The Slice: Harassment in the kitchen, a space station cafe, and salted caramel babka

 photo: Arley Arrington

photo: Arley Arrington

KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL

With the unraveling of the Harvey Weinstein scandal grabbing headlines over the past few weeks, the discussion about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace has been at a fever pitch. So many women, in every walk of life, have shared their personal and professional stories of mistreatment. The professional kitchen (and the restaurant as a whole) is no stranger to a highly charged, overly sexualized workplace dynamic. From snapping towels to indiscretions in dry storage, the working climate of restaurants seems to invite and, at times, champion what would otherwise be considered (and what should be considered) inappropriate behavior. 

Now, John Besh, a prominent New Orleans chef, has stepped down from Besh Restaurant Group, facing 25 allegations of misconduct. And in doing so, he has propelled the dialogue about workplace harassment into the limelight, with chefs like Anthony Bourdain weighing in on social media, claiming this represents "The beginning of the end of institutionalized Meathead Culture in the restaurant business." So often, this industry in particular has given a pass to misbehaving men (and women), shrugging it off, even justifying the behavior, as part of kitchen culture. 

But this isn't the first time the hospitality community has turned its focus on this issue. This 2012 Daily Beast article could easily have been published this week and not five years ago. It's just as relevant, if not more so, than ever.

In response to this discussion, Brenner Pass co-owners Brittanny Anderson and Olivia Wilson released the following statement: 

brittanny and olivia statement.jpg

For more on this, read "A Harvey Weinstein Moment for the Restaurant Industry" via The New Yorker.

IN A GALAXY REALLY CLOSE TO HERE...

A Richmond couple is using Kickstarter to fund their plans for a "Sci-Fi Cafe & Lounge" called The Midway. With an ambitious projected opening date of February of 2018, The Midway will be a cafe by day, lounge by night for geeks of all kinds--Star Trek geeks, Star Wars geeks, Battlestar Gallactica geeks--Pretty much any geek who's ever yearned to kick it on a holodeck while drinking a craft beer. So, I'm assuming that's all of them. 

And speaking of a holodeck, according to the Kickstarter campaign (which is the only thing you should bother reading this week), The Midway will have its own "Holosuite Program," called The 8th Kingdom, complete with medieval themed cocktails and atmosphere. The Midway itself will be modeled after a space station, and, after all, what reputable space station doesn't have a holodeck? Maybe a non-federation one!! ::Laughs, snorts, high-fives the nearest nerd::

Not only will The Midway's station have a starscreen for us to gaze upon and a holodeck in which we can forget our troubles, THERE WILL BE DROIDS. The robotic hostess "Pepper" will greet guests and will serve as "an interactive tour guide," and "Jibo" will act as the Captain's (Daniel Jackson) right-hand-man, er, droid. 

The bar will offer sci-fi-themed cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks, and the kitchen will serve (you guessed it) sci-fi themed items like Pizza the Hutt (in partnership with Pepicelli's in Ashland), plus pastries and snacks made on-site.

WHISK-Y BUSINESS

In advance of RTD's A Taste of Richmond event on November 1st, Holly Prestidge profiles Whisk owner and baker Morgan Botwinick to give readers a glimpse of what makes Whisk so special. It's a combination of the inviting ambiance and killer pastries that have made Whisk continue to grow over the past two years. This past Saturday, Whisk set a record sales day on their two-year anniversary, offering confetti croissants and giveaways all day to celebrate the occasion.

SPOOKY STUFF

We've got one weekend left to maximize the spookiness in our lives before Halloween next Tuesday. A few events to choose from:

FARM-TO-TABLE, BARREL-TO-TAP

On Monday, October 30th, Garden Grove Brewing will host Heritage and Southbound chef Joe Sparatta for a five-course, beer-paired dinner benefitting The Natural Resources Defense Council, an international nonprofit that works to protect clean water.

According to the event page, "Each course will have a Water Quality Themes such as Chesapeake Bay Restoration, Agricultural Runoff, or Water Consumption. Sustainable ingredients from Virginia will be showcased throughout the dinner in the courses, beers, and wine served." Reservations are available from 7:00 to 10:00pm. The dinner is $49 per person, with proceeds going directly to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

SIP OF THE WEEK: Orange Wine

You missed your shot at tickets to Nota Bene's orange wine tasting event tonight, but don't let that stop you from reading up on this skin-fermented sensation.

BITE OF THE WEEK: SALTED CARAMEL PECAN BABKA

Whisk baker and blogger Arley Arrington whipped up a killer babka recipe for the November ingredient feature (pecans) in Richmond Magazine. It makes two loaves, so feel free to give me one as a finder's fee if you happen to make a batch.

GRAM OF THE WEEK: @FIREFLOURFORK

Follow along with Richmond's best (totally unbiased opinion from someone who's worked on the event for the past four years) food event! Fire, Flour & Fork kicks off next Thursday, November 2nd, and yes, there are tickets left to some of the best events all weekend, including Cool Tips from Pitmaster Tuffy StoneBack in the RVA with Scott Crawford and Michelle WilliamsMainly Pasta with Joe Sparatta + Near Beer with Canon & DrawCarnaval Latino on ClayPhilly Style Sandwich Freak Out at The Paulie, and Chaat It Up!

Stephanie Ganz1 Comment