Celebrity chef accused of harassing co-worker

Chef Abe Hiroki (right) was featured on Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party, lifestyle queen Martha Stewart's show with rapper Snoop Dogg (both above).
Chef Abe Hiroki (right) was featured on Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party, lifestyle queen Martha Stewart's show with rapper Snoop Dogg (both above).PHOTO: EN JAPANESE BRASSERIE/INSTAGRAM

NEW YORK • Abe Hiroki, head chef of a well-known Japanese restaurant in New York, is alleged to have sexually harassed a female coworker.

On Monday, Ms Mayumi Bardiovsky filed a complaint in the Manhattan Supreme Court, saying he had hugged her and made sexual remarks, among other offensive incidents.

According to the New York Post, the 32-year-old complainant, who is married and Japanese, said Hiroki also resorted to speaking Japanese with her in a bid to prevent other staff from knowing what was going on between them.

Ms Bardiovsky, who started working in EN Japanese Brasserie in 2009 as a runner, is now a manager of the Greenwich Village outlet.

Its regular customers include lifestyle queen Martha Stewart.

In her complaint, Ms Bardiovsky said Hiroki, 41, encouraged her to divorce her husband, asked her to visit his apartment and requested swimsuit photographs, reported Variety.

She said he also had a mean streak, calling her "ugly" within earshot of vendors.

Asked for comments, the restaurant's management said it is "conducting an investigation".

According to a report in Forbes, which ran a story last year on Hiroki's skill in making fresh tofu, he was raised by a chef-father in an apartment above their sushi restaurant in Japan.

Hiroki moved to New York in 2001 and found work in EN Japanese Brasserie not long after.

He has been featured in Stewart's magazine and on her VH1 show with rapper Snoop Dogg, called Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2017, with the headline 'Celebrity chef accused of harassing co-worker'. Print Edition | Subscribe