Catching up with Anthony Bourdain, Chinese pizza, and the “douche economy.”
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I’m headed to Copenhagen this summer (more on that coming soon! tweet me questions if you have them!) so my eyes have been on our Nordic friends of late, and I was especially keen on this story about famed restaurant Noma’s closing day (for now). In advance of a reopening as an urban farm, a longtime dishwasher at the restaurant, Ali Sonko, has been named a co-owner of the restaurant. Sonko has worked in the restaurant for 14 years and joined two other employees in becoming business partners with chef René Redzepi. As someone who worked in professional kitchens for years and watched the largely unrecognized, backbreaking labor performed by scores of dedicated dishwashers, this story briefly warmed my ice-cold heart.
It feels like some of the only stories that don’t make me want to rip my hair out are coming out of restaurants these days. (Although that’s not to say restaurants don’t do horrible exploitative things all the time.) Over at R&K, we’ve published a couple of profiles of refugees opening restaurants in their adopted countries, the most recent of which focused on a Syrian man who joined some of his countrymen in Brazil, which has been accepting Syrian refugees at a rate higher than the U.S. (duh) or Europe. As one Syrian refugee and restaurant owner in São Paulo says, “Food isn’t only a way for us to remember. It’s also our way to say thanks.”
In other R&K news, we got to spend a little time with our good friend Anthony Bourdain on Wednesday before he attended a fundraiser for the Bronx Academy of Letters, and he told us about living through a comedy of errors in Romania and what constitutes the “apex of the douche economy,” which feels like a very useful phrase. More on that soon!
And in non-R&K news, I plan on spending this time this weekend with this impressive looking package from the New Yorker on Putin, Trump, and the new Cold War and this essay on the state of food writing today.
Onward and upward in the world of travel: Unbelievable deal not as good as it sounds. On that note, consider this a friendly PSA that when traveling, you always pay, so figure out what currency you’re going to be using beforehand: your money, your comfort, your time, or your dignity. A history of the Waldorf Astoria. Is there a dearth of female travel writers today? When James Baldwin was in Turkey. Let’s go to the moon! Let’s go to the British Museum.
And briefly noted: Let’s eat Chinese pizza! (Although I sort of don’t believe that counts as Chinese pizza. Tomato, To-mah-to.) Let’s get ordained! Wait, what? Wong Kar Wai forever. An excellent article by Betsy Andrews on what Yemen can teach America about hospitality. Do you “get” Rumi? Volcano eruptions: always cool. “I’ve seen people come alive making their own coffins.” This week in things you should be worrying about but probably aren’t. And in things you shouldn’t be worrying about but very well could be, here’s a live stream of an overdue pregnant giraffe. The worried and vaguely uncomfortable expression on that giraffe’s face as she eats mouthful after mouthful of food is a pretty spot-on impression of me reading the news each morning. And with that thought, I leave you.
That’s it for this week! See you next week for more of the best in food, travel and politics from around the web. Tweet me stories you want to see here @caraparks.