Hot-headed chef Gordon Ramsay is at the centre of a ‘race row’ with his latest restaurant venture. Ramsay has locked horn with a restaurant critic over the opening of Japanese restaurant Lucky Cat.
With Lucky Cat opening in the swanky Mayfair later this year, Ramsay showed off what will be on offer in a recent pop-up event. While the food might’ve impressed most, critic Angela Hui had a problem with the whole concept.
Writing on London Eater, Hui described the experience as “an actual Kitchen Nightmare”. She rounded off by writing, “I was the only east Asian person in a room full of 30-40 journalists and chefs.” Hui also posted on Instagram and said “I can only drink thru the pain that is this an ‘asian’ event [sic].”
If the comments weren’t scathing enough, Hui caught the attention of Ramsay when she said that head chef Ben Orpwood had a “token Asian wife”. Gordon bit back at the commentary in a lengthy Instagram post.
Ramsay wrote: “Despite the very positive feedback from guests, there was, regrettably, one offensive response from the night which I have to call out.”
“In the 21 years that I have been running restaurants I have had my fair share of reviews – good and bad. Critics and reviewers have an important job to do, and it’s important that they are independent and have freedom of speech.”
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This week Gordon Ramsay Restaurants hosted a preview night for our new concept Lucky Cat, an Asian Eating House, set to launch in the heart of Mayfair. It was a warm, buzzing and brilliant night to celebrate what has been a long-time vision for me. Despite the very positive feedback from guests, there was, regrettably, one offensive response from the night which I have to call out. In the 21 years that I have been running restaurants I have had my fair share of reviews – good and bad. Critics and reviewers have an important job to do, and it’s important that they are independent and have freedom of speech. However, 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. 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.
“However, the slew of derogatory and offensive social media posts that appeared on Angela Hui’s social channels, were not professional.”
Ramsay’s response faced its own backlash as commenters quickly turned on him. One wrote, “She was just calling you out for calling your all white establishment authentically Asian, (which it isn’t) you’re being a big baby, grow up and admit your mistakes.” Another slammed Ramsay with by writing: “Being a huge bully as always, now just taking to social media to pick on a POC female journalist. Maybe grow up and expect criticism for your ‘lucky this lucky that lucky who cares it’s pan Asian’ restaurant.”
Others supported the celebrity chef and branded Hui part of a ‘snowflake generation’ as they praised Ramsay for sticking to his guns. As a final twist to the tale, Chef George Chen decided to air his views online and called out Ramsay for ‘whitewashing’ Asian cuisine.
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!— george chen (@ChinaLiveGChen) April 12, 2019
This comes in the wake of Ramsay’s awkward interview from The Tonight Show With Jay Leno reappearing online. The 2010 panel saw Ramsay alongside Modern Family‘s Sofia Vergara and makes for a toe-curling encounter.
One moment includes Vergara making light of screaming in a previous skit as she says, “I never scream like that in real life. It was all acting.”
Touching her arm, Ramsay responds “Only in the bedroom?” and leaves the audience booing as she shifts uncomfortably in her seat. Leno tries to diffuse the situation and move on as he chimes in, “You would never know,” but viewers once again highlighted the exchange.
[Featured Image: Gordon Ramsay Instagram]