David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

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Peter Muto
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David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#1 Post by Peter Muto » February 21st, 2019, 10:06 am

My Restaurant Was the Greatest Show of Excess You’d Ever Seen, and It Almost Killed Me
https://www.bonappetit.com/story/david-mcmillan-sober

Very interesting read written by David McMillan of Joe Beef in Montreal speaking about his new sobriety and the effect it has had in the kitchen and his staff, including working on a new inititative to get mental health services to people in the restaurant industry.

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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#2 Post by C. Mc Cart » February 21st, 2019, 10:32 am

Recall they both gave up drinking over the past year. There's a good Joe Rogen show (video is on youtube) they did a few months back. A fair bit of chat about drinking, Bourdain (since they all knew him pretty well), excess, and the vicious circle guys like that can get into.
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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#3 Post by Corey N. » February 21st, 2019, 10:44 am

Pretty common in the industry. A chef friend posted the story on his Facebook page -- he admitted he lived the life.
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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#4 Post by James Cross » February 21st, 2019, 11:27 am

I've heard somms describe themselves as "functioning alcoholics." They are around booze all the time. The crazy hours don't help.

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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#5 Post by David K o l i n » February 21st, 2019, 11:32 am

Gotta pace yourself. Two of my biggest fears are having to give up drink, on the one hand, and hangovers, on the other. I know that moderation is difficult for many. I’m happy they’ve found their control. That said, it saddens me that I will never be able to share a night of bacchanalia with them. Looked like great fun
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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#6 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » February 21st, 2019, 12:52 pm

To paraphrase what I said on a friend’s page about this: He seemed to be so caught up in the excess that he didn’t know how bad he really was.

I have several friends in the industry who have sobered up in the past year and others who are being more open regarding issues like anxiety and depression, which are easy to self-medicate with alcohol. It’s good for them and good for the industry. NYC has some good industry support networks.

For me, age has caught up and I have come around to the fact that I just can’t rage like I used to. I’ve been mostly on the wagon for a couple of months due to illness. I’ve found it surprisingly easy to just taste and spit in work settings, and go light or do some tasting and spitting at wine dinners.
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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#7 Post by TimF » February 22nd, 2019, 7:42 pm

I loved watching them when they did shows. I wanted to join those meals. The grass is always greener, right? I ate at Joe Beef with my family a couple of years ago. One of the best meals of my life.

When I get to the point where foie gras is “meh”, cut me off...
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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#8 Post by alan weinberg » February 23rd, 2019, 8:16 am

TimF wrote:
February 22nd, 2019, 7:42 pm
I loved watching them when they did shows. I wanted to join those meals. The grass is always greener, right? I ate at Joe Beef with my family a couple of years ago. One of the best meals of my life.

When I get to the point where foie gras is “meh”, cut me off...
I have a picture of the owner next to my wife. She looks like an ant next to a mountain. Glad he has sorted out his life. It’s a great restaurant.

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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#9 Post by Chris S p i k e s » February 23rd, 2019, 10:40 am

TimF wrote:
February 22nd, 2019, 7:42 pm
I loved watching them when they did shows. I wanted to join those meals. The grass is always greener, right? I ate at Joe Beef with my family a couple of years ago. One of the best meals of my life.

When I get to the point where foie gras is “meh”, cut me off...
For most of us, it would be a special occasion of excess. For those guys (and many others, I'm sure), it was a daily lifestyle with everyone there for a special occasion experience. Works for the visitor, but eventually kills the host.

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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#10 Post by C. Mc Cart » February 23rd, 2019, 10:44 am

Dave's rant in the middle of the new "apocalypse" book about natural wines (not only being superior, but non natural wines being inferior) really comes across as preachy. Obviously written while he was still drinking, and is an example of how both Fred, but especially Dave, have a history of being dismissive about things they don't agree with.
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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#11 Post by Victor Hong » February 24th, 2019, 10:03 am

My college friend, Charlie Trotter, died of a stroke while young.
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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#12 Post by Peter Muto » February 24th, 2019, 11:41 am

C. Mc Cart wrote:
February 23rd, 2019, 10:44 am
Dave's rant in the middle of the new "apocalypse" book about natural wines (not only being superior, but non natural wines being inferior) really comes across as preachy. Obviously written while he was still drinking, and is an example of how both Fred, but especially Dave, have a history of being dismissive about things they don't agree with.
I haven't read the book but I suppose you have to read it bearing in mind they sell natural wines.

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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#13 Post by julianseersmartin » February 27th, 2019, 10:34 am

C. Mc Cart wrote:
February 23rd, 2019, 10:44 am
Dave's rant in the middle of the new "apocalypse" book about natural wines (not only being superior, but non natural wines being inferior) really comes across as preachy. Obviously written while he was still drinking, and is an example of how both Fred, but especially Dave, have a history of being dismissive about things they don't agree with.
Yeah, it's ingrained in their personalities. The step change in attitude since going sober is basically zero - one extreme to another extreme. I mean good for them, but the charm of what they do/did is at risk should sobriety become a core component of who they are. I hope it doesn't define them as I want to make it to Joe Beef before those changes inevitably trickle down.

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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#14 Post by G. Keeler » February 27th, 2019, 12:40 pm

I've known a few people in the wine world that were living a life of excess and had to pull back or stop all together. The Joe Beef story reminded me of a guy I knew when I lived in London that went from 0 to 100 really fast. He joined our monthly offline group not knowing much about wine and within a short period of time he was offlining 5-6 times a week while eating 5-6 rich, Michelin starred meals a week. He had the funds and amassed a 2k bottle cellar pretty quickly filled with all the big names from Bordeaux, Burg and Champagne. Similar to the story above he confessed after a while constantly chasing that next big thing there was nothing left to chase and he was not excited about drinking his 5th DRC for the week or eating another 7 course meal after the 5 course meal he had the day before. Not only was he not excited anymore, but the food and wine took a toll on him physically. Just like anything it shows you need that right balance. He ended up dropping out of wine for a while, got into cycling but last I heard from him he has found that balance. Offlines once a month with a regular group, travels a bit, mainly into Italian producers at the moment which he visits on his regular cycling trips to Italy.
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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#15 Post by C. Mc Cart » February 27th, 2019, 1:35 pm

The latest Chef's Table season on Netflix has one with Sean Brock. He touches on his recent sobriety a bit as well.

Most here may recall the Parts Unknown Charleston episode (the infamous play on the same Chef's Table Vivaldi theme music at Waffle House). In that episode Brock was proud of his traveller bourbon bottle (It's plastic so it won't break!) and appeared to use Bourbon in a similar way as oxygen.
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Re: David McMillan (Joe Beef) on how excess nearly killed him

#16 Post by Victor Hong » March 1st, 2019, 7:12 am

Years of trade events aggregate, to enable seeing that over-indulgence can exact a toll.
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