On Restless Sous Chefs and Imagining a Country With Half As Many 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.

Despite our health officials’ continued warnings and increased safety measures, the province recorded its highest single day number of confirmed Covid-19 cases this past Friday. The news comes against the backdrop of ongoing preparations for a return to school and anxieties about what a second wave may look like in the coming months. As summer draws to a close and many restaurants are still struggling to keep the doors open, we continue our coverage of how the industry is managing through these challenging times…

In some very concerning news, a recent survey by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce found that over half of the restaurants in the country may need to close permanently within the next three months.

“The survey by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce found that 29 per cent of food service businesses can’t operate with social distancing in effect and 31 percent of food service businesses say they can only operate with social distancing for 90 days.”

Similar concerns are foreground in the US where industry is calling for a government bailout in order to avoid mass closures of independent restaurants across the country.

“If restaurants don’t see monetary relief soon, and restaurant workers aren’t provided with the financial support they need to safely make it through the pandemic, the suffering will needlessly continue, and there will be no normal to return to.”

We’re already seeing the effects here in the province as every week seems to come with announcements of more restaurant closures. The latest casualty: Gastown’s cozy Tuc Craft Kitchen.

This past week also brought news that Mott 32 in Trump Tower had closed “indefinitely” (followed shortly thereafter by the shocking news that the Trump Hotel itself is closing permanently.

Despite ongoing challenges and uncertainty, new restaurants continue to open up around town, including the newest location of Bells and Whistles on Dunbar.

Meanwhile, every week seems to come with new warnings of exposure events at local bars and restaurants. This weekend we learned of public exposures at Yaletown’s Banter Room as well as Privé Kitchen and Bar on West Broadway.

As we continue to hear of new exposure events, Scout is asking readers to weigh in on whether or not restaurants should issue public warnings independent of direction from health officials.

According to CNN, temporary alcohol prohibitions are a thing again in many parts of the world.

The New York Times on the history of food in revolutionary movements and how many of today’s restaurants and nonprofits are continuing the tradition.

On the subject of food and revolutionary movements: members of the Seattle-based Riot Kitchen were arrested in Kenosha this past week while supporting protestors who had taken to the streets in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting.

According to Grub Street, the sous chefs are getting restless inside the restaurant empire of Jean-Georges Vongerichten

This week in food and podcasts, the hosts of Track & Food speak with Dr. Bonnie Henry about the restaurant industry, its response efforts thus far, and where we can expect to go from here.

Just in case this got lost in the pace of the news cycle the past two weeks, Eater explains the recent Salmonella outbreak among onions and peaches and why it seems these types of recalls have been more prevalent lately.

In follow-up to last week’s news that the 2020 James Beard Awards were cancelled, Eater explains the numerous and troubling reasons behind the decision.

As restaurant workers continue to face increasing abuse and threats of lawsuits when attempting to enforce safety measures, Vice investigates if those threats have any legal teeth.

Finally, for more discussion on the battle to get patrons to respect mandatory mask policies in bars, tune into this past week’s episode of Life Behind Bars.

There is 1 comment

  1. I see and hear all our restaurant woes – but I cannot see a solution anytime soon. Has anyone proposed or suggested following the UK’s idea by asking the local / federal government to subsidize consumers bills by 50%? Sales are up +25% over there and hopefully will save many restauranteurs from shuttering up and closing permanently . At this stage anything is better than nothing……

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