cooking with the sophisticates

By Jonathan Heaf

The star-wrangling DJ takes Kanye’s meltdown and Bieber’s moods in his stylish stride at Luca

Is Nick Grimshaw still cool? This is, after all, precisely the reason why he was hired by the BBC in 2012 to host The Radio 1 Breakfast Show, taking over from the old, unfathomably uncool Chris Moyles. He certainly looks pretty cool as he hops from the back of a cab outside our lunch destination, all teeth and sports luxe.

Navy suede bomber, blue tailored trousers, black Vans and dark shades. He’s trendy yet clean, sort of Shoreditch via a bath, if you will; a hipster who’s made some decent wedge. The idea that authenticity (what young people think of as cool nowadays) can be upgraded for Joe Public via a little luxury befits our location, Luca, on St John Street in Clerkenwell. It’s run by the same team who run The Clove Club, a restaurant that brought sophisticated food - rather than just triple-cooked chips with aioli - to Shoreditch several years ago. This is their attempt at a posh Italian.

We begin by talking about Justin Bieber. Grimshaw and I - only school kids call him “Grimmy” - have something in common in that we both adore gossiping about famous people we’ve interviewed. Bieber, Beyoncé, Beckham, he’s done the lot. I tell him my worst interviewee by far was Christina Aguilera during her Stripped period. She was wearing so much fake tan that she left a trail of brown radioactive sludge wherever she perched. At the time, I remember thinking she resembled an enormous melted orange crayon.

“I’ve done Bieber every year since he was 14, so I’ve probably had deeper conversations with him than I’ve had with my own family,” he chuckles. Is he a terrible brat? “He used to be. But then every teenager is a dickhead, aren’t they? This year he came into the studio for a prerecord and he was monosyllabic and disinterested. I stopped the interview and asked him what the problem was. He told me he was hungover. So I got him a pint and a Nando’s. Celebrities are just dogs who need petting. Show them some love and they’ll be humping your leg before lunch.”

Speaking of which, we’ve ordered already: shaved fennel with pear salad and carpaccio of Hereford beef with oyster emulsion to start; for mains we choose pasta entrées: garganelli with pork sausage, tomato and anchovy (for him) and tiny pheasant milanese swimming in a peppery, sepia-coloured broth (for me). We drink lager and pale ale and agree the food is, although refined, broadly unexceptional.

Getting back to the gossip, I want his take on Kanye West - meltdown or precision press strategy? “Kanye might be having a nervous breakdown or he might just be really bored.” He’s bleached his hair, I say. Like with Britney Spears, extreme grooming is always a cultural cipher that indicates a celeb is one sad-face emoji short of self-immolation. “I like Kanye, or I like his music. I asked him once if he got lots of free stuff sent to him and he took it as an insult. ‘Do you think I’m cheap?’ he shouted. 'I drink champagne all day. Do you?’ No thanks, Kanye. It gives me dog breath.”

You can see why stars like Grimshaw. He’s brilliant fun, smart and utterly self-deprecating. “What I do isn’t work - it’s talking to myself in a room really early in the morning.” He doesn’t take talent, or himself, too seriously, thus he’s able to sweetly pop celebrities’ ego bubbles and talk to them like a normal person, something the swarming teams around megastars all too often are unable to do.

“I hate a kiss-ass,” he agrees. “Any celebrity that comes into the studio at 7am in the morning to be grilled by me and tells me how happy they are to be here is lying.” His realness has meant he’s been able to make friends with some of those he’s encountered along the way, Harry Styles, for one. Has he heard from Harry recently? “Sure, we texted this morning. He’s worried I won’t like his new solo record. He recorded it in Jamaica so I am praying it’s some awful white-man reggae.”

Cool? Yes, Nick Grimshaw will always be cooler than his employers -always has been, always will be. That’s why he didn’t fit in with Simon Cowell on The X Factor: “Everyone told me not to do it as it was so naff. Simon had weird energy: very Machiavellian.” So what happens when he eventually leaves The Radio 1 Breakfast Show? Where do DJs go to die? The pub? “I’m doing an internship,” he confesses proudly. “With Es Devlin, who designs huge stage sets for Adele and Beyoncé. I’ve been using a glue gun! I’ve always liked three things: music, nice shoes and good lighting. I’ve ticked two of those boxes, so why not the last?

"I’ve reached a point in my life where I know all that celebrity stuff is, ultimately, nonsense. What I need to think about is this: am I happy, am I healthy and am I being nice to my family? I guess it’s about being present.” Which is the least cool, but most honest thing Nick Grimshaw says all afternoon. GQ

According to psychological tests, something horrid happened to Bundy in that home where reality - the identity of his biological father, his grandfather’s tirades, his grandmother’s illness - was never acknowledged, let alone discussed.

He lacks any core experience of care and nurturance or early emotional sustenance. Severe rejection experiences have seriously warped his personality development and led to deep denial or repression of any basic needs for affection. Severe early deprivation has led to a poor ability to relate to or understand other people.” concluded Marylin Feldman.

Psychiatrists who examined Bundy over the years were convinced that his illegitimacy was a troubling psychological dynamic. Hidden in almost every interview he ever gave, was a rejection of his mother so deep that as a teenager Ted Bundy once asked his wealthier, cultured Great-uncle Jack, a college professor to adopt him. “Can you imagine doing that to a mother?” says Ted Bundy’s aunt Julia. “When I heard that, I knew something was terribly, terribly wrong.

Before Ted was five he had three last names - Cowell, Nelson, and, finally, Bundy. He never related to the kindly, uncomplicated John Bundy, a hospital cook far removed from the sophisticated world to which Bundy aspired. 

Louise Bundy tersely admits that Ted was never told anything about his biological father. John Bundy, the stepfather Bundy never related to, was “always Daddy.” “Ted never had asked about the…” she is struggling for words, “the ‘other man,’ because he never heard about him or had seen him or anything.

But in those first four years didn’t he question why there was no daddy in his life? At birthday parties or with other children? “In our neighborhood there were no other children his age. He didn’t know any differently. When I lived with the folks it was ‘This is Granddad, this is Grandmother, and here is mother.’

Did it ever bothered Ted? “Not that I know of. It wasn’t something we ever talked about.” - Vanity Fair, 1989

Watching Doug Out/The Good Lars for the first time


Doug Out

-Oh hey, Doug’s Connie’s father ain’t he?

-Are we in for some background character building?

-(Yay theme!)

-”–sneaking out right past a pair of intergalactic tyrants!”

-The Diamonds are tyrants confirmed, idk what to do with this, we already knew it anyway

-Doug was a cop?

-”How’s my swashbuckling swashbuckler doing?”
 Is he a fan of pirates?

-”You okay there, Steven?”
 “Oh, yeah, I love it down here.”
 me when my soul is down burning in hell

-Oh, he works for a private security company.


-Doug is much less strict than I remember.

-”They get younger every year.”
 what even

WHOA you guys did NOT just reference Carmen Sandiego and Mario

-W O W   A   F L A S H L I G H T

Okay, I don’t think you should point your flashlight straight up at the sky and tell every potentially dangerous criminal that you’re there

-”Do not attempt to make yourself a corn dog!”

-”Oh no, the laws of physics!”


-I’m so sorry

-Ow. Flashlights are heavy.

-Some of them anyway.

-What the fuck?? Onion?? Your shadow was too buff?

Different sized head, different build. Good logic Connie, but no.

-Doug, be careful for what you wish for, and also, it’s easy money if you get paid for telling kids to stop loitering around.



The Good Lars

-”Be honest, but not TOO honest.”

-Lars is a bit tsundere.

-”That’s his way of saying thanks.”
 “I know, I speak Lars.”

-b i n g o   b o n g o

-That’s gonna haunt Lars’s memory for the rest of his life

-the fuck is a bake delaska


-hoLY SHIT Lars is good at cooking what the FUCK


-”open up about your feeeeliiinnngssssss”

-Steven you’re creepy


-The most sophisticated thing I can cook is ramen, dude you’re fucking gifted

-”Somewhere in between learning to summon my shield, and finding out my mom is a war criminal.”

-This kid once sang a weird rap verse bout cookie cats

-Bucks brought assorted fruit…

-Okay then…

-Oh shucks, something’s happened to Lars, hasn’t it?

Looks like he can use his floating powers more freely now

-Actually he did that in Doug Out too, but I was too lazy to point it out…

-”This is Lars. Leave a message.”
 He doesn’t even care



Wish I could just randomly come up with songs like that, also that painting looks like Rose but it’s probably not

-I can’t even hear Buck’s guitar??

what a waste of food

-Did Sadie use to have a scar on her face? My memories glitching, fading, idk…

-Horror movie cliche of walking into the darkened streets alone…


Kiramume Company R #03 (Guest: Kimura Ryohei) - Summary

Undercut because it’s super long and I’ll add in more links and pictures in the future too…

Don’t ask me for the full video. However, if you want me to elaborate on anything in this episode (or any episodes tbh…I’m more focused on Trignal, but I can tell you stuff in other people’s ones as well) you can ask me those. Thanks.

PS. And no, I probably won’t write summary like this for any other episodes unless you want me to do one for Wing’s and Egu’s though. Not enough motivation to do others’…

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nct life (master chef) ep1

- rice cakes? rice cakes

- red hair yuta im crying, can you hear my tears


- “oh my god” - ten

- taeyong excited over meeting a real chef and being a fan of him

- winwin being a cutie as always

- jaehyun making an orange sweater look 10/10

- winwin thinking the chef was an actor

- “i envy your wife” - taeyong

- thumbs up yuta


- yuta isn’t a confident man

- winwin saying that he wants to make tteok-bokki better than last time (the ship is strong)


- winwin wants to show off to taetong and prove that he is a genius

- cooking toddler winwin has no clue what he is doing

- “oh my gosh” - ten


- how do they look like models when cooking it frustrates me


- ten is very nervous “even more than hit the stage”


- winwin is so adorable i wanna hug him

- taeyong, sophisticated, poised, too much sesame oil



- doyoungs soul left his body

- “oh my god” - ten (once again)



- the end of a masterchef saga

Furiaka Week - Day 2: Family

It has ben a long time since Seijuurou last tasted home-made food. Not since his mother passed away. Seijuurou still remembers the warmth and comfort in everything she cooked for him. When he felt upset or frustrated, when his father scolded him, when he couldn’t succeed in something in his first try, his mother would smile at him, stroke his head gently and serve him a bowl of tofu soup. It was a simple dish, but it was delicious and it made him forget everything that may have gone wrong during the day. After she departed, his father had hired a private chef who could cook a lot of different, sophisticated dishes, but none that made him feel loved and safe like his mother’s simple soup had.

The first time Seijuurou visits Furihata Kouki’s house, it’s not part of his plan. A series of unfortunate events had lead to drop his cellphone into the river and get his wallet with all his money and identifications stolen (it has been a bad day, his father scolded him and threatened to force him out of the basketball team if he loses again), all of which apparently happened half a block away from Furihata’s home. Two hours and fifteen unsuccessful attempts to contact the main house later, what was supposed to be a “you can come to my place and use the phone to call someone if you need” became “it’s started raining pretty badly, if no one’s coming to pick you up you can stay for dinner.” As he waits quietly on the empty dining table, he starts pondering on the kindness he was receiving from a boy with whom he hadn’t exchanged more than two dozen words.

His thoughts are interrupted by an embarrassed “Sorry, we haven’t gone grocery shopping this week, so this is the best I could do.” and a bowl of tofu soup being placed in front of him.  But he doesn’t pay that apology too much mind (“Don’t apologize, I am the one imposing on you”), because the first spoonful fills his chest with that kind of warmth that he has not experienced in many years, the one that reminds him of a loving smile, a gentle embrace and a soothing voice “It’s okay, it’s all going to be okay.” and it is so, so comforting he doesn’t even mind the warm tears that start spilling down his cheeks. 

When he looks up, he finds kind brown eyes furrowing with worry, and he almost doesn’t hear the panicked voice “Oh god, Akashi-kun, are you okay? Is it really bad? I should’ve ordered takeout, I’m so sorry.”, but he shakes his head and smiles, holding the bowl with his two hands, letting its warmth seep into his fingertips and over his skin.

“No, this… this is perfect… Thank you.”



But now I want fic where Zarry are newly-separated exes who still love each other, they just don’t like each other, IT’S COMPLICATED. Anyway, they find out while they’re going through the divorce that their adoption application came through, so they have to halt proceedings for a bit make sure nothing jeopardises them getting the baby they’ve both always wanted, and play house, give the adoption office NO REASON to suspect that the Malik-Styles household is anything but deliriously happy.

And their little boy comes, and he’s lovely. Let’s call him Baby because I suck at names and kids. Zayn doesn’t think he’s ever seen anyone so perfect, he spends hours just checking his fingers and toes, and sketching the way his baby-plump cheeks catch the light, and he doesn’t think he’ll ever get bored.

Harry thinks Baby is magical. Legit magical. He tells Baby so every single time it’s his night to do bath and bedtime. He tells Baby how he’s an actual pixie-child they discovered on accident on their doorstep one day and a magical merbaby they rescued from a sea witch the next, all in long rambling run-on sentences that make Baby giggle and burp and yank at Harry’s ponytail like it’s the best toy he’s ever had.

Zayn watches Harry and Baby sometimes. Watches them while they’re napping in the afternoons or when Harry’s warming formula up on the stove with their son notched on his hip as he narrates every single thing he does like it’s a sophisticated cooking show with a posh accent and everything. And Zayn’s fingers itch every time, for the nearest pencil, a pastel, or a watercolour brush (he’s always loved Harry in watercolours).

His heart hurts too, sometimes so hard he has to press his hand into it to make it stop, and go hide in his bedroom (which is next to Baby’s bedroom which is next to Harry’s at the end of the hallway) until he remembers not to say something stupid like “I’m crazy about you. Still. After all this, I’m still fucking crazy.” 

Okay first of all how dare you leave this feelings grenade in my ask box and second of all Harry Styles would totally name their unnamed baby Baby because: 1) “Zayn, Baby Boy Styles-Malik is too long; 2) “Zayn we can’t get too attached to him what if they take him away if we slip up; and 3) it gives Harry an excuse to use the word baby around Zayn. Harry knows that deep down, however inane it may sound, Zayn’s loved that petname the most. And maybe, maybe, on the sixth or seventh time Harry finds himself staring at Zayn while uttering the word out loud instead at the wriggling little bundle in his arms, a part of Zayn will recall why Harry-and-Zayn ever happened, even if neither of them can quite remember how they ever worked out.

Wantering Trendsetter: Monsieur Jean Yves

Have you ever seen a bow tie made out of blue peacock feathers, gold leaf, or python? No? That just shows how unique and creative French bow tie designer Monsieur Jean Yves is when it comes to creating stylish neckwear. His creations have such a sophisticated elegance, that even Oscar winner Jared Leto rocked his beautiful blood-red Phoebus 5 bow tie to this year’s awards. Get to know the magnificent designer; meet Monsieur Jean Yves. 

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How do we celebrate 2000 followers? A ROAST DINNER

ENTP: Mashed potatoes. Bursting with garlic and herbs. A little messy but full of flavour.

INTP: Yorkshire puddings. Don’t need any fancy herbs. All the flavour they need is already there. Basic ingredients, somehow delicious outcome. Only a select few may know the secrets of the Yorkshire pud.

ENTJ: Roasted veggies. They will always find their way onto your plate. They are not optional. You will be shunned should you refuse them.

INTJ: The starter. Soup. Simple and sophisticated. Sets the scene.

ENFJ: Roast potatoes. Cooked to golden perfection in the meat juices. Everyone is getting them on their plate. Everyone. You have no choice. You love them.

INFJ: The gravy. Warm and comforting. Goes with everything. The dinner would be dry and dull without it.

ENFP: The pudding- Chocolate fondant. Soft and squishy and impossible to eat tidily. Cannot be controlled and will go everywhere. But damn it it’s delicious.

INFP: The flowers in the middle of the table. Not really relevant to the meal itself but just sits in its own little world. Brightens the room.

ESTJ: The chicken. The core piece of the meal. What keeps the dinner together.

ISTJ: Bread sauce. Not to everyone’s taste and some may find it bland, but classic and traditional and no dinner would be complete without it. Every table should have bread sauce whether they appreciate it or not.

ESFJ: Napkins. Probably floral or some other pattern. One under the plate to catch the spills and a spare in a ring for your convenience. An necessary amount of love and care went into these.

ISFJ: Rosemary potatoes. A cute addition to the dinner that adds a refreshing flavour.

ESFP: Chipolatas. You’re all sausages now. Everyone loves sausages. Except those who find them morally repulsive.

ISFP: The stuffing. The finishing touch.

ESTP: The carving knife.

ISTP: The cutlery. The whole dinner is reliant on this under appreciated element.

cgleome  asked:

Hey Chris! If you have time, I'd love to know what the BMP1 butlers would give their significant other for Christmas! Thanks! <3

Louis: Kitten
It’ll be white with a ribbon tied on her neck. Something that reminds him of you. Other than that Louis will probably get something that needs nurturing like pets or plants because he wants something that is not just a thing. Also, by giving you a pet, he will have a reason to visit you more often to take care of the kitten together with you.

AlbertoA matching watch
He is old fashioned so he will try to find something that is practical while at the same time meaningful. Looking at how he manages all Roberto’s schedule, Alberto must be really strict about time so the watch is probably something important to him. To make it special, he will engrave both of your initials or a secret message like “my love for you is timeless” / “time stands still when you’re around” / just a simple “I love you” at the back of it.

Yuu: Apron or chopstick
Yuu seems to be the type who likes a feminine and sweet girl. While he’s always seen as the big brother type, this can make him craves that feeling of being pampered and being taken care of. That said, possibly, Yuu appreciates homemade things and will be really happy when you cook for him.

Claude: A classic and sophisticated shawl
Claude originally planned to give you a tea set because that’s what he likes. I can see how you and him bond over afternoon / late evening tea after work. Wilfred though, easily read what Claude planned. Wilfred suggested “something that is more meaningful” and required more efforts than something too obvious. So instead, Claude will give you a shawl because it is something that you can use everyday and it is like having his mark on you all the time.

Luke: Experience
Being the youngest, Luke looks up to his prince a little too much sometimes. So his gifts are probably something expensive because based on what Keith said, girls love diamonds and luxurious items like branded handbags, etc. He messed up the first Christmas so on your second Christmas, he will be more thoughtful and opt for gifts that are “more intimate” like couple massage where you get to experience it together as a couple with him. I see Luke as a quite romantic person and be the person who will cook and bring you breakfast in your bed.

Jan: Camera
Jan’s past and secret identity may make it hard for him to form a deep relationship with someone right away. Being together with someone that he cares about for the first time is both scary and exciting for him. He wants to give something that you will cherish but at the same time, he doesn’t want it to feel “heavy” with his feeling. Camera is an option so you can record your journey as a new couple while at the same time, it looks casual enough. But once, he lets himself loving you completely, he will be really loyal and honest with his feeling like how his relationship is with Joshua. Only then, he will give you a token of his love in the form of a simple jewelry.


Thanks for asking, Myrtle!! :D I had fun thinking about it. Your butler headcanons are excellent by the way xD I love them to bits <3

I’m planning to write 2 or more Christmas headcanons when I can find time to write.

More headcanons [x]

Michael is your brother’s best friend - Part Ten

Part One | Part Two | Part Three (A) | Part Three (B) | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten

Summary: Michael is your brother’s best friend and you both hate each other but something happens and your feelings start to change….

You were startled awake by the sound of a high-pitched woman’s scream. You sat up immediately and rubbed your eyes with a fist. In relief, you looked around the room and saw that nobody was in danger and the shriek had come from the horror film that had started to play on a loop after you and Michael had fallen asleep. When your eyes were focussed, you looked down at Michael and saw that he was asleep and the wail had not bothered him at all. You had to smile at the sight of him with his hair fluffy and his face peaceful as he slept. You looked at the clock on the wall and saw that it was already 4pm.

You considered laying your head back down on Michael’s chest and going back to sleep but you realised that you would never sleep that night if you did. Deciding that you were not going to wander around Michael’s house alone, you squeezed his shoulder gently and shook him until he woke up. When he finally opened his eyes he looked groggy yet he still managed to give you a small smile through his yawn. He brought his hand to your cheek and pulled you down for a gentle kiss.

“I could get used to seeing your face every time I wake up,” Michael said when you had pulled away from the kiss.

“I bet you could,” you said lightly.

“What time is it?”

“Around 4 and I’m hungry so go and make me some food, Clifford,” You said.

“I like it when you tell me what to do,” Michael winked, “But I’m afraid that putting a frozen pizza into the oven is about as sophisticated as my cooking techniques go.”

You smiled down at him, “Sounds perfect,” you said and kissed him again.


By the time Michael had worked out how to turn the oven on and you’d both shared the pizza and cleared away, it was nearly 5:30pm.

“What do you wanna do now?” Michael asked as he turned on the dishwasher.

“I don’t mind, as long as it doesn’t include leaving the house since I don’t have any fresh clothes to wear” you replied.

“I can think of a few things we could do that doesn’t involve clothes,” Michael said and you rolled your eyes in response.

“Yes I bet you could but I think we should wait a bit, at least until tomorrow,” you replied. You still needed to find a way to tell him that you were still a virgin and had literally no experience with any other boys other than him. Hell, you’d never even kissed another guy before Michael.

“It was worth a try, right? I guess we could go to my room,” he suggested. You nodded and followed him up the stairs as he led the way. On your journey, you quickly grabbed your mobile from the sofa. You had a couple of texts from your best friends asking about the Chemistry homework but no other notifications. It was obvious that Josh didn’t seem to care what had happened to you since your argument. Michael saw you looking at your phone and asked,

“Any news from your brother? Does he still want to castrate me?”

You giggled quietly, “Nah, I don’t think he’s gotten over the news yet,” you replied.

When you reached Michael’s room, you were surprised to see how simple it was. It was the first time you’d ever been in there and it was a simple box room with white walls decorated with a couple of band posters and a double bed with other normal pieces of furniture pressed against the walls. When you got in, you sat on the bed with your back against the headboard and watched Michael as he checked his phone on the desk.

You could see his finger scrolling through his missed messages when suddenly, “Shit,” he huffed.

“What’s up?” you asked.

“I completely forgot I had band practise today.”

“You have a band?” you asked, this was the first you’d heard of this.

“Have I not mentioned it? Well, yeah. I do. And they’re coming over in 5 minutes. Shit, I need to set up,” he said, striding over to the other side of the room and picking up a guitar with stickers stuck all over it.

“Could you carry that down for me please, Y/N?” he asked, pointing to an electric speaker that was propping his door open.

“You nodded and grabbed it by the handle and followed him down the stairs, through the kitchen, and through a door that apparently led to the garage. When you’d placed down the speaker near the closest plug socket, Michael started to fiddle with the wires, connecting it to his guitar and turning on the power.

“So tell me about this band of yours,” you said, eager to know more about them.

“We’re called 5 Seconds of Summer. It’s just me and a few mates that play music for fun,” he said, not meeting your eye.

“What are they called? You could have mentioned them to me before now so I could have memorised their names!” you said, slightly irritated.

“I don’t know why I never told you, it must have slipped my mind.” He looked up at you quickly, “It doesn’t matter anyway, I’ll introduce you when you meet them,” he replied and as if on cue, there was a knock on the door.

Next Part

Fake Cuban Sandwiches

It’s really a glorified ham&swiss sandwich, but this is something my brother loved to make when we were working from home and lacked the time/energy for cooking something complex for lunch, but wanted something a bit more sophisticated-feeling than plain sandwiches or canned meals.  I’ve been making it a lot lately because I get a killer craving for actual Cuban sandwiches but the one Cuban restaurant in my town is expensive as heck.  


  • Bread (I tend to buy sourdough for all my sandwich needs, but whatever you like to use will work - I even make a wrap version for my roommate who can’t have bread)
  • Sliced ham
  • Swiss cheese slices
  • Dill pickles (I buy them in a “chip” cut, but any style so long as it fits on the sandwich works)
  • Mustard
  • Mayo (optional)
  • Butter or something else to grease your pan


  • Knife for spreading toppings
  • A pan
  • A big plate or second pan (my brother has cast iron frying pans that are nice and heavy)
  • Some canned foods or something else heavy to help “press” your sandwich


  • Assemble your sandwich in the ratios you like (I usually use 3-4 slices of ham, a slice or two of cheese, and about 4-5 pickle chips, and put the mayo and mustard on both slices of bread personally).
  • Heat up your pan and grease it
  • Put your assembled sandwich in the pan, put a plate or second pot/pan/whatever on top of it, and put some weight on top of that to press your sandwich down
  • After a minute or two, carefully remove the weight and press (if you used a plate you might want to use tongs or a pot holder - it will be hot), and flip the sandwich in the pan
  • Replace your make-shift press, and let it toast for another minute
  • Enjoy your nice crispy sandwich (and rejoice at having a hot meal without making lots of dirty dishes to clean)
Minimum-wage offensive could speed arrival of robot-powered restaurants
Many chains are already at work looking for ways to take humans out of the picture.

Crowded. That’s how Ed Rensi remembers what life was like working at McDonald’s in 1966. There were about double the number of people working in the store — 70 or 80, as opposed to the 30 or 40 there today — because preparing the food just took a lot more doing.

“When I first started at McDonald’s making 85 cents an hour, everything we made was by hand,” Rensi said — from cutting the shortcakes to stirring syrups into the milk for shakes. Over the years, though, ingredients started to arrive packaged and pre-mixed, ready to be heated up, bagged and handed out the window.

“More and more of the labor was pushed back up the chain,” said Rensi, who went on to become chief executive of the company in the 1990s. The company kept employing more grill cooks and cashiers as it expanded, but each one of them accounted for more of each store’s revenue as more sophisticated cooking techniques allowed each to become more productive.

The industry could be ready for another jolt as a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour nears in the District and as other campaigns to boost wages gain traction around the country. About 30 percent of the restaurant industry’s costs come from salaries, so burger-flipping robots — or at least super-fast ovens that expedite the process — become that much more cost-competitive if the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is doubled.

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