• 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.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
erica

Rick Bayless and Burger King - Part 1

576 posts in this topic

There is no explanation. There is no defense.

This goof doesn´t have enough money? He`s gotta pimp for the Evil Empire?

In one stroke he´s negated everything he´s ever said, everything he ever claimed to stand for.

Next he´ll be doing lap dances at corpórate functions


abourdain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What if the BK support includes charitable contributions for some of these other Bayless interests like Chef's Collaborative?

This is like saying "What if Philip Morris gives some of its profits to the EPA?"

Sorry, I consider it selling out, plain and simple. The affiliation with Chefs Collaborative is a huge one (Bayless is on the board of overseers), and Burger King is the anti-Christ of their values.

"Chefs Collaborative is a national network of more than 1,000 members of the food community who promote sustainable cuisine by celebrating the joys of local, seasonal, and artisanal cooking."

The charter drafted the year of Bayless's chairmanship states:

We, the undersigned, acknowledging our leadership (emphasis mine) in the celebration of the pleasures of food, and recognizing the impact of food choices on our collective personal health, on the vitality of cultures and on the integrity of the global environment, affirm the following principles.

1. Food is fundamental to life. It nourishes us in body and soul, and the sharing of food immeasurably enriches our sense of community.

2. Good, safe, wholesome food is a basic human right.

3. Society has the obligation to make good, pure food affordable and accessible to all.

4. Good food begins with unpolluted air, land and water, environmentally sustainable farming and fishing, and humane animal husbandry.

5. Sound food choices emphasize locally grown, seasonally fresh and whole or minimally processed ingredients.

6. Cultural and biological diversity is essential for the health of the planet and its inhabitants. Preserving and revitalizing sustainable food and agricultural traditions strengthen that diversity.

7. The healthy, traditional diets of many cultures offer abundant evidence that fruits, vegetables, beans, breads and grains are the foundation of good diets.

8. As part of their education, our children deserve to be taught basic cooking skills and to learn the impact of their food choices on themselves, on their culture, and on their environment.

I don't care if I learned that Bayless occasionally ate at a Burger King (I myself do if I'm in a rush), but taking their money to endorse a product of theirs, knowing his commitment to sustainable, local food, it's just obscene to me. I am not politically correct about a whole lot of stuff, but this reeks. For the record, I think McDonald's is a far worse organization than BK. It's not about whether the sandwich tastes good (I'm sure the additives are well-concealed). It's about the Fast Food Nation connection and background.

Why pick on Bayless just because he got a really big check for doing the same thing they all are?

Because you can't take a public stand to support the things Chefs Collaborative does and take big money from a corporation with a history of selling rainforest beef (though they did stop—a year and a half after a boycott began in 1987), using chemicals to make their milkshakes taste natural, and so on. Well, you can, but it's selling out. The Washington Post uses this phrase: "Burger King hastily arranged the endorsement of celebrity chef Rick Bayless."

In the Miami Herald, Bayless says, "But I think this is a step in the right direction. It's healthier, fresher-tasting and much less processed.''

"Much less processed" means __________? Processed. I doubt the lettuce and tomatoes are organic, either. (I'm not an organic zealot, but I will only eat organic greens because you can't peel lettuce.)

But pimping is pimping.

I actually think it's whoring, but I see your point, Jinmyo. And there may be a side of the story I don't know, but if it's a case of "baby gotta have new shoes," then it is selling out.

Will this keep me from patronizing his establishments?

It will me. I know lots of people who love eating at Frontera, and I'd looked forward to it myself, but unless I hear differently, I'm not giving him my business. Looks like he doesn't need it, anyway.


Edited by tanabutler (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is no explanation. There is no defense.

This goof doesn´t have enough money? He`s gotta pimp for the Evil Empire?

In one stroke he´s negated everything he´s ever said, everything he ever claimed to stand for.

Next he´ll be doing lap dances at corpórate functions

Someone I know said (at least once) that chefs are hustlers...this seems to be a textbook case of hustling, no? I guess because it's BK, a line has been crossed.

I can't believe I'm arguing this side of the matter...it's been at least 10 years since I set foot in a BK and even then it was only to buy a soda.

Of course, in the face of the details that Tana posted, I'm gaining some perspective what on RB may have really done here.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just e-mailed Mr. Bayless through his web site to see if he will weigh in on this debacle. We will see.

(Tony... what is with the weird apostrophe business?)


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Didn't Jacques Pepin work for Howard Johnson?

His rep survived.


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Didn't Jacques Pepin work for Howard Johnson?

His rep survived.

Yes, but Pepin actually worked. He designed the food to be served throughout the chain of hotels.

Chef Bayless is just pimping for a sandwich he hasn't even designed.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When you sell your reputation, you don't also get to keep it.

This to me says it ALL.

In the end, you built your rep, I guess that means you have every right to tear it down (or not.) Although, I'm sure he's laughing ALLLL the way to the bank. (I'm sure he didn't do this for chump change. Who's better then him?)

But I dont see how it is so surprising that he did this. Visiting his website, you see how commercial he is, hes got advertisements, tons of pics of himself (cus its about the FOOD,) hes got a whole line of tortilla chips, salsa, Margarita Mix, GIFT SETS (!!) that you can PURCHASE!

Doesn't that make you think he IS looking to make more money, more money, more money?

He's not the only one anyway, theres bunches of them. We have an collection of Master Pimp chefs now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What if the BK support includes charitable contributions for some of these other Bayless interests like Chef's Collaborative?

This is like saying "What if Philip Morris gives some of its profits to the EPA?"

I have some sympathy here.

I worked for the Kennedy Center (a nonprofit arts organization) for years. Philip Morris was a huge sponsor of ours. If it wasn't for them, many many worthwhile performances like ballet and symphony would not be presented. Sure they're a tobacco company and they suck, but if you need the bucks it's sometimes worthwhile not looking too closely at who signs the checks. I don't know of a single arts org in this town or many others who would have turned them down.


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FYI, Burger King refuses to accept e-mail for customer feedback. The only way to contact them is via telephone (office hours, M-F) and snail mail.

Burger King's "Animal Well-Being" policies.

Burger King Corporation (BKC) is the industry's leading champion in the adoption of meaningful requirements to ensure the appropriate and proper treatment of animals by its vendors and suppliers. In every country in which it operates, BKC requires these businesses to adhere to strict standards and seeks to encourage permanent improvements in the industry for the care, housing, transport and slaughter of cattle, swine and poultry.

Beginning with its 2001 petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fully and actively enforce the federal Humane Slaughter Act, and receiving guidance from industry experts on its Animal Well-being council, Burger King Corporation is continuing to achieve positive milestones in its Animal Handling programs.

Well, doesn't that have the ring of sincerity about it?

The policies, procedures and best practices surrounding humane animal handling are constantly evolving based on the latest science and research.

Is this true? Is humane handling of animals something that evolves constantly, based on science and research?

Burger King has on its website the ironically-named Nutritional Wizard, through which you can see the nutritional content of any given item. The Santa Fe sandwich isn't on there yet, but when it is, you will be able to view the sodium content. (A "healthful" Chicken Caesar salad, with croutons, parmesan cheese, and Creamy Caesar dressing, contains 1850 mg of salt (that is nearly an entire teaspoon). The RDA is 2400mg, and that is the maximum amount considered healthful by the FDA (who always, always have your best interests at heart).

Got Windows Media? See commercials (without Bayless).

Go visit the McDonald's site if you want more amusement of this kind. McDonald's Corporate Spin on their "Social Responsibility."

As you'll see, McDonald's commitment to social responsibility is an important part of our heritage...

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

McDonald's has a long-standing commitment to environmental protection.
:wacko:

Fast Food Nation, anyone?

Philip Morris was a huge sponsor of ours.

Hjshorter, it's not that it's corporate money per se—not in this instance. It's that Burger King is a polar opposite of the values of Chefs Collaborative, with which Rick Bayless has allied himself to the point of being on the board of overseers. "Local, sustainable, nourishing, organic, diverse." Do those words go in the same sentence with "Burger King"? Not unless it contains an additional word: "NOT!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How can any one look at the situation other than what it is. Rick Bayless took the money. We can begrudge him or congratulate him. But to say any thing other than it being a sellout is ludacris. I personally have not lost any great respect for him. Do I believe its a good sandwich, NO. Do I think his restaurants are worse now, NO. But I do think there is some honesty issues when you don't call it like it is. He utterly and comepletely sold out. Would I do the same? Yes! Would you have the right to lose respect? Yes! But that was the choice he made. I would respect all his reasons for doing it and not be bitter about "HIS" choice. But once he did it the ramifications are not only obvious but expected. I defend his choice as one for his future and his family but it was a SELL OUT. To say otherwise is just ignorant. Emiril makes no bones about what he does. Thats why I respect him. Keller sells frozen overpriced meals. To me thats more of a disgrace and outrage. I know where Emiril stands. You can't have your cake and eat it too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still waiting to see what exactly it is that Bayless will be saying beyond the fact that this is a step in the right direction for BK. I don't have trouble with that, so far. In the meantime, while I have no trouble following the reasoning on both sides of this discussion, I have a problem with sanctimony whenever I see it and I see it here in spades.

If Bayless is to be seen as a leader in a movement, shouldn't he be the first to recognize and encourage any step, however small, in that direction even if from a major whore in the field? Let's also not lose sight of the fact that Bayless is not Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud or Charlie Trotter. Fast food is not going to go away and what's served at BK and McDo is going to affect what much of the population gets to eat.

As I said, I'm still waiting to see what exactly it is that Bayless will be saying. At this point, I'd eat at his restaurants if the food remains the same, but I wouldn't let him sleep with my sister because his character is suspect. (Can I say that on the Internet?)


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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The part of this debate that is interesting is that Rick Bayless more than preaching about organic etc. has always been a preacher for authenticity. From taking his staff to Mexico every year to finding ingrediants so a dish can be truly "authentic." This is where his role in this is a little confusing. He has always taken advantage of the commercialism of his role. He's done it very well and maintained respect. By doing the Chefs Collaboritive, trips to Mexico, Speaking about authenticity, etc. But this is different. Once again I don't begrudge him. Its not only his choice but he's earned the oppportunity. I don't hold him or anyone else up to any higher standard. But it is what it is. For it to hold any sway is a personal decision based on what your hero's, your role models, or your celebrities going to do. But he still did sell out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't feel in the least sanctimonious in saying that Bayless is a hypocrite and a sell-out for endorsing a Burger King sandwich that he didn't even develop, given his affiliation with Chefs Collaborative and the values he espouses with that affiliation. And yes, I do have higher standards for people who, in their professional and personal lives, themselves espouse the higher values they hope to inspire others to embrace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The part of this debate that is interesting is that Rick Bayless more than preaching about organic etc. has always been  a preacher for authenticity.

Except, and this is one of the things I love about his cookbooks, he always makes allowances for those of us who live in the real world, who perhaps can't always get the most "authentic" ingredients. He always suggests alternatives, or whether the dish can't be made successfully with alternatives.


Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't feel in the least sanctimonious in saying that Bayless is a hypocrite and a sell-out for endorsing a Burger King sandwich that he didn't even develop, given his affiliation with Chefs Collaborative and the values he espouses with that affiliation. And yes, I do have higher standards for people who, in their professional and personal lives, themselves espouse the higher values they hope to inspire others to embrace.

I'd only have to know that he believes what he says about the sandwich. I've had chefs recommend food they didn't cook or develop. As for his affiliations, it seemed one of the points he made to the press was that he felt it was a step in the right direction. I don't see how he will inspire the fast food industry to espouse some of his values if he turns his back on them when they espouse one of his values just a little bit. I may change my mind when I taste the samdwich.

Then again I may never taste the sandwich owing to me prejudices about BK, but if BK can't get me in to taste what they're doing, there's no reason for them to even try and improve. It's a viscious circle. What I read in your message is that BK must disappear from the face of the earth, because they're BK and you will not be a party to any attempt on their part to improve. They're three time losers and deserve no chance.


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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No.

What I read in your message is that BK must disappear from the face of the earth

Um, no, I said upthread that I have been known to eat at BK myself, in a rush. I am saying that BK is not any of the things that Chefs Collaborative espouses.

"A step in the right direction"?

Are they organic? Do they practice and support sustainable agriculture? Do they buy from local farmers?

No. They, and all fast-food chains, are the antithesis of the organization for which Rick Bayless was the chair and is now on the board of overseers.

S. E. L. L. O. U. T.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is no explanation. There is no defense.

This goof doesn´t have enough money? He`s gotta pimp for the Evil Empire?

In one stroke he´s negated everything he´s ever said, everything he ever claimed to stand for.

Next he´ll be doing lap dances at corpórate functions

There goes the baby *and* the bathwater! :hmmm:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No.
What I read in your message is that BK must disappear from the face of the earth

Um, no, I said upthread that I have been known to eat at BK myself, in a rush. I am saying that BK is not any of the things that Chefs Collaborative espouses.

"A step in the right direction"?

Are they organic? Do they practice and support sustainable agriculture? Do they buy from local farmers?

No. They, and all fast-food chains, are the antithesis of the organization for which Rick Bayless was the chair and is now on the board of overseers.

S. E. L. L. O. U. T.

Tana,

What about incremental change as opposed to instant utopia?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matthew, I hear what you are saying, but I reiterate: BK, with or without the low-fat Santa Fe chicken sandwich, is the farthest thing from the charter of the Chefs Collaborative. "A step in the right direction"? Perhaps. One tiny sandwich is one tiny step, and they need to go a million miles.

Polar opposites, fast food and CC.

It is on that basis, and that basis alone, that I cry "hypocrite" and "sell-out." I'd like to be nice about it, but I bet he's going to be getting an earful from the CC folks. Speaking of which, I think I'll e-mail them and invite them here to share their thoughts.

I don't think there is a way to spin this so that it's anything other than what it is. Sorry.

(For what it's worth, I don't believe in utopia, either).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What if the BK support includes charitable contributions for some of these other Bayless interests like Chef's Collaborative?

This is like saying "What if Philip Morris gives some of its profits to the EPA?"

I have some sympathy here.

I worked for the Kennedy Center (a nonprofit arts organization) for years. Philip Morris was a huge sponsor of ours. If it wasn't for them, many many worthwhile performances like ballet and symphony would not be presented. Sure they're a tobacco company and they suck, but if you need the bucks it's sometimes worthwhile not looking too closely at who signs the checks. I don't know of a single arts org in this town or many others who would have turned them down.

The name on those checks probably isn't "Philip Morris" these days, since the parent company changed it's name to "Altria" in 2002. They also own Kraft Foods, with all it's diverse holdings, and are real estate investors as well.

Not that this will mean much to the people who love to demonize PM, and they are legion.

Case in point: more than a decade ago, my partner was working as a consultant for a candidate for political office. Said candidate accepted a one time only contribution from PM to finance a single mailing prior to the election. Said candidate accepted the contribution because of the previously mentioned real estate and food connections, not because of the tobacco connection, having previously helped pass anti-smoking legislation in his home city.

Needless to say, in every election since that one time only contribution, that contribution has been used by his opponents to smear his campaigns, decrying his taking "Tobacco Money". The food and real estate connections are completely ignored. (I can't blame them, really, since it's the only mud his opponents can make stick. Although the only election he's lost, interestingly, was to the opponent who didn't use this smear tactic, but ran based on her own qualifications, and was only running against him because redistricting had merged the cores of their previous districts together into one.)


We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't see how he will inspire the fast food industry to espouse some of his values if he turns his back on them when they espouse one of his values just a little bit.

Were this his reasoning, he'd be a total sucker: "Hey, we're putting a chicken sandwich on the menu! Don't turn your back on us; we're espousing your values now! Please don't turn away; here's a million dollars not to turn away, okay?" If I found a particular organization to be morally reprehensible to it core, it would take a lot more than a sandwich to convince me that I should all of a sudden give a full frontal endorsement. It would take, at the very least, a sandwich plus a really big check. :laugh: Next we'll be seeing the anti-fur people giving endorsements to fur manufacturers that switch to making coats that are only 75% fur. "It's a step in the right direction. There's a lot less fur in these new coats."

Not that I find Burger King morally reprehensible or morally anything at all. It's just a corporation trying to sell stuff, and that doesn't bother me. I just think the food at Burger King sucks. I wasn't aware of any of this Chefs Collaborative business, nor do I support many of the stated goals of that organization (at least not as they're phrased). But Bayless's involvement in that group certainly adds a poetic layer of apparently hypocrisy to these actions.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For all I know Bayless is a sucker and speaking of sucking, analogies usually blow. In this case I wouldn't compare the BK chicken sandwich to a coat that's only 75% fur (that, I'd reserve for a good Mongolian stew). Perhaps I'd compare the BK chicken sandwich to a cloth coat being marketed by a company, 95% of whose line is in fur coats. Then it might not seem so bad for someone to say the cloth coat is a big improvement and a step in the right direction. It might also make some sense for an anti-fur advocate to say a good word about the cloth coat in the hope that enough sales and profits in the cloth line might tempt the company to abandon the fur business altogether.

Did Wolfgang Puck actually develop the recipes for the canned soups that bear his name? Could anyone tell me if the ingredients stated on the can are the same kind of ingredients you'd expect him to be using at his restaurant. Where in the heirarchy of great chefs in America would anyone put Rick Bayless before this endoresment?

Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, Emeril Lagasse, Rocco Di Spirito (before Rocco's), Rocco De Spirito (after Rocco's), Rick Bayless (before BK), Rick Bayless (after BK), Wolgang Puck. Line 'em up. Size places.


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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Where in the heirarchy of great chefs in America would anyone put Rick Bayless before this endoresment?

Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, Emeril Lagasse, Rocco Di Spirito (before Rocco's), Rocco De Spirito (after Rocco's), Rick Bayless (before BK), Rick Bayless (after BK), Wolgang Puck. Line 'em up. Size places.

Can we split the placement of Emeril on this list as well, between Emeril (before Crest toothpaste ads) and Emeril (after Crest toothpaste ads)?

http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/2003.../printstory.jsp

I've seen one of the ads already. Subtle it ain't.


We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If one's objection to Burger King is "the food sucks" or one's objection to fur coats is "fur is ugly" then one should consider endorsing Burger King or a fur manufacturer based on a "step in the right direction." Especially if there's a hefty payment involved. But if one's objection to Burger King is "this is an evil, morally repugnant, rotten-to-the-core corporation that is part of a larger evil, morally repugnant, rotten-to-the-core segment of the market, and I'm fundamentally opposed to the entire concept of a business like this continuing to exist for one more second," or one's objection to fur coats is, "those who manufacture fur coats are murderers," then one should not put one's personal and professional reputation behind a product endorsement for that company, regardless of what the product is and regardless of whether it's a coat that's 25% non-fur or a line of non-fur coats representing 25% of production, unless the company totally changes direction or offers a tremendous amount of evidence that it is inexorably moving towards a new way of doing business. Which I assure you all is not happening with Burger King.

Crest is good toothpaste, though.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.