Eddie Huang is a writer, restaurateur, and author of the blog and memoir Fresh Off the Boat. He is also unreserved, unapologetic, and very, very funny. Eddie Huang signed a deal with ABC to turn his memoir into a sitcom. In February, we brought Huang together with Hot 97 radio personality Miss Info for a night of unfiltered conversation at the vibrant, open gallery space at Chambers Fine Art. In front of a packed audience that broke out in fits of laughter, Huang opened up about everything from his teary-eyed viewings of Harry Potter, why he would fight for the only remaining parachute in a crashing plane, to forming a sense of himself and his work that pushed up against racial stereotypes.
Unabashedly confident, and with a sharp and nuanced take on race politics, Huang admits that becoming who he is today wasn’t all that easy: “No matter what society you’re in, there’s a box that society wants to put you into. My journey was identifying that box at a young age, rejecting that box, then purging my mind and purging myself of anything that was a parasite on my identity, and rebuilding it from the ground up about who I wanted to be.”
His path to finding himself is not unlike the approach he took to writing Fresh Off the Boat: “The spirit of the book is that I write the way that I talk. I’m more of a storyteller than a technical writer. And I was like, ‘What is the illest way to tell these stories?’ And then boom, boom, boom. So each chapter is a collection of stories that exemplify an idea.”
Huang has no qualms telling folks about how hard he’s worked to break out into the food world. He’s the owner and co-chef of the hit Taiwanese street food joint BaoHaus, which exploded on the scene in 2009. As his rise to celebrity chef status is pronounced by everyone from GQ to Interview magazine, Huang offered up some raw, heartfelt advice for the AAWW fam.