An upscale German restaurant has been removed from the prestigious Michelin Guide website following a racist remark by French chef Jean-Claude Bourgueil.
The 73-year-old chef sparked outrage for saying he does not want Chinese customers while announcing the reopening of his eatery Im Schiffchen, according to Chinese media.
Im Schiffchen, which is situated in Düsseldorf, had reportedly been closed for months due to the country’s response against COVID-19, dw.com reports.
“We start on Friday, but only with our bistro. No Chinese wanted!!!” noted Bourgueil via Facebook on Wednesday.
It did not take long before Bourgueil received fiery responses from social media users, calling his comment “racist.”
An impassioned commenter wrote, “Im Schiffchen should be ashamed. What Jean Claude Bourgueil said is just sickening. A wimp and liar.”
Following the backlash, Bourgueil took his statement back which he called “thoughtless” and “completely wrong.”
According to Bourgueil, the remark was not aimed at the Chinese people but meant for the “dictators” and “strongmen” in the Chinese government.
“I am a child of the French revolution and detest all dictators in this world. Dictators that oppress their citizens and punish people with death,” he explained in a statement.
He also pointed out that he himself is a foreigner in Germany and noted that his wife is Asian. Bourguiel, who became the top chef in Im Schiffchen in 1977, received the honored “cultural ambassador of France to Germany” in 2004.
“People of nine different nationalities work at our restaurant,” he added. “My wife is Asian and I myself am a foreigner in this land. Rest assured, I can be accused of many things, but certainly not racism and I do not tolerate it.”
Despite his excuse, social media users, including overseas Chinese in Germany, continued blasting the chef online. Multiple overseas Chinese groups also came together to send a joint letter to local media outlet Rheinische Post to express their disdain over the chef’s words. It did not take long before other publications picked up the story.
Soon after, it was found that Im Schiffchen has already been removed from Michelin Guide’s website, according to Global Times