Celebrity chef Justin Sutherland arrested, charged following alleged domestic violence incident with girlfriend

By 
 July 2, 2024

A local celebrity chef and TV star from Minnesota is in hot water following allegations of domestic violence that led to his arrest and a criminal charge.

Justin Sutherland of St. Paul is facing a felony charge after he allegedly choked, pointed a gun at, and threatened to kill his girlfriend on Friday, the New York Post's Page Six reported.

Sutherland, a chef who owns or is affiliated with several restaurants in the Twin Cities area and has appeared in several cooking competitions and food-related TV shows, has proclaimed his innocence of the domestic violence allegations against him through his attorney.

Released without bond, but guns confiscated

MPR News reported that Sutherland appeared on Monday in Ramsey County District Court to be arraigned on a single domestic violence-related felony count.

Given his lack of a prior criminal record, other than a 2008 DWI charge, and no history of violence, he was released without a bond pending another court appearance scheduled for next month, though the court did order all of his firearms to be surrendered for the time being.

Sutherland's attorney, John Daly, has disputed the allegations against his client, but multiple 911 calls, including from a passerby and the woman's sister who both witnessed the altercation, support the woman's claims that Sutherland engaged in and threatened violence toward the woman.

Violent and threatening altercation

The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported that Sutherland and his unnamed girlfriend were living in an apartment connected to a previously vacant commercial space that the celebrity chef plans to open soon as a new restaurant when the alleged domestic dispute occurred Friday evening.

The dispute ostensibly began over canceled plans to attend a local music festival and escalated when, according to the woman, Sutherland placed his hands around her neck and squeezed as he threatened to kill her. When the woman called her sister, Sutherland allegedly took away her phone and broke it, which prompted her to flee the scene and go to a neighbor's home to call the police.

When she returned, Sutherland allegedly pointed a gun at her and threatened to shoot, which was observed by a passerby who called the police. When the police arrived, they took Sutherland into custody after they found the broken phone and confiscated 10 firearms, most of which were family heirlooms inherited from his grandfather.

It was later revealed that the police had been called to the same address less than two hours earlier because of a similar dispute, though no arrests were made at that time, and the woman accused Sutherland of becoming violent when angry as she asserted that he had broken the windshield on her vehicle during an argument a few days earlier.

Allegations denied by attorney

In a statement to People magazine, Sutherland's attorney John Daly said the woman's complaint of domestic violence was "riddled with falsehoods" and that his client "vehemently denies all the allegations in the complaint."

"He never threatened to shoot anyone. He did not physically assault his girlfriend. He looks forward to the truth coming out as the court process unfolds," the attorney stated and added that the disputed complaint was initiated by the woman because the "relationship was coming to an end."

MPR noted that Sutherland gained fame as a celebrity chef with his appearances on cooking competition shows like "Iron Chef America" and "Top Chef" which led to him being a co-host on "Fast Foodies" and the host of his own show, "Taste the Culture," for which he won an Emmy Award.

He further used that fame to open several restaurants in the Twin Cities area and has plans to open at least two more.

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