NRA ServSafe funds, Batali buddy funds, Crypto Culinary Clubs, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, January 20, 2022
And hello from beautiful Baguio, Philippines. There was no Family Meal on Tuesday on account of food media taking Monday off in the US (good!), but Chinese New Year back in Hong Kong won’t stop them. Most offices there (including mine) are shut next week, and outbound travel is crazy expensive — unless you want to fly to Manila, apparently!
So here we are, fresh off two nights in Tayug, where our hosts feted us with all kinds of adobo, sisig, grilled fish no one knew the name of, roast eggplant with fresh chilis, bibingka, and of course, Shakey’s.
Guess what was best! (Anonymous fish.)
Let’s get to it…
The Lobbyists – Headline in the NYT: “How Restaurant Workers Help Pay for Lobbying to Keep Their Wages Low.” The neat trick, according to David Farenthold and Talmon Joseph Smith: “In taking [ServSafe classes], workers — largely unbeknown to them — are also helping to fund a nationwide lobbying campaign to keep their own wages from increasing. The company they are paying, ServSafe, doubles as a fund-raising arm of the National Restaurant Association… The association has spent decades fighting increases to the minimum wage at the federal and state levels, as well as the subminimum wage paid to tipped workers like waiters…. More than 3.6 million workers have taken this training, providing about $25 million in revenue to the restaurant industry’s lobbying arm since 2010. That was more than the National Restaurant Association spent on lobbying in the same period, according to filings with the Internal Revenue Service.”
That’s only 2% of the NRA’s total income over the same time frame, and “Tax-law experts say this arrangement, which has helped fuel a resurgence in the political influence of restaurants, appears legal.” But as far as I learned through drugs and booze: “It’s only a little bit” and “legal vs. illegal” do not a moral compass make….
The Comeback – Headline in Eater NY: “Mario Batali Is Investing in Restaurants Again.” “In a liquor license application filed this month, Batali is listed as an applicant for Common Good Bakery, a two-location business located in Traverse City, Michigan. Jason Gollan, who founded the bakery with his wife Linda Gollan, confirmed Batali’s involvement, referring to the chef as ‘an owner, a minority investor, a neighbor, and a friend.’” That Batali’s buddies are willing to attach him to a restaurant is one thing, but per Luke Fortney and Melissa McCart, Batali’s involvement is also intended to help create national events, each of which “will feature a nationally known celebrity chef” to raise money for charity…
Bets on who’s putting their heads above the parapet on that one?
The Aces of Clubs – There’s another food NFT club launching this month, and apparently it has buy-in from the likes of Esther Choi, Michael Symon, Kristen Kish, Brooke Williamson, Jose Garces, Shota Nakajima, Jet Tila, Alan Wong, Cat Cora, Michael Voltaggio, Eric Adjepong, and Curtis Duffy. It’s called — web3 creatives watch out — the Crypto Culinary Club, and appears to be a bit of a, uh, family project, from Iron Chef’s Mark Dacascos, who serves in a familiar role as Chairman. The Founder and CEO is his son. COO is his wife. And the co-founder and CIO is a guy named Jackson Hren, who I only had time to Google by deadline and appears to be an internet / social media ghost? This despite tagging himself as a World Central Kitchen partner on Instagram and being listed officially as a CCC “Creator” while looking like…
Awards Season – ATTN cookbook writers et al: Applications for IACP awards are now open in “IACP Cookbook Awards, the IACP Digital Media Awards, the IACP Food Photography & Styling Awards, and the IACP Food Writing Awards.” For cookbooks, “Award entries began January 12, 2023 and close on March 23, 2023. Deadline to receive all entry forms and payments via IACP Submittable Page is March 23, 2023. All books must be received at our PSSC book facility no later than April 7, 2023.” Details and relevant links on the official page here.
And last but not least: d’Or – Team USA is competing in the Bocuse d’Or on Monday, and I’ll be rooting for them! Per the official website, the fine dining competition is firing on all cylinders this year: “The theme ‘Feed the kids’ opens the competition with the desire to highlight the importance of nutrition for children's health. The chefs will have to create a menu based on marrow, an ingredient of many varieties that is part of the Bocuse d'Or DNA. In order to balance the main dish, each candidate will have to include one egg per portion in their recipe. The platter theme will be an opportunity for the teams to sublimate the monkfish, a fish known for its unattractive appearance, but also for the finesse and quality of its flesh.”
Marrow, eggs, and the unattractive yet quality, finessed flesh of monkfish. What more could a healthy kid want?
And that’s it for today! I’ll see paying subscribers back here Tuesday, and everyone else on Friday for next Family Meal.
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