Rick Bayless is a master of Mexican cuisine. He’s also a white guy from Oklahoma. Over the years, that has made him the target of criticism. Who gets to be the ambassador of a cuisine?
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So you walk into the new Korean joint around the corner and discover that (gasp) the head chef is a white guy from Des Moines. What’s your gut reaction? Do you want to walk out? Why?
The question of who gets to cook other people’s food can be squishy — just like the question of who gets to tell other people’s stories. (See: The whole controversy over the casting of the new Nina Simone biopic.)
For some non-white Americans, the idea of eating “ethnic cuisine” (and there’s a whole other debate about that term) not cooked by someone of that ethnicity can feel like a form of cultural theft. Where does inspiratio…