Asia's Best 50 Restaurants 2017 list was released this week to much fanfare, however, some people in the culinary industry are slamming the selections.
Six out of the top 10 chefs featured in this list are white men, reports Next Shark, and people aren't having it.
Matt Goulding, co-founder of the online journal Roads & Kingdoms and author of Grape Olive Pig: Deep Travels Through Spain's Food Culture, took to Twitter to criticize the annual list.
— Matt Goulding (@mdgoulding) February 22, 2017
"Six out of 10 of #Asias50Best chefs are white males. Seems just a bit...off," Goulding tweeted.
Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain echoed Goulding's sentiments, going so far as to call the list "beyond ludicrous."
He added, "A final nail in coffin of this utterly discredited 'Best Of” List... Apparently Asian chefs hard to find. In Asia."
A final nail in coffin of this utterly discredited “Best Of”— Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) February 22, 2017
List. https://t.co/ENve9o3MbX Apparently Asian chefs hard to find. In Asia .
According to World's 50 Best website, the list looks at the regions of India & Subcontinent; South-East Asia — South; South-East Asia — North; Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau; mainland China and Korea; and Japan.
Despite the massive geographic areas where culinary experts searched, as one Twitter user sarcastically noted, it's "pretty hard to find more than 4 Asian restaurants run by Asians."
To make matters worse, not only does the list lack diversity in terms of people of colour, it also lacks women. Out of the 50 chefs featured, only two of them are women, Taiwan's Lanshu Chen and Thailand's Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava.
As Toronto restaurateur Jen Agg noted in The New York Times in 2015, "High-end kitchens have long been regarded as a male domain, with culinary students worshiping brutal but allegedly brilliant men, best exemplified by the 'bad boy' chef Marco Pierre White and made popular by the ludicrous character portrayed by Gordon Ramsay."
Chef Gordon Ramsay in 2013.
Agg wrote that sexual harassment is a common occurrence in the culinary world, exemplified by Toronto pastry chef Kate Burnham, who filed a human rights complaint against three senior chefs at Toronto restaurant Weslodge in 2014. Burnham alleged that she was verbally harassed and had her breasts and crotch touched at work.
"Sexism, bullying and rage continue to plague many high-adrenaline, male-dominated kitchens," noted The Globe and Mail's Zosia Bielski in 2015.
According to the World's 50 Best website, the list is "a snapshot of the opinions and experiences of almost 1,000 international restaurant industry experts" and created by "Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 300 leaders in the restaurant industry across Asia, each selected for their expert opinion of Asia’s restaurant scene."
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