The Week in Ideas, June 15, 2012

In this week’s installment chefs raise their voices, a serial dine and dasher keeps on dining and dashing, a charge for dirty dishes and the metaphorical potential of an unpaid tab.

Idea #1: Join forces against fracking. The restaurant industry is coming together and raising its voice against the environmentally damaging gas-drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing. More than 90 high-profile chefs, food suppliers and industry groups have signed on to a petition lobbying New York Governor Mario Cuomo to ban the practice. “This goes beyond affecting chefs,” Bill Telepan of Telepan Restaurant told The New York Times. “It could have a huge impact on those who live in upstate New York. The drinking water, and the land, and the food upstate will be affected­—and then all of us will be affected.”

Idea #2: Banning dine-and-dashers doesn’t work. After being charged with skipping out on restaurant tabs 86 times in Britain, Christopher Travis was banned from entering any restaurant in the country. He’s since been caught dining and dashing another 13 times.

Idea #3: Paying for dirty dishes. Another idea from across the pond. UK food-delivery company Housebites will—for an extra £5—deliver dirty pots and pans to leave in your kitchen, so when your dinner guests arrive they think you did all the cooking. Well Bob’s your uncle, as our British cousins would say.

Idea #4: Restaurant tabs are a metaphor. And speaking of dine and dash, President Obama last week accused the GOP of pulling off the greatest D&D in history. Pointing out to donors in Baltimore that he’d inherited a trillion dollar deficit from his predecessor, Obama explained that "it's like somebody goes to a restaurant, orders a big steak dinner, martini all that stuff ... And then just as you're sitting down ... they leave ... and accuse you of running up the tab."






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