On the Web, everyone can hear you scream. That’s the theory put forth by a recent article in the New York Post regarding bad behavior by chefs and their minions.
What happened in the kitchen used to stay in the kitchen. Yes, chefs were known to be tyrannical, but as long as the food was sublime, who cared what they did behind closed doors—or after hours? Now, however, the skyrocketing celebrity status of Mario et al. has made their every orange-clogged move into blogger fodder—and turned restaurant labor disputes into hot-button issues at sites like Eater and ShamelessRestaurants.com.
After detailing allegations of racism at Daniel and sexual harassment at Babbo and Megu, Post reporter Michael Kane writes,
Judging from a spate of lawsuits, protests and online complaints against celebrity chefs, it seems that every entrée served comes with a side order of verbal abuse for line cooks and grab-ass for the wait staff.
But the immediacy and growing legitimacy of blogs can help workers gain a voice, says lawyer Saru Jayaraman of Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, a watchdog group for the food-service industry.
“Chefs believe that nobody’s watching and they’re above the law,” says Jayaraman, “and now workers have a place to go.”