California chef Michael Chiarello was taken into custody early Wednesday morning for suspicion of DUI and possessing a controlled substance. A Food Network host and former Top Chef Masters contestant, Chiarello was stopped by police while driving on Silverado Trail in Napa County in his 2015 Porsche Boxster. The chef, who told the officer that he was coming from his Yountville restaurant, was booked at 4:46 a.m. and released a few hours later after posting a $5,000 bail. In a statement, the chef’s spokesperson says “he intends to vigorously challenge the misdemeanor charges filed against him.”
Shortly before the arrest, he reached a settlement with a pair of ex-servers, Katherine Page and Asja Sever, who worked at his San Francisco restaurant Coqueta. Page and Sever had sued Chiarello in March, alleging sexual harassment. In their lawsuit, they detailed a number of charged instances, saying that Chiarello told managers not to hire employees they wouldn’t sleep with and that he once compared a new sandwich to female genitalia.