The Family Meal – Friday, February 24th, 2018

Hello Friday,

Are you reading this at South Beach Wine and Food? Does this tweet sum up the vibe: “Pop rockers #Smashmouth perform some of their top hits at Barilla’s Italian Bites on The Beach sponsored by HCP Media and the Miami Herald Media Company #SOBEWFF #giadadelaurentiis”?

Hot damn. You might as well be walking on the sun.

Let’s get to it…

The Media: Tell PR – The Washington Post just launched a new food vertical called Voraciously. To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of it yet. The introduction letter says it’s about helping home cooks: “We’re going to focus on the essentials, the building-block skills and dishes that will allow you to create satisfying meals, zero intimidation”, but there’s also a “Trending” section with pieces like “The tacro is here to make you forget about the Cronut” that are cross-posted in the normal food section, and one of the “How To” articles is a guided tour of Ethiopian food. Pitch away?

The Media Too – Late breaking: GothamistDCistLAist, and DNAinfo were only mostly dead? “A consortium of public radio stations, including WNYC in New York, WAMU in Washington DC, and KPCC in Southern California, has banded together to bring some of those sites back from the dead. The three stations are acquiring the assets of Gothamist and some of its associated sites, including LAist, DCist, and DNAInfo.” Scoop in Wired.

Next steps – A little bird told me a few weeks ago that Alon Shaya had some serious money lined up for his next moves. Looks like at least one of his investors is putting up that sweet, sweet, hotel cash: Eater NOLA says, “Shaya’s company Pomegranate Hospitality, will open Saba in Uptown New Orleans and Safta in the soon-to-open Source Hotel in Denver, Colorado, according to a press release. Zachary Engel is the culinary director at both restaurants.”

Kudos to the team that came up with those names. Starts with an “S”, ends with an “A”, rhymes with “legally not to be confused with Shaya”.

For design fans – Or really, for location fans, because this photo spread on Virgilio Martínez’s new Mil outpost in Cuzco, Peru, barely shows the interior. What you’re looking for is the landscape shot captioned: “The restaurant is pictured at right.” Pictured at left: wow.

For design fans too – The Washingtonian has a fun little pictorial on some innovative serving dishes around D.C. Sample captions: “Resin shoe for croquetas at Jaleo.” “Sculpted head for foie gras cake pops at Bresca.”

The Moves – Per the NYTAdriana Urbina (Rouge TomateAtera) will take over De Maria in NYC’s NoLita next month. Founding exec chef, Camille Becerra, who previously handled culinary direction at Cafe Henrie and Navy, has moved on to “pursue other projects.”

The (odd) moves – In D.C., Mike Isabella says he’s getting back in the kitchen at Graffiato five nights a week. He tells WCP’s Laura Hayes, “I want to get it back where it was… It used to be the hangout for chefs.” Fair enough, but Isabella just opened several restaurants and a 41,000 square foot food hall. Interesting time to jump back into what seems almost like a passion project at this point.

The Profile Treatment – In the SF Chronicle: “Reem Assil continues meteoric rise with new fine-dining restaurant at Jack London Square… Less than a year after opening the doors to her namesake bakery in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood Reem Assil will double her East Bay culinary footprint with Dyafa, a fine-dining concept in the former Haven space at Jack London Square…. Assil’s new project falls under the banner of Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group.” She’s planning on appointing a chef de cuisine to run the kitchen.

Best part: Sandwiched between an overhead shot of a spoon dipped in Za’atar and a close-up of fingers pinching man’oushe is a pic of Assil blockading the Oakland Federal building, her left arm enclosed in black pvc pipe stenciled with gold lettering declaring BLACK RESISTANCE. Something tells me she’s never going to #sticktofood…

Big Congrats to one Mr. José Andrés, who has been named Humanitarian of the Year by the James Beard Foundation this year – by all accounts a very, very well-deserved honor. His book about the work of his World Central Kitchen NGO in Puerto Rico is titled WE FED AN ISLAND, and will be published by Bourdain’s Ecco imprint on September 11 this year. (Don’t worry, that “WE” definitely includes some local heroes too.)

The Suits – Chicago’s Curtis Duffy and Michael Muser have finally filed their inevitable (and fair) “noncompete clauses in this industry are bullshit” lawsuit against Grace owner Michael Olszewski. One numbers tidbit from the court doc at bottom of the Tribune take: Despite all the delays and costs involved, Duffy and Muser say Grace was profitable 8 months after opening, and claim Olszewski recouped his entire $3M investment in “three years or less.”

The Suits Too – Strange times at the Charleston Wine + Food FestivalAccording to the Post and Courier, past chairman Randall Goldman has filed a suit to prevent removal of another board member, and also “filed a libel lawsuit against an unknown person who allegedly defamed him by sending ‘spoofed’ e-mails suggesting that he’s ‘facing allegations of sexual harassment and creation of a hostile work environment.’ The messages were sent on Jan. 29 from a temporary and untraceable e-mail address to a person at the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and a person at the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, according to Goldman’s lawsuit. Goldman serves as president of the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association. The suit lists the defendant only as ‘John Doe.’” So… the emails are coming from inside the house.

Update: Seems Goldman is being accused by several very real staff members of some very real #metoo misconduct.

The Program – The 2018 JBF Women’s Leadership Program applications are live. There’s one option for those just starting out, and another for owners/co-owners of 1-2 restaurants or food businesses in the United States. Details and links here.

The tipping point – Eater’s Vince Dixon has a relatively comprehensive “Case Against Tipping in America” piece out this week. The subtitle sums it up: “The data is overwhelming: Tipping encourages racism, sexism, harassment, and exploitation.” All that data, plus graphs, cited studies, and history, is here.

A good get – “Austin will welcome a new face to its culinary landscape when the Line ATX hotel opens in the coming months. ‘Top Chef’ season 10 winner Kristen Kish… will serve as the executive chef for Arlo Grey, the centerpiece restaurant for the hotel that will take the place of the former Radisson at 111 E. Cesar Chavez.” Kish was also kind of a big deal in Barbara Lynch’s Boston group. Details in Austin 360.

Long time coming – Via Eater LA: “After 17 years parked on East Olympic Boulevard., Mariscos Jalisco owner, Raul Ortega, is opening his first brick and mortar in Pomona some time in March 2018.”

Reality bites (sorry) – This Salon piece from a MasterChef contestant who somehow got away without signing a non-disclosure agreement is well worth a read. “They asked me to agree to pay a 15 percent ‘management fee’ to a company called One Potato Two Potato (OPTP) owned by . . .  Gordon Ramsay. This fee would then apply to any income or even gifts I received in any context potentially related to the showI asked if OPTP would do any other career management. No, they said.”

And Last and Least – Sorry I missed Quique Dacosta’s conceptual video about salt last month. It’s called: Sal. That’s Spanish for: Salt.

And that’s it for today. I’m off to make a companion video called “Pepper”, in the hopes of uniting both “Salt” and “Pepper” under my new conceptual spice video label: “Shoop”. Submissions welcome.

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

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, and send tips and/or 15% of all Gordon Ramsay based earnings to If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself at!

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