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Im on a letter writing streak. REgarding cooking shows
I wrote a letter to the editor of NZherald, because I was bloody sick and tired of New Zealand cooking shows. Seriously, tonight I just saw this dickhead pretend to cook 'japanese food' by adding copious amounts of miso paste into a mixture of seemingly random, what he would call 'exotic', ingredients (a few weeks ago, he just smeared a ridiculous coating of miso mixed with gochujang onto salmon and baked it. In his restaurant menu, kimchi costs $7.80. Kimchi is supposed to be served free in Korean restaurants). He literally cooked soba noodles (wrongly, I may add.), chirashizushi, and yakisoba (using hokkien noodles instead of proper yakisoba noodles...) because he was trying to 'put a japanese twist on spaghetti bolognese'.

I'm just sick of these pompous assholes exploiting other people's cultures, expecially mine, and pretending that it's 'chinese inspired' or worse, actually calling their abominations the real name of the dish. This is what racism has evolved into, today. Anyway, I elaborate in my letter below.

In the last couple of years, the New Zealand television audience has been bombarded with an array of homegrown cooking programmes, such as 'The Food Truck', 'Testing the Menu', and 'Family Recipes'.

The popularity of these kinds of programmes has grown rapidly, and has blasted the presenters into sudden fame.

However, I as an individual, and as a home cook, would beg to differ from the disparate crowds of fans tearing apart the bookstores purchasing Michael van de Elzen's cookbooks.

The three shows I mentioned all form their basis on the well established 'new twist to old recipe' concept. I do not stand alone when I say that I find these shows and the chefs obnoxious, and their cooking anything other than insulting.

It astounds me, the lack of cultural understanding there is in each and every episode of 'The Food Truck', and lack of respect for the ingredients. As Michael van de Elzen has turned his programmes into an exploration of the cuisines of different ethnicities, he does not seem to realise how irritating his flippant manner is and that his food, which he calls 'healthy versions', are actually insults to the cultures which he perverts and diminishes by nomination. Almost the exact same trend follows in 'Family Recipes', except personal insult is added to cultural.

'Testing the Menu', apart from being an aimless waste of thirty minutes which would be better spent looking at HD photos of the constituent ingredients the presenter uses, again is a permutation of this lack of cultural understanding that permeates the higher-end of celebrity chefs. An apparent 'Japanese version' of Spaghetti Bolognese, turns out to be a horribly debased dish of yakisoba, which real chefs in Japan would devote their entire lives to perfecting. Chef Nic Watt also ignorantly forgets that Japanese cuisine already has its own array of western fusion dishes, developed over decades, including a dish equivalent to bolognese, the popular spaghetti dish 'Naporitan'.

These shows, dare I say, flow with the remnants of racism even. William Howard Taft's use of the term "Little brown brother" in reference to Filipinos comes to mind in regard to the cultural belittlement which is perpetuated by these 'cooking' shows. I for one am tired of these pretentious and privileged chefs diminishing my culture and the cultures of other minorities in New Zealand.

The food world needs to understand that cuisine is an integral part of a culture, and the pompous, uninspired and disrespectful treatment of another culture's food is only another part of the cultural insensitivity and racism that is interwoven into today's society.

What has happened to the days of Julia Child and Delia Smith, where food is treated with the utmost respect, with humility, and entertainment is made without the expense of exploiting and perverting another's rich culture?
Have to agree with you about the the quantity of cooking programmes but I'm afraid gthat you will find the same on almost all morning programmes on TV in very many countries. In the UK the other week there were five straight hours on one of the BBC's channels. The vast majority of them are pretentious crap. In particular I cannot stand Michele Roux. I haven't forgiven him when he tried to bake what he described as a basic loaf of bread and then went on to pile in ingredients that had nothing to do with "basic". I can't remember the ingredients but I think he added milk and butter.

It's inevitable that these pretentious idiots will try to modify food from other cultures since they have so little imagination to be able to work out something original for themselves. Just about the only chef I can abide is Rick Stein. Although as a vegan I can't follow many of his recipes, he does seem to retain a respect for other cultures.

I think that you're too young to remember the age of Graham Kerr, the "Galloping Gourmet" who was on NZ TV in the 60s but he was funny and creative.

Did you get any response to your letter to the NZ Herald Lilitu?
"You can be young without money but you can't be old without money"
Maggie the Cat from "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." by Tennessee Williams
I love chinese food though i doubt ive ever had genuine chinese cuisine, just a watered down english version, i sometimes wonder if some of the chinese takeaways in britain would survive in china as some are off such low quality, i think they can get away with it here because we dont say anything, i usually go for indian food because i find it better quality, it doesnt come out 10 seconds after you ordered it (um microwave)

Id love to visit china cos im sure i,ll get a real "taste of china" - ive had some trully awfull chinese food served to me by chinese people, one place was shut down due to some meat that couldnt be identified!

Honestly im suspicous of a lot of english-chinese restaurant.
And it annoys me, im sure in china these places would be mocked. I feel its an imitation of chinese food with crap ingrediants. If i could get you a takeaway from down the road you would understand, honestly i dont mean this to be rude but im much more confident going british-indian, even the places are cleaner and more comftable most of the time.
OK i been doing some googling, its true that Chinese food has a bad reputation in the uk, with fatty meat and heavy rice dishes, yet in china "calories" isn't a word as food is seen only as nourishment and real Chinese food is very good for you. What do you make of this?
Oh, well you really are in a streak, hehe..

go for it, improve the world the way you can

I can't say I know the first thing about Oriental cuisine, so I can't say ahything about that..

it does bother me that some poeple take so lightly other peoples culture like that..

and cuisine is very much culture
Yeah you could become a man of letter's, changing the world one word at a time, keep going, you can only improve.
Yes, any dickheaded moron with a spatula is considered a "chef" now.

When the FoodNetwork came out here in the USA, I watched it for a while, because I love cooking also. I also found these "cooks" and "chefs" to be frauds and liars.

I mean, really.....what true Chef is going to make a grilled cheese sandwich and call it "cuisine"???!!!
I turned off that station and have not been back since.

A TRUE Chef is an expert in the art of preparing foods in such a way, that it amazes and astounds your senses. Whether it is following an old traditional recipe that has withstood time, or creating a new dish/taste that people fall instantly in love with.

ANYBODY, and I mean ANYBODY...even the WORST cook, even someone who claims NOT to be able to cook.....can make a grilled cheese sandwich!!!! ANYBODY can boil noodles. ANYBODY can make a PBnJ! ANYBODY can open a can and dump it in a bowl and mix it with other stuff.
THESE ARE NOT CHEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are some that I consider REAL chefs, or artists of kitchen cuisine...
Julia Child
Jaques Pepin
Nigella Lawson
Jeff Smith
Paula Deen
Joann Weir (love this woman)

There is one Asian cook I have seen, but I can never remember his name.
Damn, he makes some awesome looking Asian foods!!! And all by hand.

Everybody else is just wannabe's.
partis Wrote:OK i been doing some googling, its true that Chinese food has a bad reputation in the uk, with fatty meat and heavy rice dishes, yet in china "calories" isn't a word as food is seen only as nourishment and real Chinese food is very good for you. What do you make of this?

I think the problem with Chinese food that caters to western tastes is that it's not actually anything...

mainly because, just like how people say "I can speak Chinese", "I can cook Chinese" doesn't mean anything. 'Chinese' isn't really a cuisine, and neither is 'Chinese' an actual spoken language - you don't speak chinese, you speak Mandarin, or Cantonese or Hokkien etc.

Imagine if somebody said "I cook European food." That tells you nothing. Chinese restaurants that Chinese people go to, or Chinese restaurants in China are all regional cuisine: of which there are countless varieties (I won't list them all. There are main categories, which roughly correspond to the linguistic regions: chuang, yue, hui, Lu, Min, Su, Xiang, Zhe. And those are just the ethnically Han regions, that doesn't even count Western Muslim cuisine, Tibetan, Mongolian or Inland Koreans, Hmong, among others.)

Anyway... if you want to have actually good Chinese food, it'll cost you first of all... Good chinese restaurants tend to be very expensive and only suit large dinner parties. And the good dishes tend to scare away many people, because they'll have things like tendon stew, and pig's ear, or stuff like that.

I've not had takeaway chinese food in a long time... it's just really horrible.

As for health... well, again it's varied. There is a specific cuisine in the South and South East that's based on Chinese Medicine, that's supposed to make you healthy, but it's all very medicinal tasting, and people don't eat it for taste.

HAVING SAID ALL THIS... In China, Western food is actually greatly stereotyped and perverted xD. But it tastes a lot better than Westernised Chinese food, I'll tell you that.
"Chinese food" where I live is a general term for Asian food altogether.
If you ask someone "you want to go out for Chinese"? And they say "yes", then you ask "ok, what kind"?

Thai food is BIG where Im at. TONS of Thai bistros and "mom and pop" places. One is right across the street from me, and damn if it aint GOOOOOOD!!!!

Then you have your actual Chinese restaurants, Philippino restaurants, Japanese bistro's, Noodle Houses of all sorts, Sushi bars, and then all of the American style Asian places like Pei Wei and PF Changs.

PF Changs is good, but Pei Wei is MUCH better. OMG, I want some Garlic Sesame Chicken right now, with a bowl of potstickers!!!

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