Seoul stars, Young Gun noms, AFJ Code, LA Times Food hires, OpenTable C-Suite, and more...
Family Meal - Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018
With Halloween about a week away, it’s time for my (patronizing for some, necessary for others) annual reminder to think hard about your costumes if you value your reputation, your business, and/or the feelings of others. Black face, yellow face, etc. are obviously out, but plenty of people are going to need to resist the urge to get clever around #metoo too. In almost any costume iteration I can imagine, friends shouldn’t let friends dress up as Batali this year.
Let’s get to it…
C-Suite Reservations – “Christa Quarles will step down as OpenTable CEO, effective at the end of the year. Quarles notified OpenTable staff via email [Thursday] morning. Kayak CEO Steve Hafner will take the lead at OpenTable with no plans to name a new CEO.” Skift Table’s Kristen Hawley has all the corporate consolidation machinations here.
The Code – The Association of Food Journalists, currently led by Charleston’s Post and Courier critic Hanna Raskin, approved a new code of ethics during their annual meeting in Pheonix this year. Mostly common sense, but still worth reading the whole thing here, including five core principles and a handful of “additional guidelines” around anonymity (for critics: “Ideally, that means not having one’s picture taken; restricting public appearances and declining introductions to chefs and other industry players”), comped meals and travel (“a journalist should make every effort to compensate providers for whatever they receive, ranging from a slice of apple pie to a zipline tour of a coffee-making region”), new restaurants (“To be fair to new restaurants, reviewers should wait at least one month after the restaurant starts serving before visiting”), and more.
The Profile Treatment – James Beard Award bump edition: Here’s David Hagedorn on Dolester Miles and her life pre and post finally winning the JBA for best pastry chef this year: “Miles’s win has been rewarding, literally. ‘People are coming from all over,’ [Frank Stitt] said. ‘When they see the pastry chef has won that award, they’re not leaving without tasting those desserts.’ Miles’s team now makes 60 coconut cakes a week, instead of 30. Some restaurateurs are happy if 40 percent of diners order dessert, but at the Stitts’ places, that percentage is now closer to 70.”
The Profile Treatment too – Enviable dilemma edition: “In June, Brian Mays, owner of the East Austin institution Sam’s BBQ, put out a call to his community. The same developers who snatched up swathes of the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood had come to his triple lot with an offer to buy—for $3.5 million. Mays—whose family bought the restaurant from the founder, Sam Campbell, in 1976—had watched as East Austin’s landscape changed over the years… So Mays told the neighbors who asked him not to sell that if they wanted him to stay, they needed to show him that they valued Sam’s the same way he did—by showing up to eat… But last week, Mays told KVUE that the developers had come back. This time, they’d upped their offer to $5 million.” Full story from Dan Solomon in Texas Monthly. Dibs on the movie rights.
Michelin Season – Seoul’s stars are out: Gaon and La Yeon retain three each, Alla Prima and Mingles join Jungsik, Kojima, and Kwonsooksoo with two stars, and the new one stars are Hansikgonggan, Lee Jong Kuk 104, Mosu, Muoki, and STAY. Full list and Michelin press release here.
Nomination Season – “Before she won Top Chef, Mei Lin was an Eater Young Gun. Before she won a James Beard Award, Jessica Largey was an Eater Young Gun. Before his second restaurant became the hottest in New York City, Fabian von Hauske Valtierra was an Eater Young Gun. And now, it’s time to start looking for our class of 2019.” Criteria and nomination form here. Entries due by 1/15/19.
TV Watch – The Top Chef Kentucky trailer and cast are live. The competitors: Sara Bradley (Paducah); Eric Adjepong (D.C.); Kelsey Barnard Clark (Dothan, AL); Edmund “Eddie” Konrad (Philadelphia); Pablo Lamon (Miami Beach); Natalie Maronski (Philadelphia); Michelle Minori (SF); Nini Nguyen (NYC); Brandon Rosen (San Mateo, California); Kevin Scharpf (Dubuque); Caitlin Steininger (Cincinnati); Justin Sutherland (St. Paul); David Viana (Old Bridge, NJ); Adrienne Wright (Boston); and Brian Young (Boston).
And Netflix released the list of competitors in its new “The Final Table” show last week as well. Per Greg Morabito in Eater: “Representing the United States is Aaron Bludorn (executive chef of Cafe Boulud in NYC), Timothy Hollingsworth (chef/owner of Otium in Los Angeles), Ronald Hsu (of the soon-to-open Atlanta restaurant Lazy Betty), and Johnny Spero (of D.C.-area hotspot Reverie).”
Putting Pins in the Pig – Both Steve Cuozzo (in the NY Post) and Chris Crowley (in Grub Street) called for The Spotted Pig to die last week, with Cuozzo getting in some digs at past coverage for good measure: “The food media was clowned into regarding the Spotted Pig as an ‘important’ restaurant.” And I really appreciated both this piece from Helen Rosner in the New Yorker on “Gabrielle Hamilton, April Bloomfield, and the Problem with Leaving Women to Clean Up the Mess”, and the nuanced conversation that Meghan McCarron and Amanda Kludt had about the entire Spotted Pig debacle on the Eater Upsell podcast last week.
(P.S. For some related, but non-restaurant context on potential “comebacks” post #metoo accusations, The Daily’s Michael Barbaro had a telling conversation with Noam Dworman, owner of the Comedy Cellar, where Louis CK has been back onstage several times lately.)
The Media – Press Release: “The Los Angeles Times has named Peter Meehan a contributing editor, reporting to Senior Deputy Managing Editor Kimi Yoshino… Meehan will split his time between Los Angeles and New York, where he co-founded and edited the award-winning quarterly magazine Lucky Peach… Meehan will work closely with Acting Food Editor Jenn Harris, Test Kitchen Director Noelle Carter and Staff Writers Amy Scattergood and Andrea Chang, while also seeking new restaurant critics and authoritative voices to contribute to the section.”
And FYI, in Dallas: “The Observer is looking to add to its roster of freelance writers.”
And last but not least – Rare cookbook fans, San Francisco’s Omnivore Books has the auction for you, including “the first Creole Cookbook” (circa 1885), a “scarce work on potato bread from the master of the subject” (1796), multiple milestone cookbooks for African American chefs in the U.S., and of course, William King’s 1709 “burlesque poem” The Art of Cookery, which “offers a mixture of practical advice (‘T'omit what's just in season, is a crime, / Your infant pease t'asparagus prefer’) and satirical recipes for incongruous dishes, such as mackerel dressed with gooseberries.” Hilarious!
And that’s it for today. If you find yourself scrambling for what to wear for Halloween next week, here’s a free idea: You could go as the winner of the 1.6B Mega Millions jackpot. I’ll let you know what I’m wearing after the drawing tonight and bada bing bada bang, you’ve got yourself a costume.
But because I plan on staying heroically grounded despite my winnings, I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, and send tips and/or rare potato bread primers (mint condition ONLY) 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.