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Ottawa chef and restaurateur Matthew Carmichael has issued a statement admitting to sexually harassing women with inappropriate comments, and says he's handed over the operation of his business. In the statement bearing his name, issued Wednesday morning from his personal to multiple reporters, Carmichael also admits to drug and alcohol addiction.

I feel this is a crucial step in this process. In a clear state of sobriety I feel its full effect and to the women I have harassed, I apologize. I have no role in the daily operations. No other details were released. Carmichael and his partner declined to comment further, saying in an that Carmichael decided to give one interview and had already done so. Earlier this month, Riviera placed seventh in Air Canada's influential list of the country's top 10 restaurants.

When asked for comment on Carmichael's statement, several staff members at Riviera referred CBC News to Hazem El-Gabalawy — a service specialist at all four restaurants Carmichael is associated with — who sent an ed statement to CBC News late Wednesday afternoon.

El-Gabalawy confirmed the reation of Riviera's general manager, Stelios Doussis, but he declined to provide further details, writing that he'll let Doussis speak for himself. In general we support [Carmichael] in his recovery and hope that his coming out publicly will make workplaces safer.

York Street Entertainment, Riviera's management company, did not immediately return multiple requests for comment Wednesday. Before opening El Camino and the other restaurants, Carmichael worked as a paid consultant for the group of restaurants owned by Caroline Gassolin, including Restaurant e18hteen, Social and Sidedoor.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Gassolin said Carmichael started working for her in and left in , and that during that time, no employees came forward to her with allegations about Carmichael. She added that it's important for leaders and managers in the industry to step up and protect young people "coming up" in the industry, and to not tolerate drug use or excessive alcohol use. It's really important that it's a healthy environment, drug-free and alcohol-free, because that's one thing that has always been rampant in the industry, the drinking in the kitchen," Gosselin said.

It just le to people doing things that they don't feel comfortable doing or putting people in compromising positions. Ottawa restaurant manager and sommelier Grayson McDiarmid called Carmichael's revelations an "open secret" within the restaurant industry. We know there's a lot of great people out there that are treating people well and we want to shine a light on that.

In response to the controversy, McDiarmid and his partner Anne-Marie McDiarmid created a list of restaurants that have committed to providing safe workplaces and to accept s from people who may be looking to leave unsafe workplaces. Grayson McDiarmid said he in no way wants to imply restaurants not on the list are unsafe for female employees.

But he said inappropriate language and behaviour is prevalent in the restaurant industry, and that he has participated in that culture in the past. We're trying to change the normal because the normal was very — it was very bad how women were treated and how sexualized the language was. Ottawa Ottawa chef behind Riviera, El Camino admits to sexually harassing women Ottawa chef and restaurateur Matthew Carmichael has issued a statement admitting to sexually harassing women with inappropriate comments, and says he's handed over the operation of his business.

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Ottawa chef behind Riviera, El Camino admits to sexually harassing women