The Family Meal – Friday, March 23rd, 2018

Hello Friday,

Today’s Family Meal is brought to you by the scientifically dubious whiskey tasting that The Singleton is running at Taste of Hong Kong. Typos are glitches in your email provider, and in no way reflect my midday participation in said tasting. You should probably update your software.

Let’s get to it…

Crisis mismanagement – Somewhere in the darker corners of the communications department at an excessively endowed university, a professor is typing up case studies from the #metoo era. Under “Bad Strategies”, they write: “Weinstein’s spies, Batali’s cinnamon buns, and whatever Mike Isabella is doing.”

Isabella’s statement (“This didn’t happen. But if it did, she did it too. And anyway a lot of what did happen happened away from work.”) has gone down like a lead balloon. So far: His longtime publicist ditched him, the Washington Nationals have severed ties and will remove his three restaurants from their stadium, he probably won’t get the big local industry award he was up for this year, was removed as a headliner from José Andrés’ big summer fundraiser, will no longer serve as culinary chairman for Best Buddies Prom, and The Atlantic revisited his Top Chef days to remind everyone that he’s always had a hard time with “girls” being at his “same level”.

Internal affairs – April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman’s Upper West Side restaurant White Gold Butchers is losing its star butchers. Erika Nakamura and Jocelyn Guest… are leaving next Tuesday, March 27. … Insiders tell Eater that although the [recent accusations against Friedman] were not the only reason for their departure, they became increasingly uncomfortable with the stories that unfolded about Friedman and the way the company handled the maelstrom.”

Tip Pooling Run Over By Omnibus – Looky what made it into the big budget bill that just passed the Senate last night: “An employer may not keep tips received by its employees for any purposes, including allowing managers or supervisors to keep any portion of employees’ tips, regardless of whether or not the employer takes a tip credit.” (See page 2026, or just search “tip”.)

The Media – Deputy editor Andrew Knowlton is leaving both NYC and his current post at Bon Appétit to become the magazine’s “editor-at-large” based in Texas: “He and his wife and two daughters are moving to Austin, where they can get all those things they can’t have in Brooklyn: a house, a yard, a grill, and really good breakfast tacos.” Senior Editor Julia Kramer, author of late last year’s “Dear Male Chefs: Talk Less” op-ed, has been promoted to Deputy Editor. Congrats, all!

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 AndrésAndrew Zimmernand 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.

What IS art? What is food? – I love this short SF Chronicle piece wherein writer Justin Phillips tries to get Peter Hemsley to describe the concept for his new Palette art gallery / restaurant, and Hemsley self-consciously fails charmingly each time: “‘As the art gallery has food as its inspiration, the restaurant, which has food as its artistic medium, will have art as its inspiration,’ Hemsley said over the phone. ‘See, it’s hard to explain to somebody what it’s going to be.’ I agreed.”

ATTN: Immigrants – “The Vilcek Foundation will award three prizes of $50,000 each to immigrant culinary arts professionals, born in 1980 or later, who demonstrate extraordinary talent, dedication, and potential to advance the field of culinary arts. The prizes are meant to facilitate future discovery and impact for promising food professionals, beverage professionals, and culinary writers at a critical stage in their careers. Eligible professions include: Chefs and food preparers: chefs, caterers, test kitchen chefs, bakers, prepared food makers (creating craft jams, chocolates, cheeses, charcuterie, etc.); Beverage professionals: vintners, distillers, brewers, bartenders, coffee roasters, etc.; Food writers: Food writers, critics, publishers, and cookbook authors.” Details and application hereDeadline: June 11.

For design fans – Forgive this little bit of nostalgia, but I grew up in St. Louis, and this exterior shot of Ben Poremba’s new Benevolent King cracked my neighborhood restaurant loving heart wide open. Nothing special. Just lovely.

And last and least – ICYMI, Kensington Palace has announced, “For their wedding cake Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle have chosen pastry chef Claire Ptak, owner of London based culinary gem Violet Bakery.” Eater London adds, “Ptak, like Markle, was raised in California and formerly worked under Alice Waters, as pastry chef, at Chez Panisse in Berkeley.” (CC: Season 2 of Chef’s Table: Pastry, if they’re looking for a lady baker.)

And that’s it for today. If you need me this weekend, I’ll be combing through the rest of the federal budget to see if there’s any newsletter grant money available. Fingers crossed.

See you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.

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

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