A new restaurant in Cornwall is being accused of racism because of its name

Joe Sommerlad@JoeSommerlad
Tuesday 06 August 2019 14:15
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Foreign Muck in Saltash(Foreign Muck/Facebook)

A restaurant newly opened in the Cornish town of Saltash has found itself the subject of a complaint by an aggrieved local upset by its name: Foreign Muck.

The eatery on Fore Street, which specialises in American burgers and Mexican burritos, was founded by brothers Dean and Danny Thomas who grew up in the town, according to Cornwall Live.

But just weeks after opening its doors, the establishment has been made the subject of a complaint to both Saltash Town Council and Cornwall Council by a resident who spoke to his local paper on the condition of anonymity:

I find the name of the restaurant absolutely outrageous and I know others in the town do too.

He was particularly incensed by the establishment's signage, which features its name over the black flag of St Piran, the county's standard since the 19th century.

What does that say to people about Cornwall? Having the St Piran’s flag emblazoned with a racist phrase is awful.

It’s overtly racist and discriminatory. How the owners could think calling it Foreign Muck is anyway near appropriate beggars belief.

The restaurant actually acknowledges the name might upset people on its website, but claiming it’s irony is no excuse for racism.

Foreign Muck does indeed have a section on its website, written by the Thomas brothers, explaining the name:

When we were kids in Saltash during the early ’80s, we were lucky enough to go out for meals now and again. But we always remember how the old man was a little scared when it came to trying anything new.

We could only persuade him to join us with the promise there’d be chicken and chips on the ‘English menu’. It wasn’t too long though before he was stealing from our plates and realising what he’d been missing. Since then he’s become a regular at that revolutionary restaurant and was probably there within the last month.

As a chef, I look at all this as a celebration of how far most of us have come, and obviously a little jab at the old man, and anyone who still does, or used to mutter, ‘I ain’t eating that foreign muck’.

Here’s to the irony of it all and hoping no one looks too far into it and just sees it as a bit of fun. Not the food just the name.

In other words, it was just a family joke mocking their father's conservative taste in food. Nothing more sinister.

Speaking to Cornwall Live, Dean Thomas further elaborates that he spent 20 years in Phoenix, Arizona, which provided the inspiration for Foreign Muck's menu.

People with an agenda or closed mind will continue to get upset. But that’s not our intent. It’s about laughing at ourselves and a bit of satire.

I’ve lived in the States for 20 years and the British are constantly ridiculed with the stereotype of having bland food and bad teeth. I never consider that to be the slightest bit racist, just a bit of banter. Let the ignorant carry on I say.

While it all sounds like harmless fun, there's certainly some evidence on social media that the complainant is not entirely alone in his objections to the name, with some linking it to Brexit-inspired xenophobia.

Others feared the real scandal here is the slow death of the great British sense of humour.

H/T: Cornwall Live

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