John Dory to St. Peter, Kenji sorry, Vilcek Prizes, Get to Know Ho, and more...
Family Meal - Tuesday, February 5th, 2019
Per The Moon, it is officially the Year of the Pig. Kung Hei Fat Choi!
Let’s get to it…
The Close – “The John Dory Oyster Bar, one of the two remaining New York restaurants still operated by the chef April Bloomfield, will close this month. Christina Tosi, the founder of the popular dessert chain Milk Bar, said on Friday that her company would take over the space and transform it into a flagship store that they hope to open by the end of the year.” Details via Julia Moskin and Kim Severson in the NYT.
The Own Goal – After posting a (now deleted) tweet last Sunday saying, “It hasn’t happened yet, but if you come to my restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, you aren’t getting served, same as if you come in wearing a swastika, white hood, or any other symbol of intolerance and hate,” J. Kenji Lopez-Alt issued an apology on Medium Friday: “I want to start by apologizing to my staff and partners at Wursthall. Making a public statement without taking my team’s thoughts into consideration was disrespectful and reckless… After having seen the red hat displayed so prominently in so many moments of anger, hate, and violence, to me — and many others — the hat began to symbolize exactly that: anger, hate, and violence… Unfortunately the way I tried to communicate this ended up only amplifying the anger, and I apologize for that.” Justin Phillips has that cautionary tale here.
The Critics – ATTN: Bay Area, the SF Chronicle is hosting an event for subscribers your PR team may want to drop $10 on: “Get to know Soleil Ho, The Chronicle's new Restaurant Critic. Join us on Tuesday, Feb. 26 for an evening of conversation with new Restaurant Critic Soleil Ho and Food Editor Paolo Lucchesi.” Or, from the comfort of your own home, there’s this new Q&A between Ho and Clint Rainey in Grubstreet. Q: “Let’s say you discover San Francisco’s most incredible tacos, but learn they’re cooked by a racist chef with a border wall GoFundMe. What do you do?” A: “There may be no ethical consumption under capitalism, but we can do our best to lay all the cards out on the table to help others make the most informed decisions they can.”
San Francisco: One city, under capitalism, with no ethical consumption at all.
The (cash) Awards – The Vilcek Foundation’s mission is to raise awareness of immigrant contributions in America and foster appreciation of the arts and sciences. This year, that means awarding one $100k Vilcek Prize in culinary arts to Marcus Samuelsson, and three $50k Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in the culinary arts to NYT Food’s California correspondent Tejal Rao, chef Fabián von Hauske Valtierra of Contra, Wildair, and Una Pizza Napoletana in NYC, and chef Nite Yun of Nyum Bai in Oakland. Congrats, all!
The Injustice - Last summer, Washington City Paper’s Laura Hayes reported on a strange case of flyers being posted online and around D.C. warning women to stay away from local chef Jayro Cruz. Now, Amy Brittain and Maura Judkis have the full, sad, 6,000 word story in the Washington Post. It starts with a woman going out for a run, and ends – for the reader – six years later. I hesitate to pull isolated quotes without context, but highly recommend you give it some time.
That Headline – In Eater Chicago, “Ex-42 Grams Chef Who Attacked Ex-Wife Going Forward With New Restaurant. Jacob Bickelhaupt is opening Stone Flower in Bucktown, two and a half years after his battery conviction.” Hope positive food media coverage isn’t part of the business plan.
The Ends of Eras – Also via Ashok Selvam in Chicago: “Artists Cafe, a Downtown Chicago Landmark for Nearly Six Decades, Has Closed.” And per Serena Dai in NYC, “After nearly 30 years of grumpily serving some of the city’s best falafel, Azuri Cafe in Hell’s Kitchen appears to be closed.”
The Ban – In NYC, Councilwoman Carlina Rivera has introduced a bill to ban foie gras on animal welfare grounds, and NY Post’s Rich Calder reports, “Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn), an animal rights activist, backs the ban. ‘Don’t tell me you’re a fan of the Central Park Mandarin duck but you think foie gras is OK,’ Brannan said.” If that argument works, we can all look forward to PETA grazing a very comely cow in Sheep Meadow this spring…
L.A. Moves – Up at DTLA’s 71 Above, Chef Vartan Abgaryan tells Eater’s Farley Elliott he’s moving on to an undisclosed project. “The plan is to put the 360-degree dining room in the hands of longtime collaborator and chef de cuisine Javier Lopez, who has been working with Abgaryan for the better part of a decade.”
Some sad news – In Canada, “Ron Joyce, the Nova Scotia native who made Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts a staple of Canadian diets and created a billion-dollar empire, has died. He was 88.” Full obituary from Frances Willick and Michael Gorman on the CBC. For a less positive take on Joyce’s life and contributions to Canada, feel free to scroll on down to the comments section as usual…
Michelin Season – Can’t find more sources to back this up, but Bloomberg’s Richard Vines found a few Croatian outlets reporting that Zagreb and Dubrovnik in Croatia, and Reykjavik, Iceland have been added to Michelin’s Main Cities of Europe guide for 2019? Congrats to their tourism boards if so!
For the Somm: The Media – VinePair a “media brand reaching the next generation of drinkers” (so…. twelve year-olds?) is launching a print magazine in May. Their press release from last week also says, “VinePair has brought on travel and drink columnists Van Rail, Celine Bossart, Aaron Goldfarb, and Jamie Goode; Recipe Columnists Jordan Hughes and Natalie Migliarini; Tasting Editor Keith Beavers (former owner of Alphabet City Wine Co & In Vino).”
And last but not least – I’ll leave you to start this Year of the Pig on a heartwarming note with this Genevieve Ko story in the SF Chronicle. It’s a profile treatment of sorts revolving around one family’s Lunar New Year traditions: “The first appetizer Olivia Wu and her son, Erling Wu-Bower, serve for Chinese New Year isn’t Chinese at all. It’s mian kam, a Thai finger food that is a one-bite riot of hot, sour, salty, sweet. They are a fitting start to a celebratory feast that traces the culinary journey of Wu, a celebrated Northern California-based cooking teacher, and Wu-Bower, a James Beard Award-nominated Chicago chef… Wu raised Wu-Bower in the suburbs of Chicago; he remembers trekking into the city every week to scour farmer’s markets, Vietnam Town and Chinatown for ingredients. Nearly 30 years later, they are both chefs. Wu lives in the Bay Area; Wu-Bower runs Pacific Standard Time in Chicago, but they reunite at Wu’s Moss Beach home to cook a feast for Lunar New Year.” (I was not invited this year, but am holding out hope for the Year of the Rat.)
And that’s it for today. If you weren’t bored enough by the Super Bowl and have decided to watch the State of the Union tonight, keep your eyes out for José Andrés, who says he’ll be there. And place your bets: tasteful Puerto Rican flag tie, or slow, piece-by-piece removal of formalwear to reveal the I Am An Immigrant shirt?
Kung Hei Fat Choi!
I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or tasteful flag ties to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like Family Meal and want to keep it going, please chip in here. If you got this as a forward, sign up for yourself! Most archives at thisfamilymeal.com for now.