Teaneck, NJ: Shalom Yehudiel, the accomplished chef who gained fame through his appearances on the hit TV show "Chopped," finds himself again in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
On Tuesday, the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office revealed that Yehudiel has been arrested again, facing grave charges of sexually assaulting a minor.
A Shocking Turn of Events
This latest arrest, which took place on Monday, follows a new indictment issued on Thursday, August 31, as reported by the office of Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella.
Yehudiel, aged 41, has been entangled in a legal battle since early 2022 when he was arrested on charges of assaulting a 16-year-old girl on multiple occasions.
Curiously, according to The Bergen Record, the case was dismissed with prejudice last month owing to a technicality. However, the next day, on August 8, 2023, Yehudiel was apprehended at Newark airport while attempting to depart for Thailand, as reported.
A Troubled Incarceration
Following his arrest, Yehudiel was detained at Riker's Island, where he encountered a violent incident in mid-August, as revealed by his lawyer, who implored authorities for his release.
Consequently, he was released a week later and awaited his impending trial.
Fast forward to August 31, when the Prosecutor's Office disclosed that a Bergen County Grand Jury had indicted Yehudiel. The charges against him include sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
His most recent arrest transpired in Aventura, Fla., and was confirmed by the Prosecutor's Office on a Tuesday morning.
Prosecutors shared that the FBI initiated contact with the Prosecutor's Special Victims Unit on Friday, November 19, 2021, regarding the alleged sexual assault of a child in Teaneck, which occurred on more than one occasion.
A comprehensive investigation, spearheaded by prosecutors and the New York office of the FBI, culminated in these charges.
Yehudiel now awaits his initial appearance in the Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack, with prosecutors refraining from disclosing further details.
A Brave Survivor Speaks Out
In a poignant development, an individual who is now an adult came forward last month to share her harrowing experience as a victim of Yehudiel during her teenage years.
In an interview with the Jewish Standard, she expressed her desire to shed light on the plight of victims and prevent such atrocities from recurring.
Recalling her encounter with Yehudiel, she revealed they had crossed paths in her Fair Lawn congregation when she was only 14.
She said, "I was very naive. I was confident by default because I didn't know much about the world ... My mother told me that she was surprised this happened to me because when I was a kid, I was extremely outgoing. I was the kid who tried to have a lot of friends."
"My mom didn't realize that this confidence only worked if older people were mean to me," she continued. However, I was unsure of what to do if a 36-year-old was violating rules.
Establishments Owned by Yehudiel
Shalom Yehudiel is known for being the proprietor of two restaurants in Teaneck, namely, Humble Toast and La Cucina Di Nava. Additionally, multiple victims have filed civil suits against him for allegations of sexual abuse.
These suits came to public attention starting in 2021 through the efforts of Za'akah, an organization dedicated to combating sexual abuse within the Jewish community, as reported by The Standard.