Television chef Lidia Bastianich is being sued for $5 million by a former employee who says she was "enslaved" without compensation, despite promises of culinary fame and fortune.
Plaintiff Maria Carmela Farina, a chef with nearly three decades of experience, claims in 2005 she was promised by Bastianich's agent that she'd work alongside the celeb chef for her restaurants and TV show.
The Italian woman, who spoke almost no English, left Italy for New York City to be paid $600 a week to manage kitchens and create recipes.
Instead, Farina found herself caring for an elderly woman around the clock for 6 years WITHOUT PAY!
Yikes! The elderly woman, who recently passed away, was the wife of Lidia's former handyman. He left her his home when he passed away in 1995 with Lidia's promise that she would take care of his wife!
According to her lawyer, Farina continued to act as Bastianich's slave because despite the lack of money or career advancement because:
"[Farina] became bonded with this old lady, and didn't want to leave her like that. And she really believed that Lidia some day was going to make good on her promises."
After the elderly woman's death Farina was caring for in December, she was forced to vacate the premises and is now hiding in Queens to avoid deportation! The woman's lawyer added:
"Lidia knew full well that [Farina] would not be able to return to the United States and demand compensation."
So crazy! If this is true, Lidia Bastianich is one sick and twisted lady!
[Image via AP Images.]