A celebrity chef who has been a part of a string of popular food shows has given up all of his restaurants. The New York Times reports that the move by Mario Batali comes after he was accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The paper reports that Batali’s partners, including the Bastianich family of restaurateurs, have bought out Batali’s stakes and reorganized their holdings. Batali has had a 20-year partnership with the Bastianiches.
“Mr. Batali ‘will no longer profit from the restaurants in any way, shape or form,’ said Tanya Bastianich Manuali, who will head day-to-day operations at a new company, as yet unnamed, created to replace the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group,” The Times reports. “The new company will operate the group’s remaining 16 restaurants under a new management and financial structure. Mrs. Bastianich Manuali and her brother, Joe Bastianich, have bought Mr. Batali’s shares in all the restaurants. They would not discuss the terms of the buyout.”
Batali is also selling his shares in Eataly, a chain of luxury Italian supermarkets that has been growing globally. The report quotes Chris Giglio, a spokesman for Eataly, saying: “Eataly is in the process of acquiring Mr. Batali’s minority interest in Eataly USA.”
“Several famous chefs and restaurateurs have recently been accused of sexual harassment, but Mr. Batali is the first to surrender all his restaurants,” The Times reports. “At its peak, Batali & Bastianich encompassed dozens of restaurants and food businesses in the United States, Italy, Singapore and Hong Kong. Splashy restaurants like Babbo and Del Posto made celebrities of Mr. Batali and his primary partner, Mr. Bastianich.”
Batali was a fixture on Food Network as the host of shows including “Molto Mario,” “Mediterranean Mario” and “Ciao America with Chef Mario Batali,” along with appearances on various “Iron Chef America” programs.