Chef Eddie Huang owner of baohausnyc, (Yum!, have you ever been? Delicious!) and Xiao Ye in New York City, was recently profiled on CNN for the difficulty of running a restaurant, his Asian American background and how he reacts to restaurant reviews.
A negative review of a new restaurant can be devastating, especially when it comes from the New York Times. Restaurant critic Sam Sifton recently reviewed Eddie Huang’s Taiwanese/Chinese restaurant Xiao Ye on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and while Sifton had a lot of praise for Huang’s food, he also had a lot of criticism over the menu and the chef himself. He declined to give Xiao Ye a star.
But that didn’t really discourage Eddie Huang, who is a writer as well as a chef and restaurant owner. Huang responded publicly to the review by posting an e-mail from his mother Jessica on his blog “Fresh off the boat“. Jessica called it a “review of your life”. She wrote, “You have always tried to be different or funny for the sake of funny, to cover up your anger and discomforts about how we Asian are being perceived. It is not necessary to do that, your true talents will lead you above it all.”
Her e-mail prompted a lot of comments from readers of Eddie’s blog on both his food and his Asian American identity. CNN Eatocracy’s editor Kat Kinsman recently sat down with Eddie and Jessica at Xiao Ye to talk about these issues and find out why Eddie was actually pleased with the review.