Chipotle and the Cult of Secular-Kosher

 

Chipotle

Is it important to you that the coffee you drink be fair trade and shade-grown? That the grapes from which your wine is made be locally-sourced? That the food you eat contain not a whiff of genetically-engineered ingredients? Welcome to the world of secular-kosher, where Judaism’s ancient dietary code for ethical eating is discarded in favor of a New Age preoccupation with feeling good about yourself and a healthy dollop of anti-Big Ag posturing.

The embodiment of secular kosher is Chipotle, which, in 2015, would seem to be hell-bent on poisoning as many of its customers as possible: a norovirus outbreak in California over the summer and another in Boston earlier this month; several cases of salmonella poisoning in Minnesota; an outbreak of E. coli in the Pacific Northwest. All three pathogens are unrelated. States which have reported food poisoning from eating at Chipotle read like a particularly grueling NBA road trip: Illinois (1), New York (1), Ohio (3), Minnesota (2), California (3) Pennsylvania (2). Bastions of progressivism Oregon (13) and Washington (27) lead the the list. The Center for Disease Control has been working overtime keeping score. As of December 18, 2015, 53 people have been infected with the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O26 bacteria.

Food with integrity.

Virtually all of Chipotle’s marketing reeks of moral exhibitionism. Far removed from the pedestrian aim of providing moderately healthy food which is tasty and safe, Chipotle would have you believe that “With every burrito we roll or bowl we fill, we’re working to cultivate a better world.”

The “better world” which Chipotle purports to strive for in its slogan places a premium on happy animals at the price of increased likelihood of poisoning people. When it says its meats are raised “responsibly” it’s meant to assuage the conscience of its agriculturally-illiterate customer base, not to reassure the rest of us that the Chipotle experience is as safe as, say, Burger King. But don’t take my word for it: its most recent annual report contained this gem: “We may be at higher risk for foodborn illness outbreaks than some of our competitors due to our use of fresh produce and meats rather than frozen and our reliance on employees cooking with traditional methods rather than automation.”

How’s that for a New Age slogan?

Chipotle has as much a knack for curious marketing as it does for food-born illness. Below are some pearls of wisdom Chipotle serves up fresh to its customers from such intellectual trendsetters such as Judd Apatow, Sarah Silverman and Toni Morrison.

I smell a Nobel Prize in my carnitas...

Chipotle's customer base is increasingly a seething hotbed of risk taking.

Note Chipotle's hilarious and characteristic lack of self-awareness.

Yes, let's.

It’s hard not to take a little pleasure in the self-induced struggles Chipotle, a company whose moral vanity represents a seamless convergence of both New Age and hippie values. According to an excellent article Henry Miller at Forbes — Chipotle: The Long Defeat Of Doing Nothing Well — the primary obstacle for Chipotle is overcoming its leap of faith that providing locally sourced, natural, and additive-free food can be scaled to work on a magnitude spanning an entire continent in which the distribution chain isn’t measured in minutes.

Until such a time that Chipotle proves it can overcome this obstacle, you’re probably safer eating at Sambo’s.

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  1. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    Chipotle’s marketing is annoying, but, dang it, their burritos are just too dang good.  I gets the cravings at least once a month.

    • #1
  2. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    “Moral exhibitionism” is the perfect description of Chipotle and every other damned trendy food thing out there.

    If food is the new sex, then Chipotle is the whorehouse where you catch the best clap.

    • #2
  3. David Deeble Member
    David Deeble
    @DavidDeeble

    Knotwise the Poet: At 2,000 calories per burrito I’d be surprised if you eat in-between.

    • #3
  4. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Knotwise the Poet:Chipotle’s marketing is annoying, but, dang it, their burritos are just too dang good. I gets the cravings at least once a month.

    You should try a local Mexican hole-in-the-wall.

    • #4
  5. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    MLH:

    Knotwise the Poet:Chipotle’s marketing is annoying, but, dang it, their burritos are just too dang good. I gets the cravings at least once a month.

    You should try a local Mexican hole-in-the-wall.

    Agreed. Chipotle is, at best, Mexican-ish food.

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    MLH:

    Knotwise the Poet:Chipotle’s marketing is annoying, but, dang it, their burritos are just too dang good. I gets the cravings at least once a month.

    You should try a local Mexican hole-in-the-wall.

    In general, a better meal for a better price. My brother and I always went to a place like that back home. “Burritos as Big as Your Head” is a great slogan.

    • #6
  7. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Rosa’s is fast food Mexican done right.

    • #7
  8. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    At least the E-coli is 100% organic.

    • #8
  9. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    I go to a gas station near my house that has the most amazing trompo tacos. Still less likely to give me food poisoning than Chipotle.

    • #9
  10. David Deeble Member
    David Deeble
    @DavidDeeble

    Just goes to show that a Mexican restaurant can be TOO authentic.

    • #10
  11. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    MLH:

    Knotwise the Poet:Chipotle’s marketing is annoying, but, dang it, their burritos are just too dang good. I gets the cravings at least once a month.

    You should try a local Mexican hole-in-the-wall.

    I’m from Yuma, Arizona.  Believe me, I’ve had plenty of good genuine Mexican food and burritos.  I don’t really see the Chipotle burrito as Mexican food (Prawn has it right with “Mexican-ish” as a descriptor), but I love how it tastes and have not found (nor think it worth the effort to seek) an exact substitute.

    • #11
  12. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Knotwise the Poet:

    MLH:

    Knotwise the Poet:Chipotle’s marketing is annoying, but, dang it, their burritos are just too dang good. I gets the cravings at least once a month.

    You should try a local Mexican hole-in-the-wall.

    I’m from Yuma, Arizona. Believe me, I’ve had plenty of good genuine Mexican food and burritos. I don’t really see the Chipotle burrito as Mexican food (Prawn has it right with “Mexican-ish” as a descriptor), but I love how it tastes and have not found (nor think it worth the effort to seek) an exact substitute.

    Cumin, lime, cilantro. Put a bunch of that on anything and it becomes Mexican-ish. But Chipotle is selling more than food. Food may be the least of what they sell.

    • #12
  13. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @WBob

    It’s not Chipotle’s fault. They’re just appealing to the moral vanity of their customers, which may become a bit more tempered when they ponder that “organic” often means fertilizing lettuce with manure.

    • #13
  14. donald todd Inactive
    donald todd
    @donaldtodd

    Chipotle is selling a position about things that are desirable to liberals.  If they happen to make food that won’t poison you, so much the better, but it is the slogans that they sell that appeal to people.

    Take that, McDonalds.

    • #14
  15. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Knotwise the Poet:

    MLH:

    Knotwise the Poet:Chipotle’s marketing is annoying, but, dang it, their burritos are just too dang good. I gets the cravings at least once a month.

    You should try a local Mexican hole-in-the-wall.

    I’m from Yuma, Arizona. Believe me, I’ve had plenty of good genuine Mexican food and burritos. I don’t really see the Chipotle burrito as Mexican food (Prawn has it right with “Mexican-ish” as a descriptor), but I love how it tastes and have not found (nor think it worth the effort to seek) an exact substitute.

    Fair enough!

    • #15
  16. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    DD,

    Dave whatever you do don’t take that IQ test or they’ll elect you to rule over them as Idiot in Chief.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #16
  17. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    What Chipotle has figured out is how to deliver burritos with McDonald’s like speed. The burritos are not any better than competitors like Baja Fresh or Quedoba but they are fast. The moral preening helps to attract a few people, but if you go into any Chipotle less than 1/4 of the people in line could give a rip that the veggies are locally sourced.*

    *On the bright side their commitment to local sourcing has kept them out of Montana. I only know Chipotle from travels, and when I am traveling it is a safe bet (maybe not safest) to pick-up something Mexicanish.

    • #17
  18. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Z in MT: but if you go into any Chipotle less than 1/4 of the people in line could give a rip that the veggies are locally sourced

    Overtly, no, but there’s enough social pressure to make it a thing.

    • #18
  19. Don Tillman Member
    Don Tillman
    @DonTillman

    I love the term secular-kosher, that’s brilliant!

    Congratulations David, I think that’s a GoogleWhack of some sort (I forget the specific rules).

    • #19
  20. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    David Deeble:

    Welcome to the world of secular-kosher, where Judaism’s ancient dietary code for ethical eating is discarded in favor of a New Age preoccupation with feeling good about yourself and a healthy dollop of anti-Big Ag posturing.

    I should have known, just another shill for big agri terrorists, trying to cover up saboteurs who are looking to take down Chipotle for its courageous stance on GMO foods. Fight the power!

    • #20
  21. David Deeble Member
    David Deeble
    @DavidDeeble

    Fantastic links, Roberto! Thanks for making me aware of them.

    • #21
  22. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Clean

    • #22
  23. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    People want to feel good about themselves, and people are unwilling to put in the hard labor to actually do things that would make the feeling genuine.

    Hence, Starbucks, Chipolte and the whole “organic” “local” movement.

    If you are a family of four living paycheck to paycheck, this is a silly luxury.

    Just another form of empty elitism for the aspiring shallow elites.

    • #23
  24. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Knotwise the Poet:

    MLH:

    Knotwise the Poet:Chipotle’s marketing is annoying, but, dang it, their burritos are just too dang good. I gets the cravings at least once a month.

    You should try a local Mexican hole-in-the-wall.

    I’m from Yuma, Arizona. Believe me, I’ve had plenty of good genuine Mexican food and burritos. I don’t really see the Chipotle burrito as Mexican food (Prawn has it right with “Mexican-ish” as a descriptor), but I love how it tastes and have not found (nor think it worth the effort to seek) an exact substitute.

    Qdoba is essentially the same model, and (in my opinion) MUCH better tasting.

    • #24
  25. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    David Deeble:Just goes to show that a Mexican restaurant can be TOO authentic.

    That is a good one.

    And if people want to feel good about what their food purchases do to/for the world, they should embrace GMO’s.  Growing more food on less land with less fertilizer or fewer pesticides should be a net positive for the environment.

    • #25
  26. Brian McMenomy Inactive
    Brian McMenomy
    @BrianMcMenomy

    Miffed White Male: Qdoba is essentially the same model, and (in my opinion) MUCH better tasting.

    Much better tasting and minus the moral pretension.  “Food for people who like food” is their motto.  Last time I checked, it’s ok for people to like food (in moderation, of course).

    • #26
  27. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    Miffed White Male:

    Knotwise the Poet:

    MLH:

    Knotwise the Poet:Chipotle’s marketing is annoying, but, dang it, their burritos are just too dang good. I gets the cravings at least once a month.

    You should try a local Mexican hole-in-the-wall.

    I’m from Yuma, Arizona. Believe me, I’ve had plenty of good genuine Mexican food and burritos. I don’t really see the Chipotle burrito as Mexican food (Prawn has it right with “Mexican-ish” as a descriptor), but I love how it tastes and have not found (nor think it worth the effort to seek) an exact substitute.

    Qdoba is essentially the same model, and (in my opinion) MUCH better tasting.

    Never eaten there before.  Looking at google maps it appears there are some in the area.  Will keep in mind.

    • #27
  28. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    When I had my cheese business I worked under the premise not that we would never make anyone sick but to make it impossible. I only had one incident. It was a boy that was lactose intolerant. They bought some grated sheep milk cheese that by some improbable circumstances had cows milked mixed in. I felt very bad. They had been buying my product for years. I gave them a years supply. I instituted procedures so that could never happen again.

    • #28
  29. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    The King Prawn:“Moral exhibitionism” is the perfect description of Chipotle and every other damned trendy food thing out there.

    If food is the new sex, then Chipotle is the whorehouse where you catch the best clap.

    You should be on payroll for this comment.

    The preservative laden, marginally radioactive frozen pizza (it was frozen when I bought it, not so much right now) I was chewing is mostly in my lap. Well played.

    • #29
  30. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Qdoba is a good spot. The only thing I disliked about Chipotle was getting a teaspoon of meat with 4 quarts of rice.

    • #30
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