Bay Area blackout, Best Bars blacklist, AKA Esposito, and more...

Family Meal - Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

Hello Wednesday,

Greetings from beautiful Uluwatu, Bali, where our AirBnB’s welcome booklet has at least three full paragraphs dedicated to how much our hosts love love love the neighborhood’s early morning rooster soundtrack, and they hope we will too! Reads like: “A note about natural wine if you’ve never tried it…”

Let’s get to it…

The Outages – A bit of tangential industry news, but please send good thoughts toward everyone working on keeping walk-ins cold (enough) out west this morning. Per J.D. Morris and Michael Cabanatuan in the SF Chronicle, “California’s wildfire crisis will enter an unprecedented new stage Wednesday as PG&E plans to begin cutting power to about 800,000 customers, shutting down the electric lines that have sparked many of the state’s worst blazes… Word spread Tuesday of the preemptive shut-off — which is set to hit the Bay Area at noon… Of the Bay Area’s nine counties, all but San Francisco was to be hit by the mass outage intended to stop trees from crashing into Pacific Gas and Electric Co. lines when fast, dry winds blow in after several months without sustained rainfall. Across the state, 34 counties will be affected, some starting in the early morning and others not until noon or later on Wednesday.” Live updates also available via the Chronicle here.

NB: Chronicle restaurant editor Paolo Lucchesi says, “It could last days. Restaurants, wineries, bars: Let us know what you're doing.”

Good luck, all!

The Icon? – Just a few days after Munich’s Charles Schumann was honored as this year’s “Industry Icon” at the 50 Best Bar Awards, he has been forced to give up the title. Among the past quotes that apparently came back to bite him were charmers like, “A bar is no place for a woman. The important characters are always men,” and there’s “no place for a woman behind the bar after 3pm.” The latter is included in Brydie Allen’s summary of the situation for The Shout, which includes an apology from Schumann and a mea culpa from 50 Best which said its vetting process missed “these historical comments.” A good example of the initial bar community backlash came from the Trick Dog team, which posted a statement to Instagram yesterday saying in part that awarding the Icon title to Shumann “makes unignorable [50 Best’s] lack of inclusion. We find the World’s 50 Best’s lack of care, attention, and respect for all members of our community to be opposed to our values.”

Michelin Season (GBI) – As of yesterday, “One hundred and eighty-seven Michelin-Starred Restaurants are featured [in the 2020 Great Britain and Ireland guide], including one new Three Star, four new Two Stars and 23 new One Stars… This year’s highlight is the promotion of Sketch (The Lecture Room & Library) in Mayfair (Johannes Nuding) from Two to Three Michelin Stars… Three restaurants have been promoted from One to Two Stars: La Dame de Pic in the City of London (Anne-Sophie Pic); The Dining Room at Whatley Manor in Malmesbury (Niall Keating); and The Greenhouse in Dublin (Mikael Viljanen)… Meanwhile, Aimsir in Celbridge (Jordan Bailey) enters the guide for the first time with Two Michelin Stars.” Per Bloomberg’s Richard Vines, “On the downside, three London restaurants lost their single stars: Benares, Galvin at Windows, and Yauatcha Soho. The Araki lost all three of its stars after chef Mitsuhiro Araki returned to Japan.”

Haven’t seen all the hot takes yet, but Eater London writer James Hansen tweeted during the announcement event, “So far so Michelin: 3 new awards given to 4 white men and presenter saying ‘doing it for the girls.’”

Vines adds an evergreen, “Wow. That is all. Congratulations to the winners but some huge disappointments.”

The Alias – A lot going on in this week’s SF Chronicle story of one Mark White, the man who maybe owned the recently closed Cook Shoppe in the Castro. He gave the media and employees a fake name and CV, saying he was successful NYC restaurateur making Bay Area moves. In reality, according to a fantastic investigation by Janelle Bitker, “Before moving to San Francisco, White lived in Los Angeles and went by what he says is his real name, Michael Esposito. He and his business and apparent romantic partner, Barrett Walters, opened several Los Angeles businesses that left people out thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, according to 13 lawsuits and interviews with 13 former employees, clients and acquaintances….

P.S. For the Media: “Esposito also branched out beyond the hospitality industry, but with similar results. In 2015, he hired more than 100 staffers and freelance writers for a news website called Newsaratti before closing the operation abruptly four months later, according to more than 150 emails and documents reviewed by The Chronicle. Three former employees who spoke to The Chronicle say they were never paid.” Silicon valley failure-as-hero podcast in 3… 2…

The Media – At the Takeout, departing EIC Kevin Pang writes, “Please say hello to Marnie Shure, who will officially take over as Editor-in-Chief on Oct. 21.” She tweets at the memorable handle @marnieshure.

Also, SevenFifty Daily editor Joseph Hernandez says the site was hit by layoffs this week (he’s looking for a good new gig himself), and on a more positive note, Eater’s Sonia Chopra says, “We're hiring for a whole bunch of positions for our first Eater Hulu show! Producers, editors, PAs, APs — check out all the roles on our careers page under ‘Vox Media Studios’”

The Talks – In my best Rupert Holmes: “If you like panel discussions…” you can watch video from all last week’s NYT Food Festival talks here. Haven’t watched yet, but the comments section is open via replies to this email…

For Design Fans – Back to Michelin UK… I was unaware of the bathroom situation in the newest 3-Star, Sketch. Why didn’t you tell me about the pods? Here’s a YouTube video to get a full sense because looking at the pictures I was like, “Wow, neat, pods!” But video deflated me to, “Oh, right, Porta-Potties.”

And that’s it for today. FYI, this little family vacation means no Family Meal on Friday. Greatly appreciate your understanding at this (not at all) difficult time.

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

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