The Family Meal – Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

Hello Tuesday,

Family Meal is back and coming to you today from a lil’ island in the South China Sea called “Hong Kong” where the locals appear to be putting on sweaters for temps in the low 80s. This past summer, I’m told, was rough.

And speaking of rough, let’s get to it…

Unfortunately, first things first, a lot of new harassment news: NOLA.com’s Brett Anderson follows up on last week’s bombshell reporting to announce that “Chef John Besh is stepping down from his restaurant group in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against him and his company. Besh’s departure from Besh Restaurant Group, which he co-owns, was announced in an email to staff on Monday (Oct. 23).”

(P.S. if the comments section is any indication, BRG better get that new HR department up and running ASAP…)

Eater is reporting on the story as well, of course – including noting that Alon Shaya now says his recent firing was due to his “proactively engaging” with Anderson’s investigation – but they are curiously silent on last week’s firing of one of their own, co-founder Lockhart Steelewho was let go from Eater’s parent company, Vox Media, after a Medium post by a former employee led to a new investigation into old claims of sexual harassment.

And over in Chicago, “Cosmo Goss, the executive chef of Chicago’s popular and award-winning Publican restaurants, was fired after ownership said he failed to take disciplinary action when a ‘personal’ and ‘inappropriate’ photo of a female employee was shared among staff without her permission.”

Michelin season – After delaying the San Francisco Bay Area guide because of the northern California wildfires, Michelin says it will announce the stars tomorrow (Wednesday) and release the guide there on Friday.

Chicago’s stars came out last Friday, with Alinea and Grace holding on to three stars each, Smyth joining the two star ranks, and Elske and Entente new to the one star list.

And NYC’s 2018 Bib Gourmands arrived yesterday, with Atla and Olmstedsurprising some both for missing out on star status and for being listed as “affordable.” Ryan Sutton handles the ins and outs here. Stars out next week.

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 (www.strength.org), 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: 
http://tinyurl.com/passionpodcast

Lists worth reading – Mr. Jonathon Gold is out with his 101 Best Restaurants in L.A., and it starts off with one heck of a “yet” in the write-up of this year’s #1, Vespertine: “The entire experience at Vespertine, from the lack of right angles in the dining room, to the throbbing four-note soundtrack, to the overwhelming abstraction of the food, to the stunning cost of dinner, is going to drive many of you insane. Yet looked at as an artwork…” Rounding out the top 10 from #2 on down: ProvidenceSpagoLukshonTaco MariaSpringTrois MecCassiaMozzaplex, and Rossoblu. (Side note: Gold’s rankings will get the chatter, but do yourself a favor and look at the list on a large, high-res screen. Those LA Times photographers. Damn. Instagram shminstagram.)

And while I was away, Esquire’s Jeff Gordinier published his 18 Best New Restaurants in America list, which included the best “actually” of the year so far: “Actually, Todd, your geezer parochialism is what’s wrong.” (Scroll to #17 – Vicia in St. Louis – for the full story there)

The Next Chapter – Headline in EaterNY: “Mission Chinese Star Chef Angela Dimayuga Leaves Restaurant.” Seems on good terms, and there’s no hint of what’s next except a single emoticon of an alien buried in her goodbye Instagram, so… Vespertine?

Food Hall fever – Also via EaterNY: “A food hall within a food hall is headed to Industry City: Marketed as a Japanese EatalyJapan Village will take up 20,000 square feet in the sprawling Sunset Park commercial complex with six food stalls, an izakaya, a sake store, specialty grocery, and more. Owners Tony Yoshida and Takuya Yoshida, who also own Michelin-starred Kyo Ya… intend to make it feel like Japan in the U.S.”

Automation blues – The minimally human eatsa chain announced yesterdaythat they’ve “decided to close the five eatsa restaurants in New York, D.C., and Berkeley.” But in what read like an open note to investors, they played up the idea that their technology (tablet ordering tied to fancy automated pickup windows) could soon be sold to outside restaurant groups. cc Shake Shack?

Last and least – I am no fan of the “It’s world [whatever] day!” phenomenon, but these buttons celebrating “World Tripe Day” from the Tripe Marketing Board of the UK are pretty great, especially since it seems the board has completely given up on trying to expand their audience: “Tripe for stamina, vitality, libido, Over 65s, and… dogs!”

And that’s it for today. I’ll be in Hong Kong for a while yet, looking at doing a bit of Family Meal expansion in the region, so any suggestions on places to eat and folks to talk to are most welcome: andrew@thisfamilymeal.com.

Take care, eat tripe, and I’ll see you Friday for next Family Meal.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or lurid stories of tripe-induced libido escapades to andrew@thisfamilymeal.com. If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at thisfamilymeal.com!

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