Looks like accused serial sexual harasser Ken Friedman has found a lifeline: The Spotted Pig owner is officially partnering with star Prune chef Gabrielle Hamilton to help revive the restaurant’s tattered reputation. Hamilton and her wife and business partner Ashley Merriman will take on partial ownership and kitchen operations, the Times reports, though Friedman will still remain an owner and financially benefit from the partnership.
“Everyone gets so excited when José Andrés goes into these natural disasters and helps people,” Hamilton told the Times. “They ought to be happy that these two women are going into a man-made disaster to help make things right.”
It’s an interesting move for Hamilton, a beloved chef who just this year won a James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Chef and is also a Times columnist and best seller. She says she and Merriman want to bring the Prune work environment to the Spotted Pig, though there’s no word yet on what that means, how the menu will change, and if the iconic burger will remain.
A prominent NYC restaurateur, Friedman’s reputation took a massive hit in December when two dozen female employees accused him of serial sexual misconduct. He stepped away from day-to-day operations at the time, but last week retook control of the Spotted Pig, buying out his former chef-partner April Bloomfield. In that split, Bloomfield kept the Breslin, John Dory, and Tosca, their two restaurants in California.
Friedman declined to comment.
Stay tuned for more as this develops.