Gordon Ramsay in cultural appropriation row over new restaurant

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Gordon Ramsay (Credit: AP)

Gordon Ramsay has clashed with a restaurant critic in a cultural appropriation row over his new restaurant.

Lucky Cat will open in Mayfair this summer, but a pop-up launch of the food that will be on offer happened last week.

But writing on London Eater, critic Angela Hui took issue with Ramsay and his team’s project, said to be ‘inspired by the drinking dens of 1930s Tokyo’, and which is being run by Ramsay’s head chef Ben Orpwood.

Hui posted to Instagram while at the launch saying: “I can only drink thru the pain that is this an ‘asian’ event [sic],” she wrote in one post.

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She added in another ‘Japanese? Chinese? It’s all Asian who cares’.

She signed off her story saying: “I was the only east Asian person in a room full of 30-40 journalists and chefs.”

But Ramsay has slammed Hui’s comments, particularly one in which she referred to Orpwood’s spouse as a ‘token Asian wife’, which Ramsay said was ‘personal and hugely disrespectful’.

“Despite the very positive feedback from guests, there was, regrettably, one offensive response from the night which I have to call out,” he wrote in a post on Instagram.

“In the 21 years that I have been running restaurants I have had my fair share of reviews – good and bad. Critics and reviewers have an important job to do, and it’s important that they are independent and have freedom of speech.

“However, the slew of derogatory and offensive social media posts that appeared on Angela Hui’s social channels, were not professional.

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“It is fine to not like my food, but prejudice and insults are not welcome, and Ms Hui’s comments around my Executive Chef and his wife, calling her a ‘token Asian wife’, were personal and hugely disrespectful.”

“Gordon Ramsay Restaurants do not discriminate based on gender, race or beliefs and we don’t expect anyone else to. I may not agree with all reviews, but if someone is going to be critical, then I expect them to be professional and have some integrity.”


Some have taken issue with Ramsay’s comments, however.

One Instagram use hit back, saying: “And here we are, an astounding example of a person in power silencing a WoC’s lived experience of racism. To disregard her uncomfortable-ness at the othering she felt at the event, not to mention the absolute lack of care the menu showed to the multiplicity in Asian cooking.

“This post is nothing but bullying, to call out by name, when you have this level of power directs trolls to the writer – it creates, yet again, and unsafe place for this woman. Why? Because she called out the bs, appropriating food. This restaurant concept is steeped in racist, entitled behaviour.

“Shame on you Gordon and all those around you.”

Chef George Chen added: