CIA sadness, Cookbook season, Chefs v Wild, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, September 2nd, 2022
And hello from beautiful Bali, Indonesia! Where I am taking a quick detour to do some work for a friend on a (non-restaurant related) project.
Unfortunately, I took the wrong time off! Two weeks ago, I said Family Meal would taking a week off to deal with travel. Then I got COVID and took the week off to deal with that instead. Now I’m finally travelling, and everything has been… difficult.
Apologies to everyone I owe a message to, and many apologies to paying subscribers for your missing Tuesday edition. Had expected to write it on planes, but wifi wasn’t happening. There won’t be one this Tuesday either because of food media’s communist Labor Day relaxation plans. I’ll make it up to you.
That said, now that I’ve logged on and read through all the news, I see we haven’t been missing much at all?
Let’s get to it…
The Pipeline – Headline in the Washington Post: “Culinary School Enrollment Drops Even As Need Soars At Restaurants.” Some key figures from Alison Salerno: “The Culinary Institute of America, often cited as the nation’s most revered culinary school, now accepts 97 percent of all who apply, a much higher rate than the 36 percent it accepted for the 2001-02 academic year. The number of applicants rose less than 1 percent between the 2001-02 academic year and the 2020-21 academic year... Over the same time frame, the school’s yield — the percentage of admitted students who ended up enrolling — dropped from 91 percent for the 2001-02 academic year to 33 percent.”
At its Providence campus, Johnson & Wales’s applications are down 23%, with only 14% of accepted students actually showing up. “It closed its Denver and North Miami campuses in 2021.”
And: “Nationwide, the number of postsecondary institutions with culinary programs dropped by 20.5 percent between 2017 and 2020, from 264 to 210, according to the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation.”
Cost, meanwhile: STILL NOT CHEAP. “Tuition (excluding room and board) for Johnson & Wales’s Charlotte campus, for example, rose during the 2021-22 school year to $36,274, a 4.4 percent increase from the prior academic year. That compares with in-state tuition of $7,188 per academic year at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.”
Cookbook Season – For a finger on the publishing pulse, fellow newsletterer Paula Forbes is out with her always excellent Fall Cookbook Preview at the Stained Page News. This year, it’s broken into several helpful categories, including Chef & Restaurant books, where you’ll find: Bras getting the Phaidon treatment; Via Carota finally on shelves next month; Delmonico’s revisited; Ghetto Gastro’s Black Power Kitchen; Tennessee’s Hachland Hill; and, eventually (in January), Winson Presents A Taiwanese American Cookbook, by Josh Ku, Trigg Brown, and Cathy Erway. And more! Good luck, all!
The Step Away – Back hometown in St. Louis, “Ben Grupe, a 2022 semifinalist for the nationwide ‘Emerging Chef’ James Beard Award, is no longer the chef of the acclaimed Tempus in the Grove in Forest Park Southeast.” Ian Froeb has the scant details in the Post-Dispatch here, including that classic industry side note: “Grupe was not an owner of Tempus, however. According to the PR rep, Tempus’ owner is Peter Brickler.”
Some Sad News – “Roland Mesnier, the French-born pastry chef who whipped up desserts for five presidents and dignitaries over a quarter of a century in the White House and boasted of never serving the same dish twice, died Aug. 26... He was 78… Mr. Mesnier… was offered the White House job in 1979 after pleasing first lady Rosalynn Carter with his promise that he would focus on lighter dessert fare such as fruit.” Classic Carter.
And last but not least: For TV Fans – A trailer just came out for Chefs v Wild, the new Dave Chang produced cooking competition on Hulu. Couldn’t find any one list of all the contestants, but EatNorth’s Daniel Ball says a bunch of Canadians made the cut, and Eater’s Amy McCarthy spies “Katie Coss, a Tulsa, Oklahoma native who formerly served as the executive chef at Sean Brock’s Husk in Nashville, and James Beard Award winner and author Alan Bergo, who spends his time foraging for plants and mushrooms in rural Wisconsin.”
It looks… exactly as expected. Cooking competition meets survival “reality.” Fusion TV. Might be fun? Woohoo?
And… that’s it for today? Grubstreet’s Alan Sytsma says this fall is going to be “the busiest opening season in years,” so here’s to a fuller slate soon!
I will see everyone back here on Friday for next Family Meal.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or yield — the percentage of students who ended up enrolling — 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!
Oh, and PS – I’ll be in Bali for at least two weeks, so if you’re around (or know what’s going on here this month), lmk…