Michelin-starred chef apologises over ‘racist’ Instagram photo

The chef was called out by commentators on social media

Updated on 05 December 2019 • Written By Eamonn Crowe

Michelin-starred chef apologises over ‘racist’ Instagram photo

Michelin-starred Italian chef Gianluca Gorini has issued a public apology, after an Instagram post of his was accused of using “racist tropes”.

The chef posted the offending picture to his public Instagram page on Tuesday, which depicted him wearing a traditional Asian conical hat. In the photo, Gorini is joined by five other chefs and a child (cropped out of shot), with several of the group pulling their eyes backwards to make them look slanted.

The image is believed to have been posted during the ‘Gelinaz shuffle’, an event in which restaurateurs from across the globe participate in a recipe swap. Gorini was reportedly supposed to be cooking recipes from Lee Ho Fook, which is a Chinese restaurant in Australia.

After the chef posted the photo, Toronto restaurateur and bestselling author Jen Agg took to Twitter to criticise the image. In a number of posts, she wrote “Yes I understand the concept of the ‘shuffle’. They do worldwide *remixes* and in this case Gorini is interpreting the food of Lee Ho Fook in Melbourne.”

“That def doesn’t mean ‘hey you should probably crack into the most racist tropes possible for authenticity. It’s got way more likes than comments at the moment which is...staggering and gross and sadly, unsurprising. Truly f***ed.”

Following a barrage of social media criticism, Gorini deleted the picture and released a statement via Instagram. The chef wrote: “I never thought that a photo could generate all this. The shot in question was dictated by the excitement and enthusiasm that the confrontation with a new culture has generated in our daily work. Now I realise that I probably don’t know the subject of the question well enough and that I have underestimated its meaning.”

Gorini was recently awarded a Michelin star for his restaurant in Bagno di Romagna and is often touted as one of the rising stars of Italy’s food scene.

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