Chef Nancy Oakes, executive chef and owner of Boulevard Restaurant and Prospect Restaurant in San Francisco, is taking Mario Batali’s place at the highly exclusive, high-dollar dinner that happens the night before Bal Masqué, the Link Stryjewski Foundation’s annual fundraiser. Batali, a regular at the event in New Orleans, was scheduled to host the dinner at Calacasieu on January 19. The foundation announced that it was replacing Batali on Tuesday, just hours after Eater New York released a report on the allegations.
Oakes, who opened Boulevard Restaurant in 1993, won the James Beard Award for Best Chef in California 2001 and Outstanding Restaurant in the United States 2012, as well as the Filiale des Etats-Unis in France.
Donald Link credits Oakes with helping him find jobs cooking early in his career. “I’ve always admired her food. She’s been a mentor to so many and is a leader in our industry. I am honored that she is serving as our host chef this year,” he said in a press release.
At least four women accuse Batali of inappropriate touching in a pattern of behavior that spanned at least two decades. The celebrity chef stepped down from his restaurant empire following the allegations. One woman says that he groped her breasts at a party following a wine dinner in New Orleans.
Tickets to the dinner are $1000 and include VIP admission to Bal Masqué the next night at the Sugar Mill. Tickets to Bal Masqué start at $300.