Mega-watt celebrity chef Mario Batali, who stepped down from his day-to-day role at his restaurant empire following allegations of sexual harassment from four women, is being replaced as the featured chef at the 2018 Bal Masqué.
“In light of recent news, we have decided to replace Mario Batali as our featured chef for the 2018 Bal Masque Chef’s dinner. Sexual Harassment is an issue in our industry across the board and we all need to work towards ending this behavior,” read a statement released by Link Restaurant Group.
In Eater’s report on the allegations, one woman said that at a party following a wine auction in New Orleans, a glass of wine spilled on her shirt and Batali began rubbing her breasts with his bare hands while saying something like, 'Let me help you with that,' as he groped her chest." It is not known at which event in New Orleans the alleged incident took place.
Bal Masqué is the annual fundraising gala held annually by the Link Stryjewski Foundation. The event, taking place on January 19 and 20, usually features a super-exclusive chefs dinner with Mario Batali the night before the main event.