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Gordon Ramsay's new restaurant accused of cultural appropriation by food critic

A preview night for London's Lucky Cat was described as 'an actual kitchen nightmare'

Gordan Ramsay hit back at a food critic, who accused the restaurateur of cultural appropriation. Getty Images
Gordan Ramsay hit back at a food critic, who accused the restaurateur of cultural appropriation. Getty Images

Gordon Ramsay has hit back at a food critic who slated his newest London restaurant, accusing the celebrity chef of tokenism.

Ramsay held a launch event for Lucky Cat – described as an “authentic Asian eating house” – in Soho last week, and food writer Angela Hui was one of those in attendance.

But Hui’s subsequent review, published on website Eater London, questioned the authenticity of Lucky Cat, saying she was the “only east Asian person in a room full of 30-40 journalists and chefs”.

She went on to describe Lucky Cat as “an actual kitchen nightmare”, and illustrated her review with snapshots from her Instagram stories on the evening, in which she described the event as “painful”, and accused the chef of labelling Japanese and Chinese food under the blanket “Asian” term.

But Ramsay, who has never been one to shy away from confrontation, was quick to call out Hui for her review on Instagram.

Posting to his 6.3 million followers, he said felt he “had to” hit back.

“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," he said.

“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.”

He added: “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, Ramsay’s post has been met with a mixed reaction, with some saying it amounts to “bullying”.

“Gordon, I can’t believe how irresponsible you are to single out the only Eastern Asian in your launch,” wrote one user. “A young female journalist with no following to your audience of over 6 million. You’re fully aware of the trolling culture (as you’re constantly deleting negative comments yourself). You have a PR team, I hope Hui is equipped to handle this abuse you’ve brought upon her. #Bully”

While another added: “Is this the right way for a famous white critic to respond to a person of colour who has the temerity to question his Asian restaurant concept?”

The pop-up event for Lucky Cat was hosted at Ice Tank, but it will find a permanent home in Mayfair later this year, when it replaces Ramsay’s old restaurant Maze. Head chef, Ben Orpwood, is the former head chef of Maze and Japanese restaurant Zuma.

Updated: April 15, 2019 02:38 PM



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