We recently reported that a lawsuit is being brought against chef César Ramirez, of the famed three star-Michelin-rated Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, claiming issues of wage violation and racism towards Asians. Former employees claimed that he withheld tips, and frequently used racial slurs, expressing his desire to serve the worst meat to the “sh*t people.” Now chef Ramirez has responded to the allegations.
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare owner Mo Issa told The Daily Meal, “I would like to reiterate, we are severely disappointed in this lawsuit and the allegations made. This comes as a great shock as our offices have yet to be contacted regarding the alleged lawsuit. I would like to comment that what has been reported are allegations and by no means representative of the truth. The allegations are false.”
In addition, chef César Ramirez has released a statement in the wake of the lawsuit, addressing the issues of racism, but has not responded to the allegations of wage violations. We have copied the letter here:
“I am deeply saddened to write that it has been reported that former employees have filed a lawsuit with allegations of racism and wage withholding against me. I am writing to say that these allegations are false.
“With great humility I write here today to ensure all who are reading this that I am not a racist and I have never been. I am fortunate to work with a talented staff who come from all over the world and I value each and every one of these individuals and the knowledge and experiences that they bring. I myself immigrated to the United States as a child and it is a culmination of many cultural experiences that have guided me professionally and personally. My culinary skills and inspirations are derived from working for and learning from professors during my apprenticeships in Japan, Europe, and across the United States. The Chef’s Table began as a vision that stemmed from these dynamic experiences that have made an impact in my life.
“Our guests are the reason I put on an apron each day to cook. Whether they are local New Yorkers or traveling from near or far, they bring experiences to the restaurant that would be difficult to replicate anywhere else in the world. We treat the restaurant as our home and everyone that comes here is immensely valued. I am indebted to our guests. I would like to request that those reading this understand that these are allegations and I deny them. This has been tremendously hurtful and damaging to myself and everyone who has contributed to building The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare over the last five years. I acknowledge that these allegations can be hurtful and painful to those reading them as well and I want you to know that I sympathize with you as I personally understand how painful this is.
“Throughout my career as a chef, my main goal has been spending time in the kitchen to create meals for my guests. Thank you for reading this note with compassion. It will be my continued dream to cook for you one day.”
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi