Looks like Mario Batali will still financially benefit from his popular restaurants for the foreseeable future, even though he’s stepped away from day-to-day operations following sexual misconduct allegations.
In a new Times piece about how restaurant empires are dealing with such allegations, the celebrity chef says that he’s focusing on personal time with his wife and won’t be making business plans for now. Batali’s primary business partner Joe Bastianich — who himself has been accused of fostering a “boys’ club” culture — adds that decisions have not yet been made on whether or not Batali will divest from ownership of about 24 restaurants across the country, such as the Michelin-starred Babbo and Del Posto.
Bastianich tells the Times: “Divorces are never easy. Do we buy out? Do we split restaurants? We may have intentions. He has intentions. Really, the decision is his. He’s going through a process. We’re going through a process. We’ll see.”
In December, Batali stepped away from operations of his restaurants after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct over the span of two decades in an Eater NY investigation. Shortly after, his restaurants started removing mentions of his name, as did Eataly, where he has a stake. Batali and Bastianich Hospitality Group also plans to change its name, promoted chefs Nancy Silverton and Lidia Bastianich, and is taking additional steps like bringing in outside investigations firms.
Batali’s restaurants remain popular, but as sexual misconduct allegations in the industry continue, the next question for some diners has been whether to still support places where allegedly bad players still financially benefit. At least one business, Four Barrel Coffee in the Bay Area, has asked its accused owner to divest.
Check out the full Times piece, which also touches on The Spotted Pig owner Ken Friedman, here.