On the Future of Food Delivery and the Uncertain Fate of Indoor Dining

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 set a new one-day record for Covid-19 cases in 2021. The announcement of 908 new cases came with news that vaccines will now be made available to BC residents age 73 and above. Despite the rising cases, provincial restrictions have loosened slightly as long-term care homes allow increased visitations citing benefits of social contact for seniors outweighing current risks of harm. As case numbers continue to rise and vaccine rollout ramps up daily, we continue to cover how the food and beverage industry is faring.

The big news of the day is pretty bad for local restaurants. From Scout’s editor:

The city of Regina has once again banned indoor dining to help curb a resurgent spread of Covid-19.

Finland, which announced a three-week ban on indoor dining in early March, has extended the ban for another three weeks.

In an apparent 180 turn from last week’s messaging, Ontario officials have changed their tune and will now vaccinate restaurant workers in the province’s Phase Two rollout.

The recent stimulus renewal in the US has come with approval of additional supports to help bars and restaurants stay afloat.

Lobbying efforts on the part of the Independent Restaurant Coalition led to strong support on the part of Congress to ensure that the industry benefited from the renewed stimulus package.

Good to see: Asian-American chefs are mobilizing and leading efforts to fight anti-Asian violence and racism across the US.

While indoor dining capacity remains limited, consider checking out some of the best takeout dishes to order around town.

Climate change continues to have devastating impacts on our food systems and this time olive oil is taking a hit:

“A risk analysis of climate change in Italy, carried out in 2020 by the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, suggests that changes are coming to the regions where a bulk of the world’s olive oil is produced: The future will see a reduction in available water, more desertification, an increased number of hot and dry days throughout the year, and more intensity when rain does come.”

Similarly, while wildfires are a major concern for West Coast winemakers, the Midwest is facing its own set of climate challenges that are altering the landscape of their wine production:

“Grape growers in the Midwest — Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin — are largely spared from the raging wildfires that threaten vineyards on the West Coast. But they do have to navigate how the region’s increasingly erratic weather patterns and changes in the environment will affect their product — the timing of ripening, alcohol content, acidity, and even the color of the wine.”

Chef’s Table Society of BC aims to preserve food history with a culinary library in Vancouver.

How restaurant owner Justin Tisdall has continuously adapted his two establishments to stay afloat over the past year.

It’s not “goodbye”. It’s just “see you later”. Irish Heather and Shebeen close up shop in Gastown and move to a new neighbourhood (location TBA).

Alexandra Gill tries Lunch Lady on Commercial Drive finds it’s every bit as good as Anthony Bourdain said it would be.

Is it just me or is this Peeps and Pepsi Cola collab a supremely bad idea?

Bon Appetit shares all the things that happened in 1971 that still affect the way we eat today.

This week in podcasts: NPR’s throughline details the racist history behind the practice of tipping.

Grub Street speculates on the future of food delivery once restaurants are operating at full capacity again.

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