BON APPÉTIT BROWNFACE PHOTO, TOXIC CULTURE ACCUSATIONS REFLECT BROADER RACISM IN FOOD MEDIA, SAYS BLACK FOODIE

'We've been missing from stories about food and everyday stories,' says Eden Hagos

Eden Hagos, pictured at CBC's Sound of the Season event in Toronto in December 2019, launched her Black Foodie website in 2015 as an alternative to mainstream food media in North America, which she says largely features foods with European cultural roots. (Andrew Nguyen/CBC)

A brownface scandal and accusations of rampant racism at Bon Appétit magazine are a sign that the food media suffer from a lack of racialized staff members and storytellers, says Eden Hagos.

“I think a lot of people of colour, especially Black people, have noticed that we’ve been missing from stories about food and everyday stories, in general, in media. So, it wasn’t very surprising at all,” Hagos, founder of the website Black Foodie, told Day 6 host Brent Bambury.

Black Foodie is a food and culture site and event company that puts a Black-centred lens on Canadian food, giving visibility to food with African, Caribbean and Southern American roots, from jerk chicken to Ethiopian lentils.

Hagos launched her site in 2015 as an alternative to mainstream food media in North America, which she said largely features foods with European cultural roots — whereas ingredients from other cultures, such as turmeric or harissa, are often treated as exotic or unusual.

“What often ends up happening is that because food media is so white, you get white personalities introducing ‘ethnic’ foods as if they’re somehow exotic or strange,” culture writer Navneet Alang said on CBC’s Front Burner.

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