West Seattle

Seattle chef: The bigotry has got to stop

Seattle chef: The bigotry has got to stop »Play Video
SEATTLE - The owner of a West Seattle sushi restaurant says he's fed up with racist and sexist comments directed at him and his employees.

Hajime Sato's blade is precise, exacting and uncompromising.

Sato, head chef and owner at West Seattle's Mashiko sushi, has long wait times at his tiny restaurant, but he says some of the customers have been leaving him the disgust of bigotry.

"I got these weird comments that I'm not Japanese enough because my English is too good," Sato says.

As the chef gingerly places sustainable toro on rice, his voice rises in a mix of confusion and frustration. He can't believe he still gets questions about his ethnicity, and that somehow that has anything to do with his ability to make a dragon roll.

"So, you know anything about this business? How long have you been doing this?'" Sato repeated.

The chef went online to the Mashiko website and posted a blog about keeping bigots outside if they don't like how he runs things, multi-racial and multi-gender. It caught fire and spread to several websites across the Internet.

Part of the tirade was about his female chef of 12 years, Mariah Kmitta. She says she's seen the combination of sexism and racism too.

"At first it's a silence, and then kind of a look," she said. Then come the questions about her ability, and if she's lived in Japan.

And then her skin.

"I get that comment. Yes, I do know that I'm white," she says with a laugh.

Sato says he didn't do this for publicity, but just to say he has had enough.

"Really? It's 2013 right?" Sato asks.

Workers at the restaurant say the blog post is just part of who Sato is.