The Family Meal – Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Hello Tuesday,

And happy birthday to Buddha (and my older sister)!

Let’s get to it…

The 60 Minute Treatment – Anderson Cooper sat down with some of the women who have accused Ken Friedman and Mario Batali of sexual assault and harassment. Most of the allegations will be familiar to anyone who read December’s Eater story on Batali and NYT report on Friedman, but hearing them from the mouths of victims and witnesses is incredibly powerful.

Anderson Cooper: You have no doubt you saw Mario Batali
Jamie Seet: No doubt. Absolutely–
Anderson Cooper: –sexually assaulting an unconscious or semi-conscious woman.
Jamie Seet: Yeah, no doubt at all.

The Batali Fallout: 60 Minutes also reported that Batali is under criminal investigation in NYC, and the Times followed that up with this: “The New York Police Department is investigating a second sexual assault complaint against the celebrity chef Mario Batali, a person familiar with the matter said Monday. In that complaint, which has not been previously reported, a woman told the police on March 15 that Mr. Batali drugged and sexually assaulted her in January 2004 at his Greenwich Village restaurant Babbo. The woman told the police she had been drinking at the bar and went upstairs to use the bathroom, according to the person familiar with the complaint, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Her next memory was waking up as Mr. Batali was raping her.”

Batali does not deny he was at times a jerk, but “‘vehemently denies’ any allegations that he engaged in non-consensual sex.”

The Friedman Fallout: At his Tosca Café in SF, the Chronicle reports “Josh Even, who has been the chef since 2013, is leaving his post. His departure coincides with the exit of the restaurant’s business manager, Dana Katzakian.” They tried to buy the restaurant after Friedman was accused, but couldn’t come to an agreement with his partner April Bloomfield. Bloomfield, who doesn’t come off very well in the 60 minutes piece herself (“I didn’t go to April, because I didn’t trust her with this either… I know other people went to April, and she did nothing to make them feel safe.”) says she is in the “final stages of severing her partnership” with Friedman too.

Dropping it – Per Reuters: “A former server at Le Bernardin ended her lawsuit accusing the famed New York City seafood restaurant of ignoring sexual harassment complaints or shaming people from coming forward…. ‘there has been no settlement or waiver’ of any claims, her lawyer, Maimon Kirschenbaum, said in a letter filed in the federal court in Manhattan.”

The Lists – Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs 2018 is out. And the winners are: Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer (King, NYC); Kevin Tien (Himitsu, D.C.); Katianna Hong (The Charter Oak, St. Helena); Liz Johnson (Freedman’s, L.A.); Michael Gallina (Vicia, St. Louis); Kate Williams (Lady of the House, Detroit); Jonathan Yao (Kato, L.A.); Julia Sullivan (Henrietta Red, Nashville); Diana Dávila (Mi Tocaya Antojería, Chicago); and Brady Williams (Canlis, Seattle). Congrats, all!

P.S. – F&W also put out a compilation of Every Best New Chef Since 1988, including a video detailing the process behind the selections with a bit of behind the scenes.

A quote: “You know, the idea of someone looking at the magazine and seeing that there are people that look like them, you know, at like the top of the industry is something that’s really compelling because we want to encourage more and more people to enter this field.” – Jordana Rothman.

A note: There are no black chefs on this year’s list.

Some sad news – “One of North Carolina’s most beloved chefs and restaurant owners, Mildred Cotton Council aka ‘Mama Dip,’ has died, her daughter said Monday.” Obituary (including a great “still in the kitchen at 85” local news video) on

And in Eater LA, the “Founder of West LA’s iconic breakfast spot John O’Groats has died. Robert Jacoby opened the Rancho Park restaurant in 1982.”

The close – In Chicago, “Mexique, chef Carlos Gaytan’s pioneering West Town restaurant that fused Mexican and French cuisine, closed over the weekend ending a 10-year run.”

The step away – In NYC, chef John Fraser (LoyalNarcissaNix) “is stepping away from Dovetail, the restaurant he opened on the Upper West Side in 2007…. Mr. Fraser sold it to his partners in the restaurant, who plan to keep it open. The chef de cuisine is Stanley Michalski, who started four years ago.”

The (niche) protest – As voting day approaches for the bill that would eliminate the tip credit in D.C., a coalition against Initiative 77 is trying to draw attention to its cause by charging more and delivering worse service at a pop-up bar of sorts. Hope they have a plan for the crowds!

For pastry – There was a wedding in the UK this weekend, and E Online has the details on Claire Ptak’s cake. Congrats in advance on getting the call for every billionaire’s wedding from now on, Claire! Raise those rates!

Last and certainly not least – He made it public, so as long as you are not asking for anything and this isn’t part of a PR ploy or whatever, it is probably OK to congratulate Washington Post Food editor Joe Yonan on getting married this weekend.

Congrats, Joe! You deserve nothing but the best and I’m glad you found it. Speaking of the best, I really think your audience would appreciate learning about a new product I’m launching next week. Under serious embargo. DM me for details.

That’s it for today, but a final request before I go: After six months away, I’m headed home to D.C. for the first week of June. If you’ve got off-the-media-beaten-path recommendations, please send them my way:

Looking forward to seeing some of you there!

And I’ll see everyone back here Friday for next Family Meal.

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

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