On His Jacques
Fresh Off the Boat
(Spiegel & Grau, 288 pp., $26)
Eddie Huang’s entertaining memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, contains what will probably turn out to be the top backhanded compliment of 2013. It comes near the end of the book, when the BaoHaus chef appears on the Food Network’s Ultimate Recipe Showdown. He’s a little sauced, and he’s already run out of the taping to use the john, to the horror of the show’s producers. He loses the competition, but chef Guy Fieri, the anti-Huang, tells him to keep cooking.
“I guess that’s kind of my shtick in general is like punk rock gentleman. You can sound-bite that.” The Observer was chatting with talk show host, entrepreneur, and editor Elliot Aronow, who had just released the second issue of his zine, Our Show with Elliot Aronow, and was celebrating with a party in the Yard at the Soho Grand. DJs Cosmo Baker and Prince Language were spinning classic funk and hip hop. The Observer spotted MTV’s Sway, Princeton “punkademic” Samuel Goldman and about half of Das Racist’s Greedhead labelmates.
Our Show takes its name from the variety show Mr. Aronow used to host at Santos Party House with guests like James Murphy and Andrew W.K., what he calls “my weird pothead version of Glenn O’Brien’s TV Party meets Charlie Rose.” For the zine, “My idea for it was to make it a punk GQ, take all the stuff that was supposed to be kind of bourgeois and bring it down from the mountain and say, ‘Ayo, you can do this.’” Both issues contain fashion advice from Brooklyn Tailors, whose Danny Lewis was at the party and told The Observer, “It’s like Elliot’s whole world. He spreads the word. You’ll probably see some of our stuff floating around.” Indeed, Mr. Aronow was sporting bespoke pants from the Williamsburg haberdasher, plus a green-on-white paisley Thom Browne for Brooks Brothers jacket and a white t-shirt from Uniqlo, “’cause I don’t care,” he said.
Back in June, the New York Observer published a piece by Manhattan restaurateur, blogger and soon-to-be-book-author Eddie Huang about Red Rooster chef Marcus Samuelsson, tied to the release of Samuelsson’s memoir, Yes, Chef. In it, Huang took a look at the cultural and culinary implications of Red Rooster, one of Harlem’s most critically hyped (and priciest) dining destinations.
Samuelsson did not take kindly to the piece then. And over a month and a half later, he’s still talking about it.
This morning, The Observer published a column by culinary bon vivant, chef, restaurant-owner, and writer Eddie Huang on the matter of Red Rooster, the Harlem fine-dining restaurant serving the nu-soul food of culinary darling Marcus Samuelsson, whose memoir Yes, Chef comes out this week. The reaction has been—to say the least—fiery.
Now, Marcus Samuelsson himself has weighed in.