Chefs are speaking out with a greater sense of urgency and we should listen
Food and politics have always been inseparable. The writer Alicia Kennedy addressed the topic recently in her weekly newsletter, in which she questions what people mean when they say “food is political.” In her essay, she astutely points out that the phrase is really “a false shorthand for social justice” and reminds us that our ideas about the relationship between food and politics are often more vague than they should be.
Chefs haven’t historically been outspoken about government policies that don’t directly affect their bottom line. But recent calls for social justice have spurred many chefs to speak out about their political beliefs with a greater sense of urgency. Chefs who use their platform to speak critically of government or be vocal advocates for social movements like Black Lives Matter are relentlessly trolled on social media with tropes like “shut up and cook” or “go back to the kitchen.” It’s hard to imagine those same people telling lawyers to “stick to torts” or surgeons to “go back to the E.R.”