no. 44: internet portals

In the last issue of this newsletter, I wrote about how incentives in real estate markets align to generate demand for restaurants from an unexpected direction – not from diners, but from developers and commercial landlords. One reason landlords like restaurants is that they bring people to an area, usually at night, and that changes the feel of a block, a street, or a whole neighborhood. But another reason landlords like restaurants is that restaurants are engines of cool. This is probably not news, but the dynamics behind it are worth unpacking. 

Independent restaurants resemble sports or entertainment in that they have a presence in the popular consciousness out of all proportion to the amount of restaurant there actually is. We spend much more time being exposed to movies than we spend actually watching them, and so it is with restaurants.

Prima facie, this is great. The existence of restaurant culture on the internet enables a restaurant to be experienced – in however thin and illusory a fashion – by hundreds or thousands more people than the restaurant seats. Some of those people may, in theory, one day make their way through its doors and actually give the restaurant some money. In a crowded market, this kind of exposure is life. 

But as Drew likes to say on Kneeling Bus, on the internet, “voids are just filled by other people’s content.” If it’s not your restaurant being seen on the internet, it’s someone else’s, and people eat there instead. Merely existing on the internet requires a certain minimum level of engagement, so restaurants have to participate in the content economy. 

Since many restaurants operate in an atmosphere of creative ferment anyway, joining the ranks of content creators on the internet isn’t hard. Cooks and bartenders make stuff up in their spare time, new wines come on the list… the constant desire for novelty isn’t new, and restaurants have fed it since the first cook came up with the first dish of the day. The only difference now is that all this gets documented on the internet before it gets put in front of actual people. 

But the internet has a way of separating content from its physical origins, and redirecting the financial flows the content generates. Very little of the material that constitutes restaurant culture online actually comes from restaurants. The vast majority of a restaurant’s internet footprint is actually created by food media, the folks who hand out awards, influencers trying to scrape by, and your friend who just posted a photo of that great night at that one bar. 

All this content wouldn’t exist without the creation of something in the real world (a dish, a cocktail, a dining room), but it takes on an intrinsic worth that’s almost completely separate from the artifact that inspired it. For precisely the same reasons that restaurant content has a wider reach than a restaurant, the dish begins to matter less than the fact that it was photographed. The photo makes the plate exist on the internet, and once that happens, its value is measured less by the experience of someone eating it, and more by how frequently it’s photographed, by whom, and where those photos appear. Somewhere between the real world in which we eat food and the internet on which we read about food, the creative work intended to bring people to the door of one specific restaurant is subsumed into a torrent of content which constantly reminds diners that there are other restaurants out there. 

In a way, what matters to the internet (or at least the multitude of people and companies who instantiate the real world online) is that there is a dense and nearly endless array of restaurants to provide the content behind the content, and to give you a reason to keep drinking from the river of data. The wider the range of real world choices, the more incentive we have to read about them online. It’s easiest to transform reality into information where human attention is densest. 

The accretion of content around restaurants, in turn, is what gives them weight as a creative force. What matters to the broader economy, including property owners, is not that restaurants create new experiences all the time, it’s that so many people talk about the experiences they create, thereby connecting a physical address to the content economy.

no. 43: too good to refuse

This issue is about the connection between restaurants and real estate development in the United States. I’ve wanted to write something like this for a while, and was finally nudged off the cliff by Brian Potter’s excellent discussion of the unusual nature of real estate property rights

One central idea in Brian’s piece is this:

“​​In real estate, the property rights get spread around in a number of different ways; purchasing a piece of land doesn’t grant you complete control over it… The property rights of real estate are distributed like this because unlike typical property [meaning things like tables or books], where the benefits and costs are assumed to accrue entirely to the owner, the value of land is almost entirely determined by what’s around it.” 

Every home or business built alters the value of every property nearby – which means the property market acts as an engine, converting cultural capital into real capital in bank accounts. Crucially, the cultural capital is usually generated by tenants, but the actual financial benefit accrues almost entirely to owners. 

We see this play out in the classic pattern of a gentrifying neighborhood – there is a clear correlation between the number of cafes, bars, and restaurants and the perceived desirability of a neighborhood, and the same paper observes that “business changes predict future as well as contemporaneous gentrification.” Eater, working with a sociologist, provided a similar take on the issue

It’s not hard to see how incentives align for developers, especially in dense urban areas with mixed-use zoning. If a developer has to have retail on the ground floor,* a restaurant or other eatery isn’t just going to pay rent, it’s going to increase the value of the property as a whole (and as a second order effect, decrease the cost of financing for the developer, because now their collateral is worth more). Restaurants are also increasingly seen as a better bet than retailers after the retail massacre of the last 15 years. Finally, restaurants provide branding for a neighborhood or development in ways that medical offices and daycares don’t. 

Increasing the amount of restaurant space on the market is essentially risk-neutral for the property owner, because they own physical plant of the restaurant tenant. If the restaurant tenant fails (whether or not the glut of restaurant space contributed to its failure), the developer’s downside is just rent lost while they find a new tenant – which is the baseline risk of being in the commercial real estate business anyway. If the restaurant tenant proves to be a hit, the value of the property, and the neighborhood around it, just rose substantially. The downside of there being much more restaurant space on the market falls almost entirely on the restaurant team. 

As a result, developers will often provide incentives for restaurants to move in: they might discount starting rents, or pay for part of the buildout (the cost of renovating a space into a restaurant), knowing that they as landlords will wind up owning the buildout anyway. 

But another result is a constant hunger for new restaurants, not just from diners, but from the suppliers of a crucial resource – space – as well. I’m not saying this was the only factor driving the restaurant glut in the urban US, but I would guess (there are no statistics about this) that it’s been a major contributor. More on this next time. 

*An increasingly common requirement for building multi-unit infill housing in dense coastal cities, imposed by zoning boards inspired by Jane Jacobs.


This is let them eat cake, a frankly irregular essay about food systems (and also, food). I write about these things because I’ve worked in food for over a decade, mostly as a chef, and am writing a book about how deeply fucked up, and how deeply worthwhile, this whole enterprise of feeding people is. Also, writing is cheaper than therapy.

Once again, this newsletter is free and a labor of love. If you like it, the best way to show your support is to share this with someone who’ll like it too.

Share let them eat cake

If you’d like to give it a shout out on social media, you can find me @briocheactually on both twitter and instagram.

best,

tw

no. 42: socialmedia megamerger superstar

As we get used to eating in restaurants again, we also, inevitably, get used to turning a blind eye to the problems of the industry again. Jaya Saxena took on this problem in a terrific article for Eater this week, asking what change the social justice movement of the last year has actually effected in the restaurant world. The best quote in that piece (or perhaps in any Eater article ever) was this:

“From my perspective as a worker, it’s like they did everything that they could do within the constraints of the system that we live in,” Waxman said. “Short of dismantling capitalism, I mean.” 

Most of the press I’ve read about the restaurant labour shortage (this is a representative summary) blames the shortage on the fact that restaurants are terrible places to work: pay is low and working conditions are awful because owners, managers, and diners are generally horrible people. The fact that multiple articles in regional and national press actually mention problematic working conditions in restaurants is itself striking, and would undoubtedly not have happened if not for the social justice movement Saxena is writing about. 

But now we’re running up against the event horizon of capitalism – our desire for change cannot affect the world unless we can fund it. I don’t see much recognition of this fact that this is a problem that extends beyond individual restaurant owners, or indeed the industry as a whole (this piece comes the closest). 

Let’s go all in on the “bad ownership” thesis for a minute, and say that every penny of profit is unethical and should go to the staff. 

Restaurant profit margins average 3-6%. If we give all that money to the staff instead, we still wind up with restaurant wages substantially below what we’d call a living wage. Labor cost at a healthy restaurant is somewhere between 35% and 50% in a major metro these days (where total revenue, not including tips =100%) We can assume tips are another 15-20% on top of that, meaning that the staff of a restaurant collectively get paid a sum equivalent to between 50% and 70% of revenue. 

If we give all the profit to the staff instead, we’ve just given every member of the staff a raise of between 4% and 10% (by adding 3-6% of revenue to the current staff earnings of 50-70% of revenue). 

Do we think that’s enough to make people want to resume working in restaurants now that we’re living with the coronavirus, with all the social and professional stresses that entails? The last time I tried to do this math, 76k/year seemed like what we should be paying restaurant staff in NYC for this to be a sustainable career. 76k/year works out to approximately $36/hour – and that’s assuming restaurant staff get paid when they’re on vacation or out sick, neither of which is exactly common practice. To get to $36/hour, we would need to raise average restaurant wages in NYC by quite a bit more than 10%, and probably engage in a substantial redistribution of front-of-house and back-of-house earnings in the process.*

Yes, bad actors in management are a problem. But you can’t pay staff money you don’t have. It’s not just that restaurants don’t pay well, it’s that by and large, they can’t pay well. 

It’s hard to see this as anything other than a sign that America is unwilling, in aggregate, to pay enough for the privilege (increasingly seen as a right), of eating outside the home. Americans obviously like restaurants, since we’ve built a lot of them, but we also don’t seem to be willing to pay for them the way we’re willing to pay for Netflix subscriptions or SUVs.

The simplest possible explanation for this paradox is that most people simply don’t care about the human cost of their food, as long as the burritos stay cheap. To the extent that this is true, it’s hugely dispiriting. 

Based on the enthusiasm we’re seeing for eating in restaurants again as the country reopens, it seems like the various movements for reform have not really changed consumer preferences. There’s a rush to dine out, in spite of all the recent press saying that when you eat out, chances are you’re patronizing an establishment run by bad actors embedded in an abusive, exploitative system. 

A more optimistic explanation is that most people don’t realize that they should be paying more to eat in restaurants, and would at least theoretically be happy to pay more for their food if it meant restaurants were better workplaces. 

There are restaurants today that are actually trying to do right by their staff, but nobody evaluates restaurants on their virtues as employers. The information doesn’t appear on Instagram, in the Guide Michelin, or the New York Times restaurant review. None of the venues where we inform ourselves about restaurants publishes it. 

But what if Google and Yelp listings included reviews of the restaurant by the staff? (Glassdoor and Yelp, a socialmedia megamerger superstar waiting to happen) Or if municipalities gave restaurants a letter grade for their treatment of their workers, the way some do for adherence to health regulations? Without some way for diners to tell whether a restaurant is a good workplace, we just don’t know if diners will choose where to eat based on how a restaurant treats its staff. 

It matters that diners care, because being a good employer comes at a cost, and individual restaurants trying to be better workplaces incur the expense of doing so, and see no benefit unless diners vote with their wallets. The recent spate of restaurants reversing their no-tipping policies looked an awful lot like the first lemmings off the cliff deciding that solid ground was actually very nice – and it happened because diners voted against no-tipping policies in the only way that mattered. 

There have always been, and always will be, intrepid individual restaurants with the gumption to do right by their people (Mei Mei and Dirt Candy, I salute you). Some of them are even good enough, and lucky enough, to be able to make this work long term. But that’s not a recipe for the systemic change that so many people say they want to see. 



* I have not done the math for other parts of the country, but I would guess this holds for all major metros – and as Drew Austin pointed out this week, the problems faced by major metros seem likely to become more widespread in the next few years. 


This is let them eat cake, a frankly irregular essay about food systems (and also, food). I write about these things because I’ve worked in food for over a decade, mostly as a chef, and am writing a book about how deeply fucked up, and how deeply worthwhile, this whole enterprise of feeding people is. Also, writing is cheaper than therapy.

Once again, this newsletter is free and a labor of love. If you like it, the best way to show your support is to share this with someone who’ll like it too.

Share let them eat cake

If you’d like to give it a shout out on social media, you can find me @briocheactually on both twitter and instagram.

best,

tw

no. 41: random uses of uppercase

Hullo to readers old and new!

This is a companion piece to something I published back in January, about the cost of hawker food in Singapore.

I promise I don’t only write about hawker food – you can see all the back issues here, and some of them are actually about other things.

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Andrew from Family Meal sent me this piece in Eater about “hawkerpreneurs,” and offered a penny for my thoughts. I’d been meaning to write about the government’s efforts to keep the hawker trade alive anyway, and this was the perfect prompt – thanks Andrew!

A brief summary, in case you don’t want to read the original piece in Eater. In it, Jacklin Kwan profiles two “hawkerpreneurs” in Singapore: 

“the ambitious young Singaporeans who are using the country’s traditional hawker centers for a very different style of food business… some feel [the hawkerpreneurs’] menus are skewing too far from classic Singaporean cooking, and that important parts of the country’s culture and cuisine are at risk of getting left behind.”

The two “hawkerpreneurs” are quite different – one is the third generation of a hawker family, the other is a young cook-turned-hawker with no prior connection to the trade. Kwan asks whether the “hawkerpreneurs” represent a success for government’s efforts to keep the hawker trade alive, given that they serve non-traditional dishes, and bring “an emphasis on image and branding” (and dreams of franchising) that some see as being at odds with the hawker tradition. 

The “hawkerpreneur” phenomenon is impossible to understand without a couple of pieces of context that the Eater piece does not provide. 

The first is a discussion of prices, which the Eater piece does not mention at all. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, traditional hawkers are struggling because they don’t charge enough to make what Singaporeans would consider a decent living. Competition keeps prices low, government policy prioritizes keeping hawker food affordable (and has for decades), and Singaporeans have therefore come to view cheap hawker food as a key factor in keeping the standard of living reasonable. I think this view is shared to some extent by hawkers themselves, as lower income Singaporeans depend on hawker centres to a greater degree than households with higher incomes

Since there is effectively a soft cap on prices of traditional hawker food, one major driver of “hawkerpreneur” behavior is the (almost certainly correct) belief that they can’t charge enough to get by if they’re selling classic hawker dishes in what looks like a classic hawker setting. 

One way to get round this problem is to have a globalized menu. Singaporeans are willing to pay much more for “foreign” food than local. Many hawker centers now have a stall serving Japanese-style ramen, which generally sells for around S$10 or more (S$1=US$0.75). People pay that price without blinking, but balk at S$5 for a bowl of bak chor mee. The same applies to pasta, burgers, and sesame lattes in hawker centres. A cup of kopi – Singaporean coffee served in the classic straits style – generally goes from between S$0.8 and S$1.10, but Coffee Break, the coffee stall profiled in the Eater piece, charges S$4.80 for a latte. Similarly, prices for the burgers served at the other stall profiled in the Eater piece start at S$5.9 and rise from there. A related approach is to sell local food with modernised branding, which apparently makes it worth more. Kopi at Coffee Break is $2. It’s very, very hard to see this as anything but the highest grade of internalized colonialist bullshit. 

I’m not saying the “hawkerpreneurs” shouldn’t charge these prices – I think it’s a good thing that they’ve done the math on what they need to sustain themselves and their staff. But the public’s willingness to pay these prices contrasts sharply with their complaints about more traditional hawkers attempting to raise their prices. This tension underlies any discussion about whether “innovation” on the menu or in the marketing is a good thing for the hawker trade. 

The second piece of context missing from the Eater piece is a considered look at what the “larger government movement to... incentiv[ize] young people to consider becoming hawkers” is actually incentivizing. It’s legitimate to ask whether “hawkerpreneurs” are a welcome addition to hawker culture, but we should also ask if “hawkerpreneurship” is actually the logical outcome of policies that are ostensibly intended to preserve and strengthen the hawker trade as it is today. 

As Kwan notes, the government has launched a raft of hawker support programs, and commissioned a Workgroup on sustaining the hawker trade – the most recent in a series of advisory bodies tasked with solving hawkers’ problems

Remarkably, the Workgroup’s report does not once address the issue of hawker incomes – it’s as though the Workgroup thinks we can sustain the hawker trade without sustaining the hawkers. Members of parliament occasionally mention the need “to ensure... that our hawkers can earn a decent living,” though no one in government has yet proposed what a decent living might be

Instead, the report focuses on what might be called free-market attempts to attract new hawkers to the trade, such as: “Refresh the Narrative on Hawker Trade to Attract New Entrants,” and “Alleviate Manpower Shortages through Productivity Initiatives and Policy Review.” Basic economic theory tells us that if these efforts to attract a stream of new hawkers succeed, competition will remain fierce, and prices and incomes will remain low. 

How then are hawkers to earn a decent living? The support programmes run by the agency in charge of regulating the hawker trade seem to be the government’s template for how hawkers are expected to succeed. One programme subsidizes equipment to improve hawker productivity, another offers existing and aspiring hawkers business management training (4 others promote public consciousness of hawker culture and aim to promote hawker centres as nexuses of community, as though Singaporeans don’t go to hawker centres enough). The business management training is particularly useful because the government also runs an Incubation Stall Programme offering first time hawkers reduced rent on stalls and additional equipment subsidies – provided they first submit a business plan. 

The equipment subsidy programme has been a great boon to restaurant equipment suppliers across the island, reimbursing hawkers up to 80% of the cost of labor-saving equipment such as electric fish scalers, vacuum sealers, combi ovens, and automatic noodle boilers. Concerns about whether mechanized hawker food is still real hawker food abound – is this really the stuff of which the intangible cultural heritage of humanity is made? In truth, putting more equipment in the hawker stall is just shifting the locus of automation – faced with impossible commercial pressures, hawkers have increasingly been buying mise en place from large factories anyway. 

The management training is presumably offered in the hope that it will teach hawkers how to grow their businesses – but why should hawkers want to try to grow? This seems like either an admission that most hawkers need to bring in more revenue in order to be sustainable, or an attempt to imbue the industry with a particular economic mindset, prioritizing growth and free-market competition. An implicit assumption behind this policy is that the sort of business school thinking which gives “hawkerpreneurs” their name – marketing, differentiation, branding, the building of moats – is the way forward. 

But should hawker culture be about marketing or cooking? I think public ambivalence about “hawkerpreneurs” isn’t about whether smoked brisket and pandan lattes belong in a hawker centre. It’s about how different the structures behind “hawkerpreneurship” are from the hawker culture we celebrate today. It’s about being told that the best way to preserve hawker culture – changeless, nameless stalls run by dedicated practitioners selling infinite iterations of a few humble dishes – is for hawkers to “innovate” and create “differentiated” offerings, adopt automation for efficiency, to brand themselves better and allow the free market to work its magic. And it is about the uncomfortable realization that we have allowed this to happen. 


This is let them eat cake, a frankly irregular essay about food systems (and also, food). I write about these things because I’ve worked in food for over a decade, mostly as a chef, and am writing a book about how deeply fucked up, and how deeply worthwhile, this whole enterprise of feeding people is. Also, writing is cheaper than therapy.

Once again, this newsletter is free and a labor of love. If you like it, the best way to show your support is to share this with someone who’ll like it too.

Share let them eat cake

If you’d like to give it a shout out on social media, you can find me @briocheactually on both twitter and instagram.

best,

tw

no. 40 knowing how it feels

Hullo to readers old and new!

Sunday morning feels to me like the right time to read essays about food and society. I hope you agree.

You can see all the back issues here.

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If, in thirty years, anyone is left on earth who cares about this kind of thing at all, we may come to look back on the time between the great mortgage robbery and the first pandemic of the 21st century as a golden age for the preservation of culinary traditions. In the last year alone, I have found myself poring over intensely detailed cookbooks for any number of cuisines which, given the global distribution of purchasing power, seemed unlikely candidates for careful documentation in America. To name a few: Mouneh, on Lebanese preserving traditions, The Food of Northern Thailand, on the foodways of one of the most remote portions of Southeast Asia,  and Jia!, about the cooking of the Teochew diaspora. 

The book that gave rise to this observation, The Way of Kueh, was actually not written for an American audience. It’s by a Singaporean author, Christopher Tan, and published in Singapore for the regional market (though it can be found stateside, and is highly recommended). 

Kueh are the pastries of Southeast Asia, in particular Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. They fulfill the same function as pastries in that they are often sweet, and almost always eaten as dessert, snacks, or breakfast. However, most are based on starches rather than wheat flour, and cooked by methods other than baking. 

Like most food from that part of the world, kueh are incredibly labor-intensive to make. Making them was usually a communal activity, undertaken together by extended families, civic groups, or entire villages – precisely the kind of community activity that doesn’t fit contemporary urban habits. Some bakeries and hawker stalls make them, but hawkers of kueh, perhaps even more than other hawkers, find it hard to charge enough to make a living. All in all, they are a culinary tradition under threat.

So it’s wonderful to see these recipes recorded by a professional cookbook author. Writing about cooking in a way that other people can follow is a specific skill. Tan provides metric measurements for every recipe, along with vital background on ingredients and basic techniques like soaking and frying starches. 

I suspect most people who have tried to learn a kueh recipe from their grandmother, as nearly every cook in Singapore has, will find this a great relief. My grandma, as nearly every grandma in Singapore does, measured in rice bowls and teacups and quantities like “not too much.” Once, when I asked which kind of rice flour to use, I was told “the Thai kind with the two elephants on the package.” I was in the US at the time, and the only rice flours I could find had packaging with either three elephants, or no elephants at all. Things were done “until it feels right,” and of course, when I was making the kueh with her, things would feel right, and when I tried to replicate the process, things would feel very, very wrong. 

Tan is externalizing the knowledge of people like my grandma, living repositories of cultural capital. Books can be much longer-lived than people, and you can consult them anytime without feeling like a burden. This book is hugely empowering – there are generations of cooks in Singapore who feel cut off from their traditions, and here it is, specified down to the gram and illustrated with step-by-step photos. 

But I also found myself asking, as I read, whether these recipes should be expressed as gram weights at all. Somewhere in my notebooks is my grandma’s recipe for ang ku kueh dough. I remember the afternoon we spent making them. I had her put her mixing basin on a scale so I could record the weight of every ingredient. She laughed.

I think she held her recipes in her head, not as sets of steps and quantities, but as sets of sensations and results (I think most experienced cooks do, whether or not they would put it in these words). My grandma knew how the dough should feel when she was done, and how quickly it should firm as she kneaded and ergo, how high the rice flour should mound in the basin. That ability to feel her way to the end product is what she was trying to pass on.* Of course, “knowing how it feels” isn’t something we can easily transmit from person to person, not without brain wiring or skillsofts or other things that take us deep into cyberpunk territory.

The more detailed a recipe, the more mechanistic it seems. The process photos in The Way of Kueh remind me both of Jacques Pepin’s photos of French technique and of the assembly photos found in many chain restaurants. The more you specify, the more consistent you might expect the results to be, and the less the cook should matter. The way this discourse plays out when it comes to the value we place on cooking is telling. Zoom all the way out, and the monolithic skill of “cooking” seems simple and commonplace – there are so many people who know how to cook! Zoom all the way in, and the component tasks seem mechanical and replicable to the point where anyone could do it, so you may as well hire minimum wage labor and have them make it look like the photo, which many chains actually do. Either framing presents cooking as “unskilled”, low value labor.

That unsystematic combination of instinct, reflex, and handfeel that actually makes cooking a skill, that made my grandma the cook she was, is something we cannot write about except in elliptical terms, judge except by subjective experience, or quantify at all. It’s as though we don’t know how to make it matter to society precisely because we don’t have the vocabulary to talk about it. 

A couple of weeks ago, I did something that I have never done before. I made some kueh, on my own, from start to finish. I made koo chai kueh, a savory kueh of garlic chives wrapped in a rice flour skin (you can find these in dim sum restaurants in the US). I followed Tan’s recipe to the gram. The results were recognizable. I ate my grandma’s koo chai kueh by the hillock when I was growing up, and these were close enough that I would have eaten these by the hillock too. 

My mother asked to see the recipe I’d used (the one in her notebook is measured in rice bowls too) and then derided it when I showed her the measurements. The dough was like the kind they made in factories, she said, dominated by tapioca starch rather than rice flour to make it easier to handle. The tapioca starch made the skin translucent and elastic, whereas my grandma’s were opaque white, with bounce and a clean bite. There is something glorious about having your kueh critiqued from ten thousand miles away, and also something essential.

Recipes should be authoritative, because the weight of research and the cook’s point of view should yield a clear set of instructions with a particular, replicable outcome. Precisely for this reason, they’re static records of the dynamic phenomena which we call dishes. 

One of the things that made my grandma the cook she was is that she made the same kueh over and over. Her charcoal stove was replaced by gas, she moved from a shophouse to a skyscraper, her family grew and shrank and grew again, and it is simultaneously true that her kueh were always the same, changed from batch to batch, and evolved over her lifetime. And just as integral was the act of eating, the discovery of small difference from batch to batch, and the delighting in that variation. How could this process be measured except in imprecise quantities, and what good are imprecise quantities to a cook several oceans away? We have no choice but to measure all this out in grams, no way to document it but photos of kueh being wrapped – nothing but the hope that someone will cook a dish again. 


*There is more than a passing resemblance here to the teaching and transmission of martial arts. If you are ever very, very bored, ask me about this.


This is let them eat cake, a sort-of-maybe-bi-weekly essay about food systems (and also, food). I write about these things because I’ve worked in food for over a decade, mostly as a chef, and am writing a book about how deeply fucked up, and how deeply worthwhile, this whole enterprise of feeding people is. Also, writing is cheaper than therapy.

Once again, this newsletter is free and a labor of love. If you like it, the best way to show your support is to share this with someone who’ll like it too.

Share let them eat cake

If you’d like to give it a shout out on social media, you can find me @briocheactually on both twitter and instagram.

best,

tw

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