Sushi restaurant calls out "ignorant, racist" customers
Customers of the Seattle sushi restaurant Mashiko who complained about being served by non-Japanese staff got an earful from the owner, who published an open letter on the company website calling them "ignorant racists." The strong language was apparently in response to online customer reviews of the restaurant which seemed to focus on the race of one of the chefs and some staff members. One unhappy Yelp reviewer wrote "[t]his restaurant was full of non-Japanese customers. Anyway, I felt all the other dishes we ordered were strange too." Another reviewer stated in a negative review that a server "corrected a half-japanese friend on how to pronounce her beer properly (did i mention he was caucasian?)."
In response to all this, a post credited Mashiko and titled "An Open Letter to Bigot Diners" doesn't pull any punches. "To the bigoted diners: We find your ignorant comments to our staff offensive. When you then post them online, you prove to the entire world how cowardly and small you are," the letter begins.
"By claiming that there are no Japanese people working at Mashiko, you are not only incorrect, you are also demonstrating what a racist you are. Would you refuse service at an Irish pub if your server didn’t speak with a fanciful brogue? You do realize that sometimes people in this great big melting pot may not have a look that accurately reflects their genetic makeup. Do you also insist on DNA tests wherever you go? Of course not. Stop being an ignorant racist."
"[W]e do have a female sushi chef. She also happens to be Caucasian. Her name is Mariah Kmitta, and we are blessed to have her behind our sushi bar. Mariah has been wowing customers at Mashiko for over 12 years. She has an amazing following of devoted customers who only dine with us when Mariah is working. If you know Hajime, you know he is one picky son of a bitch. He entrusts Mariah because she has earned his respect. Mariah comes to work each night eager to share exciting new textures and flavors with you. Should you refuse her fare based on her gender or race, you are an absolute fool."
"The funny thing is that our non-Japanese chefs know that they are being so overly scrutinized, and therefore they study and grow more than most chefs out there. Trust us – we’ve had many Japanese men working here that had to be fired because they relied on their gender and race instead of making amazing food."
The letter concludes, "this discrimination nonsense has got to stop. Seriously. It is ruining so many wonderful things all across the world. Can’t we start at home by making an example that race, gender, and sexual orientation truly do not matter?"