Michelin CA on, Blue Hill out, Samuelsson in, and more...
Family Meal - Tuesday, August 18th, 2020
Looks like they’ll be raising the T8 typhoon signal here in Hong Kong in a few hours, so I’d appreciate it if you could please consider all typos and mistakes both weather-related and unavoidable. Thank you.
Let’s get to it…
The Zeitgeist – Headline in Eater NY: “NYC Restaurant Workers Pushed to Food Pantries and Homelessness While Jobs Remain Scarce.” Story (and photos) from Gary He.
Headline in the Washington Post: “Facing unmasked diners and sick colleagues, restaurant workers worry about safety — and their livelihoods.” Story from Tim Carman.
And just to round out the roller-coaster, here’s a real, non-food headline in Techcrunch: “Tesla shares rally for no reason… But who cares! Stocks don’t go down in 2020!”
What a world.
Michelin Season – Apparently, despite… everything, Michelin has confirmed they’ll be releasing a 2020 California guide later this year. “A spokesperson for Michelin told The SF Chronicle, via email, that inspectors who review the restaurants completed their fieldwork for the 2020 California edition before the pandemic began. That means ratings in the influential guide… will be based on dining experiences that have not been available since March, when the pandemic forced local restaurants to nix their traditional indoor service.” Details via Justin Phillips, who notes: “The spokesperson did not say when the 2020 stars would be announced, or why.”
The Pivot – In the NYT, Florence Fabricant reports, “The Blue Hill restaurants at Stone Barns… and in Greenwich Village will not reopen in their current formats next year, nor will the restaurants be called Blue Hill. In a letter to staff late Sunday, the chef Dan Barber said he and his partners in the restaurants — his brother, David, and sister-in-law, Laureen — planned to establish a chef-in-residence program at the former Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Though the exact details are still evolving, he said they hoped to welcome four chefs next year, one each season, to run the restaurant under the visiting chef’s name.” But but but… Key point: “After 2021, [Dan Barber] said the future of the restaurants had yet to be decided, and they might reopen.”
The Landlords – If you’ve been wondering why landlords are so intransigent on rents in some cities, the Eater Digest podcast this week has a helpful conversation with NYC restaurant lawyer Jasmine Moy. Her take: “The minute you lower the rent, you lower the ability to borrow money or to get any kind of liquidity from a bank…. So they would rather leave it empty… I talked to a developer who said he could leave a space open for like 6 years before he’d actually start to lose money.” Six years. (And heads up, NYC: On a very specific note, Moy warns everyone against renting in the Banty Rooster space in the Village…)
The Media – Press Release: “Bon Appétit [Monday] named award-winning chef and author Marcus Samuelsson as advisor to the brand and guest editor of the Holiday edition, a double issue… In his advisory role, a first for Bon Appétit, Chef Samuelsson will offer his insights on food culture globally, and help expand Bon Appétit’s food and recipe content. Chef Samuelsson will also advise Condé Nast on its growing global footprint within food media as he works with the company’s market and brand leaders to spearhead new initiatives and programming.”
NB: This is the second new role BA has created in recent weeks, the first being Sonia Chopra’s recent hire as “executive editor.” Still no editor-in-chief to replace Adam Rapoport. (Negotiations between myself and Anna Wintour broke down this weekend when I couldn’t make our standing Friday night Zoom and she called me “more unreliable than André’s new memoir” over text.)
Statement on Samuelsson’s hiring from Tammie Teclemariam, the person in large part responsible for BA (and Rapoport) being where they are today, on Twitter: “Personally, I rolled my eyes!”
The Profile Treatment – And speaking of Teclemariam… “To members of the insular world of food media — whether they’d like to admit it or not — the self-described ‘wine unprofessional’ and freelance writer evokes an intense sense of fear, fascination, or both.” That’s Nikita Richardson describing her in an interview for Grubstreet yesterday. Members of “the insular world of food media” won’t find much new here, but I learned I am not hip enough to know what “dickmatized” means, and had to google it to find it is apparently the improbably spelled portmanteau of “dick” and “hypnotized.” I also had to watch this 2018 music video from French singer Kiddy Smile which, uh, explains the concept? (Trigger warning: It’s a song about dickmatization.)
The Tube – FYI: The next season of Chef’s Table debuts September 2nd on Netflix. It’s a four episode series focused on BBQ and featuring Tootsie Tomantez (Lexington, TX), Lennox Hastie (Surry Hill, Australia), Rodney Scott (Charleston, SC), and Rosalia Chay Chuc (Yaxunah, Mexico). Trailer and a brief breakdown from Nadia Chaudhury in Eater Austin here.
And For Design Fans – Eater SF and photographer Albert Law invite you to “Step Inside the Warm Charm of Routier, the B. Patisserie Team’s French Restaurant.” It’s a very simple space (and I’m not a fan of everything here), but we don’t have a lot of new designs to look at these days(!) and I wanted to include it here for a very small note: I love the way the random marble tables add a little splash of color to an otherwise wood-topped dining room. Not sure if they had extra countertop material leftover, or couldn’t afford all marble tables, or it was a conscious choice, or whatever, but as Shakespeare said: “All’s well that ends well when it ends in marble.”
And that’s it for today.
I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
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