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'MasterChef' Graham Elliot

FIRES Back at Lawsuit ...

I'm Allowed to Take Your Tips!

4/21/2012 1:18 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0421_graham-elliot_getty
"MasterChef" Graham Elliot is FED UP with the lawsuit recently filed against him and insists everything he did in his Chicago restaurant was legally within his rights ... this according to new docs.

If you recall ... the culinary God is being sued by former Graham Elliot Restaurant employee Gregory Curtis, who alleges that Elliot was skimming tips from waiters and giving it to the kitchen staff ... which Curtis claims would be a violation of federal law.

But in a response filed earlier this month, Elliot claims the suit is BS. While he does admit he DID take tip money and pool it for other staff members -- bartenders, bussers, and food runners -- he is adamant ... under federal labor laws, it was totally legit. 

Elliot now wants the judge to throw out the suit completely and force Curtis to cover his legal fees as well.

If only there was a tip pool for that.

69 COMMENTS

No Avatar
46.

ChrisH    

I don't work in a restaurant, but don't the servers make less than minimum wage in most cir***stances and the tips are where they make their money, and doesn't the kitchen staff earn regular salaries and wages where tips for them aren't necessary? Sounds like the servers are getting screwed big time!

859 days ago
47.

Desiree Powell    

It's legit. Restaurants have been doing this for years...and I haven't waited tables since 1999.

859 days ago
48.

Ivanho    

Touchscreen menus installed in all tables that go straight to the kitchen. Do away with wait staff all together. I HATE HATE HATE being interrupted every 5-10 minutes by some obviously phony ingratiating airhead(waitress) douchnozzle(waiter) telling you about the "Thai ahi co**** espresso cilantro southwest chipotle Australian lamb braised in a red wine curry cinnamon basil sauce....blah, blah, blah"
I don't care. I don't want to know you. I don't want to see your tits falling out of your dress. Bring me a rare steak and **** off.

859 days ago
49.

Efrain    

Graham is awful and clearly using his servers tips to round out the pay for his kitchen staff. NOT legal. pay your people better.

621 days ago
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