Woman’s Day (Australia)
AT WAR WITH HIS NANNY
Shock court documents reveal the chef is being sued
The knives are out for celebrity chef Curtis Stone as he enters a fiery battle with his former nanny, who is suing him for unpaid overtime, alleging “malicious” conduct, Woman’s Day can reveal.
According to court documents, Melissa Talley, a childcare worker who was hired by Curtis, 47, and wife Lindsay Price, 46, in 2019 to look after their two children, Emerson, eight, and Hudson, 11, for nine hours each weekday, claims she was “in fear of her own safety” when she confronted the chef over poor working conditions – claims Curtis strenuously denies.
She complained that he failed to pay her overtime and expenses and deducted an hour from her $94,000 salary for her lunch break.
Melissa is alleging that when she approached Curtis with her concerns, he “rebuffed” her and “summoned her to his office”, where he and another person demanded she read and sign a document and take a cheque for US$1000 ($1437).
When she refused and ran out, she says Curtis followed her, where she felt pressured to sign it blindly “in fear of her own safety”.
Melissa is seeking to be compensated for her overtime plus damages, claiming that she has “suffered and continues to suffer humiliation, emotional distress, and mental and physical pain and anguish, with the defendants’ misconduct committed intentionally, in a malicious, oppressive, fraudulent manner”.
Melissa is being represented by ruthless celebrity lawyer Frank Kim, who’s currently suing Kanye West for not paying his employees and has represented former employees of Kim Kardashian’s, who hit out at the reality star over pay and conditions.
Curtis’ legal team deny every single claim by Melissa and say that his “actions were business decisions justified by legitimate business motives, purposes and reasons, and were made in good faith”.
Curtis, who is estimated to be worth around $36 million, is based in LA, where he resides in an $11.5 million mansion in Hollywood, and only recently bought a sprawling ranch in Malibu believed to be worth $9 million. He runs three fine-dining restaurants in LA – Maude, Gwen and Georgie – and has a lucrative deal with Coles.
The case is due to go to arbitration, with the next case management conference on March 21.