This post originally appeared on December 16, 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.
On Monday, Mario Batali stepped away from his businesses following an Eater report that he groped and generally harassed at least four women over a span of two decades. On Tuesday, the Times dropped its investigation into The Spotted Pig’s Ken Friedman, who also stepped aside from his restaurant empire following similar allegations. These follow the pieces on Johnny Iuzzini, on John Besh. The four men have lost TV and product deals, have been edited out of shows and dropped from charity boards. Partners are denouncing them, customers boycotting them. I can’t pity the men, but I feel for those in their orbits.
It’s depressing on a personal level, but on a professional level right now I have two major concerns to grapple with, both relating to what’s next. First, how do we cover these men's restaurants? Covering the news of the restaurant of an alleged assaulter (be it Batali or Paul Qui or Michael Chiarello) is somewhat straightforward. We cover it, but we give the context: “This restaurant is opening, but P.S. the person who owns it is accused of hitting his spouse.”
Less straightforward is our coverage in service-y maps and guides, where the author has less of an opportunity to provide context, especially as our recommendations also live in other places, e.g., in an OpenTable filter or in Google search results. I’m not going to tell someone whether to boycott a restaurant group or not, but I want them to have all the information.
Second question is just: Where do we go next? I have spreadsheets full of alleged bad men and an inbox stuffed with unsettling stories (remember: you can always email me). I can’t turn Eater into the Sexual Harassment Investigations Task Force and report out all of them right now, given our resources. But I can’t ignore them. And it doesn’t feel good to greenlight a story just because of the notoriety of the accused — e.g., you were assaulted by a lesser known chef and therefore you don’t get justice — but we have to start somewhere.
Part of me would like to just pack up and move on to whatever the exciting new opening is, to stick my fingers in my ears and forget that this is all happening. But I realize that’s a luxury and a privilege many in the industry don’t have — and so, onward.
Opening of the Week: The Corner/Detroit Axe
Recreational ax throwing seems to be a growth business. I wonder why.
- Intel: The reboot of Queer Eye For the Straight Guy now has its cast; both locations of Locol are taking an extended break; meanwhile, its chef and owner Roy Choi will open a new spot on the Las Vegas Strip; a viral tweet saved a Houston bakery; Eataly is planning an IPO in 2018; LA icon Randy’s Donuts eyes national expansion; the pizzas from famed pizza star Gino Sorbillo at his new U.S. shop are, of course, great; Joël Robuchon hasn’t visited his Montreal restaurant since it opened; Andrew Zimmern will curate a Minneapolis food hall; a Portland bar owner sold his spot amid sexual misconduct claims; and Dave Chang’s LA restaurant will be called Majordomo.
- Please watch this hypnotic holiday ham.
- Incredibly useful map: The 13 best pubs in London.
- Ryan Sutton’s top NYC restaurants of 2017.
- An Eater’s guide to Philadelphia.
- Why VC investors are all over the food world right now.
- Now’s a good time to look back at the apocalypse biscuits the U.S. government designed to prepare us all for nuclear war.
- $1 cocktails might not actually save Applebee’s.
- Also: If you still have some holiday shopping to do, please sign up for our pop-up gift guide newsletter.
This Week on the Upsell
ICYMI, I host Eater’s podcast, the Eater Upsell, with my colleague Dan Geneen. This past week we spoke with senior editor Daniela Galarza about dinner party hosting tricks, and contributor Tammie Teclemariam about the best alcoholic gifts to bring to a holiday party. You can listen here.
- Helen Rosner on the overall rapaciousness of Mario Batali and his culinary and sexual appetites. [The New Yorker]
- The food editor of the Philly Inquirer is stepping down. [Philly.com]
- How to dress like your favorite holiday movie heroines. [Racked]
- Here’s a cheese ball from Kim Severson. [NYT Cooking]
- New York Mag’s gift guide is really wonderful. [NYM]
- The 100 people in tech, business, and media who mattered in 2017. [Recode]
- Do we have to go vegan to save the world? (Spoiler: No, just stop eating so much steak). [Vox.com]
- A moment of zen: 23 A-frame houses we love. [Curbed]