Michelin Guide removes restaurant from website over racist comments

Germany’s Im Schiffchen restaurant has reportedly been removed from the Michelin Guide website after comments made by chef Jean-Claude Bourgueil were deemed racist.

French chef Bourgueil of Im Schiffchen in Düsseldorf posted the remarks on his personal Facebook page last week, according to dw.com.

Announcing the restaurant’s reopening following the easing of lockdown rules in parts of Germany, he wrote: “We start on Friday, but only with our bistro. No Chinese wanted!!!” Screenshots of the now deleted post were subsequently widely circulated on social media and Bourgueil’s comments were condemned and branded racist.

After the online backlash, the chef issued an apology for what he referred to as a “thoughtless statement” that was “formulated completely wrong”. He said that his words were not a reference to the Chinese population as a whole, but rather the “dictators” in the country.

He added: “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.

“People of nine different nationalities work at our restaurant. 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.”

However, the damage appears to have been done. The Michelin Guide released a statement condemning Bourgueil’s actions on its WeChat account on 15 May, according to several Chinese media outlets. 

The statement, which has not been published on the guide’s other social channels, reads: “Respecting everyone is one of Michelin’s core values ​​and is rooted in Michelin’s corporate genes. We will never tolerate any form of racial discrimination.”

The guide said it had taken the decision to remove Im Schiffchen’s entry on its recommendation list on its official website.

Bourgueil, 73, has been working at Im Schiffchen since 1977. Under his tenure the restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars in 1987, an accolade it held for 16 years. The restaurant held two stars from 2007 to 2018, before dropping to one star.

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