James Beard Award-winning chef April Bloomfield closed her Los Angeles restaurant Hearth & Hound abruptly on Saturday after only 15 months in business, according to a social media post from the brand.
The announcement, which was posted during the final dinner service, did not give a reason for the restaurant’s sudden closure. A representative for Bloomfield could not be reached for further comment.
“It’s with a heavy heart I announce that The Hearth & Hound will serve its last supper tonight,” Bloomfield’s statement on the Hearth & Hound restaurant’s Instagram page read. “I am so very grateful for the hard work and dedication from everyone on my team over the last 15 months. I’m so proud of what we accomplished in our short time. I thank our guests, friends and supporters for the warm welcome during a tumultuous last year. I love LA and hope that one day to cook here again soon.”
The closure comes on the heels of a difficult year for Bloomfield that included the fallout from allegations of sexual misconduct against her former business partner Ken Friedman.
In June 2018, she officially split from Friedman and the two divided their restaurant group, best known for the award-winning restaurant The Spotted Pig in New York. Bloomfield took full ownership and control of the restaurant group’s West Coast eateries, which included Hearth & Hound, and remained chef for two New York concepts. But she would no longer be involved with The Spotted Pig, the restaurant where she rose to fame.
Allegations of sexual misconduct rose to the surface in December 2017, when a New York Times article cited incidents reported by former employees of The Spotted Pig of Friedman groping, flirting, and sexually assaulting them. The allegations were published on the heels of sexual misconduct allegations of disgraced celebrity chef Mario Batali, who was an investor in The Spotted Pig.
At the time, Bloomfield said “I have spoken to Ken about professional boundaries and relied on him to uphold our policies,” but felt she had “let down” their employees.
In August 2018, the New York Attorney General’s office announced that Ken Friedman and Mario Batali were under investigation for sexual misconduct. The cases against Batali were dropped earlier this month.
As the allegations of sexual misconduct came to light, Bloomfield was a target of criticism by some who said she enabled a company culture that allowed such misconduct to occur. In October 2018, Bloomfield finally broke her silence regarding the alleged behavior of her former business partner. In the interview, she said that she was unaware of incidents where employees were being harassed or abused by Friedman. She said that she did try to stop inappropriate behavior such as openly flirting with his staff, but instead “turned a blind eye” to what was happening at her own restaurant:
“I failed a lot of people,” she told the Times during the interview. “That’s on my shoulders.”
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