- Tieghan Gerard, the food influencer behind Half Baked Harvest, is under fire for cultural appropriation.
- Gerard shared a recipe for “25 Minute Sesame Ginger Banh Mi Rice Bowls.” Commentators pointed out that “bánh mì” means “bread” in Vietnamese.
- It is not the first time that the influencer has been accused of misappropriating Asian food.
Tieghan Gerard, the chef behind the popular Half Baked Harvest food blog, is under fire for misappropriation of a Vietnamese recipe. This isn’t the first time Gerard has been accused of misrepresenting Asian food.
On March 7, Gerard shared a recipe for “25 Minute Sesame Ginger Rice Bowls” on his 5.2 million follower Instagram account. Commentators were quick to point out that Gerard’s “Banh Mi Rice Bowl” was an oxymoron: In Vietnamese, bánh mì (pronounced “bun-mee” and Gerard mispronounced it as “bon-my”) means bread.
“The concept of a Bánh Mì rice bowl just doesn’t make sense,” wrote one commenter. “Why not call it ‘Vietnamese-Inspired Rice Bowl’ or ‘Sweet and Spicy Rice Bowl’?”
“As a Vietnamese, this is very disappointing,” another commented. “Not only did you mispronounce it, but I don’t see how this represents a Bánh Mì bowl at all!”
Commenters called on Gerard to “feel wrong” and employ a “growth mindset” for cultural sensitivity, nodding to his 5.2 million followers: “You’ve got a platform, get it right.”
“This really sucks… I literally make several of your recipes a week but it’s really disheartening that you haven’t responded to any of these comments questioning your pronunciation or misrepresentation,” wrote one commenter.
Gerard has yet to publicly address the concerned comments and his followers have been frustrated by his silence. Some said that Gerard unfollowed because they feel that he lacks self-awareness and responsibility. Comments are also coming in accusing the influencer of deleting their critical comments.
Reviews can also be found below the original recipe that he first shared on his website at March 1 where Gerard seems to be responding only to positive comments. One fan wrote that she is “ignoring comments from Vietnamese fans even when [she] spread[s] your culture.”
Fans seem particularly exasperated by the foodie because it’s not the first time she’s been accused of sacrificing Asian food.
In February 2021, Gerard faced backlash for whitewashing another Vietnamese dish. Gerardo shared a noodle soup recipe titled “Weeknight Ginger Bonfire (Vietnamese Chicken Soup)” by Buzzfeed Newswhich he advised to prepare in “less than an hour”.
Supporters at the time were once again frustrated and disappointed by the lack of investigation and misrepresentation. An iconic Vietnamese dish, Pho requires a lot of work and time, often requiring the broth to be made hours, if not days, in advance. In response to the backlash, the recipe was renamed “Easy Sesame Chicken and Noodles in Spicy Broth.”
“I believe what I want from her even though she changed the name [of her recipe] there is some sense of recognition that this was a learning opportunity for her,” follower Stephanie Vu he told Buzzfeed News At the time.
A woman named Rachel Rock also told the outlet at the time that the influencer had blocked her after resharing the criticism.
Two years later, as Gerard’s Instagram account has grown to over 2 million, it’s unclear how Gerard will deal with these new accusations of cultural appropriation. So far, Gerard has not made any public acknowledgment. Gerard did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.