Andrew Zimmern causes controversy with his comments on Chinese chefs in the Midwest

He just opened his new St. Louis Park restaurant, Lucky Cricket.
Publish date:

Andrew Zimmern is attracting unwanted headlines in the wake of opening his new Chinese-inspired restaurant, the Lucky Cricket, in St. Louis Park.

The Minnesota-based celebrity chef has stoked controversy for comments he made in a video interview with Fast Company, which was filmed at the State Fair but published last week (you can watch it at the bottom of this page).

In the video, Zimmern said that his plan with the Lucky Cricket is to start a new Chinese restaurant chain, saying: "I think I’m saving the souls of all the people from having to dine at these horses--t restaurants masquerading as Chinese food that are in the Midwest."

"I'm now trying to use my platform to show people what beautiful big flavors are from that culture," he added.

The comment attracted criticism from The Eater, which said Zimmern is suggesting that Chinese-American restaurants in the Midwest are "illegitimate," as well as ignoring the culinary contributions of Minnesota's Hmong community.

Zimmern was also critical of P.F Chang's and its co-founder Philip Chiang, calling the chain a "rip-off" and of Chiang said: "...despite how he looks on the outside, he’s a rich, American kid on the inside, right?"

The Washington Post also jumped to criticize Zimmern, with Illinois-raised Chinese-American write Ruth Tam pointing out that Zimmern is arguably guilty of what he himself is criticizing.

Follow Bring Me The News on Instagram

"He too is trying to make money in America, except he has the noble cause of 'saving' white people from eating bad Chinese food," Tam writes. "When Chinese people make Americanized Chinese food for white people, Zimmern calls it “horses---.” But when he does it, it’s 'unique.'"

Zimmern responded to criticisms he's being culturally insensitive in a post on his Facebook page Monday, admitting he sounded patronizing and saying: "I am completely responsible for what I said and I want to apologize to anyone who was offended or hurt by those sound bites."

He said the criticism from the Chinese-American community was "reasonable, legitimate and understandable" and he expressed regret at causing it.

Lucky Cricket opened to diners in St. Louis Park's West End last week.

Here's his interview with Fast Company.

Next Up

Kevin Fiala, Jordan Greenway

Wild blanked by Blues; playoff fate is in Colorado's hands

It comes down to the final day of the regular season.

Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 10.04.32 PM

Number of suicides in Minnesota decreased in 2020

While the number dropped, 723 people still died by suicide last year.

Vikings fans, U.S. Bank Stadium

Ranking the most difficult games in the Vikings' 2021 schedule

The Vikings have some interesting matchups on their 17-game slate.

Spencer Silver

Chemist who co-invented Post-it Notes dies at home in St. Paul

He developed an adhesive that could stick to paper – repeatedly – without damaging the paper.

Danielle Hunter

Here is the official 2021 Minnesota Vikings schedule

How does an early January game at Lambeau Field sound?

Blake Bortles

Amid Aaron Rodgers drama, Packers reportedly sign Blake Bortles

The former No. 3 overall pick is headed to Green Bay.

You Houa Thao

Missing St. Paul man found dead in wooded area

The 73-year-old was reported missing May 8.

YouTube - Jim Klobuchar

Jim Klobuchar, celebrated Minnesota columnist, dies at 93

He died Wednesday after a battle with Alzheimer's.

Jerry Burns

Former Vikings head coach Jerry Burns dies at 94

Burns spent a total of 24 seasons with the Vikings as an offensive coordinator and head coach.


Andrew Zimmern's new Twin Cities restaurant opens next week

The Lucky Cricket in St. Louis Park opens its doors on Monday.

Early reviews of Andrew Zimmern's Lucky Cricket are ... not great

The celebrity chef is having a rocky start to his foray into chain restaurants.

Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 7.08.31 AM

Andrew Zimmern's Lucky Cricket to re-open under new management

The plan is for it to be fully open by early September.

Andrew Zimmern's Lucky Cricket closes for remodeling

The celebrity chef's take on Chinese cuisine has endured a rocky start.

Screen Shot 2020-09-18 at 2.44.05 PM

Andrew Zimmern, local chefs host drive-thru fundraiser Tuesday

Several local chefs will host a drive-thru, pick-up dinner fundraiser in St. Louis Park

Andrew Zimmern picks St. Louis Park for his new restaurant

The celebrity chef has revealed more details about his Chinese restaurant.

Chef Andrew Zimmern really doesn't like Yelp

He says there are better ways to find good restaurants