When Chefs Become Famous Cooking Other Cultures’ Food

From National Public Radio. The questions posed by Kat Chow:

For some non-white Americans, the idea of eating “ethnic cuisine” (and there’s a whole other debate about that term) not cooked by someone of that ethnicity can feel like a form of cultural theft. Where does inspiration end? When is riffing off someone’s cuisine an homage, and when does it feel like a form of co-opting? And then there’s the question of money: If you’re financially benefiting from selling the cuisine of others, is that always wrong?

Back at it again with Bayless:

Bayless ā€” who is bilingual and spent years traveling through Mexico, studying regional fare ā€” says his devotion to Mexican cuisine runs deep. “It doesn’t come from a shallow understanding, it comes from a deep understanding. I’ve done everything I can to make it my own,” Bayless says.

That argument holds sway with some of his defenders. (Including this reallyenthusiastic one on Kinja’s commenting community: “I’m betting dollars to donuts that Bayless has actually traveled far more extensively throughout Mexico, and speaks better f****** Spanish, than most of the bratty, 3rd, 4th, 5th generation Mexican-American hipsters who talk s*** about him.”)

Some things to think about, to argue with further, and to ask about in terms of production, profits, culture, labor, and foodways. The report also speaks to rhetoric of authenticity that closely aligns with elite tastes.

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