“When I heard you were doing something Asian, I was a little bit surprised, first of all, because I just don’t think it’s the right kind of mushroom. These mushrooms definitely scream something Euro-centric. You know, either French or Italian, or something much more refined.”
These are the words Joe Bastianich spoke to a MasterChef-testant who took the fresh wild mushrooms with which she was tasked with making the star of a dish and produced a Szechuan noodle dish. Now, even if he was correct about them not being “the right kind of mushroom” (we know, we know, black trumpets and maitakes aren’t the same)… what? Did he just imply, out-loud, on national television, that Asian food is inferior to Euro-centric food on the grounds that it supposedly lacks refinement? And no one thought to, we dunno, edit that out, on account of the fact that that it makes him sound like a racist, unworldly asshat? Really?
Look, we get that Bethy’s dish sucked, because she didn’t understand how to balance Asian flavors on a fundamental level. If you’re unused to working with sesame oil, shit can get real hairy, real fast. But just because she made a bad Asian dish (which, honestly, Good Housekeeping probably would have tweaked the seasoning on and then called Asian) doesn’t mean Asian food on the whole is less “refined” than your precious spoon-schmeared, butter-poached everything. What does that even mean? What are we even saying about Asian cuisine, here (that the entire continent of Asia’s perpetual World’s 50 Best snubs aren’t already saying)? Hint: it’s nothing useful. Just shhhh. At the very least, hire some new editors.
Check out Bethy’s dish judging below.
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