>> Chef Mario Batalli on Monday said he he's stepping away from his restaurant company following sexual harassment allegations reported by Eater, an online food trade publication. Shortly after the report, ABC said it asked the star chef to step aside as co-host of the Chew, a food talk show he helped launch in 2011.
Eater reported that four unidentified women accused Batali of touching them inappropriately in a pattern of behavior that has spanned at least two decades. Reuters could not independently confirm the accusations. Batali's celebrity status in the food industry started when he premiered on the Food Network in 1997 with his show, Molto Mario.
Food Network cut plans to relaunch the show after Monday's accusations. In a statement sent by his representative, Batali apologized to the people he's mistreated and hurt, and says he will work to regain the people's trust and respect