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Houston Press Replaces Kevin Naderi In Chef Competition After Misconduct Rumors Surface

One Fifth chef Matt Staph was quietly subbed in, and will now represent Houston in the paper’s virtual Iron Fork cook-off

Chef Kevin Naderi
Roost chef Kevin Naderi
Roost/Facebook

Roost chef Kevin Naderi has quietly been removed from the line-up of the Houston Press’s upcoming Menu of Menus event following a slew of rumors accusing the chef of multiple types of misconduct.

The change happened four days ago, when Naderi was swapped out for One Fifth chef Matt Staph, who will now represent the city of Houston in a showdown with Dallas chef Luke Rogers in the virtual Iron Fork cooking competition, set for September 2. When Naderi was announced as the competitor back in early August, multiple people came forward with stories about Naderi being “creepy” with women on social media and dating apps.

Those stories have been chronicled extensively on @welp_713, an Instagram account that describes itself as “a safe space for Houston’s service workers to share their truths about management & business owners,” for more than a week. The vast majority of the accounts shared by @welp_713 are posted anonymously, which makes it difficult to verify their veracity. Naderi himself obliquely addressed the allegations posted to the account in a since-deleted post to his personal Instagram Stories on August 6.

“I am absolutely sorry to anyone that I have upset through some of my past behavior. I never want anyone to feel upset or uncomfortable, no matter the situation,” Naderi wrote. “I welcome the opportunity to have a direct dialog with anyone who would like to do so, and I’ll gladly shed my tough exterior to have a heartfelt discussion.”

Over the past several years, Naderi has been a fixture of the Iron Fork competition. In 2016, the chef “retired” from competing in the event after winning it four years in a row. He has not yet commented on being dropped from this year’s virtual iteration of the event.

The Houston Press has not issued a public statement on why it chose to drop Naderi from its Menu of Menus line-up, but has deleted all posts to its website and social media promoting his appearance at the event. In an email to Eater, Houston Press editor-in-chief Margaret Downing declined to comment on the decision.

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