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Rick Bayless and Burger King - Part 2


ronnie_suburban
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Oh my.

That sandwich just won't stay down.

Glad to see someone who's kept a sense of humor about this. Best post since Tony's solicitation for favors.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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forgive my length here, but i feel this is really worth interjecting, even though i was going to keep quiet on this beast that just won't die.

you may know dave eggers, you may not. you may thinks he's pompous or a sell out. if you don't know him, you don't really need to to understand what he has to say on a topic kin to this:

"You want to know how big a sellout I am?

A few months ago I wrote an article for Time magazine and was paid $12,000 for it I am about to write something, 1,000 words, 3 pages or so, for something called Forbes ASAP, and for that I will be paid $6,000 For two years, until five months ago, I was on the payroll of ESPN magazine, as a consultant and sometime contributor. I was paid handsomely for doing very little. Same with my stint at Esquire. One year I spent there, with little to no duties. I wore khakis every day. Another Might editor and I, for almost a year, contributed to Details magazine, under pseudonyms, and were paid $2000 each for what never amounted to more than 10 minutes work - honestly never more than that. People from Hollywood want to make my book into a movie, and I am probably going to let them do so, and they will likely pay me a great deal of money for the privilege...

There is a point in one's life when one cares about selling out and not selling out. One worries whether or not wearing a certain shirt means that they are behind the curve or ahead of it, or that having certain music in one's collection means that they are impressive, or unimpressive.

Thankfully, for some, this all passes. I am here to tell you that I have, a few years ago, found my way out of that thicket of comparison and relentless suspicion and judgment. And it is a nice feeling. Because, in the end, no one will ever give a shit who has kept shit 'real' except the two or three people, sitting in their apartments, bitter and self-devouring, who take it upon themselves to wonder about such things. The keeping real of shit matters to some people, but it does not matter to me. It's fashion, and I don't like fashion, because fashion does not matter.

What matters is that you do good work. What matters is that you produce things that are true and will stand... What matters is that it will stand forever...What matters is not the perception, nor the fashion, not who's up and who's down, but what someone has done and if they meant it..."

you van read the whole thing at http://www.pookie.tv/rant.html

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Oh my.

That sandwich just won't stay down.

Glad to see someone who's kept a sense of humor about this. Best post since Tony's solicitation for favors.

Yup.

"Suck my fucking dick!" is very very clever & very very humorous!

Why mess with a classic?

abourdain

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forgive my length here, but i feel this is really worth interjecting, even though i was going to keep quiet on this beast that just won't die.

you may know dave eggers, you may not. you may thinks he's pompous or a sell out. if you don't know him, you don't really need to to understand what he has to say on a topic kin to this:

"You want to know how big a sellout I am?

A few months ago I wrote an article for Time magazine and was paid $12,000 for it I am about to write something, 1,000 words, 3 pages or so, for something called Forbes ASAP, and for that I will be paid $6,000 For two years, until five months ago, I was on the payroll of ESPN magazine, as a consultant and sometime contributor. I was paid handsomely for doing very little. Same with my stint at Esquire. One year I spent there, with little to no duties. I wore khakis every day. Another Might editor and I, for almost a year, contributed to Details magazine, under pseudonyms, and were paid $2000 each for what never amounted to more than 10 minutes work - honestly never more than that. People from Hollywood want to make my book into a movie, and I am probably going to let them do so, and they will likely pay me a great deal of money for the privilege...

There is a point in one's life when one cares about selling out and not selling out. One worries whether or not wearing a certain shirt means that they are behind the curve or ahead of it, or that having certain music in one's collection means that they are impressive, or unimpressive.

Thankfully, for some, this all passes. I am here to tell you that I have, a few years ago, found my way out of that thicket of comparison and relentless suspicion and judgment. And it is a nice feeling. Because, in the end, no one will ever give a shit who has kept shit 'real' except the two or three people, sitting in their apartments, bitter and self-devouring, who take it upon themselves to wonder about such things. The keeping real of shit matters to some people, but it does not matter to me. It's fashion, and I don't like fashion, because fashion does not matter.

What matters is that you do good work. What matters is that you produce things that are true and will stand... What matters is that it will stand forever...What matters is not the perception, nor the fashion, not who's up and who's down, but what someone has done and if they meant it..."

you van read the whole thing at http://www.pookie.tv/rant.html

I'm not sure how that ties in with Bayless...

As soon as a good deed is mentioned, it is no longer a good deed.

JANE

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We've gone pretty far down this road already, so maybe I missed it, but is there evidence that a lot of low-income people eat a substantial number of meals at BK and other big chains and contribute substantially to their bottom line? I was under the impression that their biggest market for frequent repeat customers was single middle class men between 18 and 30.

I am just working my way through this thread, so this may have been addressed later on...

A little background and context:

My mom babysits for kids in her home. She has done this for over 30 years (God bless her). She started doing this when my sister and I were young and it was great for us (we had playmates and she was home with us). Later it evolved into a full time job for her. They live in central CT.

The trend over the 30 years is that a higher and higher percentage of the moms are on their own (divorced or never married). This isn't social commentary; just a fact and I point it out because it really appears to affect how the kids (and mom) eat. Almost all the parents (primarily moms) say they eat out at fast food type places at least 4-5 times per week. Most of them are 'lower level' white collar workers; for eg. office job at an insurance company.

My mom makes the lunches that kids like (rather, will eat!); basic stuff, nothing special--sandwiches, raw veggies, hot dogs, grilled cheese, mac and cheese. The parents will come back to my mom and say, "how do you make that grilled cheese?" Many of them don't appear to cook even semi-home cooked meals. As an aside, often if given a choice between store bought cookies or home made ones, the kids want store-bought. (and my Mom is a great cook and baker). I think the home made cookies taste strange to them.

In speaking with the many different working moms (that mom babysits for) over the years, it appears that increasingly many of them can barely cook and they are always incredibly stressed out w.r.t. time. These are people with kitchens and money to buy basic food but working, raising a child with one parent and not knowing how to cook makes it difficult to get out of the fast food hell hole. It's a vicious cycle in many ways. They work and raise a child on their own so they have less time, then they turn around and spend much more money (comparatively) on unhealthy fast food. There are certainly ways out of this (cooking one dish meals on the weekend, etc) but many of them don't appear to have the wherewithal to do it.

Well; this is off topic from Rick Bayless--and I have no idea where the thread is right now, but I just wanted to post some observations. This thread has produced many great posts (on and off topic).

On a lighter note: A way earlier post spoke of the distinctive aroma of Burger Kings (stateside, at least). First semester in grad school I lived in a dorm and did not have cooking facilities. Took copious advantage of the local BK Lounge. To this day I can not go into a Burger King even to buy a soda b/c of the smell. What is that!!! I don't think I have an incredibly senstive nose, but I find the same thing at Subways--there is some (to me) horrific distinctive 'Subway' smell in there.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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So sad but true Ludja.

This trend for fast food every night is pathetic. I'm also in CT (grew up in Wisconsin) and as a kid in the '60's, I remember that going to McDonalds was a real treat maybe 4 or 5 times a year, usually when my parents were going out.

BUT...

Around the same time, health food stores, organic gardening, and sustainable agriculture were just starting to peak my mom's interests. Sadly, organic veggies and antibiotic free meats are still a "novelty" in regular grocery stores. I can't always afford them!

Imagine if those farms had the money and marketing departments of corporate fast food giants...

A lot of people don't give a shit about food, it's preparation, nutritional value, ingredients etc. Each meal is just something to get through as quickly as possible! Possibly because they just never learned about it.

So Bayless joined the herd and did his hooker thing for BK and took the money.

I'm sure the charity thing was an afterthought after reading some of our posts!

He had a chance to take a stand for what he really believes in:why he became a chef:why he loves food.

Imagine a perfect world where Rick teaches a weekly cooking class (food 101) at his restaurant for single moms, dads and kids, maybe visit a farm or two, milk a cow. It would be cool. It might catch on.

The Santa Fe sandwich did not.

Yeah, he blew it :wink:

JANE

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Further evidence that Bayless is a complete wanker and douche bag--thoughtfully proved by the man himself.

Hey, Rick! Suck my fucking dick!

My hope is that he'd take that bitter salami in his mouth, bite down and say, "Mmmm, tastes like chicken." And while you lie bleeding and bawling take a bit more than $40 from your wallet.

Even if you assume the worst in this case, the criticism is way out of proportion here. Bayless wasn't a saint before the endorsement. You shouldn't hold anyone to such a standard as perfection -- and none of you assholes passing such strong judgments against someone based largely on intentions you can't know should presume yourself more righteous.

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I disagree, EMSG. Bayless's sainthood was never on the table, and he has compromised his reputation and his high standards. His motivations are beside the point: he took the money and endorsed a shoddy product for a company who is antithetical to all the ideals Bayless has preached for years.

I guess I'm an asshole in good company.

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The criticism has to be on intentions otherwise it has little merit. If Bayless honestly believes that he's moving things forward, that the sandwich is good, etc, etc, then at worst he's a dope (assuming it's not, the sandwich sucks, etc). But for him to be lacking integrity, the main charge, he must be in it for the money, not truly believe the sandwich is a step in the right direction, etc, etc.

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The only things one can use as a basis to "judge" Bayless' intentions and principles are his own statements, and it strikes me as perfectly legitimate to make such judgments.

If, in fact, Bayless has truly changed his mind about things and believes that the best course to achieve his goals is to go the BK route, then it is incumbent upon him to go back and revise his earlier positions. In so doing, he should resign from the Chef's Collaborative, whose stated goals are at direct odds with the business and culinary practices of Burger King.

--

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So Bayless joined the herd and did his hooker thing for BK and took the money.

I'm sure the charity thing was an afterthought after reading some of our posts!

How on earth could you know that? If he had never done a thing for charity in his life, then suddenly decided to give away the BK bucks, it might be suspicious.

If he didn't announce right away that he was donating the fee to his charity, I would guess it's because he had no idea that a bunch of (insert gratuitous name-calling here) would jump all over his shit.

Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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In his statement he said he's been saying for years that fast food should do a better job. He believes that this sandwich is a step in the right direction.

It's perfectly reasonable to say that promoting the success of such a product is good because its success will encourage BK to make more such products -- products that RB believes are healthier and less-processed. It's also reasonable to believe that reform not revolution is in order (ie, a product here and product there, rather than an overhaul of an entire company).

You may disagree with it, but that's a matter of "reasonable minds can disagree" and does not warrant the moral attacks that strike me as more posturing than principled.

Edited by ExtraMSG (log)
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The fact remains, however, that the business and culinary practices of Burger King are fundamentally at odds with most of his previously stated principles and goals. It's like PETA endorsing a furrier for developing a fur coat that uses 50% less fur because it's a "step in the right direction." The fact would remain that the furrier still kills animals and makes luxury clothing out of their pelts, and that this practice is inimical to the stated goals of PETA. This doesn't strike me as being too hard to understand.

Bayless has said that he supports X, Y and Z and thinks that A, B, and C are terrible things. Burger King does A, B and C as well as E, F and G which serve to diminish X, Y and Z. Bayless is now endorsing Burger King for doing a little less of A. There is no way Burger King's practices are going to lead down the path to X, Y and Z unless they fundamentally change those practices. I, and others, would suggest that taking their money and patting them on the back isn't really the way to achieve these goals. Again, if Bayless had worked with BK on sourcing the ingredients for and developing the recipe for this sandwich, most of us would feel differently.

You seem to be upset that everyone isn't giving Bayless "the benefit of doubt" and taking his explanations at face value. Well, we don't owe him that. The man is a public figure, a politician and an evangelist in addition to being a chef. He has been well aware of the impact his various proclamations have had, and it is right that he should he judged by them. If he didn't want to start a reformation, he shouldn't have nailed all those theses to the door.

Again, if Bayless' views have changed so radically, that's fine. People sometimes "see the light" and change their minds. But, as a public figure, a politician and an evangelist he is responsible for making a public revision of his previously stated goals and philosophies -- many of which are fundamentally at odds with the business and culinary practices of the company he now endorses. Part of that process must be, in my opinion, resigning from the Chef's Collaborative and stating his philocophical and political reasons for so doing -- i.e., explaining how his views have changed and why he no longer fully supports the positions held and promoted by that organization.

--

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Mission of Chefs Collaborative

To advance and promote among chefs and the general public concepts and benefits of good, safe, and wholesome foods, including sustainable food choices, responsible agricultural growing techniques, the impact of food choices on the environment, and the advantages of locally grown and seasonally fresh foods, and to provide educational and other programs fostering such concepts and benefits.

"To advance and promote among...the general public" -- that sounds like what he's been saying he was doing. You say you disagree. Fine. That's a question of fact that can be debated. It doesn't require an attack on the man's integrity. And it certainly doesn't require RB sucking AB's dick, however much AB may enjoy it.

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ExtraMSG, if it is primarily the tenor and language of AB's remark that offends, I would suggest that our estimable Site Manager Steve Klc's approach as detailed above is a more productive path than responding in kind.

As for the Mission of Chefs Collaborative, I think you have done a little selective quoting. BK's business and culinary practices are clearly inimical to points four through eight in their Statement Of Principles, in my mind.

--

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I mentioned yesterday that I had just received the Oct/Nov issue of Mother Earth News (The origninal guide to living wisely)

This issue (I checked their website for a link but it's still featuring Aug.Sept. issue) contains a 4.5 page article titled From Farms to Five Stars by Doreen G. Howard, a writer who speciaizes in stories about food and sustainable gardening. The main focus of the article is Rick Bayless and the Chefs Collaborative.

As I suspected, there's no mention of the BK deal, which I imagine would have pissed off the editors big time!

Bayless' dreams and ideas about breaking the boundaries between the folks growing the food and the folks preparing it are so impressive. The collaborative has made it possible for many farms to thrive through large donations for better equipment, grants, etc.

One example was a donation to one Wisc. farmer Bill Warner to build heated hoophouses so he could grow baby spinach all year round for Frontera (Bayless' restaurant) and "Frontera paid for half of the winter tomato order so we were able to build three more houses, making us sustainable" and "We were able to hire employees ad pay them a decent wage".

Quote by Bayless "We consider the farmers who grow for us our partners, and the health of their business is important to the health of ours."

He has also helped his managing chef Tracy Vowel realize her dream of becoming a full time farmer by gradually phasing her out of her full time position at the restaurant once she's ready.

So, what is this Burger King thing about? What in the hell was he thinking? It's as if I heard that the National Chair for the American Diabetes Foundation (is it still Mary Tyler Moore?) was doing Krispy Kreme ads!!

You'd think if he needed more money to "support" the farmers (if that's his reasoning?) he could have found another, more appropriate, sponser like say a grocey store chain that sells organics, or an environmentaly friendly car commercial or something!?

I can see the commercial now "New BK Santa Fe sandwich with "pastured, antibiotic, drug free, chicken, with guajillo chilis, roasted organic tomatoes, honeyed pasilla sauce, and wilted baby spinach" Only $25.00! Or make it a meal with fries and a 32 oz coke $29.99!

Oh shit, I'll just take the fries and coke. I forgot to go to the ATM!

Shame on you Mr. Bayless.

I'm pissed at Bayless but don't make it a habit to diss other opinions on this forum. Isn't that the idea of these discussions?

Tanabutler? I'm in!

JANE

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I'd also like to take a moment to say: kudos to the Post for crediting eGullet as a source and giving us the mentions.

That's how I got here. I'm an admitted fan of flaco, a part-time foodie, ex-line cook, and a member of one other message board (somethingawful.com.) I always enjoyed the occasional foodie thread on SA, but I was delighted to find a whole foodie board here.

Getting way off topic here. Also, Tony, if Bayless won't blow you my girlfriend will.

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Getting way off topic here.  Also, Tony, if Bayless won't blow you my girlfriend will.

:laugh::laugh:

And what are we, chopped liver?

Edited to add: Welcome to eGullet, pork. You are one of our favorite meats. I think I can speak for many of us when I say that we'd be delighted to welcome your girlfriend into the fold as well. :wink:

Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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I'd also like to take a moment to say: kudos to the Post for crediting eGullet as a source and giving us the mentions.

That's how I got here. I'm an admitted fan of flaco, a part-time foodie, ex-line cook, and a member of one other message board (somethingawful.com.) I always enjoyed the occasional foodie thread on SA, but I was delighted to find a whole foodie board here.

Getting way off topic here. Also, Tony, if Bayless won't blow you my girlfriend will.

Bourdain worship reaches a whole new level...

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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