n American food show host has apologized for calling Chinese restaurants in the US Midwest “horseshit” after he was criticized as culturally insensitive.
Andrew Zimmern, chef and host of the Travel Channel TV series Bizarre Foods, initially made the comments when talking about his new Chinese restaurant in Minnesota city of Minneapolis during an interview with Fast Company, which was published on November 20.
“I’m saving the souls of all the people from having to dine at all these horseshit restaurants masquerading as Chinese food that are in the Midwest,” he said.
Many in the Asian-American community took to Twitter in outrage, calling Zimmern “tone deaf,” “colonizing,” and “condescending.” Food website Eater called it “cultural elitism” while The Washington Post described it as insulting.
On November 27, Zimmern issued an apology on Facebook for his “arrogant and patronizing” remarks. He also attempted to clarify his statement as a critique on the “commodification of Chinese and Chinese American cuisine and cultures in venues such as airports and some malls where I feel the food could be a lot better.”
“Here in Minnesota we have some of the most underrated Asian foods in the country all around us,” he wrote. “Just in the Twin Cities alone there is some spectacular Lao, Hmong, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese foods, but a fair percentage of Midwesterners sadly ignore many of those restaurants in favor of chains who’s food is simply not half as good.”
Zimmern, however, chose a suburban Minneapolis mall as the location for his new restaurant called Lucky Cricket and plans to turn it into a chain. The restaurant bills itself as offering “a unique take on the bold flavors of honest Chinese cuisine.”
[Photo via Facebook]