The Family Meal – Friday, March 30th, 2018

Hello Friday,

Greetings from the southern tip of Koh Samui, Thailand, where everyone else is at the beach.

Let’s get to it…

Beard Season – The 2018 JBF Leadership Awards – “Recognizing five visionaries for their work in creating a better food world” – were announcedWednesday. And the visionaries are… Dara Cooper (Co-Founder, National Black Food & Justice Alliance), Ferd Hoefner (Senior Strategic Advisor, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition), Doug Rauch (President/Founder, Daily Table), Shirley Sherrod (Executive Director, Southwest Georgia Project), and Ramon Torres (President, Familias Unidas por la Justicia). Congrats, all!

Best Season – The Asia’s 50 Best list was announced Tuesday night, with Bangkok’s Gaggan number one yet again. Rounding out the top 5: Den and Florilège in Tokyo, Sühring in Bangkok, and Odette in Singapore. 50Best didn’t give me a press pass in time for the event, but that’s OK, I’m still a huge fan of their main sponsor: Coconut-flavored La Croix.

Blacklist Season – Despite recently releasing letters of support from female employees, former employees, and suppliers (his florist!), Mike Isabella has had his two nominations for D.C.’s big local restaurant awards, The RAMMYSofficially rescinded ahead of the June 10th ceremony. (Hot take: The obvious rebuttal to “Look at all these women who think I’m a good guy” is “Look at all these women who have new accusations”. Doubtful we’ve seen the end of this one.)

The Media – The NYT’s Tejel Rao has a fun, honest look at all the new(ish) indy food magazines around lately, including a handful run by former restaurant types (e.g. somm Stephen Satterfield and pastry chef Nick Muncy). “Despite some off-putting names — like Toothache or Mold — many of these publications are beautiful and inviting…” Indeed.

Moving in – In NYC, “Ryan Schmidtberger, formerly of BlackTail and Lure Fish Bar, is the new chef at Waverly Inn” per Eater.

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.

For design fans – Here’s the Eater SF photo spread for Che Fico, the new “rustic Italian” restaurant from chefs David Nayfeld and Angela Pinkerton. Love that bright red box of a salumi curing room, and I also like that the sole brightly patterned Instagram wallpaper thing is at the restaurant’s entrance, so guests on their way in or out can just snap their snaps and move on. Re: brightly patterned Instagram wallpaper, when will we all move on?

Food hall fever – Time Out Market New York — a huge culinary mecca comprising restaurants, bars and food-related ‘cultural experiences’ — has signed a lease for 21,000 square feet on two levels at Dumbo’s booming Empire StoresThe Post has learned.” Unfortunately, if the included rendering is any indication, guests should prepare to be bored. Conversely, from the looks of this photo spread, the new Urbanspace at 570 Lex in Manhattan appears to have avoided a little bit of food hall design boredom by allowing individual vendors to create their own spaces (within limits, I’m sure).

MAD – Applications are now open for the right to pay $578 to attend René Redzepi’s sixth MAD Symposium, slated for August 26th and 27th in Copenhagen. Topic: “This year we’ve seen the restaurant community – and the world at large – rocked by stories and experiences of women, of immigrants, of minorities. We now see our friends, collaborators, and colleagues asking how – as individuals and as an industry – we can create a world where opportunities are available to all people.” Applications due April 15th.

And last but not least – Pixar is promoting a new short film called Bao, and it has the best plot synopsis I’ve read in a (xiao) long time: “An empty-nesting Chinese mom gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life. But she must come to terms with the bittersweet revelation that nothing stays cute and small forever.” It’ll debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, and Eater says it’ll play before Incredibles 2 screenings this summer.

And that’s it for today. To prove Pixar’s point that nothing stays cute and small forever, we’re taking the kids to another beachfront Thai restaurant tonight. They will be cute and small until I tell them they can’t go in the water, and then they will throw sand. #mylittledumplings

Have a great weekend, make lots of money if you’re working, and I’ll 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!

P.S. – That article about all the new food magazines is cool and all, but we are clearly living in The Age of the Newsletter (food and otherwise). Someone should write THAT article, and if that someone wants a quote from a highly acclaimed niche publication, I am here for them.

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