If you’ve ever been to BaoHaus, the casual Taiwanese bun shop in New York’s East Village, you may have noticed Eddie Huang one of the chefs and co-owners, probably freestyling along to the music dressed in renegade street clothes. By looking at him though, you would never guess that this former stand-up comic turn celebrity chef actually practiced corporate law. Huang’s newest venture is his memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, published by Random House. The memoir, entitled the same as his hysterically fun food and travel show produced by Vice, touches on Eddie’s unique views on America, , the culinary world, Asian stereotypes, and basically Eddie’s critiques of everything and everyone he comes in contact with.
After growing up in Orlando with Taiwanese-immigrant parents, Eddie moved to New York City in 2005 to attend law school. When he was laid off from his lawn firm in 2009, he began doing stand-up comedy at the Laugh Lounge on the Lower East Side. Using the stage name 'Magic Dong Huang,' Eddie would tell jokes about everything from growing up Chinese in Orlando to jokes about bin Laden. Around the same time, Eddie, who always brought chicken wings and fried rice to the Laugh Lounge, was encouraged to try cooking out professionally. Wanting to reach a wider audience, Eddie decided to apply and later made it as a finalist on Guy Fieri’s Food Network show, the “Ultimate Recipe Showdown.” Eddie may have lost the competition but he gained the confidence needed to open up BaoHaus with his brother, Evan.
After such a whirlwind career, a successful restaurant, and a failed second restaurant endeavor when he wasn't completely focused on cooking, Eddie realized that “he had more to say as a writer than from behind a wok.” In Fresh Off the Boat, Eddie discusses his connection with African American culture due to the similarities between how his mother reprimanded him in comparison to the black kids in his neighborhood, his idolization of Tu-Pac, his obsession with football, and the physical abuse he suffered as a child. Eddie Huang and Fresh Off the Boat redefines the typical American Dream and creates one of his very own that tells the story of what it means to be first-generation American in 2013.
Want to read more about Eddie Huang and his point of view? You can buy his memoir, here.
Watch Fresh Off the Boat on Vice, here.