The Family Meal – Friday, June 29th, 2018

Hello Friday,

Let’s get right to it…

Michelin Season – The first ever guide to Guangzhou, China is out, and… maybe the tourism board can get their money back? No restaurants earned two or three stars, and only eight earned the highest rating of one star: Bingsheng Mansion; Bingsheng Private Kitchen; Jade River; Jiang by Chef Fei; Lai Heen; Lei Garden (Yuexiu); Wisca (Haizhu); and Yu Yue Heen. Then it was just 20 Bib Gourmands and 34 unranked. Population: circa 14.5M.

The language – Looks like NYC is having the same wording issues DC did/does on the question of eliminating the tip credit. Food & Wine recently wrote, “In New York, the minimum wage for tipped workers is $8.75, while for non-tipped workers, the minimum wage is $15,” and Eater headlined their article on the issue “Danny Meyer throws support behind full $15 minimum wage for tipped workers” (before correcting it after USHG denied involvement).

There is a very important debate to be had here, but it’s hard to have it with the voting public when the news seems to imply it is currently legal for servers to earn less than the full minimum wage. “Should tips count toward minimum wage?” That’s a great question! “Should servers be paid only $8.75 an hour when everyone else is guaranteed $15?” That’s… not true?

Full summary of Wednesday’s NY Dept of Labor hearings is on Gothamist. (Comments section enabled…)

The Subtext – Eater NY lede: “For the first time in about eight years, high-concept restaurant company Major Food Group has hired a female executive chef at a restaurant: Ashley Eddie, a 30-year-old with experience at restaurants like Acme, is now leading the kitchen at coastal Italian restaurant Santina.” Congrats, all! But…

Underneath that headline news, editor Serena Dai’s article makes clear serious reputation problems for Major Food Group, which has been the subject of a lot of industry sub-tweeting and rumor spreading lately. Bottom line: If you announce a new chef to the press, and their first reaction is “skepticism over MFG’s sudden press push of a female in leadership”, and multiple references to your “bro-y reputation” and “propensity for bro culture”, something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The (nowhere near) last straw – “Daniel Boulud is the latest restaurant industry powerhouse to join the No Straws movement, announcing on Wednesday that plastic straws will be eliminated from all of his restaurants, including DANIEL, Boulud Sud, Bar BouludCafé Boulud, and DBGB Kitchen & Bar. Starting on July 1, all of Boulud’s restaurants—and other restaurants in the Dinex Group—will begin implementing the no-straws policy.” Details via Food & Wine.

The tax deduction – Per the Chronicle, “Crystal Jade Jiang Nan, the 4-year-old Cantonese restaurant in the Embarcadero Four building, is closing to the public on June 30. The restaurant’s opening in November 2014 made a splash in San Francisco, and not just because of the $14 million renovation of the 20,000-square-foot space. Owned by L Capital Asia, the private equity branch of LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), the Singapore-based Crystal Jade Culinary Concepts group operates more than 130 restaurants in 13 countries. The San Francisco location was the group’s first in the United States.”

That lounge $$$ – Fresh off signing on with Stephen Starr to run the kitchen at his new St. Anselm steakhouse in D.C., chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley is going to… curate the buffet at the Delta Sky Club at DCA. Did you scoff? “San Francisco’s Delta lounge offers an Asian-inspired menu by famed Lemongrass chef Mai Pham, while Seattle’s features fare from Ethan Stowell.”

P.S. Not sure on hiring, but heads up around AUS / PHX… “New Delta clubs in Austin and Phoenix are on the horizon.” (The AUS lounge announcement promises “local brews and bites, inspired by Austin’s foodie scene”, but no word who will run it.)

The Book Shelf – Per Stained Page News: “Anthony Bourdain’s longtime right hand/cookbook co-author Laurie Woolever, will edit BOURDAIN: The Oral Biography, to be published by Ecco Fall 2019.”

And René Redzepi is working with former Lucky Peach editor Chris Ying to resurrect MAD Dispatches as a series of books based on the MAD Symposium. “Each volume of Dispatches will unpack a single urgent and interesting topic from the world of food.” First up is: “You and I Eat the SameOn the Countless Ways Food and Cooking Connect Us to One Another.” (That title sounds like a perfect opening for a critique by New Yorker food writer Helen Rosner, who recently tweeted: “Can we retire the lazy, empty, self-congratulatory trope that ‘food connects people’? Because it doesn’t. People connect people. It’s not the food, it’s the table.”)

The Media – Nashville’s new Eater editor is food blogger Delia Jo Ramsey. “Reach out to her with tips and story ideas here, and don’t forget to follow her on Instagram and Twitter.” Not anonymous; lots of pics on Instagram and her old blog.

For the somm – Two bits of business via the SF Chronicle’s Esther Mobley: “Wine and spirits mogul Dave Phinney just announced the sale of another wine brand to E. & J. GalloLocations, his 90,000-case brand of wines from around the globe. A price was not disclosed.” And “in more wine industry M&A news, Codorníu Raventós – the Spanish company that owns Artesa in Napa – has agreed to sell majority stake to investment firm the Carlyle Group.”

And last but not least, some congratulations are in order: This week in the UK, celebrity chef Rick Stein, 71, was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Prince Charles, while back in the colonies, 28 year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – who was recently working as a bartender in NYC – defeated a formidable incumbent, and is most likely on her way to the United States House of Representatives. Same same.

And that’s it for today. Here’s to all the journalists who read this newsletter. In case you can’t tell: I love your work.

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

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

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