SAN FRANCISCO – Celebrity chef Michael Chiarello is facing two lawsuits alleging sexual harassment and refusal to pay his employees their due wages.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that former servers at Chiarello’s high-end tapas restaurant Coqueta sued Tuesday.
The women allege a work environment that was hostile and sexually charged.
A spokesman for the chef, Terry Fahn, called the allegations unfounded and said the chef would vigorously defend himself. Chiarello hosts a cooking show on the Food Network.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
One lawsuit says Chiarello likened martinis to breasts, saying that one was too few and three too many.
It says he told managers to hire only staff they found sexually desirable.
A second lawsuit by the women alleges that the restaurant didn’t pay the women for all the hours they worked, including overtime.