Holiday Tipping Guide…for the Servers Who’ve Worked for Recently Outed Sexual Predators
We sure are living in a crazy world climate right now!
Every day it seems a new man of power is taken down by the sins of their genitals, mouths, and hands. Or, as some would rather say, their accusers. Plus our Assaulter in Chief could bring us to a nuclear war with North Korea any day now! But, you are just trying to go about your life as normal, because you’ve been told many times that if you don’t, it means the terrorists win. And, you made your restaurant reservations months ago! It’s not your fault the notorious creeps are finally being paraded out into the streets just days before you’re set to dine at one of the hottest joints in town. You’ve been telling everyone in your office about your very important dining date coming up and it would be unfair to you and to them if you couldn’t enjoy this experience just because you don’t want to contribute to the bottom line of a known monster. And, as actual good person and Chef Jose Andres recently reminded us, there are many people who work for these sad excuses for human existence. It wouldn’t be fair to deprive them of your presence and your potential contribution to their salary just because of your own moral compass.
I understand this dilemma, and I agree that the staff of these restos shouldn’t lose income during this holiday season. So I’ve compiled a list of appropriate tipping amounts to show just how sorry you are that their bosses have probably crossed the lines with them or a colleague of theirs at some point. Sorry that they’ve suffered at the hands, or lips of a person who has a knack for putting together a great plate of food, and also you’ve been waiting since April for this reservation.
1. Restaurants by Jean-Georges (23 in the US, 15 outside of the US): 40% of the bill. OK, so to be clear, Jean-Georges himself has not been publicly outed by the media. And I haven’t heard anything about him in the few food circles I run in. And his restaurants are pretty great. Chances are if you’re dining here, then you’ve got some money in your wallet anyway, so what’s a few extra dollars. But why are his businesses on the list, you ask? Well he notably employed recently outed power-abuser and pastry chef, Johnny Iuzzini. Johnny doesn’t work in restaurants anymore, so he’s easy to avoid directly for most of us. However, Jean-Georges may have known about his bad behavior for well over 10 years, and continued to promote him and his work. Doesn’t set the table for a good work environment, so help a server out.
2. Restaurants by Todd English (15 around the globe): 50% of the bill. 60% if you’re at The Plaza. The notorious party boy has been added in a sexual harassment lawsuit against The Plaza hotel, for being extremely disgusting towards one server in particular who has said that rape culture is a part of the norm throughout the hotel. I assume that he’s not just a horrifying beast while at The Plaza, and likely carries this behavior with him through all of his restaurants, so you should definitely still give generously when dining at any of them — but if you’re at his Food Hall Restaurant at The Plaza Hotel, then you should give more, as it’s very likely that the servers there are receiving the BS from every corner of their workplace. Also, it’s not hard to get a table there, so you’re just being lazy if you’re still dining there. I believe it’s still OK to support the other vendors who rent space in the food hall. But maybe still throw in an extra couple dollars to your tip, for good measure.
3. Restaurants by John Besh (12 in New Orleans): 70% of the bill. Recently removed from Bravo’s Top Chef, due to the allegations from 25 women about his abuses that came out in October, I place Besh midway through the list only because I don’t know enough about the restaurant scene in NOLA. I’ve been to the beautiful city in the south only once and I absolutely loved it. Especially the food! However, I have no concept of just how reliant the servers are upon their tips. I don’t know how hard it is to get into these restaurants, especially as it’s been months since this behavior of his came to light. But the way in which he wielded his power for so long is quite terrible, and so I would say that people who still work in the restaurants he used to run have probably been on the receiving end of some really nasty stuff. Give them a gift for dealing with this kind of environment by showing your server that you care about them almost as much as you do about dining in one of his establishments.
4. Restaurants by Mario Batali (26 across the planet, with 12 in NYC): 80–90% of the bill. Mario Batali, or as he was lovingly referred to by some of his victims, The Red Menace, has been a super creep for decades upon decades. And while you may read about only 12 or so women who have come forward in the initial outing — -I can guarantee you the number of actual victims of his numbers probably closer to 100+. My own flesh and blood has been the recipient of some of his more grotesque commentary when she was not even old enough to drink in this country. However, he’s part of a team (of people who clearly turned a blind eye to his behavior) when it comes to many of his restaurants and dining ventures, plus some of them are flocked with tourists, so that’s some penance for continuing to add your money to the Batali-Bastianich coffers. If you’re at an Eataly property, I think you can get away with tipping only 80% of your total bill. You’re likely there because you have relatives in town — or you’re in town and your relatives have brought you to this place they thought would blow your mind. Either way, everyone’s endured suffering — but your servers have still endured at least 80% more suffering than you, so tip appropriately. If you’re in any of his other establishments then you should be coughing up at least 90%. I get that you made the reservation for Babbo a month ago and you believe that ‘so many people work at the restaurant who had nothing to do with Batali — so why “punish” them for his mistakes?’. And this was truly the inspiration for this list. You shouldn’t punish the people who work for these demons, and you can truly show them how much you feel for them by tipping appropriately. It’s the right thing to do this holiday season.
5. Restaurants by Ken Friedman (7 in the US, 5 of which are in NYC): 100% of the bill. Wow! 100% of the bill? That’s quite a lot! I know, but for good reason. Ken Friedman got into the restaurant business only because he attached himself to a female up-and-comer. Prior to partnering with star chef April Bloomfield, Ken was in the music industry. This is one of several facts that make his story that much more egregious. That and the fact that the servers referred to the VIP lounge as the “rape room”. Ken created an environment that made it nearly impossible for the women who suffered at his tongue — and hands — to be able to come forward. What’s worse than a woman working in an environment where she feels her male boss is abusing his power at her expense? That same woman hoping to find a friendly female voice in his partner. April Bloomfield was not just complicit in letting these things occur, but she was a victim in her own right. So much so that she felt powerless to do anything about this creature-partner of hers, and then made the accusers feel not only abused but betrayed by the only beacon of hope that they had. And, to add insult to injury, Batali and Friedman would often terrorize the staff together as they would get belligerent on that third floor. So, if you MUST dine at The Spotted Pig because the food is that damn good, be sure that you have enough cash on you to tip the whole damn bill. Of course, a better option would be to take your dollars uptown to patronize White Gold Butchers, which likely had the least amount of Friedmanvolvement, and show your support to some badass lady butchery. Plus, watching a strong woman carve up a pig will probably be very cathartic. And, if you’re a celebrity who’s ever dined in sexual assault alley, you should not return and instead donate 500% of the bill that you probably didn’t pay for to RAINN, which is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.
Well, I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season filled with delicious food. And, if you can’t be bothered to try a female-run restaurant, then I hope that you keep the servers in mind while you’re out there dining away. Double the tax is never enough in NYC, and you should be thinking more along the lines of 30% through the next month or so — at least. Cheers!