House balks, Apps sue, F&W lists, JP buys, Cookbook season, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, September 10th, 2021
Before we get started: I’m just going to go ahead and assume you’ll get all your 9/11 remembrance needs fulfilled elsewhere in your life this weekend. Hope that’s OK, and do hope you get a chance to mourn your way, let others mourn theirs, and find whatever else you may need on this big, tough anniversary.
That said… I will always remember watching the breaking news via a series of endless, grainy replays on a tiny, VHF TV in southern Nepal. I had dropped out of Fordham and left NYC a few months earlier. It was the night before my twentieth birthday. This is a bit of a milestone weekend for me too.
But Sunday’s my big day, and you can wait till then to wish me a happy birthday. In lieu of gifts, please share Family Meal! And if you have the means…
Let’s get to it…
The Relief – Per an email from the Independent Restaurant Coalition, yesterday “members of the House Committee on Small Business gathered to review the budget reconciliation package. They had the opportunity to include additional restaurant relief in the budget currently before the U.S. Congress but did not commit to action.” IRC’s big call to action? “Join us in urging Congress to #ReplenishRRF at (202) 224-3121 and by sharing our updated video voiced by Morgan Freeman.” Pressure and time.
The Suits – “DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats “are suing New York City over its law permanently capping the amount of commissions the apps can charge restaurants to use their services… The three largest food-delivery companies filed the suit in federal court in New York late Thursday, contending that the fee cap is harmful and constitutes government overreach… The companies are seeking an injunction that would prevent New York from enforcing the fee-cap ordinance adopted last month, unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.” Heather Haddon and Preetika Rana have the story in the WSJ.
The Big Lists – Food & Wine is out with its heavily promoted Best New Chefs 2021 list this week, and congrats go out to: Matt Horn (Horn Barbecue, Oakland); Paola Velez (Bakers Against Racism, DC — also a F&W video personality…); Carlo Lamagna (Magna Kusina, Portland, OR); Thessa Diadem (All Day Baby, LA); Fermín Núñez (Suerte, Austin); Angel Barreto (Anju, DC); Ji Hey Kim (Miss Kim, Ann Arbor); Blake Aguillard and Trey Smith (Saint-Germain, NOLA); Gaby Maeda (State Bird Provisions, SF); and Lucas Sin (Nice Day, NYC). Profiles for each are linked to in the story, plus there’s a bonus video on editor Khushbu Shah’s travel / process that includes recordings of the videos when the listmakers got the news. Congrats, all!
The Lists Too – Cookbook pro Paula Forbes of the excellent Stained Page News newsletter is out with her annual rundown on the Fall cookbook dump, with a special breakout page for books centered on restaurants and/or by restaurant chefs. On the latter this year: Maman: The Cookbook: All-Day Recipes to Warm Your Heart by Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte with Lauren Salkeld; Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of Italy's Greatest Food, with Recipes by Missy Robbins and Talia Baiocchi; Italian American: Red Sauce Classics and New Essentials by Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli with Jamie Feldmar; Septime by Bertrand Grébaut and Théophile Pourriat with Benoit Cohen; Unelaborated Products: Definition and Classification by Ferran Adrià; and many more (I can’t copy/paste them all!)…
The Moves – There have been a few “Where are they now?” profiles of restaurant workers who left the industry during the pandemic, but I appreciated this SF Chronicle roundup of “why six Bay Area people decided to quit the industry” from Tanay Warerkar, Janelle Bitker, and Elena Kadvany, because it includes specific details on changes in salary, hours, and benefits. For example, here’s Sasha Goana’s career move by the numbers: “Previously the general manager at S.F. Champagne bar, the Riddler ($72,000 yearly salary with health and retirement benefits; 50 hours a week). Currently a corporate general manager at clothing retailer Wasteland Inc. ($80,000 yearly salary with bonuses, health and retirement benefits; 40 hours a week).”
The Media – Headline in WSJ: “JPMorgan to Buy Restaurant-Discovery Service the Infatuation.” Details via AnnaMaria Andriotis and Benjamin Mullin: “Last year, the bank rolled out Chase Dining… which gives certain cardholders access to hard-to-get dining reservations and other perks… [Now,] JPMorgan plans to give some of its customers, including credit-card holders, special access to the Infatuation’s curated experiences, like Eeeeeatscon, and to certain content on its website.”
The piece calls the Infatuation “a global tastemaker in the world of cuisine,” mentions zero past or possible negatives, and exists in a world sans competition / context, where Amex never bought (Eater founder founded!) Resy, so... Big congrats to Infatuation shareholders, wannabe PPX at JPMorgan, and Sapphire Platinum Amber members of Opal Reserve Preferred! But biggest congrats of all to Infatuation / JP PR! Bonuses all around!
The Media Too: For the Somm – Heads up wine story pitchers: Jacy Topps announced on Twitter that she’s starting as Assistant Editor at Wine Enthusiast this month.
And last and least: The Man – The President and CEO of the California Restaurant Association got a chance to write an op-ed about the state of the industry in a major CA newspaper this week, and his big ask was: Armed state security at host stands? Prison time for people who yell at restaurant workers? Definitely something to do with a doe-eyed damsel-in-distress situation at the host(ess) stand at an SF restaurant he — leader of an organization that has spent the last many months dealing with COVID-related policy issues — supposedly went to without his vaccination card… Oof. (Zuni Cafe instagram says double oof.)
Read the op-ed and try to guess which restaurant it was! My bet’s on that hot new spot in the Financial District. What’s it called again? Apocryphal?
And that’s it for today! (No Tuesday FM copy / pasted below on account of the long Labor Day weekend this week.)
It’s off to a weekend of mixed milestones and mixed emotions for me!
I’ll see paying subscribers here Tuesday, and everyone else on Friday for next Family Meal.
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