A major food influencer is under fire for misappropriating an Asian dish for the second time, as she's now accused of deleting comments
Tieghan Gerard, the food influencer behind Half Baked Harvest, is under fire for cultural appropriation.
Gerard shared a "25 Minute Ginger Sesame Banh Mi Rice Bowls" recipe. Commenters pointed out that "bánh mì" means "bread" in Vietnamese.
It's not the first time the influencer has been accused of misappropriating Asian food.
Tieghan Gerard, the cook behind the popular food blog Half Baked Harvest, is under fire for misappropriating a Vietnamese recipe. This is not the first time Gerard has been accused of misrepresenting Asian food.
On March 7, Gerard shared a recipe for "25 Minute Ginger Sesame Banh Mi Rice Bowls" to her Instagram account of 5.2 million followers. Quickly, commenters pointed out that Gerard's "Banh Mi Rice Bowl" was an oxymoron: In Vietnamese, bánh mì (pronounced "bun-mee" and was mispronounced by Gerard as "bon-my") means bread.
"The concept of a Bánh Mì rice bowl simply doesn't make sense," one commenter wrote. "Why not call it 'Vietnamese-Inspired Rice Bowl' or 'Sweet and Spicy Rice Bowl'?"
"As someone who is Vietnamese, this is super disappointing," another commented. "Not only did you pronounce it wrong, but I don't see how this represents a Bánh Mì bowl at all!"
Commenters asked Gerard to "acknowledge the mistake" and employ a "growth mindset" to cultural sensitivity, nodding to her 5.2 million followers: "You have a platform, make it right."
"This really sucks… I literally make several of your recipes a week, but it's really disheartening you haven't responded to any of these comments questioning your pronunciation or misrepresentation," a commenter wrote.
Gerard has yet to publicly address concerned comments, and her followers have grown frustrated by her silence. Some said they unfollowed Gerard because they feel she lacks self-awareness and accountability. Comments are also pouring in that accuse the influencer of deleting their critical comments.
Criticism can also be found underneath the original recipe that she first shared to her website on March 1 where Gerard seems to be only responding to positive feedback. One fan wrote that she is "ignoring the comments of Vietnamese followers even as [she] peddle[s] their culture."
Fans seem particularly exasperated by the foodie because it's not the first time she's been accused of butchering Asian food.
In February 2021, Gerard faced backlash for whitewashing another Vietnamese dish. Gerard shared a noodle soup recipe entitled "Weeknight ginger pho ga (Vietnamese chicken soup)," per Buzzfeed News, that she advised could be prepared in "under an hour."
Followers at the time were once again frustrated and disappointed by the lack of research and misrepresentation. Pho, an iconic Vietnamese dish, is labor and time-intensive, often requiring broth to be prepared for hours, if not days, in advance. In response to the backlash, the recipe was renamed "Easy Sesame Chicken and Noodles in Spicy Broth."
"I think what I want from her despite the fact that she changed the name [of her recipe] is any sense of acknowledgment that this was a learning opportunity for her," follower Stephanie Vu told Buzzfeed News at the time.
A woman named Rachel Rock also told the outlet at the time that she'd been blocked by the influencer after resharing criticism.
Two years later, as Gerard's Instagram account has grown by more than 2 million, it's uncertain how Gerard will face these new accusations of cultural appropriation. So far, Gerard has made no public acknowledgment. Gerard did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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