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Top Chef' contestant prints message about immigrants on his customers' receipts

"Top Chef" alum Katsuji Tanabe tells patrons at his Whittier, California, restaurant that immigrants cooked their food and served them. (Image source: KCAL-TV video screenshot)

Katsuji Tanabe, a "Top Chef" alum who runs six restaurants in the U.S., has a message for those frequenting his eateries: your food comes from immigrants.

What are the details?

According to KNTV-TV, Tanabe — who is half-Mexican and half-Japanese — runs The Nixon Chops & Whiskey in Whittier, California, where he's been printing a message on his receipts.

The message reads, "Immigrants cooked your food and served you today. #itookarisk."

Tanabe insists that the message isn't intended to be that of a political nature, just cold, hard facts that he hopes spark important conversations.

"The whole situation now with this new xenophobia, and this dumb racism, sometimes it's good to remember that...immigrants are cooking and serving you," he said, according to KNTV.

Tanabe, who was born in Mexico, is an immigrant himself.

"Sometimes people ask 'Why did you write this?' And I go up an explain — I am an immigrant, and I cooked for you," he said, according to the station. "It's not a political statement. I could care less about politics. But I care about my future, and I care about my past."

He echoed similar comments to KCAL-TV, where he said that he doesn't even "know anything about politics."

“This isn’t about politics; I don’t know anything about politics,” he admitted. “Tacos, I’m all over it, but it’s a conversation.”

Tanabe went on to explain that he doesn't believe that being an immigrant is a "bad thing."

“I came to this country with nothing," he explained. "I have, now, everything.”

Tanabe said that he hopes the message will be a message of knitting the U.S. together over immigration.

“Face-to-face makes a huge difference. When you are on social media and you are talking to other people, you feel protected,” Tanabe explained. “But in life, it’s a whole different story.”

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