On Bums Finally Back in Seats and Industry Types Lining Up to Get Pricked

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

Yesterday came with news of 974 new cases of Covid-19 within the province over the long weekend (an average of 325 new cases per day). The continued decrease in case counts bring glimmers of hope to the city, hope for a summer that might feel next to normal. Premier Horgan has already given indication that the ‘circuit breaker’ restrictions will be lifted this week, although undoubtedly some pandemic rules will remain. As we wait to hear more news about what an easing of things will look like, we continue to cover how the bar and restaurant industry is fairing…

First up, as restaurants try to prepare for busier summer months, many are trying to gauge when indoor dining will return. Is it today? We think it’s today!

A bit of good news also came a couple of weeks ago when Vancouver Coastal Health expanded vaccine eligibility to all hospitality and restaurant workers. If you haven’t registered for the vaccine yet, go get your shot!

Restaurants Canada is advocating to the federal government for sector-specific support to recover more than 400,000 food service jobs lost so far through the pandemic.

“According to the April Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada, more than two-thirds (70.9 per cent) of the 503,000 jobs still missing from the Canadian economy are from the foodservice industry and, as restrictions and closures are maintained in many provinces, Restaurants​ Canada predicts further food service jobs lost in May 2021.”

While we await news of an easing of restrictions in BC, Ontario has announced a three-step plan for re-opening that won’t see a return of indoor dining until step three.

“The final step would see life return mostly back to normal and will begin when 70 to 80 per cent of adults in Ontario have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 25 per cent have received both doses….This step also includes a return to indoor sports and recreational fitness, indoor dining, museums, art galleries, libraries, and casinos.”

Meanwhile, Quebec is lifting its curfew which has been in place since the fall and will see a return of outdoor dining on May 28th.

A few things to look forward to: First up, from the folks that brought you Say Mercy and Mackenzie Room comes Collective Goods set to open in East Van in June.

Next up, Kits will soon be home to Delara, a new restaurant from Chef Bardia Ilbeiggi (formerly of Farmer’s Apprentice).

La Taqueria’s original West Hastings location will finally be getting its very own patio space.

Meanwhile, Corduroy restaurant, which was temporarily shut down for violating public health orders, has re-opened for takeout.

While I can see the merit in this new pilot project which will help diners identify and choose restaurants that are using more sustainable practice, it seems that their definition of “sustainable” could expand beyond the idea of a carbon footprint to include sustainability for workers as well.

The New York Times on the critical importance of the new Netflix series, “High on the Hog”.

The new Netflix limited series “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America,” which starts streaming on May 26, is an incredible reframing of history that reintroduces the United States to viewers through the lens of Black people’s food — which is to say, American food. The canon of recipes and foodways emerging from Southern culture, shaped by centuries of agricultural and culinary labor by African people and their descendants, is the foundation of American cooking.

One line cook explains how the restaurant they work at is addressing the wage gap between front and back of house.

A new local photo series is documenting a number of restaurants operating through the pandemic. Proceeds from image sales will go to BC-based restaurant and foodservice industry support hub, Breaking Bread.

Finally, Bon Appetit looks at how the pandemic has changed restaurant food.

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