A food photographer criticized “whiteness” and “privilege” in the food industry on a podcast called “Racist Sandwich.”
“Food media is predominantly generated by white people for white people,” said food photographer Celeste Noche to the BBC. “So when the subject veers toward anything outside of the Western canon, it’s not uncommon to see things generalized, exotified, or misrepresented. ”
“I think microaggressions in social media are reflective of food media as a whole in that appropriation,” explained Noche. “These microaggressions can be as simple as a lack of research.”
“I think that whiteness in a photograph can be the privilege of not having to explain what it is by using different props or things that overcompensate,” she said during an appearance on the “Racist Sandwich“ podcast.
Noche explained that displays of European food emphasized a certain amount of time, money, and effort put into food production that people from other cultures might not be able to give.
The food photographer also criticized the use of minimalism in photos of food.
“My issue with minimalism is that it suggests a kind of privilege,” said Noche. “People who can choose to be minimalist usually [aren’t] in a position where they’re choosing minimalism because they have to.”
“Food photography can be very classist in that way.”
“Why don’t you let the food speak for itself the way you let every other dish that you’re shooting?” Noche asked rhetorically, describing how Asian dishes are often presented with chopsticks or other cultural signifiers that she does not believe are really necessary.
On Twitter, the food photographer referred to Tucker Carlson, founder of The Daily Caller and host of the Fox News Channel program “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” as a “racist, misogynistic bigot.”
Noche’s comments come during a time when some are concerned about “cultural misrepresentations” of food, according to the BBC.
“Dear Pembroke catering staff, stop mixing mango and beef and calling it ‘Jamaican stew’,” said one student at Pembroke College of Cambridge University. “I’m actually half Jamaican, pls [sic] show me where in the Caribbean they mix fruit and meat.”
A food website named Bon Appetit also received backlash after publishing a video in which a white American chef instructed viewers on the “correct way to eat pho.”
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