Ms. Jordan, like others who posted on social media, said Mr. Gourdet “knew about the harassment and did nothing to stop it.” She added, “I expect Gregory to make reparations for the harm that has already been done, and he hasn’t.” She dismissed his plan for Kann Winter Village as a “publicity stunt.”
A male chef who worked at the Denver Departure with Ms. Jordan said that there was sexual harassment in the kitchen, but that he didn’t believe Mr. Gourdet was responsible for it.
“It can’t be his fault when someone says something when he’s not even there to hear it,” the chef said, requesting anonymity because he didn’t want to be pulled into the controversy. “I think he’s a wonderful person. He tries to show how you should behave.”
Mr. Gourdet said he wasn’t aware of the details of the complaints about Departure Denver when he worked there. “I handled zero H.R. in Denver,” he said. He said that he knew of complaints about Departure Portland, but that he was “blindsided” by how many more emerged last summer, having assumed that others in the Sage management were addressing the problems. “People felt there wasn’t enough resolution in these cases,” he said.
Other grievances, he said, were not under his purview. Referring to several anonymous complaints on social media about the “objectifying dresses” that female servers were required to wear at the Departure restaurants, he said he pushed to change the uniform, unsuccessfully. “I didn’t manage the dining room,” he said. (The pastry chef who said he didn’t give her credit for her ideas declined to be interviewed, but wrote in an Instagram message that that was just one of several complaints she had about the workplace culture at Departure Portland.)
Mr. Gourdet said he took the criticism to heart. “It’s my job to make sure all 30 people who worked under me in the kitchen feel good every day, and I didn’t do that,” he said.