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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Bump in the Beltway: "New Paradigm"

Thanks to Melanie from Bump in the Beltway for this cross-post!

Anti-Fast Food in France
By Grant Rosenberg/Paris

Arriving on a motorcycle, wearing jeans and a carrying a backpack, Alain Cojean is hardly the image of a Paris restaurant mogul. But then again the 45-year-old with an unassuming but frenetic demeanor hasn't created your typical Paris eatery. On an unusually warm April morning across the street from the Louvre, in a former tea salon in a building built in the mid-19th century, he is inspecting progress on the construction of what will be the newest location
of his namesake fast-food restaurant. Five or six weeks from now, the team of workers sanding and drilling will give way to crowds of customers ready to sample the fresh foods served quickly, with a focus on nutrition, in a modern, smoke-free environment that has become the trademark of Cojean. Since opening his first restaurant in 2001, he has expanded his chain to nine locations, mostly clustered in the office-heavy 8th and 9th Arrondissements of the French capital. And
he's done it all without any advertising.

The restaurant chain's popularity is proof that in a city famous for its smoky brasseries and aloof,
bow-tied waiters serving up artery-clogging dishes, there are citizens hungry for alternatives. Until Cojean, Parisian lunchers who didn't have time for hour-long steak-frites meals were mostly limited to baguette sandwiches on the run or the international fast food chains hardly noted for their selection of nutritional offerings. But now Cojean, with his vegetable-packed toasted sandwiches, chicken curry wraps and salmon and quinoa salads, is the de facto godfather of a near-movement. In the last few years, other like-minded, health-conscious fast food
restaurants have sprouted up around town, with easy-to-pronounce, linguistically neutral names like Bioboa, Noon, Jour and the deliciously provocative Eatme. The Belgian chain Exki (motto: "natural, fresh & ready") opened their first location in France last August — also in Paris's financial district. All of these places emphasize fresh products, clearly labeled ingredients and absolutely nothing fried.

I can't wait until we get something like this here. I go to fast food restaurants maybe twice a year when I'm really pushed for time and I'd love to have choices greater than prepackaged salads. We've got a bit more choice with chains like Chipotle Grill and Baja Fresh. I'd love to be able to pop in a quick place and pick up a grilled chicken wrap and a fistful of fresh vegetables. Here's the menu at Cojean (.pdf) I can read enough culinary french to know that I want to eat there. This would sell in the US. Cosi is the closest thing we have here, and I just got a new one down the street, which I'm going to try tomorrow.

- posted by Bump in the Beltway's Melanie

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