Although the New York City Wine & Food Festival is still a couple months away, controversy is already brewing. Serious Eats’ Food Lab has decided to drop out of its highly anticipated ramen party event because the New York City Wine & Food Festival organizers suddenly added maligned comedian Josh Ostrovsky as the event’s MC.
Ostrovsky, also known as “The Fat Jew,” has been under fire recently for plagiarizing much of his material, specifically on social media. J. Kenji López-Alt, test kitchen chef and the managing culinary director of Food Lab, along with several of the participating ramen joints, including Mu Ramen, Ivan Ramen, and Jin Ramen, have dropped out of the event, which was supposed to take place October 17.
“The Fat Jew is the antithesis of everything I represent in the media world,” writes López-Alt in an explanatory Facebook post. “He unapologetically steals other people's work, stripping it of the creators' identities. He is a plagiarist, a thief, a misogynist, and absolutely the wrong choice of co-host for a food event, or really any respectable event. That it comes at a time when there's huge media backlash against him is even more baffling to me.”
The Daily Meal has contacted the Wine & Food Festival organizers for more information, and have reached out to López-Alt as well as the other ramen restaurants for a statement.
There is no word yet on whether the event will still happen, but López-Alt is working on a new event for the festival.