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Portland Chef Jenn Louis Says Her Domestic Violence Incident Was a Response to Abuse [Updated]

The Ray chef disclosed her side of the story in a Medium post

Jenn Louis/Official
Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

Over the weekend new information came to light in the high-profile 2016 arrest of Ray chef and James Beard nominee Jenn Louis. Louis was arrested and booked into Multnomah County jail after punching her then-husband and business partner David James Welch in the face at their now-closed restaurant Lincoln.

The Portland Police Bureau said that the evidence and statements taken at the scene indicated signs of domestic violence, a mandatory arrest in Oregon, but prosecutors disagreed, saying “a claim of self-defense could not be overcome beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Now in yesterday’s Medium post, Louis says the incident was the climax of a long history of alcoholism and domestic violence on the part of Welch.

“For a total of 17 years, I had been in a relationship with a person who regularly drank to excess, who verbally berated and emotionally abused me, who ultimately became a person I no longer recognized nor loved,” she writes.

Louis said the actual altercation was a moment of self-defense, after an “error in the kitchen” set Welch off; Louis claims he was intoxicated during service. “My chef de cuisine stepped in for me and expedited, but my husband wouldn’t relent,” she writes. “He was cursing and chasing me around the back of house — I was terrified for myself and my staff.”

Welch, who according to Facebook is now working at San Francisco’s Waterbar and Whole Foods, issued the following written statement: “It is sad, and more often true, that the stories of those involved in active addiction contain acts of physical abuse towards their partner. I am fortunate my story does not. I am also blessed that my story contains close to two years of active recovery. A time where I’ve been able to make amends for my wrongs and hopefully grow as a person.”

Update: April 30, 2018, 12:31 p.m.
This story was updated to include written comment from David James Welch.

I was arrested for domestic violence. Here’s why. [Medium]
Ray [Official]
All Lincoln coverage [EPDX]
Lincoln’s Jenn Louis Arrested on Charges of Domestic Violence [EPDX]
Portland celebrity chef Jenn Louis arrested on domestic violence charge [The O]

Lincoln Restaurant

3808 NE Williams Avenue, Portland, OR 97227 Visit Website