Beard Awards, Momofuku C-Suite, Rueda gone, USC DC DOA, and more...
Family Meal - Tuesday, April 30th, 2019
Welp. Another big night for food media came and went this weekend, and my ears have only begun to recover from the burning.
Let’s get to it…
The Media – If you missed the James Beard Media Awards ceremony Friday night in NYC, you can still skip around the full video on Periscope. Results are available on the JBF site, but better to go through them on Eater, where Hillary Dixler Canavan’s list has actual links to winning books and articles.
Big 3 sampler:
Outstanding Personality: Marcus Samuelsson.
Book of the Year: Cocktail Codex (Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, David Kaplan).
Publication of the Year: New York Times Food
Michelin Season: International Edition – FYI, the next edition of Michelin’s Thailand guide will include Chiang Mai alongside Bangkok, Phuket, and Phang Nga. Details from Phavitch Theeraphong in Time Out Bangkok. Interesting twist: Gaelle Van-Hieu, the Vice President of Michelin Experience for East Asia and Australia, “also states that the restaurant's responsibility for the environment will be taken into consideration in the case of Chiang Mai, which recently became the world's most polluted city in April because of the on-going slash and burn by the locals to source wild ingredients like hed por (local mushroom) and ant eggs (which are the staples of Northern cuisine).”
The Chief – “David Chang’s restaurant group Momofuku has named its first CEO: 29-year-old Marguerite Zabar Mariscal, who has risen through the ranks after joining as an intern in 2011. It’s a major structural change-up for the company, with Momofuku president Alex Munoz-Suarez now reporting to Mariscal. She’s charged with overseeing all aspects of the business, including opening new restaurants, new lines of business such as consumer packaged goods, and overall brand growth, she tells Eater. She’s building a new leadership team, including new CFO Elizabeth Chrystal, who’s been with the company since 2016, and overall will manage a team of about 40.” Details via Carla Vianna.
For the Bar: Some Sad News – “Ruben Rueda, who worked as a bartender for 52 years at Hollywood’s famous Musso & Frank Grill, died April 26. He was 67. COO-CFO-proprietor Mark Echeverria, who made the announcement, said Rueda died of natural causes.” Daniel Nissen has a brief obituary in Variety.
The Missed Connection – “Danny Meyer said more than two years ago that his company, Union Square Hospitality Group, would open a second location of [Union Square Café]… in downtown D.C.” WBJ’s Rebecca Cooper says that deal is now off.
The Rules – After courts finally allowed credit card surcharges in January, the NY Post’s Melissa Klein and Dean Balsamini report a lot of New York restaurants haven’t quite gotten the hang of the new “cash discount” law. A useful paragraph: “Under the new rules, the higher credit card price is supposed to be listed in ‘dollars and cents’ on the menu or price tag or sign in order to avoid consumers having to do the math on the upcharge themselves… Businesses are then free to offer a real cash discount off the higher, credit card price, the AG’s Office said. ‘In concrete terms, the way this works is that the customer sees the highest possible price, inclusive of the credit card fee…’ said Jonathan Razi, CEO of CardX, a Chicago-based credit card processing company.”
Sure, it’s confusing for consumers, but really I feel bad for Bitcoin. Remember when that was going to be a huge part of all future currency conversations? Way back in like, 2016? Sad.
And speaking of pity – Spare a thought for investors in DC’s upscale sandwich chain Taylor Gourmet. After suddenly closing all its shops and filing for Chapter 7 last fall, the Washingtonian’s Jessica Sidman reports, “Taylor Gourmet’s assets—including trademarks, customer email lists, social media and domain names, and recipes—were acquired in March [for around $260k] by a company called Source Cuisine, headed by Steve Kalifa.” Kalifa thinks management was bad, but the concept was sound, so past investors will get to watch as he resurrects old stores without the burden of, you know, having to pay the old guard back. Meanwhile, WCP’s Laura Hayes says Taylor’s former founder / owner is also opening up a new restaurant in a former Taylor space. It will serve… sandwiches. “Bankruptcy” is American for “magic”.
For Design Fans – Eternal gratitude to anyone who can get me better pictures of the walls at The Fulton, “Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s bilevel piscatory tribute to the old Fulton Fish Market” in NYC. This Grubstreet spread offers just a taste –enough to get the Jules Verne gist – but I need to know more. Thank you.
And last but not least – One of the best things about Peter Meehan’s reign at LA Times Food was always going to be inside jokes and Easter Eggs. My favorite this week: The hyperlink under “Brooks Headley” in Meehan’s Food Bowl kickoff note leads to what I assume was a trailer of sorts for Headley’s 2016 Fancy Desserts cookbook. It stars DC punk legend (and Sassy Magazine’s Sassiest Boy in America, 1990) Ian Svenonius as a worshiper of the Lord of Sweets and host of a Fancy Desserts talk show. It is totally normal and makes perfect sense. You’re welcome.
And that’s it for today.
I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
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