The Family Meal – Friday, May 4th, 2018

Hello Friday,

Just in: The Nobel Prize in Literature will not be awarded this year. Family Mealwas always going to be a longshot, but… shoot.

Let’s get to it…

Awards Season – The 2018 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards are set for Monday night in Chicago. If you must watch from elsewhere, they’ll “be streaming the ceremony live on Twitter and at, starting with a red carpet pre-show at 6:30 P.M. ET / 5:30 P.M. CT.” List of nominees here (scroll down past media section). Eater’s annual list of picks here. My brave prediction: Some men who used to attend every year will not attend this year. #nostradamus.

The Suits – “Famed Philadelphia chef Jose Garces filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday, on the same day in which he said he was selling his multi-restaurant operation to a Louisiana hospitality company [Ballard Brands] for $5 million.” His investors are suing to have Garces ousted and take control themselves instead. Details in The Inquirer.

Some sad news – Daniel Hyatt, a bartender whose creativity and mentorship helped spark the Bay Area’s modern cocktail movement, has died. He was 42 years old. The cause of death is unknown.” Hyatt ran and/or created bar programs for The AlembicSlate, and Roka Akor, among others. “The Bay Area bartender community is a small one, and Hyatt’s influence is hard to overstate.” Full obit in the Chronicle; a lot of kind tributes on Twitter – including a toast from old friends, and this list of links to some of Hyatt’s recipes from cocktail writer Camper English.

The Media – The SF Chronicle’s Jonathan Kauffman has a new weekly column on dining culture in the Bay Area: “A celebration of the places and the people who make the food we eat every day.” First up: “Is Instagram making our dim sum better?

P.S. A weekly columnist always needs ideas, so tell PR! (With apologies to your inbox, Mr. Kauffman).

That hotel $$$  “Angela Dimayuga made her name as the executive chef at Mission Chinese Food, where she worked for six years before resigning last October. Now, she’s back, with a new job as creative director of food and culture for the Standard International, a gig she started last week…. She’ll oversee not only the hotel’s restaurants but create programming that blends food, music, and art.” Grubstreet has the details. It’s corporate, but edgy, progressive corporate, you know?

Midwest Moves – In Chicago, Jason Paskewitz is moving on again now that Pearl Brasserie “has been purchased by Bonhomme Hospitality Group(BeatnikBlack BullFulton Market Kitchen, et al.)”. Having bounced around a bit before some lawsuits tainted his exit from The Blanchard, the chef has earned enough of a reputation that the Tribune’s Phil Vettel refers to him as “the hard-luck Paskewitz” in his article about the sale. (Nice nickname for a new tattoo?)

The Great Tipping Debate – The tip credit is up for elimination on June 19th in D.C., and over a hundred of the city’s indie restaurateurs have signed an open letter opposing the initiative (“Ballot Initiative 77”). In it, they attempt to dismantle each and every talking point of the bill’s sponsor, the Restaurant Opportunity Center. The operator’s arguments hit familiar notes on tight margins, price point sensitivity, and staff retention, but there is also this new(?) use of some classic lobbyist logic from other industries/issues: “ROC argues that the tip system encourages rampant sexual harassment and discrimination and should be eliminated. This argument misconstrues the issue: tipping does not cause sexual misconduct. Sexual predators cause sexual misconduct.”

The (FoH) Profile Treatment – Roya Shanks, manager at the Odeon in NYC, got her own NYT Style write-up this week, complete with this can-you-believe-it subhed: “And She’s Sober!” Shanks has been at the Odeon for 16 years. “‘As time passes, once in a while I think, “O.K., this is a silly job,” or “I am an intelligent person, is this a waste of a brain?”’ she said. ‘Anyone in the service industry can have those thoughts.’” Good news: Anyone in any industry can have those thoughts.

For (BBQ) design fans – Eater has the details on the post-fire Franklin rebuild in Austin: “Inside the smokehouse there is now a steady breeze… When there’s wind, it comes in through one of the multiple windows punctured in three walls and in the (now much higher) cleverly angled ceiling. That ceiling now tilts up to the east wall, in an attempt to carry heat up, and hopefully, out. The windows, screened in with no glass, now have handsome metal shutters, designed to make each of the openings fully controllable for wind and air flow… Built into the wooden door as a memento mori are sections of charred wood taken from the fire.” Unfortunately, the accompanying pictures seem more focused on their own composition than the smokehouse design, but you’ll get the gist.

Salmon season is open in California and Oregon, but The Chronicle’s Tara Duggan reports it will be another “skimpy year”: “With similar regulations last year, the wholesale cost for California king salmon peaked at $28 a pound, said Ted Wilson, chef-owner of the San Francisco restaurant Fine and Rare, effectively turning a 6-ounce portion into a $40 restaurant entree.”

Last and not least – I noted a few Family Meals ago that Pete Wells had yet to review a restaurant run by a female chef so far this year (and really since September, 2017). Wells finally ended that drought on Tuesday with a two-star review of Marie-Aude Rose’s La Mercerie. Good. Clock officially reset. (And ticking.)

And that’s it for today. If you serve margaritas, I hope you make outrageous amounts of money this weekend. Buena suerte.

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

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

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