Eddie Huang at a panel discussion
for TV show Fresh Off the Boat
|Born||Edwyn Charles Huang
March 1, 1982
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Education||University of Pittsburgh
Rollins College (B.A.)
Yeshiva University (J.D.)
|Known for||BaoHaus (Manhattan restaurant)
Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir
Fresh Off the Boat
Edwyn Charles "Eddie" Huang (born March 1, 1982) is an American chef, restaurateur, author, food personality, producer and attorney. He co-owns BaoHaus, a Gua-Bao restaurant in the East Village of Manhattan. He previously hosted Huang's World for Viceland. Huang's autobiography, Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir, was later adapted into a television series of the same name, which airs on ABC.
Eddie Huang was born in Washington, D.C., to Jessica and Louis Huang, who were immigrants from Taiwan. They were members of Taiwan's waishengren community, i.e. descendants of immigrants from Mainland China; the ancestral homes of his father and mother were in Hunan and Shandong respectively. Huang was raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, but then moved to Orlando, Florida, where his father managed a successful group of steak and seafood restaurants, including "Atlantic Bay Seafood and Grill" and "Cattleman's Ranch Steakhouse". He appreciated African-American culture, especially hip-hop, at a young age. He also frequently got into fights, getting arrested twice on assault charges while growing up.
Huang attended the University of Pittsburgh and Rollins College, graduating with a B.A. in English and Film from Rollins in 2004. At Rollins, he also won the Barbara Lawrence Alfond English Award and the Zora Neale Hurston Award, and was Sports and Humor editor for the school paper, The Sandspur. In 2008, Huang earned a J.D. from the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. At Cardozo, Huang worked at the Innocence Project, served as President of the Minority Law Students Association and as Vice President of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, and also won a New York City Bar Association Minority Fellowship in 2006.
Huang's first job as an attorney was working in corporate law at the law firm Chadbourne & Parke in New York City. He worked as a summer associate in 2006 and 2007, then was hired as an associate in the Corporate Department in 2008. Within a year, due to the financial crisis of 2007-08, Huang was laid off, and began working as a stand-up comic and marijuana dealer.
From 2006 to 2009, Huang ran a streetwear company called "Hoodman Clothing," initially called "Bergdorf Hoodman." At Hoodman, Huang co-created clothing designs with Art Director Ning Juang, a graphic designer whom he had met in Taiwan.
Huang was also interested in food as he had grown up watching his mother cook at home. He also learned cooking techniques from various chefs of different cultural backgrounds and cuisine styles that worked at his father's restaurants. He learned management and how to be a good expeditor: a restaurant employee who manages the communication of information and orders between the back and front of the restaurant, making sure that the food is prepared in the correct order as efficiently and rapidly as possible, and presented to the customer in the highest quality conditions. Working as an expeditor was a skill he learned from his father. In 2011 Huang was named to the Chow 13 which is a list of influential people in food presented annually by Chow.com.
In December 2009, Huang opened BaoHaus, a Taiwanese bun () shop, in the Lower East Side section of Lower Manhattan. In July 2011, he relocated his first shop to 238 East 14th Street in the East Village with an expanded menu.
Another restaurant, Xiao Ye, was less successful and closed after poor reviews and controversy over its sales of Four Loko. Sam Sifton, the reviewer for the New York Times awarded the restaurant zero (out of four) stars, and wrote that "if Mr. Huang spent even a third of the time cooking that he does writing funny blog posts and wry Twitter updates, posting hip-hop videos and responding to Internet friends, rivals, critics and customers, Xiao Ye might be one of the more interesting restaurants to open in New York City in the last few months."
Huang created a blog called Fresh Off the Boat and later published a memoir with Random House by the same name.Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir was released in early 2013, receiving favorable reviews from Publishers Weekly and The New York Times.
Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China was published in 2016.
Huang hosted Cheap Bites on the Cooking Channel at the end of 2011 and also appeared on several episodes of Unique Eats before leaving the Cooking Channel for Viceland, where he hosts a recurring segment, also called Fresh Off the Boat, which was later developed into an hour long show and renamed Huang's World.
In 2014, ABC ordered a television series based on his book, also called Fresh Off the Boat, starring Randall Park and Constance Wu, with Hudson Yang playing Eddie. The show debuted with two preview episodes on February 4, 2015, and premiered in its prime time slot on February 10, 2015.
Huang was outspoken in his criticism of the development process of the show, writing a lengthy essay about his concern that his vision for the show was compromised. Huang has said that he does not watch the show, because he thinks that the storyline after the pilot episode is not what he wrote in his memoir.
In 2012, Huang was named a 2013 TED Fellow. He later had his TED fellowship revoked for not attending every event of the conference, per the fellowship agreement. He went on to compare TED to a "Scientology summer camp".
Huang drew criticism in May 2015 for comments he made about black women during an interview on Real Time With Bill Maher. He said "I feel like Asian men have been emasculated so much in America that we're basically treated like Black women." Later he engaged in a Twitter exchange on his account @MrEddieHuang with @BlackGirlDanger where he defended his comments, which were called "misogynoir". Huang then tweeted "are we dating cause you wildin. lol" and offered to take her out on a date.
Huang has also drawn criticism for his appropriation of African-American culture. Huang has stated: "I've devoted myself to speaking about people owning their own cultures that they've created, that they came over with, and educating people about the foundational values in culture." Nevertheless, The New York Times referred to Huang as "a walking mixtape of postmodern cultural appropriation." Some have claimed that Huang exhibits "misogynistic language and attitudes", non-conventional English speech and dress, and experiences with police which indicate an "adoption of a hip hop influenced persona."