Sexual Harassment Allegations Cloud Over Danny Meyer's Restaurant Group

Sexual Harassment Allegations Cloud Over Danny Meyer's Restaurant Group

There are reports denouncing Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group for not properly addressing dozens of employee complaints involving sexual harassment.

The incidents involved a couple of chefs including, Eric Korsh, the former North End Grill executive chef and Junsoo Bae the former Gramercy Tavern sous chef.

Soon after Korsh took on the position in 2014, there were instances when he allegedly made inappropriate comments about female customers that he found attractive, gave unwelcomed massages to female employees, and, in various occasions, lost his temper at the restaurant staff. Additionally, as far as Bae is concerned, the sous chef allegedly groped a server at a company party, according to “Eater.”

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Mario Batali Steps Down— Another Sexual Harassment Case Shakes Up Restaurant Industry

Mario Batali Steps Down— Another Sexual Harassment Case Shakes Up Restaurant Industry
  • Celebrity Chef Mario Batali does not deny sexual misconduct, according to "Eater."

  • Batali has been sexually harassing women for the past two decades according to investigation by "Eater."

Due to sexual harassment allegations, celebrity chef Mario Batali steps away from his restaurant empire.

Four women, who wish to remain anonymous because they fear retaliation, shared their story with “Eater” detailing how they were inappropriately touched by Batali.

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Eater Co-Founder Fired for Sexual Harassment

Eater Co-Founder Fired for Sexual Harassment

As the #metoo campaign gains momentum, we are seeing that sexual harassment is a wide-ranging issue that exists in multiple industries, beyond just the film business. 

There has now been a light shone on the unhealthy culture that a massive number of workers in the restaurant industry have been subjected to. 

But apparently, it has also been a problem at one of the most popular publications that covers restaurants. 

Lockhart Steele, Vox Media’s editorial director and the co-founder and former CEO of Eater has been let go after a former employee claimed that he sexually harassed her.

“Lockhart Steele was terminated effective immediately,” said Jim Bankoff, Vox Media in a memo to staff last Thursday, as reported by“Variety.” “Lock admitted engaging in conduct that is inconsistent with our core values and is not tolerated at Vox Media.” 

Prior to being the CEO and founder of Curbed, which is the parent company of Racked, and Eater, Steele was the managing editor of Gawker Media, which owned the blogs Jezebel,, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Kotaku, and Jalopnik.. 

Now, Steele’s successful career has come to a halting stop and he was quickly removed from the Vox Media website after the sexual harassment allegations became public.

The company’s investigation is still ongoing, but Vox fired Steele to make a statement about the culture the executive management team wants to inspire. 

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The Great Restaurant Critics Debate


Thanks to Eater, our lunch conversation today at the Foodable office took an interesting turn. It all started with a well-written piece by restaurant critic Robert Sietsema about how the landscape of restaurant critics for publications has changed so much over the years. Between budget cuts of print media (and, in turn, employee cuts), and the waves of free social media insight from consumers themselves (and review sites, to boot), "conventional restaurant criticism was profoundly changed, and maybe not for the better," Sietsema wrote. He also goes into the fact that most critics now visit a restaurant one to two months into its opening (usually only once), rather than the original three to six months, in which critics - when the budget was there - would visit a few times to check on consistency, try other menu items, and really give the establishment a chance to grow into itself given all the moving parts.

Stemming from this insight came a rebuttal from Luke O'Neil of Slate, with a subtitle that reads, "Reviewers should write about restaurants as soon as they open, instead of giving them time to find their legs." As Eater reports, the article, titled 'Critics Need to Stop Coddling Restaurants,' leads us into what we'd like to call The Great Restaurant Critics Debate.

O'Neil's piece stresses the point that if (and when) proper restaurant critics wait even a month to review a new restaurant - to give it time to grow into itself, work out the kinks, what have you - they're doing a disservice to the reader.

In our opinion, the only disservice you can give a customer with reporting is inaccuracy, not in how quickly you report on it. Huge news broadcasts make this mistake all too often. Not only is a publication or network's credibility at stake by doing so, but inaccurate reporting is misleading to the audience - in this case, consumers. Therefore, we're taking Eater's side on this one.

A restaurant is made of many moving parts. You can't walk into a freshly opened establishment and have the same experience you might have a few months into its growth.

We'd love to hear your thoughts about this debate. Which sources do you rely on most for restaurant reviews? Do you think critics are, as O'Neil puts it, "coddling" restaurants, or do you think it's fair to review an establishment a few months in? Let us know in the comments below!

The Main Dish

In the Age of Information Overload, refinement is key. That was the thought behind our newest weekly blog addition, The Main Dish - a quick compilation of the most bookmark-worthy links, from the Foodable Network and beyond. Aside from our usual daily content, The Main Dish will serve a fresh batch of 5-10 handpicked pieces every Sunday of, what we think to be, the most appetizing lists & literature from around the Web.


Restaurant Eve: Two Concepts, One Kitchen [Table 42]  [video]

Zagat's New Restaurant App: A Yelp Competitor? [LA Times] 

A Quick Bite: Miami New Times' 2013 Iron Fork [recap] 

Food & Drink Events: 20 You Can't Miss for August & Beyond [Eater] 

It's Farmers Market Week: Here Are Some of America's Best  [Travel + Leisure]