Curry closes, SantaCon coming, All Stars, Low wages, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, December 13th, 2019
Hello Friday the 13th,
Let’s get to it…
The Job – Eater’s Young Guns (digital) imprint has two smart articles on work and wages this week. First, Matthew Sedacca asks “How Much Do Cooks and Chefs Really Make These Days?” The answer, you will be shocked to learn, is not much… for most. He does point out that, “Between 2001 and 2018, the percentage difference [between average wages for cooks vs chefs/head cooks] has bloated from 57.7 percent to 89.1 percent.” A link around there points back to this Chef’s Pencil piece from September, which has all the relevant 2019 numbers in graph form if you’re the more visual type.
And second, Kathryn Bowen has a useful discussion of staffing apps like Pared and Instawork, with cameos and opinions from a mix of mostly SF industry folks like Mat Schuster, Cynthia Tran, and Dave Barzelay. Re his own experience with Pared temps, the latter says, “We’ve frequently had people who we, under no circumstances, would have hired personality-wise,’... But, their skills have been adequate for washing and polishing.” (Not everyone’s going to laugh at your jokes, Dave.)
NYC Moves – “One of the biggest names at… Eleven Madison Park, Leo Robitschek, has left the vaunted establishment to head up the food and beverage program at the Sydell Group, which owns several popular hotel chains across the country including the NoMad and the Line.” Eater NY’s Tanay Wareker reports, “Stepping up to take over the bar program is at Make It Nice is Nathan O’Neill, who has been with working with the group since 2015.”
The Heartbreak – Ayesha Curry and Michael Mina’s International Smoke Houston has closed. Basketball backstory reminder from Marcy de Luna in the Houston Chronicle: “Before the doors opened, it came under fire by [Houston Rockets] fanswho took to Yelp to undermine the restaurant. Ayesha Curry’s husband, Stephen, was an instrumental part of the Warriors' 2018 win over the Rockets in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, ending the Rockets' season in heartbreak.”
The LA Holiday Hires? – Per LA’s WEHOville blog: “The long-delayed opening of West Hollywood’s Bottega Louie, which had been scheduled for Dec. 19, now has been pushed until March of next year. The restaurant’s [estimated 250] employees, who have been training for weeks, got calls on Tuesday telling them that they have been laid off.” Bah…
The Vision – “WeWork is closing its restaurant coworking startup Spacious, after acquiring the company only around four months prior… Making matters more complicated, in October a whistleblower filed a complaint about WeWork’s original Spacious acquisition with the SEC, alleging that executives pushed the deal through without doing enough outside review of Spacious’s financials (a claim that WeWork has denied). According to the complaint, WeWork bought the company for $42.5 million.” Details via Shirin Ghaffary at Vox.
P.S. If anyone at SoftBank is reading this, you should know that the restaurant industry is full of people with tons of amazing ideas for hugely popular, wildly unprofitable dream projects. Happy to connect you for an unreasonable finder’s fee.
ATTN: SF PR – The SF Chronicle has a new(?) landing page up asking for tips for next year’s Top 100 Restaurants list. Nominate away!
For TV Fans – “The Top Chef Season 17 All Stars L.A. Cast List” is out. Premier date: March 19. All stars: Bryan Voltaggio, Nini Nguyen, Angelo Sosa, Brian Malarkey, Karen Akunowicz, Melissa King, Jennifer Carroll, Jamie Lynch, Lisa Fernandes, Gregory Gourdet, Stephanie Cmar, Lee Anne Wong, Kevin Gillespie, Joe Sasto, and Eric Adjepong. Bravo’s announcement has reminders of who was in what season and where they are now. It also says: “This isn't the only exciting news to come out of the world of Top Chef these days. The first-ever Bravo's Top Chef Food & Wine Festival has also been announced, kicking off at Universal Studios Hollywood on March 19-20, 2020. Bravo and Spectra also recently announced that a new location of the quick service restaurant Top Chef Quickfire will open in January 2020 in Philadelphia.” Why even have a brand if you’re not going to gamble with it?
For the Somm – The SF Chronicle’s Esther Mobley is out with a “Winemakers to Watch” this week. Keep your eyes on: Brianne Day (Day Wines, Willamette Valley); Marty Winters and Alex Pitts (Maitre de Chai, Berkley); Shalini Sekhar (Waits-Mast / Neely, SF); Nicole Bertotti Pope (Stolo Vineyards, Cambria); and Byron Elmendorf (Boeger Winery and Clime Wines, Placerville).
Mobley also named her Winemaker of the Year: Francoise Peschon of Vine Hill Ranch. Peschon gets the full profile treatment, which, because she’s been doing this for various brands over 34 harvests, is as much about Napa and its big names as it is Peschon’s own work. Q from Mobley: “The Napa Valley machine is still running. But within a generation, could it break?”
And last and definitely least – Very happy holidays to NJ chef David Murray, who sent out 30,000 promotional mailers that included the message: “Hot Servers Wanted.” He says it was supposed to say “Holiday Servers Wanted” for his restaurant Denim byob. Classic typo. (Not) asked for (fictional) comment, Murray said, “I regret the error. DMs open for holiday pics.”
And that’s it for today.
I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.
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