Eddie Huang

Eddie Huang Headshot

Director • Chef • Restaurateur • Producer • Lawyer

Birth Date: March 1, 1982

Age: 41 years old

Birth Place: Washington, D.C.

Restaurateur and author Eddie Huang's darkly comic blogs about the Asian experience in America led to a best-selling memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, as well as a popular sitcom based on the book. Born Edwyn Charles Huang on March 1, 1982 in Washington, D.C., he was the eldest of three sons by Taiwanese immigrants Louis and Jessica Huang. Seven years later, Huang's family relocated to Orlando, Florida, where his father worked as a cook and later, owner of several area restaurants. By his own account in his memoir Fresh Off the Boat, the first few years in their new location were a difficult one. The family struggled with money issues, as well as marital strife between his parents. More significantly, Huang's identity as a Chinese-American, raised in a traditional household with a large extended family, in a predominately white, suburban region left him feeling like an outsider and prone to fights over perceived racial intolerance. Huang found solace in African-American culture, especially sports and hip-hop, which he felt more inclusive than white popular culture. Huang also found inspiration in literature, especially the satiric work of Jonathan Swift, which gave him an initial career path. He attended the University of Pittsburgh before earning his degree in English and Film from Rollins College in 2004; during this period, Huang was also arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, prompting his parents to send him to Taiwan for a summer. The experience proved to be a transformative one: no longer required to defend his racial heritage, Huang developed a level of self-confidence and newfound interest in finding his place. He returned to the United States and attended the Cardozo School of Law while also operating his own streetwear clothing company,. After graduating from Cardozo in 2008, Huang worked briefly in corporate law, but was laid off soon after due to the fallout from the global financial crisis. He supported himself as a standup comedian and marijuana dealer, but discovered his true calling in preparing food, which he had learned at his parents' establishments. In 2009, he opened his own restaurant, BaoHaus, in Lower Manhattan. Huang attracted greater attention by virtue of his own forceful personality and opinion, which was showcased to hilarious and often controversial effect on his blog, "Fresh Off the Boat." The blog won praise for his frank and unfiltered take on the immigrant experience and his own rise to fame, which led to hosting duties on the Cooking Channel and online for Vice, as well as a best-selling memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, in 2013. The following year, ABC commissioned a comedy series based on the book, which debuted in 2015; though credited as a producer and contributing a voice-over narration to every episode, Huang was vocally opposed to the show, which he described as a diluted take on his life. Huang continued to rail against the show in print and on his blog, which was met with a mixed response from the media, with some supporting his stance and others questioning his continued association with a show he so openly disliked. Huang drew more negative attention for a comment about the emasculation of Asian men, which he compared to the social plight of black women.

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Eddie Huang