I regret to inform you that this Family Meal is almost all bad news.
Let’s get to it…
The Big Story – “Mario Batali Steps Away From Restaurant Empire Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations: Four women accuse the chef of inappropriate touching in a pattern of behavior that spans at least two decades, according to dozens of Eater interviews.” .Batali basically admits the stories are accurate (“much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted”), and I don’t have anything to add to the original narrative. If you haven’t read it, you should. Here it is.
Reporting credit where due: Broken via Eater NY by Irene Plagianos and Kitty Greenwald, with additional reporting by Amanda Kludt, editing by Serena Daiand Matt Buchanan, and fact checking by Jenny Hendrix.
The Fallout (for Mario) – Also via Eater: “ABC, the network that airs Batali as a co-host on The Chew, has asked the chef to step away from the show while they review the allegations. The Food Network has halted plans to bring back Molto Mario, the show that launched Batali to stardom. Now his collaboration with Belcampo Meats has ended as well, according to CEO Anya Fernald.”
Also, in case you woke up to the Eater story and missed the intro: On Sunday night, reporter Yashar Ali tweeted “According to three sources, a famous chef will be the subject of a story about allegations of sexual misconduct… likely out tomorrow.” Thus began a guessing game that named (without evidence) nearly every big chef in the business, and included several “It could literally be anyone” tweets. In other words, this will not be the last story… And (among others) both Amanda Kludt at Eater (Amanda@eater.com), and Maura Judkisat the Washington Post (twitter DMs open) have made it clear they’re still listening.
Meanwhile, in the Financial Times… “Eataly, the Italian food emporium, is planning to list shares on the stock exchange in Milan as early as next year as the group ramps up its expansion in the US.”
Bet they answer the phones, “Mario who?”
Speaking of which, chef Preeti Mistry brings up a question a lot of would-be financiers must be pondering (minus the hashtag): “Dear restaurant investors…all those #chefbros still looking like the safest deal??” But how do you vet for this?
The Conversation – FYI Boston: Matthew Jennings is offering Townsman as a venue for an industry-only sit down about abuse in the kitchen sometime in January.
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The Suits – Brooks Headley is being sued by former Superiority Burger sous chef Julia Goldberg, who “says Headley directed her to write the recipes for the book, while he would write the introductions and other narratives.” The complaint in Courthouse News reads: “Headley offered to split the advance with plaintiff and to ensure she had equal credit on the book for working with him to complete the manuscript.” Unkept promise, according to Goldberg.
For context, here’s Headley’s Bon Appétit op-ed from back in May: “How Not to Write a Cookbook … The cookbook advance is a MacGuffin of Scrooge McDuck aquatics. Fifty thousand sounds like a lot of money, right? Like, more money than your average line cook has ever seen. But then you take into consideration that $20K goes to the (very deserving and totally professional) photographer, $12K to the designer (also no beef here), and as the checks trickle in, your agent gets 15 percent off the top of each driblet. And yeah, you didn’t take into consideration the taxes? Oh no. I don’t want to do the math here.” Now he has to do the math in court.
Michelin Season – The Netherlands 2018 Guide is out, and “restaurant Inter Scaldes in the Zeeland village of Kruiningen has become the third Dutch restaurant to be awarded a prestigious third Michelin star…. There was no increase in the number of two star restaurants in the Netherlands this year but two, including Bord’eau in Amsterdam, lost one of theirs, taking the total down to 16. Six restaurants won their first star: The Duchess, Le Restaurant and The Whiteroom in Amsterdam, AIRRepublic in Cadzand, Fitzgerald in Rotterdam and Vista in Willemstad.” Details via DutchNews.nl, full list here.
Ends of Eras –
In L.A., “It appears to be the end of the line (for now) for Du-Par’s in Studio City. The longtime diner, which opened at this Valley location in 1948, is set to close its doors on January 1.” – Eater LA.
In San Francisco, “Reddit reports that Brainwash, the SoMa cafe-laundry-comedy venue has officially shuttered for good. Never again we will eat a ‘This Is Your Brain on Drugs’ Breakfast Sandwich.” – SF Weekly.
And in NYC, “The Grassroots Tavern, an East Village institution for some 42 years, will close on Dec. 31.” – Bedford + Bowery. (Insult to injury: “The owner of The Ginger Man, a Murray Hill bar that has been compared to ‘Euro Disney’s vision of the classic Irish watering hole,’ is aiming for a liquor license [in the space].”)
Last and least – Unfortunately, there are as yet no “social media management” crystals, so Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness brand goop was a little behind the news yesterday evening, tweeting out some Mario Batali content hours after the exposé dropped. #chakraswheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
And that’s it for today! Happy Hanukkah if you’re celebrating! Be good to each other out there, and I’ll see you Friday for next Family Meal.
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P.S. Earnest request: Trying to find a good ethics article discussing the “I knew, but it wasn’t my story to tell” concept. Please send my way if you have one.