Today’s Food Newsbits: Serious Eats Apologizes, Losses In the Culinary Biz

When it’s good, it’s good. But when it goes bad…

The discussion all weekend long, at least amongst the food blogging world, was the Great American Food & Music Fest. Hosted by Serious Eats, the inaugural launch of this California food fest certainly went down in history, but it won’t be remembered fondly. In fact, from bunk wristbands to long lines, it seems the food festival wasn’t as hot as promoters had hoped. Admission was ‘a nightmare’, food vendors ran out of food, and guests were livid – with some paying upwards of $500 per person for tickets.  You can feel the visitor wrath on this post. In response, editor Ed Levine posted an apology to festival vistors late yesterday afternoon. Oy!

In the first few weeks of June, the restaurant world lost two prominent culinary figures.  Norman Brinker, developer of Chili’s, Bennegan’s, and Steak & Ale, passed away at age 73. Brinker was the chairman of Brinker International, a restaurant management company he started in 2000. The company, which owns Chili’s Grill & Bar, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Eatzi’s and On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, now manages over 1,700 restaurants in 27 countries. Many restaurateurs looked towards Brinker for inspiration and guidance:

“One of the keys to this business is to be in a constant state of evolution,” [Brinker] said. “People’s tastes change. If you don’t evolve, you face the revolution of changing overnight.”

Over the weekend, Executive Chef Christian Albin passed away as well. Albin, who joined The Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan back in 1973, passed away at age 61 after a battle with cancer. While Albin was one of the lesser-known chefs in the New York area, the restaurant referred to him as ‘an old-school chef who preferred to be the rock — rather than the rock star’.

~Jennifer Heigl

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