Friday, February 19, 2010
I Cook Food..... that's it
Normally, this is a strange photo. But in the context of it being from the night of our soft opening in December and we were playing flip cup with moutai (bai jo), its pretty appropriate that titties were out. Since the Times article came out, I've been getting a lot of emails and comments. Thanks! For me, the New York Times writing about this blog undoubtedly obscures things because in the context of the dining section: my blog, my quotes, and myself get watered down. This is a very raw, unedited, personal blog. When you try to take it out of its context and put it in line with some other blogs/tweets to point out a cultural movement, its going to get modified to fit the article's objective. And when you look at me through the lens you usually see "chefs" through, I'm going to disappoint you. My favorite chef is Raekwon. Please don't try to put me in a box that you put other chefs in, I don't fit. The titties are too big.
I thought it was a good article. I don't really read dining much, but the one article I have bookmarked and send to people frequently is Moskin's article on flushing restaurants. I really like her reviews of Chinese food and even last week's article on Balkan burgers was dope! I feel she identified an interesting trend (at least to me) about cooks on twitter. I can't say she did a good job separating each chef and his/her intentions, but its a pretty big task to write one general article about this "phenomenon" when every one is using it in a different manner. She tried to capture one common thread tying us all together and it seemed to culminate in the angle that chefs need more than just good food now and that we need "celebrity" thus the internet is a primary platform.
One guy's yelling at his purveyor's, another is trying to get fired, I really just don't like Rickshaw/Joe's Shanghai/etc and why can't I talk about it now? Personally, the internet has forced me to respond because people talk about me and my restaurant. I've never backed down from anyone/anything my whole life so why would I start now? If I have something to say, I'm gonna say it whether I'm 27, Taiwanese/Chinese, fat, stupid, or a person who cooks food. For the record, so that I never have to follow chef rules, please no one ever call me a chef again. I am a person who COOKS FOOD. I have business cards that say chef, but once I run out, they're done. I really don't want to be "part of the scene", I never read food blogs until they covered artichoke (cause they're my boys) or Baohaus. I was oblivious to the "food scene" until they (artichoke) opened up on 14th st when I lived on 12th. I thought it was cool to see ordinary, blue collar guys, just fuckin make it in NY. Its a real rags to riches story those guys. Like me, they put every penny they had and bet on themselves. I helped em design the artichoke tees, the led zeppole logo, and got my first taste of NY Food Biz.
On another note, what does Anita Lo care? She's counting martha stewart money! Someone said, "I just think it's odd that Eddie called out Anita Lo who is a consensus top chef in NY." Really? What consensus? Did you poll the frushing readers who don't speak Engrish? When they consider Anita Lo a great chef, maybe I will too. Consider the context and the people creating these "consensuses". I know that for Times readers, it doesn't matter what Frushing thinks because the palette they cater to is different, but when can we get an Asian food writer to write about Asian food. The Kelly Choi chick doesn't count. She should be on CCTV Project Runway or a MAC commercial not in a kitchen wearing every piece of intermix she owns. That's not to say Sietsema, DiStefano (this dude is the truth, I ate with him. mad cool), Digregorio, or Moskin don't write great articles. I'm just saying it would be cool to have an Asian (korean, chinese, taiwanese, japanese, vietnamese, whatever-ese) in the house to have an opinion. I'm sure these writers would love to have an opinion like that to bounce off of and consider too! And please don't pick a squeaky clean model minority Asian who is lateraling from a consulting position and never ate soup dumplings at home with flip flops, socks, a v-neck and hong he cigarette. Not that some consultants don't have good taste, I just want some hood shit. Pull the one dude from a Beijing hu-tong who speaks English and give him a greencard, non-cotton shoes, and a dining column, BONG BONG. Let's replace the model minority stereotype with hutong chic LOL.
I think its crazy that since I cook food professionally, I now lost my right to air out shitty food. Am I not allowed to post on yelp? I hate the stupid warning you get as a business owner on yelp when you go to respond to a comment. They don't moderate the yelpers, why should I be moderated? Yelp is not my mom. I already have a mom. She's loud, Taiwanese, and still lobbies for me to be an attorney. I don't need yelp on my ass now too :)
That said, most yelpers are cool and really have good intentions when reviewing restaurants. I LOVE getting feedback from yelpers about things to improve like plating, music, hours, flavors, etc. and I always consider them. Chowhound readers are really helpful in suggesting new menu items. And I personally use menupages the most cause I'd rather judge a restaurant looking at the menu than a review. Just my opinion.
I actually like when people disagree. If you see in my previous posts, I know when I'm wrong. The chowhound guy mentioning he never had vinegar in his peanuts in Taiwan, I was overly defensive to. I thought he was implying our food wasn't Taiwanese, but he was just saying he never saw it. DiGregorio got me on a day I fucked up the tofu. Great, let me fix it. I think it is important for people to understand.... THE GOAL IS FOR RESTAURANTS TO GET BETTER! So, let us know the problem, give us a shot to fix it, and don't get infatuated with burying people on the internet. YELPERS, you have a lot more power than you think. Please use it wisely. People put their hearts and souls into these fucking restaurants and with one stupid one-star post, you can really bury someone. Just like Lionel respects the sword of omens (thundercats, thundercats, HOOOO), respect yourselves when posting. I'm not perfect either. I put up a lot of dumb shit on the internet, but I'm trying....... In the words of Hova, this is my "moment of clarity"...i cook food... "What more can i sayyyyyyyyy?"
P.S. There's something I have to correct in the article. I didn't get into hip hop cause i was designing street wear as the article suggests. I was making street wear BECAUSE I've been a hip hop head since green girbauds were hot. A lot of people will never understand hip hop. She asked me if I cared about rules of being a chef in the chef community and I responded saying I'm not in the community. And in the context of the heads I do identify with, my shit is a heat rock.