The Classics, The NRA, The RRF, The True Crime, and more...
Family Meal - Friday, February 18th, 2022
My little world is a bit too chaotic for an intro today, but the Family Meal that went out to paying subscribers on Tuesday is copy/pasted below as usual. If you don’t want to wait for next Tuesday’s…
Let’s get to it…
The Classics – From the James Beard Foundation on Twitter Wednesday: “The James Beard Awards… is officially back! After an extensive audit of policy and procedures, we’re thrilled to kick off the 2022 [Beard Awards] cycle by announcing the six America’s Classics honorees.” And the winners are… Casa Vega (LA); Corinne’s Place (Camden); Solly’s Grille (Milwuakee); Wo Hop (NYC); The Busy Bee Café (Atlanta); and Florence’s Restaurant (Oklahoma City). Details on the official site here, but there are a lot of proud local news stories out there too. Congrats all!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, there is a lot of interesting, deep history in these places, but Eater LA’s Mona Holmes also says, “Yes, you HAVE seen Casa Vega in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” With the picture to prove it.
The Aid – And in news you can use from the JBF: “The 2022 scholarship application is now open!” I count 40 or so opportunities in the brochure, starting with Andrew Zimmern’s $10,000 “Second Chances” scholarship (applicants must submit 250 words explaining why they need a second chance and how culinary studies will help them use it), and moving on through specific programs based on demographics, subject matter, and need, all the way to thousands of dollars in tuition waivers from ICE and Johnson & Wales. If you know someone going the F&B studies route, send them to jamesbeard.org/scholarships for details.
The NRA – Headline in Restaurant Hospitality: “National Restaurant Association names Michelle Korsmo president and CEO.” Details via Holly Petre: “Previously, Korsmo served as president & CEO of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, prior to which she served as CEO of the American Land Title. Additionally, Korsmo was executive vice president at Americans for Prosperity Foundation and served in the 2001-2004 Bush Administration as deputy chief of staff to Secretary Elaine Chao.” DRAIN THE SWAMP (and use it to refill the RRF?).
The RRF – Missed this last week, but Maryland Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D) gave Roll Call’s Lindsey McPherson and Laura Weiss some helpful insights into the Restaurant Revitalization Fund refill bill he and some colleagues have been working on. Key points:
- They’re trying to attach it to the upcoming omnibus spending package, which could pass sometime next month. (Though a good rundown on the broader political situation in WaPo this week warned: “It’s still not clear there will be an omnibus.”)
- Any new money will be focused on people who applied and couldn’t get funds for whatever reason last time (“There will not be a new application process for restaurants and bars that did not apply for the last round, Cardin said.”)
- “It won’t be more than $48 billion, the amount he and [Republican Senator Roger Wicker] proposed in a bill they introduced in August to backfill the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.”
- And finally: “‘We’re not going to be asking to come back again for any additional funds,’ the Maryland Democrat said. ‘This is it.’”
Grain of salt. Knock on wood. Eggs in various baskets. Etc. etc. Good luck, all!
The Media – Tweet yesterday from erstwhile Eater writer Elazar Sontag: “In about a week I'm starting my new job as restaurant editor at Bon Appétit, where I'll write and edit stories about incredible restaurants and restaurant culture across the country. There is such a good team at BA right now and I can't wait to work w them!!” Here are Sontag’s Twitter, Instagram, and personal website for reference.
And about that team he’s excited to work with… SF Chronicle Food editor Serena Dai announced this yesterday too: “It’s time for a big dose of PERSONAL NEWS: I’m leaving the SF Chronicle and will be joining Bon Appétit as its new digital editorial director, overseeing the website.” She’s also moving back to NYC, where she worked at Eater, to join BA Exec Editor Sonia Chopra, who also worked at Eater. Bon AppetEater? (I’m so sorry. I blame Food Media.)
Not sure how this moves mastheads and organograms around at Eater and BA, but Dai’s Chronicle job is already up for the applying. If you know my friend Big Willy Hearst III, please forward this email to him as my cover letter, including this link to my official A.B.B.A. C.V. I am definitely willing to relocate. Thank you.
And Last and Least: The True Crime – Remember Sarma Melngailis and all the weirdness that happened around NYC’s Pure Food & Wine circa 2015? There was some kind of “cosmic endurance test,” an attempt at canine immortality, and alleged raw vegan embezzlement? Welp. Netflix is giving it the true crime treatment. May they present: Bad Vegan. Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. Limited series coming March 15th…
And that’s it for today! Except of course for Tuesday’s Family Meal, which is copy/pasted below as usual.
I’ll see paying subscribers back here on Tuesday, and everyone else here Friday for next Family Meal.
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or a big dose of PERSONAL NEWS 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!
Here begins the Family Meal that went out to paying subscribers on Tuesday, February 15, 2022. If you wish you were getting Tuesdays’ on Tuesdays too…
The festivals, The jars, The scarcity, The tushy, and more...
Everybody make it through the Super Bowl / Valentine’s Day combo this weekend?
The shit continues to hit the fan in Hong Kong, and restaurants here missed out on Valentine’s Day dinner revenue, but I spent the second half of the Super Bowl reading back through Jonathan Gold’s early 90s profiles of West Coast rappers, so there was that.
Sample Rolling Stone quote from September, 1993: “Record-industry buzz has it a sure bet that the upcoming record [Dr. Dre is] producing for his kid brother’s best friend, Snoop Doggy Dogg, will be the first debut album to premiere at the top of the charts.” Fingers crossed!
Let’s get to it…
The Festivals – Are back. “South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) kicks off its 21st year on Thursday, February 24,” and per Eater Miami’s Olee Fowler, “Guests of the multi-day food and wine event can still expect all of the safety protocols enacted last year like a contactless ticketing system, temperature checks, COVID-19 sniffing dogs, capacity restrictions, cleaning, sanitization, limiting physical contact, masking requirements, and one-way traffic flow inside the events.” They’re also requiring, “attestation of either: a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to the event OR completed vaccination,” according to the website.
And then there’s Charleston Wine & Food, where the same vax-or-test restrictions apply, but in investigating some complaints from volunteers, fellow newsletterer Hanna Raskin found: “In an e-mail provided to [Raskin’s] The Food Section, festival representatives confirmed that mask use is optional for all festivalgoers.”
Honestly, with mask and vax requirements tumbling like dominoes across the US, I think the real question moving forward for food and wine festivals is: Can Dave Chappelle still come???
That Fast Casual $$$ – Lotta chefs get into fast casual, but this is the first non-Tosi I’ve heard of chasing dessert-based fast casual dollars. Via Holly Petre in Restaurant Hospitality: “Former ‘Top Chef’ contestant and celebrity chef Fabio Viviani is partnering with franchise development company Fransmart for his latest venture, JARS… The plan is for the fast-casual dessert concept, where everything from tiramisu to cookies is served in jars, to be in the top 60 media markets across the U.S. with the help of Fransmart, which has helped companies like The Halal Guys, Qdoba and Five Guys franchise nationally.”
To be fair, almost all dessert / ice cream shops qualify as fast-casual, so this is probably just business jargon to attract capital, but still… Jars! Who knew?! (I mean, high people, obviously. But who else?)
That Scarcity $$$ – I interviewed an international ad exec about the “metaverse” for an unrelated project yesterday, and they brought up FlyFish Club (totally unprompted) as an example of the future of metaverse utility, so I decided to check back in on that NFT-based private restaurant club from Gary Vaynerchuk, David Rodolitz, Josh Capon, and Conor Hanlon. There are some usual restaurant things going on: They just released a polished little trailer for the restaurant — a restaurant that presumably still doesn’t have a signed lease yet. And they’re having some growing pains managing expectations from members who paid top dollar for tokens but can’t bring plus-ones to one of the first events (see Rodolitz’s latest in their Discord if you’re in it).
All normal, but I was surprised to see they also ran a very public video contest for members to try to earn a spot at a Miami yacht party during SOBEWFF. That means anyone can pull up #bubbleboatffc on Twitter and meet… some characters! Enjoy.
And last and least: For TV Fans – If you like trash and/or hate watching, you’ll love the news from Jennifer Maas in Variety yesterday: “Discovery Plus has ordered ‘Serving the Hamptons,’ a docuseries following the ‘young, sexy restaurant staff’ at a hot Hamptons restaurant and all of the drama they dish up on and off the clock.… Premiering on Thursday, April 7… the show brings viewers inside 75 Main Restaurant as its staffers hook up, argue and work together to make sure the clients come back for more, per the show’s official logline.”
Woohoo! Everyone is very excited. Except maybe one Mr. or Mrs. Tushy McBumblesnazzle, who responded to one of the reality stars in the comments: “Who cares? You, all the scumbags on the show and everyone like you destroyed the place I once called home when it was regular blue collar people.”
Can’t stop progress, Tushy. Can’t stop progress.
And that’s it for today!
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and send tips and/or JARS to email@example.com. 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!