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Diversity in Food Media, a Big Charleston Opening, and More

And more news in this weekly roundup from Eater’s editor-in-chief

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This post originally appeared in EIC Amanda Kludt’s From the Editor newsletter, a weekly recap of the most important intel in food and dining each week. Subscribe now.

On Thursday, the founders of recipe and e-commerce site Food52 addressed the lack of diversity on their staff and in the topics they cover and listed steps they’d like to take to mitigate the problem. Their team, like many in food media, is mostly white, young, and armed with liberal arts degrees.

This is something we think about a lot. Hiring slowly (taking time to circulate jobs postings to other networks), being deliberate in who we hire as freelance writers and photographers, actively seeking out and poaching talent that bring new perspectives to our team, and holding hiring managers directly accountable for the diversity of their candidates have all helped.

Another big help: paying people. LA critic Besha Rodell pulled out the most interesting line of the Food52 piece, related to the underpaying (or not at all) of contributors. Only inherently privileged writers can afford to work for free. The same goes for interns. I’ve hired interns at Eater for nine years, and it wasn’t until three years ago, when we starting paying minimum wage and actively seeking out candidates who don’t come from the usual networks, that we started building a strong pipeline of employees from diverse backgrounds.

It was just a small post, and it’s meaningless without action, but admitting there’s a problem is a first significant step.

Opening of the Week: Rodney Scott's BBQ

Who’s behind it? Famed pitmaster Rodney Scott, known for his whole hog barbecue spot Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Hemingway, South Carolina (which will be run by his father and oldest son while he expands).

What is it? A whole hog barbecue restaurant, in the space formerly occupied by Chick’s Fry House, serving pulled pork, fried catfish, chicken, spare ribs, mac ‘n’ cheese, and more.

Where is it? The North Central neighborhood of Charleston.

When did it open? Thursday, February 9 (here’s a look at the soft open).

Why should I care? Scott is the real deal. The pitmaster and his Hemingway, SC spot have been featured by Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern, the Southern Foodways Alliance, and media across the south. It’s also a big local favorite. Charleston locals have been anxiously awaiting this location since last August.

rodney scott
Rodney Scott
j. kevin foltz

On Eater

Off Eater

  • Some takeaways from the New Yorker profile on Anthony Bourdain: he’s 15 minutes early to every meeting, he’s hyper organized, he’s a workaholic, and he has big plans for his NY food hall. [New Yorker]
  • Francis Lam is the new host of APM’s food podcast Splendid Table, and is ending his New York Times Magazine column about immigrant families and their cuisine. Read his last column and try not to get tingly after the last graf. [City Pages, NYTMag]
  • Teen-focused retail brands are struggling, but American Eagle is one of the few that’s seen positive sales growth thanks to flexibility and a willingness to experiment. Case in point: a new drink destination in a corner of AE’s Times Square flagship. [Racked]
  • Jamie Oliver tried to turn around school lunch in the unhealthiest city in America, but it was actually only after he left that an unassuming food-service director was able to do what Oliver couldn’t: keep students eating, stick to a budget, meet government regulations, and fight for the future of school lunch. [HuffPost Highline]
  • PDT founder Jim Meehan has a new book on bartending coming out and offers an excerpt on etiquette and barroom hospitality over at Lucky Peach. [LP]
  • I would like to see a way larger cat-to-Bobby ratio in this amazing video of Bobby Flay making nachos with his cat Nacho. [Tasting Table]

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