Lots to get to. Let’s get to it…
All The Zeitgeist And Glamour – Joe Warwick and Andrea Petrini’s World Restaurant Awards have officially launched, “boasting an unrivalled judging panel of celebrated restaurant industry figures, including Yannick Alléno, Elena Arzak, Alex Atala, Massimo Bottura, David Chang, Dominique Crenn, Hélène Darroze, Daniel Humm, René Redzepi, Ana Roš and Clare Smyth, alongside an intercontinental selection of the world’s most-travelled and best-informed members of the culinary press.” You can play who’s who in the group pic here. (It would seem Andy Hayler was not invited.)
The awards finally have a date: February 18th in Paris, and in case you were in doubt, organizers would like to make clear that this will not be “the Nobel Prize for food but rather our take on the idea of an Oscars for the restaurant world, with all the sense of zeitgeist and glamour that implies.”
P.S. – There are a lot more details in this Food and Wine Gazette article from December, including categories, format, etc. (though the author appears a bit confused on dates). Best part: Without irony, Petrini, who is now earnestly promoting the Oscars of food, tells his interviewer that the restaurant world needs a new awards show because 50 Best “was fun when it was not commercial [but] now it has lost its soul becoming a bit like a circus.”
Death throes – Seven years and $125.4M since its founding, meal delivery startup Munchery is shutting down operations in NYC, LA, and Seattle, cutting 30% of staff, and hunkering down to focus on San Francisco.
Death throes too – Blue Apron is bringing on Chrissy Teigen. (#CashNotStock, @chrissytiegan!)
Prefecture dispatch – “Chihana, a renowned Michelin three-star restaurant [in Kyoto], caught fire on May 12, with the blaze destroying its second floor and spreading to six nearby buildings.” Details here.
The Decision – In Austin, “Kyoten Sushiko chef-owner Otto Phan… has decided to move to Chicago to further pursue his lofty food goals… ‘The goal has always been to be the best sushi chef in the world, and I know the pathway is a lot shorter if I move on,’ Phan said. ‘It was going to take LeBron James a long time if he stayed in Cleveland to get that first championship’” NB, Austin: LeBron came back…
Classics closures – Sad news for some local favorites this week. In Boston (well, Watertown), “There’s no soft-pedaling it. After more than 30 years, Strip-T’s is closing.” In D.C. (well, Alexandria), “After fourteen years it is bittersweet to relay Restaurant Eve will be closing her doors. Our lease has concluded and Saturday, June 2 will be our last day of service.” And in Dallas, “After six years as one of Dallas’s most beloved restaurants, chef Matt McCallister’s FT33 will close its doors this summer.”
The Tabloids – (I’m sorry, but…) Per The Sun: “TV chef Heston Blumenthal weds his young lover in secret ceremony just weeks after their love rift. Heston, 51, and Stephanie Gouveia, who is about 20 years his junior, tied the knot in the Maldives in a surprise holiday wedding.” Congrats, young lover(s)!
It’s so good to be in [your state here] – Every film/TV production gets subsidies, but before you pitch your tourism office on Top Chef, know that Kentucky’s Courier-Journal says the price is still going up: “In 2013, New Orleans paid $375,000 to sponsor the show… And in 2017, Colorado’s Office of Film awarded the show up to $1 million in rebates on production expenditures made in its state. In Kentucky, the state’s film office has offered ‘Top Chef’ up to $3.5 million in production rebates.”
Michelin Season – And speaking of tourism boards dropping some serious cash… “Following the very first 2018 edition of The MICHELIN Guide dedicated to Bangkok, Michelin today announces the extension of The MICHELIN Guide’s reach to Phuket and Phang-nga, with a new 2019 edition: The MICHELIN Guide Bangkok, Phuket, and Phang-nga 2019, to be released at the end of 2018.”
For blueprint fans – In NYC, “Chef James Kent, who spent nearly a decade working under Daniel Humm, has partnered up with Del Posto manager Jeff Katz for the massive new project at the historic Art Deco tower at 70 Pine St., at Pearl Street. The two will be operating restaurants on the ground floor of the property, as well as on the 62nd, 63rd, 64th, and 66th floors.” Details and basic floor plans here.
The Media – As far as I can tell, Eater appears to have disabled comments across its sites. Editor in Chief Amanda Kludt did not immediately respond to a 4:30AM email inquiry. What are you hiding, Kludt?
UPDATE: Kludt got back to me at a reasonable hour. She said an IT error has taken city level comments offline temporarily, but they’ll be restored ASAP. “That said we are keeping comments off on the national eater.com site. The rare comments we got on the national level tended to land in the spectrum of unhelpful to toxic.” Ah, Bartleby-anon. Ah, humanity.
And last and least: Thrush paté, anyone? – This short, 1973 video from the BBC Archives confronts changing tastes among British consumers, and is simply marvelous. “Then there’s the problem of what to put on your lettuce, or of course, your Mediterranean prawns. Don’t just say ‘salad cream’, say ‘mayonnaise’ and cough up 32 pence a pot.” You fancy, huh?
And that’s it for today. I know there are World Restaurant Awards judges reading this, and without having read any of your rules or bylines, I just want to say: Voting for yourself is, and will always be, just fine.
I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.