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Chef Demoted After Her Restaurant Gets Wind Of Racist Comments She Made To Asian Brother-In-Law


Redditor throwaway23235982353 is a professional chef at an upscale Chinese restaurant and is in a biracial marriage. He is Asian, she is White.

While he said he generally gets along with his in-laws, there was one member of the family – also a professional chef – who made a comment that caused her to suffer major consequences.

After experiencing the initial drama in the kitchen, the Redditor visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for calling my SIL [sister-in-law] a racist after she compared my cooking to ‘making kung pao chicken?'”

The Original Poster (OP) started with the following context:

“I’ve been married to my wife for ~10 years and we’re a mixed-race couple (I’m Asian and she’s Caucasian). I’ve gotten along with her family (MIL[mother-in-law], BIL [brother-in-law], SIL, but I always felt like her FIL [father-in-law] and other SIL (Sarah) never liked me.”

“I’m a professionally trained chef with 15+ years of experience and I work at a high-end Chinese restaurant (a spin-off of a popular one in Beijing) in a large US city.”

“My crew and I have won several awards, and I’ve been explicitly told I’ll be the next executive chef.”

“Sarah is also a professionally trained chef and works at a popular upscale French restaurant in the city. She constantly brags about it and (no joke) compares herself out loud to Ramsay and Bourdain.”

“Whenever I’m at my MIL and FIL’s house and helping out in the kitchen, Sarah is always criticizing everything I do.”

“Whether it’s chopping, braising, marinating, etc., she always butts in with comments like ‘Umm, I think you should actually do X like this….’ I’ve been patient for my wife and side stepping those comments, saying things like ‘Thanks, but I think I’ll stick to the way I do it.'”

“Things came to a head two weeks ago when my wife, FIL, MIL, and I were in her parent’s kitchen prepping dinner for my MIL’s birthday.”

“We were running a bit behind so things were heated (which I kind of like because it reminded me of work) and that’s when Sarah walked in.”

“She took one look at what I was doing, scoffed, and said something like ‘Oh wow, okay, so that’s not the right way of doing things.’ It hit a nerve and I pretty sternly told her to stop criticizing my cooking and that I’m also a chef like her.”

“She laughed and said ‘making Kung Pao chicken at some Chinese restaurant doesn’t count.’ The kitchen went silent, FIL snorted/chuckled, and my MIL yelled ‘SARAH WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.'”

“I stopped what I was doing, swore at her and called her ‘a racist piece of sh*t’, apologized to my MIL for not being able to stay, and left for home with my wife.”

“Apparently this caused a massive fight after we left, with my MIL/BIL/other SIL taking my side and my FIL/Sarah saying ‘it was a joke but kind of true’ and that I was ‘being too sensitive.'”

“The extended family somehow got wind of this and now everyone is arguing and taking sides, with my wife even getting texts from some her cousins apologizing for Sarah’s behavior.”

“Despite being on my side, my wife is begging me to apologize so that the fighting will stop but I refuse to because f’k Sarah and her blatant racism.”


Strangers on the internet were asked to declare one of the following:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

A strong majority of Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole in the situation.

“NTA. If she gets in trouble at work that’s on her. They don’t fire good chefs for a simple remark at home. They might however fire a bad person or chef over something like that.”

“She was attacking your career…not cool.”

“What was the FIL’s career? Where’d he work?” – Idontcare100989

“Chinese cuisine has been developing for several thousand years. It’s intricate and complex. If Sarah can’t appreciate it at all, she’s probably a terrible chef herself.”

“If she loses her job, it has nothing to do with you and was bound to happen anyway. NTA and you don’t owe her an apology. Frankly, you might be doing her a disservice if you apologize. As a side note- good for your MIL.” – laffydaffy24

“NTA. That is some racist bullsh*t, and if your SIL is bringing it out at work she should get in trouble.”

“I’m Asian and white, and that means that I get to pass sometimes, which has led to me receiving all sorts of educational in-group experiences with white people. Someone who talks like this to your face is a lot worse behind your back.”

“Then there’s the generalized racism of the entire notion that Asian food is crap and French is somehow elevated. Chinese cooking can require incredible skill and timing.”

“There is literally nothing that French cuisine has that Asian cuisine doesn’t, in terms of delicacy of the art, care taken with flavor and technique, or impressiveness of final product.”

“Asian food is frequently inexpensive in the States because that’s how our immigrating families survived; taking their recipes and making them sweeter and saltier because that’s what white people wanted.”

“But American Chinese food and traditional Chinese food aren’t the same thing. And it’s just filthily racist to insist that there’s no such thing as good Chinese.”

“(For non-Asian readers in the crowd, the documentary ‘Searching for General Tso’ was pretty good.)”

“Your wife is also TA, for telling you to apologize. She needs to grow a spine. What happens, when ‘the fighting stops,’ if it means you’ve had to compromise yourself? Does she realize what she’s asking of you?” – RememberKoomValley

“Spot on. Too many people think that Asian food is easy to make because it’s cheap (like your local Chinese place) or ‘simple’ (sushi isn’t cooked so how hard can it be?).”

“They are so goddamned wrong it’s not even funny. I’ve started cooking more Asian food lately and it’s very different than the food I’m used to both in ingredients and in techniques.”

“Mastering a wok is hard. I won’t even attempt sushi because I know I won’t be able to get the rice right.” – NotHisRealName

In a series of updates, the OP informed readers of the consequences as a direct result of Sarah’s racist comments.

“My wife has also informed me that now Sarah may be in trouble at work and she’s blaming me for it.”

“Apparently one of her co-workers heard her rant about what happened and reported it to management. (Edit: To clarify Sarah is blaming me, though my wife is partly blaming me).”

“So it looks like one of my wife’s cousins found this post and put it on Sarah’s Facebook wall going ‘This is you right?….'”

“Her FB friends are starting to comment with things like ‘If this is you Sarah then I’m disappointed.’ I think Sarah’s still at work – sh*t might be hitting the fan soon and now my wife is pissed too.”

“Was considering removing but I just got a voicemail from my FIL that ‘[my] presence was only being tolerated up until this point’ and threatened a ‘world of hurt’ if I didn’t delete this post.”

“Officially going to keep this post up and if you’re still reading this Doug – I’m very disappointed in you, you’re better than this. Will also continue to update and thanks again for all your support folks.”

In another update, the OP informed readers, “Lots of stuff just went down,” which caused even more tension in the family.

“My wife got a call from SIL. (From wife’s paraphrasing) Sarah started screaming/crying at her the moment my wife picked up and said that she just got demoted because of ‘[her] {Asian slur} husband’.”

“Apparently some of her co-workers have her on FB and showed the post to management, which combined with her earlier rant, double whammied her back to being a line cook and now she might get fired.”

“My wife told her to go f’k herself and is now solidly on my side after taking the verbal abuse from Sarah and reading some of the comments here. My wife is still the opposite of happy though…”

“Wife called MIL and asked her WTF was going on with FIL. MIL was confused so my wife played back the voicemail I had on my phone and apparently my MIL literally just walked away from the phone without hanging up and started screaming at FIL.”

“Facebook post has now devolved into a clusterf’k flame war with family and friends jumping in.”

“Suffice to say, it has officially gone nuclear.”

In response to Sarah’s demotion, Redditors thought she had it coming.

1.) “If Sarah gets fired for being a racist at work, guess what, the person she was racist at ain’t the problem. OP’s wife, who I assume will go through the comments, blaming the victim is not cool.”

2.) “Sarah’s Cousin, that might’a been anthill kicking, a bit? Not sure what you intended to accomplish by it? Hopefully you’re supporting OP, right?”

3.) “Doug, you need to fix your heart.”

4.) “OP’s wife, good job clearing your head. Your husband is definitely not the asshole here, and it’s not his responsibility to crawl before your sister’s ego just so she’ll stop being outwardly racist for a minute.” – RememberKoomValley

“NTA. I’m disappointed in your wife. Enabling her racist sister and dad over her husband is not a good look.”

“And with the edit, apparently Sarah can’t keep her racist mouth shut anywhere and that consequence is on her.” – Born-Pineapple

“NTA. Sarah repeated her racist statement at work and got in trouble for it. It’s not like you called her job and outed her as a racist, she repeated the story, thinking she’s the victim, like a racist dumba**.”

“Why on earth would you apologize? She’s the one that’s been harassing you over your skills as a chef. She needs to apologize to you.” – cassowary32

Overall, Redditors remained on the OP’s side and thought he should not have to apologize for the consequences of Sarah’s racist remarks.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo