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Qui sues, Fabbri arrested, Inspector Passe, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, June 14th, 2019
Two quick things before we get started:
First, thanks much to everyone who replied to Tuesday’s send with thoughts on Cala’s staffing strategy. I’ve reached out for comment, and will let you know what I hear back. (Readers at Cala, please check your “Press@” email!)
And second, less than 10 days out from heading to Singapore to cover 50 Best. Any last minute tips about town, the awards, people I should meet, events I should crash, whatever, please let me know!
Let’s get to it…
The Suits – In Texas, Paul Qui is suing his business partners for allegedly structuring deals and investments to shift profits towards themselves instead of the chef. Interestingly, the Austin Statesman’s Mark Wilson reports, “The suit says things began to unravel after an unfavorable article published in the New Yorker magazine in February 2018.” That would be Helen Rosner’s piece on “The Moral Responsibility of Restaurant Critics in the Age of #MeToo” which came almost two full years after Qui was originally arrested on charges of assaulting his girlfriend in March of 2016. Money to be made until Remnick&Co come calling!
The Inspectors – “What does a Michelin inspector look like? The one we meet in the noisy lobby of a trendy Los Angeles hotel is African American, slender, and much younger than his 48th birthday. He is dressed in a preppy local color style (and therefore very passe-partout*).” That’s the Google Translate version of this subscribers-only Le Monde piece, spotted and summarized by Farley Elliott in Eater LA. Some of what he found behind the paywall: “Tom,” the inspector, reveals his youngest colleague is 28, laments Rustic Canyon’s dining room being both somber and noisy at the same time (neat trick!), and feels the plates should’ve been warmer at the Grove.
The Numbers – While reading Clint Rainey’s recent GrubStreet piece on the state of the industry (“Can Restaurants Be Fixed From the Inside?”), chef turned writer Daniela Galarza tweeted, “This made me choke on the tea I was sipping: Chef Dave Beran made $18,000/year when he started cooking at Alinea in 2006.” My inflation calculator says that would be a little less than $23k today. Anyone wanna share the starting rate there now?
The Law – “Massimo Fabbri, chef and owner of San Lorenzo Ristorante and Bar in [Washington, DC], was arrested recently in a Delaware beach town on cocaine possession and other charges... Police searched both Fabbri and a female companion and allegedly found 191 grams of cocaine.” Tim Carman has the details in the Washington Post, including some context on the career that could be ruined here: “In early May, former president Barack Obama and several past members of his administration enjoyed a four-hour tasting menu at San Lorenzo… The president had previously dined at Tosca under Fabbri’s watch and had the chef cook at the White House.”
The Profile Treatment – Speaking of Obama… here’s the SF Chronicle’s Justin Phillips with a great little profile of Azalina Eusope, as she gets ready to open her full service Mahila location in Noe Valley: “Eusope has been a presence in San Francisco’s food scene since she launched Azalina as a catering business in 2010. Her food stall [of the same name] opened in 2015. During that time, Eusope cooked for President Barack Obama and became friends with Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda. ‘He ate here for weeks and I had no idea who he was,’ Eusope said with a smile.” (Quoth Eusope: “Who is this kid, what’s he gonna do?”)
Awards Season – “The Julia Child Foundation has announced that [José Andrés] will be the 2019 recipient of the Julia Child Award, to be presented in November at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History… a previous Julia Child Award recipient, chef Jacques Pépin, will present Andrés’s award. Food Network star Andrew Zimmern will emcee, and restaurateur Ann Cashion and writer and Netflix star Samin Nosrat will speak. Andrés will be joined by previous winners, including chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, restaurateur Danny Meyer, chef Rick Bayless, and chef Pépin, Child’s collaborator.” Rationale and details via Maura Judkis in the Washington Post.
The Delivery Wars – Per Taylor Soper in GeekWire: “Amazon will shutter its Amazon Restaurants food delivery service in the U.S. later this month… Amazon will also shut down Daily Dish, a workplace lunch delivery service that launched in 2016, on June 14.” Key point: “This move comes less than a month after Amazon led a $575 million funding round for Deliveroo, a U.K.-based food delivery company.”
The Conference – “The Welcome Conference, a lively day-long forum on issues affecting the hospitality industry, is branching out of New York for the first time ever. This fall, there will be a Welcome Conference in Chicago, held on September 23 at the Steppenwolf Theatre.” Maria Yagoda has the necessary details and links in Food & Wine.
And ICYMI, Eater is hosting a “Young Guns Summit” on July 27th in Brooklyn. For a relatively cheap $60, you can hear from and (possibly) introduce yourself to speakers Marcus Samuelsson, Julia Turshen, Nina Compton, Devita Davison, Martha Hoover, Preeti Mistry, Shakirah Simley, Vinny Eng, JJ Johnson, Reem Assil, Michael Solomonov, Steve Cook, Alison Roman, Ruby Tandoh, and hosts from Eater including Amanda Kludt, Hillary Dixler Canavan, Sonia Chopra, Serena Dai, Meghan McCarron, and Osayi Endolyn. Also: Boxed lunch, baby!
And speaking of Nina Compton, a reader in (the other) LA says she and a ton of other NOLA industry folks (Mason Hereford, Lauren Agudo, Megan and Jay Forman, Kristen Essig, Kelly Fields, Liz Hollinger, Jessica Tiedman Stokes, Neal Bodenheimer, Kirk Estopinal, and Bronwen Wyatt) are hosting a big event to raise money for reproductive rights there next week.
For Design Fans – Here’s the NY Post’s Steve Cuozzo on the Four Seasons closure: “Insiders blamed the design of two private dining rooms on the second floor for the failure. ‘They were supposed to draw fancy weddings and bar mitzvahs to keep the place afloat, but they had floor-to-ceiling columns which blocked views and built-in furniture that nobody liked.’”
The kicker: That insider added, “They were so desperate that they started using them for live jazz, which is often the kiss of death.”
Quick sad trombone and that’s it for today!
Not sure what the next few days will bring here in Hong Kong, but having been pushed back into a police-free luxury shopping mall with hundreds of young masked protesters on Wednesday, I can tell you – with obvious caveats and exceptions – you’d be hard pressed to find a more civilized civil unrest. Not a shard of glass.
I’ll see you here Tuesday for next Family Meal.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or warmer plates, please, I’m dying, 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
*P.S. – In that Le Monde piece, Google translate actually interpreted “très passe-partout” as “very mat”, so that’s my new way to describe non-descript yuppie things, FYI. “Love that tie, Senator. Very mat.” Perfect.