Beard Season, Davis out, Meggett gone, Toast reserved, Drop's test, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, April 28th, 2023
Let’s get to it…
The Media: Beard Season – Time to butter up your media contacts with big congrats (or dry their tears with “you were robbed!”); the James Beard Awards Media nominees came out Wednesday. Full list here.
There are a lot of categories and no Family Meal nominations (I did not get my application — or pay-to-play check — in on time), so let’s just say: Congrats, all! And wait for the smaller list of winners to publish here.
One category of note: Restaurant and Professional books.
And the nominees are…
Bludso's BBQ Cookbook: A Family Affair in Smoke and Soul by Kevin Bludso with Noah Galuten; Please Wait To Be Tasted: The Lil' Deb's Oasis Cookbook by Carla Perez-Gallardo, Hannah Black, and Wheeler with Meshell Ndegeocello; and Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin' in New Orleans by Mason Hereford and JJ Goode.
Congrats, all! Good luck, all!
The Media Too – If you too would like to write books and win awards, NB: Per Julia Moskin and Elizabeth A. Harris in the NYT, “Dawn Davis, a veteran book editor who was hired in 2020 to put Bon Appétit magazine back on track after mass resignations and allegations of racism at its parent company, Condé Nast, resigned on Tuesday. She will return to Simon & Schuster as the publisher of 37 Ink, an imprint she founded in 2013, and as executive editor of the Simon & Schuster trade imprint… She said that she would remain in the [BA] job until September.”
Some have quoted Davis as also saying, “Let’s get that Family Meal guy a book deal and/or make him editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit ASAP!” Unconfirmed, but plausible.
Some Sad News – “Emily Meggett, a Southern home cook who never measured her ingredients or used recipes but became one of America’s most important Gullah Geechee cooks and last year published a best-selling cookbook on Gullah Geechee cuisine, died on Friday at her home in Edisto Island, S.C. She was 90.” Christina Morales has the NYT obituary for Meggett, but as befits a legend, tributes and write-ups will be everywhere you google.
And in Seattle, “Rachel Marshall, the founder of Rachel’s Ginger Beer and co-owner of bars Montana and Nacho Borracho, died unexpectedly on April 24. The cause of death appears to be cardiac arrest, though it’s not yet confirmed. She was 42 years old. Marshall and her partner, Adam Peters, founded her ginger beer business in 2011 in the Licorous kitchen, borrowed from chef John Sundstrom. Over the years, she parlayed the business into a singular influence in Seattle’s food and beverage scene.” Obituary in Seattle Met via writer (and friend of Marshall’s) Allecia Vermillion.
The Reservations – On Wednesday, “Restaurant software provider Toast introduced Toast Tables, reservations and waitlists built into its point of sale system.” Expedite’s Kristen Hawley calls it “a bet on bookings that we’ve seen before, positioning direct reservations as an alternative to networks like OpenTable and Resy that market on behalf of restaurants via marketplaces, events, and more” with the caveat that there’s still room for multiple players in this game. Hopefully whatever competition there is is good for restaurants?
And last but not least: For the Somm – Eater’s Amy McCarthy wrote an article this week with the headline, “‘Drops of God’ Is a Rare Wine Drama Worth Watching” so… I watched the trailer. And now you have to too. Quote: “Your father’s legacy is the biggest wine collection in the world. Its full value: 148 million dollars. He set up a test to determine who would inherit this… his daughter or his exceptional student?”
According to research done entirely on my 6 year-old’s bookshelf, the “test to win [princess’s hand in marriage / keys to kingdom / fortune / etc.]” plot has been done a few times. BUT… this has me imagining how the attention economy enters postmortem. “Whoever can keep their finger on my coffin the longest while eating only Beast Burgers gets the password to my YouTube channel” is a brave new world I, for one, am not ready for.
Legacy is tragedy.
And that’s it for today! Except of course for Tuesday’s paid version which is copy / pasted below as usual. If you’d like to get Tuesdays’ on Tuesdays too…
I’ll see paying subscribers back here on Tuesday, and everyone else on Friday for next Family Meal.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or the biggest wine collection in the world to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like Family Meal and want to keep it going, please chip in here. If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself!
Here begins the Family Meal that went out to paying subscribers on Tuesday, April 25th, 2023:
Meatia, Coasts, Ghosts, and more...
Let’s get to it…
The Meatia – Sometimes I worry we’ll never have any fun profiles or glancingly fact checked stories again because everyone is too afraid they’ll miss some horrible detail that makes their reporting look like sycophantic comp-bait. It’s sad! But then sometimes I also read things like this headline from Eater Dallas: “A Dallas Group Established Its Own Wagyu Beef Herd to Supply Its Restaurants. Harwood Hospitality… created its own cattle breed and whole animal program.”
“The idea was broached in 2020, when Harwood vice president of culinary Taylor Kearney was struggling to find consistent cuts of meat.” Soon (very soon?) after, “Kearney began working with a Texas/Oklahoma rancher to develop an ultra-high end breed of prime graded cattle from a pure Akaushi bloodline. Dubbed HWD Premium Beef, the product first hit menus in late 2022.”
From “idea” to exclusive wagyu bloodline specifically developed for one restaurant group in a little over two years! Fantastic work everyone! I mean (quote): “No other restaurant group has created its own line of beef, which gives Harwood a unique story to tell customers.”
Congrats to Harwood on this culinary storytelling effort! (Please don’t look up how long wagyu cattle live before they’re slaughtered.)
The Lists – Food & Wine is out with a massive package they’re calling “our first-ever Global Tastemakers Awards for 2023, as voted on by you, our loyal readers.” There are too many lists to list! Cities and cruises and airports, oh my!
Sample list: The 10 Best Restaurants in the U.S. Top to bottom: Yolan (Nashville); Merois (LA); Camphor (LA); Providence (LA); Aldama (NYC); Atelier Crenn (SF); Le Bernardin (NYC); Zou Zou’s (NYC); Moon Rabbit (DC); and Benu (SF).
Congrats, all! And congrats especially to all the coastal readers of Food & Wine!
And last but not least: The Star – I do not speak French, but per Twitter, I gather Paul Bocuse was honored at a soccer game in Lyon recently. That is my analysis. Here is the evidence (photo link goes to tweet):
And that’s it for today!
I’ll see everyone back here Friday for next Family Meal.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or a pure Akaushi bloodline to email@example.com. If you like Family Meal and want to keep it going, please chip in here. If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself!