Family Meal - Friday, June 18th, 2021
Reminder: Tuesday’s Family Meal is copy/ pasted below for free-readers. If you’d like to start getting Tuesdays’ on Tuesdays…
BUT, whether you are a paid subscriber or not, please do me a favor and complete this quick survey! With the world of restaurants opening back up, I’m trying to work out the future of Family Meal, and your quick answers will be a big help. Plus, I’ve included some questions to help me understand you a bit better, and let you weigh in on things like Dave Chang, Eater, JBF, One Fair Wage, Alice Waters, cancelled folk, and more. And you can be anonymous!
OK. Let’s get to it…
Michelin Season: Florida? – A bit of awards news that didn’t get a ton of attention earlier this month: Florida food blogger Brenda Popritkin (The Whet Palette) was asking around about a potential Michelin Guide for Miami, and eventually got in touch with Suzie Sponder, a spokesperson for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Sponder told Popritkin that meetings were ongoing, and as she understood it, “We are waiting for [Michelin] to finalize a contract that will be signed between: Miami, Visit Florida, Orlando, and St. Pete.”
Been pestering both Sponder and Visit Florida about this, and their various “no comments” make me fairly certain Sponder’s quote is accurate. So… Michelin St. Pete coming soon?! Congrats to all the NYC restaurant groups about to pad their star counts?! But most importantly, how much will Florida pay for this? California’s guide cost the state $600k…
The Lists – …are back! Ready or not. Eater’s Most Anticipated Restaurants of the Summer are trickling out; I see LA, SF, the Carolinas, Chicago, and Atlanta, and assume more are on the way. And Eater has also restarted its Travel section, which means lists in places they don’t always do lists, like my old hometown of St. Louis (where Gerard Craft just got the gig curating food for the new MLS stadium, per Ian Froeb in the Post-Dispatch) and Albuquerque.
The Lists Too – Food & Wine is out with its big new “Game Changers” package. Per the editors: “This new annual list doesn't consist just of industry insiders, nor does it place emphasis and priority on being new.” Nor does it include only… people. “These 25 honorees are all leaders in the culinary field who push their peers to dream bigger and innovate harder... We are floored by their talent, their vision, and their hopes for the future. We believe in their lasting impact.” They include: Hangover prevention products, some pans, a strawberry, ChowNow, “superior spices,” and restorative organic agriculture. Oh, and Nguyen Coffee Supply’s Sahra Nguyen; New World Sourdough author Bryan Ford; activist /sommelier / bartender / Radical XChange founder Ashtin Berry; Good Drinks author (and newsletterer!) Julia Bainbridge; Miyoko’s Creamery founder Miyoko Schinner; and regular grocery shopper Guy Fieri; plus a few more human names involved with non-profits, travel companies, chocolate companies, noodle companies, and more.
It is… quite a list. But for my money the most interesting inclusion in the bolded name category is Seattle’s Addo chef Eric Rivera. He’s ostensibly in there because he runs a ticketed, always changing, multi-menu restaurant (and is looking to get further into CPG), but hard not to think a big part of his inclusion is his public performance during the pandemic, when he got into protracted twitter arguments with Tom Colicchio and kept up a constant Twitter chorus that sounded something like:
Calling the Independent Restaurant Association: “Like the Lincoln Project but for boomer chefs.” And…
Calling “white male chefs” pushing for a return to indoor dining: “The confederate statues that need to be toppled in this industry.”
Food & Wine says: “check his Twitter feed.” Food media hasn’t changed?
The Rug – While other states are cementing what many see as some positive changes from pandemic, Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board sent an email Tuesday afternoon pulling the rug out. Effective “immediately” (with no clear warning): No more cocktails to-go, and a return to previous outdoor dining permit numbers. The Inquirer’s Jenn Ladd reports this could get turned (back) around soon — and has more to do with PA politics than restaurant rules — and ABC6’s Annie McCormick says, “at this point, enforcement remains a question mark,” but still… ouch.
The Profile Treatment – In the NYT, Priya Krishna has a longread on Martin Yan “— who over a four-decade career has played the roles of television personality, cookbook author, restaurateur and now YouTube host.” Worth a read if you don’t know his story; not a lot new here if you do. But my favorite part is that some of his choicer quotes (“I made myself indispensable. I said, ‘OK, go find another Martin Yan.’”) are summed up in the picture of his personal library bookshelves, where cookbooks come sorted by category: “Indonesian — Vietnam — Philippines — Singapore — Thailand — Malaysia — Martin Yan.”
And last but NOT least: Pig – The trailer is out for the new Nicholas Cage movie, Pig. Variety’s Antonio Ferme says, “Cage’s character, Rob, is a truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness and enlists the help of a truffle salesman (Alex Wolff) to search for his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped.” Judging from the trailer, Rob also appears to be a former fine dining chef who left the big city for a reason. Trailer of the week? Movie of the year? This critic says yes.
And that’s it for today! Except for Tuesday’s Family Meal, which is copy / pasted below for non-paying readers.
I’ll see paid subscribers here Tuesday for next Family Meal, and everyone else in one week. BUT: However you read Family Meal, please do me a big favor and:
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or the help of a truffle salesman to email@example.com. If you like Family Meal and want to keep it going, become a paying subscriber! If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself!
Here begins Family Meal from Tuesday, June 15th, 2021:
Relief deferred, Jordan accused, Pastry glut, Humm homes, and more...
And hello to paying subscribers only!
Welp. The most populous state in America is fully reopening today. That feels like something!
Let’s get to it…
The Relief – Late last week, (I think) The Counter writer Jessica Fu was the first to report some big news regarding those recent lawsuits that object to the way Restaurant Revitalization Fund rules prioritize certain groups: “Per court filings, the Small Business Administration has quietly changed the way its doles out grants, putting a pause on processing [(previously priority)] applications from women, people of color, and veteran-owned businesses in late May.” Reuters and the NYT followed up on Monday, with the latter’s Stacy Cowley reporting: “Tens of thousands of applicants who expected an easier path through the $28.6 billion aid program are now stuck in limbo, and nearly 3,000 restaurant owners whose grants were approved have been told they can’t be paid… The 2,965 people whose approvals were revoked will be paid only ‘once it completes processing all previously filed non-priority applications, and only then if the R.R.F. is not first exhausted,’ the agency said.”
One restaurateur, Gregory León of Armadillo in Milwaukee, told Cowley he broke down and cried when he got an email Sunday telling him his grant decision had been reversed.
Meanwhile, the white, male “business owners who brought the suits [that started this] are among the non-priority applicants that have been paid, the SBA said in court filings. On June 1, the SBA paid $187,753 to the owners of the Lost Cajun, $640,425 to Penn Hotel Sports & Raw Bar, and $104,590 to Jake’s Bar and Grill.” (Eater Dallas’s Amy McCarthy has a rundown on Lost Cajun and the Stephen Miller-backed “legal advocacy group” behind their suit.)
This is a developing story (developing into an empty fund), and I obviously spoke too soon last week when I said the prioritization scheme would carry over into congress’s current proposed $60B RRF refill. Now seems like — as Stephen Miller’s favorite rocker (I assume) famously said — it’s a free for all.
The Accused – Weekend headline in the Seattle Times: “Edouardo Jordan, acclaimed Seattle chef, accused by 15 women of sexual misconduct or unwanted touching.” Details via Jackie Varriano and Asia Fields: “Four women said Jordan groped them at work. One recounted that Jordan put his fingers between her buttocks through her clothes during her shift and tried to kiss her on a business trip. One said he touched her crotch, and another said he slapped her on the behind. A fourth woman said he massaged her waist. A fifth woman said Jordan, her boss, subjected her to an unwanted kiss outside of work. Their accounts ranged from 2012 to 2017. Ten additional women said Jordan, as recently as 2019, made sexual comments, including about their breasts, or frequently touched them in unwanted ways, like hugging them from behind at work.”
Jordan denies the allegations, but a lot of chatter online is mostly to the effect of this tweet from Seattle writer Naomi Tomky: “Been wondering for a long time when we were going to get this story.” And reaction to his apology on Instagram is… not great.
Fallout has been swift (well, swift-ish if you count the fact that this has been allegedly going on for at least nine years). Fields and Varriano reported Sunday that staff across Jordan’s restaurants quit en masse not long after the exposé came out, forcing him to (at minimum) delay the reopening of JuneBaby and nixing plans for a few farewell weeks at Salare, which was due to close permanently July 3rd. And Robb Report’s Jeremy Repanich tweeted screenshots of Google results full of links promoting Jordan’s recent Blue Apron collaboration, all of which now lead to a 404: “Sorry, this page doesn't exist.”
Labor Shortage; Pastry Glut? – The NYT’s Heather Murphy had a handful of anecdotes of “Pandemic Bakers Going Pro” on Friday, but I hope we check back in a couple years to see who stuck with it and/or what a bumper crop of career pivot pastry grads means for America: “Culinary schools have been swamped with inquiries from aspiring bakers. The Institute of Culinary Education, which offers classes in Los Angeles and New York, received 85 percent more applications this year than it did in 2019. Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., said that its baking and pastry programs have generated far more interest than other culinary programs.” (But presumably not as much interest as all the student loans that are about to be taken out for those programs…)
The Media – In the Some Personal News category, Oset Babür says on Twitter: “I’m now the Associate Culture Editor at Food & Wine, which feels like a good time to share some pitch guidelines for Obsessions!” Link to the guidelines included, with what look like good opportunities for freelance writing (“Voice-y first-person essays with a strong POV about a recipe, experience, ingredient, or culinary tradition”) and PR coverage (profiles, baby).
And last and least: For Design Fans – Don’t usually include chef homes here, but with the NY Post reporting that Daniel Humm recently “paid $14.5 million for the four-bedroom, 4½ bath penthouse — half a million dollars over the duplex’s last asking price of $14 million,” why not? In Architectural Digest this week, you can, “Step Inside the Dreamy L.A. Home of Celebrity Chef Ludo Lefebvre,” where you will be stepping on a mix of beautiful Spanish-style tiles in main living spaces, some bold(!) bathroom tiles that aren’t my style (de gustibus etc.), and a kind of poured concrete with accent cracks (is that lava?) in the bedroom. And according to the Mercury News, here’s Slanted Door chef Charles Phan’s “live-work loft in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood,” on Redfin for $6.2M. “The voluminous industrial loft building is… well suited for extravagant post-pandemic social gatherings.”
Just like me.
And that’s it for today!
I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or voice-y first-person essays with a strong POV to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like Family Meal and want to keep it going, become a paying subscriber! If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself!