prune co owners Robin Marchant/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images North America
Ashley Merriman, left, and Gabrielle Hamilton, right, of Prune

Prune chef-owners exit deal to help The Spotted Pig: Report

Gabrielle Hamilton, Ashley Merriman back out of helping embattled NY restaurant

Two high-profile female chefs have pulled out of a deal to take over The Spotted Pig, whose owner, Ken Friedman, was accused of sexually harassing employees, according to multiple media reports Monday.

The exit by Gabrielle Hamilton and Ashley Merriman, co-owners and chefs of the noted Manhattan restaurant Prune, are backing out of the deal a few months after announcing plans to bail out Friedman by taking over operations, according to The New York Times.

Hamilton and Merriman broke the news to employees in an email dated Sept. 6, the Times reported.  

Hamilton, named Outstanding Chef at the 2018 James Beard Foundation awards, called the exit “regrettable.” 

“We have come to the final impasse of our ability to move forward as operators of the Spotted Pig,” Hamilton said in the reported email. “We felt we needed to be the actual owners and final decision makers of the day-to-day decisions of the restaurant, and we couldn’t make our case persuasively enough for Ken to agree to that.”

The duo announced plans to take over The Spotted Pig after Friedman faced multiple accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct. Both he and investor Mario Batali were accused of harassing several women at the iconic New York restaurant. 

The New York attorney general’s office in August said it was investigating the allegations of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination at the Spotted Pig after employees complained last year about the working environment. The office issued subpoenas to the Spotted Pig’s holding company and Friedman, it’s majority owner, the Times reported. 

Friedman has stepped away from daily operations of the restaurant. It was unclear who will run the restaurant with departure of Hamilton, and her wife, Merriman. The Spotted Pig could not be reached by press time Monday.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter @FastFoodMaven

TAGS: Operations
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