A New Jersey restaurateur who appeared on the Meals Community’s “Chopped” has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor, prosecutors stated.
Shalom “Sal” Yehudiel, who owns Teaneck’s kosher eatery The Humble Toast and Italian restaurant La Cucina Di Nava, was arrested Wednesday in Newark on fees of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a kid, Bergen County prosecutors stated.
FBI brokers contacted Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Mussella’s workplace in November concerning the alleged assault. A months-long probe revealed Yehudiel, 40, sexually assaulted a toddler beneath the age of 16 in Teaneck on multiple event, Mussella stated.
Yehudiel, a married father initially from Israel, stays held with out bail Friday on the Bergen County Jail, on-line information present.
The well-known native chef appeared on “Chopped” in 2020, changing into the primary contestant to look at kosher dietary legal guidelines in the course of the competitors, according to NorthJersey.com.
Yuhudiel didn’t win, however many Jewish prospects and followers thought-about his look a victory for the group.
The chef was additionally recognized for donating meals to needy folks and native soup kitchens, however that philanthropic picture was shattered when two ladies accused Yuhudiel in lawsuits final 12 months of sexually assaulting them, NorthJersey.com reported in December.
The Rabbinical Council of Bergen County introduced earlier that month Yehudiel, of Surfside, Florida, voluntarily stepped away from day-to-day operations at his eateries.
Activists for native rabbis additionally needed The Humble Toast’s kosher certification revoked because of the accusations, NorthJersey.com reported.
It’s unclear if the costs filed Wednesday in opposition to Yehudiel are related to one of many ladies who sued him final 12 months. He has denied wrongdoing and filed counterclaims in opposition to the 2 ladies, alleging he’s being extorted, in accordance with NorthJersey.com.
In late November, roughly 30 protesters urged folks to not eat at Yehudiel’s kosher deli, insisting they “assist victims” as an alternative of abusers, the outlet reported.
“Folks have been shocked,” rally organizer Netanel Zellis-Paley informed NorthJersey.com. “A few of them stated they wouldn’t eat [at] the restaurant anymore.”
Within the pair of lawsuits, a former waitress and hostess at The Humble Toast alleged Yehudiel abused her between October 2018 and Might 2019 when she was 17 years previous. He made lewd feedback and compelled her to carry out oral intercourse in his workplace earlier than she later resigned, “emotionally distraught and overwhelmed,” her submitting alleged.
A second lawsuit was filed by a lady who claimed Yehudiel met her at a synagogue in Truthful Garden when she was 15, NorthJersey.com reported. He later allegedly pushed her up in opposition to a wall, kissing and groping her throughout alleged abuse that lasted about two years.
An legal professional for Yehudiel’s legal professional, in the meantime, has dismissed the lawsuits as “false and frivolous,” claiming the accusations have been concocted to extort cash from the chef.
“He’s a faithful husband and an individual of religion, and it’s very upsetting to him to be spoken about like this,” legal professional Richard Mazawey informed NorthJersey.com in December. “These lies are taking a toll on his life and profession that he’s labored so arduous for. The place can he go to get his status and enterprise vitality again?”
A message in search of remark from Mazawey was not instantly returned early Friday.