This post originally appeared on October 28, 2017, 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.
I was going to write about Hawai‘i. How we launched our giant travel package, our most ambitious yet. How I’m so proud of the team that created it. That it’s the best combination of pure service and smart journalism; that it’s fun but intellectual, helpful but respectful — and thorough as hell. How it’s an ideal primer on one of the most interesting and rewarding places to eat in the US.
Last Saturday, writer and restaurant critic Brett Anderson published a whopper of an exposé on New Orleans chef John Besh’s restaurant group, which included the stories of 25 women, nine of whom went on the record, to allege sexual harassment and an unsafe work environment in the restaurants. Various male chefs and managers verbally abused women, hit on them, touched them inappropriately, and made them feel unsafe. One woman alleged she was coerced into sleeping with Besh.
The sad news is no one was really all that surprised. We’ve seen it before with lawsuits against Michael Chiarello, Julian Medina, Julian Niccolini, Todd English. According to a report by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, 70 percent of female restaurant workers and some 50 percent of male employees say they “experienced some form of sexual harassment” from managers. Restaurateur Jen Agg, in a powerful op-ed for the New Yorker this week, recalled a string of allegations against Toronto restaurants that resulted in little change. Chef Preeti Mistry wrote for Grub Street that the aggressive culture of kitchens is “rampant to the point where many women reinforce this attitude.”
The positive this week is the piece did something that I didn’t see with the above lawsuits: Besh stepped down from his restaurant group. One of his restaurants closed. He lost a TV deal, a casino partnership, and maybe a Top Chef episode.
I spoke with Anderson for our podcast the Eater Upsell (live this coming Tuesday), and he echoed a lot of what the Harvey Weinstein reporters said: The published story wouldn’t be possible without the support of a strong publication. It took eight months of reporting and building trust and gathering stories that could have resulted in no story.
So I’m really happy to see reporters at the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post soliciting accounts of sexual harassment in restaurants, because I trust they’ll do it right.
We will do it right, too. We’re committed to it. So if you want to share a story or want us to look into someone, please email me. And this is not just a conversation for women to have. I’d love to hear opinions, stories, statements from male and female leaders and workers across the industry. We’ll set up further anonymous points of contact next week and support the effort into the future. But know it’s something we take seriously and will investigate responsibly. This week’s revelation of sexual misconduct within our own company drives home how pervasive this behavior is, and how important it is to bring these stories to light.
Opening of the Week: Smoking Goat 2.0
What is it?: Like the others, it’s a Thai restaurant, this one focused on the drinking snacks and comfort food served in the late-night canteens of Bangkok.
Where is it?: Shoreditch, London.
When did it open?: Yesterday.
Why should I care?: The food looks absolutely gorgeous, and I predict queues from the moment it opens. I’m curious about whether or not British diners care whether or not the chef is Thai (he’s not), or if he’s like the Andy Ricker/David Thompson of the UK.
- Intel: Take a look inside the new NYC L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, opening next week; the Dallas Observer’s critic called San Antonio import Hot Joy a “clueless white-dude fantasy”; Canada banned Soylent; chef Jeremy Fox will open a new restaurant called Birdie G’s; Roy Choi will serve pan pizza by the slice in LA’s Koreatown; weirdo tech world quinoa chain Eatsa shuttered both NYC locations; Montreal’s most important restaurant Joe Beef will open a wine bar; Starbucks launched a Zombie Frappuccino; here are all the 2018 Michelin stars for San Francisco; rising star Angela Dimayuga parted ways with Mission Chinese; the New York Times hired Besha Rodell as a restaurant critic in Australia.
- Behind the scenes with the food stylists of the new Amy Sedaris show.
- Zero stars for Jean-Georges’s Public Kitchen in New York.
- Eater’s guide to dining in D.C.
- Why Vespertine shouldn’t top Jonathan Gold’s 101 best restaurant list.
- A journey through the many worlds of Supermarket Sweep.
- How an ice cream shop got creative in short-staffed San Francisco.
- The challenges of being transgender in restaurant kitchens.
- I just kind of love this advice on running a company from Axios. [Axios]
- This underwater restaurant looks cool. [CNN Style]
- How restaurants are reevaluating policies after the John Besh allegations. [Food & Wine]
- Gorgeous package from the NYT Mag’s food issue: The Art of the Dinner Party. [NYT]
- Anthony Bourdain wonders what he could have done. [Slate]
- The kale salad turns 10. [TASTE]
- Best thread best thread best thread:
In honour of #WORLDPASTADAY, I present the following scientific thread that constitutes definitive ranking of Non-Primary-Canon pasta shapes— ཊལབསརངཧ (@David_Rudnick) October 25, 2017