Former Food Network chef and The Chew star Mario Batali has finally spoken out after retreating from public life after several women made sexual assault accusations against the Crocs-wearing, scooter-riding food personality.
One year after the New York Times reported that Batali was being accused of sexual misconduct, he declared to New York Magazine that he was a “lucky man” although 2018 has personally been a “bad year.”
Batali also said to the magazine that he is “not going to live life in public anymore.”
New York Magazine published a story by Eric Konigsberg where the writer took a trip to Northport, Michigan, to speak with the former Food Network star.
Batali has been living out of the public eye for the past 12 months after Eater broke a bombshell report that Batali had been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.
New York Magazine reported that Batali has been laying low on the Leelanau Peninsula, where he and his family have owned a summer home since 2003.
Konigsberg reported that he requested an interview from Batali who denied it, stating “I’m not going to live my life in public anymore.” He also revealed he planned on staying put in Michigan “at least until the end of the year.”
“I’m a lucky man,” Batali reportedly said. “Well, it’s been a bad year, a bad year.”
Eataly, the Italian food emporium in which he has a minor stake, took his products off its shelves. He stepped away from daily operations in the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, which has 24 restaurants and nearly 2,100 employees, following the Eater story.
Eater reported that accusations against the former Food Network superstar included accounts from a former Del Posto hostess who said Batali touched her breasts and that a former manager at Batali’s The Spotted Pig claimed to have seen Batali grope and kiss a woman who appeared to be unconscious, reported the New York Times.
Joe Bastianich, the business partner with whom Batali had founded and built their restaurant empire over the course of 20 years, told Grubstreet, “On the day in December that it broke, I had to walk into these restaurants and talk about these allegations.”
“To see people who were crying — I became emotional at some of these meetings,” Bastianich added. “It was real. Some of them felt angry. Some felt betrayed by Mario. To me, it was about bringing a bit of spirituality to the situation and immediately moving to create a new corporate culture.” Joe Bastianich is the son of chef Lidia Bastianich.
Shortly after the accusations came to light, Batali was let go from his co-hosting duties on The Chew, which he starred alongside Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall, Daphne Oz, and Michael Symon.
The Food Network then canceled a reboot of his hit cooking series Molto Mario.