Famed New Orleans chef Susan Spicer is suing BP on behalf of at least seven restaurant owners and seafood suppliers, claiming that the Gulf oil spill has damaged their businesses.
“I’m proud to be part of a resilient community,” she said. “I also feel strongly that [BP] needs to be held accountable for its negligence.”
Spicer is an icon in the food world. She’s been a Top Chef judge, a James Beard “Best Chef” winner and even inspired a character featured in the HBO’s series Treme, a drama about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Spicer spends her days between several of her Gulf bistros. Her acclaimed Dauphin Street restaurant, Bayona, serves grilled shrimp paired with black bean cake and oysters mixed with Italian sausage gratin with spinach. Her latest venture Mondo, a no nonsense family-style joint, began watering mouths in May with its signature fish tacos.
“I have great confidence in my local vendors and the local products that I am serving,” she said. “But I know my suppliers are suffering from the reality of a diminished supply and the perception that all Gulf seafood is unsafe.”
Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded April 20, is also named in the suit.
The other restaurant owners and suppliers in the litigation are not named.
New Orleans chef Emeril Lagasse is not one of them, according to his public relations spokesperson.
There are more than 200 lawsuits pending against BP over the spill.
Researchers have estimated that between 35,000 barrels (about 1.5 million gallons) and 60,000 barrels (about 2.5 million gallons) of oil are gushing into the ocean every day.
As of midnight Sunday, 438,000 barrels of oil had been collected, BP said.
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