Family Meal - Tuesday, July 7, 2020
|Andrew||Jul 7|| 1|
Let’s get to it…
The Relief – Data / financial miners, your time has come. Paycheck Protection Program loan records are now public. I tried to comb through them a bit for this newsletter, but the csv file is massive and slowed my poor old laptop to a crawl. If yours is a bit faster, a fun trick is to filter the Business Name column for “restaurant” or “hospitality” and watch the names roll in… Have fun on the coal face!
The ReClosing – Shocking no one in Florida: “Miami-Dade County restaurants must close dining rooms and gyms must shut down again this week under a planned emergency order Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced Monday as he continues to retreat from a May reopening plan that’s been unable to prevent a surge in new COVID cases.” Douglas Hanks, Samantha Gross, and Carlos Frías have the details in the Herald.
The Departure – Chef Kwame Onwuachi is leaving Kith/Kin, the restaurant he created at DC’s Intercontinental Hotel. He shared the news on Instagram yesterday, and the hotel says the restaurant will live on without Onwuachi. No word on where he’ll land next, but I’ll note that while he told the Washington Post’s Emily Heil he wouldn’t comment beyond the official statement, he sure did seem to have some time for Pete Wells in the NYT…
The Delivery Wars – “Uber has agreed to acquire the food delivery start-up Postmates for $2.65 billion as it aims to expand its presence in on-demand food delivery while its core ride-hailing business struggles. The companies announced the all-stock deal [link goes to press release] on Monday morning. Uber will combine Postmates with its own food delivery subsidiary, Uber Eats, which has been growing during the coronavirus pandemic. Postmates will continue to operate under its own name.” Lots of helpful numbers in the write-up from Mike Isaac, Erin Griffith, and Adam Satriano in the NYT, including these pie slices: “Together, Postmates and Uber Eats would have a 37 percent share of food delivery sales in the United States, according to Edison Trends, which tracks credit card spending. DoorDash would remain the largest player with 45 percent, while Grubhub would have 17 percent.” And NB: “Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive, said Uber might integrate certain Postmates services, including its $9.99-per-month subscription that provides no-fee delivery on any orders over $12.”
The Higher Ed – “By the end of the year the International Culinary Center, formerly the French Culinary Institute, will close its doors in SoHo and will become part of the Institute of Culinary Education in the Brookfield Place complex in Battery Park City.” Details via Florence Fabricant, who says the deal was signed Monday.
The Media – Whetstone founder Stephen Satterfield announced on a Black Book Zoom panel Sunday (no recording yet) that he is launching online articles and accepting pitches for a new web-based side of his previously print-focused venture. (Satterfield later confirmed on Twitter.) Details TK.
The Deluge – Journalists continue to speak their minds about former LA Times food editor Peter Meehan, with critic Patricia Escárcega calling Meehan’s tenure a “reign of misery” on Twitter, and staff writer / video host Lucas Kwan Peterson adding maybe the most specific, serious allegation so far in his own big Twitter thread Saturday: “Last year, a colleague told me that Peter put his hand up her dress more than once during a social outing… I confronted Peter the day after the incident, but he was possibly too drunk to remember, or care. He ended up apologizing to, of all people, me.”
One person many have been waiting to hear from is Meehan’s Lucky Peach co-founder David Chang, who offered sincere sounding apologies on a 7-minute, unscheduled mea-culpodcast over the weekend, but said that he couldn’t fully discuss the allegations because, “I signed a non-disparagement agreement that prevents me from saying anything negative about Peter or his management of Lucky Peach.” (FWIW, the rumor-mill tells me that non-disparagement agreement he’s talking about dates back to at least a few years before the actual demise of Lucky Peach and is between Chang and Meehan personally. Presumably, it goes both ways?)
The Means – With a lot of these allegations now at least partially fleshed out publicly, I am very curious about how people feel about how we got to this point. I reached out to OP Tammie Teclemariam to ask her both why she decided to publish her scoops on Twitter instead of going the more "traditional" route (i.e. pitching these allegations to news outlets), and whether (especially in light of LAT claims that she may have gotten a few details wrong in her rush to publish) the ends justify the means.
Her response in full:
“I guess I just wanted to make sure he got fired as quickly as possible. I found out Friday night and immediately started asking around and was impressed by the number and severity of accounts. It just felt extremely urgent that he stop. Twitter has to be the way when everyone is terrified and bound by NDAs. These people have gone to HR and been ignored. There is no time for whatever happens via traditional routes. You have to put the accounts in everyone’s face just for their employer to have a meeting about it. Just read the language of people’s accounts. This man was a terrorist. Someone called [Meehan] 100x worse than [Adam Rapoport], and the number of responses I got thanking me afterwards was proportional to that. He did a LOT of damage.”
Hometown Check-in: Some Sad News – Per the Post-Dispatch back where I was born and raised, “Famed St. Louis restaurateur Charlie Gitto Sr., who established along with his wife [Annie] several restaurants that left an indelible mark on the St. Louis dining scene, has died. He was 87. Gitto died peacefully Saturday, according to a post on the Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill Facebook page.”
For the Bar: The Opportunity – Brewmaster Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery on Twitter yesterday: “Today I am pleased to announce the formation of the Michael Jackson Foundation for Brewing and Distilling (MJF). The MJF [named in honor of drinks writer Michael James Jackson] will fund scholarship awards to predominantly people of color within the brewing and distilling industries or who wish to join those industries.” (Italics mine, furloughed bar folk!) “The MJF scholarship awards will fund brewing and distilling education, whether beginning or ongoing, for BIPOC within the professions. Each scholarship granted to a student will be matched with a BIPOC mentor and/or peer within the industry.” Oliver says he’s going to start raising funds in earnest on July 15th, and invites you to “WATCH THIS SPACE” (his twitter) for details to come.
And last and least – Missed this earlier, but shout out to whatever huckster came up with the “Freedom to Breath Agency,” and started selling fake, government-esque licenses permitting the bearers to avoid wearing face masks during the pandemic. Nothing screams FREEDOM like an official permit!
And that’s it for today.
I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
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