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Restaurateur Bans Employees from Speaking Spanish When Working in Front-of-House

Restaurateur Bans Employees from Speaking Spanish When Working in Front-of-House

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The restaurant is conveniently located in a town where more than a quarter of residents are Latino

The new rule was reportedly created in response to complaints from customers that they feared being talked about by the staff in Spanish.

Billy Reed, the owner of an eponymous restaurant in Palm Springs, Calif. has issued a new rule for his employees banning them from speaking Spanish while they are working anywhere in the front-of-house, reports KESQ News, an ABC and CBS affiliate.

Reed reportedly decided to enforce the rule on behalf of customers, from whom he received complaints that “they felt uncomfortable about employees speaking Spanish” and were “worried the workers talked about them.”

According to KESQ News, the sign read, "Billy Reed's employees please do not speak Spanish to other employees anywhere in the restaurant except when necessary on the cook line, that means not in the waitress stations or at the front desk."

A restaurant employee told KESQ News that “the boss was going to fire the first one he heard talking in Spanish,” despite the fact that the population of Palm Springs is more than a quarter Latino, as Grub Street first pointed out.

Vee Sotello, an attorney from the firm Ferguson & Mule, confirmed to KESQ News that the rule was risky, particularly in an area where Spanish is so commonly spoken, and is not likely to be upheld in court.

An Undocumented Mexican Chef Runs One of the Country’s Best New Restaurants

At South Philly Barbacoa, #6 on our Hot 10 list of America’s Best New Restaurants, Cristina Martinez’s slow-cooked lamb tacos sell out before sundown. The tiny restaurant, which began in Martinez and her husband Ben Miller’s one-bedroom apartment and then a taco cart, fills up with Mexican families, restaurant and construction workers at the end of their shifts, and taco superfans. Her food reminds people of home, and home is Mexico.

Martinez emigrated to the U.S. years ago, crossing the desert in unimaginable heat and at a dangerous risk. She fell in love with Miller when they worked in a restaurant in Philadelphia together, a restaurant that would soon fire her when they discovered her undocumented status. The difficulty of finding a job after that led her to start making pigs’ brain quesadillas and selling them to workers at the Italian Market in the mornings. Then she told her customers, I’m making barbacoa at my home this Sunday, and waited to see what would happen. If they didn’t sell, she wouldn’t do it again. They sold out.

“This is something that can be achieved only through struggle, perseverance, and hard work,” said Martinez, whose decision to declare her status puts her business and livelihood at risk, but whose success has been an inspiration to the Mexican community in Philly.

In an Old Train Station, Taste the Work of Saveur’s Founding Food Editor and Former Test Kitchen Director

Christopher Hirsheimer

It was two years ago that Christopher Hirsheimer first noticed a for sale sign on the vacant old train station in Milford, New Jersey. She immediately asked Melissa Hamilton, her business partner, to come see the place. “This building—this building—told us it wanted to be a restaurant,” Hirsheimer recalls. “We said, ‘No, no…,’ and the building said, ‘Yes. I want to be a restaurant.’” Hamilton nods in agreement. “We have a thing,” she explains. “We go on saying ‘no’ until something makes us say ‘yes.’ ”

Both women live nearby, in the Delaware River Valley, where they met shortly before Hirsheimer co-founded Saveur in 1994. Twenty-five years into their friendship, the two communicate intuitively, conserving words and finishing each other’s sentences as they talk about how food should be cooked, seen, written about, and enjoyed. Their distinct vision of culinary authenticity has won them many admirers: Hirsheimer and Hamilton have tested recipes and styled and photographed food for cookbooks by Jacques Pépin, Danny Meyer, Alice Waters, and the late Julia Child.

Hamilton and Hirsheimer situated their new restaurant in an 1874 train station. Christopher Hirsheimer

For more than a decade, that work has been done largely in private, in rented studios along the Delaware River. Every day, as Hirsheimer and Hamilton cooked and photographed food at the behest of others, they made meals for themselves, too, and wrote about what they were eating on a blog called “Canal House Cooks Lunch.” Recipes from that blog gradually evolved into the quarterly journal Canal­ House Cooking, as well as the 2012 cookbook Canal House Cooks Every Day. In September, they published a second cookbook, Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On, which features a gorgeous jumble of green onions on the cover.

As straight-up and unadorned as such artistry may appear, it’s not easy to achieve. Hirsheimer and Hamilton’s grace lies in their knack for concealing the difficulty of what they do—or perhaps, of not acknowledging the difficulty at all, even to themselves. Hirsheimer’s photos appear “unstaged,” as Alice Waters puts it. “But they care about beauty. It shows in the way they design a book, the way they put food on a plate, the way a table is set, and the way all of it reflects that moment in time.” The end results, Waters says, feel “just-picked.”

Although the Canal House brand conveys an affirming, unfussy approach to food, until recently you pretty much needed to be a chef yourself to taste anything Hirsheimer and Hamilton cooked. There was no restaurant to visit, only the recipes and images to tantalize hungry readers. Finally, this past July, the pair at last put themselves front and center, opening a restaurant, Canal House Station, in the old Milford train depot that hailed them. “We kind of missed people,” Hirsheimer says, in her understated way.

To get to canal house station, you drive on country roads through rolling hills thick with tall-trunked trees the Delaware River glints in the distance. You pass vine-covered silos, red barns, and, in late summer, farmstands loaded with glossy eggplants, golden cauliflower, peppers, apples, and enormous blackberries—a vegetable spin on Willy Wonka’s candy factory. What you see at these stands, you will likely encounter at the restaurant. “Every single thing we have is ephemeral—little squash blossoms, figs, even the flowers,” Hirsheimer says. “We do what is at the market. We don’t have a set menu.”

Left: Miraculously, the station’s original wainscotting had never been painted. Right: “When guests walk through the garden, they enter into our world,” Hirsheimer says. Christopher Hirsheimer

Their renovation of the stone-and-wood train station preserved the 1874 building’s original floor plan. An open kitchen now inhabits the cavernous former freight room. To the left, a corridor leads to two dining rooms, their walls painted a shade of gray that echoes the station’s exterior. To the right, there’s a casual café with two long wooden tables, a marble bar, and a wood-burning stove flanked with stacks of firewood. The overall impression is that of a large family home. Wildflowers and trays full of mounded fruits and vegetables are scattered about casually, almost as if by chance. It’s lovely, it’s unassuming—but it’s by no means accidental. The appearance of effortlessness is part of the plan.

The morning of my visit, Hirsheimer and Hamilton are in the kitchen, along with a pinch-hitter assistant, Lilah Dougherty, who attended grade school with Hamilton’s daughters. Hirsheimer, the commander, alternates between toasting almonds on one burner and minding a pot of chicken stock on another, while also slicing Manchego cheese and quince paste. Hamilton, the adjutant, chops apples, rolls out dough, and snaps green beans. Dougherty peels parsnips, washes pots and pans, and awaits orders. All three wear the universal chef’s uniform of a boxy coat (a “mandarin-collared tunic,” in Canal House speak), dark pants, and clogs, their hair tied back. Forty-eight guests are expected today, a full house. One group arrives early, and a server—Hirsheimer’s grandson, Nash Anderson—welcomes them and leads them unhurriedly down the sunny corridor to the dining room.

“We’ve got to keep our heads,” Hirsh­eimer says offhand, the only indication of the tension that underlies the operation. Hamilton nods and keeps chopping.

Get the recipe for Shrimp Remoulade » Christopher Hirsheimer

In the early 1990s, Hamilton was the mother of a toddler, with another baby on the way, and helping her father run the Hamilton Grill in ­Lambertville, New Jersey. She wanted to branch out and become a food stylist. After a prospective employer told her she’d need seven years of intern experience first, Hamilton called Hirsheimer at a friend’s suggestion. “You don’t need to go intern with anyone,” Hirsheimer said. “I’ve gone to your restaurant, and I’ve seen how you put food on the plate. You are a food stylist.” She invited Hamilton to drop by a Saveur shoot at a nearby garden.

“I arrived a little bit early,” Hamilton recalls, and Hirsh­eimer pulled up in a Volvo packed with groceries. Hamilton offered to help her unload. Hirsheimer declined. Hamilton helped anyway, establishing a back-and-forth dance that hasn’t stopped since.

Get the recipe for Parsnip Pureé » Christopher Hirsheimer

“Oh my god, I’m totally in love with this woman,” Hamilton remembers thinking. Hirsheimer asked her to her prep onions for the lapin à la moutarde that would feature in the story. “I started to peel the beautiful onions, and I took off the tops and the stumps, and she said, ‘Maybe leave the root part, it’s maybe prettier like that?’” To Hamilton, this came as a revelation. “I saw there was permission to make things more natural and beautiful.” she says. “Intrinsically, a thing is beautiful in itself, so you may allow it to be its natural self.”

Get the recipe for Roasted Duck with Apples and Onions » Christopher Hirsheimer

She continued to assist Hirsheimer on sets, in a freelance capacity, until 1999. Then, with Hamilton’s younger daughter starting nursery school, she went to work at Saveur full time, as the test kitchen director. For the next few years, both women commuted more than 60 miles to the magazine’s Manhattan office, while their homes, and husbands, remained in the Delaware River Valley.

Every weekend, canal house station serves “Sunday dinner” from noon to four. On the day I was there, the women were preparing a Spanish feast, inspired by a recent guest on their local radio show, “The Canal House Kitchen Hour.” The slivers of Manchego and quince paste Hirsheimer cut in the morning joined the toasted almonds in a tapas spread that also included fried squash blossoms and red peppers stuffed with olives and saffron rice. Hamilton’s green beans were eventually scattered atop the main course, a chicken-and-­chickpea stew called cocido. The chopped apples were tossed with sugar and minced ginger, strewn over the dough, and baked into rustic tarts for dessert.

Get the recipe for Chocolate Gingerbread Cake » Christopher Hirsheimer

As the restaurant’s guests—all four dozen of them—began to arrive in a steady, ­leisurely flow, they behaved more like company than patrons. Sometimes, when a group ambled into the open kitchen, the cooks set down their knives and dispensed hugs before returning to work. Hirsheimer and Hamilton are now hosts as well as cooks, and they steadfastly refuse to let their effort show.

“The truth is,” Hirsheimer says later, while pouring glasses of rosé for herself and Hamilton, “we just make it and put it on the plate. When we do it, if other people are there, it doesn’t look complicated. It almost looks like we’re not doing anything.”

Left to right: Cloud-like paper pendants, from the Japanese company Molo, strike a modern note in one dining room. Hirsheimer’s husband, Jim, made the restaurant’s table lamps, with stamped tags spouting phrases like “Gotta Eat.” Christopher Hirsheimer

Liesl Schillinger’s articles and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, New York, Vogue, and The New Republic. She also teaches journalism and criticism at The New School in New York City.

Spanish Thrives in the U.S. Despite an English-Only Drive

ALBUQUERQUE — Wander into El Super, a sprawling grocery store in the same valley where fortune seekers on horseback laid claim nearly four centuries ago to one of Spain’s most remote possessions, and the resilience of the language they brought with them stands on display.

Reggaetón, the musical genre born in Puerto Rico, blares from the speakers. Shoppers mull bargains in the accents of northern Mexico. A carnicería offers meat, a panadería bread, a salchichonería cold cuts, and there’s also a tortillería that one’s self-explanatory for many who never even studied the language of Cervantes.

“Everything I need here is in Spanish,” said Vanessa Quezada, 23, an immigrant from the Mexican state of Chihuahua, gesturing toward the branch of the First Convenience Bank, where tellers greet people with a smile and “Buenas tardes.”

Indeed, the United States is emerging as a vast laboratory showcasing the remarkable endurance of Spanish, no matter the political climate.

Drawing on a critical mass of native speakers, the United States now has by some counts more than 50 million hispanohablantes, a greater number of Spanish speakers than Spain. In an English-speaking superpower, the Spanish-language TV networks Univision and Telemundo spar for top ratings with ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. The made-in-America global hit song of the summer? “Despacito.”

At the same time, more than 20 states have enacted laws making English the official language, President Trump won the election with a platform that included building a border wall, and his push for new limits on legal immigration would require that applicants speak English to obtain legal residency green cards.

Juan Rodríguez, 44, a Colombian immigrant who owns La Reina, a Spanish-language radio station in Des Moines, said it was an “extremely uncertain time” for some Spanish speakers, particularly undocumented immigrants who are trying to be seen and heard less often now that the president has made deportation a priority.

“But that fear doesn’t prevent us from living our lives in Spanish,” Mr. Rodríguez added. “Iowa may be an English-only state, but it’s also our state.”

Throughout the world, the position of English as the pre-eminent language seems unchallenged. The United States projects its influence in English in realms including finance, culture, science and warfare.

But on a global level, Mandarin Chinese dwarfs English in native speakers, ranking first with 898 million, followed by Spanish with 437 million, according to Ethnologue, a compendium of the world’s languages. Then comes English with 372 million, followed by Arabic, Hindi, Bengali, Portuguese and Russian.

Immigration from Latin America bolstered the use of Spanish in the United States in recent decades, but scholars say other factors are also in play, including history, the global reach of the language, and the ways in which people move around throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

Authorities in parts of the United States have repeatedly argued for curbing the spread of Spanish, like the former Arizona schools chief who said all Spanish-language media should be silenced. A judge pushed back this week against that official’s drive to also ban the state’s Mexican-American studies program, saying the ban was “motivated by racial animus.”

Linguists trace some of the coveted vibrancy that Spanish now enjoys to decisions made well before Spain began colonizing the New World in 1492.


As the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes explained in “The Buried Mirror,” his book about the Hispanic world, the 13th-century Spanish king Alfonso X assembled a cosmopolitan brain trust of Jewish intellectuals, Arab translators and Christian troubadours, who promoted Spanish as a language of knowledge at a time when Latin and Arabic still held prestige on the Iberian Peninsula.

Alfonso and his savants forged Spanish into an exceptionally well-organized language with phonetic standards, making it relatively accessible for some learners. They are thought to have hewed to a policy of castellano drecho — straight or right Spanish — imbuing the language with a sense of purpose.

Even today, Spanish remains mutually intelligible around the world to a remarkable degree, with someone, say, from the Patagonian Steppe in Argentina able to hold a conversation with a visitor from Equatorial Guinea, one of Africa’s largest oil exporters.

Drawing on entropy, a concept from thermodynamics referring to disorder, Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow, the Canadian authors of a 2013 book charting the evolution of Spanish, describe the degree to which Spanish is spread out geographically over a wide array of countries.

By this measure, Mandarin ranks low on the entropy scale since most of its speakers live in the same country. English boasts greater entropy, but Spanish, the majority language in more than 20 countries, ranks first, followed by Arabic.

Rivaling Spain and parts of Latin America, the United States exemplifies how the movement of people throughout the Spanish-speaking world is taking the language in new directions.

In metropolitan Los Angeles, an area with more than 4 million Spanish speakers — more than Uruguay’s entire population — linguists say that a new dialect has coalesced as different types of Spanish come into contact with one another. And here in New Mexico, an influx of Mexican and Central American immigrants is nourishing and reshaping a variant of Spanish that has persisted since the 16th century.

Ojos Locos, a cavernous sports bar in Albuquerque, offers a glimpse into how Spanish is changing. Like El Super, it’s part of a chain founded in the United States aimed at the Latino market.

“What’s a sports cantina without delicious authentic Mexican comida — mas tacos, mas wings y mas cerveza,” Ojos Locos explains on its website. Such servings were in abundance on a recent Sunday when Mexico’s national soccer team played against Jamaica, and mexicano Spanish seemed to be the venue’s dominant language.

But some tables were effortlessly mixing English and Spanish, especially those where children were accompanying their parents, while others, including tables of mixed-ethnicity couples, cheered, conversed and cursed (Mexico lost, 1-0) over their frozen margaritas almost entirely in English.

The ways in which families use languages at the dinner table also show how Spanish is evolving.

In the Nava family, which moved to New Mexico from northern Mexico more than 20 years ago, the grandparents passionately debate in Spanish the performance of their football team, the Dallas Cowboys.

But when their adult children talk to one another, it’s in Spanglish. And the language of their grandchildren? Mainly English, with a sprinkling of Spanish words here and there.

“Our real communication is in Spanglish,” said Cindy Nava, 29, a policy analyst at the New Mexico Legislature who arrived in the United States at the age of 7. “But we still recognize the importance of speaking Spanish correctly.”

Irking some grammarians, Spanglish is indeed gaining ground, evident in the way characters in telenovelas are speaking, Daddy Yankee’s reggaetón lyrics or ads like the Wendy’s commercial in which sweethearts bond over bacon cheeseburgers served on buns of “pan de pretzel.”

Ilan Stavans, a professor of Latino culture at Amherst College who has translated classics like Cervantes’s “Don Quixote” and Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince” into Spanglish, argues that we are witnessing “the emergence of something totally new, not in any way pure, a mestizo language.”

Long before Mr. Trump was elected, the growth and durability of Spanish had caused concerns, leading to “official language” laws that in some cases limit the use of any language other than English in government offices and documents, and in other cases are largely symbolic.

Rosalie Porter, who came to the United States from Italy as a child and is now the chairwoman of an organization seeking to end bilingual education and declare English the official language of the United States, said, “When I was an immigrant child, my language was not politically correct.”

“Today it’s different,” said Ms. Porter, whose group, ProEnglish, was founded by John Tanton, a Michigan doctor who started a handful of organizations seeking to restrict immigration. “Immigrants enjoy a lot more visibility” she added, emphasizing that she understood the business reasons behind the growth of Spanish-language media.

Even apart from political efforts, the continued growth of Spanish in the United States is not assured. Linguists have documented how new generations of Latinos around the country are steadily shifting to English, just as descendants of other immigrants have done.

But if the past is a guide, Spanish will continue to evolve and endure.

“In many places in the U.S., English and Spanish are in bed with each other, a contact that is both generative and exciting,” said Junot Díaz, the writer who masterfully explores the immigrant experience in the United States, largely through the travails of his Spanglish-speaking Dominican protagonist, Yunior.

“For many of us,” he went on, “Spanish is our path to love, and as history has proven no one can legislate away love.”

Epithet that divides Mexicans is banned by Oxnard school district

Rolando Zaragoza, 21, was 15 years old when he came to the United States, enrolled in an Oxnard school and first heard the term “Oaxaquita.” Little Oaxacan, it means — and it was not used kindly.

“Sometimes I didn’t want to go to school,” he said. “Sometimes I stayed to fight.”

“It kind of seemed that being from Oaxaca was something bad,” said Israel Vasquez, 23, who shared the same mocking, “just the way people use ‘Oaxaquita’ to refer to anyone who is short and has dark skin.”

Years later, indigenous leaders are fighting back against an epithet that lingers among immigrants from Mexico, directed at their own compatriots. Earlier this month the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project in Oxnard launched the “No me llames Oaxaquita” campaign. “Don’t call me little Oaxacan” aims to persuade local school districts to prohibit the words “Oaxaquita” and “indito” (little Indian) from being used on school property, to form committees to combat bullying and to encourage lessons about indigenous Mexican culture and history.

Indigenous Mexicans have come to the U.S. in increasing numbers in the last two decades. Some estimates now put them at 30% of California’s farmworkers. In Ventura County, there are about 20,000 indigenous Mexicans, most of whom are Mixtec from the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero who work in the strawberry industry, according to local organizers.

Many speak little or no Spanish and are frequently subjected to derision and ridicule from other Mexicans. The treatment follows a legacy of discrimination toward indigenous people in Mexico, said William Perez, a professor of education at Claremont Graduate University who has interviewed and surveyed numerous indigenous Mexican students.

“One of the main themes is the discrimination, bullying, teasing and verbal abuse that they receive from other Mexican immigrant classmates who are not indigenous,” he said. The abuse, which often goes unnoticed or is minimized by teachers and administrators, has left some of the indigenous students too embarrassed to speak their native languages, he said.

Educators and others in the U.S. often don’t recognize diversity within the Mexican community, said Gaspar Rivera-Salgado, a researcher at the UCLA Labor Center who has written extensively about indigenous Mexican migration.

“We forget that it’s a multilingual, multiethnic community,” he said. “We forget about the fact that 62 indigenous languages are spoken in Mexico.”

The organizing project’s campaign, Rivera-Salgado said, “is a really interesting way to confront, very directly, something that the Mexican nation and the Mexican immigrant community sometimes sweeps under the rug, and that’s the prevalence of racism and discrimination that indigenous people have to endure in Mexico and that is reproduced here in the United States.”

Elvia Pacheco, a Mixtec mother who lives in Oxnard, said her U.S.-born son’s middle school teacher poked fun at him for his Oaxacan heritage. Pacheco is from Oaxaca the boy’s father is from the central state of Guanajuato.

One day her son came home and threatened to kill himself if she made him go to school again.

When she asked what was wrong, “He said, ‘You embarrass me.’”

“It’s the worst thing a mother can hear from her son — to be renounced because of who you are,” she said.

Since then, they have taken classes about Mixtec history and culture and participated in the project’s organizing efforts. It has made a world of difference, she said.

Denis O’Leary, a member of the Oxnard School District’s Board of Trustees, was at an event to launch the campaign.

“I’m very proud of the students and the parents that stood up on this issue,” he said. “We need to now learn from this and do better.”

On Wednesday the school district unanimously passed the resolution originally proposed by the organizing project prohibiting the derogatory terms and creating an anti-bullying committee, O’Leary said.

Though the district had existing policies prohibiting bullying and taunting, “This resolution is going to let teachers know, and administrators know, that this group, that nobody really thought of, has suffered. And we need to pay attention,” he said.

The perils of parenting through a pandemic

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Paloma Esquivel is an education reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She was on the team that won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for public service for investigating corruption in the city of Bell and the team that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for coverage of the San Bernardino terror attack. Prior to joining The Times in 2007, she was a freelance writer, worked in Spanish-language radio and was an occasional substitute teacher. A Southern California native, she graduated from UC Berkeley and has a master’s in journalism from Syracuse University.

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Coronavirus: Spain declares emergency in Madrid as Berlin emerges as hotspot

The Spanish government has declared a state of emergency to keep Madrid in partial lockdown as countries across Europe struggle to deal with the continuing surge in new coronavirus cases.

The move came as Italy logged more than 5,000 new daily coronavirus cases for the first time in six months, and Germany recorded more than 4,000 new infections for the second day in a row. Following a meeting with mayors, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, announced that some areas would be given 10 days to improve the situation or face tougher action.

Spain’s Socialist-led cabinet on Friday finally lost patience with the Madrid regional government’s refusal to obey its calls for greater action in and around the capital, where infection rates are more than twice the national average.

The declaration, which takes immediate effect, came hours after the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, gave Madrid’s conservative regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, an ultimatum: maintain the partial confinement of the capital and nine nearby towns, or face the imposition of a state of emergency.

Salvador Illa, the national health minister, said the state of emergency was needed to protect people in Madrid and to stop the pandemic spreading into other regions.

He announced the measures would remain in place for a fortnight, and also pointed out that other European cities had taken similar, or more drastic, action, despite having far low infection rates.

“The president of Madrid has decided to do nothing,” said Illa. “Over the past week, 63 people have died from Covid-19 in the Madrid region. Right now, there are 3,361 people in hospital in the Madrid region. There are 498 people fighting for their lives in the region’s intensive care units. We can sit on our hands or we can stop down the virus. Politics is about serving people and stopping the virus.”

The limited lockdown ordered by the government a week ago bans all non-essential movement in and out of the confined areas, but allows people to travel to work or to seek medical treatment.

Bars and restaurants – whose capacity has been limited to 50% – must close by 11pm. Over the past two weeks, Madrid has registered 563.8 new cases per 100,000 people, compared with a national average of 256.8.

Ayuso’s government had reluctantly obeyed the order, but launched a successful legal challenge, arguing that its own actions were bringing the situation under control and that the central government had no right to step in.

Ayuso is urging people in Madrid to stay in the city over the bank holiday weekend, but her administration has refused to heed the government’s calls for tougher action, instead proposing a last-minute plan to confine 51 areas where there have been more than 750 new cases per 100,000 people.

The regional health minister of Madrid, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, described the state of emergency as “an unjustified attack on the people of Madrid”.

By Friday, Spain had logged a total 861,112 Covid cases – a rise of 12,788 on the previous day. The Madrid region accounts for a third of all Spain’s cases and a similar proportion of the country’s 32,929 deaths.

Berlin, where there have been protests against coronavirus-related restrictions, has emerged as one of the hotspots of the pandemic’s second wave. Photograph: Omer Messinger/Getty Images

As Germany’s disease control agency recorded 4,516 new cases over the previous 24 hours, Merkel said more stringent measures could prove necessary.

“We all sense that the big cities, the urban areas, are now the arena where we will see if we can keep the pandemic under control in Germany as we have done for months, or if we lose control,” the chancellor said following talks with mayors.

“The coming days and weeks will decide how Germany gets through the pandemic this winter.”

Merkel said past experience had shown it takes “about 10 days” to see if such efforts succeed in slowing the outbreak.

If the infection rate does not stabilise in that time, “further targeted restrictions are unavoidable in order to further reduce public contacts”, according to the text agreed at the talks.

Berlin has emerged as one of the hotspots of the pandemic’s second wave, with the capital on Thursday crossing the crucial threshold of more than 50 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days.

“These developments cause me great concern,” Berlin’s mayor, Michael Müller, said on Thursday evening. Bars, restaurants and off-licences in the capital will from Saturday be forced to close between 11pm and 6am, and rules around public and private gatherings at night time will be further tightened.

“We cannot rule out having to agree to take further steps,” Müller said. “We want to do everything to avoid a lockdown like the one we’ve already had.”

In Italy, where the number of daily new cases leaped from 4,458 on Thursday to 5,372 on Friday, the scientist advising the health ministry on the pandemic warned that the country was at risk of reaching 16,000 new infections a day, “like France, Spain and Great Britain”.

Italy’s south was relatively unscathed by the first phase of Italy’s pandemic, but Campania is now recording the highest daily infection tally, followed by Lombardy, Veneto and Lazio.

“This insidious virus is filling hospitals again,” Walter Ricciardi told SkyTg24. “Covid hospitals in Campania and Lazio are almost full and I am very concerned, not so much about intensive care but about sub-intensive therapies because infectious patients need to be treated in a certain way and places are already reaching saturation point.”

Latina, a province in Lazio, was placed under a 14-day ‘mini-lockdown’ on Thursday after a 155% rise in cases in recent days.

It is now obligatory in Italy to wear face masks outside, with the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, also advising families to wear them indoors if grouped together.

In France, which reported more than 18,000 new cases on Thursday, almost 25% of intensive care unit beds are occupied by Covid patients – although the figure rises to 40% in the Paris region.

As Russia reported 12,126 new infections – the highest daily rise in cases since the pandemic began – authorities in Moscow were considering closing bars and nightclubs. The previous record daily rise was 11,656 cases on 11 May, when strict lockdown measures were in force across most of the vast country.

Russian authorities have recommended people stay at home this weekend, but have no lockdown in place and the Kremlin has said there are no plans to impose one for now.

The Moscow mayor’s office was looking into closing bars, nightclubs and karaoke bars, but keeping restaurants in the capital open, the RBC media outlet reported on Friday, citing a source at the mayor’s office.

“We have to at least somehow reduce the number of people in the city, otherwise we may arrive at the same strict restrictions as we had in the spring,” RBC quoted the source as saying.

Rick Stein urges unemployed chefs to join his Cornish empire

The TV chef and food writer Rick Stein is urging unemployed chefs in other parts of the UK to consider moving to Cornwall to work in his family’s restaurant empire.

The restaurant and hotel group, which has 13 eateries, is trying to fill 39 vacancies, including for a pastry chef and junior sous chef at its famous Seafood Restaurant in Padstow.

“If you have found yourself out of work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I urge you to consider coming to Cornwall,” said Stein. “It’s thriving, and with travel bans still in place there is great hope that the staycation will extend through to early winter and bring some much-needed revenue to the locality.”

With a number of local staff opting not to return to customer-facing roles, Stein said there was a need for new talent in the business. “I would love to see new members of the team coming from more hard-hit areas of the country,” he said.

The major restaurant chain closures and job losses

Costa Coffee – 1,650 jobs 3 September: The company, which was bought by Coca-Cola two years ago, is cutting up to 1,650 jobs in its cafes, more than one in 10 of its workforce. The assistant store manager role will go across all shops.

Pret a Manger – 2,890 jobs 27 August: The majority of the cuts are focused on the sandwich chain's shop workers, but 90 roles will be lost in its support centre teams. The cuts include the 1,000 job losses announced on 6 July.

Pizza Express – 1,100 jobs 4 August: The restaurant chain plans the closure of 70 restaurants as part of a rescue restructure deal.

Azzurri Group (includes Ask Italian and Zizzi) 17 July: 1,200 jobs lost and 75 restaurants closed ahead of sale to private equity firm

Byron 31 July: 31 out of 51 restaurants closed in rescue deal, with 650 job losses.

Carluccio’s Collapsed In March. About 1,200 jobs were lost when just 31 of its 73 sites were taken on by investor Ranjit Singh Boparan.

Casual Dining Group (includes Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas) 2 July: Closed 91 of its 250 outlets last month, with loss of 1,900 jobs. Sold to private equity.

Chilango 22 July: Has admitted being on the brink of collapse, with the potential loss of 152 jobs.

Pizza Express Closing 67 outlets, putting 1,100 jobs at risk.

Pret a Manger 6 July: Closing 30 branches as part of wider restructuring that puts at least 1,000 jobs at risk.

The Restaurant Group 3 June: Has closed 61 of the 80 branches of Tex-Mex chain Chiquito and 11 Food and Fuel pubs, eliminating 1,500 jobs.Also closing another 120 sites, mainly Frankie & Benny’s, with nearly 3,000 jobs going.

Tossed Went bust in July. Its 20 stores are shut. 260 staff made redundant.


In a profile of Yeganeh and Soup Kitchen International published in The New Yorker in 1989, both the small restaurant's popularity and Yeganeh's obsessive focus on his customers' behavior were noted. Despite having Iranian origin, Yeganeh was described as an Armenian with a bit of Spanish accent in the article. Also his first name was falsely written as 'Albert' instead of 'Ali'. [3] Yeganeh was quoted in the article as saying "I tell you, I hate to work with the public. They treat me like a slave. My philosophy is: The customer is always wrong and I’m always right." [3] Yeganeh explained his strict philosophy about customer behavior by noting that, "Whoever follows [my rules] I treat very well. My regular customers don’t say anything. They are very intelligent and well educated. They know I’m just trying to move the line." [3] However, the writer noted that customers who stalled or complained would be bypassed, and quoted one person in line as advising others, "Just don’t talk. Do what he says." [3]

Yeganeh was the inspiration for the "Soup Nazi" character in the eponymous episode of the NBC television sitcom Seinfeld, which first aired on November 2, 1995. Yeganeh was born in Iran and had lived in Khorramshahr prior to moving to the United States. In this episode, Yeganeh, fictionalized as "Yev Kassem", was portrayed as the tyrannical purveyor of his soups, making all of his customers follow a strict set of rules if they wish to successfully procure a bowl of one of his coveted soups. Kassem was portrayed by Larry Thomas, who made two appearances in the series. For the original episode, Thomas was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1996.

According to writer Spike Feresten, Jerry Seinfeld and several members of the production team went to Soup Kitchen International for lunch weeks after "The Soup Nazi" aired. Upon recognizing Seinfeld, Yeganeh did a "triple take" and then went into a profanity-filled rant about how the show had "ruined" his business and demanded an apology. Seinfeld gave what Feresten describes as "the most insincere, sarcastic apology ever given". Yeganeh then ejected them from the restaurant. [4]

The "Soup Nazi" character in Seinfeld was not the first time that Mr. Yeganeh was referenced in film. According to Nora Ephron's DVD commentary, the first pop culture reference to Yeganeh (though not by name) occurs in the 1993 movie Sleepless in Seattle, which Ephron co-wrote and directed. In the film, a magazine writer discusses a potential story: "This man sells the greatest soup you have ever eaten, and he is the meanest man in America. I feel very strongly about this, Becky it's not just about the soup." [5]

After reopening, "The Original Soup Man" opened franchises in various cities throughout the United States and Canada, including four in Manhattan. The soups were made in Yeganeh's industrial kitchen in Linden, New Jersey. [6] Yeganeh licensed his recipes, name and likeness to the company. Franchises were provided with some 45 soup varieties in 8 lb (3.6 kg) bags available in rotation. Chains participating in subfranchising the soups included Ranch One and Cold Stone Creamery. On March 3, 2008, the first Original Soup Man franchise on a college campus was opened in the Russell House University Union at the University of South Carolina. This venue closed near the end of spring 2011.

Reportedly, the strictness popularized by the original location need not necessarily be followed by the franchisees, but Yeganeh apparently banned any Soup Nazi references by franchises and their staff while on the job and has strongly encouraged his franchise owners to avoid references to Seinfeld in their promotions. (However, his marketing contains at least two Seinfeld references, including the phrase "Soup for you!" and a mention of the show on the back of his packaged soup offerings.) At the time, Yeganeh accepted media inquiries, but his "media rules" forbade mention of "the 'N' word" (Nazi), personal questions, or follow-up questions. Interviews were conducted only via e-mail. [7]

Despite Yeganeh's contempt for the Soup Nazi character, it was announced on July 22, 2015 that Soupman, Inc. licensed the image of actor Larry Thomas, who portrayed the "Soup Nazi" character on Seinfeld, to promote Yeganeh's soups across America. [8]

Soup Kitchen International Inc., "The Original Soup Man," and Yeganeh announced on April 22, 2005, that a retail line of "heat-n-serve" soups would be available in May at select grocery stores. There were five different variations available made by SoBe Beverages and supervised by Al Yeganeh. The soups were packaged in 15 oz. ‘Grab-N-Go’ clear packages. Since its launch in May 2005, "The Original SoupMan" line of soups is sold in 14 states and over 7,000 grocery stores across the United States and Canada.

In May 2017, Robert Bertrand, the chief financial officer of The Original Soupman, was arrested and charged with income tax evasion for failure to pay the company's Medicare, Social Security, and federal income taxes dating back to 2010. [9] Less than two months later, the chain filed for bankruptcy. [9] All of the company's assets, including its licenses from Yeganeh and its license of the image of Larry Thomas, were sold in a bankruptcy sale in September 2017 to a company called Gallant Brands, headed by Joseph Hagan. [10] All of the company's physical locations were closed at that time, most of its major customers were lost, and the company only continued to operate its grocery store sales business. [11]

In April 2018, Bertrand pled guilty and was sentenced to nine months in prison his defense was that his actions were intended to keep the company afloat. [12] Around that time, The Original Soupman was able to re-enter New York City's public schools lunch program after some modifications to the recipes, then to expand sales to delis and supermarkets in the New York City area, and finally, in December 2018, it opened its first post-bankruptcy physical location in a Times Square kiosk. [11]

Clinic Workers Say They’ve Been Warned To Only Speak English Or They’ll Be Fired

HAINES CITY, Fla. (CBS Local) — A group of health care workers at a state-run health clinic in Florida say they’ve been told to stop speaking Spanish among themselves or risk being fired.

Seven nurses and clerks at the Florida Health Department clinic in Haines City say they are being harassed by management for speaking Spanish at work.

“It feels like you’re a criminal, like you&rsquore doing something that is wrong,” said Mairylí Miranda, a nurse who has lived in Florida for 15 years.

All seven of the workers are Puerto Rican and claim they were hired because they are bilingual. Haines has a relatively high Hispanic population.

“We speak in English to the monolingual patients and staff, but we speak Spanish with each other because we think in Spanish. But one day they gathered us all together and warned us that if we continued to do so, we would be fired,” Miranda said in a statement. “But there is no law that bans us from speaking Spanish.”

The workers filed a complaint with the Polk County Health Department and wrote a letter to the Florida Department of Health headquarters in Tallahassee. But they say no action has been taken.

The Florida Health Department has not yet responded to multiple requests for comment.

The Egg White Omelet Should Be Banned

They always say that the cream rises to the top that the best idea always wins that the truth will out. But sometimes, there's an idea so insidious, so diabolical in its appeal, that it persists, cockroach-like, long after its claims have been debunked and its value utterly disproven.

I speak, of course, of the egg-white omelet, and all its absurd variations: The egg-white chalupa. The egg-white frittata. The egg-white breakfast burrito. Logically speaking, they make no sense.

After all, the egg yolk is no longer considered the bad guy inside the egg. The link between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol—and the link between the cholesterol in eggs and heart disease—has been disproven countless times over the past decade. At the same time, researchers have discovered that egg yolks have plenty of benefits, including plenty of fat-soluble vitamins and healthy fats that stabilize blood sugar and help you stay satisfied after meals.

In fact, some studies show that egg yolks and whites actually behave synergistically in the body, with the lecithin in the egg white helping to metabolize the fat in the egg yolk. Who are we to tear asunder the perfect symbiosis of an egg (unless, of course, we're making fluffy, egg-white-based confections like meringues)?

And yet, the egg-white omelet persists. They're usually cooked one of two equally awful ways: in a nonstick skillet greased only with some nonstick cooking spray, or with an avalanche of excess fat and oil designed to compensate for the absence of the egg yolk's richness. To my deep shame, I even discovered a third variety on Epicurious' own site, a recipe called Golden Egg White Omelets with Spinach and Cheese—with egg whites that are whisked with pepper purée and flour to restore some semblance of texture and flavor. But the justifiably horrible reviews (just 1 1/2 out of 4 forks!) fill me with hope.

All of these strategies are absurd. Eat your eggs whole. Eat two or three of them at a time. Remember what it's like to savor their buttery, rich flavor. Heck, work your way up to eating them fried, poached, or over easy, with the yolks rushing out onto the plate as God's own sauce. If you have a friend who's afflicted with Egg-White-itis, lend her a helping hand. Because she knows not what she does.


  1. Teaghue

    Your thought is brilliant

  2. Damani

    I apologise, but this variant does not approach me. Who else, what can prompt?

  3. Hugo

    what would we do without your excellent idea

  4. Strahan

    The total lack of taste

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