Longtime Bay Area chef Emile Mooser, he of Emile’s in San Jose which he sold in 2007 after running it for 34 years, has pleaded no contest to charges of possession of child pornography. The Mercury News reports that federal authorities served Mooser a search warrant back in January of 2009, after which they came up with a over 300 images on his computer of underage girls, most of whom appear no older than twelve. Likely after catching wind of this probe and the charges against Mooser, the new owners of Emile’s sued Mooser in October of this year claiming misrepresentations and concealment of information at the time of the restaurant’s sale — it seems they may not want to keep the name Emile’s too much longer.
Chef Mooser, who grew up in a small Swiss mountain village, first arrived in San Francisco in 1960, serving as executive chef at then hot spot Bimbo’s 365 Club — whose menu these days is a little less ambitious. It wasn’t until 1973 that Mooser relocated to San Jose, opening Emile’s Swiss Affair in the downtown area, which later became Emile’s. He holds numerous culinary honors, including a Carême Medal, and in 2006 he was presented with the “Mérit Agricole” by the French Government, for his lifelong promotion of French cuisine and culture.
According to documents filed in court by Homeland Security and Customs Enforcement, “Mooser used a PayPal account at least five times in 2006 and 2007 to access various illegal sites, including one called ‘1001 Desired Angels.’” After his no contest plea, he could face up to three years in jail.
An attorney for the new owners of Emile’s says that they, obviously, don’t condone and weren’t aware of the former owner’s activities, and they hope to restore the restaurant’s prominence. But yeah, we’re banking on a name change.
Award-winning San Jose chef pleads no contest to child porn charge [Mercury News]
Cooking With Emile [Official Site]