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THE CORRESPONDENCE

February 17, 2021

2021 is nearly two months old, bringing with it the feeling of a new era. We finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and now that the dust is beginning to settle, we want to share our forecast for this year and some movements we’re already starting to see take shape. Many of these predictions are things we hope to see. We believe in manifesting the future we want to live in and from where we stand, the future looks bright.

Scroll down for more of what we see in the year to come. As always, find job listings and opportunities within the industry at the end of this newsletter.

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The Correspondence is a collection of ideas, thoughts and resources for our community by Care of Chan, a food culture agency. 

FORWARD TO A FRIEND

Forecast for 2021

Food, but make it fashion

Where does food cross into the realm of art and art into the realm of food? Thanks to several boundary-pushing multi-hyphenate chefs-artists-designers, food has become an enticing medium for the aesthetically inclined. While we’ve always known about food artists like Jennifer Rubell and Laila Gohar, more creatives across disciplines are exploring and collaborating with food and drink as the medium in exciting ways -- think: designer Humberto Leon’s newly opened restaurant Chifa in LA, artist Dan Colon of Sky High Farm’s collaboration with fashion house Dover Street Market, Perron-Roettinger’s design of Ghia’s aperitif bottles, and designer-turned-winemaker Rosie Assoulin’s new natural wine brand Vivanterre with Patrick Bouju and Justine Loiseau.
 

Chefs as activists 

Made up of mostly independent owners, a majority of the restaurant industry has never been united in an organized, powerful way. The pandemic laid bare the struggles of restaurants and their employees, creating a need for nationwide advocacy on their behalf. Groups like IRC and ROAR popped up overnight to fight for the interests of the 13 million-plus restaurant workers across the country. Chefs — like José Andrés, Kwame Onwuachi, Edward Lee, and Ashley Christensen — became vocal spokespeople and advocates for the protection of the industry. Andrés went as far to suggest that the US government needs a Food Czar in office to advocate for issues within the industry that often fall between the cracks. COVID may have sparked the conversation, but this is just the beginning. 
 

The restaurant: re-envisioned and redefined

You might soon be able to run a restaurant in your backyard or go to dinner at the chef’s house next door. As restaurants and chefs continue to explore new revenue streams and expand the definition of a restaurant, the food “cottage industry” (a system of producing goods and services at home as opposed to large-scale production) will keep booming, especially as legislation allows for more liberal definitions and guidelines around permitting for food businesses. Already in certain counties of California, personal homes can be turned into public restaurants. The popularity of these establishments will be fueled by the desire to support chefs that align with consumers' own values, chefs who they know and can trust, and food made by their neighbors. Traditional brick-and-mortar will no longer be the only option and individuals will continue to cook and share dishes they’ve perfected on selective menus with limited offerings; hello more internet-based specialty panettone, back-door bread and fried chicken side hustles from fine dining chefs.
 

A culinary dive into the African Diaspora

As we continue to uplift and support stories and experiences across different cultures, new voices will rise to share the flavors of cuisines historically under-represented in the food and beverage establishment. We’re betting on a major exploration of the flavors of the African Diaspora, particularly through the lens of the Caribbean, like with chefs DeVonn Francis and Rawlston Williams in New York, raw food Chef Dr. Aris Latham, or Gerardo Gonzalez and Jake Brodsky at Palm Heights in the Grand Caymans. And we’re not just saying this because of Rihanna’s forthcoming Caribbean cookbook. 


Subscriptions reign supreme 

Panera Bread made a big splash last year with the rollout of their new coffee subscription, and since announcing the program, they have over 800K members paying $9.99/month for unlimited-free coffee. Do the math: that’s nearly $8 million in predictable, reliable revenue. Subscriptions -- like coffee clubs, wine clubs, pantry boxes and CSAs -- are not only convenient for consumers, but oftentimes offer high margin products for retailers and proprietors. Now, with companies like Table22, a platform that helps restaurants manage their subscription-based recurring revenue streams, it will be easier than ever for independent restaurants to create stable income beyond their four walls. Even media brands like Eater have gotten in the game. For further reading, check out: The Rise of the Rundle
 

No tipping, once and for all

The restaurant industry was broken long before this pandemic shattered it. Industry leaders like Danny Meyer have been talking about more equitable living wages for both the front and back of house staff for years, advocating for systems that are less dependent on tips (which contribute to racism and sexism). With the industry at rock bottom and equity becoming a primary focus for many, now might be the time that sweeping industry change could make no-tip restaurants truly possible. We’re already seeing it happen in Brooklyn and various independent restaurants around the country. If you’re feeling discouraged by its past failure, here is a pretty comprehensive explanation for what went wrong the first time and why this time it could actually stick. Sometimes change is less about the idea but more about the timing. 
 

The foodie convenience experiment 

The golden era of restaurants that we were experiencing pre-COVID elevated our palates. These new expectations are now showing themselves in “convenience foods,” like chef-driven frozen food brand Ipsa and Nespresso competitor Cometeer (made with third wave coffee from roasters like Counter Culture), proving that we no longer have to compromise taste for ease. At the same time, old world convenience foods, like conservas, are seeing a resurgence. We may be recovering from serious cooking fatigue, but we no longer have to compromise taste for ease. (Check out two of our favorite tinned fish brands: Pyscis Conserves and Manaide.)  
 

Reusing, Repurposing, Upcycle

As sustainability becomes a dominant conversation, the use of upcycled materials (aka reusing discarded items or material to create new products of equal or higher value) will start to emerge in the food world. With concepts like Toms Juice, which incentivizes and encourages the recycling and reuse of their juice jars; or Dispatch Goods, which offers reusable takeout containers used at restaurants like SF’s Zuni Café, there is a demand from consumers to participate in more than just composting and recycling. The focus towards sustainability goes beyond the plate and into our closets with the rise of fabrics made with food waste, like mushroom leather, and vegetable-based clothing dyes.
 

The return of the neighborhood

The pandemic solidified new habits and exposed the vital role of our own neighborhoods. As being far from home became seemingly unsafe, we realized it was easier to buy toilet paper or flour from the local corner store than Whole Foods or on Amazon. Restaurants too became more reliant on local residents (instead of destination diners) to support them through these tough times, whether by purchasing provisions or donating to their GoFundMe. After more than a year of isolation, from the world and each other, we will embrace this loyalty and newfound neighborhood camaraderie through the continued emphasis and priority of IRL, community-based, and local initiatives, businesses and experiences. 

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If you’re like us and enjoy this type of thing, here are some more food trend lists that we found enlightening: The New York Times, Bloomberg News, Eater and Pinterest Business.

Job Listings

Atoboy & Atomix (New York, NY)

Korean-inspired cuisine by husband-and-wife duo, Junghyun “JP” and Ellia Park.

Atomix: Assistant SommelierLine Cook
Atoboy: Server

Niche Niche (New York, NY)

The host of one-night residency wine dinner parties, Niche Niche is doing a Sunday/Monday guest chef takeover series and looking for Chefs who have worked in great kitchens and who want to try out their own future concept.

The Standard Hotels (Multiple locations across North America, Asia, Europe)

On a mission to provide creatively inspired and engaging hospitality that goes beyond the basics, The Standard Hotels deliver the best services and experiences, while creating a comfortable, dynamic, and expressive space for their guests and surrounding communities.

Front Desk, Barista, Food Runner, Restaurant Server, Sous Chef, Cook, Bartender, Director of HR, Sales, Finance, Marketing & other roles
Contact: respective property leader, above

Gjelina Group (Venice Beach, CA)

Hospitality group spanning the beloved Gjelina, Gjusta, Gjusta Goods and Valle. 

Gjelina: Line Cooks & Pizza Cooks
Gjusta: Hosts & Servers
Valle: Line Cook, Hosts & Servers
Gjelina Group: Reservationist
View positions and apply here.

Sweetgreen (HQ in Los Angeles, CA; restaurants across the US)

On the mission to inspire healthier communities, Sweetgreen supports small and mid-size growers who are farming sustainably, and acts as a critical link between them and consumers. 

HQ: Producer, Copywriter, Finance, People, Supply Chain, Logistics, Marketing Operations roles, Operations, sgTech roles 

Restaurants: Restaurant General Manager, Supervisor, Service Team, Kitchen Team, Prep Cook, and more across multiple cities in the US

Blue Bottle (HQ in Oakland, CA; Cafes in multiple locations across the US)

Specialty coffee roaster with cafes in LA, SF, NYC, and Japan. 

HQ: Marketing, Accounting, Sourcing & Supply Chain Management, Ecomm & Digital Marketing roles

Production: Dishwasher & Prep Cook (NY and CA)

Cafes: Barista, Cafe Leader across multiple cities in the US

Oishii (Remote)

The first produce in the world grown in an indoor vertical farm at commercial scale, Oishii supplies strawberries to food-loving consumers, world-class restaurants, and specialty retailers across NYC. They are creating the farm of the future. 

Social Media Intern

Eat Offbeat (New York, NY)

An award-winning social enterprise based in NYC, Eat Offbeat is flipping the table on current narratives around refugees and immigration, by taking customers on off-the-beaten-path experiences curated by refugees who now call NYC home. 

Marketing Manager
Culinary Product Development Manager
Contact: jobs@eatoffbeat.com

Compère Lapin (New Orleans, LA)

By James Beard award winning chef Nina Compton, Compère Lapin features a menu of Caribbean, French and Italian influences. They are currently hiring Front of House positions. 

Contact: hello@comperelapin.com

Carissa’s (East Hampton, NY)

Beloved bakery in East Hampton and pop-up in Sag Harbor, founded by pastry chef Carissa Waechter.

General Manager, Executive Chef, Bread Baker, and Retail Associates
Contact: resumes@carissasthebakery.com

Food Education Fund (New York, NY)

The Food Education Fund is a non-profit supporting culinary-focused public high school students and alumni to prepare them for college or careers in food-related industries, through job training, internship and visiting chef programs, scholarships, college prep assistance, and a student-run cafe and restaurant. 

Food Media Program Manager (application deadline: February 19, 2021)

Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation (US, Nationwide)

An advocacy and action nonprofit created by and for restaurant workers, RWCF engages in grant making, impact investing, issue advocacy, and community building efforts to influence industry practices, public policies, and public perceptions, to serve their mission of improving the daily lives of professional restaurant workers.

Executive Director
Contact: jobs@restaurantworkercf.org

MAD Academy (Copenhagen, Denmark)

MAD (Danish for “food” and founded by noma chef/owner René Redzepi), is a Copenhagen based organization working to empower and transform the hospitality community through knowledge, tools and inspiration. 

MAD Academy Program Manager (application deadline: February 21, 2021).
Contact: Magnus Nilsson at jobs@madfeed.co, with the subject line: Program Manager

Table22 (New York, NY)

Reenvisioning the industry's broken business model for a more stable and profitable future, Table22 provides restaurants the tools to launch subscription offerings, helping them create dependable revenue streams, while sharing their unique style of hospitality with diners in new ways. 

Business Development Representative
Account Manager
Contact: sam@table22.com

Whetstone Media (Remote)

On the mission to champion food to expand human empathy, Whetstone Magazine works with a team of global creatives representing over a dozen countries, with diversity being essential to the stories they tell.  

Editor, to launch vertical on South Asian food history & contemporary food culture 
Contact: workwithus@whetstonemagazine.com

Announcements

From: Public Records (New York, NY)
To: Those looking for community

 

Public Records has been exploring the idea of growing within their 233 Butler space in Brooklyn to create a more diverse and dynamic ecosystem in 2021. As they go through the ideation process, they'd like to hear from the New York community on what this project could be. As a token of their appreciation for participating, a cocktail (boozy or not) is on the house. If you wish, please complete their quick survey here, and you'll automatically receive a drink coupon to redeem the next time you come visit.

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