• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Dakki

CBS 2 Investigation: Underground — And Illegal — NYC Dinner Parties

41 posts in this topic

Tri2Cook, how about this: you are 100% correct that it is a violation of the law as written. The system, for better or for worse, is that, if we, the people feel that the law is unjust, we must rise up and force our elected officials to repeal the law. Failing that, we can disobey it and challenge it in court, but if the judges all the way up the line find the law constitutional (likely the case here), we are hosed to some minor extent.

Here is the real point: the cub reporter who did this piece cannot yet be trusted with a real story, and is wasting time and stirring up merde for no good purpose. For that reason, and not for any legal reason, the reporter deserves all the abuse being served up. Just as there are more important laws to spend precious resources enforcing, there are real news stories that deserve reportage. This was not one of them...

2 people like this

Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not going to address disregarding a law because you don't think it makes sense. What I can't quite wrap my mind around is the implied notion that putting your food dollars to these types of establishments or venues does not hurt the vendors that follow the rules. If I buy tamales from the guy going door to door whose wife makes them in the family kitchen, am I not in effect snatching the financial opportunity from the rule adherent vendors at my farmers markets? The cost may be lower or it may seem more "authentico" but the rule disregarder has a much lower cost of operation and time investment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not arguing whether it's good law, bad law, dumb law or any other kind of law. I never argued against speaking up against it being the law. The only thing I was trying to get across in my initial response is that the reporter wasn't an idiot for calling it illegal because it is illegal. Whether or not it should be illegal is an entirely different matter that I didn't want to venture into and was making no judgements on.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not going to address disregarding a law because you don't think it makes sense. What I can't quite wrap my mind around is the implied notion that putting your food dollars to these types of establishments or venues does not hurt the vendors that follow the rules. If I buy tamales from the guy going door to door whose wife makes them in the family kitchen, am I not in effect snatching the financial opportunity from the rule adherent vendors at my farmers markets? The cost may be lower or it may seem more "authentico" but the rule disregarder has a much lower cost of operation and time investment.

This would be true if you had "tamale dollars" burning a hole in your pocket, but since you don't, or I don't think you do, the argument doesn't hold water as a one for one substitution. Also, it is not my responsibility to support a corrupt system based mainly on rent seeking just because it costs me more to do so. I'm not taking from your legal tamale vendor, and neither is the underground tamale vendor.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Street food world wide, bed & breakfast world wide, how many are regulated by law? and how many people have died eating in those places?

In this country where we so treasure freedom, we are chained by more laws than any other country.

dcarch


Edited by dcarch (log)
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Street food world wide, bed & breakfast world wide, how many are regulated by law? and how many people have died eating in those places?

In this country where we so treasure freedom, we are chained by more laws than any other country.

dcarch

I don't necessarily think pop-ups and supper clubs should be illegal but I would be interested in hearing from others why they think it shouldn't be a level field. If you don't mind one not being subject to rules, why require it of the other? That's going to be the point of view of at least some (probably most) restaurants. Why do I, the restaurant owner, have to comply with all of these rules, regulations, inspections, licenses, etc. when the guy next door, who is doing exactly what I do minus the sign on the building, does not? I personally don't think "because you chose not to do it in your own home" is a valid argument but maybe there are good reasons I haven't considered.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are operating a for profit restaurant you'll need licensing and certification out the wazoo, especially if you have a liquor license. Presumably you are operating the restaurant as your primary business and therefore your means of income. Unlike you (in my example), the people operating the underground supper clubs aren't running these events as a regular business. This is true of pop-ups, as well. Indeed, they may operate this dining experience as a lark and not even a regularly scheduled event or even have it take place in the same location.* They may even be run as progressive dinners that take place in more than one location.

As sigma said above, it's bald-faced rent seeking.

In the case of Heidi's tamale vendor, I have often bought these tamales from small children (acting as salesmen) who are trying to help out their families. I feel better about buying from these people than from Big Tamale. If it helps a nino get a new pair of Keds before school starts, all the better.

*(We have another poster who often does this in addition to their regular job. Everyone gushed!)


Edited by annabelle (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see prepared food, food cooked on premise sold and served in supermarkets.

I wonder if they have to comply with laws for restaurants re. food safety and fire exit regulations.

dcarch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see prepared food, food cooked on premise sold and served in supermarkets.

I wonder if they have to comply with laws for restaurants re. food safety and fire exit regulations.

dcarch

They are subject to the health inspector (at least, where I live they are). I don't know about fire exit regulations in grocery stores.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shut down the volunteer fire department's Cornell barbecue chicken fundraiser immediately!!!!

They ain't regulated and inspected!!!

It's obviously a big safety risk and not fair to the Clucky Plucky's chicken house in town!!!

:raz:

2 people like this

~Martin

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist, contrarian and natural born skeptic who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see prepared food, food cooked on premise sold and served in supermarkets.

I wonder if they have to comply with laws for restaurants re. food safety and fire exit regulations.

dcarch

They are subject to the health inspector (at least, where I live they are). I don't know about fire exit regulations in grocery stores.

But are they basing their inspections on restaurant rules or food retail rules?

Supermarkets are retail, restaurants are Places of Assembly, different fire exit Codes.

dcarch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't necessarily think pop-ups and supper clubs should be illegal but I would be interested in hearing from others why they think it shouldn't be a level field.

It's not a level field now, and I think it's kinda naive or even disingenous to pretend that it is. The whole process of licensing, inspecting and regulating food-serving venues is a barrier to entering the field and serves to protect the established businesses against competition, and favors people with access to capital, education, "connections" etc. over those who don't. This is not trivial.

The upside is that the same process enforces certain minimum standards of hygiene and safety.

When pushed beyond common sense, ie enforcing the rules for the sake of enforcing the rules, the system throws up results that are weird and not in the general public's interest.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must say that I am not much in favor of licensing schemes whose sole purpose is to raise more tax dollars for politicians to squander, under the guise of public health and safety. Personal and corporate taxes should cover that, and licensing fees should cover the additional or special costs of administering particular programs. (And while a separate topic, query whether you really believe your tax dollars or licensing fees are making your food any safer or less adulterated.) If you accept that notion, then the vendor at the farmer's market is paying for an opportunity that probably would not exist but for the payment of a fee, and would not bother to come if there were not money to be made over and above the fee. The farmer's market generates waste, traffic management and other things that would not exist but for the farmer's market, and it is frequented only by a portion of the general population, so it is entirely appropriate for licensing fees to be charged to cover its administration. Those fees are passed on to the consumer through the pricing of the goods sold, as in any business. If the best tamales are to be found at the farmer's market, you will buy them there, even at a higher price, or maybe you will buy there out of convenience or impulse buying, or maybe you will even buy lousy tamales to support the vendor whose other stuff is good, or maybe just to support the farmer's market in general.

Back to our door-to-door tamale man: could be that he cannot afford a stand at the farmer's market, at least not without growing a clientele. Could be that he delivers a fresher, more authentic product. Could be that he, too, makes lousy tamales, but he is trying to support a family of 8 and he needs your help without it appearing that he is begging. (Any of us ever buy things that we did not want or need just to help somebody?) You get my drift. The possibilities and motivations in both scenarios can be complex and completely unrelated.

I am law-abiding, and certainly encourage others to be. It is, after all, the basis for civilized human society. On the other hand, the global economic collapse of 2008, brought on by a bunch of greedy banksters and their minions, tells us that the law-abiding are too often the poor saps left holding the bag. While I surely do not liken the two situations, I will say that, unlike the criminal activities of 2008, I do not see the harm, either to the vendor at the farmer's market or to the populace at large, of the door-to-door tamale man. You are free to support the vendor at the expense of the tamale man, or vice versa...


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This keeps flip-flopping on me. I started out discussing "what is" and it was shot down with proclamations of "what should be". So I followed the flow of discussing what (in our varying opinions) should be and now that's being pulled apart with replies of what is. So I'll just sum up my opinion (and that's all it is, I'm not claiming to be right or that anybody should be on board with me) by saying that I think there are many excessive regulations when it comes to the food service industry in general and I'm all for some of them being changed or updated but, as it stands, they are the regulations and should apply evenly across the board no matter what you choose to call your venue in an effort to avoid them. If not, there should be a justifiable reason for it to apply to some and not to others. Something beyond "they couldn't afford to follow the rules" or "the rules are dumb". Those are good reasons to try to change rules but they're not good reasons to get a free pass that others aren't allowed.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pop-ups have a very little chance to compete with established businesses in NYC.

Large pop-ups cannot be in large spaces, building owners seldom allow any operation without insurance certificates.

Tenants can be evicted if they are found doing business in an apartment building.

No one would be crazy enough to think of doing something like that in a coop or condo.

dcarch


Edited by dcarch (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This keeps flip-flopping on me. I started out discussing "what is" and it was shot down with proclamations of "what should be". So I followed the flow of discussing what (in our varying opinions) should be and now that's being pulled apart with replies of what is. So I'll just sum up my opinion (and that's all it is, I'm not claiming to be right or that anybody should be on board with me) by saying that I think there are many excessive regulations when it comes to the food service industry in general and I'm all for some of them being changed or updated but, as it stands, they are the regulations and should apply evenly across the board no matter what you choose to call your venue in an effort to avoid them. If not, there should be a justifiable reason for it to apply to some and not to others. Something beyond "they couldn't afford to follow the rules" or "the rules are dumb". Those are good reasons to try to change rules but they're not good reasons to get a free pass that others aren't allowed.

We are agreed that in the aggregate, being law-abiding makes for a civilize society. We are likewise agreed that many laws are archaic, redundant, unenforceable or silly. We are further agreed that the best way to change these laws is to petition the lawmakers. In that spirit, I urge you to call the city hall or wherever these laws are made and try to get a real person on the phone. Finding out the steps to get to the correct place to lodge a complaint is an eye opener. It's next to impossible, if not downright impossible in a city the size of New York. Legislation is passed with no input from those who it will be effecting and it is solely for the purpose of collecting monies.

This leaves third parties who are not a part of city government who may grease the wheels for a fee. Protection money, as it were. This isn't desirable, still costs money and is itself illegal yet it is expedient. Or it leaves the fourth option which is to ignore the law.

Insisting that everyone follow the rules is a pipe dream because their are always those who will not, even when money is not a barrier, c.f, Bernie Maddoff, and others.

Hope this helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.