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Congress to Weigh in on Mega Beer Merger; Trader Joe's Faces Milano Cookie Lawsuit

Five things to know this Tuesday.

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It's Tuesday, December 8, aka the birthday of a diverse cast of characters from Mary, Queen of Scots and Diego Rivera to Ann Coulter and Nicki Minaj, which coincidentally sounds like the makings of quite the fictional dinner party. If you were up all night hemming and hawing over a trip to Copenhagen to check out Noma's more casual sibling, 108, you may have missed your chance: Following yesterday's big reveal of Rene Redzepi's new, more affordable concept, the entire first month of the pop-up, which launches January 20, is already completely sold out. Reservations for the remainder of the pop-up — which runs through April 16 — open January 25.

In other food news today: Congress is set to review the gigantic SABMiller-AB InBev beer merger, Trader Joe's is facing a cookie lawsuit, and no one really seems to know exactly how Americans feel about tipping. Meanwhile, Philly chef Eli Kulp talks about life after the tragic Amtrak accident that paralyzed him, and Jacques Pepin reflects on a life in food.


Lawmakers Set to Evaluate Giant Beer Merger


As the world’s two biggest beer companies prepare to merge and create one beer-swilling goliath, a group of concerned beer enthusiasts are suing in an attempt to stop it. While two dozen concerned citizens may not be powerful enough to stop big business, the government is: Today, Congressional lawmakers will hold a hearing to determine whether or not the proposed AB InBev/SABMiller merger violates antitrust laws. The newly formed conglomerate would control over 30 percent of the entire global beer market, and nearly 75 percent of the American beer market.

Image credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images


Pepperidge Farm Is Suing Trader Joe's Over Cookies


Cultishly adored grocery chain Trader Joe’s is facing a cookie lawsuit. Snack maker Pepperidge Farm claims TJ’s is ripping off its beloved Milanos, the crispy oval-shaped sandwich cookies filled with chocolate. The plaintiff’s claims seems tenuous at best: Vox points out "Pepperidge Farm owns the ‘Milano’ name and the specific design of its packaging, but its lawsuit seems to go beyond that, essentially claiming that it owns the concept of putting a chocolate filling between two oval cookies and selling them in a tall bag." Besides, Trader Joe’s sells tons of other knockoff products such as the Oreo-esque Joe Joes cookies.

Image credit: Sonny Abesamis/Flickr


How Do American Diners Really Feel About Doing Away with Tipping?

As forward-thinking restaurateurs like Danny Meyer lead the charge toward a "service included" model, how do diners feel about the issue of tipping? A recent survey conducted by research firm AlixPartners found 65 percent of respondents would rather eat at a restaurant where they control how much they tip, rather than paying a standard service surcharge. But a new poll from Resy, a restaurant reservation platform that enables users to pay a premium for prime-time tables, garnered much different results: It found 57 percent of diners are in favor of eliminating tipping. The dramatically different result can likely be chalked up to the fact that Resy’s poll — which was pushed to its user base as well as posted on social media — likely surveyed mostly tech-savvy diners who are more likely to be up to speed on the latest details of the tipping-related debate.

Image credit: Shutterstock


Philly Chef Talks About Amtrak Accident That Paralyzed Him

eli kulp

Eli Kulp, chef-owner of Philadelphia’s acclaimed High Street on Market, sustained a serious spinal cord injury in the May Amtrak accident that killed eight people. Now, Kulp and his wife Marisa talk to People about how his resulting paralysis has changed their lives, noting that his medical costs are expected to exceed $1 million just this year alone. Despite the fact that Kulp is no longer able to cook, he’s scheduled to debut his third restaurant — High Street on Hudson — in New York City this month.

Image credit: Jason Varney


Chef Legend Jacques Pepin Reflects on a Life in Food

Jacques Pepin

On the brink of celebrating his 80th birthday later this month, legendary chef icon Jacques Pepin penned an essay for The New York Times on food memories spanning his lifetime. Recalling his his early childhood, Pepin writes: "My earliest memories of food go back to the time of the Second World War. My mother took me to a farm for the summer school vacation when I was 6 years old with the knowledge that I would be lodged and fed there. I cried after she left and felt sad, but the fermière took me to the barn to milk the cow. That warm, foamy glass of milk is my first true memory of food and shaped the rest of my life."

Image credit: Michael Eime/Flickr

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