It’s approaching midnight in Hong Kong and the number of large tropical bugs circling the light above my desk is reaching a critical mass. Time to hit send.
Let’s get to it…
Michelin Season –SF rankings finally arrived on Wednesday, and the Bay Area now has the most three star restaurants in the U.S. (at least until NYC’s guide comes out Monday), with seven including top rank newcomer – drum roll please – Coi. Elsewhere on the list, Californios and Single Thread earned two stars each, and In Situ, Kenzo, Kinjo, and Rich Table joined the one star tier.
If you were hoping to see Atelier Crenn – and therefore a female chef – earn a third star this year, I come bearing bad news.
PS – Tell your staff: Bad reviews can be good starting points. The same day the stars came out, Chronicle critic Michael Bauer published this: “On my last full review of Coi, service garnered only 2.5 stars. But the staff has stepped up, putting the restaurant’s service back in the four-star category.”
Critic Watch – Her goodbye note to the LA Times last month said she was moving home to Melbourne. Turns out Besha Rodell had a gig lined up… She is now the New York Times food critic for Australia. Her first review – Federal Doma Café in New South Wales – is here.
Handover – Chef José Andrés, has managed to get himself into a situation where entire articles about his work in Puerto Rico read as if the journalist were furiously googling, “how to say ‘hero’ without sounding too enthusiastic”. Now, as his mission there winds down, the NYT has a handover piece with some numbers: “Under the banner of his nonprofit group, World Central Kitchen, his crew of chefs, cooking students, pastors, food-truck drivers and hundreds of volunteers has served, as of Tuesday, close to two million meals and handmade sandwiches… At its peak, Mr. Andrés’s operation cost about $400,000 a day… Last Saturday, World Central Kitchen signed a $10 million contract with FEMA to produce 120,000 meals a day for two weeks.”
50 Best – Latin America’s 50 Best 2017 are out, and Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura took #1 (He’s a Johnson & Wales grad, in case you were looking to stage…). Top 10, top to bottom: Maido (Lima), Central (Lima), D.O.M. (São Paolo), Pujol (Mexico City), Boragó (Santiago), Quintonil (Mexico City), Astrid y Gastón (Lima), A Casa do Porco (São Paolo), Maní (São Paolo), and Tegui (Buenos Aires).
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:
The Discussion – If you haven’t read it, Jen Agg’s piece in the New Yorker about a “Harvey Weinstien moment for the food industry” is here: “It’s worth noting that, as I’ve watched the [John Besh] story unfold, I’ve seen many food journalists and non-restaurant people speaking out publicly about it, but few food-world leaders. ‘Hi chefs & restaurateurs not saying anything about sexual harassment, we can see that we’re not seeing you,’ Helen Rosner, a food writer and editor tweeted on Monday.”
The Second Act – It’s only a “first bite” from D.C. critic Tom Sietsema, but if you were rooting for Kwame Onwuachi after his brutal Shaw Bijouexperience, there’s this: “It’s early in the restaurant’s life, but this much is already true: Kith and Kin represents a promising development in an evolving slice of town and a compelling new chapter for its chef.”
For the somm – Wine writer Jon Bonné puts the northern California fires in perspective for Punch magazine this week: “The most tragic losses in the wine community were visited upon the less famous—people like the Vandendriessche family that owns White Rock Vineyards, which had valuable land but certainly wasn’t in Napa’s upper stratum; or the Olds family, which owns Sky Vineyards atop Mount Veeder. But much of the pain of recovery will fall on people who lived even more modestly, in places like Coffey Park or the nearby Fountaingrove neighborhood—the middle-class backbones of Sonoma and Napa.”
And last and least-ish – Via tweeter Kevin Ferguson: Remember when the Red Medicine crew, including a young(er) Jordan Kahn, outed L.A. Times food critic S. Irene Virbila by taking her picture, kicking her out of the restaurant, and posting the photo on Tumblr? That was seven years ago. Now Kahn has the number one restaurant in L.A. according to the L.A. Times food critic… (NB: I do not endorse a course of action based on inferences of causality here.)
And that’s it for today. Next Family Meal is on Halloween, so prepare for a lot of bad puns and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
See you then.