Saturday, March 24, 2012

In the Hood like Chinese Wings...

I gave this speech at AAWW's "Are Asians Black?" Event at the Museum of Chinese in the Americas

My Aunts owned Chinese take-out spots and they unanimously hated black people.

Black customers frequented those take-out spots and they unanimously hated my Aunts.

Ice Cube did a song about Korean Deli owners and he hates them too.

Redman speaks Korean.

I speak black-a-nese. Don't axe me, axe the brother that told me that.

I think the first person to call me black was my Dad, and the last one was some commenter on Eater that didn't like my blog last week.

Ken Chen sent me an email asking me to present on the intersection of Blacks and Asians. I didn't even have to hit my Roor to come up with a response. My favorite quote all time about Chinese people is Al Qaeda Jada's line that you just heard: "Yea yea, I design these things and you know I'm in the hood like chinese wings."

Just like Jews who entered banking in Renaissance Italy because Christians wouldn't, Chinese people have served the hood because others won't. I grew up with cousins and Aunts who had really shitty things to say about Black people, but I saw both sides. I could see why people would be mad they had to buy food from "others" i.e. non-black people. If you were Black and lived in a neighborhood where you were served by Italians, then Jews, then Chinese and Koreans, you'd feel some sort of way too. As Buggin' Out once said, "Why there ain't no brothers on the wall?"

I understood at a young age that we were taking their business and that we had to make an effort to understand them, before they'd understand us. Asians are notorious for being isolationists. We fucking love walls. Whether it was the Great Wall, bullet proof glass in take out joints, or cubicles that arrest most of our people these days, our approach is to say "I won't bother you and you don't bother me." Easy for the seller to say, but what about the consumer? What about the black people who pay good money and still get the stink eye every time?

On the other side, who wants to own a take out joint in Brooklyn that ends up giving away 10 cups of ice and straws for every combo no. 3 they sell. When I lived in Ft. Greene, I used to post up at Hua Long and every five minutes someone came in asking for ice, cups, fried wonton strips, or duck sauce packets. Until Magic Johnson opens Magic Woks in the hood, there is going to be an uneasy tension with Asians selling Chinese takeout and the Black people buying it. But I will say this...

I don't think the problem is either Black people or Asians. The problem is the 1%. The 1% that holds power, owns property, and leaves us to fight over crumbs on Fulton St. The important thing is to realize that at this point in American history, the undesireables need a cartel mentality that funnels power for a unified cause. We have our differences, we come in different shades, but there is a shared lack of opportunity. Dr. Jennifer Henton once told me, "the point of Feminism or any movement for that matter is to get the same opportunity to make the same amount of money for the same amount of work." That is all for tonight. I'm Eddie Huang and I approve the use of MSG.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Discipline at the Haus

Lead Line Cook Chris "Ciroc Boy" DeLeon challenged our old head rasta head chef Mitch... This how it went down

WHATS GOIN DOWN RIGHT NOW IN BAOHAUS...island music playing...
Chris: You ain't never smoked before. I challenge you to a smoke off.
Mitch: (in a thick island accent) What you know about burning that ganja boy?! Let me fix you up right now boy. This bumbaclot boy comin here talking to me about smoking da ganja. We rasta, we BURN ganja all day ah ha ha! We pick da ganja right off da tree and burn it direct straight off da tree! You have NOO clue what dat means boy. You don't know!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cool Dudes

Nicest guys... Marky Ramone, Tony Bourdain, Doug & Brian from Big Gay Ice Cream

Tony Bourdain and Friends on TurntableFM

BE THERE! We'll also be livestreaming it on the greatest production company of all-time's Facebook:

We gonna make Tony listen to all that Dipset, Camp Lo, Jizzle, that you love...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Get 'Em Julia

The Times can't be stopped. I loved this article by Julia Moskin and the subsequent response. Basically, she recounts her personal experience as a ghost writer and chefs are mad. Batali's people responded saying he authored his books and I wouldn't dispute that. Homie is a real chef as evidenced by his restaurants, but I'd much rather see Batali throwing bombs at Investment Bankers as opposed to co-signing Gwyneth Paltrow's bull shit career in food. Ay Julia! Get em girl...

I remember the time I was offered a ghost writer and I responded the same way I did as a 19 year old being offered a wire: "fuck you". On the contrary, for people who considers themselves Chefs and not writers, there's no shame in having a ghost writer, just own up to it. When Julia Moskin pulls your card, shut the fuck up and laugh at the bank. You can't have it both ways. Either write the book yourself or take it on the face when people clown you. It's the same with TV, if you want to go on tv and act a fool, you better expect someone to tell jokes on Eater. It's part of the DEAL.

Further more, I see these James Beard nominations for magazines and it's a joke. There's one paper you should read if you care about the culture of food and it's the New York Times. From Sifton to Wells to Moskin, they're tearing down an industry built largely on lies. Every one I know in the industry talks about the "hot", "trendy", "industry approved" restaurants and never been to Arthur Ave, Sheepshead Bay, 8th Ave, etc. We talk about sous-vide before most people even know how to velvetize chicken. Simple and nuanced just isn't enough I guess... If Murray's Falafel was owned by Alex Stupak, you food writers would be all over it. Instead, it quietly makes the best falafel, laffa, and some strange no calorie blue lemonade. There's a few people like Kat Kinsman and Robert Sietsema who hit the pavement, but the places the rest of you co-sign and focus on are bourgie, cookie cutter, made for "foody" shit shows. This article wasn't just about cook books and ghostwriters, but an overarching issue with our industry: there are too many gate keepers.

It's all smoke and mirrors because there are layers and layers between the artist and the consumer. I can't draw, other wise I'd give you a flow chart, but it goes like this:

Owner/Restauraneur/Chef > The Public Facing Partner > The Manager > The Agent > The Publicist > The Network > The Ghostwriter > The Print Magazine > The Newspaper > The Online Version > The Youtube Component > The Blog that Marcus Samuelsson Doesn't Write For > The Twitter run by the Assistant > The Facebook run by the flavor of the month > The Yelp page run by the head cashier > The consumer

We don't speak to the sources anymore. You gain a certain level of notoriety and the people you employe want you to create buffers and barriers. I've hired The Door and they're the best, but as an artist, writer, and a cook, I still have to know when to say "no". If you don't own your voice, someone else will. They don't run my life or my business, I do... If you a cook and consider yourself an artist, never forget that every one around is here to drive home YOUR vision. Once ghost writers, managers, and agents tell you who you are, you're done. When I was asked to do a book, every one wanted me to write a cookbook in the vein of Momofuku cause I also have slanted eyes, but I'm not Chang and I don't need Meehan. That said, I bought the book, read it in 3 hours, and it's the best cookbook I've ever read not written by Pei Mei. Chang's a futuristic dick head, but him and Meehan are undeniably ill. Instead of a doing a cook book, I switched agents, found someone that believed in me (WHAT UP MARC GERALD) and wrote a 60 page proposal for a memoir about my life that sold in 12 days. That's what happens when you keep it real and refuse to let those around you fuck it all up. The cosmos rewards you. If you're a writer, write. If you're a chef, cook. And if you're neither, get me a coconut ciroc with pineapple juice. Until then, fight the power. Fight the mother fucking power yall!!!

For all you clowns who got your panties in a bunch because Pete Wells gave Shake Shack one-star, eat a dick with Big Gay Ice Cream on top. If the burger is as good as something at a one-star restaurant and reflects value for what you paid, it's starred. End of story. I have no investment in the Times, the assholes gave me a goose egg for fuck's sake. I just know honesty when I see it and these guys are on one right now. Go New York, go New York, go...

Big Gay Ice Cream!

These dudes are the best. Love them. If you're in NY, ask for the Ciroc Milkshake. POW!