Celeb Chef Mike Isabella Faces Harassment Suit
Former female manager alleges hostile, degrading work environment
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2018 2:12 PM CDT
This undated handout photo shows chef Mike Isabella.   (AP Photo/Greg Power)

(Newser) – Mike Isabella is a Top Chef alum and one of the top restaurateurs in DC. But he's now joined the ranks of powerful men being accused of sexual harassment. In his case, former manager Chloe Caras has sued Isabella, his company Mike Isabella Concepts, and his business partners over a work environment she says led to her being called "bitch" and "whore" and enduring unwanted touches. Isabella flatly denies the allegations. Caras tells the Washington Post of an incident on Dec. 5, her last day on the job. She says she was sitting in a booth with an intoxicated Isabella when another male employee asked to join them. "If you sleep with Chloe, you can," she says Isabella responded.

“I told him to stop, and he immediately got angry,” Caras tells the Post. “I tried to walk away, and he followed me into the kitchen, calling me a ‘bitch.’” As she left the restaurant, she says Isabella said tauntingly, "Nice working with you." She claims in the lawsuit that he fired her, but Isabella's lawyers say "she stormed off the job and refused to return." Caras describes the work atmosphere at the Isabella Eatery to that of a "frat house," though the story includes comments from other female Isabella employees (their names were supplied by Isabella's attorney) who disagree with the assessment. Isabella has opened 11 restaurants in DC, Virginia, and Maryland over the last decade. (Click to read the full story.)

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