SAN FRANCISCO (AP and KTVU) - An award-winning cookbook author and California restaurant owner is apologizing after saying anyone wearing a red "Make America Great Again" baseball cap will be refused service at his restaurant.
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is a chef-partner of the Wursthall restaurant in San Mateo said in a tweet Sunday that he views the hats as symbols of intolerance and hate.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday that Lopez-Alt's decision was met with mixed reaction by restaurant clients.
Diners interviewed by the newspapers said they understood Lopez-Alt's stance but questioned the hat ban and said he could have found a way to start a dialogue on the issue. On Twitter, many criticized the so-called tolerance of the liberal Bay Area.
Lopez-Alt released a statement Friday that read in part, "I want to start by apologizing to my staff and partners at Wursthall. Making a public statement without taking my team’s thoughts into consideration was disrespectful and reckless. My goal at Wursthall was for it to be a restaurant where all employees and staff are treated with respect and trust, and by making that public statement without your consent, I failed at that goal. I will work hard to earn back that trust." He added, "Symbols have power and meaning and can mean different things to different people at different times and in different contexts. After having seen the red hat displayed so prominently in so many moments of anger, hate, and violence, to me — and many others — the hat began to symbolize exactly that: anger, hate, and violence. This was the context my tweet was meant to communicate."
Lopez-Alt wrote the 2015 book "The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science."
He says his restaurant received threatening emails following the tweet and declined further comment.