|Nigella Lawson Loses Fraud Lawsuit, Plus More Celeb Chef Dramas|
|By LESLEY MESSER (@lesleymesser)||Dec 4, 2013, 1:54 PM|
Nigella Lawson hadn't had the easiest year. The celebrity chef, who co-hosts "The Taste" on ABC, not only split from her husband, Charles Saatchi, this past summer, but also, she was forced to discuss her drug use in court ("I have never been a drug addict," she insisted, though , during a fraud trial involving her two former assistants.
On Friday, the two former employees were acquitted of using company credit cards for personal expenses, and Lawson, 53, was quick to express her anger. "Over the three week trial, the jury was faced with a ridiculous sideshow of false allegations about drug use which made focus on the actual criminal trial impossible," she said in a statement.
But "The Taste" judge isn't the only celeb chef who's been under intense scrutiny lately.
Click through for more celeb chefs who have coped with lawsuits, damaging accusations and more.
Paula Deen admitted to using a racial slur in a deposition, and afterward, her brand all but imploded. Not only did the Food Network drop her shows, but companies, including Smithfield pork, Walmart, Target and Home Depot all ceased working with her. Ultimately, a judge dismissed the racial discrimination claims made against Deen, but before that she took to TV to clear her name herself. "I believe that every creature on this earth, every one of God's creatures, was created equal," she said, before breaking down in tears. "That's the way I live my life."
One of the culinary world's bad boys, Gordon Ramsay is known for his on-camera meltdowns, but the "MasterChef" judge has had some troubles behind-the-scenes too. In 2007, an employee of a New York restaurant (who was no longer employed there) sued his reality show, "Kitchen Nightmares," alleging fakery. The lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed a few months later. Then, in 2012, he filed a $3 million lawsuit against his former restaurant partners after they dropped him, though the group ultimately folded. A year later, former employees at his L.A. restaurant, The Fat Cow, sued him for unpaid wages. (His rep blamed previous management.) A hearing has been set for Dec. 10.
In 2012, Guy Fieri's Times Square restaurant was slammed by a New York Times food critic, but his real drama came this year, when he got into a fight with his hairdresser in L.A. (TMZ got it on tape.) Though the fight did get physical, a rep for the Food Network star told the website, "A bunch of guys were messing around. Things got a little out of hand, but they're all good now."
Beloved as the be-all-and-end-all in entertaining, Martha Stewart famously spent time in prison for conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding and making false statements to federal investigators in 2004. A few years later, she and her company were sued by Macy's, which alleged that she had violated an exclusive deal with the company by selling her products at J.C. Penny Corp. In October, J.C. Penny agreed not to sell kitchen, bath and bed products designed by Stewart, but it was still permitted to market other items under the Martha Stewart line, including window treatments, lighting and rugs. In an interview with The New York Times, an attorney for Macy's called the result "a complete surrender." However, a judge is still expected to give an official ruling, though it's not clear when, according to a rep for Macy's.