Celeb Chefs Say Stuff
Our mom called recently and breathlessly to say "David Chang closed a restaurant!"
This was weird for two reasons—one, how the hell does our mom know who David Chang is (she's pretty into Annie Lennox and, like, Nina Simone, but a celeb chef? Naw)? And two, how the hell did she get our new number? We hurriedly got her off the phone and set about doing some research—not because we're huge Chang-heads (he's great, we just aren't as into celeb chefs as much as we're into locals), but because if things on this level are happening for folks on his level, it's time to be worried. Of course, we've all been talking about how it's time to be worried about the restaurant biz for some time now, but seeing as how we keep re-learning that when celebrities say something it's finally real, here's what we learned:
David Chang did indeed close Momofuku…two of 'em…permanently. He's been quite vocal about the challenges facing the dining industry as the COVID-19 situation continues, and with New York City and Washington, DC not reopening, one can only imagine the kind of things hitting the guy. Of course, mom 'n' pop places can be more agile, but this is still a harbinger of things to probably come.
Top Chef…guy Tom Colicchio told NPR that he expects the world of dining will be "gloomy" if and when things get back to normal. We get that. Between things we've seen that put diners inside little greenhouses or between shower curtains or even in special suits, the happy-go-lucky world of restaurant eating is bound to feel really weird for some time to come. We like the idea of outdoor dining, but in a town like Santa Fe where it's cold for eight months of the year, that's a hard sell.
Guy Fieri, meanwhile, has been a helpful bastion of light and micro-grants at this time, raising funds and helping out folks in his hometown. And you know what that means—the eternal gate hast swung open allowing the ancient one to assume a pleasing shape. An endless line of decaying souls stretch out before him as he laughs at your trust, knowing full well it's on the road to your eternal damnation. From the profaned capital and across the ashen land, a booming voice chokes, laughs and sputters out those terrifying words—"Welcome to flavor town!"
Certified good person and celeb chef José Andrés has been talking a lot about helping to reopen restaurants struck by the coronavirus, and of feeding people who need help. That's pretty much always his thing, but with a dude like that putting his mind to more good things, good things will hopefully happen. Right?
Thomas Keller had some thoughts, too, which he recently shared with CNBC, including how he had to lay off or furlough over 1,200 employees from the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group's eateries. "A lot of them are counting on a paycheck week-to-week," Keller said.
And that's just five of them.
And that's not even in your hometown (assuming you're from Santa Fe and reading this. If you live in those towns, our B).
So think about that and get ordering.
Think like Keller—a lot of these local spots are staffed by people who live paycheck to paycheck. That's The Fork's song, really.
Do what you can, and maybe even call up your fave local spots and ask how you might better help out if you want to see them survive.
Considering "help out" in this case could easily mean "eat more dessert," we believe in you.
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-We're sorry to say we'll still have to wait a little longer before dining in at Santa Fe restaurants is doable. You can still get lots of good takeout, though.
-To take some of that sting out, enjoy this video with Caveman Coffee's Joshua Brown about how to French press right. It was honestly eye-opening, and since we're upping our at-home coffee game, a big help.
-This one's for the readers and for maybe the restaurant folk who probably consider The Fork their bible—reader Albo (a very engaged and awesome reader at that) brought up a good point about ordering to-go and possibly asking if people need those plastic utensils or not. At this point, most people are just heading home with the food. Let's all try to be a little more responsible with that? Thanks, Albo!
-Lastly in local, about a billion of you wrote to say nice things about our Grubhub talk, and we can synthesize most of your comments into one statement: Y'all are great people who care about your community, and you're doing great things to help out that are sometimes as simple as grabbing your own to-go food.
-We've received a few emails about how restaurants that can't hack it at this time should maybe just close—that's capitalism, baby! But according to eater.com's Alex Pemoulie, it's not so simple as closing the doors and walking off into the sunset. In fact, according to Pemoulie, some places might need every bit as much government assistance to close as to stay open. In other words, these people have their whole lives wrapped up into these businesses.
-We've made a number of mannequins-in-restaurants observations at this point, and in case you're not caught up, here's info about what we mean. Yes, it's a horrifying new reality.
-In a bit of more upbeat news, foodandwine.com has chosen its Best New Chefs of 2020. And though you might not know names like Tavel Bristol-Joseph and Camille Cogswell just yet, chances are if you're a food dork, you will.
-If you're in a town that boasts delivery from Pasqually's Pizza within whatever apps you're using (which, again, are basically strangling local restaurants to death), you may be interested to learn that it's actually pizza from Chuck E. Cheese. Pasqually, as it turns out, is the chef/drummer who lives in the fictional rat-based world of the kid's chain. Just so you know.
-This is just a link to a piece about how to make a rosé slushie. Do with that what thou wilt. It's hot lately, though, so it sounds smart.
In the print edition of SFR, we set aside some room for Vinaigrette's Erin Wade to write about her experiences. Wade, as you recall, is not thrilled with Grubhub and similar apps, and the read is super interesting. ____________________________________________________________
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork's Correspondence
Number of Letters Received
*Two weeks, though…that boils down to roughly 33 emails a week. C'mon, Fork Fan!
Most Helpful Tip of the Week
Something about The Partridge Family versus Saved by the Bell
*We can’t know both? We can and do. Just ask our good friend Danny Bonaduce
Actually Helpful Tip
"You should clearly try sleeping more."
*Getting more sleep would is a good tip for us all!