Montreal Plaza chef and co-owner Charles-Antoine Crête is entangled in controversy after having appeared in a video uploaded to the restaurant’s Instagram web page on Tuesday, by which he satirizes ongoing discussions surrounding cultural and culinary appropriation within the restaurant trade.
Within the three-minute video, Crête adopts the persona of an imaginary character named Jojo Pow Pow — modelled on Cilindric the German of the French-language animated movie The Twelve Duties of Asterix, based mostly on the Asterix comedian books, which stay extensively well-liked in Québec — and circulates all through the restaurant conducting a mock inspection.
In a single scene, he tells a feminine worker donning a cow costume, “You can’t drink milk if you aren’t a cow. Pow pow.” In one other, he tells a younger man clutching a pack of noodles, “You can’t cook Vietnamese vermicelli if you aren’t Vietnamese.” When the worker responds that he’s half-Vietnamese, Crête says, “That doesn’t count; you aren’t allowed to be half-Vietnamese.”
The video was taken down from social media the next day, however not earlier than Silo 57 was in a position to seize the rebuke of commenters, together with Québécois entertainers Ingrid St-Pierre, Rosalie Bonenfant, Sarah-Maude Beauchesne, and Laurence Lafond-Beaulne of electrical pop duo Milk & Bone, who commented, “[…] Ciao. Bye. I’m never returning to your establishments. This video disgusts me deeply. [puke emoji].”
Actress, activist and creator of @lagrossequifaitdesvideos Naïla Tremblay reposted the video to her Instagram web page, the place it could nonetheless be seen. Replying to a request for remark through Instagram, Tremblay mentioned, “I find it sad that someone is once again ridiculing something that has hurt so many people just to make a joke. Sure, it could be that one day someone calls out something as cultural appropriation when it actually isn’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes these things can be really oppressive to certain groups. Is it really worth joking about?”
After taking down the video, the Saint-Hubert Road restaurant posted a press release to Instagram studying, “We were simply making a commentary on current events in a way that was playful and funny. We apologize for the misunderstanding.” That assertion has since been withdrawn as properly, however was included in Silo 57’s unique reporting.
At first of the video, Crête refers to “the story of Antonin Mousseau who isn’t allowed to cook Korean food.” Accusations of cultural appropriation had been levied towards chef Antonin Mousseau-Rivard of Le Petit Mousso earlier this summer season when he promoted his Korean-inspired pop-up, Séoul Practice, on Instagram. In a Fb publish defending his resolution to proceed with the occasion (and saying plans to revive it later this yr), Mousseau-Rivard writes, “After a lot of reading, advice, reflection and extremely interesting exchanges with people and chefs of all backgrounds, I’ve concluded that it is still acceptable and encouraged to explore other cultures through gastronomy.”
Yesterday, the identical day that Montreal Plaza reopened its eating room after operating completely on takeout and supply because the begin of the pandemic, Crête went on Puisqu’il faut se lever with Philip Arcand on 98.5 FM to reiterate that he believes his intentions had been misunderstood. “If I was even just one percent of what people are accusing me of, my own parents wouldn’t even talk to me anymore,” he mentioned.
Eater reached out to Montreal Plaza for remark, however hasn’t heard again.