Rockstar chef Blaine Wetzel, responsible for running the famed Willows Inn kitchen on Washington’s ultra-remote Lummi Island, has been accused of creating a “nightmarish” work atmosphere. In a New York Times report, former employees said that kitchen workers pressured teenage girls who lived on the island for sex, and plied them with alcohol and drugs. They accused Wetzel of using racial slurs towards customers and staff. Female ex-employees said they were sexually harassed by kitchen staff, and passed over for promotions. The restaurant’s claim that all ingredients are gathered and farmed on the nine-square-mile island is also bogus, they said. For example, workers said signature “roasted chicken drippings” were made from chickens bought at Costco. “It’s not the place you think it is,” said one former chef. Wetzel has denied allegations, but in March paid $600,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by 99 former employees, alleging numerous instances of wage theft and abuse.
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