Kitchens are famously un-PC environments. In his memoir Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain sums up the prevalence of swearing in kitchens thusly: “There are, it turns out, a million ways to say ‘suck my d*ck’. Most of the people in my kitchen can do it in Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, Bengali, and English. Like all great performances, it’s about timing, tone, and delivery—like cooking.” Truth is, if you don’t think there’s crude language being thrown around in the kitchen, you probably haven’t worked in one.
Still, one 39-year-old Eataly line cook has filed a lawsuit against his employer, alleging that he experienced “racial discrimination” at work, and that his fellow line cooks called him a gringo, as well as pendejo (asshole) and estupido (stupid). They also told him chinga tu madre (or f*ck your mother).
The plaintiff, Scott Silberlight of Staten Island, is “asking for unspecified damages for emotional distress and discrimination” due to his work environment, according to New York Daily News. The news outlet elaborates,
“Silbertlight, meanwhile, says one Hispanic chef went out of his way to embarrass him in front of customers while his immediate supervisor Leo Gonzalez warned ‘things would get harder’ if he continued to complain.
Silberlight says Gonzalez, who is a defendant in the suit with Bohan and Eataly, defended the comments of the mostly Mexican chefs by saying ‘Scott, you are Gringo. It’s not easy for Gringos to work with Mexicans.’
‘If Gringos were to run this (food assembly) line — this place would not work,’ Gonzalez is quoted in court papers.”
Eataly owner Mario Batali has yet to comment on the lawsuit, but spokesperson for Eataly Cris Villa tells the New York Post that the company “takes its commitment to provide staff with a safe and respectful work environment extremely seriously. . . . We will defend against these allegations.”
According to NYDN, Silberlight recently deleted his Facebook page, on which he posted a picture of a smiling OJ Simpson with a headline that read: “Remember how white people rioted after OJ’s acquittal? Me neither.”