Padma Lakshmi Weighs in on the Latest Restaurant Controversy — Using a Gif of Her Judging Top Chef

Padma Lakshmi Weighs in on the Latest Restaurant Controversy — Using a Gif of Her Judging Top Chef

Bravo's Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi took to Twitter with her thoughts on the Lucky Lee's restaurant "clean Chinese" food scandal, using the universal language of gifs.

By Alesandra Dubin
Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi has something to say about the latest restaurant-world scandal — and she's found the perfect gif to carry the message. The Bravo's Top Chef host took to Twitter to share her thoughts on the latest food-world scandal unfolding — a flareup of an older controversy that landed fellow TV food personality Andrew Zimmern in hot water.

Let's recap, readers, and get you up to speed on the drama over so-called "clean Chinese" food: The restaurant Lucky Lee's is marketing itself as a "healthy" and “clean” alternative to typical Chinese food. The problem with this marketing approach, according to its critics, is that it implies an improvement over Chinese food as typically prepared by... actual Chinese people, cooking in their own tradition. It's "suffused with stereotypes that Chinese cuisine is monolithically unhealthy and greasy, and of Chinese restaurants (and neighborhoods and people) as dirty," as Grub Street notes.

The Lucky Lee’s backlash comes after celebrity chefs like Zimmern and Gordon Ramsay encountered similar troubles when opening their own Chinese restaurants.

Sharing a link to the Grub Street story, Padma tweeted: "When a white woman opens a 'clean' Chinese restaurant," and punctuated the message with a gif of herself on the Top Chef judging panel. It bears the caption, "Think about that for a second."

Later, she chimed in with a simple "amen" retweet in praise of family-owned Chinese restaurants — without any so-called "healthy" twist... or whiff of cultural appropriation.

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