Chef, Bestselling Author of Fresh Off the Boat, & Host for VICE and MTV
Eddie Huang’s memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, was hailed by the New York Times as “Bawdy and frequently hilarious ... a surprisingly sophisticated memoir about race and assimilation in America ... as much James Baldwin and Jay-Z as Amy Tan.” A sitcom based on the book, airing on ABC, is the first Asian American family-centric TV series in nearly 20 years. The show, also called Fresh Off the Boat, stars Randall Park as Louis, Constance Wu as Jessica, Hudson Yang as Eddie, Forrest Wheeler as Emery, and Ian Chen as Evan. It has been called “a long-overdue win for Asian-American representation in the primetime slot” (PolicyMic). Huang’s new book, Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China, will be published in May 2016.
Huang’s food/travel series, Huang’s World, is now airing on VICE’s new television network Viceland. He is widely known as the chef and owner of the popular Taiwanese restaurant Baohaus in New York City’s East Village, and host of MTV’s Snack-Off. Huang is also a panelist on MTV2’s Jobs That Don’t Suck and has appeared on Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover.
Always Move Forward: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos
Embrace your inner weirdo. Make things that excite you. Create, adapt, and rebuild if you fail. Use reason, think critically, work hard, worry less. Never let anyone else define you. These are Eddie Huang’s life principles. Here’s one more: do things your own way. That’s what Eddie did. He owns a restaurant, hosts shows for Vice and MTV, wrote a bestselling book, started a clothing line—the list goes on. In this dynamic talk geared to young people and entrepreneurs, Eddie dispenses entrepreneurial lessons with his entertaining, no-holds-barred flair. Raw, profound, and uproariously funny, Eddie draws on his adventures and successes to tell audiences that definitions aren’t worth it, that diversity of thought is key, that embracing unknowns—as he’s done time and again—can reap huge rewards. Everything, he tells you, is an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to move forward.
Race, Food, and Who We Are
Eddie Huang grew up in theme-park America, on a could-be-anywhere cul-de-sac in suburban Orlando. In this talk, he takes a look at his life so far and asks: What does it mean to be Asian in America right now? Race is part of who we are, he says, but it doesn’t have to define us. We should have the confidence to do whatever we want to do, free of the hindrances of race. At the same time, we need to remember our culture and honor it. The end goal of discussions about equality and diversity, Eddie reminds us, is freedom. Personal freedom. Frank, hilarious, and hopeful, Eddie talks about his own life, tells “Eddie’s story”—the story of a bright, brash, and hardworking Taiwanese kid who never let race define who he was, and who he could be. Beating back stereotypes like whack-a-mole heads, Eddie inspires audiences to look within and to tell their own narratives. Your own story, in the end, is the only one worth telling.
Food as Politics and Food as Identity
This is not your average talk about food. For Eddie Huang—a Chinese-American kid who grew up in anytown, USA—food was a gateway into his culture. For millions of Americans, it’s the same story. In wide-ranging keynotes, Eddie talks about food as politics and food as identity. Next to religion, food is perhaps the one thing immigrants can hang on to, even when language and history are lost. From the appropriation of ethnic cuisines (the practice of taking “ethnic” foods and putting them on pretty square plates) to his own journey through the never-dull restaurant business, Eddie’s personal, passionate, and knowledgeable talk conjures a vivid world of food production, consumption, and celebration. It will help you rethink your own relationship to the one tie that binds us all.
It was a pleasure meeting you last week at our NAMIC Conference. I wanted to say thank you so much for your moving and heartfelt speech. I appreciated you being aware of our needs and asking me to read your speech prior and discussing the audience, topic, and theme. And it was a perfect home run. The crowd was so moved and enlightened, and one executive said to me “wow, that was so impactful. I learned more about marketing from his personal story than listening to tactics and percentages.” I hope your experience was as positive as ours. Thanks again and I can’t wait to eat at Baohaus!
Humber Students' Federation
Eddie’s keynote was the best one at our event. I should have had him as the last speaker because the Student Centre cleared out when he was finished. My colleagues all agree that Eddie represented what our Real Talks event is about. What I personally enjoyed is when Eddie finished his keynote and what he said really hit home with students in the audience, prompting a bunch of questions. I remember Eddie saying to a student, “are you living life for yourself or your parents?” The fact that Eddie’s keynote got some many students to open up to him in that setting speak volumes.
Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China
From the author of Fresh Off the Boat comes a hilarious and fiercely original story of culture, family, love, and red-cooked pork
Eddie Huang was finally happy. Sort of. He’d written a bestselling book and was the star of a TV show that took him to far-flung places around the globe. His New York City restaurant was humming, his OKCupid hand was strong, and he’d even hung fresh Ralph Lauren curtains to create the illusion of a bedroom in the tiny apartment he shared with his younger brother Evan, who ran their restaurant business.
Then he fell in love—and everything fell apart.
The business was creating tension within the family; his life as a media star took him away from his first passion—food; and the woman he loved—an All-American white girl—made him wonder: How Chinese am I? The only way to find out, he decided, was to reverse his parents’ migration and head back to the motherland. On a quest to heal his family, reconnect with his culture, and figure out whether he should marry his American girl, Eddie flew to China with his two brothers and a mission: to set up shop to see if his food stood up to Chinese palates—and to immerse himself in the culture to see if his life made sense in China. Naturally, nothing went according to plan.
Double Cup Love takes readers from Williamsburg dive bars to the skies over Mongolia, from Michelin-starred restaurants in Shanghai to street-side soup peddlers in Chengdu. The book rockets off as a sharply observed, globe-trotting comic adventure that turns into an existential suspense story with high stakes. Eddie takes readers to the crossroads where he has to choose between his past and his future, between who he once was and who he might become. Double Cup Love is about how we search for love and meaning—in family and culture, in romance and marriage—but also how that search, with all its aching and overpowering complexity, can deliver us to our truest selves.
Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir
Eddie Huang is the thirty-year-old proprietor of Baohaus—the hot East Village hangout where foodies, stoners, and students come to stuff their faces with delicious Taiwanese street food late into the night—and one of the food world’s brightest and most controversial young stars. But before he created the perfect home for himself in a small patch of downtown New York, Eddie wandered the American wilderness looking for a place to call his own.
Eddie grew up in theme-park America, on a could-be-anywhere cul-de-sac in suburban Orlando, raised by a wild family of FOB (“fresh off the boat”) hustlers and hysterics from Taiwan. While his father improbably launched a series of successful seafood and steak restaurants, Eddie burned his way through American culture, defying every “model minority” stereotype along the way. He obsessed over football, fought the all-American boys who called him a chink, partied like a gremlin, sold drugs with his crew, and idolized Tupac. His anchor through it all was food—from making Southern ribs with the Haitian cooks in his dad’s restaurant to preparing traditional meals in his mother’s kitchen to haunting the midnight markets of Taipei when he was shipped off to the homeland. After misadventures as an unlikely lawyer, street fashion renegade, and stand-up comic, Eddie finally threw everything he loved—past and present, family and food—into his own restaurant, bringing together a legacy stretching back to China and the shards of global culture he’d melded into his own identity.
Funny, raw, and moving, and told in an irrepressibly alive and original voice, Fresh Off the Boat recasts the immigrant’s story for the twenty-first century. It’s a story of food, family, and the forging of a new notion of what it means to be American.
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