In the Times report, more than two dozen former employees of the Spotted Pig and other restaurants owned by Mr. Friedman and Ms. Bloomfield described an unusually sexualized and coercive work environment, which included text requests for naked pictures and forced kisses from Mr. Friedman, and groping and harassment from Mr. Batali and other customers.
Ms. Bloomfield has been criticized for not doing more to stop the behavior and protect workers. In announcing her split from Mr. Friedman, she said she was turning her focus to the welfare of her staff and building a company she could be proud of. Through a representative, she declined to comment on Ms. Hamilton’s move.
Ms. Hamilton opened Prune in 1999. She married Ms. Merriman in 2016, and at Prune the couple share the duties and title of chef. They will do so at the Spotted Pig as well, Ms. Hamilton said.
Ms. Hamilton, who is a contributor to The New York Times Magazine, said the Spotted Pig, an international culinary destination that has won a Michelin star, and its nearly 100 employees needed help in the wake of the accusations against Mr. Friedman.
She said she and Ms. Merriman view themselves as “exceptionally poised to be the leading edge of the paradigm shift,” and are not becoming partners with Mr. Friedman to offer him any kind of redemption.
Ms. Hamilton said her goal was to “honor and respect April’s magnificent work, to be one of the luckier things that ever happened to Ken Friedman, to be women in business of increasing power and to get paid for our impeccable work.”
The ending of Mr. Friedman and Ms. Bloomfield’s partnership can be compared to a divorce, Ms. Hamilton said. “We can follow that metaphor for a single beat further and say we are going to be the second marriage,” she said. “As everyone knows, it is a bittersweet truth. Everyone is a better spouse their second time around.”
Other chefs pushed back on that notion. “There are certain people that will never be great spouses,” said Jessica Koslow, the chef of Sqirl in Los Angeles.