Not long after the now infamous Amy’s Baking Company episode of Kitchen Nightmare’s, Gordon Ramsay finds himself in a similar boat. Amy’s Baking Company appeared on episode 16 of Hell’s Kitchen last season, and became the first restaurant on the show that Ramsay could not help. A frustrated Ramsay walked away from the restaurant when he realized he would get no cooperation from the husband and wife team who runs the restaurant. The couple proudly admits to having fired more than 100 employees, withholds tips from wait staff, and berates customers, should they complain.
Now, Ramsay finds himself in similar hot water at his own Los Angeles restaurant, The Fat Cow. Four former employees are suing Ramsay in a class action law suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming, among other things, that they were forced to work grueling eight-hour shifts without a meal break. They’re also alleging that hourly employees weren’t always paid their minimum wage of $8 an hour and denied overtime pay.
Attorney for the plaintiffs, Lauren Abrams said that there was no accounting system in use at the restaurant, and employees were not provided with appropriated wage earnings documentation.
The plaintiffs say they were not provided with proper documentation for their hours worked and their compensation. “He makes a career off going into restaurants and telling them how to properly run their business,” Lauren Benge, a former barista at The Fat Cow told ABC.
However, Ramsay does not run day-to-day operations at The Fat Cow, and became aware of problems with the management of the restaurant earlier this year. A representative for Ramsay told ABC News, “We are aware there was a problem with previous management, which has since been changed, but this is totally unacceptable if any truth to it.”
Ramsay currently owns or operates nearly 30 restaurants worldwide and holds 13 Michelin stars. He has written more than 20 books, and contributes to a food-and-drink column at The Times’ Saturday magazine. He earned $38 million last year. He is best known for his TV shows about competitive cookery and food, including the British series Hell’s Kitchen, The F Word, Ramsay’s Best Restaurant, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon’s Great Escape, Gordon Behind Bars, and Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course, along with the American versions of Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, MasterChef, and Hotel Hell.
Montinique Dever, a former hostess at The Fat Cow, told ABC News that she doesn’t believe all the blame falls on the hot-tempered chef. “Nothing was ever told to him,” she said. “We couldn’t tell him anything. He could not know anything.”