Nearly all of Seattle chef Edouardo Jordan’s restaurant staff quit Sunday, following a Seattle Times investigation detailing 15 women’s allegations of sexual misconduct and unwanted touching.
Salare and JuneBaby, the two-time James Beard Award winner’s acclaimed restaurants in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood, were dark Sunday. A sign posted to Salare’s door read, “Due to unforeseen circumstances Salare will not be open on Sunday, June 13.”
Four of Jordan’s now-former employees said that all but a few of his 18 employees indicated they would not return. Most asked for anonymity, as they still plan to work in the industry and fear retaliation. Jordan warned them last week that an article was imminent, they said, but they didn’t know how serious the allegations were.
When The Times’ story published early Sunday, detailing five women’s allegations of groping or unwanted kisses and 10 other women’s allegations of sexual comments or unwanted touching, “it was not really a question at that point,” said one former staffer. “Everyone had the exact same viewpoint. We dropped our keys and left.”
Jordan confirmed in an email that many of his employees resigned. He said he will postpone JuneBaby’s reopening, originally planned for Wednesday. Jordan had previously announced that Salare would close July 3, citing the pandemic’s economic impact.
Regarding the mass resignation by his staff, “They deserve to be employed by someone they respect,” Jordan said in an email. “While I deny many of the reported allegations, my heart is heavy with the pain I have caused those I did impact. I must be part of the change my industry demands. I’m in a deep state of reflection and remorse and I will be for some time.”
Jordan expressed similar sentiments in a post to his social media accounts Sunday, saying he would “step back for a bit,” without specifying his plans.
Last week, before the Times story on the allegations was published, he said he did not recall many of the incidents, denied some and acknowledged one.
One employee who quit called Jordan’s social post on Sunday “remorseless” and criticized how Jordan handled the fallout.
On Thursday, former employees said Jordan held an all-staff meeting to warn them about the story. But he “didn’t tell us the severity of it,” said Kayla von Michalofski, former Salare sous chef.
The workers talked among themselves, with many of them coming to a consensus that if the allegations included unwanted sexual touching, they would quit.
The next day, Jordan told managers they would take on more responsibility while he stepped back from the restaurants, one former employee said.
“Self-preservationwise, stepping away was fine,” he said. “But it’s like throwing a grenade into the building and then being like, ‘Alright guys, I’ll catch you later.’”
Employees were reeling after they read the story. They joined a Zoom call together and discussed what they wanted to do.
“The general consensus, I’m talking about primarily all of the staff, was we wanted to leave just because it’s just wrong,” one worker said. “It was just morally, ethically I can’t condone anything that allegedly he did. We felt that way as a group.”
Many didn’t have other jobs lined up and are now looking for work.
“It’s been a rough day today,” von Michalofski said. “I feel really bad about everything everyone has gone through. And I’m kind of embarrassed for supporting him for so long without knowing all this was going on.”