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Hamptons Chef Tourondel Settles Lawsuit by BLT Restaurant

Celebrity chef Laurent Tourondel settled a lawsuit filed by his former employer, BLT Restaurant Group LLC, alleging he violated its trademarks with his new restaurant in New York’s Hamptons.

The complaint brought by BLT was dismissed because of an agreement between the parties to end the suit, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Dolinger said in a filing yesterday in federal court in New York. No details of the agreement were provided.

BLT said in the complaint filed in August 2010 that Tourondel and his partner, Michael Cinque, had opened a restaurant, LT Burger, in the Hamptons village of Sag Harbor that “mimics plaintiff’s well-known line of restaurants.” Tourondel had been executive chef of BLT.

BLT claimed that LT Burger copied menu items such as the Grandma’s Treat milkshake with bourbon. LT Burger also has a restaurant in Manhattan’s Bryant Park.

Jimmy Haber, the owner of BLT Restaurant Group, and Lisa Tatelbaum, an assistant to Tourondel, said separately that the parties will issue a joint press release on the settlement, most likely tomorrow.

BLT, a unit of New York-based ESquared Hospitality, stands for Bistro Laurent Tourondel. ESquared operates 22 restaurants worldwide, including BLT Steak in several cities and Casa Nonna in New York.

Tourondel, before working at BLT, was the chef at the former Manhattan Upper East Side restaurant Cello, which received three stars from the New York Times in 1999.

The case is BLT Restaurant Group LLC v. Tourondel, 10-6488, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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