The Family Meal – Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

Hello Tuesday,

Family Meal is back. Skipped last Friday because I didn’t want to bore you with a roundup of turkey stories. Also, basting is very controversial all of a sudden, and I am afraid of controversy.

Let’s get to it…

Michelin Season – Tokyo’s 2018 stars were announced today, and “while the three-starred club remains unchanged, inspectors promoted five restaurants to the [now 56 locations strong] two-starred club… They include Chinese restaurant Sazenka, French restaurants Florilege and Hommage, modern restaurant Den and Japanese restaurant Higuchi.” There were also 23 new single stars, bringing that total to 166.

The Iberian guide is also out since last Family Meal, and a lil’ local paper reports: “Two Spanish restaurants have just joined the elite list of three Michelin stars: ABaC in Barcelona, run by the television star Jordi Cruz, and Aponiente in Puerto de Santa María (Cádiz), run by chef Ángel León… That makes 11 restaurants in Spain with the three-star rating. The other nine are AkelarreArzakAzurmendiDiverXOEl Celler de Can RocaLasarteMartín BerasateguiQuique Dacosta and Sant Pau.” Spain also got five new two-star spots (Cabana BuenavistaCoqueDisfrutarDos Cielos, and Maralba) and 17 new single stars (including Albert Adrià’s Enigma). Portugal got two new single stars (Gusto and Vista), and a handful of Bibs. Full list of new stars and Bib Gourmands here.

“The bon vivant has quietly backed out of negotiations” – Or, in other words, Chelsea Now reports Todd English is no longer opening up a food hall at 7th and West 21st in Chelsea (the former site of town-gown nightmare Il Bastardo). “Apparently, Chef English and his team were not initially aware that Kristin Sollenne, a Food Network personality and wife of former Il Bastardo owner Robert Malta, would continue to be involved with the project.”

PS – Eater NY ends their piece on the move: “The chef — previously known for being a big party guy — was also recently accused of sexually harassing staff at his food hall in The Plaza Hotel.”

The Big Deal – Steve Cuozzo has word that “London-based hospitality giant rhubarb has signed for two major eateries at the fast-rising 26-acre Hudson Yards complex.” The contract includes “a 5,800-square-foot restaurant on the fifth level of the Neiman Marcus-anchored Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards mall, which has also drawn eateries run by Thomas KellerJosé AndrésDavid ChangMichael LomonacoCostas Spiliadis and D&D London,” PLUS “10,000 square feet on the 92d floor [of the Hudson Yards tower],” and “an indoor-outdoor bar on the… 5,000-square-foot observation deck that will be the city’s highest outdoor viewing platform.” Details in the NY Post.

Congrats / Thanks to Chefs Giving in S.F., which raised $750k to aid victims of the North Bay wildfires. (Dinner with Dominique Crenn at her farm went for $30k!) And to José Andrés, who was featured on 60 minutes last weekend for that thing he’s been doing…

Tell PR – The 2017 Eater Awards will be announced on December 5th. “All 24 Eater cities and the national site will grant prizes in multiple categories, including but not limited to Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year, and Design of the Year.” There will also be readers’ choice awards (via pre-determined multiple choice). Polls are only open 24 hours (and some opened yesterday morning… tick, tock); check yours here: AtlantaAustinBostonCharlestonChicagoDallasDenverDetroitHoustonLas VegasLondonLos AngelesMiamiMontrealNashvilleNew OrleansNew YorkPhiladelphiaPortland, ORSan DiegoSan FranciscoSeattleTwin CitiesWashington D.C.

This Family Meal is brought to you by GoTab: Split, Tip, Pay, and Go. GoTab is the fastest, safest, and easiest way to pay your tab right from your phone at any bar or restaurant. Find out more at

“Is being a chef bad for your mental health?” – Another one of those articlesis going around, this time from UK critic Jay Rayner in the Guardian: “Earlier this year Unite, the country’s biggest union, conducted a survey of professional chefs in London, and the impact upon them of their working conditions. Almost half regularly worked between 48 and 60 hours a week. Seventy-eight per cent said they’d had an accident or a near miss through fatigue. More than a quarter were drinking to get through their shift, a figure which doubled to 56% when it came to taking painkillers. A startling 51% said they suffered from depression due to overwork.”

The Tribute – A Mr. Francis Lam tweeted “Read this please”, so I did. You should too. It’s a very brief, threaded homage to Douglas Oliver, the pitmaster at Sweatman’s Bar-B-Que in Holly Hills, South Carolina. Oliver was 56 years old when he died last month.

The Legend – Hymie Sckolnick, founder of the iconic Montreal eatery Beauty’shas died at the age of 96. The son of Jewish Russian immigrants, Sckolnick bought the Bancroft Snack Bar for $500 in 1942. He rechristened the restaurant as a nod to his bowling nickname: Beauty.”

Big Beverage – Per the Chicago Tribune, “Breakthru Beverage Group, the alcohol wholesale company that has its Illinois operation based in Cicero, is planning to merge with Texas-based Republic National Distribution Co. to form the second largest alcohol distributor in the U.S., the companies announced… In merging with Republic National, the newly formed entity would distribute beer, wine and spirits to 27 states and Canada, with projected annual sales of about $12 billion… In some markets — such as Colorado, Florida, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C. — Breakthru and Republic National are currently competitors and likely would need to consolidate some operations.”

For design fans – OK, this is a hotel, not a restaurant, but if you like restaurant design – or any kind of design at all – you’ll want to scroll through this slideshowThe Mondrian in Doha. Damn.

For the Somm – Wine Advocate has made some new hires: “William Kelleywill join the reviewer team on January 1, covering the regions of Burgundy, Chablis, Beaujolais, California Central Coast and Washington State” while “coverage of Bordeaux for The Wine Advocate will be assumed by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW.”

Can I ask a quick math question, Robert Parker? In the above announcement, you say you have 9 full time reviewers making a total of 30,000 reviews per year. How can all those reviews possibly be… good?

Last and least – Apologies for Twitter clickbait, but this is the first recipe I’ve ever seen on a gravestone: “Spritz Cookies” from “beloved Mother, Aunt, Grandmother, & Great-Grandmother” Naomi Odessa Miller-Dawson (via Paul Ford). Definitely delicious. Potentially cursed.

And that’s it for today. Quick living will note: Please scatter my ashes on anything green near noma 2.0. I want René Redzepi to hear the wind whisper “eaaat meeeeee” next time he’s out foraging. (I have nothing against René Redzepi.)

See you here Friday for next Family Meal!

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or recipes from beyond the grave to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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