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Is it Fair for Chefs to Cook Other Cultures’ Foods?

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As we chew on John Birdsall's latest piece, _The End of "Ethnic"_,
http://www.chow.com/food-news/117226/... , take a look at this dialog between Francis Lam and Eddie Huang, _Is it Fair for Chefs to Cook Other Cultures’ Foods?_ too.

http://www.gilttaste.com/stories/5367...

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  1. i agree! it's time we had only french people in the kitchen at french restaurants!

    1 Reply
    1. re: FED

      Well, sushi does taste better when they're prepared by Japanese sushi chefs, in Japanese-owned restaurants ;-)

    2. Fair to whom?

      1 Reply
      1. re: small h

        +1

      2. There is no point to that article. It IMO is actually cheap journalism. Is it fair to cook other cultures food...um yes it is I have a friend born in Kansas grew up in Vietnam is it OK for him to cook Vietnam recipes he grew up with? Sorry BS article

        Plus I get the writer has areal problem with "Ethnic Cuisine" as a term don't really have a dog in that fight either way but relax.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chris2269

          I couldn't agree more. I'm American but a European mongrel by ancestry, would that make me eligible or ineligible to cook various European cusines?

          Also, I was born in Washington DC, but raised mostly and still live in Arizona, is that close enough for me to authentically claim to be cooking Mexican cuisine, or even just Sonoran-style Mexican cuisine, which I've been eating most of my life (allegedly, anyway- I have no idea who was doing the cooking when I visited those restaurants)? I technically live in the Sonoran desert, but having lived in DC and Millington, Tenessee, I'm unsure of the validity of my cooking. My parents were from the midwestern US, which throws another clod in the churn.

          I'm so confused. And I'm glad DH is making dinner tonight, although it's a recipe he got from me, and he's mostly German in ancestry, but born and raised in Phoenix. I'll probably eat it anyway.

        2. So if you're a U.S. chef you would get to cook ... what? No French, no Italian, no German, no Latin American, no Asian etc etc

          3 Replies
          1. re: redfish62

            And what do we do about someone like Marcus Samuelsson, an Ethiopian guy raised in Sweden? What's his cultural background? Surely not Harlem USA, where he, uh, has a successful restaurant.

            1. re: small h

              Ding ding ding!

            2. re: redfish62

              Turducken ?? ;-)

            3. Hell, I thought they were crap articles. Hell, the concept is crap, too.

              1. Of course it's 'fair' to cook food from another culture. All major cultures experiment with other cuisines or ideas and ingredients from other cuisines.

                I don't think that the title of the article captures much of the nuance of the discussion (which admittedly reads more like a couple guys waxing philosophical over a beer than a serious persuasive argument). Here is another couple quotes from the article for people to consider:

                "Eddie: There is a place for people like Harold [Dieterle] taking flavors and creating a cuisine that fits his own taste and personality. I think it’s great to develop cuisine. The problem though is that some people will go to Kin Shop, misunderstand its place in the canon and anoint that as the standard in Thai food.

                ...

                "Francis: Well…would you prefer Stupak to say: "I'm doing food that's not really Mexican, it's a mashup of that and what's in my own head"?

                Eddie: This is totally unfair... but... If I could write his press release, I'd say, “I'm making modern New American food that borrows ingredients and techniques from a Mexican pantry.” Or, make fun of it like Danny Bowien [of Mission Chinese Food] does and basically say, “I love Chinese food. I don't know what I'm doing, but I respect this, that and the other Szechuan restaurant. Please don't consider me a master, I'm just a dude with a tea pot full of dirty girl drinks.” Danny Bowien is a guy who NAILS it in terms of messaging. He does funky hybrid party Chinese food that I think we're all honored to be the inspiration for."

                The objection isn't so much to people cooking other cultures' food but to more expensive restaurants, especially those run by people without a lifelong immersion in a cuisine, co-opting the history and techniques of the cuisine, presenting their own derivative versions as the authentic version.

                Do I agree completely? No. I do think there's something to the argument though.

                13 Replies
                1. re: cowboyardee

                  While I get the argument - I think this has us heading to a slippery slope of trying to nail down what is "authentic" national/regional/'ethnic' food. Which easily turns into cases where you talk about migrant groups from a region locate to a new region - and not only preserve the food traditions but don't engage in the innovations that may be happening in the native region. Which food is more "authentic"? Mayonnaise has been introduced into cooking in Japan for decades now - therefore does Japanese cooking that includes mayo more or less authentic?

                  Personally I see this as a philosophical argument that ends up having minimal practical application. If a child is born in Vietnam, orphaned and then raised in an orphanage staffed by French nuns - what should that adult cook? There are a million and one stories/scenarios like that which ultimately water than the argument completely.

                  1. re: cresyd

                    Again, I think people are getting thrown off by the title of the story — I think Eddie Huang is very clear in saying he doesn't think there's anything wrong with a chef who becomes passionate about a certain "foreign" culture's cuisine, or even with that chef's desire to add his/her own unique twists on that cuisine.

                    His problem is with the branding and the messaging. His problem is with how the whole foodie media machine (in which even us 'hounds play a part) rushes to then proclaim that chef the "savior" of that cuisine in a given city — to say that this new twist on Thai cooking is, you know, better than Thai cooking that adheres to centuries' old culinary traditions and has been passed down from generation to generation.

                    And this at the expense of immigrant chefs who may labor away in relative obscurity because, while their food is delicious, they lack the marketing savvy to get written up in half a dozen major magazines.

                    I think he's saying that a lot of this has nothing to do with the chefs themselves, and certainly not with their right to cook whatever food they want to cook. But they are sometimes complicit in the messaging.

                    1. re: abstractpoet

                      ^^^
                      This.

                      1. re: abstractpoet

                        abstractpoet, I read the article Melanie posted exactly that way. The real message gets lost in the spin. It's the media we cringe over setting the Q&A down. It is the media these fine chefs have taken their interview time to and it is the general public who will remember the spin, the funny quote and the vibe the media is looking for.

                        There is little education and more importantly as I said, the real message is lost. I'm not talking about those working or watching closely, I'm talking about the folks who will read this article and ask, what's the big deal.

                        As for the CHOW article, I saw no mention of what word Birdsall would recommend we use instead. It's too easy to bring up a hot button and offer no food for thought answers; jag journalism. Dime a dozen.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          As for the CHOW article, I saw no mention of what word Birdsall would recommend we use instead.
                          ~~~~~~~~~~
                          "international" is my preference - it works no matter where you are. (upon reading the comments following the article i discovered that Ruth Lafler and PenskeFan already suggested it so i didn't bother adding my input.)

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            To say nothing of the American food experience today or mainstreaming the cultivated palette of food lovers who charge fork first into all sorts of cultural intrepretations and combinations. I mean what are chefs doing but criss-crossing all cultures in seeking food adventure! Oh this "fairness" just makes me scratch my head.

                        2. re: abstractpoet

                          Well said.

                          "I think he's saying that a lot of this has nothing to do with the chefs themselves, and certainly not with their right to cook whatever food they want to cook. But they are sometimes complicit in the messaging."
                          __________
                          This is a good point, but I personally have a hard time condemning a chef or owner for their restaurant's message. I think a lot of these guys that run big name restaurants using some regional cuisine as a jumping off point rather than adhering strictly to it have a lot of respect for their inspiration. But the reality is their first responsibility is to their staff, their investors, their families, their bottom line - so if being (falsely) branded as the savior of [whatever] cuisine keeps their seats filled, I'm not sure how reasonable it is to expect them to say "all you guys wanting to try the great authentic ..... that influenced me should check out x, y , & z just down the street." I respect and admire it when they do put out that message, but the restaurant business is a very competitive industry, and it's hard to fault those who don't mess with their own success.

                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            (BTW, this is more a general comment rather than a specific reply to cowboyardee, just thought it was a somewhat convenient place to put it.)

                            While a restaurant business has certain financial responsibilities, it is also bound by general ethics to not give out false advertising. Making a few modifications that don't change the deliciousness of the food that much while proclaiming oneself as the saviour of a cuisine probably qualifies as false advertising.

                            On the flip side, as chowhounds who love delicious food, it's our responsibility to ourselves to look past all that hype and marketing. Which means we uncover and try the places even though they're not heavily promoted by a PR machine, and really eat and think critically about the food.

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              Yeah, I don't know if anyone is advocating that we condemn the chefs — some of the ones mentioned in the article (and in the original NY Times piece) seem sincerely uncomfortable with all the accolades, especially the Pok Pok guy. But the big-name James Beard Award type guys, they do have a lot of clout, and so I don't think it's unfair to hold them responsible for some of their own messaging.

                              I mean, there was that whole Rick Bayless thing, where he either implied or explicitly stated that he was going to be the one who introduced authentic regional Mexican cuisine to L.A., right? So Jonathan Gold, the L.A. critic, really took him to task for that because there are tons of little mom-and-pop immigrant-owned shops that are already serving that kind of food (perhaps more authentically, and almost certainly for half the price).

                              1. re: abstractpoet

                                The Mexican government seems to think Bayless has contributed something significant
                                http://eater.com/archives/2012/06/07/...
                                even if LA didn't.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  No one is saying he isn't a significant chef — just that he's not the be all and end all for Mexican food in the US.

                          2. re: cresyd

                            It depends on where you take it. The argument could head people in the direction going beyond food of discussing racism and white privilege.

                            1. re: cresyd

                              Here's the problem with the "slippery slope" objection: just because something is hard to define doesn't entail that it's meaningless. For example, it's impossible to define exactly when a color stops being white and becomes gray. But still, there are colors that are undeniably white and other colors that are undeniably gray.

                              I'm not one who thinks that authentic versions of a cuisine are necessarily better than derivative versions. But if nothing else, 'authentic' does have value as a a reference point (sometimes a reference point that's hard to nail down, but a reference point nonetheless). Also, it often means something more to those who grew up with a cuisine, and it's hard not to respect that some people get annoyed when immigrants making great versions of their country's food are overlooked and marginalized in favor of those who don't have nearly as much insight into the cuisine but have access to better marketing tools and networking circles.

                          3. What a silly question. Of course its fair...why on earth wouldn't it be?
                            Ethnic food isn't about the ethnicity of the cook or chef...its about the ingredients and probably even moreso, the techniques. With the proper reserach, anyone can master the technique of any ethnicity.

                            Actually, the question posed by the article borders on trolling. LOL

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: The Professor

                              Read this: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8527...

                            2. I believe this is only a problem or a topic of discussion here, but not so much overseas.

                              You don't see people debating legitimacy about an American New York expat making ramen (e.g. Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen) in Tokyo who is very successful (and in some cases has outperformed many Japanese ramen restaurants), or Davod (a Persian from Iran) who owns a beef noodle restaurant in Taipei, boldly calls his restaurant the equivalent of "Foreigner's champion Beef Noodles", and has won several runner up titles in the annual Taipei Beef Noodle Festival, and fuses his secret blend of Middle Eastern herbs to his stewed beef noodle broth to give it that extra edge. Or take an author like Fuschia Dunlop. Most people know who she is.

                              Perhaps these situations are different, because these people are actually in the countries of origin of the food, and have really studied the local market, adhering mostly to tradition while applying their own take...rather than someone reinventing something and call it something else, seemingly resembles something in the old world, yet charges way more for it, not tasting anywhere close, but good enough that people here are willing to spend $$$$ for it and call it revolutionary. Eddie may be Americanized, but at least he's trying to stay true to his roots.

                              There will always be a disconnect between food that has been around since the rock of ages, and those who take variations of that (or bits and pieces from different food cultures), upscaling and making it fancier for specific target demographics, making more money out of it, gaining fame on top of it all, and thus causing jealous and envy amongst less successful peers. Such is life.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: K K

                                in japan, where they make pretzels, they came to lancaster county to study first. This is respectful.

                              2. Eddie seems to have a chip on his shoulder. My experience is that the best Chinese food is apprenciated by many Americans. As for American chefs adopting the cuisine of others, there is no question of fairness. Here (in the US) a chef or cook can cook anything he or she likes. If the result is Americanized and not authentic, there is still plenty of room for others to offer authentic cuisine and plenty of customers who will seek it out.

                                1. Is it fair for diners to eat other cultures' foods?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: paulj

                                    Only if it's Fair Trade ;-)

                                  2. If that's true, I'm screwed.

                                    Born American of Swiss-German roots, married to Irish-American, and living in France.

                                    I'm going to go hungry a lot.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      Wait.... you're a chef?

                                      I think the whole discussion is bogus, but it doesn't seem to apply to home cooks. So keep eating (and, by that extension, cooking).

                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        (I agree that it's ridiculous, but for the sake of discussion....)

                                        Why should that (silly) rule apply only to professional chefs? Why is it any more (or less) unfair for a pro to cook another nationality's food? why is it okay to open a box of Old El Paso and call it Mexican, but it's not okay for a professional to make a dish that he learned from native-born citizens of a different country in which he lived for several years, using ingredients imported from that region?

                                        And who gets to decide?

                                        Sorry, the world is too big a place, with too much blending of food and cultures and traditions for this to be taken seriously.

                                    2. A recent discussion based on a NY Times article that was on point:

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/851758

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: MGZ

                                        Heh. I was going to post the link but see you already have.
                                        (Folks should note the bits about Ricker "automatically upgrading" Thai food in NYC by his very arrival (Not!)[from the Huang/Lam article] and Ricker's comment about folks assuming that a restaurant run by a white guy [NYT article] was automatically cleaner/better) :-)

                                      2. Doesn't this smack hard in the face of culinary TRAINING in all cuisines. Continuing education is what a waste of time now? Well, what a lousy way to start off my reading. Bullshit reporting and I use the word loosely; spin where there is no need;

                                        Literally a melting pot in every aspect of life and nitpicks get all the attention.

                                        1. Good articles, both. Many points in them ring true to me.

                                          1. So would it be fair to say the pot is calling the kettle black? Case in point: Banh Mi - a Vietnamese adaptation of a sandwich based on French influence. Is that unfair? In the dialogue b/w Lam and Huang - one of them got it right in that you take your culture with you but it doesn't remain entirely intact when you get to your new homeland. Food is a fluid medium reflecting the people who serve it, the people who enjoy it, and the location where it is being served. "Authenticity" in any cuisine is a Utopian ideal that I have a hard time believing exists.

                                            1. What does this mean?
                                              Eddie: HAHA, yeah, mad people still believe in the "other menu."

                                              The "other menu" is live and kicking. As a white person, I get offered wildly different food in Chinese and Korean restaurants than an Asian person would.

                                              Isn't it somewhat ironic for him to name his restaurant Baohaus and then complain about people of other nationalities infringing on "his" cuisine?

                                              1. oh please. you don't hear Jacques Pepin whining that it's "unfair" for Thomas Keller to cook French cuisine. and i guess Diana Kennedy & Rick Bayless have no business cooking Mexican?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  ghg, the list is endless! Such a ridiculous stance.

                                                2. I can't believe anyone seriously would ask that question. Since when does one have to be Italian to cook Italian food? Or Chinese to cook Chinese food? So what about Americans? Are we all doomed to Hamburgers and Hotdogs? Because just about any other dish you can think of that we eat/make here came from somewhere else!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                    I am reminded of the furor when paul Simon released the "Graceland" album - not "fair" for a musician to interpret another culture's musical styles/traditions.

                                                    Oh, you shuoldn't read any translated books/poetry either.

                                                    1. re: FrankJBN

                                                      I recall that as well FrankJBN and Simon was hardly the first or last to experience such remarks.

                                                  2. It's an interesting discussion, and in effect, something I've been railing against for a long time. Some of my rants against "fusion" cooking can be found in several threads on these boards. My great fear is that the food of the world is going down that slippery slope to one giant single "Spartan Stew" that will be common to all men living on planet earth. In culinary terms it's called fusion. In cultural anthropology, as in science across the board, it's called diffusion. In the overall scheme of the universe, it's simply called "time." And like the food we eat today, if you want to hold on to any ethnic food as you know it, or even your own version of French toast, there is only one way to do that reliably: Hermetically seal it in cryovac bags and put it in the freezer for future tasting.

                                                    Truth be told, there has never been a time or place in the entire duration that man has dwelt on planet earth when the foods/recipes we cook by are not in a state of flux and constant change. On a neighborhood level, Mrs. Smith has a bite of Mrs. Jone's mac and cheese and begs for the recipe, goes home and the second time she makes it, she adds a little Tobasco to brighten it up. Senora Garcia asks for Senora Hernandez for her recipe for classic flan, the second time she makes it she adds a little nutmeg along with the cinnamon. Mrs. Abu Ben Adam moves to America, and she can't get camel for her favorite stew, so she substitutes goat or lamb or chicken or beef.... In all cases, the food changes. It doesn't matter whether it's from neighbor to neighbor, chef to chef, culture to culture or generation to generation. Do you think there is a chance in hell of me making my great grandmother's tomato ketchup, even though I have her recipe? Where, I ask you, am I going to get the kind of tomato seeds she grew, plant them in soil that has never had a commercial fertilizer applied, get horse manure from my own barn to fertilize them... Well, you get the picture.

                                                    A couple of hundred thousand years ago, change in our diet was dictated by the seasons and availability, and there probably weren't a whole lot of recipes to choose from. Two or three thousand years ago, depending on what part of the planet you were stuck on, there was agriculture, trade (slow as it may have been), and favorite recipes and favorite cooks, but change was slow. Today change is rapid. We don't even have the same technology from decade to decade (even month to month!), and most people today are plugged into an electronic world wherein "the media" tells them what to think, what to eat, and what is "authentic."

                                                    My question is, is there any such thing as "authentic?" I don't think so. It's all in your point of view. I am 78 years old, I mastered the art of French cooking (actually, "haute cuisine") before Julia Child wrote her book. To me, Mark Bittman's recipes for classics such as boeuf Bourguignon are nightmarish simplifications, and I often rail against his cooking. By the time my grandchildren are my age, he will be the Julia Child that generation will look back to as "classic."

                                                    Remember that old Zen saying about you cannot step into the same river twice? Well, it's true about everything in life. Including -- or maybe especially? -- food. Stock your freezer now with future bites of "today!"

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                      C1, what a fun read. I so enjoy your 78 years..you're such a generous CH. I find it much easier and much tastier to embrace the time travel of food and learn by it/from it. The blurred lines you outline are in my eyes fantastic. If my Granny was here she would be delighted to see how her beloved paprika and favorite caraway seed are used today. My Mom who hated to cook but loved restaurants is probably still kicking the C-monster devil for all the great meals missed. So we're lucky ducks to have new chefs and newer cuisine to rant over. I'll keep my freezer for leftovers and continue to believe this international melting pot is a blessing who's time has FINALLY!! arrived.

                                                      My breakfast awaits!

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        Thank you for the very kind words, but I hope everyone will remember: I retain my right to rant over changes that rub me th wrong way! '-)

                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                          Absolutely, C1, rant on! We all have our share, yes?!
                                                          I enjoyed every word.

                                                      2. re: Caroline1

                                                        Caroline, you are SO spot on! I had a dear friend -- Italian, but living in US -- who would send back a seafood risotto if the cook had stirred Parmigiano into it, because there wasn't supposed to be any cheese in seafood risotto. I've always wondered whether she would have liked the combined flavors if she'd tried it. But she always contended it was "wrong."

                                                        So much -- not only food, but also many facets of our lives -- is a matter of personal taste. It seems a waste of precious time and energy to contest someone else's taste...

                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                          Yeah, but fact is I desperately wish I had a freezer jam packed full of all of my yesterdays, including the "ethnics," because no matter how hard I try, I just can't get them today. <sigh>

                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                            I wonder if there were Italians and other Europeans who complained back in the day of the addition of New World ingredients such as the tomato to their cuisine.

                                                            1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                              Don't know if there were complaints, but there was certainly marketing and hype, describing the tomato as golden apples among other things.

                                                              1. re: limster

                                                                Or the French guy, Parmentier something or other, who stationed guards around his patch of earth apples. And sold the French on shepherds, err cottage, pie.

                                                              2. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                I feel confident that when some Chalcolithic "chef" decided to cook in a pan instead of on a shovel, there was grousing among his peers and distrust of his food. Foods and cooking methods may change, but human nature endures.

                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                  I enjoyed a recent discussion of bbq techniques among CH's this week where one CH's had a valid point about where the style of BBQ winds up focused (especially on American tv) when the scope of bbq styles is wide and varied. Also plays nicely upon this topic.

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    eta: the bbq thread, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/852551

                                                          2. I have a number of cookbooks by chinese authors, but started with Barbara Tropp.
                                                            I love my Gearge Blanc French cookbook, but learned first from Julia.
                                                            I started with Jeff Smith's "Three Ancient Cuisines" (stop laughing) and now have a shelf full of really great Italian cookbooks.
                                                            I bet I am not alone in that at times, the writing and perspective of a "foreigner" made the cuisine more approachable.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Westy

                                                              Westy, wouldn't be fair to say that these authors also learned from x, y. z cultures...before ever taking their own experiences to pen & paper.

                                                              I still don't see the issue here. Learning by/from every culture about food is the point since the first fire pit.

                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                Sure. never said they didn't. In fact, to a a one (maybe not Smith) cite their travels and study as a source of training and inspiration. Only that their perspective may have given them a leg up in explaining the cuisine to a broader range of non-native eaters.

                                                                1. re: Westy

                                                                  Couldn't agree more (which was my point). I was agreeing w/you. Read what you wrote, nothing more :)

                                                            2. Idiotic article. Cuisines have always borrowed/stolen ideas from nearby areas (geographically) because it is what we was available for poaching (travelling was more limited). Now a lot of people can hop on a plane and travel great distances, so it is only natural to borrow/steal ideas from wider areas. Evolution of cuisines have always done this, there is nothing new - other than the access to a wider geographic area. Food would be so boring and bland if this never happened.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: cacruden

                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8527...

                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8527...

                                                              2. Not only is it "fair," but it's parochial and stupid not to. However, it's wrong to advertise one's cooking as authentically ethnic when it actually isn't.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: John Francis

                                                                  Well put.
                                                                  Of course, the actual ethnicity of the cook/chef still doesn't matter, right?

                                                                2. I do like that the second article--and what a fantastic dialogue it is from start to finish--brings up customer expectations and how they affect the idea of authenticity. One could make the case that we want a chef "familiar" to us to vet unfamiliar foods on our behalf.

                                                                  I have to confess that I spent years worried that my food at Chinese restaurants wasn't spiced properly, asking for extra heat. Once I realized that heat wasn't the point of the food--that I was in fact insulting the restaurant by asking for an ingredient that effectively burned out all flavor--I relaxed and started just saying "hot is ok" and accept the dish on its own terms, as served. At that point, if they have served me tasteless or cloyingly sweet food, I just don't go back.

                                                                  I don't mind immigrant foods (better than "ethnic"?) adapting to established US tastes (I grew up in Springfield, MO, where the cashew chicken saga plays out to this day) but that's where Huang's messaging comes into play. A Thai cook wanting to share his or her homestyled food with a broad base of paying and fickle customers is different from a universally trained chef (with other skills to fall back on in order to make a living) trying to embrace a traditional cuisine. Restaurants could do a better job of telling us what they're trying to offer, and we could do a better job of listening.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: ennuisans

                                                                    Good post.

                                                                    As for the heat issue with Chinese dishes - perhaps you have not seen this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/826545 . There are posts cautioning those who seek out more!more! heat to be circumspect about their desire.

                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                      Ah thanks for that link. There seems to be a lot of decent info there all around.

                                                                  2. Globally inspired American food works for me. It is fair for chefs to cook other cultures and it is fair for every culture to take credit for bringing native flavors to the table. Beyond that...I'm going to continue eating well and learning every day.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      But of course. I doubt many people dispute what you just said. The core issue here, however, IMO comes down to whether folks not native to the cuisine were entitled to be treated in the manner described in abstractpoet's nice post upstream: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8527... and also as implied in the other NYT article referred to here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8527...

                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                        I think he's saying that a lot of this has nothing to do with the chefs themselves, and certainly not with their right to cook whatever food they want to cook. But they are sometimes complicit in the messaging.
                                                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
                                                                        As abstractpoet wrote up thread.

                                                                        My comments come as a result of teaching newer chefs under "continuing education" courses and restaurant schools that 'promise' greater exposure to xyz. Self-taught, generational mom/pop operations and non pro homecooks have a completely diff. tale to tell and their cooking styles reflect that. Both being valid and enjoyed makes the very definition of culture more difficult to define.

                                                                    2. Y'all, Paula Deen once made Phad Thai on her show! WTF? I thought I was going to barf.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                        I count 23 pad thai recipes on Food Network, including 2 from Paula, and 1 from Sandra.

                                                                        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pa...
                                                                        is something wrong with this recipe?

                                                                        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...
                                                                        Alton's version

                                                                        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ku...
                                                                        recipe from a BF Throwdown

                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493058
                                                                        a long and old thread on whether it should be considered an 'authentic' Thai dish

                                                                      2. does this just apply to actual chefs or do I have to throw out all of my cookbooks and ingredients of "other cultures"? for crying out loud.

                                                                        1. People obviously feel strongly about it.
                                                                          http://www.wweek.com/portland/article...
                                                                          From the Willamette Week:

                                                                          ZUKIN VS. ARELLENO: Powell’s Books has confirmed a faceoff between Portland restaurateur Nick Zukin (of Mi Mero Mole) and California food critic Gustavo Arellano (of OC Weekly) for Oct. 10. The event started as a Twitter feud about the history of Mexican food as told in Arellano’s book Taco USA, but (with a little encouragement from Scoop) it’s now scheduled to become a full-fledged debate. The format is not yet set, but expect Arellano to drag the name of famed Chicago-based airport-restaurant-operator Rick Bayless—an Okie rube on a misguided quest to be the ultimate arbiter of authenticity in Mexican food—through the mud as Zukin mounts a stirring defense. It’ll be at Powell’s City of Books on West Burnside Street.

                                                                          "An Okie Rube" Oh no he didn't! LOL.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                            Who takes Gustavo Arellano seriously?

                                                                            He's admitted that he doesn't care if his writing is any good or even accurate. All he cares is about the controversy it creates, and the comments it generates even if they're mostly negative.

                                                                            When he attacks Bayless and Diane Kennedy as 'racist', 'zenoxophobes', 'horrible' people, and describes them as anti-miscegenasts, he's doing that to generate headlines .

                                                                            1. re: eriksd

                                                                              Not surprisingly, Gustavo Arellano chickened and cancelled his face off against Nick Zurkin. Gustavo Arellano has no issues with mocking people with Downs Syndrome. But, when Gustavo Arellano has to face somebody who can expose all the inaccuracies and illogical fallacies that Gustavo Arellano usually gets away with, then he's too scared to show up.

                                                                          2. Is it fair for a Chinese man to learn English? Is it fair for an African to speak Spanish?
                                                                            Food and language are the ties that bind cultures together.

                                                                            The biggest problem with society today is we intentionally enslave ourselves and even with out breath of resources, some people insist on being proudly ignorant.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: nikkib99

                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8517...
                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8527...
                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8527...
                                                                              :-)

                                                                            2. I'm somewhat astounded that the OP would throw out such a topic, ostensibly for discussion, and then vanish from the thread without even bothering to express an opinion. Hello?

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: lifeasbinge

                                                                                Truly.
                                                                                Hit and run. Maybe just trolling.

                                                                                1. re: The Professor

                                                                                  Yup, I'd missed your earlier post saying exactly that.

                                                                                2. re: lifeasbinge

                                                                                  The OP is a long time participant, particularly well known on the San Francisco board. Her 'People Reading Me' list is quite long.

                                                                                  Posting a link to an article or blog without much comment is common practice on Food Media. It's enough that the OP finds the article interesting; not that they have strong opinions one way of the other.

                                                                                  However the choice of subject line can be important. Often people respond solely to the subject line, without reading the linked article. Or they respond to other posters, again without reading the article.