notes that beyond evil ringleader Danny Meyer, “Others named as defendants include Eleven Madison Park… Tom Colicchio, and Bay Area restaurants Bar AgricoleTrou NormandDuendeCamino, and Comal, among others. The suit also names San Francisco’s Golden Gate Restaurant Association and the New York City Hospitality Alliance.” Full suit here.

Pour one out for all the other Tim Browns out there trying to get a reservation tonight…

#1 – And if you want a closer look at Eleven Madison Park’s post-reboot platings, Grubstreet has a good peek at one of the above co-conspirators.

TV Watch – The Top Chef Season 15 cast list is public, and there’s a new trailer and more info on the official site. The future winner and fourteen runners up are here:

  • Fatima Ali (formerly of La Fonda Del Sol) – NYC
  • Tyler Anderson (Millwright’s Restaurant and Tavern) – Simsbury, CT
  • Carrie Baird (Bar Dough) – Denver
  • Adrienne Cheatham (formerly of Red Rooster) – NYC
  • Laura Cole (229 Parks Restaurant) – Denali National Park, AK
  • Joseph Flamm (Spiaggia & Café Spiaggia) – Chicago
  • Rogelio Garcia (The Commissary) – SF
  • Tanya Holland (Brown Sugar Kitchen) – Oakland
  • Bruce Kalman (UNION and Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market) – LA
  • Brother Luck (Four by Brother Luck) – Colorado Springs
  • Melissa Perfit (Bar Crudo) – SF
  • Tu David Phu (Ăn: A Vietnamese Dining Experience) – Oakland
  • Joe Sasto (Cal Mare) – LA
  • Christopher Scott (Butterfunk Kitchen) – NYC
  • Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins (El Jardín) – San Diego

Moving on – Via Eater LA: Just six months since open, “Chef/partner Kyle Schutte departs from The Flats in Beverly Hills as of this coming weekend.” This  paragraph hurts: “The restaurant first announced Schutte as one of the names behind The Flats way back in 2014, following the shutter of previous on-site Jordan Kahn restaurant Red Medicine. In the intervening years Kahn managed to move on to Destroyer and ultimately Vespertine, while Schutte and company languished inside the building, fighting off delays and subway construction outside the front door.”

Delivery Wars – Per Eater NY this morning, “As of today, Facebook users in New York City can order food for pick-up or delivery directly from a restaurant’s Facebook page or from Facebook’s Explore menu. The option will roll out in San Francisco and Austin next, followed by other U.S. cities.” FYI: “Restaurants already using a delivery provider that’s now partnered with Facebook are automatically added to Facebook’s database. Restaurants may opt out or disengage the Delivery button that appears on their Facebook page.”

And last and least – A (very) little humor in the face of tragedy: someone put a breathing mask on that “Sidewalk Judge” statue in Yountville. Ugh. (Link goes to the Chronicle’s Jonathon Kauffman’s instagram)

And that’s it for today. Here’s hoping that by Family Meal time on Tuesday, all is extinguished out West.

See you then.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or “I knew them when” dirt on Top Chef contestants to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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