photo of a glass of negroni cocktail

The Week in Food: January 17 -23, 2021

Happy Inauguration week! Fork pitch found a lot of fun stories in the food biz this week including the acceptance of a rising minimum wage, Chobani and Jose Andres doing good again, a vegan Michelin star, a propane shortage and the Boulevardier cocktail.


  • We got a new President this week and the financial markets seemed pleased. Home sales strong.
  • However unemployment claims still over 900k.
  • As many of us suspected there was no vaccine distribution plan – we hope this changes rapidly. But we keep breaking records for COVID deaths.


  • WalMart wants regional differences in minimum wage. But interestingly they are not pushing back as strongly as in the past. I think the debate on increasing the minimum wage is essentially over.
  • Organic produce up 14% in 2020 – now has 12% market share.
  • Imperfect Produce expands into HBA.
  • 2021 will certainly not be as profitable for retailers as last year was… or lets hope not because a lot of those additional revenues were due to a ‘captive’ audience.
  • Chobani, again, sets the tone for corporate responsibility, this time giving time off for vaccines while Unilever commits to a global living wage.


  • Restaurants saw a increased sales due to the latest round of stimulus checks. In some places there is increased access to restaurants as the virus recedes. Others, not so much.
  • Will the next decade be a boom time for restaurants? There is tremendous pent-up demand for what has become out national pastime.
  •  The first vegan restaurant to earn a Michelin star in France. Sacre Vache!
  •  As if there weren’t enough for restaurants to worry about, there’s a propane shortage fueled by outdoor dining.
  • Jose Andres feeds the National Guard at the capitol this week.


  • We’ve looked at the restrictions and banning that the Chinese have put on food imports because of COVID 19. This is unlike any other country on the world and contrary to pretty much all the science regarding the transmissibility of the virus on surfaces. The cynic might argue they are using it as a way to manage trade relations…
  • The Biden Administration moves to address hunger, food insecurity.
  • Having a small farm does not eliminate issues of food borne illness and safety.
  • A Belgian company has introduced a protein based bio-control to kill plant funguses and disease


  • Glass in hot pockets is dangerous and it may make them taste worse.
  • The loss of the senses of smell and taste can be really devastating for chefs and sommeliers. Chef Tejal Rao believes hot spicy Mala helped her recover.
  • Kitchen hack: Add baking soda to ground beef to keep it tender while you brown it. Just a quarter teaspoon will do the trick.
  • One of my favorite cocktails is the Boulevardier and I like the direction Abbie Rhoads (really?) takes with this one. Capelletti instead of Campari and a 2:1:1 ratio with Bourbon in the lead. I like mine with an Angel’s Envy Rye – sweet and sour.

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