Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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American Chefs Cooking Other Cuisines – Is It Interpretation or Blasphemy?

June 8th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Francis Lam /starchefs.com

I’ve often wondered what immigrant chefs think about the way American chefs and cooks take on their traditional foods. Thanks to Anthony Bourdain, in a post he found on gilttaste, I get an inside look.

Read the article here that Bourdain calls “thoughtful and insightful.” It’s a terrific discussion – if you care about food, its origins and traditions, and getting beyond the top layer, you will want to read this more than once and share it, too.

Taiwan's lauded spicy beef noodle soup as served in Taiwan

Francis Lam and Eddie Huang discuss and disagree on whether it’s an insult to walk into an Asian restaurant and see their forefathers’ foods served up by an American chef who has no ties to the cuisine, but who is respected and lauded for his cooking.

It will leave you with more questions than answers – as any good debate should.

But Lam and Huang’s discussion brings up another whole discussion I’ve had with chefs multiple times: Who’s to say what really is authentic to any cuisine? Hasn’t it been co-opted through the years already in every culture? Italians can’t agree on a plate of pasta – much less their entire New World influences. While there may be Mother foods, mom bred – a lot.

What’s your take on this? Feel free to comment below – but do read the article.

Tags: Commentary · Talking Tables · Today in the World of Food

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 MerrieLee // Jun 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Yes, it is true that many “native” foods have been Americanised, but that no way negates the beauty of “ethnic” foods by ethnic cooks. Even “American BBQ” has regional differences. I know our favorite “pizza” place turned oriental with all of the wait staff, and it just seemed to clash with the italian decor and menu. Within a year the restaurant closed.

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