Gabrielle Hamilton Pulls Out of Deal to Run the Spotted Pig
After all that, Gabrielle Hamilton won't be taking over the Spotted Pig after all.
The acclaimed chef of NYC's Prune announced in June that she would be partnering with restaurateur Ken Friedman to run The Spotted Pig. An uproar ensued over what many people saw as the chef's decision to bail out Friedman, who has been accused of sexual harassment by two dozen employees, and whose restaurant is now being investigated by New York's attorney general.
Days after her announcement sent shock waves around the food world, she defended her position at a panel at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, saying, "I choose this truth and reconciliation idea, rather than this shut it down, scorch it, burn it clean slate."
On Friedman, who she called both a "longtime friend," and "a total shit show," she said, "He’s not coming to work at the Spotted Pig tomorrow."
According to Eater, however, Hamilton won't be moving forward with the deal.
In an email sent to some Spotted Pig employees, which was forwarded to Eater by multiple people, the chef announced that ultimately, she and Prune co-chef and partner Ashley Merriman, "needed to be the actual owners and final decision makers of the day-to-day decisions of the restaurant," but had reached "the final impasse" because they couldn't convince Friedman to agree to those terms.
"I trust he knows better than we do what the path forward is for you all," she wrote.
After addressing the staff members "with an awkward and regrettable—not to mention stinging—sadness," she wrote, "there was a lot to figure out here at the pig—the symbolic and for some, actual, 'ground zero' of the topic of sexual misconduct in the workplace of our industry. one hundred thanks for the chance to meet you all and work with you and begin meaningful conversations about your workplace and its highs and lows."
In her own email, Merriman told Spotted Pig staff members she was "crestfallen," also citing the refusal of Friedman to give her and Hamilton the reins. "We wanted to be the final decision-makers at the restaurant—The Buck-Stops-Here type owners for the good / the bad / the ugly and everything that comes between in a restaurant. We can’t come to an agreement with Ken about such a structure."