The Biggest Celebrity Chef Scandals Of All Time

Everyone has at least one favorite celebrity chef, and most likely you have even heard a little tidbit about his or her personal life. What you might not know, however, is the juicy rumors and allegations that happen outside the kitchen. We all make mistakes, big and small, but we also aren't under the spotlight. Unfortunately, for some of these celebrity chefs, these mistakes cost them their careers. To learn more about what these controversial stars have got themselves into, check out who made the list of the biggest celebrity chef scandals of all time. 

1. Robert Irvine Lies On His Resume

It isn't uncommon for your average Joe to fabricate or overly "fluff" a resume, and 9 times out of 10 can get away with, but that wasn't the case for top chef Robert Irvine. Apparently, he took his too far, claiming he cooked for four U.S. Presidents, had a friendship with Prince Charles and owned a castle in Scotland! Come to dismay, all were untrue. Luckily, Irvine was able to slowly make a comeback after losing his Food Network program and line of cookware.

2. Anne Burrell Is Sued For Hating On Women

Chef's around the world are known for being hot headed, but Anne Burrell took things to the next level. According to co-workers was treating the women pretty badly, calling them names like “slutty,” “saggy,” “ho,” and “stupid dumb whore.” She paid the price by receiving quite the law suit against her from former employees of her restaurant, Centro Vinoteca back in 2009.


3.  Nigella Lawson Admits To Using Drugs

Nigella, known as the “domestic goddess,” faced some serious allegations in 2013. Her husband Charles Saatchi, claimed that Chanel 4 and ABC were keeping Lawson's cocaine and prescription drug use a secret from him. Former employees also testified that Lawson used drugs on the daily, making her extremely hard to work for. Although she later admitted to using drugs, her lawyers denied all allegations, calling the claim “totally scurrilous.”

4. Mario Batali Sued For Underpaying Workers

Low blow for Mario Batali! Karma got the best of him, slapping him with a 5.25 million dollar law suit. In 2010, Mario and his business partner Joe Bastianich were served by 117 servers, captains, waiters, bussers, back waiters, and bartenders, claiming that their tips had been unfairly garnished. They claimed to be working over 40 hours a week, being paid below minimum wage and having to give a percentage of their tips to pay a sommelier's salary. That's what you get from stealing from your employees.

5. Guy Fieri Accused Of Making Homophobic Remarks

The scandal all began back in 2011 when David Page, a producer on Guy Fieri’s show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” was fired. In retaliation, he sued the network for breach of contract and alleged that Fieri didn't like working with Jewish people or anyone who wasn't heterosexual. According to Page, Fieri commented on a shoot featuring a gay couple, telling Page, “You can’t send me to talk to gay people without warning! Those people weird me out.” Fieri’s reps deny he said anything along those lines- and the case was eventually settled out of court.

6. Gordon Ramsay's Father-In-Law, Behind Bars


Talk about family drama! Ramsay's father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson was sentenced to six months in jail for hacking into his email account while trying to dig up dirt against the celebrity chef. Apparently, Hutcheson was a former business partner of Ramsays and their relationship ended shortly after finding out that Hutcheson had a mistress along with money mysteriously missing.

7.  Martha Stewart Serves Time


We all know about the Martha Stewart scandal, but it’s one that marks history so it’s a must on this list. Insider trading brought Stewart down, and she spent five-months in Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, West Virginia. The funny part is, that she gained more popularity from her infamous prison stay. Not to mention, the day she left "Camp", wearing a poncho that a fellow inmate crocheted for her. 

8.  Paula Dean's Racist Remarks

Paula Deen is a no brainer for the list. This southern cook admitted to frequently using the n-word, costing her to be dropped from the Food Network of after working there for more than 11 years. Whether she learned her lesson or not is unclear, but we'll never forget her story.

9. Giada's Spit Bucket

Where to even begin with all the rumors flying around over this celebrity chef. According to Fox News, supposedly Bobby Flay and de Laurentiis were having an affair. De Laurentiis left her husband, Todd Thompson, around the same time Flay divorced his wife.

It’s also said that de Laurentiis has a “dump bucket” on set so she can spit out anything she has to try. What kind of a chef won't eat her own food? Her rep, Stephen Huvane, said the rumors aren't true and that she eats and swallows a lot of the food she makes.


10. Ina Garten Doesn't "Make-A-Wish"

Ina Garten, widely known for her cooking book “Barefoot Contessa” said no to a request visit from a child with the Make-A-Wish foundation because she was "too busy". After serious media criticism, Garten changed her mind and invited him to visit her on set. As I'm sure you can imagine, the boy's father said thanks, but no thanks. He also mentioned that his son doesn’t really watch her show anymore- poor kid.

11. King Of Gossip, Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain is well known for his books and his notorious tv personality. You may best remember him from Travel Channel's Parts Unknown the eating most grotesque things you could ever imagine, from fetal duck eggs to a bull's penis. What you may not know about him, is that he tends to run his mouth.

According to Fox News, Bourdain has plenty to say about his former Food Network co-workers. In 2015, he was bagging on Guy Fieri: …“I sort of feel in a heartfelt way for Guy... I wonder about him. He’s 52 years old and still rolling around in the flame outfit . . . What does he do?” Bourdain also talked trash on Sandra Lee and Rachel Ray.


12. Geoffrey Zakarian Files Bankruptcy Before Paying Off Employees

With a personality like his, its hard not to remember this celebrity chef. We've seen him on Chopped and Iron Chef America, but what we haven't seen is the sleazy side of him.

According to Fox news, in 2011, 100 employees at the chef's restaurant in New York City filed a suit against him for falsifying pay records, not paying overtime, and making unauthorized deductions from their paychecks. But get this: Two of Zakarian’s partners validated the claims! Zakarian still denied all claims and declared bankruptcy, settling the case out of court.

13. Jeff Smith Accused Of Sexual Abuse

Jeff Smith, formerly known as the 'Frugal Gourmet', was a top chef back in the 1970's noted for his popular cookbook, before a horrendous sexual abuse scandal ruined his reputation. Not one, but eight men spoke out in 1997 of being sexually assaulting by him when they were teenagers. Smith denied the allegations and was never charged with a crime. The cases were then settled out of court in 1998 for an undisclosed sum of money. In 2004, the chef passed away at 65.

14. Bobby Flay, The Serial Cheater


Bobby Flay and Stephanie March’s divorce back in 2015 brought all kinds of smoke from the fire. According to allegations, Bobby was a pretty lousy husband. He supposedly skipped their 10-year wedding anniversary to go to a food and wine festival, didn't show up at the hospital when his wife's appendix burst, had a three-year affair with his assistant, possible affairs with the actress, January Jones AND celebrity chef Giada. We don’t know exactly what rumors are true, but the chef sure suffered under the spotlight.

15. Cat Cora's Dirty Custody Battle

Cat Cora's divorce to Jennifer, wife of 17 years, created quite the buzz when news got out. The couple had four sons born via in vitro fertilization and when the celebrity chef spoke publicly about the divorce, she said, “We are forever parents to our boys and are jointly committed to raising them in a peaceful, nurturing and healthy environment.”

However, this was just the beginning of the long road Cat had in front of her. The Daily Mail reported that Cat’s lawyer asked for joint custody of the boys, while Jennifer asked for full custody in addition to spousal support. Shortly after, it was reported that Cat Cora had an affair with The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, Brandi Granville.

16. Rachel Ray's Husband, Member Of A Swinger's Club

Rachael Ray’s marriage to musician John Cusimano has made plenty of headlines, along with numerous divorce rumors over the years. What you may not know is that this couple's relationship may be a whole lot sketchier than most.


In 2013, the National Enquirer alleged that Cusimano was part of a Manhattan swingers’ club, called Checkmate, and that he was always accompanied by female companions other than his wife. A representative for Ray denied the rumors, and claimed that Cusimano was exploring the possibility of pursuing legal action against the Enquirer. Ray didn't seem to buy the rumors at all, telling her audience, “The tabloids won’t stop printing this junk until people stop buying it.”

17. Matthew Tivy Arrested For Allegedly Having Sex With A Minor

Matt Tivy was arrested for exploitation of a minor,  possession and redistribution of child pornography. He was also sued for $10 million for allegedly having sex with a boy in a Best Buy parking lot.

According to a statement to the FBI, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Tivy “took advantage of a minor for his own sexual gratification, even when he knew the minor was only in high school. He then allegedly shared the video he recorded of his encounter with others. Tivy allegedly targeted and exploited vulnerable and innocent children, and for that, he will now face the criminal consequences.”

Lucky for Tivy, he passed away from a brain tumor before spending life in jail, glad to see that karma paid it's dues to this troubled man.