NOLA Chef Nina Compton, Others Ask Biden for COVID Relief
NEW ORLEANS – 32 New Orleans bar/restaurant owners joined Nina Compton – former Top Chef contestant and James Beard Award-winning chef/owner of New Orleans’ Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro (BABs) – in asking President-elect Joe Biden to end all tariffs on European food, wine and spirits on the first day of his administration.
So far, more than 2,100 U.S. bar, restaurant, and wine businesses have signed onto the letter, which is an effort from the Coalition to Stop Restaurant Tariffs. In addition to Nina, CSRT boasts a team of top chefs and restaurateurs including the French Laundry’s Thomas Keller and farm-to-table icon Alice Waters.
From the letter:
“We ask for your help to end the restaurant tariffs. Restaurants, bars, and shops, the social heart of our local communities, cannot afford 25 percent tariffs on European food, wine, and drink products and cannot recover with them in place. Our industry needs the tariffs to end immediately.
Tariffs hurt many industries, but they hurt the hospitality industry most. As the crisis facing our industry deepens, the urgency of tariff relief grows. Our formula for survival through this economic crisis is simple: for each customer, we need to maximize sales of profit drivers like wine, and minimize the cost of inputs like cheese, olive oil, meat, and other food. These expensive tariffs make that impossible.
We are gravely concerned that given the uncertain prospects for bilateral negotiations, tariff relief may not come until well into 2021, or later. The United States and European Union remain far apart on even basic elements of the dispute, and negotiations, however well-intentioned, may stall out simply given that the aircraft industry needs subsidies now as much as any point in history.
The restaurant tariffs have been a failure. In place for over a year, they have in no way pressured the European Union to end its aircraft subsidies, yet the Trump Administration has kept the restaurant tariffs in place even through the greatest crisis our industry has ever faced.
We ask for your help to revise the current product list and remove all food and drink products. As soon as you are able, please end the restaurant tariffs.”