Thinly sliced: In the restaurant world, disgraced men make women clean up their messes
This is the web version of a list we publish twice-weekly in our newsletter. It comprises the most noteworthy food stories of the moment, selected by our editors. Get it first here.
Pork, three ways. Last December, The New York Times published an exposé alleging restaurateur Ken Friedman sexually harassed multiple staff members at New York mainstays including the Spotted Pig, the Breslin, and the John Dory. The story splintered the empire he shared with chef April Bloomfield: They divided the restaurants and parted ways.
This week, a trio of stories about the fallout from that exposé focused on the scandal’s impact on the women involved. After months of silence, Bloomfield sat for an interview with The New York Times, describing a tumultuous relationship where Friedman held outsized power. In New York magazine, Gabrielle Hamilton and Ashley Merrigan, the chefs at Prune who planned to take over the Spotted Pig before the deal fell through, shared their experiences in the unforgiving spotlight. Spoiler alert: The story is a lot more complicated than anyone realized.
Finally, The New Yorker examines these new stories against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement in the restaurant industry writ large. Turns out, a whole lot of disgraced male restaurateurs have shoved women into leadership positions as they wait out the storm, evidently assuming they’d clean up their messes and fix the workplace. Friedman’s deal with Hamilton and Merrigan fell through because he refused to sacrifice his paycheck. “He didn’t want to make the sacrifices that real change would have required, and why would he?” writes Helen Rosner. “That’s what he brought the women in to do.”
Buzzed. In California, bees are in high demand. Such high demand, in fact, that bee-stealing sprees have skyrocketed since 2015. The thieves are professionals—maybe even professional beekeepers—and the stolen hives are used to pollinate the state’s vast almond crop. Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting has a new deep dive on the phenomenon.
Investing in the future? Beyond Meat, one of the many meat-alternative companies vying to convince consumers their product is totally revolutionary (and really not just a regular veggie burger, they promise) is rumored to be eyeing an Initial Public Offering (IPO), CNBC reports. It remains to be seen whether investors will put their money where their mouths are.