Eater's Power, Nilsson's MAD, Robinson's gig, Grubhub's menu, and more...
Family Meal - Tuesday, January 14th, 2020
Let’s get to it…
The Power – Eater New York came out yesterday with a big new package they’re calling The Power Issue, and a lot of it is worth clicking around beyond the five boroughs. It’s got: Carla Vianna touching on branding and changing consumer demand via a critical look at “The Complicated Power of LaFrieda, the Biggest Name in NYC’s Meat Industry.” Robert Sietsema tackling the waning fortunes of “cheflebrities” (a pluralized portmanteau of “chef” and “‘lebrity”) in: “The Power of the Reality TV Chef Is Over in NYC.” And a list of “the New Guard of NY Dining,” which includes mini-profiles of a select many, some of whom are already national figures: Amelie Kang; Ann Redding and Matt Danzer; Ariel Arce; Billy Durney; Daniela Soto-Innes; Derek Feldman; Gadi Peleg; Jason Wang; Jeremiah Stone and Fabián von Hauske Valtierra; JJ Johnson; Joe Campanale and Ilyssa Satter; Juan Correa and Erik Ramirez; Keisuke Oku, Alex Bosung Park, Kihyun Lee, Jinan Choi; Matt Hyland and Emily Hyland; Max Katzenberg and Greg Baxtrom; Michael Stillman; Nick Perkins, Leah Campbell, and Nialls Fallon; Niki Russ Federman and Josh Russ Tupper; Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson; Rita Sodi and Jody Williams; Roni Mazumdar and Chintan Pandya; Sakura Yagi; Trigg Brown and Josh Ku; and Tuan Bui, Kim Hoang, and Dennis Ngo. Congrats, all!
But my three favorite pieces were focused on the business-side. First, Erika Adams checks in on “the Underground Power Brokers of NYC Dining: Restaurant Consultants,” which mostly means a very useful triple profile of Steven Kamali, Alice Elliot, and Andrew Moger.
Second, Aaron Goldfarb asks, “Do restaurants still need PR to be successful?” which reads like part back-handed compliment to Becca PR, ultimately seems to land on “Probably?,” and manages the weird trick of not acknowledging the fact that Eater obviously gets a ton of its news and content from PR people (which is fine). (One anonymous restaurateur is said to be, “wildly successful, with high-profile appearances in the Times, on Eater, and in other publications, but she believes her personal relationships landed that coverage.” Gee. If only there were a way to know!)
And third, Stefanie Tuder gathers industry thoughts on “How to Raise Money for a Restaurant When No One Knows Your Name,” dropping some fun numbers along the way. A few self-reported initial investments: JJ Johnson’s Fieldtrip: $650k (six investors); Amelie Kang’s MáLà Project: $320k; Jen Pelka’s Riddler: $1.5M (over 30 investors!); Roni Mazumdar’s Rahi: $2M and Adda: $400k (four investors); and Juan Correa’s Llama San: $1.2M (“exclusively from Peruvians”).
OK. Moving on…
The Director – Last March, Julia Moskin reported that René Redzepi’s MAD nonprofit had received Danish government funding for “its most ambitious project to date: building a permanent educational center in Copenhagen…. to teach chefs from around the world how restaurants can become more humane, responsible and sustainable.” Yesterday MAD announced their first Academy Director: Magnus Nilsson. Fäviken-to-MAD backstory (basically: they asked) on Nilsson’s Instagram if interested.
The Art Dealer – In LA, “Behind the façade of a rundown used-car dealership on Lincoln Boulevard sits a new gallery called Le Maximum. Its proprietor is Kris Yenbamroong, the chef-owner who, along with his wife, Sarah, oversees the Night + Market restaurants in West Hollywood, Silver Lake and Venice…. On Saturday, with the opening of its inaugural show, the gallery will officially become Yenbamroong’s first nonculinary venture.” Yenbamroong’s friend Jesse Pearson has details (plus some perfect Jay L. Clendenin portraits) in the LA Times.
The New Gig – Per Justin Phillips in the SF Chronicle, “Less than six months after closing Commonwealth, his Michelin-starred restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District, chef Jason Fox has been named executive chef of San Francisco’s Proper Hotel. Fox will oversee three of the restaurant’s dining properties: restaurant Villon, popular rooftop hangout Charmaine’s and cafe La Bande, all of which now have new food menus crafted by Fox.”
Dial G for Gouging – After taking a ton of heat for relying on a “statistical model” to decide which phone calls through its system were actual orders (and therefor warranted a commission), Eater’s Jaya Saxena says that Thursday, “Grubhub announced that it would create a new step in the phone ordering process, asking callers to dial #1 for orders and #2 for everything else.” So that’s definitely the end of that and we are definitely never going to hear about this ever again.
And last but not least: The Media – An open tab slipped through my newslettering fingers last week, and I forgot to include some very big news out of Pennsylvania: Jamila Robinson has been named food editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Adding a personal touch to what a lot of people were thinking Thursday, Toni Tipton-Martin tweeted: “This is such a freaking big deal. As the nation’s first black food editor I couldn’t be happier for Jamila and the industry.” (You can add your own congrats to a long who’s who of food media underneath Robinson’s initial announcement here.)
The Inquirer’s Michael Klein has an introductory Q&A with her here, or for a quick TL;DR, her Instagram bio reads: “Digital Guru. Culinary Goddess. World Traveler. Francophile. Figure Skater/Coach. Global citizen. Fledgling Ballerina.” Ticks a few boxes, I guess.
And that’s it for today.
I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
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