The Family Meal – Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Hello Tuesday,

Skip the intro. Let’s get right to it…

The Return of the Unpaid Stage? – Per the LA Times, “The U.S. Labor Department rolled out new guidelines this month that make it easier for companies that want to hire interns but don’t want to pay them. The new rules establish a ‘primary beneficiary test’ that ratifies programs that help the intern more than the company. Seven factors determine whether the gig meets the standard. One says internships should provide training that ‘would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment.’ Another says the intern’s job should complement, not displace, the work of paid employees.”

I’m no labor law expert, but it sure sounds like restaurants could make a good case for unpaid stages again… Pity The Willows Inn, which was pinged with $149k in fines and shut down its stage program last year, or better still: Pity the up-and-comers who can’t afford to spend time climbing ladders without a paycheck.

NB: It’s unclear how the guidance applies to individual states, but a labor and employment lawyer told the Times, “The new federal guidelines apply in California, as the state doesn’t have policies or case law on the topic.”

Tell PR – There’s a new online magazine called Off/Cuts soliciting (paid) contributions right now. “Off/Cuts is a new digital food and drink magazine launching mid-2018 featuring stories focused on under-covered people and ingredients. We intend to showcase quality journalism from both established writers and new voices, including work from people like cooks, servers, and farmers themselves.” There’s nothing on their website about who’s behind it, but a sniff of their source code makes me think lawyer turned food writer Charlie Friedmann, who does some freelance work for Vice Munchies and Canada’s Globe and Mail, is involved in some capacity.

Assuming no relation to charity calendar Offcuts YYC: “Calgary’s top food men, topless.”

NW moves – Portland star Gabriel Rucker is planning a new spot this year. “Canard” will be right next door to Le Pigeon.

LA close – “Chef Nick Erven has decided to pull the plug on his eponymous Westside restaurant Erven,” according to Eater LA. “Erven has more recently moved on to consulting gigs around town, and promises he has more coming up down the line.”

Some sad news – In California, “John C. Lee., founder of Colonel Lee’s Mongolian BBQ, a restaurant franchise that helped popularize Mongolian barbecue in the U.S, passed away Jan. 2 of natural causes at his home in Encino. He was 95.” His obituary in the LA Daily News is yet another immigrant success story.

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The Profile Treatment – I’m a bit late for MLK Day in the states, but this Maria Godoy NPR piece on “The Fearless Cook Who Secretly Fed – And Funded – The Civil Rights Moment” is fantastic. Georgia Gilmore – A name I’m glad I know (now).

The Profile Treatment too – WaPo Headline: “A tiny Frenchwoman has had a huge impact on food in America.” Sure, a tall American woman has too, but in his profile of Lucie “Lulu” Peyraud (by way of Richard OlneySteve Hoffman is clearly less impressed by the Julia Child effect: “Among Child’s legacies are Bobby Flay, Food Network, the celebritization of chefs generally and a vast monetization of televised cooking. Among Olney’s are Alice Watersand Chez Panisse, winemaker and merchant Kermit Lynch and Thomas Keller’s kitchen garden in Yountville. Her influence dwarfs his by orders of magnitude. But my allegiance lies with him, and I suspect his legacy, because his ends were more satisfying and more universal, may be the more lasting.”

Consider the lobster – The Swiss government banned boiling them alive this week, so now you can read an entire NYT article about whether or not lobsters feel pain. Spoiler: Maybe.

For NOLA fans / real estate stalkers – Having lived in the Marigny for a short stint myself, I was shocked to see that Paul Prudhomme’s house there recently sold for $2.45M! Then I realized it’s actually a compound of “six addresses in the neighborhood: 523, 527 and 533 Mandeville Street and 2418, 2420, 2422 and 2424 Chartres Street, which includes four residential properties (one is a double; another includes the vacant space next door) and one commercial property, totaling 10,288 square-feet.” Now I am shocked that Redfin’s algorithm did not send me a link to the listing every day for the last three years.

Last and least – This is pure clickbait and I’m sorry, but the “Black pudding saves butcher trapped in freezer” story on the BBC includes a video reenactment from the butcher in question, and the guy is so obviously enjoying his minute of fame that it’s extra endearing in a very British granddad way. Stay the whole 01:07 for the satisfied look on his face as he gets to tell his new joke at the end. Cheers.

And that’s it for today. If you are prepping for snow on the East Coast this morning – and I didn’t lose you already to past pics from the topless food men of Calgary calendars – here’s a shot of José Andrés jumping into the water out of a helicopter in the Caymans to warm you up with envy.

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

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and send tips and/or heli-swimming groupons to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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