According to the New York Post on Sept. 2, the reason Iron Chef America Judge Donatella Arpaia walked out of her own business in July can now be revealed. Her partners hired strippers as restaurant waitresses. The new waitresses came from Sapphire New York, a popular Midtown gentlemen’s club.
A source close to Arpaia reports that she was appalled when it became clear what was going to happen. “As the summer progressed, it was clear that [the partners] were pursuing a different direction in food service that was not in alignment with my brand.
Donatella Arpaia was announced as the chef at Sienna in May. She worked hard to put together a menu of her “award-winning meatballs” and “show-stopping” sparkling watermelon dessert. Her husband is a heart surgeon and Arpaia wanted healthy fare.
Partners Jonathan Rapillo and Dimitrios Zacharaias, obviously, had other ideas for the East Hampton eatery. They hired the waitresses-slash-strippers over Arpaia’s objections and she walked away in July.
The new waitresses allowed the restaurant to entertain guests to the tune of $5,000 per table. Nothing really came off, though; that is, until the after party. If you wanted to spend $10,000, that’s where you could go. Your ten grand got you entrance to a private house with all 40 strippers and no holds barred.
Arpaia told The Post, “I was hired by the partners as a food consultant, with the goal to improve food quality. As the summer progressed, it was clear that they were pursuing a different direction in food service that was not in alignment with my brand. Because of that difference of opinion, I terminated my association with Sienna toward the third week of July.”
Sienna holds no hard feelings, at least on the record, for Iron Chef America judge Donatella Arpaia. “We enjoyed working with Donatella. Unfortunately she was never comfortable with the nightclub aspect of Sienna and we amicably parted company on July 19. We wish her well.”