The Daily Rail: Is Cultural Appropriation a Bad Thing in the Restaurant Industry?

STAFF: Is Culinary School Valuable? [INFOGRAPHIC]        

Any restaurant veteran knows that our business is all about education through vocation. So many of our most talented managers come from the ranks of entry level employees. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the BoH. Many of our best line guys use the kitchen environment to grow themselves and follow their aspirations. Some, however, come in from culinary school. But is culinary school really all that valuable to staff and your restaurant? We polled our readers to find out.


Does Sugar Cause Breast Cancer?

A new study from the British Medical Journal has linked the consumption of sugary drinks to be “positively associated with the risk of overall cancer and breast cancer.” The study included 100,000 people in France included sugary sodas and 100% fruit juice. While the health industry has concluded that over-consumption of sugar is bad for one’s health, it’s also important to know that correlation doesn’t equal causation. Even in this study, the link is pretty limited.

Facebook Privacy Penalties

The penalty Facebook agreed on to settle charges of it violating a 2012 FTC order by deceiving users about their ability to control the privacy of their personal information, is by far the largest fine ever imposed for violating consumers’ privacy. According to the FTC, the $275 million penalty it inflicted on Equifax earlier this week is the second-largest privacy penalty followed by $230 and $148 million fines against British Airways and Uber, respectively, both involving data breaches and, in the case of Uber, an attempted cover-up.

Infographic: FTC Slaps Facebook With Record Privacy Penalty | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Recycled Gold

The Tokyo Olympics unveiled their medals for the 2020 summer games, and they’re made with recycled material from nearly 80,000 tons of discarded electronic devices. The 2016 Rio Games also used recycled materials, but Tokyo 2020 is “the largest scale donation effort taken on by a host country” according to the Olympics.


Why it matters to you: Menu fraud is real and it’s your legal obligation not to commit it.

Recently I was having dinner at a restaurant that purported to have Kobe beef sliders and I have to admit they were delicious. Unfortunately, they also WERE NOT Kobe beef. This restaurant was definitively not one of the nine that actually serve this specialty Japanese protein. If you ask the folks at Restaurant Business Online, they will tell you that claim is outright fraud. This is a reality in our industry and, frankly, it’s a terrible idea to lie about a food product. Guests come to us with the expectation they can trust what you promote on your menu to be what you claim. It’s this trust that is impossible to recover when a guest determines you weren’t being truthful. In fact, there is a real liability involved when a restaurant makes a claim they cannot demonstrate.

This primer is a solid resource to understanding your responsibilities as pertains to Truth in Menus. You might remember the kerfuffle that was caused when it was proven that many Tampa-area restaurants were promoting their grouper fish sandwiches that weren’t actually made with grouper. Besides there’s little reason to make things up. We have long encouraged our audience to explore partnerships with national brands to help build their menu equity. Maybe Frank’s Red Hot or Tyson Chicken Wings aren’t Kobe beef, but they are recognizable brands that your guests will feel can be safely ordered and enjoyed. Why not focus on giving guests what they want without risking being exposed as a fraud?

[Source: Restaurant Business Online]


Why it matters to you: Is cultural appropriation a bad thing in the restaurant industry?

Speaking of authenticity… Gordon Ramsay’s newest restaurant, the Lucky Cat, in London inspired an excoriating review by a food writer from Eater London. Angela Hui, a British food writer accused Ramsay’s Asian inspired eatery of poorly executed cultural appropriation, saying “It was nothing if not a real-life Ramsay kitchen nightmare,” and pointing out culturally ignorant names on the menu, like “White Geisha” cocktails. Hui then received a torrent of racist comments on social media and even endured Ramsay calling her review “derogatory and offensive.”  

The question for you to decide is how what is appropriate when including the cuisine of other cultures on your menu. We live in the most plural society in the world. In fact, our cultural cuisine is built on assimilating the best of other cultures foods.

Where would the American food culture be without the bagel, salsa, eggroll or even coffee for that matter? In this country we don’t invent cuisine as much as we perfect the blending of the many into one (E Pluribus Unum is right on our currency, so it has to be true, right?) It should be of no surprise that Ramsay showed something less than grace in his co-opting of Asian cuisine into on lumpy monolithic menu list. Most people outside of Asia can’t and don’t differentiate between diverse cuisines throughout that continent. However, there is a middle ground. If you are featuring an Asian -- or other international cuisine – dish, take some time to research it and present it with care and respect. If you know that you have done the work and apply grace to your approach, nobody will have the right to complain.

[Source: Time]