Updated 13.07.2018 13.25: With comment from the owners of Weino Bib, who say the scheduled pop-ups with Beagley have been cancelled.
East London Thai restaurant Som Saa has told Eater London that it has sacked chef Shaun Beagley — author of the @BoringThai Twitter and boring.thai Instagram accounts — following an online row last night, in which the chef’s conduct and language was labeled racist, misogynistic, homophobic, Islamophobic, gross, and shameful.
It began when Instagram user @midnightbakerliz highlighted a number of Beagley’s offensive posts, imploring Som Saa to consider his employment. Beagley, as well as mocking Thai and Asian culture both in speech, and in his captioning, regularly replaces the letter L with R in his narration and texts. It prompted the writer MiMi Aye to say: “writing in faux Chinglish isn’t just tone deaf or bad taste - IT. IS. RACIST.”
In one of Beagley’s YouTube videos — a format in which he always mimics a south east Asian accent — on “how to make coconut cream”, he is heard instructing his followers to “go down to the jungle and ask the monkey for a coconut.” Astonishingly, this is recorded over a still of Brixton market, below.
In a statement to Eater, Som Saa’s owners said: “Due to the unacceptable comments and views expressed by a member of the team at som saa, he has now been let go. These views and comments are not those of som saa, the owners or any other members of staff. However, we would like to wholeheartedly apologise for the hurt and upset that comments from this chef have caused. We respect all communities and feel very fortunate and honoured to not only work with Thai cuisine but also to work with so many nationalities globally.”
The restaurant did not confirm when he was sacked, and did not respond to a question asking for how long they were aware Beagley was creating these videos, promoting such language, and cooking at supper clubs. (A number of the videos date back to 2016.)
I thought this was some absurd parody account but it is actually a real thing, i have loads of mutuals and he's a chef at som saa???? absolutely fucking shameful behaviour pic.twitter.com/YrKTupDOUF— Jonathan (@demarionunn) July 12, 2018
The Boring Thai brand, as a supper club, was founded in 2017 — aiming to cook “classic simple Thai dishes using the traditional techniques.” As well as working as a chef at Som Saa, Beagley has trained at celebrated restaurants Nahm and Bolan in Thailand. His Instagram account last night changed its handle — from boring.original.thai.food to Boring.Thai (presumably to avoid the clickthroughs from midnightbakerliz’s Instagram story); it is followed by 1,532 users, many of whom are high profile members of the London restaurant industry. A number of posts, including this one in May, were liked by Som Saa’s co-owner and head chef, Andy Oliver, which causes one to wonder for how long he and the restaurant have been aware of Beagley’s conduct.
It has been pointed out that Oliver commented on the coconut cream video on 7 June 2016. He called it “awesome”, adding that it was “how all thai food should be taught.” Smoking Goat, another of London’s celebrated “nu-Thai” restaurants commented beneath Oliver’s tweet, with “ha, brilliant.” Eater has sought comment on this post from Oliver via his representatives. (Smoking Goat has now deleted its comment.)
The chef was scheduled to cook tonight (13 July) and tomorrow (14 July) at Weino Bib on Balls Pond Road in Dalston. Guests are told to expect “an unashamed assemblage of traditional methods and dishes” from the chef.
Eater contacted the owners of Wieno Bib to ask whether, following the fall out today, he would still be attending the two scheduled supper clubs.
They did not immediately respond. The events have been cancelled.
“Boring Thai has been cancelled tonight and tomorrow.
“Shaun himself has cancelled the event hoping to do no damage to our business.
“We will continue to host our month long homage to Thai food with Sasha Sarankin and Patcharee Phesprasert.
“I truly believe that Shaun has only love for Thailand, its people and cuisine, and I hope we can get back to focusing on Trump today as we get ready to close the shop and head to the protest,” they said.