Chef at Mario Batali’s Babbo restaurant steps down amid allegations of sexual misconduct, ‘lewdly’ stroking meats

Food

Babbo's executive chef of 15 years is no longer with the restaurant, the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group confirmed. His departure comes a few weeks after former staffers came forward with accusations of bullying, sexually suggestive comments, and "lewdly" stroking meats in front of female staffers.

Nearly one month after Mario Batali stepped away from his restaurant group amid accusations of sexual harassment, his empire continues to crumble.

Frank Langello, the executive chef at Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca in NYC’s Greenwich Village — described as the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group’s “flagship” restaurant — is no longer employed at the eatery following reports that he would bully employees, make sexually suggestive comments, and  “lewdly” stroke meats down by his crotch in front of female staffers, Eater reports.

The Batali & Bastianich Hospitality group declined to confirm the reason for Langello’s departure, but sources for the site claim his firing was directly related to the allegations. Langella had worked at Babbo since 2000, and served as its executive chef since 2002.

According to multiple former employees who worked under Langello at Babbo, the chef generally ran an “abusive” kitchen environment, which was described as a “rat’s nest of harassment” by former staffers who spoke with Eater in December. In addition to making sexually charged comments and rubbing steaks in a suggestive manner, a former employee said Langello would often stick his fingers into the female employees’ ears, and added that he seemed to enjoy “humiliating” people.

Several people who worked under Langello also claimed that Babbo’s kitchen was the “most abusive” they had ever encountered, according to Eater.

Langello, however, had also been accused of similar behavior in the past.

In 2012, Stephanie Capsolas, a server at Babbo, sued Langello for sexual harassment, claiming he would direct lewd comments and gestures at her “several times a week,” the New York Post reported. The case was ultimately dismissed, Eater reported, although the Batali & Bastianich restaurant group had said Langello was provided with sexual harassment training as a result.

Celebrity chef Mario Batali steps away from his restaurant empire and has been removed from co-hosting duties on ABC's "The Chew" following sexual misconduct allegations by four women.

A representative for the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group told Fox News that they had no comment on Langello’s departure at this time.

Babbo’s kitchen has also been hit with complaints in the past. Former pastry chef Isaac Franco Nova, who is openly gay, sued Batali, Joe Bastianich, andsome of his Babbo co-workers in 2017 for discrimination. The restaurant’s notoriously tough kitchen was also the subject of a book called “Heat,” which too touched on some of the sexual harassment issues at Babbo, according to Eater.

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Batali himself announced he would be stepping away from the “day-to-day operations” of his restaurant group in early December, following a report in Eater detailing multiple allegations of sexual harassment. He was subsequently axed from his co-hosting gig on ABC’s “The Chew,” and a revival of his “Molto Mario” series on the Food Network was canceled.

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