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.