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Chef Mario Batali -- Accused of Playing Hide the Tip

8/17/2010 6:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Celebrity super chef Mario Batali is the target of a new, meaty lawsuit -- in which former employees from one of his Los Angeles restaurants claim the "Iron Chef" screwed them out of serious tip money.

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According to a lawsuit filed today in L.A. County Superior Court, a former bartender and a former server at Mario's famous Pizzeria Mozza restaurant claim Batali and his business partner ran a tip-stealing scheme.

So how did the scheme work? According to the ex-employees, Batali and his partner created something called a "Wine Program" -- into which they funneled a certain percentage of tips that were paid by credit card ... and kept it for themselves.

The employees claim the practice was also going down at Batali's higher-end restaurant next door, Osteria Mozza.  The employees go on to claim that they weren't provided with adequate breaks and that they weren't paid promptly upon being let go. They're looking for unspecified damages ... which means, 'a lot.'

If you think you've heard this story before -- it's because Batali was just hit with a lawsuit on the other coast for allegedly running a similar scheme at his famous NY eatery, Babbo.

A rep for Batali had no comment.

79 COMMENTS

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31.

Brid    

Every time I see Mario, his gobble is bigger...

1474 days ago
32.

kat    

as rich as he is, he steals from his hard working servers! i hope the court gets him good!

1474 days ago
33.

bill w    

Horrible, i hope he not only loses ALL his assests, he should serve some prison time, its the only way these arrogant greedy bastards will not try to scam the people that represent his rest. What an AzzHole!!!!!! mmoney means nothing to him, JAIL TIME!!!!

1474 days ago
34.

janet    

Speak Italian, big deal. Doesn't matter how expensive the ingreadients cost. Doesn't taste good.

1474 days ago
35.

WD41    

I understand about tipping out the bussers and dishwashers, but i never understand why I have to tip out the chefs and the corrupt managers.

1474 days ago
36.

Deidre    

He looks like he drank a lot of that wine tip. Sleazy.

1474 days ago
37.

Linda O    

This isn't the first time I have heard of this with Mario.Typical S***BAG. Like he isn't rich enough already.

1474 days ago
38.

Valstann    

Mario Batali is rat s***bag low life.
to steal from people who make the lowest pay in restaurants,
these people rely on theyre tips so they try hard to be extra nice and prompt so they can earn a good tip but for you steal from them.
what a low life piece of garbage..
Mario Batali i spit on you !!!!!!!!!!1111

1474 days ago
39.

boxingfan101    

typical of all restaurant owners, they pay the servers and bartenders less than minimum wage then expect them to top up the salaries of every other staff member that they are underpaying...thieving ****ing ****suckers...Mario you should be ashamed, but I bet you're not..**** you Meathead...

1474 days ago
40.

jones    

hey clogs or crocs cost money lol

1474 days ago
41.

lalli    

he's turned into a total blob (don't insult animals by comparing him to them) and can't cook. he must be eating all his leftovers. all the food network stars are geting fat, but he takes the cake.(ha ha) go on a diet blob boy and get new shoes you look like a moron.

1474 days ago
42.

Athina    

What a fat, disgusting pig.....could he go any lower, a greedy millionaire opportunist, stealing from hard working servers? I would not want to eat anything this slob prepares. You can see the sweat dripping off his fat head into the food.

1474 days ago
43.

Squeaky Shoes    

I'm going play devils advocate on this one...

believe me, i don't like that greasy dirtbag and more than the rest of you, but could it be in the least bit possible that the new claimants ALSO heard about the other lawsuit, and decided if he was "allegedly" running it there that he could be running here too?

i love how everyone seems to think that all celebrities are guilty of everything they're being charged with because they think they can get away with it.

there are MILLIONS of lawsuits around the world being filed against almost every rich and/or famous person, and company around the world because people are so desperate for money they will sue anyone (for example the moron woman who sued mcdonalds because SHE spilled hot coffee in her lap... lady if you want cold coffee go to starbucks, someone else shouldn't have to pay for your idiocy... ALL she accomplished was getting money out of a company and the ret of US paying for by raised meal prices)

I am so sick and tired of all these lawsuits popping up right left and centre of the smallest things... people need to get a new hobby... not a lawyer

1474 days ago
44.

DaviD    

Why would he even bother with this? he makes the big $ ... it doesn't make sense, if your employees are not happy they will just quit and then what? Mario is going to serve people?
I think it's just some unhappy ex-employees that try to smear him in the media...

1474 days ago
45.

stinky mcgee    

In all my years I have yet to figure out why we have to supplement some cheap employers wages.

1474 days ago
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