NYC Bibs, Ivan Inc., JBA data, Print power, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, November 2nd, 2018
Is it the midterms yet?
Let’s get to it…
Michelin Season – The 2019 NYC Bib Gourmands were released just after I hit send on Tuesday, but ICYMI here’s Ryan Sutton’s excellent roundup (and full list) of all the offs and ons in Eater NY. His most notables: The Spotted Pig is off the list (and unlikely to have moved back up to the stars), and “this year’s big addition to the Bibs is Una Pizza Napoletana, the heralded (but not seamless) return of Anthony Mangieri to the New York pie scene.”
Of note: According to Sutton, “Michelin has never awarded a star to a pizzeria, barbecue spot, or ramen joint in the U.S.”
That Fast Casual Franchise $$$ – Eater’s Whitney Filloon reports Ivan Orkin has signed some initial paperwork with “a newly formed franchise investment group, Corlex Capital,” to develop and launch a standardized, fast casual version of his current ramen restaurants (Ivan Ramen and Slurp Shop) for franchisees, with “plans to open 100 locations worldwide over the next five years.” You can read up on the Corlex guys (a mix of private equity and franchise investor types) here. (And don’t get too excited, but they have a “proprietary process” wherein they both invest and consult. Hot damn.)
The Long Game – The Times-Picayune NOLA Restaurant of the Year is…. Commander’s Palace, and critic Brett Anderson’s long list of reasons why is accompanied by a video that (despite relying on a Chef’s Table soundtrack / aesthetic when some New Orleans would’ve worked just fine) is a nice little tribute if you’ve got five minutes.
Awards (entry) Season – FYI, if you applied for a James Beard Award during this year’s new no-cost entry period, you probably got an email saying: “As a final piece of the process, we ask that you complete THIS FORM by Thursday, November 1st at 11:59pm.” Despite the wording, bolding, and (red) coloring implying otherwise, I’m told the form - a short, census-style questionnaire - is not mandatory (and the deadline has been extended to Monday the 5th). The Foundation says it’s part of their ongoing diversity initiative, and will not be seen by award judges. That’s great(!), but name is a required field, and in the first version they sent, similarly required questions about age, income, race, and education levels had no “prefer not to answer” option. Until yesterday, if you wanted to submit the form, you had to “indicate if you consider yourself a member of the LGBTQ community.” Yes or no.
Since then, “Prefer not to answer” has been added to almost every question, but you’re still forced to disclose your age, which will be tied to your name, which will be stored alongside any other information you decide to disclose (or not) in a database somewhere in the James Beard Foundation cloud. Not saying you shouldn’t fill out the form, and certainly not trying to discount what the Beards are trying to do, but diversity work is hard, and staying quiet about these stumbles only dooms others to repeat them. Plus, I’m told everyone applying for an award is going to be asked to (voluntarily) fill this out going forward, so wanted to highlight the fact that Survey Monkey assures me this could all be done anonymously fairly easily…
Also, I hear the quickest way to a JBA is to constructively criticize the Foundation’s work in public. <Chef’s kiss emoji>
Meanwhile, the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) has also added a free entry period for their awards this year, plus reduced fees for cookbook entries, an open call for new, non-member judges, and a plan to donate proceeds to a local charity at their annual conference in Santa Fe. Details here. Awards application links here.
And the National Restaurant Association opened up entry for their awards this week too. (cc: Ivan Orkin Ramen Corp. Intl. Ltd.)
The Print Edition – ATTN: Bay Area - The back cover of the current issue of Edible SF doubles as a free, anti-harassment poster. Pick one up! (And if you’re not in SF, the online edition features Sarah Henry’s very comprehensive history of the restaurant industry’s #metoo reports thusfar, plus some advice on change going forward, including both the aforementioned poster and the replicable, FOH-focused, color-coding system from Erin Wade’s Homeroom restaurant.)
For Design Fans – Hospitality Design’s October issue is online and full of restaurant photo spreads. The site is clunky (click on individual restaurant, then click again to get to a slideshow… if there is one), and you’ll have seen some of these before (Che Fico and Legacy Records are featured), but if you like poking around beautiful (and/or surreal) spaces from around the world, you are welcome.
And last but not least, some history – “I’ll never forget the opening line of the email that landed like a bomb in my in-box on the afternoon of Oct. 2, 2008: ‘High-falootin’ line cook from Bar Tartine goes all nitty gritty and s—.’ … It came from one of [Anthony Myint’s] friends, and explained that he would be subletting a Guatemalan antojitos truck on a weekly basis, every Thursday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. … The note ended as suddenly as it began, with a line that may have been a mission statement, a plea to support the unseen workers that make restaurants possible: ‘Support local line cooks.’ If you’re a local restaurant junkie, you know where this story goes…” And even if you recognize this as the beginning of Mission Street Food and it’s now famous children, Chronicle Food editor Paolo Lucchesi’s history of “the most influential SF restaurant of the past decade” is well worth a read.
And that’s it for today. Next time you hear from me will be election day. Phew.
I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, and send tips and/or the secret Corlex Capital alchemy that somehow combines both investing AND consulting 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.
P.S. This split screen video showing both the behind-the-scenes and viewer view of a single, seamless film sequence made its way to me as an analogy for back-end vs front-end engineering this week, but each sweep of the camera back to the main character could just as easily be a swing of the kitchen door. Kind of, you know? Right?