Disgraced Celebrity Chef Mario Batali Sells All of his Restaurant Group Shares

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In December of 2017, "Eater" reported that Celebrity Chef Mario Batali had been sexually harassing women for the last two decades.

After the allegations hit the media, Batali announced that he would be stepping down from his restaurant empire. At the time, Batali and his former partner Joe Bastianich's restaurant group included 16 restaurants.

“Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses,” said Batali to “Eater.” “...For this reason, I am going to step away from day-to-day operations of my businesses. We built these restaurants so that our guests could have fun and indulge, but I took that too far in my own behavior. I won’t make that mistake again.”

Fast forward to today, Batali has completely removed himself from ownership from his restaurant group by selling all of the shares of his business to the Bastianich family.

“I have reached an agreement with Joe [Bastianich] and no longer have any stake in the restaurants we built together. I wish him the best of luck in the future," said Batali in a statement Wednesday, as reported by “The Blast.”

He “will no longer profit from the restaurants in any way, shape or form," according to the Bastianich family.

Batali is planning to sell his shares of the high-end Italian grocery chain Eataly too.

At the end of last year, "Eater" published a follow-up story where it was revealed that Batali's restaurants saw a 30 percent drop in sales following the multiple sexual misconduct allegations. The article also condemned the group for allowing him to continue to collect profits while the process to buy out Batali lingered for over a year.

"The New York Times" reported in April that Batali would divest from his restaurants, allowing his partners to buy out his stake. But the negotiations, meant to close in July, have gone on, and anyone who eats at the restaurants Batali made famous is putting more money in the chef’s pockets," wrote "Eater" in December of last year.

A little less than a year and a half later, Batali has officially sold his stake to his partner. Will this encourage diners to visit the chef's former restaurants now that he is no longer tied to them financially?

The #MeToo movement has helped to expose the former misconduct of a number of celebrity chefs and now they are finally experiencing the consequences.

Mario Batali, John Besh, Mike Isabella, Ken Friedman, and Tom Colicchio are some of the many that have received multiple accusations of sexual harassment in 2017 and 2018.

At the end of 2017, Foodable Host of The Barron Report Paul Barron gave his predictions for what was to come for 2018. His No. 2 prediction was "the demise of the celebrity chef." Watch the video below where Barron shows how much of a hit Batali's Sentiment Score took following his sexual harassment scandal.

Worse than getting burned? Losing your mind! Why Mental Health Matters

In today’s Chef AF episode, our host Chef Jim Berman speaks candidly with Chef Curtis Gamble of Pittsburgh’s Station restaurant about a very important topic not only within the restaurant industry but in society today.

Mental Health.

The two talk about the importance of having some sort of anchor outside of the work place, establishing open lines of communication about each individual’s goals, and simply adopting healthier lifestyle habits.

“I think on a day-to-day basis, as I’ve grown older… I’ve kind of calmed down, you know? To be totally candid, quit drinking, things like that… I’ve managed to keep more of a calmness about the kitchen work, a calm kind of intensity to it?,” says Chef Gamble. “And I think that’s translated well to keeping communication open… allowing people to be like candid with how they feel about certain things… the work loads that they have and things like that.”

Listen to the podcast above to hear the full conversation and learn some tips about how to better communicate with your fellow crew members!


Show Notes:

  • 2:26 - Meeting Chef Curtis Gamble

  • 3:50 - How is your head?

  • 5:47 - Work/Life Balance

  • 13:06 - BOH Hospitality

  • 16:59 - How to get your crew to feel comfortable to talk?

  • 23:40 - Advice for young chefs?

  • 26:49 - Blue Collar Work

Hosted by:

Jim Berman

JIM BERMAN

Expert Columnist / Show Host


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The New Wild West... Food Trends, Cannabis & The New Hospitality

It’s been a little over six years after recreational cannabis was legalized in the state of Colorado through Amendment 64 and the impact has been huge on many fronts. In this episode of Chef AF, our host Chef Jim Berman sits down with Denver-resident, Chef Brandon Foster to talk about one way the cannabis industry has unexpectedly impacted the food service industry.

The gentlemen also dish about the Colorado food scene, culinary trends across the nation, as well as, the Denver work environment for chefs.

“It’s a very homegrown scene and everybody has worked kind of with everybody, so to speak. And, you know, there’s not necessarily a lot of bad blood or competition. Yeah you want to succeed but you want to see your friends succeed too,” says Chef Foster. “And that’s an environment between restaurants where that’s not always the case in a big city...I think this is something that sets us apart, if you will.”

Chef Foster started his culinary career by working in hotels and then went on to work for restaurants. About three years ago, he made a change to work for a non-profit, Project Angel Heart, an organization that makes medically-tailored meals for people who are living with life threatening illnesses.

Listen to the podcast above to hear the full conversation about the positive and not so positive impact of the cannabis industry on Colorado and, more specifically, the foodservice industry!


Show Notes:

  • 1:21 - Meeting Chef Brandon Foster of Project Angel Heart

  • 3:58 - Restaurant Industry trends happening in Denver, Colorado

  • 8:48 - Describing the Colorado food scene

  • 14:23 - What do you look for food trends-wise when traveling?

  • 19:20 - Cannabis legalization impact on restaurant industry

  • 23:16 - Positive impact of CBD on a local farmer and what he decided to do with his farmland

Hosted by:

Jim Berman

JIM BERMAN

Expert Columnist / Show Host


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Why 'Local-Only' Isn't Going To Work

In the midst of the farm-to-table movement, a lot of what we are hearing in the restaurant industry is talk about locally-sourced menus and cooking in accordance with the seasons.

The concept, in theory, is great and all and it’s exciting for chefs when they are able to work with the freshest of ingredients grown in the farm down the street, but is this concept sustainable in every part of the country?

In this first episode of Chef AF, our host Chef Jim Berman sits down with Chef Hari Cameron, a semi-finalist for the James Beard “Rising Star Chef Of The Year” award in 2013 for his restaurant a(MUSE), to discuss why local-only isn’t going to work. They will chat about the reality of cooking with the seasons in certain parts of the country, best practices, and, even, how to strike a balance to keep businesses afloat.

“If we only ate locally, we would only be eating hydroponically or really hearty meals...,” says Chef Cameron.

Chef Cameron opened his Rehoboth Beach (Delaware) restaurants, a(MUSE) and Grandpa (MAC), in 2012 and 2015 respectively and found success with both concepts early on from their inception.

“We were cooking food that was exciting to us. We didn’t know anybody was paying attention or even listening,” says Chef Hari Cameron.

Listen to the podcast above to hear the full conversation about not only supporting the local community but the goal of cooking delicious food!


Show Notes:

  • 1:33 - Introducing Chef Hari Cameron of a(MUSE) & Grandpa (MAC)

  • 4:17 - So, why local-only as a concept isn’t going to work?

  • 6:40 - How does Winter shape-shift your menu?

  • 11:06 - What do you say to people who look to do local-only?

  • 13:43 - How do you strike a financial balance to make your business work?

  • 26:49 - What does hospitality mean to Chef Hari Cameron?

Hosted by:

Jim Berman

JIM BERMAN

Expert Columnist / Show Host


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Foodable Network Launches Chef AF a New Podcast

Today, Foodable is launching a new podcast — Chef AF, It’s All Food!— with Chef Jim Berman.

You may have already found out about the newest podcast addition to our show library, through The Barron Report’s latest piece where listeners had the chance to learn more about the chef and host.

Chef Berman has not only been a longtime Foodable expert contributor, but he’s also been a food writer for multiple publications while simultaneously working in and out of kitchens across the U.S.

Now, as the host of Chef AF, Chef Berman will have the chance to get his peers to “talk shop,” as he likes to say, in order to help other chefs and restaurant industry professionals navigate the wonderful yet complex kitchen life.

Chef AF, It’s All Food! is officially launching on Foodable Network today and it will soon be available in iTunes, Google Play and Spotify and other podcast listening platforms.

Listen to the first episode above to meet Berman and learn what you can expect to get from this new podcast!