McMillan's out, Khoura's miss, Substack's food, He's controller, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, December 3rd, 2021
Did you miss me? I missed you. And I’m still playing catch up after the holiday, so… What else did I miss?
Let’s get to it…
The Lists – When Esquire’s big “Best New Restaurants in America, 2021” list came out a few weeks ago, it was apparently light one Ohio entry. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Keith Pandolfi reports that an Esquire editor tipped off the restaurant team about Khora in the downtown Kinley Hotel, and writer Joshua David Stein was ready to add it to the list, but by the time Esquire fact-checkers came calling, founding partner Edward Lee “had to break the news that Humanist Hospitality, which operates the Kinley, had severed ties with him and fired the restaurant’s executive chef, Kevin Ashworth, in September. In other words, the Khora that the magazine’s writers and editors fell in love with was no more, and Esquire promptly removed it from the list.”
“According to Lee, representatives from Humanist told him the reason it was severing ties with him and terminating Ashworth was that the restaurant wasn’t profitable…. The restaurant opened just a year ago in the middle of a pandemic.”
The Lists Too – Press release: “50 Best announces its destination for the 2022 programme of events: Moscow in Russia.” The awards are set for July, 2022 in what 50 Best is calling “a new, emerging gastronomic destination.” Congrats to Moscow (in Russia)! Nothing like a drumroll for a big announcement! (Except maybe the drums of war in Ukraine?)
The Lists Three – If you like truly frivolous lists, the Forbes 30 Under 30 is out, with a dedicated Food & Drink category that includes a few restaurant industry types like Jordan Anderson (executive chef at Sami & Susu in NYC); Amber Tann Canty (of Dan Barber's Kitchen Farming Project); and Amy Zhou (ops director at the COTE Korean Steakhouse restaurants); among others.
The Out – In Montreal, “David McMillan, among the most renowned restaurateurs in [Canada] and, indeed, the continent, has called it quits after 32 years in the kitchen. The co-founder and, until recently, co-owner of Joe Beef, Le Vin Papillon, Liverpool House, McKiernan and Vinette, had long ago pledged to quit the business when he turned 50. He recently turned 50, and remained true to his word. He has sold his interests in the restaurants to fellow co-founders and co-partners Fred Morin and Allison Cunningham.” The Montreal Gazette’s Bill Brownstein says “a skirmish with ex-Joe Beef chef Gabriel Drapeau” may have been the straw that broke McMillan’s back after he got himself into “a dark, angry place” during the pandemic and “snapped at some people [he] shouldn’t have.”
Not exactly unexpected behavior… If you need more context, Valerie Silva has the patterns of the past for you in Eater Montreal.
The Media – Now that Sam Sifton’s butt groove is comfortably deep in the Assistant Managing Editor chair, it’s time for a new era at NYT Food. Emily Weinstein, at the Times since 2007 and an editor on the Food desk since 2012, has been named the new editor of Cooking and Food. In the official announcement, Sifton calls Weinstein, “A powerful voice for reporters and critics, for recipes and stories, for expanding our staff, for partnership with product and marketing, for innovation in design, for streamlining of workflow and for an ever-improving culture of collaboration and inclusion.” Hire me, Emily. I’m right here.
The Media Too – Meanwhile, Substack is announcing a “deeper commitment to hosting and supporting the world’s most interesting and talented food writers,” and bringing on Ruth Reichl as their headliner. So far, Reichl has only committed to test the Substack waters for one month, but may continue if, in her words (as far as you know): “Dim sum morning. Bamboo steamers scattered across the table. Plump buns. Taught dumplings. The water is warm.”
Also coming to Substack per the official announcement: Former BA editor Andy Baraghani; recipe developer Alexis deBoschnek; a new iteration of Tasting Table called Broken Palate (edited by Melissa McCart); NYC restaurant instagrammer / natural wine advocate Emily Fedner; LA hospitality company The Gjelina Group; vegan-living coach Nzinga Young; ex-Pok Pok expat Andy Ricker; and Andrew Zimmern.
See you all around the water cooler, assorted noobs and junior colleagues!
The Media Three – In Seattle, features reporter Jade Stewart tweets: “Big personal news: I'm leaving Seattle Times to be the new editor of Eater Seattle, starting Jan. 10.” For those keeping track in WA, here’s his Instagram, Twitter, and personal website, where he says: “I play guitar in a band called Alobar. I ride my Kawasaki Versys 650. And I cook elaborate meals to procrastinate when I should be working.”
For the Somm – Headline in the SF Chronicle: “Robert Parker Wine Advocate has a new editor, but its notorious 100-point system is here to stay.” Esther Mobley reports: “The new editor in chief is Joe Czerwinski, previously the site's managing editor. He succeeds Lisa Perrotti-Brown, who led the Wine Advocate for eight years, and will also be taking over the Napa wine beat from her. Also promoted is the British wine critic William Kelley, who assumes the role of deputy editor. There's no word on what Perrotti-Brown is doing next.”
For Pastry: Some sad news – Headline in the Washington Post: “Sylvia Weinstock, master of the luxury wedding cake, dies at 91.” Obituary from Harrison Smith: “Mrs. Weinstock, a former Long Island schoolteacher who became a full-time baker after surviving breast cancer at age 50, was a cake baker to the stars… Mrs. Weinstock baked for celebrities including Mariah Carey, Michael Douglas, LeBron James, Billy Joel, Ralph Lauren, Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Murphy, Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey.” The NYT also has an obit here, and writer Melanie Dunea has a personal tribute on her own website here.
And last but not least: A look back – With Omicron doing whatever it’s doing, it feels weird to start thinking about pandemic restaurant history — this coming from a guy who wrote a whole book proposal about it before Delta hit — but photographer Gary He’s history (so far) of four NYC restaurants since March 2020 is worth a look. It’s a photo-diary / diary of Jin Fong, Veselka, Gotham Bar and Grill, and An Choi / Di an Di based on He’s longtime embed with those teams. Neat.
Unfortunately, it conveniently leaves out my favorite side story: Mr. He jury-rigged a Nintendo controller to help him score scarce vaccination appointments for dozens of restaurant workers in the early days of rapidly disappearing online slots. Very neat.
And that’s it for today!
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