A well-known London chef and author of cookbooks has been accused of plagiarism by a chef in New York. Elizabeth Haigh, who runs Mei Mei in Borough Market, published her first book Makan this summer. The publication material for the book stated: “rising star Elizabeth Haigh collects recipes that have been handed down through many generations of her family, from Nonya to Nonya.” It won good reviews from Nigella.
The news of the plagiarism erupted last week when author Sharon Wee tweeted out that she had seen “certain recipes and other content from my book had been copied or rewritten without my consent in Makan by Elizabeth Haigh”. Her book, Growing Up in a Nonya Kitchen, was first published in 2012.
After raising the issue with Makan’s publishers, Bloomsbury, she updated her fans with the news that “Bloomsbury has responded to my concerns by pulling Makan out of circulation.”
And although you can still buy the book on sites like Amazon, Makan is no longer available on the Bloomsbury book site.
While social media has been quick to respond to the story with people like restaurateur Asma Khan tweeting his support for Wee, there has been almost silence from both Bloomsbury and Haigh on the matter.
When asked for a comment, Bloomsbury referred us to their quote in a piece about the bookstore’s website, where they say “This title has been withdrawn due to rights issues.” The publishers told Hot Dinners, “We will not comment further.”
I wrote my book in loving memory of my mother. I credit her and her peers for their anecdotes, recipes, and cooking tips. This was their story. Here is my statement. pic.twitter.com/yyQAndqmeJ
– Sharon Wee (@nonyaglobal) October 6, 2021
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