A celebrity chef with 3.6 million followers on YouTube has been slammed by fans over his “cruel” cooking act – and now may face criminal charges.
Sahawat Chopchingchai, who is a famous chef in his native Thailand, shared a video to his YouTube channel which appears to show him burying a chicken alive, before cooking it.
The chicken can be seen with only its head and neck protruding.
He then holds the bird, which was reportedly buried for two weeks, and force-feeds it coconut milk which he claims produces a sweeter texture to the meat.
However, many have taken to social media condemning the chef for practising the ancient method.
“I’m so happy that so many branches of his restaurant are closed. No more support from me in this life, I promise,” one follower wrote.
“There is a good reason why people don’t use this method of cooking anymore. It is cruel and belongs in the past. Why even give people the idea to use it?’’ another person added.
The popular chef who built his stardom on YouTube has since defended his actions following the backlash.
He told fans the chicken was only buried briefly in order to record it for his video.
‘’I would never do it for real, I’m not that cruel. This was only a demonstration to show the old-fashioned way of preparing chicken,” he said.
“I made a mistake and when people told me that it was not appropriate I deleted it straight away. I am sorry that it made people unhappy.’’
Animal welfare group Watchdog Thailand made a complaint to authorities over the video
and despite the chef’s reasoning behind the act, police are now investigating him on suspicion of animal cruelty and illegally slaughtering a chicken.
Satit Patyaariyakul from the Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the crime could carry a fine of up to 280,000 baht ($A12,000) and up to five years in prison.
“This is clearly an offence against cruelty to animals,” a spokesperson for the Animal welfare group said.
“The condition of the chicken in the video suggests it had been buried for two weeks because its feathers had changed colour.
“If Sahawat did not keep the chicken like that for two weeks, he recorded the video and deceived his viewers to make them think that he did.’’