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Robot chefs, 10 best American restaurants, Whole Foods boycott

Meal-o-matic: is this the future of food?

Meal-o-matic: is this the future of food? (Photo by Bonnie Burton)

• Chinese restaurant chain I Robot is being picketed by chefs who say their robot counterparts—which each do the job of five humans—are putting them out of work. The restaurants in Guangxi province need only one lonely food chopper to stock ingredients; the robots prepare whatever the waiter punches into a computer. Manager Huang Xianghao had discouraging words for the disgruntled chefs: “The robot chefs are more efficient and hygienic. And they don’t complain.” [Austrian Times]

Bon Appetit has named its favourite 10 new American restaurants and recommended dishes to try at each. Manhattan didn’t make the cut, but Brooklyn’s No. 7 represented the five NYC boroughs with its pumpkin seed–crusted tofu. The clam and calamari seafood stew got Mado of Chicago on the list, alongside Hungry Mother in Cambridge, The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland and Bar Jules in San Francisco. [Canadian Press]

Whole Foods is facing a boycott after CEO John Mackey wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal that proposed a free-market alternative to Barack Obama’s health care plan. Pickets were set up outside stores from New York to Texas on Monday, while protestors on Twitter told the president’s supporters to shop elsewhere. Apparently the true test of Obamacare is not congressional scrutiny but whether or not affluent liberals can give up organic frisée. [BBC]

• A doctors’ group in Ottawa wants smoking banned from open-air patios, much like it is in Vancouver, Calgary and Thunder Bay. Diane Deans, the Ottawa councillor in charge of protective services, thinks the ban is unnecessary because she hasn’t received many calls from citizens concerned about second-hand smoke. Now that he’s triumphed over plastic bags, we can’t help but wonder if David Miller will start protecting us from errant patio smokers, too. [Owen Sound Sun-Times]

Room, Living Room, Lounge, Bar and Kitchen, Dining Room, Kitchen W8: London restaurants sure seem to struggle with original names, says blogger Jay Rayner, adding that owners should either stick to ingredient monikers (Fat Duck, Pig’s Ear) or try the eponymous approach (Chez Bruce, Gordon Ramsay). Might we suggest the esoteric French verb approach instead? Batifole (to frolic, to lark, to play about) sounds a lot better than The Slug and Lettuce. [Guardian