Israeli chef Segev Moshe is getting kicked around on the internet and in the press over what might be a pretty significant faux pas: serving dessert to the Japanese Prime Minister in a metal shoe. You might say he really stepped in it.
The Washington Post reports that during a visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie Abe, to Israel, the pair sat down to a lovely meal with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara Netanyahu. It was a private meal, not anything like an elaborate state dinner, but the foursome were served a meal prepared by the inventive chef, who completed the evening with chocolate pralines, served inside a shoe.
It would seem that both Japanese and Israeli diplomats did not, er, get a kick out of it:
“This was an insensitive decision,” [Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot] quoted one unidentified senior Israeli official as saying. “There is nothing lowlier than a shoe in Japanese culture. Not only do they not wear shoes at home, you also won’t find shoes in their offices. This is disrespect of the first order.”
A Japanese diplomat, also not named by the paper, said: “There’s no culture in the world in which you put shoes on the table. What was the distinguished chef thinking? If it was humor, we don’t think it is funny; we were offended on behalf of our prime minister.”
And the negative reactions to the chef’s dessert have not been confined to the pages of international newspapers, to boot. Commenters on the posts depicting the shoe-ssert have also expressed their dismay, leaving posts such as “Was this ignorance, plane stupidity or intentional offense? Not only Asian people would be offended by this. Would you serve soup in a pig-shaped bowl to Mr. Netanyahu?” and “I would love to say fuck you from Japan.”
Moshe has since noted on his Instagram that the shoe is not, in fact, a wearable shoe, but a metal shoe sculpture created by artist Tom Dixon:
The venerable Post already beat us to the obvious ‘foot-in-the-mouth’ pun, so we at The Takeout will refrain. However, we will note that Moshe may want to consider the culture of any diplomats or government officials he may cook for in the future, lest he receive another day of metaphorical kicks to the rear.