On Food Editors Being Jerks and Drinking Wine in Parks Without Permission

The Intelligence Brief is our weekly compendium of food and drink news sourced from outlets all over the world, including right here at home.

As the province continues into the third week of it’s phase 3 restart plan and Covid numbers continue to hold steady, the city is moving into the full swing of summer. With travel increasing throughout the province and hotels and resorts resuming operations, BC will monitor the impact of increased contact in the coming weeks. This week’s Intelligence Brief continues to look at how the hospitality industry is responding to these extraordinary times.

While our Covid numbers in BC have been holding steady, the US continues to see a significant rise in cases that has resulted in many states re-closing bars and restaurants out of legitimate and serious concerns for safety.

As for the restaurants that remain open, many servers report feeling unsafe while back on the job.

“Hospitality workers are caught in the crosshairs of a health crisis masquerading as partisanship. The lack of consistent guidelines between national and local authorities heightens concerns and complicates operations for those in kitchens and dining rooms.”

NYC Food Critic Ryan Sutton explains why our affinity dining out doesn’t justify the risk it currently poses to restaurant workers.

“I have no doubt that smart people have carried out rigorous cost-benefit studies about keeping businesses open, arguing that at some point the social ills of a stagnant economy will wreak more havoc than the virus. Thing is, my argument isn’t a macro one for policymakers — who should pay workers so they can stay at home — it’s a micro one for consumers. For me, the low risk of sending a single uninsured waiter to an ICU bed, someone who isn’t really there by choice, in exchange for the pitcher of frozen margaritas you happen to be craving in the late afternoon, is a morally indefensible transaction.”

As local restaurants and bars continue to operate at reduced capacity, the Vancouver Park Board will hold a vote today on whether or not they’ll green light a pilot project allowing adults to drink in 10 parks around the city.

As we continue to learn about how the global pandemic has affected farming and agriculture, the B.C. Fruit Growers Association describes the devastating impacts of Covid-19 on their industry.

Migrant workers are also sounding the alarm on exploitation, unsafe work conditions and abuse in the wake of recent deaths and increased illness due to coronavirus.

“A new report presents a grim snapshot of workers who fear for their health and livelihoods after arriving in Canada to perform work the federal government has described as vital to the country’s food supply. The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change heard complaints from more than a thousand workers on a variety of issues, including a lack of access to protective equipment, crowded conditions that don’t allow physical distancing, poor access to proper food during quarantine and unfair gouging on wages and meal costs.”

Meanwhile, as protests and calls to defund the police continue, some restaurants are already looking at community-based alternatives to calling the cops. 

While last week’s US Supreme Court ruling forbids workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the law is unlikely to prevent the daily discrimination experienced by trans hospitality workers.

“But while this ruling is a win for LGBTQ rights in general, trans and nonbinary people in the food service industry are questioning how much of an effect it’ll have on everyday life — and imagining what could be done to effect tangible change.”

After a series of tweets detailing a culture of abusive and aggressive behaviours under the leadership of Peter Meehan, the LA Times Food Editor has officially resigned.

Vice explains how restaurant dress codes are often just thinly veiled racism masquerading as store policy.

Chef Lazarus Lynch explains why the world of food and his role within it are both inherently political.

“The production and sale of food, as well as who has access to it and the land it is grown on all politicize our plates. The history of food in America is intertwined with the history of enslaved people. We vote with our dollars, and so we vote with our plates.”

Dr. Howard Conyers on his ongoing work documenting the oral histories of Black whole-animal pitmasters across the south.

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