MeToo UK, JBF Classics, Kiosk Dips, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, February 1st, 2019
Here’s hoping you are warm enough to read.
Let’s get to it…
Bocuse d’Nord – Final podium at the Bocuse d’Or competition this week from gold to bronze: Denmark > Sweden > Norway. Congrats, all! Pics of all the warm, down-home, and almost certainly timeless plates and platters are on Fine Dining Lovers. And congrats also to Malaysia for winning the “World Cup of Pastry” at that parallel event in Lyon.
The Classics – All week, the James Beard Foundation has been rolling out this year’s America’s Classics honorees in a series of unevenly edited Instagram posts featuring hosts like Sean Brock, Molly Yeh, and LA Foodie. The list is now complete, and the winners are…. Sehnert's Bakery & Bieroc Café in McCook, NE; A&A Bake & Double and Roti Shop in Brooklyn; Pho 79 in Garden Grove, CA; Jim's Steak & Spaghetti House in Huntington, WV; and Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse in Washington, D.C.
Writer David Hagedorn makes the case for that last entry beautifully and personally on the JBF blog, recalling his feelings when he first walked through the doors as a young, gay college student in late 70’s D.C.: “I felt like I had arrived in a place that was all mine, where the air was fresh and clear, even through a cumulus of cigarette smoke. It was freedom, the same feeling I would later experience when I stepped off the plane in Provincetown or the ferry in Fire Island for the first time. More than freedom, it was community…. It is that feeling of community that earns Annie’s a spot among the America’s Classics and a permanent place in my heart.” (For still more of the history there, Tim Carman has a full write-up in WaPo.)
“Is the restaurant world having its MeToo moment?” – A silly question at this point in the U.S., but in the U.K., things may just be getting started. Per Nic Brunetti in the Telegraph, “Dan Doherty, a judge on BBC One’s Britain’s Best Home Cook with Mary Berry, left his gastropub The Royal Oak in Marylebone, central London, for a month in November after allegations surfaced that he sexually harassed a female staff member, asking her for oral sex.” His behavior also reportedly caused at least four other staff to quit the restaurant.
The chef went back to work in a new role after his suspension, but Eater NY’s Serena Dai reports that (only) after the recent public coverage of his behavior, Doherty is now out of a job at The Royal Oak and has lost his consultancy gig at Rhubarb in the Hudson Yards development as well.
Meanwhile, on the larger MeToo front in the UK, critic Jay Rayner suggested he has been trying to look into more allegations but can’t get solid enough sourcing to report them. Could the Doherty story open the floodgates? Restaurateur Asma Khan, whose Telegraph op-ed prompted that original question about the restaurant world having its MeToo movement, is rallying dam busters: “What we need is a union of female chefs. To get our voices heard we must all come together and let everybody know this: you touch one of us and you deal with us all. Together we can stamp out the abuse.”
The Profile Treatment – Mari Katsumara, the chef partnering with former Grace owner Michael Olszewski to take over that restaurant’s past space, “has, without exaggeration, spent her entire life in the Chicago restaurant industry. She grew up directly above her father’s north side restaurant, making her ascension to West Loop culinary excellence seem almost predetermined. And there are few things Chicagoans love more than someone who’s from Chicago Chicago.” And there are few things I love more than coincidence, so please enjoy this profile from Grace Perry.
The Profile Treatment Too – Restaurant Edition: Here’s a fantastic look back at 20 years of Diner in Brooklyn, from Marian Bull in NYT Style: “Diner was immediately busy, partly because it fulfilled a need that nobody really knew existed. ‘People were just so desperate for community back then. There were all these big beautiful lofts and loft parties but not much going on in the streets,’ remembers Zeb Stewart, who at the time was a woodworker living across the street. (He helped with the build-out of Diner and later opened the Williamsburg landmark Union Pool, after borrowing $500 from [Diner founders Mark Firth and Andrew Tarlow] to stock the bar.) Sean Rembold, who became the chef of Marlow & Sons, Diner’s sister restaurant, in 2005, remembers spending so much time at the restaurant on his off days that Tarlow had to ban him for 24 hours.”
That kiosk $$$ - “Surprise [San Francisco]: Chef Nick Balla’s sustainable dip project, Smokebread, has resurfaced after its stint as a pop-up within the Perennial ended last fall.” Eater SF’s Ellen Fort says, “This time, it’s operating as a permanent kiosk at the Market on Market in the bottom of the Twitter building.” I wish Balla all the best, but few things make me less hopeful for the world than a sentence combining the words Twitter and permanent.
The Media – Former Tampa Bay Times critic Laura Reiley is joining the Washington Post to cover food on the business desk, per a tweet this week from WaPo food editor Joe Yonan. Those outside Florida will probably remember Reiley as the journalist behind 2016’s big Farm to Fable exposé of Tampa restaurants’ false sourcing claims.
And Reiley’s move north means that there is a job opening for a new food critic at the Tampa Bay Times. Good luck!
Some sad news – In NYC, “RIP to [Mekong’s] Brian Bui, ‘the King of King Street’… Bui passed away last week at Mount Sinai Hospital, from complications due to colon cancer. He was 55, and everyone who knew him thought he, and his joie de vivre, would never have a final meal.” Full obituary from Steve Garbarino in Grubstreet.
Meanwhile in LA, “Alan Canter, owner of Canter’s Deli, a Los Angeles fixture for decades, died [last Friday] at 82 of natural causes, his family announced.” Rosanna Xia has that obituary in the LAT.
And also last week, “New York chef and recent Top Chef competitor Fatima Ali died Friday, just months after she announced that she had only one year left to live due to a rare cancer.” Ali was only 29 years old. Serena Dai has links to the many remembrances and tributes here. 29.
For the bar – Per Farley Elliott in Eater LA, “Los Angeles is losing one if its best cocktail bars next month, as February will mark the end of a nearly four-year run for the Walker Inn. The upscale, separate cocktail space was tucked quietly into the back of the Normandie Club (also a bar, attached to the redone Hotel Normandie complex) but had an outsized presence in the LA bar scene, even winning a nod as one of the World’s 50 Best bars.”
And for Design Fans – Pretty sure the design brief for this Charleston bar was just, “Imagine if they served champagne in the womb and the chandelier was the light of the exit.” Mission accomplished.
And that’s it for today. Mission accomplished!
I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.
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