Seattle sushi restaurant Mashiko has written "An Open Letter to Bigot Diners," a response to the fact "that some of our customers are bigots...To everyone else, thanks for not being a bigot." They seem to be reacting to "an ugly, ongoing trend" of people taking issue with white sushi chef Mariah Kmitta, although a search of their Yelp reviews only finds one recent review that mentions "My boyfriend quickly noticed that there were no Japanese cooks or servers." There are a few more that mention Kmitta's race if you go back a few years, and the restaurant does pipe up in the comments of the post to say some of the criticisms have been in person.
Anyway, the letter asks things like "Would you refuse service at an Irish pub if your server didn't speak with a fanciful brogue?" and "Do you also insist on DNA tests wherever you go? Of course not. Stop being an ignorant racist." It is worth noting that Mashiko's website address is sushiwhore.com. Below, the whole letter.
We are honored that you have decided to dine at Mashiko. We know that there are many fine restaurants in Seattle, so we thank you for the opportunity to serve you.
The thing that saddens us is that some of our customers are bigots. This letter is address to them. To everyone else, thanks for not being a bigot.
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. Our main points of contention are as follows:
1) We are a Japanese restaurant because we serve Japanese food. And yes, we have Japanese ownership. We also have several employees of Japanese descent. But that shouldn't matter. 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.
2) Why yes, we 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.
We are sorry to carry on like this, but 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?
Since 1994, Mashiko has always been a non-discriminatory establishment. All are welcome here. So even if you don't like our food, can't you at least agree that we might be right about this one thing?
· An Open Letter to Bigot Diners [Mashiko]
· All Seattle Coverage on Eater [-E-]