This post originally appeared on January 4, 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.
Happy 2020. Usually I use this space to celebrate something we’re doing at Eater or complain about something that’s annoying me. Today, to fulfill one of my resolutions to be a more positive (and less petty!) force, I want to take a moment to recognize all the good news in food media, outside of this publication, in 2019.
The LA Times’ food section relaunched with some of my favorite writers and a mandate to reinvigorate what had become a wan section. Soleil Ho provided a jolt to the SF dining world with her fearless, starless reviews. Bon Appetit changed the game on Youtube, creating real world celebs out of their test kitchen talent, and earning spots on many year-end best-of TV lists. The New York Times food section continued to dominate the recipe space with the utility of the app and invested in new voices in its weekly section.
Food52 now has a product line. Infatuation, NYT, LAT, and Bon Appetit sold out events across the country. Texas Monthly got a taco editor. Mark Bittman launched a food site with Medium. Infatuation is bringing back Zagat. Joe House and Dave Chang attract tens of thousands of listeners (or more?!) to their weekly food podcasts. My favorite industry newsletter saw a 15% jump in subs.
More often than not when I think of my friends and rivals in food media, I think about who or what I would like to destroy. Because I am weak and competitive. But honestly, it’s wonderful to see so many voices and publications thriving as we suffer so many losses on the local news (and local criticism) front.
If I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, 2020 is going to be an even bigger one in the world of food storytelling. The momentum and audience and subscriptions are there. And people will want a break from news of the election, the impeachment, and the ongoing and future environmental tragedies. Food is political but it can also be a balm. And I expect we’re going to need it.
- Intel: Chef Laurent Gras left Saison; foie gras sales in New York jumped 30 percent following news of a forthcoming ban; Maddon’s Post, the Wrigleyville restaurant named for the ex-Cubs manager, closed; Dave Chang opened his Vegas location of Majordomo just in time for New Year’s Eve; Boston’s 100-year-old No Name restaurant abruptly closed in the city’s now hip Seaport neighborhood; SF chef Brandon Jew’s casual Chinese-American spot Mamahuhu opened for delivery; the owners of D.C.’s Daikaya took over Mike Isabella’s Graffiato space; Roy Choi’s A-Frame closed and chef Jason Neroni is taking it over; Ayesha Curry and Michael Mina opened a location of their chain International Smoke in Las Vegas; a casual pasta place from the owners of D.C.’s lauded Tail Up Goat opened on New Year’s Eve; an anonymous benefactor paid off the debt failed start-up Munchery owed to small business Three Babes Pie; influential Dallas chef Stephen Pyles is leaving the restaurant world to travel and consult; LA legends Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken opened their new spot Socalo; and Kaya chef Nigel Jones dropped his lawsuit against his former partner Daniel Patterson.
- A compilation of everything we’ve captured so far on the campaign trail.
- Watch: the great care and work and thought that goes into making a perfect New York slice at pizza join Scarr’s.
- All hail this women who sings Yelp reviews on TikTok.
- The 2020 restaurant design trends you should expect in 2020.
- An appreciation of cheap sushi and an exploration of connoisseurship as the enemy of enlightenment. [NYT Mag]
- New York is declaring war on sea level rise when it needs to begin a retreat. [Curbed NY]
- A tour of Ruth Reichl’s extensive menu collection. [Taste]
- If you need a laugh and a cry, ’How to Draw a Horse’ from the New Yorker’s wonderful cartoon takeover issue. [TNY]
- The midlife crisis of the American restaurant review. [LARB]