Acclaimed chef Edouardo Jordan has responded to a Seattle Times story, published Sunday, that detailed the accounts of 15 women who accused him of sexual misconduct or unwanted touching.
Here is Jordan’s response in full, as posted to his Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts on Sunday.
“This is a space where I have shared triumphs and pain, made rallying calls to this community to do and be better and to change the norms — to shift practices and systems that have no place in our world and ensure everyone is treated fairly.
That all starts with me.
An article recently came out in the Seattle Times that suggests I have fallen short at times. I’m deeply sorry if my conduct ever offended anyone or made anyone feel uncomfortable. I have had moments where I have made decisions that have negatively impacted people I’ve worked with — and it was never my intention to be a part of or condone a workplace culture that made coworkers or employees feel “less than.” While I know what it feels like to be considered “less than,” I recognize that women experience a different level of hardships in the workplace and that nobody’s voice should be silenced.
While I deny many of the reported allegations, 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. It has never been and never will be in my character to make someone feel threatened, unsafe or personally violated — whether that’s me walking down the street or working with me in the kitchen. Women in the restaurant industry have powerful voices, tremendous talent, and must be respected and provided with a harassment-free work environment. They should be recognized for their contributions and talent — and nothing else. I have always believed that.
I acknowledge that the restaurant industry has a reputation for at times fostering sexual harassment, and I have worked hard to ensure that such conduct has no place at any of my restaurants.
Workplace harassment of any nature or sexualizing women is not a culture I promote. It is not who I am or what I’m about, and I stand behind that.
This is another moment in our industry that can move us in the right direction — to change what has long been considered acceptable in the hospitality industry and what is not. We must address the gray area and ensure that it’s black and white.
How I choose to show up to work every day is a definition of who I am. The most important things in my life are my family, my team, cooking, and sharing food that has a bigger meaning. To share the stories of those who came before me. I know I am not perfect. But I stand behind the work culture and environment I have been a part of in Seattle and also created at my restaurants over the past six years and that is a zero-tolerance policy for harassment of any kind.
Since day one of opening Salare, I have had workplace harassment protocols in place to ensure my staff felt they had a space to share any issues about me or any other employees. That was important to me — my former and current staff are aware of the protocols in place to report any issues. The protocols have evolved over time as we grew as a business and I grew as a business owner. We have had a third-party HR representative since 2019 who addresses employee concerns and complaints.
Where do I go from here? I step back for a bit. I don’t make excuses. I listen and learn. I continue to ensure that my workplaces are safe and equitable environments for all employees and free of toxic behavior. I elevate the talents of the incredible team that currently works with me. They are true stars who make the restaurants I started come alive. I must hold myself to the highest standard and hold other chefs to that standard as well. I will continue to work hard and fight for the diverse voices in the restaurant and hospitality industry, and continue to grow as a business owner, a father, a partner and a chef.