Gordon Ramsay defended his new Asian restaurant after a scathing review ignited a debate
- Gordon Ramsay issued a response after a critic called his latest restaurant a "real life Ramsay kitchen nightmare."
- The restaurant, Lucky Cat, is billed as a "vibrant Asian Eating House," which draws on "experiences and inspiration from trips to the Far East."
- However, Ramsay has drawn criticism for not employing an Asian head chef, instead opting for Ben Orpwood who had apparently "travelled back and forth to south Asia for many months."
- Writing in Eater London, Angela Hui said she was the only east Asian person in a room of 30-40 journalists and chefs at the preview for the new restaurant.
- In a statement posted on Instagram, Ramsay chastised Hui for a "slew of derogatory and offensive social media posts" that she posted during the evening.
- The interaction reignited a debate about cultural appropriation on Twitter, which Ramsay received accusations of when the launch of Lucky Cat was first announced.
Gordon Ramsay has responded to a scathing review of his latest restaurant that called it a "real life Ramsay kitchen nightmare."
The launch of the TV chef's latest venture did not go entirely to plan after a review from food writer Angela Hui reignited a debate about cultural appropriation.
The restaurant, Lucky Cat, is billed as a "vibrant Asian Eating House," which draws on "experiences and inspiration from trips to the Far East."
Read more: Simply Asia had to change a radio ad featuring its Thai chef because South Africans thought it was racist
In her review for Eater London, Hui pointed out that she was the only east Asian person in a room of 30-40 journalists and chefs at the preview event.
She wrote: "The pop-up dinner took place in a futuristic-looking plain white event space called Ice Tank in Soho, which felt more seedy nightclub than Asian eating house.
"Or, perhaps, that is Ramsay's vision of a vibrant (nee "authentic") Asian eating house."
According to Hui, the restaurant's British head chef Ben Orpwood was introduced by Ramsay as someone who "is way more qualified and experienced than me in this field.
"He's done the research, having travelled back and forth to south Asia for many months."
Hui included screengrabs from her Instagram Story in her piece for Eater, which featured captions like, "I can only drink thru [sic] the pain that is this 'asian' event," and "Japanese? Chinese? It's all asian who cares?"
Her review went on to say: "It was nothing if not a real life Ramsay kitchen nightmare."
The review prompted a response from Ramsay, who shared a statement on Instagram.
The chef wrote that "despite the very positive feedback from guests, there was, regrettably, 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," he said.
"It is fine to not like my food, but prejudice and insults are not welcome."
Ramsay specifically pointed out that Hui had called Orpington's wife a "token Asian wife" and that this was "personal and hugely disrespectful."
He finished by saying: "Gordon Ramsay Restaurants do not discriminate based on gender, race or beliefs and we don't expect anyone else to.
"I may not agree with all reviews, but if someone is going to be critical, then I expect them to be professional and have some integrity."
The interaction reignited a debate about cultural appropriation on Twitter, which Ramsay received accusations of when the launch of Lucky Cat was first announced.
"You only invited one East Asian food journalist to your launch for an 'Asian' restaurant and her understandably irritated piece on how you mash many cultures together without employing anyone from those cultural backgrounds is offensive to YOU???? LOOOOLLL," wrote Wei Ming Kam in response to Ramsay's statement.
George Chen, a Chinese-American chef and restaurateur, wrote: "Is the famous Chef going to curse at his white cooks in Asian or what? Every chef has a right to interpret another cuisine but the integrity and culture (read authenticity-albeit I hate that term) needs to be studied in depth and not whitewashed for marketing purposes!"
Chen also commented on one of the restaurant's cocktails, which was named "Lucky Geisha," saying: "It's like Charlie Chan stereotypes all over again."
Meanwhile, Chef Ken Hom told The Guardian: "I wish Gordon the best and wish him much success. Perhaps I can be of help as consultant? I do have 59 years of experience in Asian cuisine."
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