Welcome to Appetizers, OpenTable’s column that aims to uplift and motivate with a regular roundup of the most inspiring food-world news of the moment. Start your weekend with the things that are making us laugh, cry, think, and just plain hungry for more.
Making Us … Hungry
Black Restaurant Weeks have arrived across the United States, a time for celebrating the flavors of African American, African, and Caribbean cuisines while also supporting Black-owned businesses. See and book a reservation at restaurants participating in cities around the U.S. — from Swift Cafe in Los Angeles to Hen Quarter near Washington D.C. — so you can dig into delicious dishes and discover the range of options out there curated by Black Restaurant Week.
Making Us … Excited
It’s almost Top Chef season! The beloved chef competition show has started filming season 18, this time in Portland and with a few new changes. Tom Colicchio is still the show’s head judge, alongside judge Gail Simmons and host Padma Lakshmi, but now a rotating cast of past winners and finalists will fill out the rest of the judges’ seats this year. Expect appearances from Richard Blais, Carrie Baird, Nina Compton, Tiffany Derry, Gregory Gourdet, Melissa King, Kristen Kish, Edward Lee, Kwame Onwuachi, Amar Santana, Dale Talde, and Brooke Williamson.
Can’t get enough Top Chef? Check out OpenTable’s Dish It series, where former cheftestants show us where they are now.
Making Us … Hopeful
The RESTAURANTS Act — a bi-partisan proposal that could give restaurants the lifeline they need through a $120 billion grant program meant to aid independent restaurants with paying rent, employees, and bills — is picking up steam. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed the Act last week, saying, “I think it’s important to do … restaurants are our community life.” The Act is currently up for consideration in the Senate. Send a pre-written letter to your local representatives urging them to pass this vital legislation.
Making Us … Crave a Burger