The Juicy Bits
Food media was full of Thanksgiving turkeys this month. Still, a few choice news morsels rose above the pablum. The venerable Michelin Guide has bestowed its first set of stars on restaurants in Vancouver, BC, and updated its Spain and Portugal lists with two new 3-star restaurants. Elsewhere in the restaurant world, the final $83 million from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will now be disbursed to 169 lucky US establishments. Let's hope they've already purchased sugar in bulk. Just in time for the holiday rush, the US has blocked imports of Domino sugar from the Dominican Republic. Why? Decades of alleged forced labor. On the other side of the globe, another labor-beleaguered country is in trouble with beer giant Budweiser. In a bungled beverage bargain, World Cup organizers banned alcohol sales just two days before the opening games in Qatar. "Well, this is awkward," tweeted Budweiser. The $75 million sponsor played along then requested a $47 million coupon toward sponsoring the next World Cup. And finally, in food science news, researchers have made a breakthrough discovery about aquatic mammal taste preferences: Dolphins don't give a shit if you put hot sauce on their food. At least, it won't stop them from chewing through nets to steal fish. Hunger is a powerful motivator. You want more proof of that? As you hunker down and get hygge for the holidays, have a look at two new food films: The Menu is a dark comedy about a celebrity chef who serves "foodies" their just desserts, and Love, Charlie is a long-overdue biopic of groundbreaking chef Charlie Trotter, who put Chicago fine dining on the map and inspired a generation of decorated chefs. Happy Holidays!
PS. Correction: In Issue 49, I misspelled ringer (s/b wringer). Thank you Ken Johnson for the callout! See another mistake? Reach out to me at [email protected].
Purple Yams And Baked Alaska: Cue The 2023 Food Trend Predictions
Image Source: Daniel Beck
Even before the Thanksgiving turkeys were thawed, the oracles of indulgence had cast their bets on the food we'll be obsessed with next year. Af&co. and Carbonate has been prognosticating for 15 years. Their top picks for 2023? Baked Alaska, ube (purple yam), maitake mushrooms, koji, Nigerian cuisine, and briny cocktails. Mintel also predicts that functional foods boosting our focus and improving our gut health will take center stage. "Space food" will also continue to capture our imaginations: Think powdered this and freeze-dried that. It's back to future next year!
Michelin Awards First Vancouver Stars + Spain And Portugal
Image Source: Xavi Torrent/Getty Images
Vancouver, a fantastic food city, has finally received the Michelin imprimatur with 8 restaurants receiving 1 star each. Those restaurants include AnnaLena, Barbara, Burdock & Co., iDen & QuanJuDe Beijing Duck House, Kissa Tanto, Masayoshi, Published on Main, and St. Lawrence. New guides were also released for Spain and Portugal, where Atrio and Cocina Hermanos Torres received 3 stars each. Congrats all! Stay tuned for the new Michelin California list releasing in December. We'll find out which L.A. and Bay Area restaurants make the cut.
More Restaurant News
SBA Releases Final $83M From Restaurant Revitalization Fund
Gael Greene, Influential New York Food Critic, Dies At 88
Starbucks Closes Stores As Workers Attempt To Unionize
DC Eliminates Tip Credit, Nebraska Hikes Minimum Wage To $15/HR
Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants List Released
Esquire Names 2022 Best New Restaurants In America
Here Are The Top 100 Gro$$ing Independent US Restaurants For 2022
Budweiser Seeks $47M From FIFA After Last-Minute Alcohol Ban At World Cup
Image Source: Budweiser
Beer and sports go together like movies and popcorn. But not in Qatar. This year's World Cup host did a bait-and-switch, deciding just 2 days before the opening game that alcohol would not be sold in the 8 swanky new stadiums built for more than a million thirsty soccer fans. FIFA, the sport's governing body, caved to pressure from Qatari officials well after marquee sponsor Budweiser had already ponied up $75 million, set up dozens of branded beer tents, shipped beer in ocean freighters, and stored it in refrigerated warehouses to beat the desert heat. OK, said Bud: We'll donate the unsold beer to the country that wins the World Cup. And, oh yeah, we want a $47 million coupon for sponsoring the next World Cup.
US Blocks Domino Sugar Imports, Citing Forced Labor
Image Source: Erika Santelices/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Central Romana Corp is the largest landholder and employer in the Dominican Republic, exporting more than 200 million pounds of sugar annually to the US, widely sold under the Domino brand. For decades, Central Romana has been under scrutiny for abusive working and living conditions, withheld wages, excessive overtime, child labor, and other forced labor violations. To incentivize the company to clean up its act, US Customs and Border Protection has now blocked Central Romana sugar shipments, a move sure to drive up sugar prices. Expect holiday baking to become a bit more expensive this season.
More Supply Chain News
Wilt Virus Causes Temporary Lettuce Shortage Across US
Ukraine Grain Deal Gets Extended, Allowing Global Exports As War Continues
Major Food Brands To Miss Plastic Sustainability Targets
Drought Reduces Truffle Supply, Driving Up Prices
Washington State Bans Open Pen Fish Farming
Image Source: David Bergvall/Washington State DNR
Washington has joined California, Oregon, and Alaska in outlawing net-pen aquaculture in West Coast waters. British Columbia also plans to phase out the practice by 2025. Critics say the concentrated animal feed operations spread disease to native stocks and reduce wild fish populations. Supporters argue that fish farming is critical to feeding the globe's growing population. Currently, salmon aquaculture accounts for about 70% of the US market. Can wild salmon fisheries be managed well enough to feed the world's hunger for this popular fish? We shall see.
How Fermented Foods Improve Gut Health
Image Source: Portuguese Gravity
For millennia, humans have preserved food through fermentation: sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, cheese, and miso are all preserved by allowing bacteria to partially break down the food, which forms a byproduct called lactic acid. Lacto-fermentation expands a food's flavor profile, keeps disease-causing bacteria at bay so the food lasts, and has been shown to improve human gut health. According to some studies, eating lacto-fermented food may reduce your risk of irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and some cancers. I'm thinking roasted Brussels sprouts with kimchi sauce for dinner tonight.
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You Want Hot Sauce On That Fish?
Image Source: Pixabay
If you've watched chef Gordon Ramsay squirm on YouTube's Hot Ones show, you know that humans can't always handle hot chile peppers. How about dolphins? Seems they can take the heat. Fisheries around the world have been desperate to stop dolphins from pilfering fish from their nets. We know that other mammals like deer, squirrels, and rabbits (and some humans) can't stand hot chiles. So Greek researchers coated fishing nets with resin containing capsaicin, the hot compound in chiles, and waited for the dolphins to swim away. Results? Fail. Dolphins still chewed through the nets and ate the fish. Maybe it even tasted better to them.
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