1.28.2014: Chefs+Uber / Streaming


Riding with Chefs with Uber in Chicago

This is fun! As a promotion for (freezing cold) Chicago Restaurant Week (which started this week), Uber released a promo video starring chefs Doug PsaltisJeff MahinJacob Saben and Derek Simcik talking all about the Chicago restaurant scene. The video is short and fairly light, with lots of references to the diversity, variety, and creativity of Chicago’s restaurants. (And if you’re in Chicago, Uber’s offering free rides to lunches at selected restaurants, so you should check that out.) This is a fun and smart way to combine two otherwise unrelated entities, so cheers to Uber for a bit of smart marketing and, my favorite, a new way to highlight awesome chef talent.


A Different Look at Olive Oil

illustration by April V. Walters
illustration by April V. Walters

As you start clicking through a recent New York Times opinion piece titled Extra Virgin Suicide, you wonder if it’s really necessary to share this information via interactive slideshow. By the time you get to the middle of it (specifically, the oil-mixing masked bandit), you realize the message becomes more impactful thanks to its presentation.

The shocking story: not all olive oil “made in Italy” is actually made in Italy. Italy is actually the world’s largest importer of olive oil, and there’s all kinds of shadiness involved in producing oil — including diluting it with other oils and dyes. Italy actually employs sniff-testers to determine which oils are bad. All of this information — and more — is included in the Times’ smart interactive piece; one well worth clicking through. (Bonus! No display ads!)


Why Aren’t App Designers as Famous as Chefs?

Good question. Maybe because they are two completely different careers? Not sure I’m picking up what you’re putting down, WSJ.

A recent Wall Street Journal Tech post poses the question, leading with its reasoning: “In a world that can celebrate and fetishize the most obscure chefs, it’s a relevant question: Why aren’t the world’s best app designers renowned?” The piece itself has little to do with chefs, beyond the comparison that great app designers should be household names alongside, say, famous, or not-as-famous, chefs. Or something? I don’t know. (FTR, WSJ, I don’t think this is a relevant question.) Random analogy aside, it is interesting to reflect on the chef-as-celeb concept and how that happened. From the writer’s standpoint, those who excel in any field should be recognized with the same panache. This writer feels the same way about newsletter writers, but is professionally pleased that chefs are the current apple of the public’s eye.


Streaming Restaurant Cams for Decision-Making

Would you check a webcam before you headed out to a restaurant or bar? C+T has covered this before — in the form of cool restaurants adopting the technology — and here’s the site that aggregates all of them: GoBefore. Poor organization aside, I’m fascinated by this technology. Imagine if a city’s restaurants were grouped by neighborhood, allowing you to choose your destination based on crowd and ambiance. Or restaurants organized by popular travel destinations so you can peek inside before finalizing vacation plans. Lots of potential here. Hoping it moves forward.


  • Awesome, awesome, awesome. A DC museum exhibit all about Tapas. Go! — Washingtonian
  • Use laughing gas to quickly infuse alcohol with flavor. Seriously! — Hard Science and Tasting Table
  • Meet Copilot, a restaurant management app for discovering missed sales opportunities — Copilot

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