Vegan food activists call for boycott of Amy’s kitchen following complaints from Bay Area factory workers

Supermarket customers across the country rely on Amy’s Kitchen, the Santa Rosa-based vegetarian frozen food company, for an inexpensive burrito or bowl of mac and cheese when cooking seems a little too daunting. Now workers and activists say Amy’s has relied too heavily on its employees, putting them at risk in favor of faster production. The vegetarian time reports that since the first complaints were made public in January, calls for a boycott have gained momentum. At the end of February, groups including Vegetarian mijasa vegan collective for women and non-binary people of color, and Food Empowerment Projecta vegan food justice organization, encouraged customers to stop supporting Amy’s until the injury and overwork claims are taken seriously by the company.

The company, for its part, disputes the wide range of demands made by the workers. “We are saddened to learn that some of our employees may have had a bad experience with us,” company human resources director Mike Resch wrote in a statement.. During the first week of March, another company representative explained to vegetarian time that a third-party audit found that workers, mostly Latin women, were misrepresenting working conditions at Amy’s. In the same email, however, the representative claimed that the company had also (while admitting no wrongdoing) invested in “new equipment, practices and cultural changes to provide safe working conditions and reduce risk of injury at work”. [Vegetarian Times]

French Laundry founder dies in Mendocino County

Although Thomas Keller gets much of the fame from the work of Yountville restaurant, the French Laundry, he has occasionally reminded fans that it was the Schmitts — specifically Sally Schmitts’ kitchen — that started it all. The Mercury News reports that Sally died March 12 at her home in Philo, Calif., at the age of 90. In 1980, before the Shmitts were sold to Keller in 1994, Sally told the the Chronicle how surprised she was to see a few San Franciscans making the trip to Napa to eat at her restaurant, a prophetic observation. [Mercury News]

A former professional clarinetist turns to baking

Marin County’s Bedstone Baking pop-up is run by Dan Ferreira, who has spent most of his working life playing the clarinet. The Independent Sailor describes Ferreira as a pastry enthusiast who always had an eye for bread, taking classes without working at the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Now that he’s a full-time baker, Ferreira is better known for his Bavarian-style pretzels than his work as a music librarian. [Marin Independent Journal]

The house of a famous food writer opens its doors to visits

In 2017, the Nuns Fire took Sonoma County to task with such force that plans to renovate MFK Fisher’s last home, the name she gave her last home, were put on ice. Now the the Chronicle reports that the curators of Last House have completed the renovation and plan to hold events in the space. Alice Waters and Herb Caen were just a few of the famous guests to dine or cook at Last House. [Chronicle]

Mission District loses Queen of Donuts to diabetes at 63

Chanrith Pak started Jelly Donut and many other donut businesses in Northern California, and made sure customers could get a donut 365 days a year. local mission covers the loss of the Donut Dynasty and how much it meant to the children, Victor Nhul and Kannyka Nhul, who now operate the store. Pak died peacefully while watching Cambodian television news at her home on February 20. [Mission Local]


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Tanya S. Norvell