Najat Kaanache, who was ousted last month as executive chef and culinary director of Piripi in Coral Gables, has filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against her former employers in Miami-Dade County court.
In the suit, filed Friday, Kaanache claims she is owed more than $15,000 in back pay and benefits.
The terms of her contract, a copy of which is included in the court filing, outline a salary of $95,000 a year, plus a prepaid $10,000 signing bonus, as well as 1.3 percent of the restaurant’s gross sales, up to $6,000 a month in housing expenses and $800 a month in health insurance. Kaanache’s contract also included four weeks of paid annual vacation, one week of sick leave and two weeks of personal time, according to the suit.
A non-compete clause prevents Kaanache from working at another restaurant in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach counties for a year after the expiration of her Piripi contract, as noted in the filing.
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Kaanache claims she has not been paid since June 1, and that her contract automatically renewed before Piripi’s partners informed her they had fired her, which was first reported by the Miami Herald and Miami.com.
She is being represented in the suit by Neal Sandberg of Miami’s Simon, Schindler & Sandberg. Attempts to reach her attorney were unsuccessful Monday night; Piripi’s publicists said they did not have an immediate response to a query about the lawsuit.
The chef parted ways with the restaurant, located at 320 San Lorenzo Ave. in the Village of Merrick Park shops, last month following a dismal critical review and allegations that kitchen employees had been mistreated and underpaid.
Kaanache has requested a jury trial; no hearing had been scheduled as of Monday.