John Besh Still Welcome to Host South Beach Wine & Food Festival Dinner Despite Harassment Allegations
In the days following the exposure of sexual harassment accusations against prominent chef John Besh, many businesses wasted little to no time cutting ties with him. Grub Street reports the companies who’ve washed their hands of the celebrity chef — and one partner who stands by him.
Hotel-casino Harrah’s New Orleans, home of “Besh Steak,” and American Public Television, syndicator of his cooking shows, were first to drop Besh, and Top Chef is “evaluating” an episode where he’s featured as a judge. However, he’s still scheduled to host a dinner February 24 with the Food Network-backed South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
The sold-out event features Besh and television personality Scott Conant, two “celebrated chefs” expected to bring their “award-winning charm” and talent to Conant’s Scarpetta at Fontainebleau Miami Beach for a “seafood-focused mash-up of flavors.” Those who were able to snag a ticket before sell-out paid an astounding $250 apiece.
“We are saddened by the news and feel badly for all those affected. John is a fan favorite and longtime supporter of the Festival,” festival media manager Devonie Nicholas told the Miami Herald, adding she does “not anticipate” that the allegations will affect Besh’s presence.
Besh’s co-host for the dinner, meanwhile, is eager to replace him. In a statement to Grub Street, he said: “We have not yet connected with John Besh’s team, but we’ve been in active talks with both the festival founders and Fontainebleau and plan to take this event in a different direction with a new chef. For many years, Scarpetta Miami has successfully hosted these guest chef dinners. We wish to continue to support the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s charitable efforts and will have an update soon on how we will move forward.”
The Daily Meal has reached out to Besh for comment.
For more food world falling-outs, check out these 10 crazy chef feuds.