The star of a popular Italian cooking program, la Prova del Cuoco, has been canned from the show after singing the praises of his family's recipe for cat soup. The chef/food writer, 77-year-old Giuseppe “Beppe” Bigazzi -- who has been on the show six days a week for over a decade -- remarked on air last week:
“Cat soup is one of the best dishes from Valdarno.... [the cat] is kept three days in a stream to bring out the qualities of its white meat...I’ve eaten it many times and I assure you it’s a delight.”Immediately after making this statement, the chef also said on air that he expected "racist" environmentalists would criticize his love of feline cookery.
During the commercial break following the statement, the show's co-host Elisa Isoardi--who appeared visibly shocked when he made the remark--suggested that Bigazzi apologize, but the chef refused. After receiving numerous complaints from viewers, the network that carries the popular program, RAI TV, announced that the chef was "suspended" from the show indefinitely.
Bigazzi has since stated to the press that the comment was taken out of context, and that it was made as something of a joke, but still stood his ground about the delicacies of kitty cuisine, noting "when I was a boy, people certainly did eat cat in the countryside around Arezzo. I saw if often. But you can’t judge what happened seventy years ago."
·Food Writer Beppe Bigazzi Suspended For Recommending Cat Stew [Times]
·Italy TV Network Suspends Chef Who Called Cat Soup ‘a Delight’[BusinessWeek]