Andrew Zimmern's show is on the out after 'horses***' Chinese food insult
Late last November and throughout December, Andrew Zimmern came in for some intense criticism after his comments made about Chinese food in the United States. The host of the television show Bizarre Foods as well as its sister show the Zimmern List was attempting to promote his newest Midwestern Chinese restaurant chain Lucky Cricket, and things did not go too well.
Chinese food, of course, is way different in America to how it is in China, and in talking up his chain, he maybe took things too far in suggesting that his food was particularly authentic. He said: "I think I’m saving the souls of all the people from having to dine at these horses **t restaurants masquerading as Chinese food that are in the Midwest."
It was not received well, especially since there are plenty of Chinese people in the kitchens at these restaurants. Branded a "white saviour" in the altogether-not-good way, Ruth Tam laid into the celebrity chef while writing for the Washington Post.
"[He] has the noble cause of 'saving' white people from eating bad Chinese food. When Chinese people make Americanized Chinese food for white people, Zimmern calls it 'horses - - t.' But when he does it, it’s 'unique.'"
Then, Eater's Hillary Dixler Canavan waded into the debate, in an article entitled Why Does Andrew Zimmern Get to Create the Next P.F. Chang’s? - comparing Zimmern's exploits to that of Asian restaurant chain PF Chang's.
"Zimmern simultaneously denigrates Philip Chiang . . . and elevates himself to the position of being the person capable of opening middle America’s eyes to the myriad regional cuisines of a vast, diverse culture."
Following the outrage, Zimmern took to Facebook to apologise profusely for his comments. "Let me start by saying most importantly how awful I feel and how sorry I am for my recent remarks," he began in his long Facebook post.
"I am completely responsible for what I said and I want to apologize to anyone who was offended or hurt by those sound bites. Food should be for everyone, and yet culturally there is a terrible and centuries old history of white people profiting off of other cultures, in food, music, and elsewhere.
The upset that is felt in the Chinese American community is reasonable, legitimate and understandable, and I regret that I have been the one to cause it.That is the very last thing I would ever want to do. And in this case neither intentions nor context matter. Feelings matter."
Zimmern's apology may have been detailed and heartfelt, but it might have come too late for him to avoid consequences. The Travel Channel, which is owned by Discovery Inc, has bumped his shows out of the Primetime slot, and onto the graveyard Saturday morning slot.
While a Travel Channel rep said that the relegation wasn't due to Zimmern's latest comments, they've also revealed that filming has stopped mid-season on both shows, and is not expected to continue any time soon.