Stephane Bombet, the prolific LA restaurateur, is now out as one of owners of Downtown LA restaurant Faith & Flower. The restaurant announced the split on Instagram in response to a 2011 photo of Bombet wearing blackface, which resurfaced earlier this week.
Faith & Flower posted the following statement posted on its Instagram account:
At Faith & Flower we believe in equal rights and equal justice and love for all. We acknowledge the suffering that systemic racism causes. We believe black lives matter. We love LA for it’s passion and rich diversity. We know we have a part to play and pledge to continue moving the cause forward. In light of recent news, Stephane Bombet, whose actions were out of line with our beliefs, will step away from the restaurant.
The exit follows his ousting from Nic’s on Beverly, where he had been an operations manager, and Ms. Chi Cafe, where he was a partner, shortly after the photo surfaced on social media. “Racism of any kind is not tolerated,” wrote Nic Adler, founder of the Nic’s on Beverly, in an Instagram post on Thursday. “We do not condone his actions,” Ms. Chi chef and owner Shirley Chung added in a statement.
Shortly after the photo re-emerged on June 10, workers at Faith & Flower called not only for Bombet’s removal but a change in the restaurant’s culture. “There’s a systemic culture there that needs to be changed 100 percent and being the managerial boss, [Bombet] sets the tone for that,” one employee, who asked not to be named, told Eater LA. “And for anybody in the 2000s to think that [wearing blackface] is OK, you gotta question the judgment on everything then, right?”
Bombet had built a name for himself in the LA food scene over the last decade by opening up some of the hottest restaurants in the city, including Picca, Terrine, and Hanjip. All, except Nic’s on Beverly and Faith & Flower, have since closed. Eater has reached out to Bombet for comment and will provide an update if a response is received.