Mario Batali's Lead Babbo Chef Frank Langello Out After Misconduct Allegations: Report
According to a new report by Eater, Frank Langello has stepped down from his position as executive chef of Babbo — Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City. The move comes just two weeks after many former employees alleged over a decade of misconduct from the chef, who was with B&B Hospitality for more than 17 years.
Reports indicate that current Lupa executive chef Rob Swirz is slated to replace Langello at Babbo, while former Babbo sous chef James Kelly will be promoted to executive chef at Lupa, according to Eater.
The allegations that surround Langello include “relentless” bullying toward both men and women, excessive sexual commentary, teasing employees about their sex lives, and making unnecessary comments regarding their appearances.
A former male staffer even claims that when the chef was showing women how to season steak, he would lewdly stroke the meat by his crotch, Eater reports. He also reportedly liked to put his finger in women’s ears in a sexual manner.
According to a separate Eater report, B&B Hospitality told staff in December that the restaurant group plans to change its name to better “reflect that our restaurants’ success is built on the contributions of many, not just one or two” — a reference to chefs Batali and Bastianich, whose alleged “sleazy” behavior is said to have inspired employees to act similarly.
In addition to the rebranding, the company will “bring on additional senior management experienced in ensuring everyone has a respectful workplace.”
The Daily Meal has reached out to B&B Hospitality for further comment.
Other celebrity chefs accused of sexual harassment include Penrose’s Charlie Hallowell, The Spotted Pig’s Ken Friedman, Top Chef alum Johnny Iuzzini, Plaza Hotel’s Todd English, and New Orleans’ John Besh — making the dire need for reform in restaurant culture one of the top 20 lessons we learned about food in 2017.