Burrito Shop Shuts Down After Being Accused Of Cultural Appropriation

Two friends were accused of “picking the brains” of Mexican tortilla ladies and stealing recipes for their own shop.

After a trip to Puerto Nuevo, Mexico, two women decided to open their own pop-up burrito shop. However, they were unaware of what was coming ahead.

Kali Wilgus and Liz “LC” Connelly started Kooks, a burrito shop, in Portland earlier this year. But, they were forced to close down after the duo was accused of cultural appropriation after being featured in a local newspaper.

The two gave a detailed interview to Willamette Week in which they explained their trip to the Mexican city and described how they came up with the idea of opening their own burrito shop.

“I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did. They told us the basic ingredients, and we saw them moving and stretching the dough similar to how pizza makers do before rolling it out with rolling pins,” said Connelly.

She further added that the Mexican cooks were hesitant in revealing their secrets so they peeked into their kitchens.

“They wouldn't tell us too much about technique, but we were peeking into the windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look. We learned quickly it isn't quite that easy,” she added.

These comments left a bad taste in the mouths of writers at food blog Portland Mercury, which accused the two of “preying” on the women they met in Mexico.  

“This week in white nonsense, two white women — Kali Wilgus and Liz 'LC' Connely — decided it would be cute to open a food truck after a fateful excursion to Mexico," a blog post reads. "So let’s recap the story thus far: These two white women went to Mexico, ate tacos and then decided they would just take what the locals clearly didn't want to give them. If that wasn't bad enough, they decided to pack up all their stolen intellectual property and repackage it.”

After the closure of the burrito truck, the blog called it a “victory” in Portland. Since then, Kooks Burritos deleted its website, Instagram account, Facebook page and Twitter profile.

Soon after news of the shop closure became public, people took to social media and defended the women. 


Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters 

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