News from the World of Food

'Tip Theft' Bill Would Crack Down On Alleged Employer Skimming

A bill introduced in Rhode Island's legislature this week would prevent restaurants and hotels in the state from pocketing portions of the "service fees" that many customers wrongly assume go to workers.

Restaurant Industry Study Shows Independent Restaurants Hit Harder By Recession Than Chains

The most recent recession hit the entire restaurant industry hard. According to a report from the NPD Group, the total number of restaurant visits in the country fell from 62.7 billion in 2008 to 60.6 billion in 2011.

But the report also suggests that some kinds of eateries weathered the storm better than others. Namely, restaurants that are part of chains are doing relatively well -- but their success is coming at the expense of independents

Hangover Observations: 2012 SOBE's Wine and Food Festival

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival (a.k.a. spring break for the restaurant world) wrapped up last night after four days and nights of boozing, barbecuing, burger-ing, and all kinds of fan-on-celeb-chef action. Festival organizer Lee Schrager once again made a deal with the devil for almost perfect weather (save for some intense Saturday night wind gusts), more chefs than ever from a wider swath of cities than ever before made the trip down, and Guy Fieri was, as per his contract, found at every event swarmed by fans and cameras. Ahead, some photos and standouts:

Sorry, The Restaurant Receipt Left By That Nasty, Rich Banker Is A Photoshop Hoax

The restaurant receipt that a California banker purportedly used to denigrate a waitress--while also leaving her a one percent tip--was wildly “altered and exaggerated,” according to a spokesperson for the Newport Beach restaurant where the businessman supposedly dined earlier this month

Are these the 20 Best Food Trucks in the Country?

Hey, are these the best food trucks in the country? Yes, says a slideshow at Smithsonian magazine. Included are such perennial favorites as Kogi in Los Angeles, East Side King in Austin, Texas, Taceaux Loceaux in New Orleans, Lardo in Portland, and Schnitzel & Things in New York. The Smithsonian's taste in food trucks tends toward Asian, desserts, and meat. Behold the list below and argue about it amongst yourselves in the comments

South Beach Wine & Food Festival 2012: The Q

The first big event at The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival this year was Moët Hennessy's The Q presented by Allen Brothers Steaks, sponsored by Miami magazine, and hosted by Emeril and Guy Fieri. The Q replaced BubbleQ in name, and featured a familiar lineup of great chefs, some of whom presented real gems.

How Does Reality TV Impact A Chef's Professional Life?

Amidst the various food- and drink-heavy events at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, there were also opportunities for thoughtful discussions about the food industry. One of these events delved into the hot issue of reality TV, and how winning a food show can affect a chef's professional career and reputation. Moderated by Bobby Flay, the panel included chefs Richard Blais ("Top Chef All-Stars" winner), Marc Forgione ("Next Iron Chef" winner), Jonathan Waxman ("Top Chef Masters" participant), Stephanie Izard ("Top Chef" winner), Geoffrey Zakarian ("Next Iron Chef" winner) and Michael Symon ("Iron Chef").

Why British Food was so bad for so long

If you've ever watched the television show Downton Abbey, you've probably deduced that dining was a very, very big deal in the lives of the landed gentry of Edwardian England.

And the food itself? Turns out, it was "incredibly sophisticated," says Ivan Day, one of Britain's preeminent food historians. "The upper-middle classes and the gentry and the aristocracy — they saw food as a way of impressing people," Day tells The Salt.

That's hard to reconcile with the reputation that dogged British cuisine throughout much of the 20th century as boring, tasteless fare.

The New Indian Pariahs: Vegetarians

India has been home to vegetarians for centuries. Many Hindus and most Buddhists do not eat meat, but commentator Sandip Roy says in today's India, meat is what's for dinner.

In Morocco, Argan Oil Makes Things Better

Argan oil is to Morocco what olive oil is to Italy—or close anyway. This winter, I had the opportunity to travel along the country’s cool and dusty seaside where I found the oil nearly everywhere: at spas, on menus, in bathrooms, on countertops. In the United States, you may have heard it marketed under the name ‘Moroccan oil’ in shampoo or hair serum, but less likely so as an ingredient at a restaurant or in a grocery store. In Morocco, though, it’s a considered a pantry staple and revered as a cure-all.