BERGEN COUNTY, NJ — Teaneck-based chef Shalom Yehudiel, known for his appearance on the television show “Chopped,” has been arrested again for sexual assault of a minor, the County Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday. Bergen.
The restaurant owner’s arrest Monday follows a new indictment on Thursday, Aug. 31, according to Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella’s office.
The case against Yehudiel, 41, has been pending in court since early 2022.
That year, the chef was arrested for repeatedly assaulting a 16-year-old girl.
Last month, the case was dismissed without prejudice due to a technicality, the Bergen Record reported.
But the next day, August 8, 2023, Yehudiel was arrested again at Newark Airport while trying to fly to Thailand, according to reports. Yehudiel was incarcerated on Riker’s Island.
A few days later, he was attacked in prison, his lawyer said in mid-August, asking for his release.
A week after his arrest, he was released, pending trial.
Then, on Aug. 31, according to the prosecutor’s office, Yehudiel was indicted by a Bergen County grand jury on charges of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
Yehudiel was arrested Monday in Aventura, Florida, on these charges, the district attorney’s office said in a statement Tuesday morning.
Prosecutors said that on Friday, November 19, 2021, the FBI contacted the Prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit regarding the alleged sexual assault of a child in Teaneck on more than one occasion. An investigation by prosecutors and the New York office of the FBI resulted in these charges.
Yehudiel now awaits his first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack.
Prosecutors did not release further information.
In a statement to the Bergen Record on Tuesday, Yehudiel’s attorneys, Lee Vartan and Zach Intrater, said, “The State just recycled the same flawed indictment with the same factual and legal flaws.”
However, a now-adult woman came forward last month to say she was a victim of Yehudiel when she was a teenager.
The victim speaks out
She gave an interview to the Jewish Standard, saying she wanted to give a face to the victims and prevent something like this from happening again.
She said she met Yehudiel at her congregation in Fair Lawn when she was 14.
She said: “I was very naive. I was sort of confident by default, because I didn’t know much about the world… My mother told me she was surprised that it made me happens because when I was a kid, I was extremely extroverted. I was a kid who tried to have a lot of friends.
“What my mother didn’t realize was that this confidence was only effective if people my age were mean to me. But if someone 36 crossed the line, I didn’t know what TO DO.”
Yehudiel owns Humble Toast and La Cucina Di Nava in Teaneck.
Victims have filed more than one civil action against him for sexual abuse. The lawsuits were made public starting in 2021 by Za’akah, an organization that fights sexual abuse in the Jewish community, according to an article in The Standard.