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'MasterChef' Graham Elliot Sued

Stop Giving Away My Tips!

3/16/2012 10:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Graham Elliot, a world-class culinary god
Chef Graham Elliot -- a world-class culinary god who starred as a judge on "MasterChef" -- is being sued by an extremely bitter ex-waiter at his famous Chicago restaurant ... who claims Graham conspired to cheat certain staff members out of their tips.

According to a lawsuit filed in Illinois, Gregory Curtis claims he was a waiter for Graham Elliot at a place called Graham Elliot (yes, he named the restaurant after himself).

Curtis claims the restaurant forced him to partake in a tip pool -- where all tips are pooled and then distributed out to various staffers ... including bartenders, bussers, food runners and cooks.

But Curtis is pissed -- claiming the food runners and cooks had NO RIGHT to his tip money ... because they "do not customarily and regularly receive tips."

According to the suit, Curtis claims his hourly pay should have been higher as a result of the B.S.  tip pool ... so he's suing for the lost wages for himself and anyone else who was affected.

Calls to Graham Elliot (the chef) and Graham Elliot (the restaurant) have not been returned.


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two words fat boy jenny craig

954 days ago


The waiter sounds like a jackass. Some restaurants have that policy. You don't like it? Don't work there.

954 days ago


That case is dying in 1, 2 ............ and 3. Good luck with your 3 seconds of press.

954 days ago

I'm A Lawyer    

lol. Idiot waiter. I worked at a sizzler and the waiters tipped buss boys and cooks. On a normal day, the waiters would make over $100 in tips. They would tip the buss boys (2 of them) around $5-10. No idea what they gave the cooks. Probably around the same. They would take 70-80% of their tips. And this is a sizzler we are talking about. I'm sure this guy would make way more, since the restaurant is more high end. He needs to stop bitching

954 days ago

Pudding Tang    


954 days ago


I know of several establishments where the tips are shared by the cooks, runners, servers, bussers, etc.
This guy is just being greedy. Wanna make more money? Stay in school & get a better job than waiter!

954 days ago

northern gypsy    

restaurants pay minimum wage across the board and tips are their way to supplement their income...perhaps by "pooling" the tips this fellow has to declare his real salary...bitter indeed !!!

954 days ago


That is VERY common. For a fact I have never worked in a full-service restaurant where you have not had to “Tip Out” or pool a small portion of tips for “Runners”, “Bussers” etc. This will get thrown out. Get over it, without them you would not turn your tables... for a fact I would tip them more to get more attention to my section. I would turn tables faster and make more money

954 days ago


Haven't we seen this lawsuit many times before? It seems to me that there needs to be a law or something that states how tips should be received. I've never worked in the food service industry so I don't know. I think every server should get their own tips thou really. Even though the chefs and food runners are working the order out, its the waiter/waitress that deals with the actual customer. Then again, I also dont think that tips should autmatically be given either. I mean your job is deliver food to the table so why should I give extra? My head is spinning...I need to stop. Lol...

954 days ago


Just remember everyone said the waitstaff who sued Mario Batali did not have a chance to win and Mario folded like a cheap suit. I bet Gram does the same thing he wants this to go away quick, He will settle out of court very soon.

954 days ago


This guy knows a lot about potatoes.

954 days ago


As a former waiter in my youth I fully agree that having to pool your tips is a joke. Now before you say I'm wrong understand that I'm talking about pooling your tips, not tipping your bus boy and bartender. I worked very hard at my job and provided a level of service above and beyond what my fellow waiters and waitresses were providing so I earned more per shift then they did. Why should I have to give them part of the money I worked hard for when they were providing less. In the end it resulted in them putting in their money and losing nothing while part of mine was going towards paying their bus boys and bartender. This only makes for worse service at a restaurant and is a bad idea by management. Feel free to disagree but if you've never been in the service industry where you depend on tips then you have no clue what you're talking about.

954 days ago

juggalo 6    

doing the dirty work in a restaurant is not fun or easy. This guy is a putz. The buss boys and cooks have the worst of it all. All the nastiness that people leave on the tables and the idiots that always whine about the food. The wait staff has the EASIEST job in the whole restaurant. They only have to smile big and say "yes sir you want another" its not that hard. It sounds like someone is mad that he had to pay taxes on his tips like he should have. He seems to think he can sneak his tips under the table and not pay his fair share of taxes like the rest of us working stiffs. Here's an idea. Pay the ungrateful fool minimum wage and don't give him any tips. Then he will have something to cry about.

954 days ago


Yes, damn him, damn him straight to hell for redistributing the riches and helping out everyone as a whole!

954 days ago


A lot of places have that policy...nothing new here in Cali.

954 days ago
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