The Reason Diana Kennedy Is So Critical Of American-Style Tacos

If there's one thing celebrity chef Diana Kennedy is known for, it's her dedication to food. The renowned chef told Vice in an interview a few years ago that she dislikes it when someone unqualified makes changes to food as we know it. "Why is it that we have allowed people who are totally incompetent in food to design our food?" she asked. The 97-year-old legend is no stranger to Mexican food and has spent a lot of time diving into the country's culture and food habits.

As outlined by The Guardian earlier this year, Kennedy is very prominent spokesperson for Mexican cuisine and knows what she's talking about. She is based in Michoacán and lives around four hours from Mexico City. The stalwart has explored Mexico in its entirety over the years, taking a deep dive into everything its rich culture has to offer. She has spent a long time studying the country's food markets and talking to locals about the food they enjoy, how they prepare their dishes, and what ingredients go into making them. The chef even wrote a book on Mexican food, titled The Cuisines of Mexico, which was released in 1972 and introduced its readers to the intricacies of authentic Mexican food.

So it's understandable that the chef has strong opinions on Mexican food. And, well, she's not a fan of American-style tacos. At all.

She thinks the quality is sub-par

Kennedy believes that Mexican food and the magic it brings is slowly losing its authenticity, especially in the US. "People are losing taste, especially in the U.S., and then it passes to Mexico," she told Vice, implying that the essence of Mexico's food culture is lost when young chefs simply focus on coming up with fancy names and clickably beautiful pictures of Mexican dishes without actually saying anything new or particularly enlightening.

She noted that when chefs experiment with flavors for the sake of trends, the results aren't satisfying or impressive. She told the Los Angeles Times, "...There are all these young chefs throwing things together that don't really go together. Fancy Southwestern food, Tex-Mex — there are a lot of mismatches." As a former student of Kennedy's pointed out, an authentic Mexican taco has a soft (not fried) corn tortilla stuffed with shredded meat and a delicious sauce (via The Chicago Tribune).  They wrote, "Real tacos, which are easy to make at home, can be so good it's hard to stop eating them." Food coma incoming, anyone?