Sexual harassment scandal

Renowned chef dropped from restaurant awards

NEW YORK • Celebrity chef Mike Isabella is no longer the flavour of the town in the wake of a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington has disqualified his eateries from its annual awards ceremony, the Rammys, after a former employee filed the lawsuit against him.

A statement from the Rammys' judging panel said the chef's restaurants Arroz and G would be removed from eligibility in the categories of New Restaurant of the Year and Favourite Fast Bites respectively.

Arroz chef Michael Rafidi, who resigned from the restaurant last week after the suit was filed, will remain eligible to win in the category Rising Star of the Year. Isabella won Restaurateur of the Year in 2016.

Ms Chloe Caras, a former manager at his company Mike Isabella Concepts, alleged that he and his partners called her a "whore", commented on the size of her buttocks and touched her without permission.

Separately, a sous chef said Isabella kissed her without her consent.

His company also allegedly named cocktails after its partners' encounters with prostitutes.

Isabella's businesses and personal brand have begun to suffer knocks in the wake of the lawsuit.

He lost his spot as the chef chair of the fund-raiser Best Buddies Prom while professional baseball team Washington Nationals cut ties with the chef, who formerly had several concession stands in the stadium.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2018, with the headline 'Renowned chef dropped from restaurant awards'. Print Edition | Subscribe