Chang offsets, Tien moves, Adimando out, Regan real, and more...

Family Meal - Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

Hello Tuesday,

And greetings from the beautiful Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SNAFU), home of the brave.

Let’s get to it…

The Balancing Act – Re last week’s Momofuku-Related news, Andrea Chang at the LA Times reports, “David Chang’s restaurant Majordomo donated all of its profits on Friday… to charities including Planned Parenthood, RAICES, Everytown and Sierra Club. A diner at the restaurant Friday evening said a server confirmed the move was done in response to the [Trump 2020] fundraiser held the same day by billionaire Stephen Ross… the chairman of RSE Ventures, a private investment firm that is one of the backers of Chang’s restaurant group.”

Is that gonna cut it for employees, customers, and Dave Chang, personally? Here’s the NY Post’s Jennifer Gould Keil and Emily Smith on what happened at those fundraisers this past weekend: “Talking about South Korea, Trump said it makes great TVs and has a thriving economy… He then mimicked the accent of the leader Moon Jae-in while describing how he caved in to Trump’s tough negotiations…. Turning to Japan, Trump then put on a fake Japanese accent to recount his conversations with Shinzo Abe over their conversations over trade tariffs.”

Delivery Wars – “DoorDash, the app-based food-delivery service, is in talks with banks about arranging a credit facility of about $400 million ahead of a possible initial public offering, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The San Francisco-based company may seek to offer shares as early as next year, said the people.” Details from Gillian Tan, Michelle Davis, and Ellen Huet in Bloomberg.

Delivery Wars Too – Late last week in the UK, Deliveroo announced “a new team within its HQ that will focus on identifying restaurants in need of support to offer them a place in a local Editions delivery-only kitchen… The selected restaurants will enjoy preferential commission rates, and Deliveroo will cover the costs of rent, equipment, maintenance, utilities, food safety setup and audit costs.” Cool. I’d like to see two things: First, that free rent contract. And second, the long-term loss projections on a growth strategy wherein Deliveroo subsidizes both food makers and food deliverers at the same time. Good luck, all!

The Move – “The founding chef of Himitsu, the tiny, cuisine-hopping restaurant that helped put [D.C. neighborhood Petworth] on the map as a dining destination for national critics, is leaving after three years of award-winning service. Kevin Tien is giving up his ownership stake and turning over full control to partner and beverage director Carlie Steiner so he can focus on opening Emilie’s, a massive family-style restaurant coming soon to Capitol Hill.” Eater D.C.’s Gabe Hiatt reports chef Amanda Moll (recently of Doi Moi) will take over. Details here.

The Move Too Christopher Kostow’s new restaurant Ensue is now open in Shenzhen, and Howie Kahn has the story behind it in the WSJ: “Shenzhen had a different appeal, both because of the possibility of cooking regularly in mainland China, a rarity among top American chefs, and because it offered a chance to work with the restaurant’s passionate owner, Ricky Li. ‘This is Ricky’s dream,’ Kostow says of the restaurant, Ensue, which opens on August 11th… After eating over a thousand Michelin-starred meals around the world, Li, 26, questioned why his city lacked the kind of fine dining experience he’d most come to appreciate.…. Li enlisted [Mark and Brian Canlis] to help with his search. After speaking with nearly 40 top-tier chefs around the world, the Canlises and Li agreed that Kostow would bring the right approach to Li’s $7 million investment.”

The piece is well worth a read, with lots of fun details, but I know what you’re wondering: Does Li have some family money? Yes. Li has some family money.

The Profile Treatment – In the Washington Post, Deborah Reid has a long profile of Iliana Regan and her Milkweed project in Michigan. I still can’t get over this fact: “She and her wife, [somm Anna Regan], bought 150 acres sight unseen in November 2018 and wouldn’t step foot on the property until late April because snow made the road impassable.” Now, “On the threshold of her 40s, Regan is launching the inn — an intimate weekend ‘glamping’ retreat — and has a just-published memoir, ‘Burn the Place.’… It’s her life story, not a glorified inventory of restaurant accolades or a manual for how to become a chef. ‘I’m not trying to make this like every other chef memoir,’ filled with ‘douchery,’ she writes. ‘No, I’m just trying to keep it real.’” Fist bump. Explosion hands. Word.

The Media – “Food quarterly Saveur has a new editor in chief. Sarah Gray Miller… replaces Stacy Adimando, who only held the editor in chief title for six months…. Miller was most recently editor in chief of Modern Farmer, the niche but smart looking food and agriculture magazine launched in 2013.” WWD’s Kali Hays has that news, but doesn’t mention that Adimando’s exit comes six weeks after she lashed out at writer Mayukh Sen on Twitter, swinging and missing in a public venting of frustration that implied she had long been annoyed at Sen (self-identified in the thread as “a younger QPOC freelancer”) for being “the guy who’s always ready to point out to every other writer how politically incorrect and biased they are.” Some big names in food media came to Sen’s defense, and Adimando eventually deleted both her initial tweet and her first shot at an apology.

For various reasons, I didn’t include the initial exchange in Family Meal at the time, but did ask Sen for his thoughts back in early July. After that first apology fell flat, he sent me this: “In the absence of a genuine apology, I wonder if she will face any repercussions for her actions. Given its legacy of surfacing stories from the margins, Saveur at least deserves a leader who uses their platform more judiciously.” Wonder no more?

The (Student Media) Opportunity – Fwd this on to rising college juniors and seniors in the tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT): “The James Beard Foundation, with support from the Gannett Foundation, is launching a new media fellowship program to train students from underrepresented minority backgrounds to be food and drinks journalists.” Organizer Maggie Schoenfarber at the JBF tells me they “are awarding a grant of $2500 for a 3-month fellowship. The fellows would be expected to commit to at least 2 days a week in the Beard Foundation offices in Manhattan, and would be developing short- and long-form editorial content while being overseen by the Foundation's media department, and mentored by Jamila Robinson.” Link to the application here.

And for non-media post-grads: Sorry I missed the start of this, but there are still two classes left in the JBF’s August “Summer School… a webinar series dedicated to improving the financial literacy of women in the culinary industry.” Some past videos available on the registration page as well.

For Design Fans – Quick stop in London for Jérôme Galland’s Vogue photos of “Paris-based restaurateurs [Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux’s]… newest 340-seat restaurant, Circolo Popolare… recently opened in London’s Fitzrovia.” I am in love with New Hodgepodge-ism and am officially declaring Minimalism and Wes Anderson-ism dead. Mostly dead.

And that’s it for today. Thanks much to everyone checking in on us in HK! We’re alright.

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

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