It could have been a cool moment for D.C.—another media outlet with national reach telling the world how special we are. And this one is tied to a 2020 presidential candidate! Wow! The article, which published today in Bloomberg, proclaims “Washington Is the Most Exciting Food City in America.”
But someone didn’t use the Google machine and, for starters, got three names wrong. They all belong to prominent, trailblazing chefs of color who had momentous years.
The writer, Kate Krader, juxtaposed some letters in Kwame Onwuachi‘s last name, spelling his name on five separate occasions as Onuwachi. The spelling should have been easy, since the chef won a James Beard Award and published a juicy memoir about his life story and the restaurant industry this year. Lakeith Stanfield is going to play him in a movie! And if none of that rings a bell, he has appeared on multiple seasons of Top Chef.
Krader also misnamed Chef Peter Prime, referring to the Trinidadian chef and owner of Cane on H Street NE as Philip. Eater DC just named him chef of the year. And Kevin Tang? Try Kevin Tien, the former Himitsu chef who opened Emilie’s this year.
Krader is Bloomberg’s food editor, and her LinkedIn page says she’s based in the greater New York City area.
In the section about “knockout ethnic options,” the article didn’t spell lechon right. And aren’t we collectively retreating from using the word “ethnic?” Absent are mentions of Eden Center’s Vietnamese dining mecca and any hat tip to the Salvadoran community that keeps us well fed.
There were also some factual inaccuracies and glossing over of major issues facing the D.C. area. The story says “‘restaurant desert’ neighborhoods don’t really exist here.” Stand outside of the Good Hope Marketplace Safeway and ask patrons what’s desperately missing from their neighborhoods and you’ll hear a lot of similar responses: grocery stores and sit-down restaurants. While City Paper published stories about three new restaurants that opened east of the river this year—Open Crumb, River East Cafe, and Busboys and Poets—they were the exception, not the rule.
The article also bemoans New York’s restaurant climate, saying that times are tough because “a $15 minimum wage has gone into effect, and rents remain prohibitively high.” It’s unfair to call NYC less business-friendly than D.C., where the minimum wage is currently $14 and will rise to $15 next year. 2019 was marked with restaurant closures due to landlords doubling and tripling their tenants’ rents.
Just for giggles, the article compares the D.C. dining scene to our world champion Washington Nationals, referring to both as underdogs. We haven’t been in anyone’s shadow for a long time. Bon Appetit beat you to it, Bloomberg. The magazine named us the “Restaurant City of the Year” back in 2016, and it was a long time coming.
While this reporter was writing this story at 1:30 p.m., Bloomberg was making edits to the piece that could have been caught by Google or a copy editor (hire and pay your copy editors!). Perhaps enough people called out the inaccuracies on Twitter? But the story in its original form had been up since 5 a.m.
City Paper was able to take screenshots: