Former Salare and Junebaby workers unite after sexual misconduct allegations against Edoardo Jordan

Salare and JuneBaby’s staff knew something was amiss when chef-owner Edoardo Jordan called them to an all-hands meeting on Thursday, June 10. According to two staff members present, Jordan explained that an article was about to come out. Seattle Times which did not portray him in a good light. But he did not go into much detail. Rather, Jordan describes the pending report as “bro culture stuff,” says Kayla von Michalofsky, a former Salare sous chef. Another employee, who wished to remain anonymous over concerns of career retaliation, tells Eater Seattle that Jordan “turned to flirt”, but cited legal complications as why he could not explain more. “That was the first red flag for me, because why is Seattle Times Even if it’s just flirting then take it?” the activist says.

The next day, there were more red flags: Jordan called his managers and told them he was about to walk away from the restaurant, without specifying how long it would be—nor the exact reason behind the decision. The mood among the employees was severe throughout the weekend; In a cloud of uncertainty, Salare employees prepared food for a 300-person event held on Sunday. Still, employees came up with a plan for the worst-case scenario, with managers sending an email Friday indicating that employees would call whenever the article dropped. “I hadn’t slept much and was refreshing my browser as of 5 a.m. Sunday,” says the unidentified worker.

Seattle Times investigation report came out early in the morning on Sunday, June 13, and detailed allegations of sexual misconduct of 15 women against Jordan, including unwanted touching (Jordan denied most of the allegations and later posted a statement on Instagram) Shortly after the reports came out, 18-person employees at both Salare and Junebaby held a Zoom meeting and discussed what to do next. employees on call conducted an anonymous survey to gauge options, and The vast majority decided to leave immediately and there. “[The news] Really damaged and blinded the staff,” says von Michalofsky. “But we just turned on our keys, turned everything on, and just left.” An unnamed source says that Salare’s staff still prepared food for that big event, albeit “disappointingly”.

After more than two weeks, the decline continues. With only bare-bones operations at the moment, Junebaby is still closed. Salt The plan had already been made to close for good in July, but that timeline was expedited, as a message official website Note that the restaurant is now permanently closed. Jordan had said that Salare’s decision was related to the effects of the pandemic; Von Michalofsky noted that the restaurant was actually “super slow” in the end. But Jordan said a few days ago Seattle Times piece was published that his intention JuneBaby was to reopen for indoor dining in mid-June And merge the space with the Lucinda Grain bar next door. Now all those plans seem to be stalled indefinitely. When reached for comment, Jordan told Eater, “We’re in the middle of preparing an update on the restaurant’s plans going forward over the next few days, as well as some announcements about my professional and personal next steps.” This article will be updated as more information comes.

Jordan’s corporate sponsors have begun to distance themselves from the chef, but have yet to officially leave him. He has an ongoing deal with car company Lexus for an undisclosed amount, in which he posts about the brand on his social media platforms. A Lexus representative says, “We are monitoring the situation closely and will evaluate the next steps pending further clarification and investigation into the allegations.” “These are very serious allegations (and, if true, certainly not representative of the Lexus brand).” Food preparation company Blue Apron says it was “disappointed to learn of the allegations” against Jordan, but notes that its “limited seven-week partnership with him ended in December 2020.” It also looks like Blue Apron may have cleared the mention of Jordan from its website. National supermarket Whole Foods — which carries Jordan’s Food with its retail line of pimento cheese dips — did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but at the time of publication, the dip is still for sale. online from local checkpoints.

For employees who quit their jobs en masse, there is still solidarity – and the anger is calm. “When [Jordan] dragged us into that meeting, there may have been victims of harassment or assault, and they didn’t even say what [the article] was about to happen,” says the unnamed employee. The group of former coworkers are still in touch on a regular basis and have formed an informal coalition, which aims to take comprehensive action on the issues of kitchen workers.

Currently, Washington State already has general employer requirements and laws. sexual harassment in the workplace, but nothing specifically tailored to the restaurant industry. In 2020, a state law was enacted requiring hotels to issue a “panic button” to employees, like housekeepers, which spend most of their time without any other employees present – ​​but, again, the law does not cover restaurants. and Washington state law against discrimination states that employees The Human Rights Commission has the right to file a complaint, as long as the company has at least eight employees, which would exempt many small restaurants.

“As a team, we want to try to respond to Olympia” [where the state government is] In terms of trying to bring some legislation in there as a mandate,” says the former Jordanian employee. This law could be as basic as getting resources for workers posted publicly in restaurant locations that outline their rights and how to report complaints. “Our hope among my former coworkers is to be change agents regarding workplace harassment or any wrongdoing that requires actionable things to correct.”

Former employees are also looking at creating a pop-up with rotational staffing that will help raise funds for organizations operating in an area that aligns with the issues workers are pushing. “It has the potential to grow into something big by building a co-op model,” says the anonymous former employee. “So we’re very excited about that.” The plan is still in its early stages, but should start to gain more attention this summer.

The workers are hopeful that they will move fast. As Kayla von Michalofsky, former Salare sous chef, puts it: “We want to try to make a difference, while the topic is still hot.”

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