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Los Angeles' elite are up in arms after photos emerge of the city's trendiest brunch spot storing buckets of MOLDY JAM which workers are told to simply 'scrape off' before serving to customers and selling in $14 jars

The Los Angeles' elite has been left up in arms after photos emerged of the city's trendiest brunch spot storing buckets of moldy jam which workers are told to simply 'scrape off' before serving to customers and selling in $14 jars.   
Sqirl, the popular East Hollywood cafe famed for its Instagrammable Ricotta Toast topped with a hearty dollop of fresh jam, has been forced to go into damage control mode after allegations surfaced of unsanitary working conditions this weekend. 
Several former workers have broken their silence over the alleged unsavory kitchen habits going on behind the scenes of the boujee hotspot, including quarter-inch thick mold on its signature jam and a rat-infested secondary kitchen hidden away from the eyes of food inspectors.  
This marked a blow for owner Jessica Koslow ahead of her new book launch next week - which features the topic of jam making - who was forced to issue a statement apologizing and claiming she was acting on the advice of experts.
The saga continued, however, when name-dropped expert Dr. Patrick Hickey denied ever speaking with Koslow and insisted he would not recommend such conditions. 
The Los Angeles' elite has been left up in arms after photos emerged of the city's trendiest brunch spot storing buckets of moldy jam (pictured) which workers are told to simply 'scrape off' before serving to customers
The Los Angeles' elite has been left up in arms after photos emerged of the city's trendiest brunch spot storing buckets of moldy jam (pictured) which workers are told to simply 'scrape off' before serving to customers
More than a dozen current and former Sqirl employees came forward this weekend with claims of unsanitary food storage and safety practices at the restaurant, according to food blogger Joe Rosenthal, who shared grabs of his conversations in an Instagram story. 
A shocking photo said to depict the offending jam shows a thick layer of mold across the surface that has been partly scraped by a spatula. 

Several workers claimed the house jam regularly formed mold up to a quarter inch thick on its surface and they were told to scrape it off to serve on signature brunch dishes or to sell in $14 jars for customers to take home.   
'The mold was a regular thing, it would just get scraped off,' one message read.
Another worker described the gallon buckets full of jam as 'Petri dishes'. 
'All jam sits with no lids on them so the're like Petri dishes,' they said. 
Sqirl (pictured), the popular East Hollywood cafe famed for its Instagrammable Ricotta Toast topped with a hearty dollop of fresh jam, has been forced to go into damage control mode after allegations surfaced of unsanitary working conditions this weekend
Sqirl (pictured), the popular East Hollywood cafe famed for its Instagrammable Ricotta Toast topped with a hearty dollop of fresh jam, has been forced to go into damage control mode after allegations surfaced of unsanitary working conditions this weekend
Jessica Koslow making the cafe's signature jam above. Several former workers have broken their silence over the alleged unsavory kitchen habits going on behind the scenes of the boujee hotspot, including quarter-inch thick mold on its signature jam and a rat-infested secondary kitchen hidden away from the eyes of food inspectors
Jessica Koslow making the cafe's signature jam above. Several former workers have broken their silence over the alleged unsavory kitchen habits going on behind the scenes of the boujee hotspot, including quarter-inch thick mold on its signature jam and a rat-infested secondary kitchen hidden away from the eyes of food inspectors
The instruction for the staff and cooks to scrape off the layer of mold came directly from Koslow, some claimed.  
Workers blamed the mold on poor preservation methods, with some claiming it was 'cooled in tall plastic containers rather than put in shallow hotel pans that could be cooled in an ice bath' and another saying the mold could have blown in from a moldy fan in the room where the uncovered buckets of the sweet stuff are stored.
Gelyn Montanino, a former pastry chef at Sqirl, told the LA Times she was 'disgusted' when she found moldy jam buckets at the restaurant when she started working there in August 2019. 
'I was immediately disgusted,' she said.
'I asked about it and no one had a real reason as to why it was that way. 
'Almost all the buckets would have a thick layer of mold on top with no lids or wrap. I've witnessed cooks scraping the mold off and putting the jam into their pans for the line.'
Aside from the moldy jam, other complaints include Koslow allegedly closing off an 'unvented' and 'illegal' kitchen where the jam was stored to keep it secret from health inspectors. 
Others also claim there was a rat problem in this space. 
Horrified fans of the restaurant took to social media to share their disgust. 
'OMG this is horrible. how could she possible condone this and think that she could get away with it, let along the public health issues. Yikes,' one person tweeted.  
Another added: 'man oh man. cancel culture is really hitting its stride.'
More than a dozen current and former Sqirl employees came forward this weekend with claims of unsanitary food storage and safety practices at the restaurant, according to food blogger Joe Rosenthal, who shared grabs of his conversations in an Instagram story (pictured some of the posts)
More than a dozen current and former Sqirl employees came forward this weekend with claims of unsanitary food storage and safety practices at the restaurant, according to food blogger Joe Rosenthal, who shared grabs of his conversations in an Instagram story (pictured some of the posts)
Koslow responded to the allegations in a statement posted on social media Sunday where she said the jams are 'more susceptible to growth of mold' than supermarket jams because they contain low sugar and no preservatives. 
The restaurant owner admitted this meant the vats of jam 'sometimes' developed a layer of mold and that she did instruct staff to remove it and serve the jam beneath the mold to customers. 
But she insisted she did this on the advice of food experts.
'We handled [it] with the guidance of preservation mentors and experts like Dr. Patrick Hickey, by discarding jam several inches below the mold, or by discarding containers altogether,' she wrote.
Koslow responded to the allegations in a statement posted on social media Sunday where she said the jams are 'more susceptible to growth of mold' because they contain low sugar and no preservatives and that she was acting on expert advice
Koslow responded to the allegations in a statement posted on social media Sunday where she said the jams are 'more susceptible to growth of mold' because they contain low sugar and no preservatives and that she was acting on expert advice 
Sqirl fast became one of LA's coolest restaurants when it opened in 2012. The saga continued, however, when name-dropped expert Dr. Patrick Hickey denied ever speaking with Koslow and insisted he would not recommend such conditions
Sqirl fast became one of LA's coolest restaurants when it opened in 2012. The saga continued, however, when name-dropped expert Dr. Patrick Hickey denied ever speaking with Koslow and insisted he would not recommend such conditions
Koslow planned to release her second cookbook on July 21, which ironically features jam making. Pictured the jam that retails at $14
Koslow planned to release her second cookbook on July 21, which ironically features jam making. Pictured the jam that retails at $14 
However, Hickey told The Washington Post he has never met or spoken to Koslow and would not recommend the practices she is carrying out in the commercial kitchen. 
'There's a danger that the toxins could build up in that jam and diffuse down deeper,' the mycologist who studies the structures of mold growth said. 
Hickey also said the mold could be dangerous to workers breathing in the spores.   
USDA guidance says jams or jellies with mold should be discarded and recommends against scooping out mold and using the remaining condiment.
Koslow said in a statement to DailyMail.com that she was 'sorry' and 'that the photo being circulated is not a container we ever served jam from'.
She added: 'I know I have lost the trust of our loyal customers, partners, and jam subscribers and hope that my sincere regret and these changes demonstrate that I have learned from my mistake and are enough to earn a second chance from them.'
Some retailers of the take-home jam jars are now considering pulling the products from their shelves.  
Diaspora Co., a spice company that has collaborated with Sqirl on a jam, has described the partnership as 'a mistake', removed the jars from its site and is offering refunds to customers. 
Sqirl opened in 2012 and fast became one of LA's coolest restaurants, with praise galore from food critics and publications.  
It regularly draws in crowds of diners for weekend brunch with long lines often seen snaking around the street waiting for a table at the coveted spot. 
Koslow has been nominated for a James Beard Award and planned to release her second cookbook on July 21.     

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