When preparing to launch his latest West London restaurant, the 52-year-old chef described the venue as “an authentic Asian eating house and vibrant late-night lounge, inspired by the drinking dens of 1930s Tokyo and the Far East“.
This has upset a few people, who believe that Ramsay is generalising East-Asian culture and cuisine.
Food writer Angela Hui – for Eater London – was particularly angry at the event, saying that she was “the only East Asian person in a room full of 30-40 journalists and chefs” and saying:
“Japanese? Chinese? It’s all Asian, who cares.“
Adding to the bemusement, Hui said that Gordon Ramsay claimed that his head chef – Ben Orpwood – was “more qualified and experienced than me in this field” and that “he’s done the research, having travelled back and forth to South Asia for many months“.
In response, the Scottish chef hit back at Hui, posting to Instagram a photo of the food available at Lucky Cat, along with the caption, reading:
“Despite the very positive feedback from guests, there was one offensive response from the night, which I have to call out.
The slew of derogatory and offensive social media posts that appeared on Angela Hui’s social channels, were not professional.
It is fine to not like my food, but prejudice and insults are not welcome, and Ms Hui’s comments around my Executive Chef and his wife, calling her a “token Asian wife”, were personal and hugely disrespectful.”
Right or wrong, it does look like Ramsay has generalised a lot of East-Asian cuisine into one sub-culture for the sake of a menu, and he looks to have done this without the help of Asian chefs.
His claim that Ben Orpwood knows more about Asian cuisine than Angela Hui was certainly bold – and potentially offensive – but as a white British man who likes to cook, I wouldn’t claim to know more about British cuisine than a foreign person who has extensively studied it (then again, I’m not a food-writer).
So who knows? Maybe Orpwood does know more about Asian cuisine than Hui and maybe all Ramsay is trying to do is use his status to create a venue that promotes and celebrates the culture of the “Far East”.
Images via Getty, GordonRamsayRestaurants