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April Bloomfield on Ken Friedman: ‘I Know That It Wasn’t Enough’

The chef speaks out about her business partner, who has been accused of sexual harassment

Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield
Photo by David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

Chef April Bloomfield has released another statement in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment directed at her business partner Ken Friedman. The pair owns restaurants together like the Spotted Pig and the Breslin in New York City, Tosca Cafe in San Francisco, and the just-opened Hearth and Hound in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Friedman took an indefinite leave from managing the restaurants after allegations that he subjected employees to unwanted sexual advances, public groping, and lewd text messages.

“It is over,” Bloomfield writes in a statement posted on Twitter. “I pledge that in any workplace I am part of the employees will be judged by performance only. I pledge to show respect, always, and that under my watch no employee will endure this kind of pain again.”

Bloomfield, a James Beard Award-winner known for her pioneering gastropub fare, issued this statement one day after the New York Times published its wave-making report which outlines allegations against Friedman. (Still, it’s unclear whether by “it’s over,” the chef means the harassment or her business relationship with Friedman.)

Among the on-the-record accusations against Friedman is also a damning portrait of Bloomfield’s alleged tolerance of harassment in her restaurants, where according to the Times, thetwo have clearly divided their domains: the dining room and bar are headed by Mr. Friedman, and the kitchens by Ms. Bloomfield.” Former staff members tell the Times that they turned to Bloomfield for help.

“Her response was always the same,” said Ms. Nelson, who did not bring her complaints to the chef but was close to others who did. “‘That’s who he is. Get used to it. Or go work for someone else.’”

In a statement given to the Times, Bloomfield said: “In the two matters involving uninvited approaches that were brought to my attention over the years, I immediately referred both to our outside labor counsel and they were addressed internally. I have spoken to Ken about professional boundaries and relied on him to uphold our policies. Nonetheless I feel we have let down our employees and for that I sincerely apologize.”

In her new statement, Bloomfield says she would “never suggest anyone accept unprofessional treatment.” She also implies, again, that she did talk to Friedman about his behavior, without revealing the extent of her knowledge: “In meetings with my partner, I lectured, and I demanded, but now I know that it wasn’t enough.”

Below, the chef’s new, full statement:

Major NYC Restaurateur Ken Friedman Accused of Sexual Harassment [E]