Andrew Zimmern took a lot of heat this week.
If you're just joining us at home, here's what you missed. The local celeb chef was recently the subject of a Fast Company interview about his new Chinese restaurant/Tiki bar, Lucky Cricket. In it, he says some stuff that really upset some people, specifically: "I think I’m saving the souls of all the people from having to dine at these horseshit restaurants masquerading as Chinese food that are in the Midwest."
It landed the Bizarre Foods host a bit of not-so-great coverage in the Washington Post ("Andrew Zimmern missed an opportunity—to honor, rather than insult, Chinese cooks.") and Eater ("Why Does Andrew Zimmern Get to Create the Next P.F. Chang’s?").
So he's spent the last few days on an apology tour. Zimmern issued a lengthy statement published by the Star Tribune Tuesday in which he admits to "cultural elitism" and adds: “The upset that is felt in the Chinese American community is reasonable, legitimate and understandable, and I regret that I have been the one to cause it."
He later sat down with Kare 11 to discuss what he calls an especially painful week, both personally and professionally. He says the Fast Company video took some things out of context, but doesn't excuse his remarks either, agreeing they were "flippant" and "careless." And he cops to the grandiosity of saying he's "saving the souls" of Midwesterners from bad Chinese food.
To clarify, the chef says he wasn't referencing authentic Chinese restaurants run by Chinese-Americans, but "airport kiosks serving Chinese food," places that aren't using healthy food or cooking from scratch.
But he adds: "It doesn't matter that I wasn't talking about them, or didn't intend to hurt them."
"I made a really stupid mistake. You apologize, and then you go about the hard work of actually making the situation right," Zimmern concludes.
You can read his full comments to the Strib here, and the Kare 11 video is below.