A contestant on “MasterChef: The Professionals” is speaking out after taking heat for calling Asian food “dirty.”
Philli Armitage-Mattin came under fire this week after social media users took notice of her Instagram bio, in which she branded herself as an “Asian specialist” chef and included the phrase “dirty food refined” and the hashtag #prettydirtyfood. The chef has since changed her bio after critics called her out for using the word “dirty,” saying it’s an insult to Asian cuisine and culture.
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In response, Armitage-Mattin, a contestant from the current season of the BBC series, has claimed she never intended her bio to mean Asian food itself is “dirty” and apologized for any unintentional offense.
“I have never called Asian food ‘dirty’ in a derogatory manner. I have never used the phrase ‘dirty’ to reflect being unclean or unhygienic,” Armitage-Mattin wrote in an Instagram post this week.
“The way I mean food to be ‘dirty’ is indulgent street food; food that comforts you as in going out for a ‘dirty burger.’ … It has never occurred to me to connect the words ‘dirty’ and Asian in the manner that I am accused of, that has never been my intention. I am truly sorry if this has caused any offense,” Armitage-Mattin wrote.
A “MasterChef” UK contestant is under fire for calling Asian food “dirty.” (iStock)
The 28-year-old London-based chef reportedly worked for British restaurateur Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants, which is where she “fell in love with Asian cuisine,” she told Savour UK.
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Some commenters, however, still had a bone to pick with the chef’s apology on social media.
“‘Asian’ food doesn’t need to be ‘refined’ by you I’m sorry. Especially if your definition of refinement is putting some sriracha on top of a langoustine,” one user commented.
Another responded by calling out the language Armitage-Mattin used to describe Asian food as especially damaging during the pandemic.
“Even if you didn’t intend the word ‘dirty’ to mean ‘unclean,’ you have failed to acknowledge or apologize for the harm that this kind of language causes to Asian populations. Especially during a time when racism towards Chinese people is rampant,” another user posted.
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Earlier this week, Clarence Kwan, the author and creator of “Chinese Protest Recipes,” a cooking publication that highlights Chinese food and antiracism, posted an image of Armitage-Mattin’s bio on Instagram, commenting, “In a year where Chinese and East Asian communities have essentially been blamed for the pandemic and chastised as ‘dirty,’ this type of narrative is completely unacceptable,” Today Food first reported.
MasterChefUK and Armitage-Mattin did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.