September 17th, 2012 by faye
“MasterChef” star Graham Elliot has finally decided to put an end to the legal battle with some of his former waiters, agreeing to settle the lawsuit they filed against him by handing over money.
According to reports, 35-year-old Graham Elliot and his former waiters came to an agreement earlier this month. A judge has already signed off on the settlement and cancelled the case on the same day.
The court docs stated that Elliott will fork over a “fair” amount to his former waiters, but it is unclear how much.
As previous reports have stated, Graham Elliot was sued by 14 former waiters from his self-titled Chicago restaurant who claimed that he had violated federal law by pooling their tips and then redistributing the money unfairly to bartenders, bussers and food runners.
Back in 2010, Elliot became a judge on the U.S. version of the reality show “MasterChef,” along with Chef Gordon Ramsay and winemaker/restaurateur Joe Bastianich. He also opened his second Chicago restaurant called “Grahamwich.” He appeared as the Culinary Ambassador at Lollapalooza 2010, a three-day music festival in Chicago, where he cooked for both the public as well as backstage for the performers. Chicago Magazine published an article in which writer Cassie Walker described Elliot’s menu offerings unflatteringly, based on samples served at what had been intended as a tasting party for members of the media. Graham Elliot responded by posting a profanity-laced tweet with insults directed at Walker and the magazine. Despite this incident, Elliott was invited to serve Lollapalooza again in 2011.
April 24th, 2012 by faye
“MasterChef” Graham Elliot has fired back to the lawsuit filed against him by former employee, Gregory Curtis, accusing the chef of tip pooling violations.
According to reports, 35-year-old Elliot filed a response to the lawsuit of Gregory Curtis, who worked as a server at the chef’s restaurant, claiming that the suit of his former employee is BS. While he did admit taking the tip money and pooling it for other staff members, such as the bartenders, bussers, and food runners, Graham Elliot insists that under federal labor laws, what he did was absolutely legal.
Previous reports have stated that the celebrity chef was sued by his former employee, Gregory Curtis, who claims that Graham Elliot was skimming tips from waiters and giving it to the kitchen staff. Curtis claims that the restaurant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by requiring waiters and waitresses to share a percentage of their tips with employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips because they have little to no interaction with customers.
The lawyers of Curtis argue that the restaurant should not be entitled to take a tip credit because it maintained an illegal tip pool. The lawsuit seeks to recover unpaid wages, compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees.
Meanwhile, Graham Elliot now wants the judge to throw out the lawsuit completely and force Gregory Curtis to cover his legal fees as well.
March 21st, 2012 by faye
Chicago, Illinois-based chef Graham Elliot, one of the judges of the reality TV cooking show “MasterChef,” is currently facing a lawsuit from one of his former employees in his restaurant who claims that Elliot conspired to cheat certain staff members out of their tips, forcing them to participate in a tip pool.
According to the lawsuit filed in Illinois, Gregory Curtis claims he used to be a waiter for chef Graham Elliot at a restaurant called Graham Elliot. Curtis claims the restaurant forced him to partake in a tip pool, where all tips are pooled and then distributed out to various staffers, including bartenders, bussers, food runners and cooks.
However, Gregory Curtis is not very happy about the tip pool, claiming the food runners and cooks had no right to his tip money because they “do not customarily and regularly receive tips.”
The lawsuit also states that Gregory Curtis claims his hourly pay should have been higher as a result of the tip pool, so now so he is suing Graham Elliot for the lost wages for himself and anyone else who was affected.