The 20-year partnership between celebrity chef Mario Batali and the Bastianich family of restaurateurs was formally dissolved on Wednesday, more than a year after several women accused Batali of sexual harassment and assault.
Batali “will no longer profit from the restaurants in any way, shape or form,” said Tanya Bastianich Manuali, who will head day-to-day operations at a new company, as yet unnamed, created to replace the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group.
The new company will operate the group’s remaining 16 restaurants under a new management and financial structure. Bastianich Manuali and her brother, Joe Bastianich, have bought Batali’s shares in all the restaurants.
Batali is also selling his shares in Eataly, the global chain of luxury Italian supermarkets.
At its peak, Batali & Bastianich encompassed dozens of restaurants and food businesses in the United States, Italy, Singapore and Hong Kong. Splashy restaurants like Babbo and Del Posto made celebrities of Batali and his primary partner, Bastianich. Two other partners added luster to the operation: California chef Nancy Silverton and Lidia Bastianich, Bastianich’s mother.
Silverton and Lidia Bastianich will be partners in the new company, along with Joe Bastianich and Bastianich Manuali.
In December 2017, news accounts of Batali’s history of sexual aggression touched off police investigations, torpedoed his career and cast a shadow over all the restaurants he was involved in.
Since the scandal began, Joe Bastianich has insisted that he was unaware of Batali’s sexual aggressions against women. In a statement on Tuesday, he said: “While I never saw or heard of Mario groping an employee, I heard him say inappropriate things to our employees. Though I criticized him for it from time to time, I should have done more. I neglected my responsibilities as I turned my attention away from the restaurants. People were hurt, and for this I am deeply sorry.”
But three former employees of the restaurant group, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that they believed it was not possible that Joe Bastianich remained ignorant of serious misbehavior by Batali.
Batali issued a statement on Wednesday morning: “I have reached an agreement with Joe and no longer have any stake in the restaurants we built together. I wish him the best of luck in the future.”