You can hear me talking about the Fooditor 33 in two familiar places this week: on Outside the Loop here and Car Con Carne here.


When it comes to questions of cultural appropriation in food, I reject absolutely any sort of race-based doctrine—that only people of X blood are allowed to make X food. Food, like most art forms, has a rich history of cross-pollination and borrowings across cultures, of being the common ground on which cultures meet, and any doctrine of racial purity ties you to the worst societies in human history.

But what I do believe in are aesthetic standards, standards of seriousness in approach and execution, so if, say, a Korean cook notes the similarities between Korean and Polish food and starts a restaurant on that principle, then those explorations of food culture are respectable and admirable for the degree to which they make good food and work honestly from core principles of those cuisines.

This unfortunately collides with one of the core principles of commercial American food culture, which is that everything can be Quick ‘n’ Easy, you can have other cultures in 30 minutes or less! That there are shortcuts to authentic reflections of all food cultures with the right bottle of seasoning. Well, time spent is an essential ingredient in many forms of cooking.

This leads us to the controversy this week, in which Stephanie Izard posted an ad on Instagram for New Zealand beef, featuring a recipe for something she called bibimbap, which was basically a quickly thrown together bowl of beef and rice with Asian flavors–not such a bad recipe except that it uses the name of its inspiration as if it were how Koreans would actually make one of their famous dishes. Won Kim of Kimski wrote an insightful post on why this bugs Koreans who grew up as an alien food culture in America. Here’s an excerpt, but read it all…

I came to this country with my mom as an immigrant in the 80’s with my brother. It wasn’t an easy time growing up as a poor Asian American in Chicago. Everyone thinks you’re automatically wealthy or think you’re Chinese or Japanese. Being “Korean” wasn’t a thing back then. No one cared for our culture or food except other Koreans…

My mom would take a chance every now and then and pack something Korean and I being any typical ethnic kid was mortified. I wanted to be normal and not get made fun of or shamed for my food as it was such an important factor in my life. I brought a simple lunch and guess whose food stunk up the classroom? Yep, this bowl hair cut kid with buck teeth and cheap corduroy pants. The other kids acted like they were going to die or that I had brought in something rotten….

So why does Bi-Bim-Bop strike such a nerve with me? Its the translation to mix everything together. To utilize all the delicious barchan your mom or dad worked hard to buy and prepare for us dipshits to feed us. Its comfort food that every single Korean grew up eating. Its the go to when you can’t decide on one thing, the quintessential go to dish for so many more reasons you can’t explain. It is without a doubt 100 percent Korean. It is a dish that has helped my family survive and something we take seriously. Its our identity and it celebrates everything that makes Korean food what it is. Are there bastardized versions everywhere? Sure, everything gets a little remixed, but to take such a national dish and have it treated and mislabeled without so much as a single thought marginalizes a whole group of immigrants and everything we went through to get our cuisine recognized and appreciated. This may all seem exaggerated and overblown to some but this is just 1/16th of the bullshit my family went through and fearing opening their own restaruant because of the racist bullshit they dealt with. Unfortunately, this is a reality for a lot of families that grew up here in the 80’s and 90’s, so when you casually just decide to name whatever the fuck you made in that video “bibimbap” because it seemed convenient, you’re not only insulting me but a demographic of families who had similar or worse stories growing up here…

I don’t want you to stop cooking or get cancelled, I just want you and your PR team to give the food you’re promoting out there a little more thought and consideration not because its trendy and easily profitable, but because its your job as a chef to actually care about a culture, its food and what it represents. When you do an ignorant cooking video like Rachel Ray making pozole, you’re basically “authenticating” something you have no idea about.

Izard changed the name of the recipe and apologized to Kim via an update to her sponsored post: ‘All of my dishes are inspired by flavors from around the world that I love – this experience has helped me realize that I need to be very careful and thoughtful about how I refer to dishes and I will make sure to do so in the future.”

Buzz 2


IF you’re wondering that—as celebrity chef Spike Mendelssohn did when Kim commented on his comment on Izard’s post—Chicago magazine just happens to have a video about the cooperative venture running out of Kimski now, Community Csnteen.


‘You struggle for words to describe it. Catastrophic isn’t overwrought. And it still isn’t over. The bailout the restaurant industry so desperately needs is nowhere in sight, and what’s happening now as a result has been loudly predicted since March. Everybody knew carryout and a summer of patio and limited indoor dining would not be enough, and now we’re watching all the awful predictions unfold in real time,” says Mr. Cheery, Mike Sula, as he sums up his stories from 2020, which covered a lot of stasrtups this year thst offer hope for what our post-COVID world might look like.


Well, here’s a serious bummer: Three Floyds seems to be closing its Munster, Indiana brewpub, which launched Dark Lord Dsys and a whole brewery culture in northwest Indiana. Key Ingredient shot there twice, once with Mike Sheerin and once with Pat Niebling.


A Manny’s fan donated 4000 Manny’s meals for the holidays. The Trib has more.


David Hammond talks to the couple behind a fried chicken startup, Cluck It about the science of Nashville Hot Chicken. Chef Cainan Edwards: “We brine the chicken [sourced from Kentucky] for twenty-four hours in buttermilk [which contains an enzyme that breaks down the muscle fibers in the meat, and creates a juicy, tender bite]. Some people like to use tempura batter, or they dredge the chicken in flour. We use both tempura batter and a seasoned flour dredge, so that when you bite into the chicken, there’s an audible crunch. After battering and dredging, we dip each chicken piece in a mix of clarified butter and clarified chicken fat before adding the mild, hot or extra hot chili seasoning [for the extra hot, it’s a mix of habanero, guajillo and Trinidad Scorpion chilies]. We keep our fryers exceptionally clean, and I use a fryer that I can filter during service to get rid of all the flour that comes off, so that it doesn’t burn in the oil.”


Steve Dolinsky says Adam Weisell, who I wrote about here at L’Aventino Forno Romano, has left his pizza psrlor: “I’ve seen some cursed spaces over the years but nothing like 355 E Ohio. Flour & Stone; Robert’s; Urban Crosta; Streeterville Pizzeria; now opening Chef at L’Aventino is gone. Will they continue making those great Roman pinsas? Methinks issue is landlord, not concept.”