Dennis trips, Senghor sentenced, No-match dilemmas, Michelin dates, and more...

Family Meal - Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

Hello Tuesday,

Back from Bangkok, and dusting off cobwebs.

Let’s get back to it…

Awards Season – While I was away, Michelin announced release dates for its 2020 U.S. city guides. ICYMI, they are as follows:

Chicago Bibs: 9/19

Chicago Stars: 9/26

DC Bibs: 9/24

DC Stars: 10/1

NYC Bibs: 10/14

NYC Stars: 10/21

That Delivery $$$ – After all the outrage about their shady tip policies, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu finally came out with details of a new approach to “Dasher” earnings. He says under the new model, “Every dollar customers tip will be an extra dollar in their Dasher’s pocket, and customers will be able to tip at checkout or after the delivery.” #innovation.

That Delivery ($$$) – Quartz’s Alison Griswold has the details on a new report from investment firm Cowen, in which “analysts estimate that [Uber Eats] is currently losing $3.36 on every order. They expect that loss to shrink to $0.46 per order by 2024, but didn’t say anything about when the food-delivery business might turn a profit.” Come on, analysts. Be bold. Say: Never.

The No-Match Dilemma – After the Social Security Administration recently started sending notices to businesses calling out employees whose tax numbers didn’t match their names, some restaurants were put in a difficult position. David Yaffe-Bellany has some useful analysis in the business section of the NYT: “A no-match letter from the Social Security Administration is not the same as an immigration audit, which would be conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement…. But the letters effectively require business owners to check whether the employees identified are properly documented. And in a potential ICE audit, employers who fail to investigate a no-match letter — or to act on what they find — could be deemed to have ‘constructive knowledge’ of an employee’s immigration status, exposing them to hefty fines and possible criminal charges.”

There are few good answers on how to deal with the letters, but one anonymous Manhattan restaurateur tells Yaffe-Bellany “she received a no-match letter alerting her to issues with almost every member of her kitchen staff, many of whom she had suspected were in the country illegally. Ultimately, she said, she decided not to tell any of her employees about the letter because losing the workers would doom the establishment.” People’s lives sure make a neat game! This one’s called, “Omission: Keep your business afloat by hiding information about the government looking into your staff’s citizenship documentation. They’ll never know…. until it’s too late.” Fun!

Some sad news – According to NYC’s ABC7, in an indictment of a woman accused of being involved in the death of at least three men in Queens this summer, “A law enforcement source says John Doe 3 is 33-year-old Andrea Zamperoni who was found dead last Wednesday at a Queens hotel that was a known drug and prostitution location. Zamperoni was reported missing by co-workers last Monday when he didn't show up to work at the famed Cipriani Dolci in Grand Central Terminal.” NB: The reporting in this piece gives more detail than some may want to hear.

The Sentencing – “In a San Francisco courtroom full of supporters Thursday, Bay Area restaurateur Marco Senghor was sentenced to one year of probation for making a false statement on an immigration-related document. Senghor, who owns Little Baobab in San Francisco and Bissap Baobab in Oakland, also has to pay a fine of $1,000 and complete 100 hours of community service.” Details via Justin Phillips in the Chronicle.

The Profile Treatment – Bon Appétit’s Hillary Cadigan got taken on a low country road trip with a local icon recently: “We’re driving through the heart of the 425-mile Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor on a mission, or rather, two distinct but parallel missions: mine, to write a profile of BJ Dennis. His, to turn my profile into something else entirely. Which is why asking him questions about himself falls on the difficulty scale somewhere close to herding cats. As he says, this isn’t about him. It’s about Gullah culture.” I think Dennis mostly succeeds, and the appearances of chefs and farmers like Bill Green, Jackie Frazier, Emily Megget, Gina Capers-Willis, Roosevelt Brownlee, and Isaiah Brown add up to a longread well worth your time.

And last and definitely least That escalated quickly… This is a little clickbaity and I’m not saying you need to read / watch it, but the way I understand this article in El País (English) is that the family of a prominent Spanish businessman went to dinner at a restaurant in southern Albania, ordered seven dishes, but then “cancelled” two. Those cancelations outraged the owner so much that he ran out and smashed up their car as they tried to leave, spending circa ten minutes on the hood and eventually punching his bloody fist through the windshield while the car was in motion. Video of that (included) understandably went viral, the Spanish embassy got involved, and Albanian authorities demolished the restaurant.

And the moral of that story is… nothing at all.

And that’s it for today.

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

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