I am pleased to announce that everything is fine and all is well. Everywhere.
Now let’s get to it…
The Festival Circuit – Did Richie Nakano get Michael Chiarello and Paul Qui dropped from South Beach Wine and Food? His tweets on the matterwere followed by Meghan McCarron’s “Stop Inviting Known Bad Men to Food Festivals”, and per ChefsFeed: “As of today, it appears that both chef’s profiles are missing from the SOBEWFF website… Their names have been removed from all associated events.”
Also in that ChefsFeed article: “These festivals pay homage to and elevate the top rungs of the restaurant industry—the chefs who matter, and who lead the industry. It means exposure, and even though events are a massive logistical timesuck to a chef, it’s an honor to be invited.”
With that in mind…
By the Numbers – Women Chefs at the 2018 Cayman Cookout:
Headline Chefs: 1 woman out of 13 total chefs.
Host (Ritz-Carlton) Chefs: 2 of 13.
Participating Chefs: 3 of 30.
Wine Experts: 1 of 8 (and she’s half of a husband-wife team).
F&B Experts: 5 of 15.
Total minus the F&B Experts (which includes presenters / hosts): 7 of 64, or 10.9%. Just over a full tithe of women™! Source: Official website.
NB: If you are planning an event and need talent, a reminder that Amanda Cohen recently listed 62 of NYC’s many qualified female chefs off the top of her head. (List at bottom, but Cayman Cookout planners should probably just read the whole article.)
Lists I like – Here’s Hillary Dixler Canavan with Eater’s “19 Most Anticipated Restaurants of 2018: Winter – Spring Edition”. Best quote / riskiest business advice: “Fuck scalable fast-casual concepts, let’s get pumped on some actual innovation.” Good gets – and too many big names behind them to highlight here – in SF (Kaya, Bar Crenn, Angler), NYC (Una Pizza Napoletana), Austin (Loro), LA (Tartine Manufactory, Bavel, Simone), San Diego (El Jardín), Denver (The Wolf’s Tailor, Super Mega Bien), Detroit (Honey), NOLA (Bywater American Bistro, and an unnamed Justin Devillier project), Portland, OR (Canard, Yonder/Mae), Nashville (Folk), St. Paul, VA (Milton’s), and Auburn (Bow and Arrow).
The (K Street) Union Forever! – Per the NYT: Last year, New York passed a law that ensured “fast-food employees who want to contribute to a nonprofit, nonunion workers’ group can insist on having the restaurant they work for deduct money from their pay and forward that money to the group.” The catch was a 500 worker minimum. Now, Fast Food Justice has announced it signed up 1,200 commitments at $13.50 a month. They won’t use the money “to negotiate contracts as unions do, but… will most likely push for a higher minimum wage and for many other issues fast-food workers support, including affordable housing, immigration reform, better police-community relations and improvements to New York’s subway system.” In other words, fast food workers are lobbyists now.
Another restaurant lobby of note, the NRA, used this opportunity to make a strong statement about harassment in the restaurant industry: “‘We think this law is a way of trying to get restaurants to fund groups’ that ‘will harass restaurants with money from the restaurants’”.
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The (updated) Profile Treatment – Here’s the NYT’s Tejal Rao with some hardworking parentheses in her profile of Beatrice Inn’s Angie Mar: “As reports of abuse and sexual harassment in the restaurant business continue to break, Ms. Mar provides an obvious reminder: It is possible — it has always been possible — for a chef to pursue excellence without creating a toxic environment. (On Tuesday, after this article was published, a former bartender at the restaurant filed suit in New York alleging wage theft by Ms. Mar and her company, Butcher’s Block Hospitality. Reached on Wednesday afternoon, Ms. Mar said her restaurant did everything by the book.)”
For design fans – Wallpaper has a photo spread of the new Duddle’s location in London, and while my Catholic upbringing precludes enjoyment of church aesthetics, I love how the low glass wall on the second floor makes the tables up there look so precarious (if not skirt friendly). Side note: Restaurant and hotel design fans should follow Wallpaper editor Lauren Ho on Twitter. The shots are mostly sterile and minimalist, but she could post a picture of a black hole, and it would be so beautifully bathed in natural light that I’d wish I were rich enough to live there.
The Conversation: Grubstreet’s Sierra Tishgart takes Danny Meyer to task in “What should we expect from the men who run restaurants?” but then lets everyone who wouldn’t talk to her off the hook by not naming names. Seems without something like a David Fahrenthold-esque public notepad holding feet to the fire, silence will always be the easy answer. Still definitely worth a read, and the penultimate paragraph has some helpful suggested answers to the title question.
Last and least: “Mouth Cooking” – When I read the headline on this Maura Judkis piece – “What is ‘mouth cooking?’ You might need to see it to believe it.” – I imagined some kind of weird, ceviche-style, saliva-based cooking process. Turns out I both overcomplicated things and underestimated people. “Mouth cooking” is doing all the prep work involved in cooking – peeling, dicing, mixing, etc. – with your mouth. The creator thinks knives are dangerous: “He still uses them, but he’s very careful, after a friend of his needed a trip to the emergency room after attempting to remove an avocado pit.” Story – including a “Cooking with your mouth: Christmas turkey” video – here.
And that’s it for right now. I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal!