Hot in the kitchen: NYC celebrity sommelier accused of setting fire to rival restaurants

Source: FDNY

Jul. 29 2021, Published 10:57 a.m. ET

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A dash of justice.

A restaurant official in New York City is facing the heat of law enforcement after authorities say he lit fires at rival restaurants.

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On July 28, the New York City Fire Department announce charges against popular sommelier Caleb Ganzer for a series of fires at restaurants near his business. Ganzer was named by Food and Wine magazine as 2017’s sommelier of the year, according to media reports.

A sommelier is a wine steward. Ganzer also is the co-owner of a popular downtown New York City wine bar.

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Officials accused Ganzer of setting three fires:

  • July 13 at 2:55 a.m. at an outdoor dining structure owned by Prince Street Pizza on Prince Street.
  • June 26 at 4:35 a.m. a rubbish fire at the corner of Broome Street and Centre Street
  • Jan. 8 at 11:52 p.m. at an outdoor dining structure owned by Forsythia Restaurant on Stanton Street.
Source: FDNY
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The FDNY released a video of one of the alleged fires and its shows a man walking up to the outdoor booth. He then takes out a lighter and ignites a napkin holder on the structure.

Ganzer was charged with two counts of third-degree arson, two counts of third-degree criminal mischief and three counts of second-degree reckless endangerment.

“Every act of arson has the potential to spread rapidly, endangering the lives of New Yorkers and FDNY members,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro in announcing the arrest. “Thankfully in these incidents there were no injuries and the suspect has been apprehended before another fire could be set.”


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