On BC Not Having It As Bad As Quebec and Last Call for David Chang’s White Hot Fury

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

This past Friday came with news of 617 new cases of Covid-19 in the province. Last week health officials also announced that Covid restrictions that were supposed to be in place until early January would be extended until February 5th. As the number of residents seeking Covid testing plummeted over the holidays, it’s still not totally clear if the province will see a surge in cases in the coming weeks. With the vaccine roll-out currently underway, we continue to cover the impact of the pandemic on the food and beverage industry both at home and abroad…

Amid the ongoing Covid-19 surge in the US, 372,000 bar and restaurant workers lost their jobs in December. January could be much worse.

BC may have extended its pre-existing restrictions, but poor Quebec has moved into a new state of lockdown which includes an 8pm curfew. Here’s what the new regulations mean for that province’s restaurant industry. (Incidentally, while restaurants must close their doors to takeout orders by 7:30pm, Quebec continues to allow delivery orders to be placed past curfew, leaving many establishments beholden to high third-party delivery fees in order to do business.)

Meanwhile, across the pond in London, British politicians are quibbling over who’s going to be the bearer of the bad news that restaurants may have to remain closed until March.

With food insecurity on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic, our federal government has pledged $100 million to support community organizations fighting hunger.

Washington State has announced that food industry workers over the age of 50 will be prioritized in the state’s roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“In a new estimated timeline, workers 50 years and older in agriculture, food processing plants, and grocery stores at high risk because they work closely with others will be eligible to receive the vaccine in February. They are in the same grouping as other high-risk workers in congregate settings, such as teachers, public transit employees, and law enforcement.”

How four New York teenagers are envisioning a different future for food journalism.

In a field dominated by white men, Seattle’s Kristina Glinoga is pushing against the status quo and paving her own path as a butcher.

“Glinoga owns and operates Butchery 101, a business that provides butchery education to the masses — from how to cut meat to how to source ingredients ethically. Through Butchery 101 classes, Glinoga not only demonstrates butchery and covers best practices on cutting and cooking meat, she also stresses the importance of ethical meat consumption and connects her students to excellent local farms, many of which are BIPOC and/or women-owned, like Alluvial Farms, the Sheepish Pig, Bright Ide Acres, Skagit River Ranch, Lost Peacock Creamery, and Scabland Farm.”

Isn’t it ironic? The company denying many of its employees proper health benefits and pandemic pay is professing that a healthy diet will negate the need for health care. Thanks, Whole Foods!

As scientists learn more and more about the long-term effects of Covid, many doctors worry that a loss of taste and smell could be permanent for some.

Former Momofuku employee Hannah Selinger reflects on David Chang’s recently released memoir and its lack of accountability for the chef and restauranteur’s history of aggressive behaviour.

“The David Chang I visited in this memoir is familiar, though the story he tells, viewed from the perspective of someone who lived on the other side of it, feels distorted: Important characters have been stricken from the page, while his own tale has been edited into an ultimately redemptive one — an inward-looking, relentlessly self-flagellating apology performed in public, when the people he hurt deserve one most of all.”

The New York Times responds to Selinger’s essay and highlights the urgent need for better treatment of restaurant workers in both front and back of house.

From farm workers to supermarket employees, these folks share what it has been like to weather the pandemic from the frontlines.

As food delivery workers manage the challenges of the job, some wonder if union organizing is a viable option.

While restaurant closures continue under the pressure of the pandemic, we continue to see hope in the form of upcoming openings like North Van fried chicken and chicken joint, Cream Pony — due this March.

Finally, creative food delivery system of the week goes to Vinnie’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn where your slice can be delivered via helium balloon.

There are 2 comments

  1. Regarding Whole Foods’ COVID era hypocrisy: as a former employee of the company, I acknowledge that this is totally “on brand” with the retailer’s ethos… When I worked there, I was routinely punished for having a chronic disease (eg. denied any raises or chances of promotion over my 3 years of employment, due to absences, and in spite of my stellar performance and customer reviews) and was arbitrarily rewarded with an increased employee discount for acing a health examine, shortly after returning to work post-surgery, emaciated and medicated…Fuck you, Whole Foods.

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