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Chef Deborah VanTrece tells Bon Appétit she closed Decatur restaurant because of racism

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Chef Deborah VanTrece tells Bon Appétit she closed Decatur restaurant because of racism

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Deborah VanTrece. Image provided to Decaturish


This story has been updated. 

Decatur, GA — Local Chef Deborah VanTrece recently gave Bon Appétit magazine a first person account of her experiences as a Black chef.

VanTrece shed some light on her decision to close her Twisted Soul restaurant in Decatur in 2015. The restaurant was located on East Howard Avenue in Decatur. She later reopened the restaurant in West Midtown.

“I’ll say it now, flat out: I left Decatur because of racism,” she told Bon Appétit.

She said she realized she’d made a mistake opening in Decatur almost as soon as the restaurant opened.

“Some of the other big chefs in the neighborhood were young enough to be my kids, but because I didn’t come up through their channels they didn’t respect me,” she told the magazine. “See, there’s this thing in the industry where if you worked for known white chefs, if you came up through them, then you’re all good. You’re wonderful. But if you got there on your own, well, how the hell did that happen?”

To read the full article, click here.

When asked for comment about the Bon Appétit article, VanTrece told Decaturish, “I stand by my experience in Decatur, which was not just within the restaurant industry.

“I know that many of those in the Decatur community may have taken exception to the story. However, these times demand that those of us who are not Black or people of color look inward to examine – at the very least – unconscious biases they may hold. Everything in my story was an accurate reflection of my overall experience as a business owner and restaurant owner in Decatur. And yes, there were other issues like parking that contributed to our decision to leave. But let me be clear: It was overt racism with some, but not all, in the community that was the overriding factor in leaving Decatur. If my story in Bon Appetit helps start an honest conversation about addressing racial inequality, then it will have served its purpose.”

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