Lawsuit: Bastianich forced chef to be caretaker

August 19, 2011 - 1:15 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A chef from Italy is accusing TV chef Lidia Bastianich of tricking her into working round-the-clock caring for an elderly friend.

Maria Carmela Farina has filed a $5 million lawsuit in Manhattan.

Her lawyer, Paul Catsandonis, tells the New York Daily News (http://nydn.us/pSs3wP ) that Bastianich handled Farina's immigration papers and promised her a $600-a-week kitchen job. The lawsuit says Farina was led to believe she'd be preparing dishes for Bastianich's television shows.

Instead, Farina says she was forced to work as a personal live-in assistant to Bastianich's aging friend from 2006 until he died in December at age 105.

A Bastianich spokeswoman didn't return calls for comment.

Catsandonis said Farina wasn't paid for years of work and is destitute.

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Information from: Daily News, http://www.nydailynews.com