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Former Meadowood Staffers Tell Tales of Toxicity

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Also: 12-year-old macaron maker Chantal Guillon closes its doors, and more news to know today

Cluster Of Destructive Wildfires Burns Through Napa And Sonoma Counties In California
A stairway leads to the destroyed main building and restaurant at Meadowood Napa Valley luxury resort after the Glass Incident Fire moved through the area on September 28, 2020 in St. Helena, California
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your midday roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news from publications near and far. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • After the Glass Incident Fire destroyed the 3-Michelin-star Restaurant at Meadowood, social media was flooded with grief and condolences for Christopher Kostow, the chef who’s run its kitchen for over a decade. Then a second social media narrative emerged, as former pastry chef Boris Portnoy accused Kostow of “so much toxicity.” The claim was circulated by high-profile figures like Juhu Beach Club founder (and Kostow slash fine dining iconoclast) Preeti Mistry, who tweeted “it’s true.” The SF Chronicle sought to separate rumor from fact, speaking with seven former Meadowood employees “who described a high-pressure environment where Kostow frequently yelled at young employees and threw dishes across the room.” Of those, three said that the alleged behavior was par for the course at a Michelin-starred spot, an acceptance that suggests that the issue is less about allegations against one specific chef than it is about the system that creates him or her in the first place.
  • After 12 years of rainbow-colored sweetness, Bay Area macaron maker Chantal Guillon is closing its doors, the Bay Area News Group reports. Via email, Guillon told patrons that “all good things must come to an end” and that “it is not the time that passes, but the time left that counts.” Her shops in SoMa, Hayes Valley, and Palo Alto will close for good, and any orders placed before October 10 can be picked up at 1309 Howard Street.
  • KitTea Cafe, the city’s only cat cafe, has struggled during the pandemic as its model requires indoor patrons to keep its adoptable animals safe. According to SF Weekly, the Hayes Valley cafe’s five-year lease ended in December 2019, and owner Courtney Hatt said she believed she was on a month-to-month agreement thereafter. She’s now hoping to move out, but her landlord says the lease was actually extended for five more years, which means that she needs to pay $500,000 to cover that rent period — or hand over her business as payment.
  • Manny Yekutiel, the politically-connected owner of controversial Mission District cafe and wine bar Manny’s, has been nominated to the SFMTA board, SFist reports. According to the SF Examiner, Mayor London Breed (who nominated Yekutiel to the role overseeing SF’s parking, streets, and transit board) said that he is a “regular rider of public transportation,” but does not have the traditional experience in transit or urban planning one typically sees in members of that board.
  • Santa Clara County will likely reopen indoor dining when the region enters the state’s orange tier of reopening, KPIX reports. If all goes well in terms of the area’s COVID-19 infection rates, that could come as soon as October 14, with Santa Clara dining rooms filled to 25 percent capacity (or 100 people) soon thereafter.
  • SF classic Buena Vista Cafe got an unofficial (but official looking) landmark plaque from a booze-infused history group called E Clampus Vitus. [Hoodline]
  • Ecologists are dropping mini-oyster reefs in the waters near Crissy Field, in hopes that the bivalves will eventually repopulate the Bay. [SF Chronicle]


3092 16th St, SF, CA 94103 Visit Website

Buena Vista Cafe

2765 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109 (415) 474-5044 Visit Website

The Restaurant at Meadowood

900 Meadowood Lane, , CA 94574 (707) 967-1205 Visit Website