In the immortal words of Mookie (portrayed by Spike Lee in my all-time favorite movie, "Do the Right Thing"), "Yo Sal, how come there ain't no brothas up on the wall?" is repeated refrain and the genesis of an eventual race riot involving African Americans and a pizzeria owned by Italian Americans in Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. The overwhelmingly black patrons are not represented on the pizzeria's "Hall of Fame" reserved for Italian Americans.
Beginning with my grad school roommate who would bootleg copies of all the Japanese Iron Chefs, Food Network has changed my life. It made me want to cook and showed me it could look easy even when it isn't for me. I think cooking makes people healthier and its become a creative outlet. There is more Food Network on my TIVO than anything else. That aside, it started to dawn on me that everyone on food network was European American. It hit me most strongly when I watched the Swedish (by way of Cameroon) Chef Marcus Samuelssohn, Canadian Caribbean Grill Master Rob Rainford, and then Australian Hong Kong Chef Kylie Kwong on the Discovery Home Channel within the span of one and a half hours. This was more people of color cooking than I'd ever seen on Food Network.
Yes, Ming Tsai used to have a show and a few African Americans used to or still host shows. But in 2007, how does a channel devoted to something as uniquely cultural as food look as lily white as "Birth of a Nation"? (I swear they started offering Simply Delicioso after I complained to them directly!)
Yes, Emeril sometimes drops some egg rolls and Tyler Florence might stir fry a bit but isn't there some sense of "authenticity" in having a cultural lineage. Isn't this why I'm seated next to the window in Chinese restaurants? I would argue the most publicized chefs that cook Latin food are Rick Bayless, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, and Bobby Flay. Where is the Latin in Latin food?
Where is the Asian food? China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia have nothing to offer to the culinary world? Tell that to the takeout industry.