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North Bay Chef Arrested on Child Molestation Charges

Also: How local Filipino spots are managing the pandemic, and more news to start your day

Chef Corey L. Basso was arrested this week by Petaluma police
Photo illustration: Brittany Holloway-Brown (Gavel on book– Tetra Images/Getty Images)

A Petaluma restaurateur faces allegations of child molestation, after a woman says he abused her for years

Bay City News reports that chef Corey L. Basso, who owned popular Petaluma spot Le Bistro and most recently worked at seafood and steak spot Seared, was arrested Wednesday following an investigation into alleged sexual abuse of a child from 2009 and 2016.

Basso’s cooking garnered raves from food writer Houston Porter this past January, who wrote that Basso “whipped up a limited but incredible menu” at Le Bistro for years, sold the spot, then returned to the kitchen at Joe O’Donnell’s Seared, which altered its menu to “include a couple of Basso’s classic creations.”

The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports that an 18-year-old Sonoma County woman told police that Basso molested her repeatedly over several years. “We interviewed [Basso] and determined there was enough for us to say these charges are warranted,” Petaluma Police Sgt. Paul Gilman told the P-D. “This was someone known to him who he had access to for several years ... He had taken advantage of that relationship.”

Basso, who was also accused of misdemeanor sexual battery in 2015 (that case was dismissed in 2016), has since been released on $225,000 bail. He will return to court on September 4.

And in other news...

  • The Bay Area’s air quality improved significantly on Thursday, and forecasters say that things are expected to stay safe over the weekend, making outdoor dining a more manageable proposition than it’s been for over a week. [ABC 7]
  • Vineyard owners in Napa are bulldozing firebreaks on their own, as firefighting teams focus on blazes elsewhere. [SF Chronicle]
  • Alameda County officials will vote next week on a plan to fine individuals and businesses like restaurants that fail to follow mask laws. [East Bay Times]
  • Speaking of Alameda County, the region also relaxed its health orders enough to allow outdoor wine tastings, even those without food, to resume this week. [SF Chronicle]
  • As San Francisco enters what’s traditionally been its convention season, May’s dire predictions on how hard an eventless fall will hit bars and restaurants are starting to come true. [SF Business Times]
  • Gerry Closs, the owner of Napa’s Butter Cream Bakery & Diner, continued to allow indoor dining even after it was shut down statewide, despite repeated requests from county officials that he cease. “If somebody has a problem with that then I’m sorry.” Closs says. “That’s the way it is.” [Napa Valley Register]
  • Angelina Mondavi (of the wine country Mondavis) just acquired Sonoma County Pinot Noir producer Sojourn Cellars for an undisclosed sum. [SF Chronicle]
  • 200 tenants at the Port of San Francisco, including waterfront restaurant Mission Rock Resort and 121 fishing and crabbing operations, are eligible for a rent forgiveness program approved by the SF Port Commission this week. [SF Examiner]
  • Restaurants in Japantown, especially those inside the mall (which isn’t allowed to open to shoppers) are finding new ways to reach diners. [SF Gate]
  • The owners of Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, and Trick Dog announced via press release Thursday that they, too, are suing their insurance company “alleging the improper denial of valid business interruption insurance claims” during the pandemic. They join a lengthy list including the Cliff House, Chez Panisse, and Thomas Keller, all of which have filed similar suits.
  • The SF Business Times is making a list of Black-owned Bay Area businesses, their first ever. Nomination is free for spots that are 51 percent or more Black-owned, and restaurants are encouraged to apply.
  • Bay Area Filipino restaurants are seeing some local and global love, as Berkeleyside profiles ube-heavy bakery Marley’s Treats, and the Manila-based Inquirer takes a look at how 7 Mile House and Hapag Pilipino are managing the pandemic.

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