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Star Chef Takes Her Frustrations With the Restaurant Industry to the Big(ish) Screen

Plus, a federal judge rules against some GMO labeling techniques and more food intel

A woman in an apron taking bread out of an oven Patricia Chang
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

Restaurateur Reem Assil of Reem’s Bakery is no stranger to the limelight, getting major shout-outs on television shows like “Ugly Delicious” and various online videos. Now, the James Beard Award-winning chef is taking to the small screen again to spread one of her central messages: working in restaurants can be brutal.

The Mercury News reports Assil wrote and stars in an episode of the new satirical show, “Normal Ain’t Normal.” The series, produced by Rosario Dawson and “Reservation Dogs” producer D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, will see a four-episode run on BuzzFeed following a premiere at the Oakland Museum of California. Titled “Share the Pie,” Assil’s episode shows the chef “juggling a typically frenetic day that begins with an obnoxious food journalist, played by Soleil Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle, and ends with a culinary awards ceremony where she receives an honor — and gives the esteemed panel a piece of her mind.”

The show brought in some heavy hitters for its limited run. Tommy Orange, the author of hit novel There There penned one episode, and Dawson acts in one of the episodes, in addition to co-producing. Assil told the paper writing and acting in the show was a meaningful chance to speak up about the issues she faces in the restaurant industry. “It was cathartic to be able to say out loud how (expletive) up it is that white male chefs get all the power in this industry at the expense of everyone else,” she told Mercury News. “In this, I said, ‘I’m done. I’m tired. And I’m trying to salvage what little power I have.’ I loved it.”

Detroit-style pizzeria opens fourth location on Market Street

Jesse Jacobs and his brother got into the Detroit pizza game in fall 2021 with the reopening of their Samovar Tea locations as Joyride Pizza. Now, SFGATE reports the family operation is expanding beyond its initial tea lounge-converted spaces with a fourth shop at 685 Market Street.

California breweries flagging as economy suffers

The tech wizards at Axios crunched the numbers on Colorado-based Brewers Association’s 2021 report on breweries nationwide. According to their analysis, in 2021 California saw 26 breweries close and 48 open, though inflation on the cost of raw goods, particularly grain, is hurting the industry. So is competition from other alcohol products, such as canned cocktails and hard seltzers. Needless to say, the last few years continue to take their toll.

Bay Area federal judge finds GMO labeling wanting

A federal judge determined QR codes and text message options are not going to cut it when it comes to GMO information. The San Francisco Chronicle reports U.S. District Judge James Donato of Oakland found, in a court case regarding the accessibility of the two techniques, that neither account for low-income consumers who may not “be able to access bioengineering information through the electronic disclosure.

Livermore bakery expands into shoe store next door

It can only be good news to hear Wingen Bakery is growing for sourdough fans in Alameda County. The original space at 50 South Livermore Avenue will convert into a sit-down restaurant as the vacant shoe store next door debuts as a coffee and pastries to-go outlet. The Mercury News reports the business anticipates an October reopening.