Oprah, Bourdain, Trump and More: The Biggest Food Stories of 2015 from Oprah, Bourdain, Trump and More: The Biggest Food Stories of 2015

Oprah, Bourdain, Trump and More: The Biggest Food Stories of 2015

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Oprah, Bourdain, Trump and More: The Biggest Food Stories of 2015

Photo Modified: Flickr / Michael Saechang / CC BY-SA 4.0

Oprah, Bourdain, Trump and More: The Biggest Food Stories of 2015

Now is a fascinating time to be a food lover. From wild innovations to controversial statements, from criminal wrongdoing to huge mergers, it seems as if every day there’s a food-related news story that’s making headlines. These were the 15 biggest food stories of 2015.

Chefs Versus Trump

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Chefs Versus Trump

After Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump made disparaging comments about Mexicans, chefs Geoffrey Zakarian and José Andrés, who both were planning on opening restaurants inside a forthcoming Trump-owned D.C. hotel, backed out. Trump sued them both for $10 million. 

And Vice Versa

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And Vice Versa

Andres and Zakarian went on to countersue Trump; Andrés called trump a “clever maniac.”

Asparagus Water?

Asparagus Water?

Whole Foods really outdid itself when someone at a Los Angeles location thought it would be a good idea to stick a few stalks of asparagus in a bottle of water and sell it for $6. The photo, which sums up everything that detractors don’t like about Whole Foods, quickly went viral. 

What Asparagus Water?

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What Asparagus Water?

Whole Foods quickly removed the product from its shelves, claiming that the water was supposed to be infused with asparagus, not to just have the stalks floating in it. 

Flynn McGarry

Flynn McGarry

Flynn McGarry

A teenage chef “prodigy,” Flynn McGarry, opened a Manhattan restaurant called Eureka, where he serves a 14-course tasting menu. Reviews were generally negative, with the New York Post curmudgeonly Steve Cuozzo calling it “proof kids should stay out of the kitchen.”

McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast

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McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast

In perhaps the biggest news in the fast food world since Taco Bell rolled out its breakfast menu, McDonald’s announced that in an effort to turn around flagging sales, they’d be rolling out breakfast all day, something that fans had been clamoring for for years. 

McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast

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McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast

The innovation was an instant hit, luring in customers clamoring for Egg McMuffins and other breakfast menu favorites. Sadly,  egg white items and  the steak, egg, and cheese McMuffin aren’t available. 

Cheese as Addictive as Morphine?

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Cheese as Addictive as Morphine?

Love cheese? It was proposed this year that it’s as addictive as morphine. "In cheese, we get massive concentrations of fat and salt, which our highly evolved brains continue to love,” Dr. Neal Barnard told Thrillist. “Combine this with the opioid-like casomorphins, and cheese suddenly goes from 'very delicious' to 'obscenely tempting.”

Oprah Buys into Weight Watchers

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Oprah Buys into Weight Watchers

Oprah Winfrey purchased a ten-percent stake in the struggling Weight Watchers for $43.2 million, also becoming a board member and adviser. 

Weight Watchers Plumps Up

Weight Watchers®

Weight Watchers Plumps Up

News of the transaction was an immediate boon to Weight Watchers stock, and Winfrey’s investment yielded her a nearly-immediate profit of $72 million

McDonald’s Tries to Up Its Sales…

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McDonald’s Tries to Up Its Sales…

McDonald’s has been in the news nearly every day for the past couple years, for everything from fancy new burgers to cage-free eggs. This “throwing everything against the wall” approach, helped along by all-day breakfast, finally yielded fruit for the chain this year, when it was announced that sales were seeing significant growth for the first time in two years.

…And It Works

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…And It Works

New CEO Steve Easterbrook announced that net income during 2015’s third quarter rose 23 percent, to $1.31 billion. 

Does Bacon Cause Cancer?

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Does Bacon Cause Cancer?

Bacon lovers everywhere had reason to freak out in October, when the World Health Organization listed processed meat, including bacon, as a carcinogenic substance. 

Well, Yes and No

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Well, Yes and No

However, it’s important not to take the story out of context; Processed meat isn’t nearly as carcinogenic as smoking; it offers the same level of danger as sunlight radiation, air pollution, salted fish, and alcohol. 

Whole Foods Listeria

 Whole Foods

Whole Foods Listeria

Whole Foods didn’t have a great year from a PR standpoint. The grocer was forced to recall 500 pounds of blue cheese, curry chicken salad, and pasta salad after they were discovered to contain listeria. 

Whole Foods Was the Only One Who Suffered

Whole Foods

Whole Foods Was the Only One Who Suffered

There were no reports of the food making anybody sick, but the recall caused the company’s stock to slide by five percent. 

American Egg Board vs. Hampton Creek

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American Egg Board vs. Hampton Creek

The egg lobby appears to have it out for Hampton Creek, the company responsible for the popular vegan mayonnaise called Just Mayo. After the American Egg Board was suspected of using public funds to convince the rest of the food industry to reject the product, the USDA has stepped in to investigate potential wrongdoing. The FDA also got involved in August, warning Hampton Creek that calling their product “mayo” was misleading, but they’ve since backtracked.

Bourdain Versus Trump

 Travel Channel

Bourdain Versus Trump

The always-outspoken Anthony Bourdain waded into the Trump fray after the candidate proposed deporting millions of Mexicans. “The backbone of the industry — meaning most of the people in my experience cooking, preparing your food,” Bourdain said. “Twenty of those years in this business I was an employer, I was a manager employer. Never, in any of those years, not once, did anyone walk into my restaurant — any American-born kid — walk into my restaurant and say I’d like a job as a night porter or a dishwasher. Even a prep cook — [there were] few and far between. Just not willing to start at the bottom like that.”

Anheuser-Busch Inbev Acquires SABMiller

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Anheuser-Busch Inbev Acquires SABMiller

After a long negotiation process, Anheuser-Busch Inbev acquired rival brewer SABMiller for $106 billion, creating the largest brewery in the world, and the fifth largest maker of goods of any kind by revenue.

Vetri Sells to Urban Outfitters

Vetri / Facebook

Vetri Sells to Urban Outfitters

Marc Vetri is one of Philadelphia’s (and America’s) most prominent chefs, so it’s no surprise that it sent shockwaves through both the retail and culinary worlds when he sold his restaurants, including Lo Spiedo, Alla Spina, and Pizzeria Vetri, to Urban Outfitters. His flagship restaurant, Vetri, will remain under his control, thankfully. 

Jared Fogle Charged with Heinous Crimes

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Jared Fogle Charged with Heinous Crimes

Subway Spokesman Jared Fogle, who famously lost a ton of weight by eating only Subway sandwiches, was arrested and dropped by the chain after being charged with child-pornography related crimes. 

Jared Fogle Sent to Prison

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Jared Fogle Sent to Prison

After pleading guilty to charges of child pornography and sex with minors, Fogle was sentenced to 15 years in prison

Chipotle E. Coli

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Chipotle E. Coli

43 locations of Chipotle in Oregon and Washington were shut down after the restaurants were linked to an E. coli outbreak, and just when it appeared like the outbreak was contained, more infections cropped up, as far away as a norovirus outbreak in Boston.

Damage Control

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Damage Control

In order to do damage control, Chipotle CEO Steve Ells took out full-page ads in newspapers and appeared on the Today Show to offer an apology. As of press time, there were more than 170 sickened customers and 60 restaurant closures.

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Oprah, Bourdain, Trump and More: The Biggest Food Stories of 2015