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Racines Chef Leaves in Wake of Sexual Misconduct Allegations at Former Job [Update]

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Eric Korsh was accused of bad behavior while chef at North End Grill

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Chef Eric Korsh
Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Services for the Underserved

Chef Eric Korsh — a former Union Square Hospitality Group executive chef who’s been accused of sexual misconduct — has left his new job at Tribeca wine bar and restaurant Racines NY, the restaurant announced.

The chef split with the restaurant “by mutual agreement,” according to a statement from Racines, and sous chef Mariana Mateos will be taking over until she leaves next month to open her own restaurant in the Loire Valley in France.

Partners at Racines — Arnaud Tronche, David Lillie of Chamber Street Wines, and esteemed sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier — did not immediately have further comment.

Update: Korsh writes in a statement that he now realizes “how important it is for me to make every single person I work with feel respected, professionally nurtured and treated fairly and thoughtfully”:

I have always been intensely focused on maintaining high standards and doing what I believe is best for business and customer satisfaction. I realize that at times I have been very direct in providing feedback to team members. I am deeply sorry I made some colleagues feel badly; this was never my intention. For those of us in the industry, kitchens and dining rooms are our places of work — they are not places to cultivate personal relationships. As a leader I am responsible for maintaining those boundaries for everyone. I sincerely apologize to those colleagues who I made feel uncomfortable through my actions.

As I plan the next phase of my career, I am committed to building and maintaining respectful establishments with no tolerance for unprofessional behavior. I am fully dedicated to maintaining a policy of zero tolerance and want my performance to be judged by how well I adhere to this essential standard.

It was a brief tenure at Racines for Korsh. The chef joined the ambitious Parisian fine dining bistro only earlier this month, shortly after leaving his North End Grill executive chef job of more than three years at the end of 2017. Though both he and USHG said that it was a mutual decision, an Eater investigation found that multiple women had reported Korsh to human resources for behavior such as unwelcome massages and inappropriate text messages to staffers. Korsh denied the allegations. His departure came just as the Danny Meyer company was firing a slew of other employees with known problems in the wake of the #MeToo movement, sources told Eater.

Racines has been open at 94 Chambers St. between Church Street and Broadway since 2014, and Korsh was replacing opening chef Frédéric Duca, who earned the restaurant two stars in the Times. The bistro was undergoing a lot of changes in the last few months. Besides Korsh’s addition, Lepeltier recently joined as a particularly high-profile get; the sommelier came from Rouge Tomate, which she turned into a destination for wine obsessives across the city. Stay tuned for more.

Racines

94 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007

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