Celeb Chef Alters Restaurant Name After Disturbing Find
Tom Colicchio says he didn't know about racial beliefs of men he named it after
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2017 11:51 AM CDT
Updated Aug 27, 2017 11:00 AM CDT
Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio at his restaurant Craft on Oct. 22, 2015, in New York.   (Photo by Matt Peyton/Invision for Hidden Valley/AP Images)

(Newser) – A celebrity chef has spent tens of thousands of dollars to quietly change the name of his Manhattan restaurant after he discovered its meaning had racial undertones. Per the New York Times, Tom Colicchio, the lead judge on Bravo's Top Chef, originally called his eatery in the New York City's financial district Fowler & Wells, named after publishers Samuel Wells and brothers Lorenzo and Orson Fowler, whose building rested on the same site as Colicchio's restaurant in the mid-1800s. However, a little digging by Colicchio's team after they'd already named the restaurant revealed "facts about [the Fowlers' and Wells'] beliefs that go against everything we stand for," per a statement cited by Page Six.

More specifically, the Fowlers and Wells were advocates of phrenology, the study of the shape and size of the skull, which many in the 19th century believed to be an indicator of one's mental abilities—and which was often used to "prove" African-Americans were mentally inferior and to justify slavery (at least one of the Fowler brothers had eyebrow-raising thoughts on this). Colicchio, who's an outspoken liberal on social media, said that although his team incorporated the concept of phrenology into the restaurant's theme (including on the bar's menu), they didn't initially realize quite how bad the practice's roots could be. Once they made this discovery, they went about coming up with a new name and reworking logos, signage, business cards, and menus to match. The restaurant's new name: Temple Court, named after the building it's housed in.

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