Mike Isabella is no longer eligible for a top industry award in the wake of a sexual harassment lawsuit
The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington has decided to disqualify Mike Isabella’s restaurants from its annual award ceremony, the RAMMYs, after a former employee filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the chef and restaurateur. An emailed statement from RAMW president Kathy Hollinger and the RAMMYs judges panel said the chef’s restaurants Arroz and G would be removed from eligibility in the categories of new Restaurant of the Year and Favorite Fast Bites, respectively. Arroz chef Michael Rafidi, who resigned from the restaurant last week after the suit was filed, will remain eligible to win in the category Rising Star of the Year. Isabella won the organization’s prize for Restaurateur of the Year in 2016.
Chloe Caras, a former manager at the chef’s company, Mike Isabella Concepts, alleged that Isabella and his partners called her “bitch” and “whore,” commented on the size of her buttocks and touched her without permission, The Washington Post reported last week. Separately, a sous chef told The Post that Isabella kissed her without her consent. Other allegations of misconduct include that Isabella’s company has named cocktails after its partners’ encounters with prostitutes.