Chef Steven Goff leaves King James Public House

Charlotte Street restaurant King James Public House will close in January. Xpress file photo

Details are still unraveling from the ball of rumors, but the word from the chef is that barely a year after the restaurant’s opening, Steven Goff is no longer with King James Public House. Hints had been circulating yesterday, but Goff made sure to distance himself from the controversy by making a statement to the press early this morning: “It is increasingly public that I am no longer with King James Public House. I will not be available for comment until I have convened with our investors.”


The chef has a hell of a story. Beginning his cooking trade while homeless and train-hopping across the country, Goff took a job with downtown restaurant Zambra where he worked his way up to sous chef before being offered his own restaurant when King James opened in March of last year. He has been a respected part of the food community in Asheville for over a decade, having taught in A-B Tech’s culinary program and run some of the most praised kitchens in the city.

Departures of this sort are not uncommon in a fickle industry like food and beverage, but it is odd to see someone of Goff’s stature — who for all intents and purposes had been molded into the face of the restaurant — to leave so suddenly.

Rumors abound but facts are few. As of now, the circumstances of Goff’s departure are unclear, but we will keep you abreast of the details as they develop. What is clear is that a chef of his quality is sure to bounce back to his feet with great agility. One cannot help but think of Elliott Moss‘ grand exit from Ben’s Tune-Up and his subsequent success without even having a brick-and-mortar kitchen. One can only hope to see the same success and trajectory for Goff.



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About Jonathan Ammons
Native Asheville writer, eater, drinker, bartender and musician. Proprietor of Follow me @jonathanammons

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14 thoughts on “Chef Steven Goff leaves King James Public House

  1. Jason martin

    Once a Homeless train hopper… Clearly a bad investment on the investors part… Being true artists is what makes these people amazing and creative chefs, but being a True artist can come with its generalizations; temperamental Noncommittal ramblers

    • jesse

      He is one of the most dedicated chefs I know who worked his way up from the bottom and puts everything he has into his work. To call him a bad investment is ludicrous

  2. Robert Cohen

    Chefs are notorious for being temperamental. I should know as I have known a great mamy of them in my POS career. I am sure he has his reasons and the way it seems is if there is something controversial there. We will kust have to wait and see what is what.

    • Big Al

      Chefs, artists, politicians, celebrities, whatever…fame is not free license to be a snob or a jerk. Goff made a public statement in this very publication about how he lost a part of his soul when he cooked a signature dish that he felt was too common for his trouble, implying that the customers were also too common in their lack of taste .

      True appreciation awarded with open contempt.

      I don’t care how good a cook you are, you will never be good enough to insult me and still expect me to throw money at you. There are always other chefs just as good who have the decency to keep their mouths shut and let their food do the talking.

      • VAL

        In the interest of satisfying my curiosity; I take it you’re his investor? As a former Biz owner myself, if anyone had on their resume “homeless train hopper” They’d never have gotten an interview.

        • Big Al

          I have no relationship with KJPH or Goff other than being a consumer. As for the “train hopper” comment, that was someone else, not me.

  3. Robert Cohen

    When you work with as many restaurant owners as I have in setting up their Point-of-Sale systems, chefs usually expect you to be knowledgeable enough to know what they want in a system and if not, be open enough to satisfy their needs. Whether the chef is new to the business or has been a chef for over 30 years, they all have their own idiosyncrasies about what they want and how they want it.

    True chefs are creative by nature; it is in their blood. They are like a professional artist as they use food instead of acrylics or water colors and the plate is their canvas. Have you ever known an artist that did not have a few idiosyncrasies? Chefs are no different as they have to have some type of release for their craft.

    I have a nephew that is a chef and he is always trying to create something new . Now he lives on the other side of the country from me but during our last visit out there, he tried our varieties of food on us for a family gathering. He did not disappoint me in any way.

    I have numerous friends that are chefs at local restaurants in my area that are always trying to create something new and they all try new things to put on their menus and what survives a month of trials stays on the menu and the others get placed in what we call “The Circular File” (trash can).

    I myself am no chef and have never claimed to be. Yes, I love to cook and try out new recipes at home with my wife but I could never be a chef as I do not have the temperament to work in a kitchen for 8 hours a day in such high temperatures with someone always screaming about how to do things.

    Who knows, maybe I am the one who has the issues and complain about things, but I could never work in a kitchen under such a situation.

  4. Jason

    A little off topic, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended) when these Demi-Local Celebrity chefs are able to captivate the public so much that they can “open a restaurant” and make it so successful that it’s standing room only, then sell/quit, then do it again (over and over in the same community). Does this strike anyone else as…. Blah!?

  5. Sylvia

    I’ve heard from pretty reliable sources that Steven is an arrogant chef who will use and manipulate whoever he can to get where ever he is going. Such a typical millennial: not willing to compromise with his investors for the sake of “artistic integrity.” Well now he doesn’t have a job. But rest assured he will bounce back on his feet because he is a great self promoter and will kiss just about anyone’s butt.

    • Greg Remter

      He’s almost 40, not quite a millennial. He’s bounced back and self promotion is part of the business.

  6. George

    Maybe if Goff spent a little more time in the kitchen and a little less time at stupid competitions and super clubs he would not be in this situation. He’s too preoccupied with being a celebrity chef. Maybe this help with his inflated ego

    • Big Al

      I thought it was the time in the kitchen that got Goff into trouble at KJPH. If ego is the issue, maybe he SHOULD stick to competions and maybe very exclusive private catering.

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