An exploration of whether Chicago’s food media is lazy, underfunded, corrupt, decimated, racist, or all of the above, through the prism of a seriously overlooked restaurant
Great piece, sir.
To me it seems the ethnicity of the chef has a lot less to do with being noticed, especially in Chicago. Maybe in bumfuck nowhere Ohio minorities are being passed over because of their race, but not here.
How does that explain Norman at brass heart? The only time the media wrote about him at brassheart was when it closed. At the same time norm was putting out some of the best and most unique food in Chicago, Soúle was paraded on every hit/hot list. From an outsider that would make it seem frozen catfish and canned green beans are more interesting than the cuisine at Brassheart post Kearney.
But that’s not the case, the issues as I see it are alliumistic in nature-lots of layers. The biggest problem that’s making Chicago journalism a joke is the amount of PR companies that will tell any lie to get their clients and the restaurants on a list. I’d imagine it’s like drinking from a fire hydrant opening your emails as a food journalist in Chicago. PR companies bombard journalists with bullshit inflated stories that sell well. And some journalists eat that shit up. These PR companies are vultures, that trade favors fit press. They run $3k-$5k per month, that’s more than 2x my rent on the low end. I know personally I would rather burn half and give the other half to farmers than pay a clown with the gift for gab.
Eater loves publishing anything despite facts as long as it fits into their model of a good story. If it’s a couple, or someone who learned the food from a distant relative, or a model minority then You can believe it’s getting written about and paraded like some lazy bullshit slack-tavist trying to right what has been historically wrong with this industry (which of there’s a lot).
But if there’s a minority chef/owner cooking outside of their ethnicity they get ignored, without a PR team brown nosing the media. I don’t think that if chef Hunter cooked food more like soule or virtue he would’ve been recognized, it’s entirely because they didn’t spend the money to have a liar spew bullshit for them.
Like how Norman was ignored so was the original owner of flour power. No one knew that the owner was a Latina under the age of 30. Checks all the boxes if you ask me. Despite that she was largely ignored by media , assuming because
1. I-cliche white male chef- also ran the place, but wasn’t owner.
2. She wasn’t running a restaurant that served Latin American or Colombian food-not a model minority
3. There’s was no pr team parading her around as a social justice token.