Another day, another scandal. Famed chef, restauranteur and The Chew host, Mario Batali steps away as sexual misconduct allegations are revealed.
The food world isn’t immune to the revelations of inappropriate behavior. In an Eater NY, the publication details accounts of inappropriate behavior by Mario Batali. As a result of these allegations, Batali has stepped down from his position in the Batali & Bastianch Hospitality Group and has been asked to step away from The Chew. In a statement to Eater NY, Batali apologized for his behavior.
Even the non-super foodie knows Mario Batali. From the early days on Molto Mario on the Food Network to ABC’s The Chew, the popular chef has many fans. Over the years, the chef has become a celebrity. Previously known for wearing bright orange Crocs, the celebrity chef was often seen with other famous celebrities. From collaboration with Goop founder, Gwyneth Paltrow, to political fundraisers, Batali was as famous out of the kitchen as in it.
Looking at the Batali empire, these allegations could have a large impact on the food world. Batali is one of the partners in Eataly. The popular Italian store and food market place has recently opened locations in California and a large, almost theme park like, location in Italy. Will some people boycott these locations because of the recent allegations?
Eataly is a big business. For the Italian food fan, it a foodie wonderland. Visitors can eat at the many little restaurants and sample the diverse Italian foods. Also, the inspired chef can shop for specialty ingredients for an Italian inspired meal at home. Even just walking through one of the locations can be an entertaining experience.
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While the allegations against Batali are disturbing, ramifications on Eataly could negatively affect other good people. Of course, no one wants to condone bad behavior. But, should the other employees at Batali & Bastianch Hospitality Group, Eataly or even Batali’s other restaurants shouldn’t be made to suffer. Why punish those who did no wrong because of the poor choices of another?
The food world has been hit by bad scandals previously. Even earlier this year, John Besh, award winning chef, author and restaurateur, stepped away from his company after allegations. Inappropriate behavior in the restaurant industry isn’t a new scenario. Just like other industries, the food world has been wrapped in a code of silence and acceptance.
While no one wants to ignore these allegations and behavior, the choices to denounce the action should be weighed carefully. In the Batali situation, boycotting a restaurant or company due to its owner negatively affects many people who depend on that weekly paycheck.
Granted, no one is condoning the wrong action. But, would you want to lose your job due to the poor choices of another?