The Family Meal – Friday, March 9th, 2018

Hello Friday,

And a Happy (belated) International Women’s Day! To celebrate, I’w changing every M (except that one) into a w in today’s Fawily Weal. WcDonald’s assures we this is weaningful.

And now, the news…

Close call – On “Celebrated chef Georges Perrier was recovering from triple-bypass surgery at a Philadelphia hospital Wednesday, two days after he collapsed outside of his apartment building and was revived by a fast-thinking neighbor — a physician walking her dog… Several severely blocked arteries were discovered, said his daughter. He spent  Tuesday being prepped for surgery and receiving visitors, including chefs Chip Roman and Nicholas Elmi, whom Perrier mentored at Le Bec-Fin.”

Yelp Grades – In the ChronicleJonathan Kauffman has the story of the two economics professors who “helped Yelp link restaurant listings to scores from the health department database in 2013” in part so that they could run a study on what happened when “Yelp began posting them at the top of each restaurant’s page, right below the hours of operation.” The only-in-SF alerts even occasionally feature “a text box that covers the individual customer reviews: ‘Customer Alert: Poor Food Safety Score!’”

If you would like to comment on this study, here is the Yelp page for the Harvard Business School, publisher of the work of HBS professor Michael Luca, and Lehigh professor Daisy Dai. You are welcome.

Mayor of the Night – NYC has officially appointed former bar manager and owner Ariel Palitz as the city’s first “Nightlife Mayor, its ambassador at large to the late-night world of bars, burlesques and cabarets.” She’s got “a 12-person advisory board, a $300,000 budget and a salary of $130,000” and “in her first official act, Ms. Palitz promised to hold a series of listening tours and entertain the gripes of those who are bothered by the vomit on their streets or the noise at 3 a.m.” The NYT interview / profile announcing her new gig improbably describes this job as “glamorous”. Good luck!

The headliners – Via Eater: “The biannual food magazine Cherry Bombe will host its sixth-ever Jubilee conference on April 14 in New York City. Headlining the event will be two London superstars: OG domestic goddess Nigella Lawson, and London’s River Café chef-owner Ruth Rogers.” The rest of the lineup, plus plans for food, drink, etc., will roll out over the coming weeks on the event’s official website.

Lists I like – Eater cities are out with their Most Anticipated Spring / Summer Openings lists in Portland, ORWashington, DCSan Francisco; and more are presumably on the way. They also just published a big Texas 38, which you can argue about if that’s your thing.

Edible – Per Eater SF, “The unofficial motto of SF Korean restaurants Namu Gaji and Namu Stonepot, #Getitstoned, will take on more literal meaning as executive chef and cofounder Dennis Lee joins Oakland-based cannabis company Sublime Concentrates. On top of his current duties at Namu… Lee will serve as Sublime’s director of edibles manufacturing.”

This Family Meal is brought to you by World Central Kitchen‘s Dine N Dash event in Washington, D.C. On June 6th, join hosts José AndrésAndew Zimmern, and more for a tour of some of the District’s best restaurants. All proceeds support World Central Kitchen’s mission of creating smart solutions to hunger and poverty and providing chef-driven disaster relief. Tickets and more information here.

Beard season – The James Beard Foundation’s 2018 Design Icon Awardgoes to… The American in Kansas City, and the KC Star celebrated with a great little write-up and video. Designed in the early 70s by Warren Platner, “The American’s evolution has featured some the restaurant industry’s most brilliant talents, including designer Milton Glaser, and restaurant consultants James BeardJoseph Baum, and Barbara Kafka… The dramatic 6,500-square-foot space features three-story-high windows overlooking the Kansas City skyline. Lacy white oak pillars curve up to the ceiling and fan out in rosettes, making the dining room feel like it’s tucked beneath a canopy of trees.”

More history, a rundown of chefs past and present, and lots of photos are available on The American’s official website, where you’ll also see why the space might have had an edge: “Over the years The American hosted 18 Friends of James Beard Foundation dinners.”

The Opportunity? – In Downtown LA, the owners of the “prime, long-dormant” Kitchen Table space are “now looking to assign a five-year lease. They also want to sell the furniture, fixtures, equipment, as well as the full liquor license for $280,000.” Minor red flag: It’s been vacant for five years… Details here.

For the somm: some sad news – Nicolaus “Nicky” Hahn, a pioneering vintner of Monterey County, died March 2 at his home in Zurich. He was 81… Last year, Wine Enthusiast magazine gave its annual American Wine Pioneer award to Hahn.” Full obituary – and history lesson on winemaking in the Santa Lucia Highlands – in the SF Chronicle.

The Critics – In Chicago, Michael Nagrant has been nudged out of his reviewing slot at Redeye so that parent company Tronc can handle criticism in-house at the Tribune. But instead of giving up the ghost, he’s launched his own indy site: “This website is what failure looks like. Which is to say, after 12 years of someone paying me to review restaurants, as of January 2018, no one is doing that anymore… I have no delusions of fame and fortune. I would still like to review for publications out there who understand and believe in my voice. Chicago Tribune, if you’re listening, I want Phil Vettel’s spot when he decides he’s had enough (I suspect Phil has another twenty years in him – and good for him – so it’ll be a while).”

For the media – Partially in response to the high costs of IACP-style events, there’s a new food writer’s conference / workshop in NYC on April 29th. It sold out in hours (tickets were only $13.50), but they’re working on ways for non-attendees to participate. Eventbrite here. Twitter handle: @foodwritework.

And last and least – If you can handle Jeff Goldblum for more than a few minutes, here’s 11 minutes of him cooking and dining with Jonathan Gold. “When I fancied myself sort of a performance artist, I would take potatoes and I would put stamps and address labels on them and I would mail them to people to see if they would get there.” – Goldblum? No: Gold.

And that’s it for today. Mayor De Blasio, if you’re reading this, I would like to put my name in the ring for Mayor of the Still Mildly Hungover Mid-Afternoon / Evening. My people live there, and I promise to represent them well.

See you here Tuesday for next Family Meal!

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

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