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Acclaimed Seattle chef’s staff quits after sexual misconduct allegations

  • NEW YORK TIMES / 2019
                                Chef Edouardo Jordan prepares chitlins and hog maw stew with okra and tomatoes at JuneBaby in Seattle.

    NEW YORK TIMES / 2019

    Chef Edouardo Jordan prepares chitlins and hog maw stew with okra and tomatoes at JuneBaby in Seattle.

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 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 Sunday after the staff departures, according to The Seattle Times. A representative of Jordan confirmed today that nearly all of the employees at both restaurants had resigned.

Attempts to reach Jordan by phone and email today were unsuccessful. The representative said in an email that Jordan was “taking a step back” and “in a deep state of remorse for the pain he has caused former co-workers and restaurant staff.”

The Times investigation included five women who said that 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, 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, 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 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, 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. Today, Jordan’s representative said that there were plans for JuneBaby to reopen at some point.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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