Food Drama

  • ‘They Were Obviously Not Talking to Restaurants,’ U.S. Rep. Maloney Says After Owners Slam Stimulus
    by Ryan Sutton on March 30, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    New York City restaurateurs called for more grants, fewer loans, and rent relief during the virtual town hall https://ny.eater.com/2020/3/30/21200240/coronavirus-stimulus-town-hall-carolyn-maloney

  • Food Service Workers: Eater Wants to Know How the Coronavirus Pandemic Has Affected You
    by Jaya Saxena on March 30, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    Shutterstock From line cooks to bartenders to grocery store cashiers, we want to hear how COVID-19 has impacted your job and where you work The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the restaurant industry like a hurricane. Millions of workers have lost their jobs, while many more have been asked to work in unsafe conditions, and the federal stimulus package falls miles short of what independent restaurants need to survive. The National Restaurant Association estimates a $225 billion loss for the industry. Food service has always been a precarious industry, between the typical lack of health care, and the reality that many servers, line cooks, and bartenders work at multiple establishments, and live paycheck to paycheck. If you’re a food service worker who’s been affected by COVID-19, we want to hear your story. Are you getting the support you need from your employer? Have you been laid off? Is the food industry in your community fighting for protective legislation? Are you keeping up with your skills at home? Whatever you’re going through, we want to hear about it. Loading…

  • Paying Restaurants to Feed the Needy
    by Amanda Kludt on March 30, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    A boarded up restaurant in Austin | Nadia Chaudhury/EATX From the Editor: Everything you missed in food news last week This post originally appeared on March 28, 2020 in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now. Last week, I mentioned a lot of the ways restaurant owners and workers were coming together to help one another and their communities. There’s one kind of story in this genre that’s worth singling out: deep (or just generous) pockets employing restaurants to feed people in need. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, the city contracted a handful of restaurants to deliver 2,000 meals to nine homeless shelters as part of a pilot program. If the program is successful, they’ll expand it with more restaurants and more shelters. In San Francisco, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear donated $1 million to start a new nonprofit called the SF New Deal that will connect restaurants with hospitals, churches, and other organizations, paying them to serve meals to people in need. Maker’s Mark is supporting 12 community kitchens across the country through chef Ed Lee’s Lee Initiative, in order to provide hot meals and supplies to out-of-work restaurant workers. Meanwhile, along the same lines, in an op-ed this week chef José Andrés called for a government program similar to the W.P.A. during the Great Depression’s New Deal that would commit public dollars to employ restaurants to feed the hungry: “Only those of us who work in restaurants can help revive the economy while feeding and building our communities at the same time. Restaurants were shut down by our governments; they can be revived by our governments to serve the people in their hour of greatest need.” While the ad hoc collection of donations and delivery of meals to those in need via the myriad Venmos and GoFundMes is heartwarming to see, I love seeing the efficiency of deploying aid en masse while keeping restaurant workers employed. I’m curious to see if this spreads to other local governments and established or new charities as this crisis deepens. Gary He/Eater A crowd of people outside of Carbone in New York City Groundbreaking chef Floyd Cardoz died of COVID-19, and the restaurant world mourned him; the Cheesecake Factory told all of its landlords it won’t be able to make rent in April; Yelp and GoFundMe set up fundraising pages for restaurants without asking them; suppliers are jacking up egg prices; 418 Waffle Houses are closed because of the coronavirus; influencers are still asking for free food; the police had to intervene at upscale Manhattan restaurant Carbone twice because of bad crowd control in its takeout line; LA’s Sugarfish pledged to keep all 600 of its workers; restaurateurs are calling out Yelpers for writing negative reviews in a time of crisis; wholesale food distributors are going retail; restaurants are becoming wine stores; food trucks are pivoting to parking outside grocery stores and pharmacies instead of office buildings; and chefs and bartenders are livstreaming classes. How the stimulus bill will and won’t help restaurant workers and small-business owners. How COVID-19 has impacted the restaurant world, the charts. Meanwhile, here’s what unemployment looks like in Seattle. A photo tour of what it looks like across Austin right now. Here are some new cookbooks you should collect for your self-quarantine. What it’s like to dine right now in China, where the worst of the COVID 19 outbreak is over. How food scenes around the world are coping amid coronavirus. Fuck it, just make birthday cake whenever you want now. This week on the podcast Daniel and I discuss the current state of the industry, including the stimulus package, fundraising, Floyd Cardoz, and more. Then we talk to Dan Giusti of Brigade about what it’s like to provide free meals for schoolkids in this moment. Off Eater Trailing a food courier as he braves the streets and germs of Manhattan. [TNY] A poignant and terrifying account of caring for a loved one suffering from COVID-19. [NYTMag] Good first-person reads: an undocumented restaurant owner and a produce trucker on their fears and anxieties in this time. [Grub Street; The Counter] How Bon Appetit is shifting its YouTube stars to filming and producing from home, ancilliary characters (spouses, pets, kids) and all. [Vulture]

  • Your Coronavirus Grocery Questions, Answered
    by Rachel Sugar on March 30, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2020/3/30/21199714/grocery-store-delivery-coronavirus-safe-empty

  • Laid-Off Service Industry Pros Are Selling Nudes to Raise Cash for Their Coworkers
    by Amy McCarthy on March 30, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    The initiative, dubbed Nudes for Industry Babes and Dudes, is set to launch this week in Dallas https://dallas.eater.com/2020/3/30/21199987/service-industry-selling-nudes-raising-money-coronavirus-impacted-workers

  • Guy Fieri Heads Coronavirus Relief Fund by an Organization That Fights Paid Sick Leave for Restaurant Workers
    by Eve Batey on March 30, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    The National Restaurant Association is trumpeting a $500 check program for out-of-work restaurant staff, but it has a long history of fighting pay improvements https://sf.eater.com/2020/3/30/21199846/guy-fieri-national-restaurant-association-relief-fun-out-of-work-staff-coronavirus-impact-covid-19

  • Even Pigs Need to Eat During the Coronavirus Pandemic
    by Susan Stapleton on March 30, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    Las Vegas Livestock relied on scraps from Strip hotels. Now it’s finding new ways to feed its 4,000 pigs. https://vegas.eater.com/2020/3/30/21199684/las-vegas-livestock-pigs-food-waste-casinos-resorts-restaurants-coronavirus-pandemic

  • Whole Foods Workers Call for ‘Sick Out’ on March 31
    by Jaya Saxena on March 30, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    Photo by Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images Workers are calling on Amazon to provide workers with better benefits, as they have “put [their] lives at risk” Across the country, grocery stores have been deemed one of the few “essential” businesses allowed to remain open. Which means that essential grocery workers are at particular risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Some grocery chains have taken it upon themselves to change their paid sick leave policies, while workers at Trader Joe’s have petitioned for better benefits and hazard pay. But now, workers at Whole Foods are calling for a “sick out” on March 31, demanding the resources and benefits “to do [their] jobs safely.” OUR DEMANDS pic.twitter.com/u08PDuHuuY— Whole Worker (@WholeWorkerWFM) March 29, 2020 Whole Worker is a group of Whole Foods team members who are not officially unionized, given Amazon’s (Whole Foods’s parent company) long history of union busting. In a petition, they call on all Whole Foods employees to not go to work on March 31, and note that “Whole Foods has temporarily relaxed its strict attendance policy, which means that team members can participate in this act of protest without fear of reprisal.” They are staging the “sick out” in response to the lack of protections they feel management has given them, which put both workers and customers at risk. Demands include guaranteed paid leave, reinstatement of health care for part-time and seasonal workers, hazard pay, and the immediate shut down of any Whole Foods location where a worker tests positive for COVID-19. “Amazon and its subsidiary Whole Foods dared to keep open an Amazon warehouse and two Whole Foods stores where employees tested positive for COVID-19,” the group writes. “We must prioritize the health of our workers over short-term financial gain.” Whole Foods had already announced that any employees “diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine will receive up to two weeks of pay,” and Amazon contributed $1.6 million to a Team Member Emergency Fund. Employees also have “unlimited call outs,” and are receiving extra pay through April. However, the company has also come under fire for encouraging employees to “donate” their PTO to each other when Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, is literally the richest person in the world, and could easily cover those expenses. Whole Worker says their “fundamental needs” are still not being met by the company’s new policies, which have been put in place piecemeal over the past few weeks. Organizer S (who requested anonymity) clarifies that the “unlimited call outs” are unpaid, and that while workers with COVID-19 can receive two weeks pay, it’s difficult. “At first they required a positive test (very difficult to obtain) and now they claim to have lifted that restriction, but the requirements are murkier and payment is very slow,” she says. “People can quarantine if they have savings or accrued PTO, but most of us don’t have much of either,” so many workers are stuck in the same position of choosing between their health and their paycheck. “What we’re asking for is an expansion of PAID sick leave for all employees, so that workers can make the decision to come to work for themselves.” Whole Foods employees are not the only food service workers who feel the need to resort to a strike to have their needs met. Today, Instacart workers have planned a nationwide strike over the lack of paid sick leave and hazard pay, and in all likelihood due to that threat, Instacart has caved to some but not all of their demands. And Amazon workers at a warehouse in Staten Island are planning a walk out, after Amazon decided to keep the warehouse open after a worker tested positive for COVID-19. It is strange, to say the least, that a grocery store is now a place where two of our greatest needs are at odds with each other — the need to stay safe by keeping away from people, and the need to eat. A strike or sick out holds extra weight now. But the people handling food and delivering it to your door need protections, and it’s clear corporations, unless pushed, are only willing to give a minimum to keep workers and customers safe. After all, sick food workers usually didn’t have access to sick leave two months ago. It shouldn’t take a pandemic to get permission to stay home if you have a fever. Update, March 30, 2020, 3:10 p.m.: Updated with new statements from a Whole Worker spokesperson.

  • World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020: News, winners, and updates
    by Monica Burton on March 30, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Daniel Humm and Will Guidara win the top spot on the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list | Sam Tabone/WireImage/Getty Everything you need to know Ordinarily, the organization behind the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list would be gearing up to announce the winners of its 2020 restaurant rankings. However, in light of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the restaurant industry worldwide, there will be no list this year. The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony, originally planned for June 2 in Antwerp, Belgium will be postponed until 2021, at the earliest. And although World’s 50 Best went ahead with an online announcement for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants — with Odette in Singapore taking the No. 1 spot for the second year — it is now shifting its focus to “supporting, connecting and uniting the global gastronomic community” through other initiatives.

  • From the Strategist: The 8 Spices a New York City Chef Uses to Zhuzh Up Basic Meals
    by Tembe Denton-Hurst on March 30, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Courtesy of the retailers Dimes chef Alissa Wagner’s go-to pantry staples, from the Strategist In navigating our strange, new world, many of us have taken up cooking — both as a necessity and a way to stay busy and feel productive in a moment when it’s easy to feel anxious and restless. At the very least, we’re all making ourselves a lot more food, with a lot less ingredients. We reached out to Alissa Wagner, the co-owner of beloved Chinatown restaurant Dimes (which has grown to include a deli that sells both upstate New York–made muesli and food-grade perfume, and a cookbook called Emotional Eating) to ask what spices, sauces, and pastes she uses to brighten up the blandest of meals. Canaan Za’atar One of Wagner’s favorite things to work with is za’atar, which she says “can be sprinkled on basically anything,” although her favorite way to use it is on roasted vegetables. Her most-used za’tar spice blend (which is stocked at Dimes Market) is from Canaan Palestine, and contains a mix of dried oregano, roasted sesame seeds, and sumac. “It gives anything you put it on a nice, citrusy, zesty flavor,” she says. Kalustyan’s Aleppo Pepper Flakes Chile flakes are a staple for spice connoisseurs, whether they’re being sprinkled into a chili or dumped on a cheesy slice of pizza. Alissa always opts for Aleppo chile flakes, which she says are a finer consistency and less chewy. “They melt into the food a little better,” she says, “and also give a nice heat without being overpowering.” Aleppo flakes are good for all sorts of beans and legumes, says Alissa, especially with a little lemon juice and olive oil to round it out. Burlap and Barrel Sweet Pepper Paprika “Paprika is a great, basic spice,” says Alissa, “my favorite way to use it is on roasted mushrooms.” It also works well with vegetables and meats, she says. As for her favorite paprika, she likes Burlap and Barrel, which sells locally grown, single-origin spices. The brand currently stocks two types of paprika — smoked pimentón and sweet pepper, the former offering a smoky sweetness, and the latter giving dishes a sweet pepper taste without the heat. Turmeric Powder and Ginger Powder “It’s important for people to take good care of themselves right now, so turmeric and ginger are great things to incorporate because it gives your body an extra boost of antioxidants,” she says. She likes to add both spices to soups, savory porridges and juices in particular: “I’m doing a juice right now that’s carrot, lemon, ginger, and turmeric.” Daphnis and Chloe Fragrant Fennel Seeds Popular in Mediterranean dishes, Alissa uses fennel seeds to add flavor to sauces and grains. “I always put toasted fennel seeds into my tomato sauce,” she says, “it gives it another layer of flavor that’s kind of nutty and unexpected.” When it comes to fennel seed, toasted is the only way to go, says Alissa, noting that they taste the best dry-toasted, and are easy to mix into a sauce or grain. She’s partial to fennel seeds from Daphnis and Chloe, which have a fragrant nutty-sweet flavor, and are sourced in the northern region of central Greece. Xilli Salsa Macha This salsa, which Alissa uses as an oil, is made with slow-fried chipotle peppers and toasted peanuts in a smoky chili oil. “I put it on literally everything,” she says, because it elevates even the blandest dish. “If you have a simple fried rice dish, this immediately gives it another level of texture and heat,” she says. She also likes to use it on fish and meat, and even adds it to hummus. Thai and True Pad Thai Tamari Sauce Another must-have for Alissa is this pad thai tamari sauce, which is versatile enough to use as both a marinade and a dressing. “It’s a simple tamari but has an extra boost of saltiness to it,” says Alissa, who likes it for roasting vegetables and marinating tofu: “When you marinate tofu in it, it gives it a nice caramelization,” she says. Mama O’s Super Spicy Kimchi Paste Alissa is also a fan of this versatile kimchi paste which comes in three different varieties: original, vegan, and super spicy. She likes to use this as a sauce by thinning it out with water and adding it to stir fry’s. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.

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