Southern California’s Cuban-American community is pissed, naturally, by the appearance of a new Argentine food truck called “Chef Che’s” which, like oh-so-many products sold in Cuba and Argentina, comes emblazoned with the image of Che Guevara, the Argentine-born revolutionary who, depending on who you speak with, is a hero or a murderer or something in between. The business, owned by a sweet-seeming (if clueless) husband and wife team sporting bad idea jeans, also has a Fidel Castro empanada (Correction: It’s just called the Fidel empanada). Ai! KTTV reports that owner Carolina Hernandez has been besieged by emails and phone calls asking her to drop the iconography and says, “I apologize to anyone who I may have offended. That was not my intention.” But this isn’t the first time our restaurant owners have bathed in politically insensitive waters. How about a quick re-education review?
Who can forget the Pyongyang Express, a food truck touting a North Korean commie flavor and “for the people” slogans that later turned out to be a fake and not-so-funny marketing gimmick from EA to promote a video game that was actually about killing North Koreans. Almost as bad, their tacos sucked.
Then there was Red Medicine’s short-lived use of a Ho Chi Minh-like figure complete with a “manifesto” that someone fortunately had the smarts to ditch before half of O.C. jumped on their backs like they did to that video store who did the same thing in 1999. Much like Chef Che’s owners, Adam Fleischman wrote L.A. Weekly, “We are not seriously taking a political position–it is a METAPHOR for our restaurant.”
Which is really the problem with the use of such iconography in the first place. If owners insist they are not being political or have no clue about the painful history many of our fellow Angelenos have lived through, why veer towards such images in the first place? It’s exactly like people who wear Che t-shirts without knowing who he even is. If you’re not political, stop using such images in an attempt to be edgy. Really guys, as one of our favorite inappropriate targets of food truck wrath might say, “No Jodas!”
[Chef Che Food Truck Cooks Up Controversy [MyFoxLA]