Colors quits, BA heads, Beards targeted, Paltrow's ask, and more...

Family Meal - Friday, September 17th, 2021

Hello Friday,

Quick reminder that the Family Meal that went out to paying subscribers on Tuesday is copy / pasted at bottom as usual. If you’d like to get FMs on Tuesdays too…

And if that’s beyond your means or wants right now, the next best support is just sharing this thing and telling people you like it. Spread the word, good souls, like I do my best to spread yours!

Let’s get to it…

The End of an Attempt – Headline in the SF Chronicle: “The country's most ambitious effort for a worker-centric restaurant is dead for now, including in Oakland.” Details via Tanay Warerkar: “Restaurant Opportunities Center United, the national restaurant worker nonprofit, has pulled the plug on its ambitious but embattled Colors restaurant — in Oakland and across the country… Though ROC United and Colors faced accusations of discrimination and wage theft, respectively, the nonprofit had always said the restaurant expansion plan would continue.”

ROC had been planning to enshrine its “worker-centric” ideals at Colors restaurants in DC, New Orleans, NYC, and Detroit. But after debacle after debacle (listed in the piece) while trying to get these restaurants off the ground, this feels like a final acceptance that living up to those ideals in concrete (P&L) terms isn’t easy: “The decision to axe the Colors restaurants is part of a larger effort to refocus on its hospitality training program and to get out of restaurant management entirely, the spokesperson said.”

P.S. – In an odd twist, Warerkar adds that due to the terms of its 2019 split from ROC, One Fair Wage — the anti tip-credit org that surveyed Family Meal readers said was best described as “a real purgatory situation” — “could theoretically reopen the restaurant, according to an ROC spokesperson.” Then again, as ROC knows, lots of things work in theory.

The Lists – Bon Appétit is out with “a brand-new awards list” they’re calling “Heads of the Table.” Stop me if you sense a food media list trend here, but… Per restaurant editor Elyse Inamine, awardees “are the ones that sprang up (or quickly recalibrated) in the pandemic to help their communities and others in the industry who needed it most… they are giving opportunity to formerly incarcerated people, fighting for fair wages, and feeding their neighbors in personal and respectful ways.”

Congrats to “The Legislator: Francesca Hong (Madison); The Guardian Angel: Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation (NYC); The Second Chance Supporter: Down North Pizza (Philadelphia); The LGBTQ+ Hub: Ursula (NYC); The Food Waste Hero: Sullivan Scrap Kitchen (Denver); The Egalitarian: Reem’s California (Oakland); The Local-est of the Local: Farm Club (Traverse City); The Hospitality Hero: Lucille’s and Lucille’s 1913 (Houston); The Chinatown Champion: Send Chinatown Love (NYC); The Back-of-House Advocate: No Us Without You LA (LA); The Somm Savior: The United Sommeliers Foundation (CA); and The Better World Builder: The LEE Initiative (Louisville).”

The Pressure – Just two days after announcing big changes to its awards systems (see Tuesday’s FM below), The James Beard Foundation was hit with a full, back page ad in the Food Section of the New York Times (photo on Twitter) from none other than… El Pollo Loco! Most of the page is taken up by a huge, red, goose egg, framing some quick stats:

“Restaurant workers: 25.5% Hispanic. Line cooks: 20.8% Hispanic. Executive chefs: 22.5% Hispanic. James BeardOutstanding Chef Award” Winners in Nearly a Decade: 0% Hispanic.”

The slightly finer print underneath is an old-fashioned “For Your Consideration” with a social justice twist. EPL names 11 chefs it says represent both “some of the best our industry has to offer” and “a chance to give credit where it is obviously overdue.” Not sure if this helps or hurts, but… Congrats to: Manny Barella (Denver); Michael Diaz de Leon (Denver); Danielle Duran Zecca (LA); Crystal Espinoza (LA); Christina Galtman (LA); Nelson German (Oakland); Byron Gomez (CO); Maria Mazon (Tucson); Eduardo Ruiz (LA); Loreta Ruiz (Santa Ana); and Angelo Sosa (San Diego)!

In a press release, El Pollo Loco says it’s also “deploying a digital billboard truck with a route in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood, where the James Beard House is located.” And a QR code on the print ad sends readers to further messaging on EPL’s Instagram page, just above the ads they were running two weeks ago that begin: “Hey it’s me, the naked old guy in the health club locker room…”


The Host – And speaking of the JBAs, a press release says they picked Kwame Onwuachi to host this year’s not awards awards event on September 27th, alongside JBF CEO Clare Reichenbach, and Chef Monti Carlo, Edward Lee, Stephen Satterfield, and Tanya Holland.

The Media – Food & Wine senior editor Maria Yagoda says they’re looking to hire a (links go to applications): Digital content director; Deputy digital editor; Senior digital food editor; and Social media editor. (I’ll wait to see what the SF Chronicle offers me fashion-allowance-wise for the open critic job there before applying elsewhere. Only fair.)

For TV Fans – Eater Vegas’s Susan Stapleton asks: “Who Won ‘Hell’s Kitchen: Young Guns’ and the Head Chef Job at Gordon Ramsay Steak?” Spoiler: “Trent Garvey, who was 23 when he started filming the show, won the title and $250,000 in a two-hour finale that aired on September 13. The chef from Maplewood, Missouri, outside of St. Louis is the executive chef at Blue Duck, a neighborhood tavern known for its comfort food and sandwiches.”

Some Sad News – “Dotty Griffith, trailblazing Texas food journalist, Daily Texan Hall of Fame honoree, cookbook author and longtime restaurant critic at The Dallas Morning News, died Sept. 13 of pancreatic cancer at home in Dallas, surrounded by family. She was 71.” Full obituary from Erin Booke in the DMN.

And last but not least: The Lobbyist – Did you have Gwyneth Paltrow as your pick to follow Morgan Freeman as the voice of the Independent Restaurant Coalition’s “Replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund” campaign? Winner winner, jade egg sinner

And that’s it for today! Except of course for Tuesday’s paid Family Meal, which is copy / pasted below as usual. If you’d like to get Tuesdays’ on Tuesdays…

I’ll see paying subscribers here 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 accusations of discrimination and wage theft, respectively to If you like Family Meal and want to keep it going, become a paying subscriber! If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself!

Here begins Family Meal for Tuesday, September 14th, 2021:

Beard Awards reboot, Nordic stars, Delivery Arrows, Met Gala cooks, and more...

Hello Tuesday,

And hello to paying subscribers only! A wordy one today (and a bit NYC focused) with all the new JBF Awards guidelines.

Let’s get to it…

Awards Season – Press Release yesterday afternoon: “Today the James Beard Foundation announces changes to its Awards…. These changes go into effect in October for the launch of the 2022 call for entry period.” These are the long awaited results of the internal audit the JBF committed to after last year’s mid-pandemic awards debacle, and there are a lot of them: 23 pdf pages worth to be exact.

Among the big/fun ones:

– JBF is one-upping the Eater Young Guns program and asking applicants to not only sign a pledge, but also submit a personal statement (up to 150 words or one minute of audio or video) pledging alignment to the flag of the “Awards mission and the Foundation’s values.” “Candidates’ alignment statements will be scored on a scale of 0-10, and will be taken into consideration when committees and judges are voting on all other Awards category criteria.” Congrats, restaurant PR copywriters of America!

– There are “2 new types of judge categories within Restaurant and Chef Awards. Scouts who are responsible for surfacing new restaurants for consideration, and a Tasting panel responsible for tasting all Nominees and voting for winners using standardized voting form.” In the final voting, “Subcommittees and Tasting Panelists visit all nominees.” Effect on smaller market restaurants TBD…

– “All Restaurant and Chef semifinalists, Media nominees and special award and Leadership honorees will be screened and vetted… Any allegations received will be reviewed and assessed by the independent Ethics committee, which will determine next steps. No James Beard Foundation staff including its Awards team, any member of a committee or subcommittee, or anyone involved in administering the program will be involved in this process.” Composition of that committee still undecided.

– Changes to awards categories include adding “Emerging Voices” media awards, and an “Emerging Leadership” chef(?) award, plus a handful of new media awards, none of which are newsletter (because fear is a powerful pause on progress). Also, in books we’re now using “Visuals” instead of photography (to include illustrations?), and shout out to Sysco for their new opportunity to sponsor the “American” book category, henceforth known as “US Foodways.”

– “Diversity Goals for Committee Members and Judges: 45% BIPOC (2022-23), increasing to 50% (2023+).” Which I guess tracks the census as they’d promised before? But I don’t think “BIPOC” as a category without diversity goals itself will work longer term…

– Also: Media entry fees are lower (and can be waved); Awards committee term limits are reduced (two years instead of three); “Previous winners no longer default to the voting pool”; and for Restaurant / Chef Awards, “In addition to the traditional food media background of members of this subcommittee, others who qualify to join include: book authors; chef-instructors; former chefs/restaurateurs; food studies scholars; and diners from unrelated professions who have vast knowledge of the restaurant scene in a particular region.”

Welcome unrelated professions! If you like to vote and tell…

Many more changes, flow charts, and details in that pdf here.

Not there? What the audit actually found. There is no showing of the work whatsoever. And I think there should be.

P.S. Speaking of JBF, applications to their 2021 “Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) program” are now open. It’s billed as “an advanced educational, training, and networking program for business owners in all areas of the hospitality industry.” But FYI: The application process may take up to an hour, and they say, “you will need up to two (2) professional references. We also ask for revenue and net profit numbers for 2021, 2020, and 2019 and total number of full-time and part-time staff. We may request to see a copy of your P&Ls for verification.” Due by September 30th at 11:59 pm ET. Good luck!

And for a slightly less difficult application, World’s 50 Best is taking nominations for their “50 Next” list until September 22nd. They estimate it’ll take about 30 minutes to apply, and “recommend saving your answers to the longer questions in Word or Notes, as the application form cannot be saved prior to completion.” Woohoo!

Michelin Season – The 2021 Nordic guide is out and Noma got a third star. The announcement is unlikely to impact revenue at the restaurant, but for those keeping track, it does mean two 2.0s at three star level: “Maaemo in Oslo, Norway, re-joins the Guide in its new location.” Maaemo 2.0!

Online Events Season ­– Do you like streaming panel discussions???!!! Well, boy oh boy, is this the next two days for you! Starting at 11AM Eastern today, Amex / Food & Wine / Baltz & Co have three panel discussions on “trade” issues like operations, resiliency, and customer expectations. And tomorrow, the Independent Restaurant Coalition is hosting a “Rally to Replenish the RRF” on Zoom at 8AM Pacific.

The Long Read – Skipped past Monday’s “Revolt of the Delivery Workers” because I assumed I knew what it was about already, but it’s not about that. It’s about the bikes, specifically the electric Arrows in NYC, and their effect on the work and the community (plus a brief detour explainer on the Relay app — “the rewards Relay offers workers are greater and its penalties more severe” — that will make a lot of consumers flinch). Story by Josh Dzieza on Curbed, with lots of great photos from Philip Montgomery. Recommend. Also available in Spanish!

Lists I like – Eater has started putting out its “Most Anticipated Openings This Fall” lists for cities they cover. Per Amanda Kludt’s newsletter on Saturday: “So far, we have round-ups out of New York (Bonnie's!), London (Roketsu!), and Vegas (Superfrico!), with more to come.”

Lists Anna Likes – The theme of last night’s Met Gala in Manhattan was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” because my pal Anna Wintour is phoning it in. But a bunch of NYC food people got to go (in exchange for providing recipes!), including: “Fariyal Abdullahi, Nasim Alikhani, Emma Bengtsson, Lazarus Lynch, Junghyun ParkErik Ramirez, Thomas Raquel, Sophia Roe, Simone Tong, and Fabian von Hauske,” per Karen Yuan in Bon Appetit last month. Von Hauske Instagrammed a bunch of them posing with Bill de Blasio and BA EIC Dawn Davis. Neat! Anna offered first class, or I would’ve been there. (Saying no to private means we’re still feuding.)

And last and least – Speaking of fashion and food… Shout out to L’Avenue at Saks, which sent out a very detailed press release on a celebrity sighting that immediately got shared on Twitter by NYT reporter Brooks Barnes: “Ben Stiller dined at L’Avenue at Saks last night (9/8). He was the first to arrive for his party and sat on the Terrace. He was then joined by a younger couple (mid-20s). When the party was complete they ordered drinks but all were non-alcoholic (Ben had Diet Coke) and the other two had Diet Coke and a Lemonade. They ordered some food, one guest had the Vegan Curry vegetables, Ben and the other gentleman had the King Crab Salad, Tuna Tartare, and Eggplant Burrata (L’Avenue at Saks sent over some fries to the table). They were deep into conversation throughout their dinner and ate slow…”

It goes on… My god.

Stiller responded: “Stiller then called his doctor (slowly) after complaining of stomach issues indicative of food poisoning.”

And that’s it for today!

I’ll see you all here Friday for next Family Meal. If you got this as a forward and wish you got Tuesdays on Tuesdays…

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or revenue and net profit numbers for 2021, 2020, and 2019to If you like Family Meal and want to keep it going, become a paying subscriber! If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself!