Skip to main content

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

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

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

Chris Smith

Gophers add All-Ivy League D-tackle from Harvard

Chris Smith will be eligible immediately as a graduate transfer.

school bus

High school basketball team returns from game to find bus driver dead

Members of the girls team returned to the bus to find the driver unresponsive.

covid-19 testing site sign

Minnesota AG sues COVID testing site, alleging it sent false results

Sometimes the company didn't send people their results at all, the lawsuit alleges.

optum headquarters chad davis wikimedia commons

UnitedHealth Group says it made $287B last year, $24B of it profit

The corporation's Optum business represented a significant chunk of that total.


Omicron may have already peaked in Minnesota

Reported cases lag what's happening in real time, so the newly reported cases over the next week or so will still be very high.

MnDot snow plow cam I-35 12-10-21

MnDOT reveals 50 snowplow name finalists

Voting is open through Wednesday, Jan. 26.

gov tim walz

Walz's $2.7B infrastructure plan includes $940M for climate projects

Projects will help Minnesota prevent or adapt to climate change and mitigate its impacts, the governor says.

south st paul mayor twitter 2

'Just took this': MN mayor tweeting others' pics says it's for 'entertainment'

The mayor told Bring Me The News his goal on Twitter is to spread joy.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, January 19

More than 44,000 new cases reported from the holiday weekend.

rise bagel co

Bagel shop closes amid vax-or-test mandate, posts: 'All are welcome here'

Other Twin Cities restaurants have also temporarily closed this week.

Rick Spielman

Spielman: 'It was constantly like a moving target all the time'

Spielman said drafting and rostering players who fit the scheme was difficult with all of the offensive coordinators Mike Zimmer had.


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's foray into chain restaurants has been turbulent so far.

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.

Minnesota State Fair

Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern skeptical of State Fair food 'gimmicks'

He had a mixed reaction to the release of the new foods for this year's State Fair.

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.