Burnt Is Now Showing

Bradley Cooper’s new movie Burnt opens this weekend.

Cooper plays a London chef who is trying to bounce back from a Paris flame out and garner coveted Michelin stars.

The food porn is abundant but the story is standard fare.

Click HERE to read my review.

For more info, click HERE to go to the Burnt movie website.

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SPECTRE Night at Basso

Basso at the Cheshire will host a special event on Friday, October 30, 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in honor of the new James Bond film SPECTRE.

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Guests can win promotional items from the film as well as passes to an advance screening. One lucky Grand Prize winner will also receive a complimentary one night stay in the James Bond Suite at THE CHESHIRE!

Special Bond-themed cocktails will be available. Attendees are encouraged to dress in their best James Bond inspired “Tuxedo Attire.” Click HERE for more info.

SPECTRE, starring Daniel Craig as James Bond, opens November 6. Here’s a trailer:

Basso is located in The Cheshire at 7036 Clayton Avenue in St. Louis.

FREE MOVIE PASSES!!! For the movie Burnt starring Bradley Cooper

Here’s the trailer for the new movie Burnt starring Bradley Cooper as a chef whose career has imploded. Now, he’s attempting a comeback. Sienna Miller co-stars.

Here’s the plot set-up from the BurntMovie.com website:

After the bad boy of the Parisian dining scene had a spectacular meltdown that raised the eyebrows of the city’s culinary elite, he retreated to the American South where, according to some accounts, he spent time shucking oysters and getting back to his culinary roots.

Now in London, the two-star Michelin chef has his sights set on rebuilding his reputation with the debut of Adam Jones at the Langham and earning the third Michelin star that has eluded him for so long.

Burnt opens Friday, October 30. Also in the cast are Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman and Alicia Vikander.

If you’d like to attend a preview screening of Burnt on Tuesday, October 27, 7:00 p.m. at Ronnie’s, click HERE for free passes!

Remember—seating is limited so it’s always best to arrive early for screenings.

And now… also from the BurntMovie.com website… a couple of food pics from chef Marcus Wareing, the Michelin-starred London chef who was a consultant for the movie. First, the quail with carrots…

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 5.37.14 PMAnd the mascarpone mousse…

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 5.35.53 PMFor more pics, click on the movie website link, then click on “cuisine.”

James Bond Halloween Event at Fleming’s Steak House

On Halloween night at 6:30 p.m., Fleming’s is hosting a 007 themed dinner. Of course, there will be martinis! (Shaken not stirred.) Click HERE for the full lineup of food items and cocktails. Cost is 95/person.

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Because this is a Halloween event, guests are encouraged to dress as your favorite James Bond movie character—a villain, a leading lady, a supporting player or the man himself. Among the many choices: Goldfinger, Jaws, Blofeld, Oddjob, Pussy Galore, Jinx Johnson, Miranda Frost, Anya Amasova, Miss Moneypenny, Honey Ryder or M (male or female) or Q.

If you have a cat suit, you could come as Blofeld’s Persian. Hey, it’s an idea. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes.

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Fleming’s is located at 1855 South Lindbergh (63131). Phone 314-567-7610.

Big Imo’s Sign Going Up!

Imo’s is moving its original 10 feet tall neon sign to 17th and Delmar. It is expected to be installed, atop a 30 feet pole, by 4:00 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, October 21).

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The sign will be located between Imo’s new headquarters and a new downtown Imo’s pizza parlor, expected to open in summer 2016. (The sign was previously located at the Hampton and Oakland avenue Imo’s.)

imo logo hori eps.cmykThe location is a block west of City Museum. Click HERE to read Lisa Brown’s Post-Dispatch story from August about Imo’s move of its headquarters and distribution center to downtown.

Tipping? Yes? No?

The endless debate over tipping and its attendant issues got a new wrinkle this week when New York restaurant owner Danny Meyer announced that he will transition to a no-tipping policy at his NYC restaurants.

HERE is the story as reported by eater.com.

Also this week, a restaurant owner in San Francisco who instituted a no-tipping policy ten months ago changed his mind and is going back to allowing customers to tip his wait staff. HERE is that story as reported by Michael Bauer in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Today’s Post-Dispatch has Ian Froeb’s front page article with several local restaurant owners chiming in on tipping. HERE is that story.

Here are a few thoughts on the matter…

Who benefits from a no-tipping policy?

The staff? Yes, sort of. The cooks will get more money. The servers, probably a bit less. The “hospitality included” upcharge prevents an unhappy diner from stiffing the service team. (An hourly wage means a server would get the same amount for a slow Tuesday night in January as for a bustling Saturday night in May. Although, if it’s really slow on that Tuesday night, he may be sent home early.)

The diner? Sure, he/she pays a higher menu price but now there’s no need to worry about doing the math to figure out 15%, 18% or 20% of the bill. Will service be just as good when the server knows he/she is being paid for simply doing the job, NOT because of how well or poorly he/she does it? That’s the big IF.

The restaurant owner? Certainly the bookkeeper will have an easier time reporting wages and deducting tax payments. The restaurant owner may be able to pay kitchen staff better. It may be a challenge to keep the wait staff happy, as the SF restaurant owner learned.

Could ANY restaurant, anywhere make this work in 2015?

Well, Danny Meyer’s places can. They’re in New York City which has a large dining population. Plus, his restaurants are established places with regular customers.

Certain upscale restaurants in towns like St. Louis might be able to make it fly. But older diners who prefer that changes come slowly may not be on board with such a radical switch.

Restaurants that cater to a budget crowd should avoid climbing aboard the no-tipping wave in its early stages. I can’t imagine that most Red Lobster customers would prefer a 20% price increase over choosing the amount of tip to leave.

Some other things to consider…

Is it so wrong that servers earn considerably more than cooks? The cooks endure burns, cuts and other hazards. But the argument could be made that the wait staff is more creative. They’re the ones who creatively upsell a table a 150 dollar bottle of wine. While the chef may be a creative genius, a line cook is charged with making most dishes the same way every time. (At some of the radio stations I worked at, the jocks—including me—drove older subcompacts while the sales men and women earned more and drove new luxury vehicles. Was this unfair? Maybe, but that’s just the way it was.)

Of course, the success of the servers is a direct result of the job being done in the kitchen. If food comes out slow, it’s often the server who gets the blame. If the meal is perfect because of the kitchen crew, the server may get the love in the the form of a bigger tip.

A older couple earning 300K/year pays the same for a dish at a tipping-banned restaurant as a young couple earning 46K/year. In a tipping-permitted situation, you might expect the higher earners to leave a significantly bigger gratuity. (Although most servers can tell you that’s not always the case. The rich can be cheapskates and the not-rich can be generous.)

What about the diner who wants to reward a special effort by a tip-free server? Does he surreptitiously slip the man or woman some cash? (My daughter works at a Starbucks where tips are pooled. She has received special personal gifts from regulars including cash, gift cards, toys for her cat and, from a shoe salesman, a pair of boots.)

Many servers like this aspect of the gig: you take money home every night! In a non-tipping Danny Meyer world, servers would presumably only take money home on payday and EVERY CENT would be reported income.

There will be bumps in the road to be sure. And we will continue to debate the pros and cons of tipping. But Danny Meyer’s move may be the first shot in what could become a revolution. Will it work? As they often say at the end of TV news reports, only time will tell.