Local celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern is fond of criticizing President Donald Trump for his “hate fueled” and “anti-immigrant” rhetoric, but the “Bizarre Foods” host has spent the week apologizing for culturally insensitive comments of his own.
In an interview with Fast Company published early last week, Zimmern discussed the opening of his new Minnesota restaurant, Lucky Cricket, which he hopes to build into a national chain.
“I think I’m saving the souls of all the people from having to dine at these horses— restaurants masquerading as Chinese food that are in the Midwest,” Zimmern told the host, but later received widespread criticism for his comments.
A Washington Post columnist denounced Zimmern for missing “an opportunity to honor, rather than insult, Chinese cooks.”
“As it happens, Zimmern is also making Chinese American food. Only, when he cooks it, it’s a ‘unique take on the bold flavors of honest Chinese cuisine,’” columnist Ruth Tam writes. “When Chinese people make Americanized Chinese food for white people, Zimmern calls it ‘horses—.’ But when he does it, it’s ‘unique.’”
St. Paul’s Eater later slammed Zimmern’s comments as “cultural elitism,” saying his new business venture will be “Applebee’s but with pork dumplings and dan dan noodles.”
Zimmern has become an outspoken critic of the president, whom he believes is promoting “anti-immigrant policies,” according to one tweet.
Trump's America First ideology of isolationism, protectionism and anti-immigrant policies have NEVER worked historically. And those ideas are even more ill suited to today’s globalist climate and faster paced world https://t.co/TWaHHC7ZAF
— Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern) September 24, 2018
“This guy is the personification of ignorance and hate fueled s— stirring,” Zimmern wrote in another Tweet. In yet another, the chef suggested that “language matters” in response to the use of the term “illegal immigrants.”
This guy is the personification of ignorance and hate fueled shit stirring.#voteyourconscience
register to votehttps://t.co/Mc7ir6Ww3s
— Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern) July 22, 2016
— Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern) October 31, 2018
He’s also been highly critical of prominent Trump supporters, including Ann Coulter, telling her that her “head is stuck so far up your ass I’m afraid there isn’t a surgeon on earth that can help you.”
— Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern) November 11, 2018
Zimmern’s television program, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, has aired on the Travel Channel since 2006.
He is a prolific donor for Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party, which has received thousand of dollars in donations from the celebrity chef, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
He frequently appeared on the campaign trail with Rep.-elect Dean Phillips (D-MN-03), who ran on slogans such as “everyone’s invited” and “coffee and conversation.”
Zimmern later issued an apology for his comments in an interview with The Star Tribune, offering his regrets to “anyone who was offended or hurt by those sound bites.”
“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,” he said. “That is the very last thing I would ever want to do.”
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