The Family Meal – Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Hello Tuesday,

It’s Election Day in the U.S.! But since there’s not much going on politically lately, here’s a very brief brief on some industry news…

The Conversation – It’s near impossible to pull short quotes from this Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy) piece in Esquire without risking unintentionally miscommunicating her point, so here’s the headline: “I’ve Worked in Food for 20 Years. Now You Finally Care About Female Chefs?” If you haven’t read it yet, read it. Ok, ok, here’s a teaser: “Warning: I am about to display anger.

And quick note for the media folks reading this: Cohen ends with a little list of 65 female chefs in New York, “off the top of [her] head”. May come in handy.

P.S. P.R. – Food & Wine is launching something called Communal Table with a note from EIC Hunter Lewis: “In the wake recent reports of sexual harassment and assault in restaurants and bars… Our goal is to work long term with leaders to create more humane and sustainable workplaces. We encourage restaurant and bar workers and owners to write in and share their experiences here: Have ideas about how to make the industry a safer, better, more sustainable place to work? Please share them, too. We’ll edit and post some entries to” First up is Daniel Patterson.

Michelin Season – “Inspectors have already started working on-site” in Taipei for a Spring 2018 guide. No dig on Taipei, but based on Michelin’s recent business practices, I’m guessing the Taiwan tourism board has a three-star line item for the next five years?

The Profile Treatment – Chef JJ Johnson got a hell of a write-up in the NYT yesterday: “As one song transitioned to another, Mr. Johnson, who goes by JJ, dropped names. He compared himself to the chef Daniel Boulud. He talked about his hunger to become a restaurateur as prolific and accomplished as Drew NieporentDanny MeyerDavid Chang and April Bloomfield. He referred to himself in the third person: ‘I’m just cooking me, JJ unleashed!’ He said he didn’t mean to sound cocky. But then he did: ‘I made the Cecil iconic!’ he declared. He is in a position to brag.”

Les Photographies – Apologies for missing this last week, but the NYT has a preview of that recently released book of Paul Child’s photography from his time in France with his only-slightly-more-famous wife, Julia. It’s a cool little look at life in and out of the kitchen, with a hint of – I think I’m seeing this right – boudoir noir?

For the Somm – “After wild fires, what happens to fire retardant-soaked crops?” This KQED article quotes retardant producers as saying “all products in Phos-Chek are food grade or better” and the star ingredient is “ammonium phosphate, a fertilizer.” That sounds good, but honest question: What does it mean for certified organic vineyards?

And here’s the Chronicle’s Esther Mobley on the other aftermath: “The Bucklin family’s relationship with Constellation Brands stretches back more than three decades. That’s how long Constellation — a global wine corporation expected to generate $7.33 billion in revenue this year, and owner of California wine brands like Robert Mondavi and Ravenswood — has bought grapes from Old Hill Ranch, the Bucklins’ 35-acre Sonoma Valley vineyard. But after this year’s wildfires, for the first time ever, Constellation rejected the Old Hill fruit. The reason? Smoke taint.”

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:

TV Watch – “30 Years: A Celebration of the James Beard Foundation,” to air on ABC  Sunday, November 26 at 4PM ESTMarcus Samuelsson hosts. “The television special… will feature appearances by a plethora of culinary boldface names including Mario BataliDaniel BouludTom ColicchioTraci des JardinsCarla HallEmeril LagasseJacques PepinGail SimmonsMartha Stewart and Ming Tsai.” Trailer – which makes it look like a promo for a single Samuelsson dinner at the Beard House for some reason – here.

For Design Fans – In Chicago, Graham Elliot and “Chef Matt” Merges are opening Gideon Sweet this weekend. The name comes from an old apple variety, in case you were wondering. Unfortunately, they chose to focus solely on “sweet” in their design. If power of suggestion is a thing, there are gonna be a lot of cocktails sent back at that bar because, you know, sweet – sweet sweet sweet, sweet.

Last and least – This Toronto Life I-was-an-amateur-chef-who-started-a-restaurant-and-it-nearly-ruined-my-life article is making the rounds because Chef J. Dahmer over here (“It looked a little like a stubby, sun-baked human hand on a platter… a beautiful plate.”) makes some very poor choices.

And that’s it for today. Hope the line at your polling place is as quick as this email.

I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or your sweet, sweet restaurant design ideas to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s