The James Beard Foundation has confirmed it is “evaluating” its policies after James Beard Award-winning chefs Mario Batali and John Besh were named and shamed for sexual misconduct in the workplace.

The prestigious Foundation issued a statement on their website addressing the recent revelations.

“The James Beard Foundation and our independent, volunteer James Beard Awards Committees recognize [sic] the seriousness of the sexual harassment and misconduct revelations surrounding some previous JBF Award winners, currently unfolding in the press and on social media.

“We do not condone any behavior [sic] contrary to the values of good leadership that our awards represent or that in any way thwarts the opportunity for everyone in our industry to thrive. With our awards and other programs, we remain committed to cultivating, celebrating, and honoring [sic] chefs and others in our industry who demonstrate both gastronomic greatness and good leadership.

“As we continue to monitor the news, the Foundation and its Awards Committees are evaluating our policies to both ensure the integrity of our programs, and be certain they remain a beacon of excellence and source of inspiration in our industry.”

A Foundation rep confirmed to Eater that the Restaurant and Chef James Beard Awards subcommittee has been tasked with “reviewing the situation” and making recommendations, which would be reviewed by the Awards Committee, who “determine policies and procedures”.

The rep also revealed the subcommittee is “planning to convene over the next several weeks”.

Batali has won five Beard Awards and Besh has won two. Both chefs have been inducted in the Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage.

Image credit: GQ

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