I had the opportunity of attending a press tour that featured Ming Tsai as our special guest/host. I will not name the company that hosted this tour as I respect and admire them greatly and they treated all of us very, very well.
However, two days with Ming Tsai was more than enough. At the first night's "get acquainted" dinner I was seated with Ming, his publicist and assistant. Within the first 5 minutes of the meal I was treated to no less than three off-color and racist jokes about the general subject of inner city mothers who receive AFDC (Aid for Families with Dependent Children) also known as "welfare." These were told by the publicist, Ming and his assistant respectively. These were met with guffaws of self appreciation, but polite snickers by only 2 of the other guests at the table. Then Ming went on to regale us about reducing payments to "welfare queens", the need for weekly drug testing, forced sterilization and the like-I guess as some sort of justification of his racial stereotyping and tasteless comments.
I thought the whole subject matter to be dangerously divisive considering that he had only met the rest of us 10 minutes before and that we were all members of the culinary press.
I asked him and his friends if they had ever met a woman who relied on welfare to feed her children. They all replied in the negative. I suggested that they might not want to make assumptions about groups of people that they had no experience with. I also surmised after hearing about Ming's family (father a nuclear physiscist who immigrated from communist China) that not too long ago Ming and his family would have run a significant risk of being questioned by McCarthy and his committee of "Unamerican Activities."
I find it incredibly tasteless for wealthy people to make jokes about the poor and vulnerable, especially, if those famously successful people got a hefty leg-up from their families (Ming is one of those).
I also think he just fudges his shows. I watched an episode about Asian 1 One-pot meals. None of the recipes used any less than 3 different cooking vessels including the final one. Who does he think he's fooling?