Lawsuit accuses "Top Chef" star of stiffing workers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former employee sued “Top Chef” TV show judge Tom Colicchio in federal court on Friday for allegedly not paying some of his restaurant workers minimum wages, overtime and tips from customers.

Colicchio, well known for his role on the “Top Chef” reality show, opened his flagship Craft restaurant in New York in 2001 and has expanded the chain across the United States.

Nessa Rapone, who worked at Craftbar in New York in 2007, filed suit in Manhattan federal court on behalf of other hourly paid workers seeking to recover “minimum wages, overtime compensation and misappropriated tips” from Colicchio.

A spokesman for Colicchio declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Colicchio is the latest in a string of celebrity chefs and celebrity-owned restaurants to be sued by employees making similar accusations.

Eateries owned by pop singer Justin Timberlake, actor Robert De Niro and hip hop star Jay Z all have been hit with legal action, as has Michelin three-star New York chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Eric Beech