On Saturday, acclaimed Dutch pastry chef Frank Haasnoot — a previous winner of the World Chocolate Masters competition — shared a photo of a new Easter creation: a black chocolate egg with dopey eyes, a crown, a gold chain, and a gigantic blunt. The post quickly generated hundreds of comments and likes — including a “fave” by acclaimed bar man Jim Meehan (who has since tweeted he would rescind his like if he could) — but several users also pointed out that this was clearly a racist stereotype rendered in chocolate. By the end of the weekend, Haasnoot deleted the post.
Food writer Joshua David Stein grabbed a photo of the minstrel-like Easter egg before it vanished from Haasnoot’s feed and shared it on his own Instagram account (you can find an embed of that at the bottom of this post). Chef Kwame Onwuachi, who recently wrote Notes From a Young Black Chef along with Stein, posted a screengrab of the chocolate figurine on his Instagram story with the comment, “This needs to be taken down immediately! We are not caricatures!!” Hospitality activist Ashtin Berry used Haasnoot’s Easter egg as inspiration for an Instagram story chronicling the history of “black caricatures and minstrel influences in food and beverages.” As Berry points out, the Easter egg is part of an unfortunately long tradition of black caricatures being used by the food world, from Aunt Jemima to Heineken’s recent “lighter is better” ad.
Haasnoot has not commented on his deletion of this post or the response to his racist Easter egg. But instead of sharing more pastry photos with his 300,000 followers — as he did yesterday! — this would be a great time for Haasnoot to apologize for posting a wildly offensive creation, and also consider taking a break from Instagram until he’s fully processed what it means to make something like this and share it with the world.