Yeah, hence the bit at the end about the fleet of carts: I don’t think Ramsay’s really stepping on the toes of, say, a first-generation immigrant moving up from food cart to a semi-permanent stall in a downtown food hall here.
But is it possible that the establishment restauranteurs, many of whom are basically Rich White Guys (with a smattering of Rich White Women), are basically just hanging onto the top end of the market via sheer inertia (and maybe no active malice on their part, but certainly by continuing to take advantage of socio-cultural advantages)? Sorta like how we have lots of interesting conversations over how white and male the Oscars noms are. Sure, there just aren’t many black or female filmmakers operating in the AAA space. But it’s a bit of a chicken-or-egg situation: if there aren’t any successful black/female/Asian/etc. filmmakers, then which studio is gonna be the one to risk the whole barn by dropping a bunch of money on up-and-comers as compared to the existing sure thing?
The argument extends downward from there. I live in Good Ol Racist North Carolina and look and sound Super White (despite being Half-Guatemalan). I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that if I took a crack at opening a Guatemalan Tamales food truck here in NC, I’d have an easier time, at every step along the way, than a chestnut-brown fresh-off-the-caravan Guatemalan immigrant with a heavy accent and roughly equal economic stats as me. Ditto for, say, a Thai guy, or an Ethiopian guy, etc.
So when you get a white guy cracking open a restaurant at any level, it might be worth at least thinking about how much more of the limited air in the room they’re sucking up by just choosing to exist in that space.
That’s not to say it’s not allowed, or that everything has to be equalized for everyone by tomorrow, stat.
But it’s a conversation to have. It leads to more places. Maybe it means more small business grants for minority entrepreneurs. Maybe it means food critics checking their unconscious biases and wondering whether they give higher scores to Jonathan Smith’s new pho place because the food’s good, or maybe because they’re good friends who run in the same circles, whereas competitor Duong Trần is some total stranger he can barely hold a conversation with, or if it’s possibly something a little deeper than that? Maybe, maybe not. Giving it time and thought is worthwhile, just to be sure :)