Batali surrenders restaurant empire after claims of sexual misconduct

US celebrity chef Mario Batali has sold off all of his shares in the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, following a 20-year partnership with the Bastianich family, following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Mario Batali has sold all of his shares in the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, which he co-founded in 1998, as well as his minority interest in Eataly USA.

A new company has been set up to replace the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, which Mario Batali co-founded in 1998 with restaurateurs Joe Bastianich and Lidia Bastianich.

As reported by Business Times, Batali’s interests in the company were officially dissolved on Wednesday, more than a year after several women accused Batali of sexual harassment and assault.

Tanya Bastianich Manuali and her brother, Joe Bastianich, have bought Batali’s shares in all the restaurants, but have not disclosed the financial terms.

Bastianich Manuali, who will lead an as-yet-unnamed company to replace the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, said Batali will “no longer profit from the restaurants in any way, shape or form”.

The new company will operate the group’s remaining 16 restaurants under a new management and financial structure.

Batali is also selling his shares in New York’s Eataly, the Italian market concept founded by Italian businessman Oscar Farinetti in 2007, which has since grown from a converted Vermouth factory in Turin to include venues in New York, Chicago, Milan Copenhagan and Dubai.

A spokesman for Eataly confirmed that it was in the process of acquiring Batali’s “minority interest in Eataly USA”.

ALLEGATIONS

In 2017, Batali voluntarily stepped down from his restaurant empire and was been fired from ABC’s cooking-based talk show The Chew in light of the allegations, following a report first published by New York’s Eater. Four women made allegations against the chef over incidents spanning two decades, with more later coming forward.

Batali had already admitted that the claims “match up” with his behaviour, despite not knowing his accusers, and released a statement in which he not only apologised to fans, but took “full responsibility” for his actions.

The statement read: “I have made many mistakes and I am so very sorry that I have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans and my team. My behaviour was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility. Sharing the joys of Italian food, tradition and hospitality with all of you, each week, is an honour and privilege. Without the support of all of you – my fans – I would never have a forum in which to expound upon this. I will work every day to regain your respect and trust – mb.”

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