Famed chef Mario Batali has been accused by three women of unwanted sexual contact in separate incidents around New Orleans in the past 11 years, according to a new report from Eater.
Batali stepped down in December from daily operations at his restaurant empire and the TV cooking show “The Chew” after four women accused him of inappropriate touching over a period of 20 years.
In Eater’s report, Jenny McCoy, a pastry chef, claims Batali rubbed her breasts when she spilled wine on herself at a party in 2007.
Sara Watson, who described herself as a former Batali fan, said she saw him at a New Orleans bar in 2016 after attending a Link Stryjewski Foundation event earlier that night. It was at the bar, Watson said, that Batali “put his tongue in my ear, he licked my face, he grabbed me, touched me all over.”
Rebecca Marshall, a veteran in the restaurant industry, said she also met Batali at a Link Stryjewski Foundation event, in January 2017. Marshall recounts approaching Batali for a photo when he motioned for her to sit in his lap, according to the report. Thinking the gesture was typical of the festive atmosphere, Marshall sat down. Batali “stuck his tongue in my mouth,” said Marshall, who provided Eater with photos of the encounter.
“There’s that razor’s edge where it becomes from being bawdy to being creepy,” she said.
Batali has since been removed from future Link Stryjewski Foundation events, the report said.
He once co-owned restaurants in several cities, including New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston.
Eater reports Batali declined comment and says the number of women accusing Batali of some form of misconduct stands at 18.