Getty ImagesMore On:top wholesale halloween costumes chefTop Chef alum cheated partners out of millions: suitPadma Lakshmis tips for the perfect selfieTop Chef Padma Lakshmi to headline Advertising WeekPadma Lakshmis dieting secret: Cranberry DranoThe “Top Chef” alums behind one of New York Citys hottest fried chicken joints have been eating up company profits — spending proceeds on a $135,000 apartment renovation and side projects like a Puerto Rico pop-up, according to a new lawsuit by their business partner.
James Beard Award finalists Jeff McInnis and swimwear manufacturer China Janine Booth opened Root and Bone in Alphabet City in 2014 — quickly drawing accolades and hour-plus wait times.
The chef couple own wholesale swimwear equal shares in the restaurant with partner Richard Freedman, who says he’s been frozen out of the business by the pair in a Manhattan Supreme Court suit.
McCinnis and Booth “have failed to account for over $286,000 in cash distributions” including $136,000 they used to renovate their apartment above the East 3rd Street restaurant, $85,000 for rent for their pad, and payments to a PR firm for outside ventures like the pop-up restaurant in Puerto Rico, the suit says.
McInnis, who appeared on the fifth season of Bravos Top Chef, also gave himself a $10,000 raise– even though he spends little time at the Root and Bone restaurant, according to court papers.
McInnis told The Post that Freedman has made a mistake.
None of this is true, McInnis said.
Booth did not return a call for comment.
Freedman is suing for access to the companys books plus the return of the $286,000.