My Experience Working at Big Bowl in 2006

Bree Yoo Sun Jung, 정 유선
4 min readAug 1, 2022

When I was 20, I was hired at Big Bowl, a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant. I went to the training and two white women were there. The main facilitator was pregnant, maybe around 6 months. She was so obnoxious, and I could hardly stand being in her presence. To put that into context once again — yes. She was pregnant. Visibly pregnant; like cute baby doll, empire waisted outfits and all, and I could still hardly tolerate her.

That’s a pretty deep offense because generally, pregnant women are pretty much un-offenseable (not a real word, I’m aware).

I remember I had gone to the wrong restaurant for training the day before and I ended up calling and letting them know I’d make it the next day instead. To make up for it, I just brought some donuts for everyone. The pregnant training lady was so annoying. She had this weird way of publicly shaming someone even when they were clearly trying to apologize and show gratitude.

She reached for the donuts before anyone could touch them, and shoved one into her mouth.

“Oh, donuts, yay! You’re forgiven,” she mocked condescendingly. I thought it was a little weird, but whatever. I needed this side gig so I said nothing outside of raising my eyebrows a bit.

The training kicked off and the obnoxious white pregnant lady started going through her punitive corporate list of no-nos for us low level employees on the floor and front of house.

She got to the one about hair color and I abruptly froze, a tingle shooting up my spine in suppressed, passionate, enraged humiliation and anger.

“If your hair color is something other than what your natural hair color could really be, you can either dye it back or shave your head, but you’re not working until you do one of those two things.”

I sat there in total disbelief.

This Americanized, pathetic excuse for Asian food, having capitalistically exploited our entire culture for a long, lame ass extension of a quick buck, was actually saying this shit as policy.


I looked around. Not another person of color there.


“Umm, what do you mean?” I asked.

The woman looked at me like I had two heads. She was pale, had clear skin and complexion, and bright brown eyes. Her brown hair was mid length and thick, pulled back into…

Bree Yoo Sun Jung, 정 유선

I was formerly the young mother who leaned into destiny. But these days I'm young-ish. I write about race, motherhood, transracial adoption, and hood feminism.

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