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Rick Bayless and Burger King - Part 1


erica
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Right.

And it's because I value Bayless' integrity (though he may or may not) that I have referred to him as a shameless lying pimp.

I say it with love. And the hope he changes his mind.

And, while we're at it, hires a better web designer.

Based on my limited experience, approaching someone with love whilst naming them as a shameless lying pimp and/or a hypocrite and/or a sellout and/or *add your label here,* well . . . I doubt it will lead to any positive change--for any party.

I'm not questioning your assessment of Bayless' particular action. Rather I'm a bit taken back by the style of engagement. But perhaps I don't understand the tactics.

It was intended as hyperbolic humour for the Weekend Update. As stated above etc etc.

Like other headlines such as "Giant Robots Control Utah's Booze" and "Chug Red Hootch, Smoke Like A Chimney, recommend scientists" and "Babbo Bans Blaine; Has To Go 6 Weeks Without Food."

And like "I say with love."

It's, like, a joke?

"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

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It was intended as hyperbolic humour for the Weekend Update. As stated above etc etc.

Like other headlines such as "Giant Robots Control Utah's Booze" and "Chug Red Hootch, Smoke Like A Chimney, recommend scientists" and "Babbo Bans Blaine; Has To Go 6 Weeks Without Food."

I didn't (& still don't) have a problem with what you wrote in the Weekend Update. For me, that's a non-issue. I understand the irony.

What I don't understand are the contents *this thread.* I don't understand the "self" that judges Rick Bayless via labels like hypocrite, pimp, etc. What is this "self" that judges & labels others?

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As someone said to Emperor Wu, "Don't know."

Just telling jokes that are true.

Or true-ish. :wink:

"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

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I don't understand the "self" that judges Rick Bayless via labels like hypocrite, pimp, etc.  What is this "self" that judges & labels others?

Matthew, are you some kind of a Zen monk? Are you a saint?

I'm neither.

I'm a hypocrite in my own life. I know this. (I once had sex with a Republican.)

But I'm not a high-level person like Bayless, who is one of the voices of a movement to support sustainable/local/organic (etcetera) food. He's got a huge responsibility, almost like someone running for office, to walk the walk. He put himself in that position, and earned a tremendous amount of respect. That respect is now in jeopardy because of his affiliation with Burger King.

I guess I don't understand why you don't understand that people are judgmental. I am judgmental. I'm human.

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Actually Matthew and I were Zen Monks and used to meditate together in the bleachers at Wrigley Field. However, we got a great promo gig from McDonald's to promote their French fries as the only sure route to Nirvana and then after a year in the skybox they killed the program and we're back in the cheap seats. So much for Zen as a get-rich-quick plan.

Brother Matthew makes many reasonable points. First of all why is everyone ready to vaporize decades of excellent work on the part of Mr. Bayless? However, he is certainly taking the money and must take the slings and arrows that go with it. There is no senario where you could turn this into some kind of idealistic choice on his part. It is a business deal pure and simple. He has sold his name like many committed and serious people before him - remember Alexis Lachine? Now he will have to live with the choice - we don't. In the future it is Rick that will have to bear the weight of his decision - not us. We will have gone on to other issues.

It seems real pimps get more benefit of the doubt than Rick. At least they have to be convicted in a court with real evidence. Rick has already been convicted here and has already been put in the pillory. Once you write something down it becomes true. He may deserve some tomatoes aimed at his head, but only after he is clearly guilty.

Hey Matthew - remember that great aaaauuuummm we had that one night?

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So few would quote Salieri in a positive way. tanabutler :wub:  :wub:  :wub:

(Or at least Amadeus' version of him.)

I think I was quoting Jeffrey Jones as the Emperor. Unless I'm wrong. :unsure:

Egads, you're right. Even dreamier.

Wrong on both counts. The person being quoted is Peter Shaffer, author of the original play and screenplay. Jeffrey Jones spoke the lines, but would not claim them as his own.

The exact quote, from the screenplay, reads:

Emperor Joseph II: Your work is ingenious. It's quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that's all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?

(Personally, I've always preferred Shaffer's play Lettuce and Lovage, which is not only funnier but has many more food references. Sadly, it has not been filmed.)

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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I was never addressing the issue of Jinmyo's "update" column. She's developed a style that works there. Besides, in context with the following line about the impending end of the world, the importance of what anyone thinks about Rick Bayless is put into perspective. Elsewhere, in this thead any implications of mine that some people have gone a little too far should not be seen as denying them the right to do so, nor even that they're going in the wrong direction. The direction is fine, it's just the starting and ending points I'd question. Or something like that. I feel it would be hypocritical of me to criticize an endorsement of a product I don't know first hand. Others may have other standards for their actions. Rick Bayless has tasted the sandwich in question. I'd be curious to hear an opinion from other people who have as well.

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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That ugly website contains an essay entitled "Rick's Secrets to Good Food and Healthy Living", which you can read here.

"How come," his friends wonder, "you’re so lean, if you’re a chef?" He answers this question at considerable length, dividing his prescription into six Essential Learnings. These includes yoga, which for Rick delivered "some vision of my potential self. Longer, stronger, leaner, more lithe."

But yoga wasn't enough, so he turned to diet:

Since I’m not a "yes, I’ll super-size it," "sure, I’ll take fries with it," fast-food guy, I didn’t have an easy target to start with.

He gave up every drink but water, coffee, tea, "plus a glass of wine or a beer with dinner". He started reducing the amount of his food portions. He stuck to unprocessed foods, the kind you find "around the perimeter of the grocery store":

the fresh ingredients that cultures have eaten for millennia, the unprocessed stuff. Those are the foods that a chef most likes to work with anyway, the ingredients we find so inspirational. They’re piled high in traditional markets around the world.

He dreams of

the day I’ll be able to go into McDonald’s and have the interaction go something like this:

Me: I’ll take a quarter-pounder.

Them: Lamb, venison or beef?

Me: I think lamb, and some fries—what kind do you have?

Them: Taro, beet and potato.

Me: Taro sounds good—never had taro fries. What sizes do you offer?

Them: Sorry, only our normal small size—we’re an everyday place. A sparkling juice to drink?

Me: Lamb, taro fries—no I think I’ll have a glass of Zinfandel.

And then we get his Essential Learning #4, the one most relevant to this debate:

Processed foods, many of the already-prepared foods and most fast foods have no place in everyday eating. As a believer in the resilience of the human body, I can’t deride a Big Mac every once in a while (I’ll even admit that I do like that special sauce). I simply decided that it has no place in my everyday breakfasts, lunches or dinners.

The tedious and extensive remainder of the essay is a paean to Bayless's personal lifestyle: yoga, strength training, no processed or fast foods, healthy snacking from the kitchens of his restaurants.

* * *

I want everyone to leave this topic quietly, now, without any wisecracks.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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I admit to having mixed feelings about this. Recognizing small steps in right directions is generally a good thing. But the primary recognition that will make any difference to any ff operation is sales. I imagine that if they could stop on a dime and changeover their menu tomorrow and increase their sales by 25 - 30% they would do it. But no organization can do that. For fairly obvious reasons. So, if they go towards food that is, say, 50% more nutricious over a five year period, that would be quite an accomplishment, but only possible if the market wants it.

That said, I had this jarring response when I was posting on the Fantasy Endorsement thread. There is such a disconnect between RB and BK that it doesn't make much sense. I doubt that the RB adv will have much impact on BK sales (but I could be wrong if all of us go out and get one Wednesday), and it obviously costs him reputation among many of us and others.

But then, when I am dashing about town and need to grab something on the run, I really might prefer to stop for a Sante Fe Chicken Sandwich, rather than some other fast food. While I do avoid ff, I will resort to it when pressed. And I will try the SFCS once to see what's up. Though I am doubtful. And I'll wait to see what the adv actually says. Though I am doubtful.

Politics is the art of the possible, and that may go for food politics, too.

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You know... this just doesn't seem too complicated to me, certain party's equivocation notwithstanding.

Q. Does RB espouse certain moral and aesthetic philosophies having to do with food?

A. Yes, he does.

Q. Is RB one of the leading and most visible proponents of these philosophies in the American consciousness, and has he done many things to put himself in this position?

A. Yes, he is and yes, he has.

Q. Are BK's business practices counter to these philosophies?

A. Yes they are.

Q. Is there anything about the endorsed sandwich that would engender or imply a change in BK's business practices that would bring them closer to RB's philosophical proclamations about food?

A. No.

Q. Would this endorsement, then, seem to be a gross hypocricy and a betrayal of his abovementioned and copiously expressed moral and aesthetic philosophies?

A. Yes, it would.

Given the foregoing, it seems quite clear to me that My. Bayless sold out (as in "betrayed his cause") for money.

--

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I'm reserving judgment until I know what Rick Bayless is actually prepared to say. So far, the only news organization that seems to have got him on the record is the Miami Herald.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/busin...ss/6806176.html

His remarks to the Herald are pretty temperate, and hard to fault:

''I'm not normally a fast-food kind of person,'' Bayless said during a phone interview. ``But I think this is a step in the right direction. It's healthier, fresher-tasting and much less processed.''

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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Let's wait and see. Maybe Bayless will come on screen and say, "Hi there. This is Rick Bayless. I have been your guide to the foods, fields and restaurants of Mexico. Today I am here in the streets of Sante Fe and I am hungry. I usually don't eat fast food. Not my thing. And Burger King in particular is tasteless crap, but look at this Sante Fe Chicken Sandwich at Burger King! It's got chicken on it and veggies! Yep. That's right. It's got veggies! (Chomping down on sandwich) Try it! It doesn't suck too bad. I think you'll like it!"

Edited by Richard Kilgore (log)
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Well, I stopped by the Burger King on my way home and plunked down $3.23 for a Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich. I took some not-great photos of the item. I wish the lighting were better—these photos are not going to do my reputation as a food photographer any good. On the other hand, I didn't have Hugh Hefner's team making this sandwich look pretty like the BK sandwich does.

Visit the Burger King website. And I quote: "Introducing the sandwich that gets it's [sic] flavor from fire-grilling...and not from fat." If I had to guess how tall the sandwich in the ad is, I'd say 3-1/2" or so. Look at all that stuff just bursting from the bread!

The sandwich I unwrapped was about 2" tall. The only thing visible at all from the front of the bun was a little corner of chicken (about 1/2" triangle), the tip of an onion, and a smear of grey juice. Not appetizing. There was absolutely no indication of the contents of the sandwich, other than that little corner of chicken peeking out of the flattened baguette. No red color, nothing. Just greyish juice on the edge of the bun.

The bun wasn't toasted brown, and the overwhelming taste was of smoke flavor (which I suspect comes from a plastic bottle). It wasn't the worst thing I've ever eaten, but it was not something you should pay $3 for. It's not something a chef with a fabulous reputation should endorse, I don't think.

NEW: Note the damning words on their site: "Not low in sodium." So the nutritional information is now available, and the sandwich contains 1225 mg of sodum. Even more than the "healthy" Chicken Caesar salad.

Nutrional Information for Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich

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You know what pharm/tox people call liquid smoke? Liquid cancer. I kid you not, and this is from people who sneer about dioxin exposure. I hope the smoke flavor really comes from grilling and not a bottle.

As a Mizrahi fan, I'd also like to point out that he actually (ok, maybe allegedly) had something to do with the design of the clothes that bear his name at Tarjay. From his autobiography it seems Mr. Pepin loved serving the Howard Johnson food he helped develop to his chef friends and he wouldn't tell them until after they ate it and liked it. His point was that you can mass-produce good food. He also decried the drop in quality after the son took over and the implication I got while reading was that he decided it was a good time to quit when that happened.

regards,

trillium

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You know what pharm/tox people call liquid smoke?  Liquid cancer.  I kid you not, and this is from people who sneer about dioxin exposure.  I hope the smoke flavor really comes from grilling and not a bottle.

This is why I cannot stand BK...they insist that their products are flame-broiled and while that may be true, the flame-broiled flavor in their products is not derived from the cooking process. It's specifically a flavor and it isn't naturally-occurring in their food. It's derived from chemicals and added to them.

Yuck.

=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

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OK... Those pictures are deeply disturbing. I don't think the best photography in the world could have helped that. If RB had endorsed what I saw on the web site, and it tasted pretty good, I could maybe, sorta, give him some slack for endorsing "a move in the right direction". But, what you actually got is just a mess. (I am not going to worry too much about the sodium. I will bet that RB's restaurant food isn't all that low. In fact, I know it isn't. I have eaten there.)

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

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NEW: Note the damning words on their site: "Not low in sodium." So the nutritional information is now available, and the sandwich contains 1225 mg of sodum. Even more than the "healthy" Chicken Caesar salad.

Zoinks!! :blink:

Sweet Christmas Tree!* That's a helluva lot of salt!

*new Mamster expletive

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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For FF it really doesn't look bad. I think I would even try it if I found myself needing to stop ata FF joint for some reason. It looks as if it has real vegetables and real (not processed) chicken on it.

While it was a long time ago, my very first job was at a BK in Brooklyn, NY. Yes, except for the fried foods, everything was "flame-broiled" There was no liquid smoke then. I don't know if they use it now, but I'm not sure I would make that assumption. The FF industry is bad enough as it is without having to add even more wood to the fire :wink:

As far as Rick Bayless - it doesn't seem like a good career move, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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