On Cancelling Food Awards and Favourite Last Meals at Closing Restaurants

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 summer winds down and back-to-school days are just around the corner, BC continues to see a rise in Covid-19 cases. Both hospitalizations and cases as a whole continue to increase and as a result provincial health officials are implementing more stringent enforcement of Covid rules in the hope of keeping a sharper rise at bay. This week’s Intelligence Brief continues to look at how the hospitality industry is responding to these extraordinary times…

First up, it seems these rising numbers have some stores reconsidering mandatory masks: Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills will both be requiring masks or face coverings as of August 29th.

The local health authority continued to issue warnings about potential Covid-19 exposures at a number of Vancouver restaurants this past week, including Maenam in Kits, Tangent Cafe on Commercial, and Tacofino’s Gastown location. Last week also came with news of potential exposures at Bartholomew Bar in Yaletown and Hawksworth restaurant in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia.

It’s no wonder that with so many reports of coronavirus cases popping up in dining establishments restaurant workers are increasingly worried about their own safety and well-being.

Similarly, some restaurant workers are opening up about the abuse and disrespect they are experiencing on the job and the emotional toll it has taken to work in the industry during a global pandemic.

Here’s a head-scratcher for you: If landlords lose more money when restaurant properties are vacant then why the heck wouldn’t they be more inclined to negotiate some sort of rent relief?

“Industry figures are baffled as to why many landlords don’t want to negotiate some sort of rent relief, especially when they face an uncertain future as well. After all, they have their own mortgages to pay, and it seems unlikely, if not impossible, that they will find new tenants as the pandemic, and its economic effects, continue.”

Despite these challenging times, we still have new restaurant openings to look forward to, including Granville Island’s Popina Cantina and  Bar Gobo in Strathcona, which opened this past week, as well as Nox, which is set to open in Coal Harbour this winter.

North Van celebrates its own new restaurant opening as sausage-and-beer focused Chop & Chew opened to the public this past week.

Even through the challenges of the global pandemic, Mr. Bannock owner Paul Natrall is finding creative ways to cope and keep his business afloat.

How Portland’s Black Feast is showing up and caring for the city’s Black Community through their ‘Love Letters for Black Folks’.

“When all the protests were getting active, we started doing Love Letters because Annika and I felt really overwhelmed. We were trying to figure out what community care work would look like, and we came up with an idea: Annika would write these poems to Black folks and I would make a dessert.”

Everything else in 2020 is cancelled so why would we expect that the James Beard Awards would be any exception?

Punch sits down with three leading voices in the drinks world to talk about the problems with tiki:

“Tiki’s reckoning has been stewing for decades, bubbling just below the surface of the revival’s most recent wave. But in the current climate, in which racial inequities and personal accountability are put under a microscope, tiki’s history of appropriation and cultural insensitivity are receiving overdue attention.”

Despite the unprecedented times, many restaurants continue to find ways to show up including a number of establishments both locally and in the US that are raising relief funds for Beirut.

Popular ice cream brand Good Humor is helping ice cream truck drivers learn the history of racism behind a well-known ice cream truck jingle. The company is also partnering with Wu-Tang’s RZA to develop a new tune.

With restaurants closing left, right and center, the New York Times spoke with diners about some of their final meals at their favourite spots.

Finally, while some are pleased with their new ability to work remotely, a new research study shows that work-from-home models may have dire consequences on the restaurant industry.

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