Most of the staff at two restaurants run by Edouardo Jordan, an acclaimed chef in Seattle who has been celebrated with some of the industry’s top awards, quit on Sunday after an investigation by The Seattle Times surfaced 15 allegations against him of sexual misconduct or unwanted touching.
The two restaurants, JuneBaby and Salare, were closed on Sunday after the staff departures, according to The Seattle Times. A representative of Mr. Jordan confirmed on Monday that nearly all of the employees at both restaurants had resigned.
Attempts to reach Mr. Jordan by phone and email on Monday were unsuccessful. The representative said in an email that Mr. Jordan was “taking a step back” and “in a deep state of remorse for the pain he has caused former coworkers and restaurant staff.”
The Times investigation included five women who said that Mr. Jordan had groped or given them unwanted kisses from 2012 and 2017, and 10 women who described sexual comments or unwanted touching as recently as 2019. Four of the women said he had groped them at work.
In an Instagram post after the article was published, Mr. Jordan denied “many of the reported allegations” but said “each woman who shared her experience working with me has a voice that deserves to be heard.”
“I hold myself accountable if my actions ever made anyone feel disrespected, devalued or uncomfortable,” he said.
After stints at some of the United States’ top restaurants, including French Laundry, Per Se and the Herbfarm, Mr. Jordan received extensive praise for his restaurants in Seattle. JuneBaby, focused on foods of the American South, was named 2018’s Best New Restaurant at the James Beard Foundation awards, making Mr. Jordan the first African-American to win the prize.
At the same awards ceremony, he won Best Chef in the Northwest for Salare.
A week before The Seattle Times investigation was published, Mr. Jordan announced that Salare would be closing and that his two other restaurants, JuneBaby and Lucinda Grain Bar, would be merging, citing the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, Mr. Jordan’s representative said that there were plans for JuneBaby to reopen at some point.
Author: Daniel Victor and Jacey Fortin
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News