Celebrity Chef Sued for Forcing 'Slave' to Care for 200-Pound Woman

celebrity chef keeps slaveWhat a twisted story out of the kitchen of celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich! The lady behind Lidia's Italy and the must-eat restaurants Del Posto, Becco, and the infamous Eataly has been accused of forcing a woman into slave labor. In fact, this crazy story (if it turns out to be true) will make me never want to dine at these fine establishments ever again.

Also, if you're an aspiring chef, you might want to take note before you agree to a job with a celebrity chef, far away from home, and where you don't know the native tongue. Sit back and listen to this nutty story that starts in Italy and ends in Queens with a woman being forced to care for a 200-pound senior citizen. Unappetizing, yes?


Maria Carmela Farina came over to New York from Italy with the dream of working in one of Bastianich's famed kitchens, with the promise of $600 a week for her chef skills. Bastianich took care of Farina's immigration papers and Farina felt she was being offered an amazing opportunity. Instead, Farina claims in the lawsuit that she was forced to care for a 99-year-old woman; bathing her, feeding her, and living with her -- unpaid -- for six years until the woman passed away at age 105. Farina claims she was not paid for her role as caretaker, and since she spoke no English, she felt trapped in Queens with no family or anyone to turn to for help.

That is not the kind of sous chef job one might want, now is it? While many entry-level jobs have a certain level of drudgery involved, bathing a 200-pound lady should probably not be one of them. That type of gig has no place in a kitchen, especially in some of the most sought-after dining rooms in the world. (Not that she was in a kitchen, but that's where she thought she would be. Yikes.)

If the lawsuit turns out to be of merit, Bastianich's empire will be in serious trouble. The New York restaurant world will surely be a-twitter, and employment practices could have a big old light shone on them as well. One that will expose all the cockroaches.

Do you think Farina has a case against Bastianich?

Image via Amazon

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