On Fearing Another Restaurant Lockdown and the Prospect of Running out of Butter

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

In a concerning start to the weekend, the province announced a record breaking 589 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday. Numbers have been trending upwards these past few weeks and with it, hospital admissions have been on the rise as well. In a rare Saturday appearance, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced new restrictions for the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions. While restaurants are able to remain open for the time being, BC’s top health officials have made clear that they expect residents are only dining out with members of their immediate household. We continue to monitor how the industry is managing with the ever-evolving picture of the global pandemic…

Our restaurants continue to operate and dining-in remains an option, but let’s not take it for granted. England announced sweeping restrictions this past week that returned the industry to lockdown. Are we that far behind?

Similarly, France is in lockdown again until at least December 1st, raising questions about how the industry will manage, especially since so many restaurants have yet to adopt or develop delivery and take-out options.

“Food apps have been the source of more than just a moral dilemma in France. To many, they’re a cultural challenge to the critical role that dining and gathering around the table play in everyday French life. With many food businesses unable or unwilling to bend to the mounting pressure of a more Anglo-style delivery culture, the shutdown only seems to amplify the tensions in France between preserving local food traditions and adapting to a modern gig economy.”

In a follow-up to last week’s story about the allegations of sexual harassment and assault within the Court of Master Sommeliers,  seven members of the court have now been suspended.

Eater on the racism of restaurant dress codes and why it’s time to eliminate them altogether:

“According to Reuben A. Buford May, author of Urban Nightlife: Entertaining Race, Class, and Culture in Public Space, dress codes that obviously target Black patrons go back to the 1970s, as business owners attempted to bar Black customers in ways that couldn’t be defined as segregation. However, these dress codes really began to proliferate in the early 2000s.”

This past week was incredibly tense with the American election dragging on for several days. And while the major story was Biden’s eventual win, hospitality workers in Florida were happy to see a down ballot initiative making the state the latest to pass a $15 minimum wage.

“Florida’s wage hike is a nearly 75 percent increase from the state’s current minimum wage of $8.56. Also important, Florida’s $15 minimum wage won’t be fixed and can be adjusted for inflation every year, starting September 30, 2027. The federal minimum wage has remained fixed since 2009, and the federal tipped minimum wage has remained at $2.13 since 1991 — just shy of three decades.

Vancouver Sun restaurant critic Mia Stainsby paid a visit to chef Chris Lam’s Straight and Marrow, which opened in the old Bistro Wagon Rouge space back in July.

Take a peek inside Mt. Pleasant’s Middle Eastern-themed Superbaba restaurant, which is all set for its soft launch on Main Street this week.

While the summer markets have wrapped up for the year, the winter farmer’s markets are in full swing and here’s where to find them.

Although food insecurity and unemployment have been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic, Mother Jones explains how we can tackle both issues simultaneously.

And speaking of food insecurity, this meal program on the North Shore has been funded well into 2021 to ensure that vulnerable seniors have access to nourishing meals through the pandemic.

Just because you’re staying close to home these days, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of your favourite restaurant meals. Try your hand at recreating a few of these much loved Vancouver dishes with a little help from Maciel Pereda’s ‘How to Cool Vancouver’ series.

You could likely categorize the phases of this pandemic by what you’ve been unable to find on the grocery shelves. First toilet paper, Lysol and yeast. Up next: butter.

And finally, on a lighter note, if you’re already thinking about gifts for the holidays, consider an adorable Baby Yoda mug for the die hard Stars Wars fan in your life.

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