On Saturday, July 3, JuneBaby chef-owner Edouardo Jordan posted a lengthy statement on Instagram, in which he apologized “to all whom I have hurt, mistreated, and placed in positions of discomfort” and indicated that he had “proactively begun undertaking corrective actions.” The status update Jordan wrote to accompany the statement says, “Apology. Accountability. Action.”
The announcement comes almost three full weeks after the Seattle Times published a June 13 investigative report in which 15 women accused Jordan of sexual misconduct, including unwanted touching and verbal harassment. According to four women who worked with Jordan from 2012 to 2017, the chef groped them at work; one other woman accused Jordan of trying to make unwanted advances on her while on a work trip in 2014; and 10 additional women said the chef made lewd comments and touched them inappropriately over the years. The women’s accounts were corroborated by 13 additional sources, including former employees.
The chef initially denied the majority of the allegations; on the day the report was published, he released a statement on Instagram that seemed more defensive than apologetic — a post that was later removed. (The text is published here). In his new statement, Jordan acknowledges, “My initial response was rushed and filled with the obvious emotion of defending myself, which was not my intention. It lacked the depth, empathy, compassion, and humility that I have endeavored to embody since the day I chose to share my voice through the food I serve within a community I love.”
After the Seattle Times piece came out, the majority of Jordan’s 18-person staff at award-winning Ravenna restaurants JuneBaby and Salare quit immediately. Former employees recently detailed a tense final weekend, and told Eater Seattle that they are hoping to spur positive change as an informal union, potentially pushing for state legislation that would address harassment in kitchens. (No Washington sexual harassment law is specifically tailored to the industry).
While Jordan’s latest public statement is heavy on carefully chosen words — “while I am deeply ashamed of my behavior, I am immensely proud and grateful of what my team and I have accomplished over the years” — it’s light on details on exactly how he plans to make amends. He says he will “invest in platforms and services that protect, empower, and assist those who seek support and educational resources” with the goal of creating safer environments in the restaurant industry, but did not go into specifics about what those might entail.
Jordan didn’t say what might be next for his restaurants. A message on the official website notes that Salare has closed permanently after six years. Before the Seattle Times investigative article came out, the chef was planning to reopen JuneBaby for indoor dining and merge the space with Lucinda Grain Bar, but those plans seem to be indefinitely on hold. Both places are still closed until further notice days after Washington state officially lifted most COVID restrictions for restaurants.