Connection And Celebration At ChowNow’s First-Ever Family Meal
Photographs: Paul Quitoriano
MANHATTAN, NY (March 7, 2022) — On an early spring night, guests filed in through the graffitied door of Indian restaurant GupShup and traveled upstairs past cascading pendant lights for ChowNow’s first-ever Family Meal.
A Family Meal, in the restaurant industry, refers to the pre-shift ritual of the entire staff putting work aside for a moment and coming together to eat. It isn’t a formal affair, and more often than not, a family meal is about the camaraderie that’s built around a dining table–not the food on it.
This spirit of togetherness is what inspired ChowNow to kick off these hosted dinners, to be a true partner to restaurants and unite individuals in what can often be a tough and competitive industry. As restaurant operators, journalists and industry experts filled the speakeasy-like room, the long table came alive with an all-night feast of delicious food and good company.
Anna Tauzin, ChowNow’s Senior Director of Industry Relations, opened the dinner with a toast to the temerity of those around the table, celebrating the work that so often stays behind the scenes.
Throughout the night, guests shared the struggles their businesses, staff and friends have faced, but they also connected over brighter themes like kids, pets, and travel as the topics ranged beyond work. The vaccine mandate for indoor dining had just been dropped, and there was an optimism about the coming spring and returning sense of normalcy.
“Restaurants are not only an economic engine, but they’re also part of the social fabric of our communities,” said Andrew Rigie, Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, who also attended the Family Meal.
Rigie has been a key figure in helping the city’s restaurants and venues recover from the pandemic. “The pandemic showed us how critical it is for our industry to organize and advocate for our businesses and to support one another as we rebuild for the future,” he emphasized.
The evening at GupShup continued with nonstop courses and pairings from the kitchen—a dal appetizer, a butter chicken dish, a goat curry—as the owners even joined the table at the end to sit with their happy guests. The chef’s-choice selection of desserts, topped with coconut ice cream, finished the night, and conversations were carried outside as people headed for the final trains to take them home.
Following the dinner in New York, ChowNow looks forward to bringing these Family Meals to more partners in more cities this coming year. Dinners like these are what sets ChowNow apart as a company that truly does put restaurants and their people first.
As Tauzin puts it–“We’re not just in the food business, we’re in the people business.”
Photos by Paul Quitoriano