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Huge Scandals That Rocked The Food Network

The Food Network

The Food Network is a very popular channel. If you aren’t watching a show on how to learn to cook, you are watching cooking competitions. There is something on the show for everyone. Most people know that MTV stars are often involved in scandals, but what you may not know is that the Food Network has some scandals of their own. Here are some of the huge scandals that rocked the Food Network.

Ina Garten Turned Down a Make-A-Wish Foundation Request Twice

Ina Garten, the host of Barefoot Contessa, seems like a sweet lady, but she really isn’t. In 2011, the Make-A-Wish Foundation reached out to her about a 6-year-old boy named Enzo Pereda. He has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, who was her biggest fan. While sick in bed, he would watch her show and dream of cooking with her. The foundation asked if she would be willing to do a cooking class with him; she said no. They reached out a second time, and she said no again. When the news got out, and she looked really bad, she agreed, but it was too late. The family rejected her offer this time.

Mario Batali Skimmed His Employees’ Tips

In 2010, Chef Mario Batali was sued by 117 of the employees who worked in his restaurants. They claimed that he would keep four to five percent of the employees’ tips each night to cover the restaurants’ wine tax. The case dragged on, and in 2012, the case settled, and Batali paid $5.25 million to the employees who worked for him between July 22, 2004, through February 14, 2012.

Mario Batali Accused of Sexual Harassment

As if the tip scandal wasn’t enough, Chef Batali was caught up in a sexual assault scandal in 2017 that threatened to end his career. Four women accused him of inappropriate touching, and he didn’t deny the allegations that spanned over 20 years. In a public statement, he said, “There are no excuses. That behavior was wrong. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain and humiliation or discomfort I have caused my peers, employees, customers, friends, and family.” In May 2019, after a full investigation by the NYPD, no charges were filed.

Anne Burrell Discriminated Against Her Employees

Anne Burrell was sued in 2009 for discriminating against female employees at Centro Vinoteca, a West Village restaurant where she worked as a chef. According to the lawsuit, she called women derogatory and sexually degrading names. She even made comments about the women’s sex lives. If any of the women complained, they were fired. There are currently no details on the settlement.

Robert Irvine’s Fake Resume

Robert Irvine was the host of Dinner Impossible. This all came to an end when it turned out that he padded his resume. In his resume, he claimed to have British knighthood, that he cooked for four U.S. Presidents, a friendship with Prince Charles, and that he had a hand in making Princess Diana’s wedding cakes. His lies were revealed in 2008, and Michael Symon took over the show.

Geoffrey Zakarian Filed For Bankruptcy

Chopped star, Geoffrey Zakarian also made a name for himself as a restaurateur. A few months after he won Iron Chef: Super Chefs in 2011, his former employees filed a class-action lawsuit against him. They claimed that he didn’t pay the staff for overtime, he falsified pay records, and he docked their paychecks for meals that they never received. They asked for $1 million in damages and an extra $250,000 in penalties. Due to his extensive legal fees, he was forced to file for bankruptcy.

Graham Elliot Sued For Tip Pooling

Graham Elliot, a former Iron Chef contestant, is another Food Network star who was sued by former employees of his restaurants. According to the 13 former employees in the suit, he would pool the tips and distribute them to food runners and cooks, who don’t customarily receive tips. He settled for an undisclosed amount.

Paula Deen’s Racial Slur

In 2013, a scandal broke after Paula Deen admitted to using the “N” word. Her people claimed that because she was born in the south 60-years ago when bathrooms and buses were segregated, she wasn’t as racially sensitive as she should be. She apologized for her inappropriate, but her career never recovered.

Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa Cake

In 2009, Sandra Lee made a Kwanzaa cake, that many people found to be offensive due to the way that it was made. She used an angel food cake with a store bought frosting. She added pumpkin seeds, corn nuts, and apple pie filling. The African -American community felt that she had no clue on how to prepare a cake or the correct recipes. They found it to be insensitive and a bit racist.

John Besh Accused Of Sexual Harassment

John Besh’ scandal was so serious that he was erased entirely from the January 2018 episode of Iron Chef Showdown. In some scenes, he can be seen cooking in the background, but all of his footage was deleted. John was accused of sexually harassing 25 of his employees at his restaurants. Another employee claimed that he claimed that John coerced her into an affair. He admits cheating on his wife but claims the relationship was consensual. By then, the damage was done.

Bobby Flay Quit Iron Chef

In 2017, during the Iron Chef Showdown, Bobby Flay removed his apron to reveal a shirt that read, “THIS IS MY LAST IRON CHEF SHOWDOWN.” The producers were stunned and had no idea that he was doing this. When he spoke to People Magazine, he said that he was trying to have fun on the last episode of the season. He added that six to eight battles a week was too much for him.

Guy Fitri’s Homophobic Remark

People love Guy Fieri, but they don’t know what goes on behind the scene. When he was shooting an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, his producer, David Page, claims he went on a homophobic rant. When he found out that the two men who ran the restaurant were life partners, he pulled Page out of the room. Guy told him that he could not send him to talk to gay people without warning him, because, “those people wear him out.” After the incident, Guy asked that if any “indications of homosexuality” were picked up, they should be noted during the pre-interview process.

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