First, PR folk, if you don’t want reporters to refer to your restaurant as a “barbecue” joint (even though it kind of is), and you definitely don’t want them to mention the fact that it’s located in San Francisco’s most notorious leaning, sinking tower, don’t draw attention to those facts by asking reporters not to mention them. If you’re repping Ayesha Curry and Michael Mina’s new International Smoke, you have lots of other things to talk about. Talk about those things.
Instead, the SF Chronicle wound up writing an entire article about the “curious ‘talking points’ put forth by the International Smoke PR team,” while Eater SF went with a headline calling the restaurant a “Monument to Barbecue… now filling the first floor of Millennium Tower.” Win?
The Big Move – Per Eater SF: “Just two years after taking on the leadership of Coi’s kitchen from chef-owner Daniel Patterson, executive chef Matthew Kirkley earned the restaurant its third, coveted Michelin star. In unexpected news, however, chef Kirkley had already left the kitchen when the stars were awarded.” Reason given: he wanted to train full time for the Bocuse d’Or, where he’ll rep the US as Head Chef alongside commis Mimi Chen (Daniel).
The Profile Treatment – “There are always going to be figureheads, and they have people behind them doing the actual work. Angela has been that person for a long time.” The “figurehead” there is Danny Bowein, and the Angela doing the actual work is Angela Dimayuga. Her Eater profile this weekend is part an exercise in claiming credit for almost every aspect of the NYC Mission Chinese operation (“Everything visual that you see, I selected”), and part a discussion of what her own queer identity has brought to both the restaurant and the new york scene in general (“The successful ecology of the restaurant, she said, is dependent on creating a place representative of how we’d like to see the world reflected outside the dining room doors, which means if a manager is training staff to pour wine first for women, or a server refers to a table as ‘ladies,’ this behavior gets interrogated.”). It’s well worth a read.
PS: It also does a pretty fantastic job avoiding any mention of the reason for her leaving Mission Chinese, minus this: “It was always on the table that I would become partner or own part of the restaurant… It just never worked out on a timeline that I was happy with.”
TV Watch – Speaking of Bowein, his new season of The Mind of a Chef is on something called Facebook Watch. I count three episodes up so far, and can’t tell if Dimayuga has a cameo yet or not…
The Conversation – The stories keep coming. This week, the SF Chronicle reports: “Even before he opened his popular Napa Valley restaurant Bottega in 2008, Bay Area chef Michael Chiarello was said to have a ‘propensity’ for sexually harassing women who worked for him, according to claims made in previously unreported court documents obtained by The Chronicle. Details in a sexual harassment lawsuit, filed in 2009 by a former Bottega pastry chef, depict a restaurant workplace fraught with blatant sexism and aggressively offensive misconduct by a celebrity chef…. The case was quietly settled in 2010. Chiarello went on to open Coqueta in San Francisco roughly three years later. Another sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against him in 2016, this time by two Coqueta employees who described the work environment as ‘hostile, sexually charged and abusive.’” Details here.
The Pizzaiolo – SF’s loss is NY’s gain: “Anthony Mangieri — and his crowd-drawing Una Pizza Napoletana— is coming back to New York City next year thanks to a new partnership with the chefs behind the Lower East Side’s Contra and Wildair, Jeremiah Stone and Fabian Von Hauske Valtierra.” Details in Eater NY.
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The Profile Treatment 2 – Wherein Thrillist’s Priya Krishna will make you feel like you should be doing more with your life: “With no experience as a restaurateur and little instruction from her boss, [Daniela Soto-Innes] turned a former strip club space on 21st Street into the Mexican fine dining restaurant that is now Cosme. ‘When I walked in, there were still poles everywhere,’ she says. ‘There was a fryer in the middle of the kitchen, food on the floor,’ and my personal favorite, ‘a sign on the refrigerator that said, “Ladies, please no sex in the walk-in coolers.” That’s our dry storage now.’ She Googled almost everything, ‘like, everything. How do you talk to an architect? What’s an HVAC?’ Eventually, of course, the restaurant opened in 2014 to practically universal praise for its flavorful duck carnitas, and whimsical corn husk meringues. Oh, and by the way, Soto-Innes was 24.” Full profile here.
That Hotel $$$ – D.C.’s Tim Ma (Kyirisan) and Derek Brown (The Columbia Room) got the gig overseeing F&B for a new hotel / co-working concept called Eaton Workshop that has hopes to expand to Hong Kong, SF, and Seattle. If you like the idea of “resistance-chic”, get on their radar?
That Hotel $$$pit – “Six months after breaking ground on the Nobu Hotel in the Fulton Market District, the project’s developer has stopped work and is trying to finalize how to pay for it.” Crain’s Chicago Business has the full story, dripping with red ink.
And for Nobu fans – Eater published an excerpt from his newly translated memoir yesterday, though they chose pretty boring celebrity bait (“Meeting Robert DeNiro”) over what I can only assume are the two most interesting chapters from the incredibly detailed table of contents: “Nobu doesn’t bargain” and “Maybe I did it”.
For the Somm – Via Esther Mobley in the Chronicle: “Kosta Browne, the wine brand that defined an era of California Pinot Noir style, is embarking on big changes. This spring, for the first time ever, the Sebastopol winery will open a tasting room — a reversal of its long-held stance of exclusivity. And founders Dan Kosta and Michael Browne, who have been gradually transitioning toward personal projects for years, are officially stepping down from the company…”
For Design Fans – Here’s a photo spread for the aforementioned International Smoke. Their PR people should talk about the faux-charred wall. It’s kind of cool.
Last and least – Chefs Feed is doing their “Worst Shift Ever” videos on Facebook again. The stories aren’t that interesting, but the accompanying animation makes them pretty entertaining. Michael Voltaggio washing out duck eggs at the Ritz is a good time…
And that’s it for today. Here’s hoping you have your best shift ever this week, and I’ll see you Friday for next Family Meal.
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PS – Didn’t include this above, because… Meh. But… Tiffany & Co. has a café now, and – at least based on these pictures – it is so boring it hurts. “The design inspiration was to make diners feel as though they are inside a trademark Tiffany blue box.” No. Customers don’t want to be inside the box; they want to be somewhere fantastic while looking down into the box. You coulda been fantastic, Tiffany. I still wouldn’t have gone, but you coulda been fantastic.