Wang Gang, a Chinese chef famed for his online cooking tutorial videos, has found himself in the middle of a widespread debate after uploading a clip on YouTube where he taught people how to make a “braised salamander” dish.
Many believe that the cooking tutorial video, which was uploaded on the chef’s official YouTube channel on March 7, features the endangered Chinese giant salamander, according to Ink Stone News.
Netizens quickly expressed their disgust and accused the chef of having no respect for life. However, the down-to-earth chef later clarified that the animal he featured in the video was not taken from the wild, but was from a farm.
In China, it is illegal to hunt and kill Chinese giant salamanders that are from the wild, but it is legal to harvest their meat if they come from farms that specifically raise this species.
Unfortunately, by the time the 29-year-old chef from Chengdu, China explained his side, the backlash from the video had already become widespread. As a result, he issued an apology to his viewers, noting that he should have clarified the thin legality line of preparing and cooking Chinese giant salamanders.
Even with the explanation, some fans still criticized the famous chef, who has more than 10 million followers online, for showing the graphic way he killed the salamander.
One internet user accused him, “You are not cooking food, you are killing food.”
“You can’t tell me that the pork you eat comes from a pig who committed suicide, and divided itself up into chunks of meat, right?” Wang said, while speaking to South China Morning Post, as a response to that criticism. “Somebody has to do it.”
“I’m a chef, when a chef shares how he cooks, he can’t just talk blankly into the camera and bring out the dish the next second,” he continued. “That’s cheating. I have to show the entire process.”
Featured image screenshot via YouTube / 美食作家王刚