Even though Giada De Laurentiis considers Mario Batali her mentor and credits him, along with Bobby Flay, for guiding her through the process of opening her first restaurant in Las Vegas, the 47-year-old chef wasn’t surprised to hear about the sexual misconduct allegations against him.
“I keep saying to people, it’s time but it’s also really sad,” she said in a recent interview during Eater's Upsell Podcast. “I did not have those exact experiences with him, but it doesn’t come as a huge shock.”
Batali, 57, was fired from the food-focused talk show, “The Chew,” in December after several women accused the chef of sexual misconduct. The allegations included incidents that allegedly spanned over two decades.
De Laurentiis has worked with Batali on various Food Network specials through the years including “An Italian Christmas With Mario and Giada” and “Iron Chef America.”
“Anybody who’s ever hung out with Mario knows he’s a very charismatic person,” she explained in the interview. “We drink too much and sometimes ... I’m not legitimizing it by any means.”
De Laurentiis added that she’s been through her own "issues" in the culinary industry and thinks that women in many businesses go through it.
“I think we, as women, need to help each other more, and we need to stick up for ourselves, and I think that we need to change our culture, and the children need to learn to respect human beings, no matter what you look like, who you are, male or female,” she said.
“We just need to be respectful. Someone says they don’t wanna do something, they don’t wanna do it, period. Let’s just be nice to each other.”
Shortly after the allegations surfaced, De Laurentiis told TMZ that the situation with Batali was sad, but “what has to happen, happens,” and that she hoped that everybody feels better in the future.
“It’s obviously a time of cleansing,” she added.
Batali, who infamously apologized with a statement that ended with a recipe for cinnamon rolls, has stepped away from the daily operations of his restaurant group, which employs over 1,000 people around the world.