Have You Eaten Yet?

Florida Restaurants: COVID style + Racism & Cultural Appropriation

October 30, 2020 Kassata Bollman Episode 3
Have You Eaten Yet?
Florida Restaurants: COVID style + Racism & Cultural Appropriation
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Today's guest is South Florida attorney Nydia Streets. 

With Florida restaurants at 100% capacity for indoor dining, Nydia tells us about her journey dining out during COVID.  

She also discusses a recent trip to Disney World. 

Then we dive into racism & cultural appropriation in the restaurant industry.  


[[MUSIC]]


WELCOME! 

I’M KASSATA BOLLMAN. 

TODAY MY GUEST IS MY FRIEND NYDIA STREETS. 

I MET NYDIA MANY YEARS AGO…. BACK IN COLLEGE WHEN WE WERE INTERNING AT NBC NIGHTLY NEWS. 

NOW NYDIA IS AN ATTORNEY. SHE FOUNDED STREETS LAW A FEW YEARS AGO. HER FAMILY & DIVORCE LAW FIRM SERVES SOUTH FLORIDA…..BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS PODCAST….NYDIA HAS ALWAYS LOVED GOOD FOOD….WHETHER IT’S NY OR MIAMI A GOOD MEAL IS ALWAYS SOMETHING THAT WE SHARE WHEN WE’RE TOGETHER..…...SO I’LL START BY ASKING YOU NYDIA  “HAVE YOU EATEN YET?


[[NYDIA DISCUSSES]]


DINING OUT IN SOUTH FLORIDA  AKA 100% CAPACITY:


SO UNLIKE NY WHERE DEPENDING ON YOUR LOCATION IT’S EITHER 25% OR 50% CAPACITY FOR INDOOR DINING...IN FLORIDA IT’S 100% CAPACITY…...THAT INCLUDES RESTAURANTS & CLUBS…..SO I’M SO CURIOUS TO HEAR FROM YOU NYDIA ….I SAW THAT YOU DINED OUT AT A RESTAURANT RECENTLY….I’D LOVE FOR YOU TO TAKE LISTENERS THERE…..PLAY BY PLAY….DID YOU MAKE RESERVATIONS IN ADVANCE? FROM THE TIME THAT YOU ENTERED AND WERE SEATED….WHAT WAS IT LIKE FROM START TO FINISH & WHAT STOOD OUT TO YOU?


[[NYDIA DISCUSSES]]


COVID’S IMPACT ON LIFE IN MIAMI:


AS A NEW YORKER WHEN I HEAR OF 100% CAPACITY, I THINK LIFE MUST BE BACK TO NORMAL IN FLORIDA…...NYDIA IN YOUR OPTION, HAS  COVID CHANGED MIAMI? THE NEXT TIME I VISIT WHAT MIGHT SURPRISE ME….. IF ANYTHING?


[[NYDIA DISCUSSES]]


GOING TO DISNEY WORLD DURING COVID:

OBVIOUSLY 2020 HAS BEEN HARD …..I’M SURE EVERYONE WOULD LIKE TO ESCAPE TO THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH…...BUT YOU ACTUALLY DID…….YOU & YOUR BEAUTIFUL FAMILY WENT TO DISNEY WORLD…..AND I THINK LISTENERS WOULD FIND IT HELPFUL & INTERESTING TO HEAR WHAT THAT TRIP WAS LIKE DURING COVID…..SO JUST LIKE YOUR PLAY BY PLAY FOR DINING OUT IN MIAMI….PLEASE BREAK DOWN YOUR TRIP….HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DID YOU BUY TICKETS? WERE LINES SHORTER?…...WERE PEOPLE SOCIALLY DISTANCING? CAN YOU APPROACH CHARACTERS WALKING AROUND? WE WANT TO HEAR IT ALL….


[[NYDIA DISCUSSES]]


RACISM & RESTAURANTS

THANKS FOR ALL YOUR INSIGHT ON FLORIDA!....NOW WE’RE GOING TO TRANSITION OVER FROM THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH TO A COMPLEX ISSUE……. RACISM & RESTAURANTS….....BIG CHANGE FROM DISNEY WORLD I KNOW….BUT ON THIS PODCAST I’M OPEN & HONEST ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MY LIFE….SPECIFICALLY WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MY RESTAURANT ON ANY GIVEN DAY…..LET ME GIVE YOU SOME BACKGROUND OF WHY THIS TOPIC IS ON MY MIND…..LAST WEEK AT MY RESTAURANT A COUPLE LEFT A NOTE ON THEIR RECEIPT & HERE’S A SUMMARY OF WHAT IT SAID:


TO THE BLONDE HOSTESS: IT’S ALL ABOUT OPTICS...WE WERE 15 MINUTES EARLY TO OUR RESERVATION BUT YOU SAT OTHER PEOPLE BEFORE US & GAVE THEM A BETTER TABLE…..SIGNED: THE BLACK COUPLE….NOW THIS IS A SUMMARY….BUT THAT WAS WORD FOR WORD THEIR TAG/OR SIGNATURE ON THE NOTE…..


A LOT OF FEELINGS CAME UP FOR ME WHEN I READ THIS NOTE…...THE HOSTESS FELT HORRIBLE READING THAT NOTE...I QUICKLY SPOKE TO HER TO GET HER PERSPECTIVE….& GAVE HER SOME BROAD SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FUTURE & PEP TALK…. TO BRUSH HER SHOULDERS OFF SO WE COULD MOVE ON WITH SERVICE……


NOW I HAD MY OWN PERSPECTIVE SINCE I MADE THEIR LATTE, DELIVERED IT TO THEIR TABLE, DELIVERED THEIR FOOD TO THEIR TABLE…….AND I ALSO BUSSED & WIPED THE TABLE NEXT TO THEIRS...SO I HAD A FAIR AMOUNT OF INTERACTION WITH THEM & HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO PICK UP ON THEIR ENERGY……..


THE REASON I’M DISCUSSING WITH YOU NYDIA AND NOT FOR EXAMPLE, MY WHITE HUSBAND IS BECAUSE I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT THAT TWO WOMEN OF COLOR TACKLE THIS ISSUE & TALK ABOUT IT…..WE’VE DEALT WITH RACISM…..YOU WEREN’T THERE….AND I WASN’T THE HOSTESS THAT HELPED THEM…...BUT I’LL RECAP ALL THE DETAILS THAT I DO HAVE & GIVE YOU MY INSIGHT FROM THE BRIEF INTERACTIONS THAT I DID HAVE WITH THIS COUPLE…...ALL IN AN EFFORT TO TRY AND HAVE A FAIRLY FAIR & BALANCED CONVERSATION….


SO I’M GOING TO WEAVE IN DETAILS & MORE OF MY GENERAL PERSPECTIVE ON RESTAURANT LIFE….. TO SET THE SCENE & THEN I’LL ASK YOU TO DIVE IN NYDIA…..


FIRST: FROM A RESTAURANT STANDPOINT….WHEN YOU ARRIVE EARLY….. DEPENDING ON THE SIZE OF THE RESTAURANT & HOW BUSY THEY ARE AT THE MOMENT...ARRIVING EARLY MAY NOT BE IN YOUR FAVOR…..FOR EXAMPLE: WE’RE A SMALL 45 SEAT RESTAURANT AND WE’RE OPERATING AT 50% CAPACITY DUE TO COVID….THIS WAS ON A WEEKEND DURING OUR RUSH WHEN WE CAN’T EVEN TAKE ANY WALK-INS...WE’RE RESERVATION ONLY AT THOSE TIMES….AND RESERVATIONS WORK IN 15 MINUTE INCREMENTS FOR US….SO 10, 10:15 ETC….


SO THE OTHER PEOPLE THEY’RE REFERRING TO, WERE RESERVATIONS THAT WERE ON TIME THAT WE HAD TO SEAT AT THAT EXACT MOMENT….DESPITE THIS COUPLE BEING EARLY...THERE WAS NO WAY TO SEAT THEM AT THAT MOMENT…...MANY PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY DURING COVID WILL GO ON A WALK AND RETURN AT THEIR RESERVATION TIME IF WE TELL THEM “UNFORTUNATELY WE’RE BOOKED & CAN’T SEAT YOU AT THE MOMENT...IF YOU COME BACK AT YOUR RESERVATION TIME YOUR TABLE WILL BE ALL SET FOR YOU…..”


SECOND: AS THE HOSTESS WAS SHOWING YOU TO YOUR TABLE….IF AT THAT MOMENT YOU DIDN’T LIKE THAT TABLE…..THAT’S WHEN YOU SPEAK UP….AND WE’LL TELL YOU IF WE CAN OR CANNOT ACCOMMODATE YOUR REQUEST….YOU MIGHT POINT TO A TABLE & SAID TABLE IS NOT AVAILABLE BECAUSE EITHER SOMEONE REQUESTED THAT EXACT TABLE OR IT’S BEING USED IN CONNECTION WITH A FEW OTHER TABLES FOR  A LARGE PARTY….BUT ON THE FLIP-SIDE IF WE CAN SEAT YOU SOMEWHERE ELSE TO YOUR LIKING THEN WE’RE HAPPY TO DO JUST THAT………


SIDE-NOTE: IT’S ALL OPINION AS TO WHAT IS AND ISN’T A BAD TABLE…..WHAT I’VE LEARNED IS THAT ONE PERSON COULD ABSOLUTELY LOVE THAT TABLE & ANOTHER PERSON CAN’T STAND IT…….ALSO: WE’RE NOT MIND READERS...WE TRY TO BE….BUT IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO COMMUNICATE YOUR NEEDS….AND TO NOT JUST THINK THEM….


BACK TO THE STORY: SO THE HOSTESS IN QUESTION SEATS THEM, THEN SHE BRINGS THEM WATER….STILL….NO COMMENT TO HER ABOUT ANY DISAPPOINTMENT WITH THIS TABLE….. LET ME ALSO THROW THIS OUT THERE NYDIA….SINCE RACISM WAS CALLED INTO QUESTION…..THAT HOSTESS WAS THE ONLY WHITE STAFF MEMBER ON THE FLOOR WORKING THAT DAY…..THE REST OF US WERE ALL PEOPLE OF COLOR….JUST ANOTHER FACT TO TOSS OUT THERE….I HAVE NO IDEA IF THAT PLAYED A ROLE IN HOW THEY FELT….BUT SINCE THEY BROUGHT UP OPTICS….I FEEL THE NEED TO THROW THAT OUT THERE BECAUSE WHO KNOWS...PERHAPS THAT PLAYED A ROLE IN THEIR PERSPECTIVE…..


OK, BACK TO THE STORY: WHEN I DELIVERED THEIR LATTE THE ENERGY I PICKED UP WAS A LITTLE OFF BUT I BROUGHT POSITIVITY & IT WAS RECIPROCATED TO ME….SOME WHAT….HERE’S WHAT IT REMINDED ME OF……….DON’T LAUGH…..BUT YOU KNOW WE BOTH LOVE THE SHOW INSECURE………. REMEMBER WHEN 

ISSA BROUGHT DANIEL OUT TO EAT & HE WAS ALREADY IN A BAD MOOD AND HE WAS COMPLAINING ABOUT EVERYTHING? 

AND ISSA WAS LIKE “THERE’S JAY Z & BEYONCE...OH NO, IT’S JUST US IN THE MIRROR!” …..SHE WAS TRYING TO MAKE HIM SMILE THE ENTIRE TIME…...AND REMEMBER LATER HE WAS LIKE “SORRY I WAS JUST IN A BAD MOOD….IT DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THAT RESTAURANT.”....... THAT’S THE TYPE OF ENERGY THAT I FELT….


I FELT THAT SAME ENERGY WHEN I WAS CLEANING THE TABLE NEXT TO THEIRS……


WHEN I BROUGHT THEIR FOOD OVER…. THE ENERGY HAD SHIFTED TO MUCH MORE POSITIVE VIBES….SO AT THAT POINT I’M LIKE “OK, THEY WERE JUST HANGRY...I'VE SEEN THIS A MILLION TIMES.”


THEN THEY LEFT THEIR RECEIPT NOTE….SO NYDIA...THAT’S EVERYTHING….PLEASE DIVE IN WITH YOUR THOUGHTS….


[[NYDIA DISCUSSES]]

 

ANOTHER RACISM STORY


IN AN EFFORT TO CHEER UP MY HOSTESS I PASSED ALONG MY OWN SIMILAR STORY SO I’LL SHARE HERE TO REMIND EVERYONE THAT RACISM IS BROUGHT UP BY MANY ETHNICITIES AND IN MANY DIFFERENT SCENARIOS…….A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS AT THE HOSTESS STAND…. I DIDN’T HAVE ANY SPACE….THIS FAMILY DID NOT HAVE RESERVATIONS….I INFORMED THEM THAT WE DO NOT HAVE ANY SPACE AND ARE BOOKED WITH RESERVATIONS FOR THE NEXT 2 HOURS….THEY DIDN’T WANT TO HEAR THAT ANSWER & STARTED TO MAKE A SCENE…


THEN I HAD TO PUT MY OWNER CAP ON AND INFORMED THEM THAT I’M THE OWNER OF THIS RESTAURANT...AND I'M GOING TO NEED THEM TO LEAVE SINCE THEY WERE MAKING A SCENE….THEY INFORMED ME THAT THEY WERE CALLING THE POLICE & TELLING THEM THAT I WAS RACIST AND DISCRIMINATING AGAINST THEM….


THIS FAMILY HAPPENED TO BE GREEK…..THE POLICE CAME & HAD TO FILE A POLICE REPORT & APOLOGIZED TO ME THE ENTIRE TIME….THE POLICE OFFICER WAS LIKE 


“I  JUST WATCHED YOU SEAT 20 DIFFERENT PEOPLE...OBVIOUSLY YOU’RE NOT RACIST OR DISCRIMINATING”.....SO MY POINT IS…. PLEASE BE MINDFUL BEFORE YOU MAKE ANY ACCUSATION…..RACISM OR OTHERWISE…. 




HAVE YOU EATEN YET?


ALRIGHT NYDIA….WE’RE NOT GOING LIGHT HERE….WE’RE STAYING IN THE RACE & ACCUSATION CATEGORY…... WE’RE GOING TO COVER AN E-MAIL THAT I RECENTLY RECEIVED...I’’M GOING TO READ IT IN FULL, THEN I’M GOING TO RESPOND TO THE WRITER’S STATEMENTS….. THEN I’M GOING TO ASK FOR YOUR FEEDBACK...ALRIGHT HERE WE GO….. DIVING INTO ANOTHER COMPLEX ISSUE...THIS IS THE E-MAIL I RECEIVED WORD FOR WORD:


HAVE YOU EATEN YET? THIS IS THE MOST COMMON GREETING IN CHINESE, VIETNAMESE AND OTHER ASIAN CULTURES. 

I AM SURE YOU HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS AND REASONS FOR CHOOSING THIS NAME, AND TOOK TIME TO THINK OF IT, LAUNCH IT, AND CLAIM THE ACCOUNTS. 

REGARDLESS OF YOUR INTENTION, AS A WHITE-PASSING PERSON, YOUR PODCAST NAME IS A FORM OF CULTURAL APPROPRIATION. 

ASIAN VOICES ARE CONTINUOUSLY BEING ERASED FROM FOOD MEDIA AND FOODSERVICE. IF YOU CARE ABOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE LIKE YOU MENTION IN YOUR PODCAST INTRO, PLEASE CHANGE YOUR PODCAST NAME. THIS PODCAST NAME SHOULD BELONG TO A PERSON WHO USED THIS PHRASE GROWING UP AS PART OF THEIR CULTURE. 



HERE’S MY RESPONSE...AND I SAY THIS ALL WITH RESPECT…..


FIRST: I PRETTY MUCH SAID HER OPENING SENTENCE…. LINE FOR LINE IN MY FIRST EPISODE...I BROKE DOWN THE PHRASE, THE MEANING, THE ORIGIN & MY GOAL IN USING IT.


  • AND YES, I DO HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS & REASONS FOR CHOOSING THE NAME & EXPLAINED THOSE REASONS IN THE FIRST EPISODE.


  • WITH RESPECT, YOU DON’T KNOW ME. WHY ARE YOU CALLING ME A WHITE-PASSING PERSON? 

NOT THAT IT'S ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS BUT MY FATHER IS AFRICAN AMERICAN & MY MOTHER IS CAUCASIAN. 

PLEASE TELL LITTLE 8 YEAR OLD ME WHO WAS CALLED THE N WORD ON THE PLAYGROUND THAT I WAS A WHITE-PASSING PERSON….THAT WAS JUST THE FIRST TIME THAT I WAS CALLED THAT RACIST WORD….YOU DON’T KNOW MY STRUGGLES IN LIFE OR HOW I IDENTIFY.


  • ASIAN VOICES ARE CONTINUOUSLY BEING ERASED FROM FOOD MEDIA AND FOODSERVICE….TO THAT I SAY YES, AND SO ARE BLACK & HISPANIC & INDIAN & REALLY THE LIST GOES ON AND ON AND ON…. AS FAR AS ALL THE VOICES ERASED FROM THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY & FOOD MEDIA….WHICH IS JUST ONE REASON WHY THIS WOMAN OF COLOR STARTED THIS PODCAST…….  


  •  IF YOU CARE ABOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE LIKE YOU MENTION IN YOUR PODCAST INTRO, PLEASE CHANGE YOUR PODCAST NAME. …..WITH RESPECT, I WILL NOT BE CHANGING MY PODCAST NAME……


  • THIS PODCAST NAME SHOULD BELONG TO A PERSON WHO USED THIS PHRASE GROWING UP AS PART OF THEIR CULTURE…...SO YOU’RE SAYING SINCE I DIDN’T GROW UP USING THIS PHRASE & BECAUSE I’M NOT ASIAN…..I CAN’T HAVE THIS PODCAST?...I’M A WOMAN OF COLOR RESTAURATEUR TRYING TO TALK ABOUT THIS INDUSTRY & BRING LOTS OF DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES….NOT JUST THE SAME WHITE MALE ENERGY THAT THIS INDUSTRY IS OFTEN TIED TO…...BUT SINCE I’M NOT ASIAN….I SHOULDN’T HAVE THIS PODCAST……OBVIOUSLY I DISAGREE…..



MY GOAL IS NOT TO DIVORCE HISTORY & ERASE THE CONTRIBUTIONS AND LIVES OF ASIAN LEADERS IN THE CULINARY WORLD…...….

THIS PODCAST WAS CREATED TO TAKE THE TIME TO EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF INGREDIENTS OF ALL TYPES..…..WE NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE THINGS COME FROM & DISCUSS THEIR ORIGINS.


WE NEED TO DRASTICALLY CHANGE THE ENTIRE DYNAMIC OF WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING IN AN EXTREMELY WHITE-WASHED INDUSTRY….


MY GOAL IS TO DISCUSS ALL CULTURAL INFLUENCES INCLUDING MY OWN HERITAGE AND HAVE AN OPEN APPROACH TO FOOD, PEOPLE, THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY & EXPAND THE CONVERSATION FOR THE GREATER GOOD….. 


THERE ARE MANY LEVELS OF CULTURAL APPROPRIATION... BUT IN MY EYES THE BASIC DEFINITION WOULD BE: TAKING INTERESTING IDEAS FROM ANY CULTURE, DILUTING THEM INTO A FORM THAT YOU CAN MASS MARKET & MAKE MONEY FROM…. ALL WHILE NOT ACKNOWLEDGING THEIR ORIGIN...THIS IS NOT THE GOAL OF MY PODCAST….MY GOAL IS THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE.


ALRIGHT, NYDIA I’VE SAID MY PIECE...I'D LIKE TO HAND OVER THE MIC TO YOU...I’M CURIOUS OF YOUR OPINION, ESPECIALLY AS A WOMAN WHOSE MOTHER IS CHINESE & FATHER IS AFRICAN AMERICAN...YOU HAVE A UNIQUE POINT OF VIEW….ALSO WONDERING IF YOU GREW UP HEARING THIS PHRASE…..ALSO, WONDERING WHAT IT’S LIKE BEING CHINESE & BLACK IN AMERICA ?


[[NYDIA DISCUSSES]]

 

NYDIA THANKS FOR DISCUSSING ALL THESE BIG ISSUES WITH ME …..IT WAS COMPLEX & UNCOMFORTABLE AT TIMES….BUT REALLY IMPORTANT TO DISCUSS & PUT OUT INTO THE WORLD….SO THANK YOU FOR BEING OPEN & HONEST…...


I LIKE ENDING THE PODCAST ASKING IF THERE’S ANY TAKEAWAY THAT YOU’D LIKE TO LEAVE WITH LISTENERS…..THAT CAN POSITIVELY INFLUENCE THEIR LIVES….. 

IT COULD BE SOMETHING THAT WE JUST DISCUSSED, A PRO TIP…. OR GENERAL LIFE ADVICE THAT YOU LIVE BY, YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW AT THE MOMENT, A BOOK WE SHOULD ALL KNOW ABOUT ? A PLACE WE SHOULD VISIT AROUND THE WORLD? A FOOD WE SHOULD EAT? …..ANYTHING……..


[[NYDIA DISCUSSES]]


…...THANKS FOR LISTENING….AND IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY….... SUBSCRIBE TO “HAVE YOU EATEN YET?” ….WHEREVER YOU GET YOUR PODCASTS…...


Dining out in Florida
How COVID has changed Florida
Disney World during COVID
Racism in Restaurants
Cultural Appropriation