Tom Colicchio Writes A Scathing Letter To Male Chefs About Harassment


Tom Colicchiois leaping into to theongoing discussion about sexual harassment in the restaurant industry. 

The celebrity chef and “Top Chef” judge published a scathing open letter on MediumWednesday decrying the industry’s “ugly machismo” culture and calling for men to change it. The missive follows recent reportsthat fellow chefJohn Besh let sexual harassment run rampant in his kitchens and had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female employee. 

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This isn’t just a matter of a few bad eggsand ​we all know it,” Colicchio wrote. “For every John Besh splashed across Page Six, we can assume hundreds, if not thousands, more with kitchens just like the ones his female employees described. Something’s broken here.”

Last month,Besh stepped down from his restaurant groupdue to the allegations, whichput a spotlight on what one former employee calledthe “boys club” of kitchen culture. New Orleans’ Times-Picayunepublished an investigation in which25 current and former employees detailed sexual harassment in Besh’s kitchens and by Besh himself.

The report speaks to a larger issue: 37 percent of sexual harassment complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission come from the restaurant industry, according to a 2016 report from the nonprofit advocacy group Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.

″...It’s time for men in the restaurant industryto say to each other: enough,” Colicchio wrote. “Enough; Because deep down men know that sexist shit-talk is just a lazy substitute for real wit. They know that work is not sexy time. They know that if they have to insist it was consensual, it probably wasn’t.”

Colicchiolisted some personal failings in the letter, saying he’s let his “temper run high” in the kitchen and “brushed off the leering without acknowledging its underlying hostility.” He also said he used a gendered slur against a journalist for printing “gossip,” something he regrets.

After tackling many of the factors that drive women from the industry, he wrapped up the piece with a call for men to do better.  

“I’m betting we can reinvent our industry as a place where people of all genders feel safe and prepare to lead,” he wrote.

Read the entire letter at Medium.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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