Every month, our Food Editor Nicole Douillet shares her top headlines from the world of restaurants, food and wine. Here are her quick news bites for the month of October 2018. Curious about other events in the world of food and drink this month? Click here.
Here are 5 headlines to know this month:
1. The trend of NYC chefs and restaurateurs opening LA outposts continues this month. Two more big names have opened shops on the West Coast after testing the waters with pop-ups and food trucks. Brooklyn pizza haven, Roberta’s, has recently opened an outpost at Platform in Culver City. Pizza lovers can expect some of the Brooklyn classics, as well as some new items inspired by the extensive selection of California produce. Anyone with a sweet tooth should be excited that Christina Tosi has opened Milk Bar on Melrose in West Hollywood. The flagship LA location is a bakery, hands-on classroom, and R&D lab. So you can learn to make the signature crack pie (r) while enjoying a cup of the famous cereal milk soft serve. These are classes the whole family will be excited about!
2. Another theme this year has been the continued focus on the #metoo movement in the restaurant industry. Just this week, The James Beard Foundation announced plans to broaden diversity among the nominees and winners of its restaurant and media Awards. As we noted here, the 2018 awards boasted the most diverse nominees and winners in the history of the Awards. In an effort to make the Awards more equitable going forward, the foundation is changing its stakeholders to better align with the diversity of the restaurant industry. Although the foundation doesn’t plan to remove people from selection committees, it has committed to filling vacancies and expanding committees to reflect Census Bureau statistics. In addition, the foundation has announced that it will no longer add names to the “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America” which is largely made up of white, male chefs, some of whom have been accused of questionable conduct. This trend toward creating more inclusive Awards in the industry should continue to highlight new talent, which is a good thing for all of us hungry diners.
3. The world’s largest underwater restaurant, Under, is almost complete. My first thought was “How many underwater restaurants exist that Under holds the title of the largest?” (Turns out there are 5 in the Maldives alone…who knew?) Anyway, the restaurant, which will be Europe’s first underwater dining destination, is a 110 foot long structure which rests 5 meters below the surface of the North Sea in Norway. While the details of chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard Pederson’s tasting menu haven’t been shared, diners should expect a focus on local seafood. The structure itself is sure to attract diners looking for a bit of adventure, as well as those with an interest in design and architecture. Design firm Snøhetta, which is known for projects such as the Oslo Opera House, and the National September 11 Memorial Pavillion, is responsible for the vision and execution of the buildout. Under is expected to open in the Spring of 2019.
4. It’s never been tough to find a great steak in Dubai. Nearly every high-end hotel has a fancy restaurant which caters to carnivores. But, in the last few months, many of these beef-focused spots have begun introducing not just vegetarian options, but vegan options. The most recent, and perhaps most unexpected is from the restaurant Beefbar. Maybe it’s just me, but Beefbar isn’t the first place I’d go if I were looking for a vegan tasting menu. However, in a continuing trend toward meatless, the owner has said he’s considering opening a vegan restaurant to be called “Leafbar” within the Beefbar location. Dubai restaurant, Nola, has also announced new vegan menu items, and Bareburger UAE has launched a vegan burger. Perhaps this is an extension of the trend in Europe towards eating less meat, or perhaps this is a new trend toward deals being done over vegetable-centric meals instead of massive cuts of beef. Either way, it should make it easier to eat healthy on your next trip to the UAE.
5. Chinese hot pot restaurant chain, Haidilao, raised close to $963 million in an initial public offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange in late September to help it expand into the UK, Australia, Malaysia, and Canada. The company, which became the largest restaurant group in the region, eclipsing Yum Brands China with the IPO, already operates 360 restaurants in over 100 cities in China, plus locations in Japan, Singapore, Korea, and the United States. The chain serves spicy Sichuan-style broth in hotpots with meat, seafood, vegetables, and noodles, and is popular for offering unusual complimentary services, such as manicures or board games, to customers waiting for a table. Last year’s annual sales were $1.6 billion, and first half 2018 sales are up 53% from that, making it the largest restaurant chain globally. It’ll be interesting to see if the chain can keep its growth as hot as it’s signature dish.
See you next month!
Nicole Douillet is Dandelion Chandelier’s Food Editor. In addition to sharing her love of all things food with our readers, Nicole is a finance executive who has spent nearly 18 years on Wall Street in a variety of roles. She began her career as the first woman hired as a trader on the block trading desk at UBS. For over 13 years, Nicole was a quantitative trader and portfolio manager on the proprietary trading desk at Credit Suisse. She then served as Head of Product Innovation and LGBT Strategy for Wealth Management Private Banking New Markets at Credit Suisse. Most recently, Nicole co-founded Reboot Investing, Inc. where she served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer. A recognized leader in socially responsible investing, Nicole created the ground-breaking Credit Suisse LGBT Equality Index ® and co-authored “What’s the Effect of Pro-LGBT Policy on Stock Price?” for the Harvard Business Review in 2014. Nicole currently serves on the Advisory Council for Action Against Hunger | ACF International. She is a former junior Olympic skier, food and drink aficionado, serial restaurant regular, and chili cook-off champion. She and her wife live in Brooklyn with their son, whose favorite restaurant is Lilia. Nicole is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.
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