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'Iron Chef' Star Sued by Wannabe Bartender

8/31/2010 3:04 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

"Iron Chef" star Masaharu Morimoto is being sued by a barback who claims the chef stiffed him on wages and tips.

0831_morimoto_lawsuit_launch_EX

Jose Bueno says there's nothing bueno about the money he brings home from Morimoto restaurant in New York City. 

Bueno claims he earned less than the minimum wage and Morimoto retained portions of his tips and gave them to non-service employees, such as silver polishers.

Bueno also claims some of the tips were pocketed.

You'll recall ... TMZ broke the story "Iron Chef" Mario Batali was also sued recently by employees for allegedly pocketing tips.

20 COMMENTS

No Avatar
1.

Nancy     

I want to sue somebod.

1483 days ago
2.

Sam    

I wanna sue paris hilton for not sleeping with me

1483 days ago
3.

Ella    

The US is so messed up. This "working for tips" business just needs to go away. Pay your workers at least minimum wage and let the person who is handed the tip keep the tip. That's the only fair thing.

1483 days ago
4.

uma    

Man if you were getting less than minimum wage just get another job! Suing for tips! Besides chefs work in the kitchen they don't usually handle money from customers. I doubt the Chef pocketed the tips. Customers probably are not giving bigger tips because of a bad economy.

1483 days ago
5.

MIDNIGHT TOKER    

maybe he can cook up a good defense..bada boom

1483 days ago
6.

NickSunset    

TMZ if they good looking they are not a celebrity. Please take the snapshot of FrogFace ASAP.

1483 days ago
7.

wondering    

damn, rob schneider looks fat in that photo

1483 days ago
8.

DC    

The current American version of "Iron Chef" is so boring. I like the old Japanese show better.

1483 days ago
9.

Y do he got    

I think the term is bar bRAck...a bar bac is what you get from liftinDa weights BB BAR RACK`um up thusly a bar bRack takin glassIes doff the wall (SIC) scanner

1483 days ago
10.

TJ    

Posted at 11:41 AM on Aug 31, 2010 by uma

Ummmm, he owns the restaurant.

1483 days ago
11.

chick    

I heard that at least HIS restaurant is not owned by him. The actcual owners ARE Jews & Morimoto is hired because of his celebrity status and all that. I know someone works for HIS restairant in Philly. Some of the menues are created by Morimoto, but I doubt that he is actually cooking everyday.

1483 days ago
12.

NiiNji    

The Guy in the Picture Kinda looks like a Fat Rob Schneider to me Idk could be wrong

1483 days ago
13.

bill    

For the most part customers should not be tipping bar backs. The job of a bar back is to help out mainly the bartenders but sometimes even servers. Bar backs usually fill ice bins, clean the floors, restock liquor, restock glassware and garnishes, change kegs etc. They are not a waiter or a bartender. They should have little to no contact with customers unless a manager tells him to run food, bus tables or something like that. Most restaurants either pay the bar backs an hourly rate (minimum wage or close to it) with no tips. Or some places do it the other way; you get $2.63 an hour (in MA) plus tips. Your tips however don't come directly from customers when they pay the bill and leave a tip. The tips bar backs get comes from your co-workers (bartenders or sometimes servers). If the bar back works his butt off and does everything the bartenders need then the bartenders will tip-out the bar back at the end of their shift(bartenders give a small proportion of tips to the bar back in exchange for helping out around the bar 10/20%). In some restaurants tipping people out is required in others it is not. It all depends on what the policies are for that specific restaurant. They will tell you upfront what their polices are and how you are going to get paid if you're hired. It is a fairly common problem though, managers holding back tips for whatever reason they deem necessary which is illegal. But I highly doubt an Executive Chef (they do a lot more than cooking by the way) would be able to take the bar backs tips because they are usually coming from their co-workers not from customers and it's usually all cash so sometimes it's hard for managers to know exactly how much the bar backs are making in tips. Every business has their own rules and polices, don't accept a job if you don't know how you are going to be paid because it does matter depending on your financial situation.

1483 days ago
14.

Tena    

Omg this tipping thing is getting out of control.I recently ran into the same situation here in Vancouver Canada.The restaurant owner told me I would only recieve a portion of my tips based on hours worked??? wtf I worked hard selling his crap only to watch him put half my tips in his pocket.People tip the server on a great job. If they knew the servers wouldn't receive the tip left to them and that it goes in the owners pocket,the tips would cease to exist.

1483 days ago
15.

South Beach    

This goes to character and I would definately stop watching any show that featured "stars" that intentionally screwed over wait staff. Waited tables all thru college and if you want to learn how to take BS and time management, it's the best training in the world.

If this and Batallis charges turn out valid, that will be the end of my viewing "Iron Chef".

1483 days ago
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