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Graham Elliot Settles Lawsuit

Graham Elliot Settles Lawsuit

The celebrity chef from Chicago was being sued over unfair employment wages.

Graham Elliot restaurant, where the illegal tip pooling took place.

Graham Elliot is one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Ten Best New Chefs of 2004 and a three-time nominee for a James Beard award. He makes regular TV appearances on shows like Iron Chef America, Top Chef Masters and MasterChef, and owns three very successful restaurants in Chicago — Graham Elliot, Grahamwich and g.e.b.

Regardless of his success, Elliot doesn’t seem to want to share the wealth — literally.

In March of this year, Elliot was sued by 14 former servers at Graham Elliot, based on Gregory Curtis’ claim of illegal tip pooling. Minimum wage for tipped employees is much lower than normal because they are entitled to take home all of their tips. However, Curtis says the tips were pooled amongst cooks and food runners too, who are paid traditional minimum wage because they aren’t entitled to tips. The suit demands back wages plus interest for Curtis and the other servers.

TMZ reported on Sunday that the lawsuit has now been settled for an undisclosed amount, paid by Elliot to his former employees.

Former TV chef Graham Kerr has a different message now

As the “Galloping Gourmet,” he made rich recipes and sly jokes. Life and faith prompted a turnaround.

Graham Kerr is a widower now, but his dinner table is set for three. Once the dashing star of &ldquoThe Galloping Gourmet,&rdquo and still a charmer at 85, Kerr lives simply in his nautically designed home overlooking the Skagit Valley. He calls it his &ldquolittle ark on the hill.&rdquo

And those three place mats? One is for Kerr. A devout Christian, he explained that the extra places at his table represent two African children he sponsors through Compassion International, a global ministry that supports kids living in extreme poverty.

&ldquoI&rsquove changed the amount I eat, and I share with them,&rdquo he said Monday.

Although a new edition of his 1969 classic, &ldquoThe Graham Kerr Cookbook: The Galloping Gourmet,&rdquo was published last year, the once showy chef stays mostly out of the limelight these days. Living simply and slowly are important to him now.

Graham Kerr designed his Skagit County house with a nautical theme, and calls it &ldquothe little ark on the hill.&rdquo (Dan Bates / The Herald)

He turned down an invitation to be a judge on the &ldquoIron Chef&rdquo cooking show. He didn&rsquot do a publicity tour when his cookbook was re-released. Yet he&rsquoll soon share his approach to life with a local audience.

Kerr is the keynote speaker for the 59th annual Snohomish County Community Prayer Breakfast, scheduled for 7 a.m. April 19. The event, a Good Friday tradition sponsored by the YMCA of Snohomish County, will be in the conference center at Everett&rsquos Angel of the Winds Arena.

At the breakfast, Kerr said he&rsquoll talk about &ldquoa radical change that has taken place in my life.&rdquo

Before he became &ldquoThe Galloping Gourmet,&rdquo Graham Kerr was looking debonair on a 1960s TV show in New Zealand and Australia. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Actually, the British-born Kerr has weathered several radical changes since becoming a TV personality. His journey to stardom began in 1960 with a cooking show in New Zealand and Australia. It continued, from 1969 to 1971, on &ldquoThe Galloping Gourmet,&rdquo a hit series filmed before a live audience in Ottawa, Canada.

Women in his TV crowd would giggle as Kerr, living up to the show&rsquos title, leapt over chairs while holding a glass of wine as an opening act. Between sips of wine and sly jokes, Kerr would prepare rich dishes that had his audience licking lips.

Kerr and his wife Treena, his childhood sweetheart and the show&rsquos producer, were badly injured in a 1971 car accident. They left TV glitz behind to sail the world in their Ocean 71 yacht, named the &ldquoTreena.&rdquo The crew included their three children. &ldquoWith 195 shows a year, we hadn&rsquot been a family,&rdquo Kerr said.

A small home studio Kerr intends to use for podcasts contains a microphone, sound-proofing material, and a picture of him with his wife Treena, who died in 2015. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

In the mid-1970s, Kerr became a Christian. By the time his wife had a heart attack and stroke in the 1980s, he had done a culinary about-face. Fatty meats, butter and cream gave way to a low-fat regimen he now sees as too extreme.

&ldquoIf you used to be called the &lsquohigh priest of hedonism,&rsquo then come to be a Christian, you think to yourself as making a change from celebrity to servant,&rdquo he said. &ldquoHow do I serve? I decided it was about people eating better.&rdquo

Now, his servant role is not all about food.

His beloved Treena died in 2015, less than a week before their 60th anniversary. As his wife&rsquos caregiver for 28 years, &ldquowhat I did for her overflowed into what I did in the media,&rdquo he said. Now, his message goes beyond healthful eating. &ldquoThat doesn&rsquot mean I&rsquove stopped practicing the good things I learned for her.&rdquo

A favorite piece of art in Graham Kerr&rsquos home conveys his opinion that &ldquowe take with us what we read and believe.&rdquo (Dan Bates / The Herald)

His raised garden beds, ready to be planted with arugula, beets, kale and other veggies, are evidence that Kerr practices what he preaches &mdash without being preachy.

&ldquoI do not see, as a Christian, that it is my responsibility to tell the world how they should live their lives,&rdquo he said.

In his Good Friday talk, he plans to explain his &ldquoradical change&rdquo by way of a true-life story. It&rsquos about a bird that became trapped in his greenhouse, and how in some ways he was also trapped.

Rather than judging others, Kerr cites the two commandments he seeks to live by: To love God with all one&rsquos heart, and to love one&rsquos neighbor as oneself. In daily life, he said, that means trying to be kind, earnest about his faith, respectful of all people, and reliable.

This whimsical art of an angel riding a turtle represents how Kerr now tries to live, simply and slowly. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Kerr said his story is being told in a documentary film, titled &ldquoGalloping Upstream.&rdquo

Holding the broom he used to free that bird from his greenhouse, Kerr looked out at the landscape Monday. From his yard, he sees the farmland below, and in the distance Camano and Lummi islands.

&ldquoThere&rsquos hope for mankind,&rdquo he said.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460 [email protected]

Kerr at breakfast

The 59th annual Snohomish County Community Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the YMCA of Snohomish County, is scheduled for 7 a.m. April 19 in the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center at Angel of the Winds Arena, 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett. Keynote speaker will be chef and TV personality Graham Kerr, who starred in &ldquoThe Galloping Gourmet.&rdquo Tickets $40 per person (event not a fundraiser). Reservation deadline April 10 (or by sell-out). Tickets: call 425-374-5732, email [email protected], or online at

Please share your story tips by emailing [email protected]

From his back yard, as well as throughout his home, Graham Kerr enjoys great views. He chose the Skagit Valley for its beauty and bounty. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Keep Your Hands Out of the Tip Jar (and Other Celebrity Chef Lessons)

Restaurant owners and managers: sometimes the best lessons from celebrity chefs don’t happen in the kitchen.
The latest comes from MasterChef Graham Elliot, who recently settled a tip pooling lawsuit with Gregory Curtis and other waiters in Elliot’s Chicago restaurant for an undisclosed amount. The waiters claimed they were forced to share tips with non-waiters, and sued Elliot for lost wages. Staci Ketay Rotman (law firm Franczek Radelet) explains:

“Under federal law, employees may be required to participate in a tip pool only if the tips are distributed among employees who ‘customarily and regularly receive tips,’ and this generally is limited to personnel such as servers, bussers and service bartenders.”

Here’s a tip: heed these three recommendations to avoid your own legal troubles:
1. Keep your hands out of the tip jar:
“The FLSA defines an employer as ‘any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee.’ Though a low-level supervisor is not an “employer’ under the FLSA, an employee with substantial managerial authority over the day-to-day operations of a business is the functional equivalent of the employer. If a manager functions as the employer in this regard, any tip sharing with that individual violates the FLSA.” (Duane Morris)
2. Don’t take a cut off the top, either:
“The latest news in celebrity chef wage and hour litigation is that eight New York restaurants owned by Mario Batali have agreed to settle $5.25 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging that they illegally withheld tips from hourly service workers… The primary claim in the lawsuit was that management at the eight restaurants deducted 4 to 5 percent of each shift’s wine and other beverage sales from the restaurants’ tip pools.” (Franczek Radelet)
3. Make sure you give proper notice to employees when taking a “tip credit:”
“Under [the FLSA’s tip credit] provisions, an employer is allowed to pay tipped employees a cash wage of $2.13 and offset the remaining amount of the minimum wage by taking a ‘tip credit.’ … However, an employer may only take the tip credit if (1) the employee has been informed by the employer of the provisions of the FLSA’s tip credit subsection, and (2) the employee retains all tips received (except amounts paid into a valid ‘tip pool’ to be shared among employees that regularly receive tips).” (FordHarrison)

Read the updates:

Paula Deen

This celebrity chef has a long list of indiscretions.

Notwithstanding Paula Deen’s diabetic scandal, where she revealed her diagnosis alongside her vested interest in a major drug campaign, Deen has been riddled with a long line of accusations of racism. In 2012, Deen was sued for discrimination. One of the chef’s former Uncle Bubba Black employees alleged she was subjected to sexual harassment and racist rhetoric. Deen subsequently lost her contract with Food Network and a slew of her endorsement deals. It all got a lot worse when her company released a statement defending the use of the N-word. Yikes!

Incredible celebrity weight loss transformations.

Natalie Cassidy shows off her slim figure at the Soap Awards in 2018

After years of gorging on his calorie-laden creations, Graham has stripped back his diet to that of lean protein, fruits and vegetables.

His current diet includes dinners of chicken and salmon with salad or vegetables, and he is also known to had cut our nearly all bread, pasts, sugary fizzy drinks and beer.

To curb his sugar cravings and keep his weight loss sustained and on-track, the former 400lbs chef now snacks on fruit and cottage cheese or apple slices with peanut butter.

Speaking to People magazine on his weight loss, the TV chef said: &ldquoIn the past I would get stressed and ask craft services for cookies and candy.

&ldquoBut now I know my stomach is the size of a banana and I need to have food that just gives me energy. So I can either have a moment of sweetness but feel really bad or I can order something delicious and light like sashimi.&rdquo

Before his surgery and following diet plan Graham weighed over 400lbs (Image: Getty Images)

Graham maintains his new physique with dinners of chicken, salmon, salad and vegetables (Image: Getty Images)

Showing just how well the surgery, and his consequential diet changes and exercise regime - he completed the Chicago marathon - have worked. Graham added: &ldquoI thought it would take two or three years to do this. I thought I&rsquod lose 60 or 70lbs the first year."

With so many Britons looking to lose weight and reduce belly fat, Graham Elliot&rsquos story and new lifestyle can come as inspiration.

Along with lean proteins, vegetables and cottage cheese, a plethora of other foods exist to help you reduce belly fat and lose weight fast.

While Graham chose to cut carbs from his diet, research shows that carbs containing resistant starch can make you feel fuller for longer, aiding in decreased intake.

These healthy carbs include porridge oats, brown rice and boiled potatoes left to cool.

Jury hands $7m damages to Penn State whistleblower in Sandusky scandal

A jury in Pennsylvania has awarded more than $7m in damages to a former Penn State University assistant football coach who said the school retaliated by firing him after he implicated Jerry Sandusky as a molester of young boys.

The $7.3m in compensatory and punitive damages for Michael McQueary was confirmed Kendra Miknis, chief administrator of the centre county court of common pleas in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, Reuters reported.

McQueary, claiming a loss of reputation and a $140,000-a-year coaching job in 2012 for his role as a whistleblower in the scandal, had sought more than $8 million in damages.

McQueary, who coached wide receivers for legendary Penn State head coach Joe Paterno for eight seasons, told state investigators in 2011 that he had seen Sandusky, a retired but still-revered coach, in the shower having sex with a young boy 10 years earlier while McQueary was still a graduate student.

He also implicated Timothy Curley, the university athletic director, and Gary Schultz, a Penn State vice president who oversaw the campus police department, in a cover-up. Sandusky, now 72, was not arrested for 10 more years.

Sandusky was tried and convicted in 2012 of molesting 10 boys and was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

Jerry Sandusky arrives for an appeal court hearing in Bellefonte in May 2016. Photograph: ddp USA/REX/Shutterstock

Paterno was fired for his role in the Sandusky scandal and died months later. McQueary never worked anywhere of note after his dismissal, he said, because other schools viewed him as damaged goods. He had ostensibly lost his job because the new head coach, Bill O’Brien, did not want him.

McQueary also claimed in his lawsuit that former Penn State president Graham Spanier defamed him in a public statement in 2011 that publicly defended Curley and Schultz.

Pfizer Settles a Drug Marketing Case for $491 Million

The drug maker Pfizer agreed to pay $491 million to settle criminal and civil charges over the illegal marketing of the kidney-transplant drug Rapamune, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

The settlement is the latest in a string of big-money cases involving the sales practices of major pharmaceutical companies four years ago, Pfizer paid $2.3 billion for improperly marketing several drugs. The recent case centers on the practices of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which Pfizer acquired in 2009.

Rapamune, which prevents the body’s immune system from rejecting a transplanted organ, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1999 for use in patients receiving a kidney transplant. However, federal officials said Wyeth aggressively promoted the drug for use in patients receiving other organ transplants, even offering financial incentives to its sales force to do so.

Accusations of Wyeth’s practices became public in 2010 after a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by two former employees was unsealed.


After lawmakers announced a Congressional inquiry, the Justice Department opted to join the lawsuit. The settlement announced Tuesday, which also resolves a second, similar whistle-blower suit, includes a criminal fine and forfeiture of $233.5 million, and a civil settlement of $257.4 million with the federal government, all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Pfizer disclosed last fall that it was negotiating a settlement in the case, and took a $491 million charge in the third quarter of 2012.

Reuben A. Guttman, a lawyer for two of the whistle-blowers, said the spate of pharmaceutical settlements in recent years had blunted reaction to what he said were shameful practices. “Everybody’s been asking me why this case is different than any other,” he said. “We used to trust these companies. You can’t trust these companies anymore.”

In a statement, Pfizer noted that it was not a target of the Justice Department’s case, and said the company “cooperated fully with the government from the time it learned of this investigation in October 2009. That cooperation was acknowledged today by the Justice Department.”

Also on Tuesday, Pfizer announced that its second-quarter revenues fell 7 percent, to $12.97 billion, from $13.97 billion in the same period last year as it continued to face competition from generic versions of its brand-name drugs. The company’s net income quadrupled to $14.01 billion, from $3.25 billion, partly because of the spinoff of its animal-health business.

Live Updates

"The issue is going to be whether they are vicariously liable for the misconduct of their employees," Mr. Geistfeld said. But he added, "The company's argument would be weakened by the fact that the misconduct benefited Marsh and not the individual employees."

Vinay Saqi, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, said the agreement appeared to be "very manageable" for Marsh.

The stock market seemed to agree. Marsh's shares, which fell sharply after the Spitzer lawsuit, rose $1.41 yesterday to close at $32.50. But that was still well below their price of $46.13 before Mr. Spitzer's lawsuit.

With the suit, Mr. Spitzer forced a wide-ranging reorganization of Marsh. Under pressure, Mr. Greenberg, the chief executive, was replaced by Mr. Cherkasky.

Mr. Spitzer and Mr. Cherkasky have been friends since they worked together years ago in the Manhattan district attorney's office, when Mr. Cherkasky was Mr. Spitzer's boss. Both said their mutual trust helped in the negotiations toward the settlement.

Mr. Greenberg's departure headed off criminal charges against Marsh, Mr. Spitzer and company executives say -- something that could have destroyed the company.

Mr. Spitzer's office said yesterday that he had been impressed by the changes Marsh has made in its operations and by its cooperation with the investigation.

Michele Hirshman, the first deputy attorney general, said: "We are interested in seeing this company and its employees be able to survive under this new business model. We wanted to avoid corporate capital punishment here."

Mr. Cherkasky said the settlement ended "a dark period in this company's history." He said competitors had been scrambling to take Marsh's best brokers and the brokers' clients.

To reduce expenses, Marsh has been forced to cut its work force of nearly 60,000 by about 3,000.

The road ahead is still expected to be difficult. Jay Gelb, an analyst with the Prudential Equity Group, said he expected lower earnings for Marsh in the future and suggested that investors sell their shares if, as expected, its stock price continues to recover.

Mr. Spitzer's lawsuit centered on incentive payments, sometimes known as placement service agreements or market service agreements, for providing increased business and increased profit to the insurance companies.

Marsh, like other brokers, had promised to provide unbiased advice to their customers for commercial insurance, and Mr. Spitzer said the payments appeared to be a conflict of interest.

In the settlement agreement, Marsh agreed to disclose to clients "in plain, unambiguous written language" all payments received in connection with their insurance coverage. Previously, it and other brokers provided a general statement that they received compensation from insurance companies. But they usually did not provide details.

Marsh also promised not to accept anything of value from insurance companies including "credits, loans, forgiveness of principal or interest, vacations, prizes, gifts or the payments of employee salaries or expenses."

The company agreed to create internal procedures to ensure compliance with state laws and insurance regulations and to submit to an annual review of its operations by the New York State Department of Insurance. Previously, regulators said, they were authorized to examine the business of brokers if they had reason to suspect violations.

The changes at Marsh, Mr. Spitzer said, "have created an entirely new template for the way business will be done."

He said he preferred to negotiate restitution with Marsh rather than impose fines or penalties "because the money should go back to the victims."

Customers who accept the payments from Marsh will have to agree not to sue the broker on the ground that they overpaid for coverage. But Marsh is facing lawsuits from shareholders because of losses in value of their investments, and those suits are not affected by the settlement with Mr. Spitzer.

Behind The Scenes Of The Cutest Cooking Show On Television

Mix precocious 10-year-olds with a famously volatile host and add large knives and open flames. How MasterChef Junior's recipe for trainwreck TV instead became a heartwarming twist on the cooking competition show.

The 12-year-old boy standing in front of Gordon Ramsay has just started to cry. He&rsquos wearing a floral bow tie, a plaid collared shirt tucked neatly into slim black jeans, and a bright white apron tied at the waist with his name embroidered on it in all caps, &ldquoLOGAN,&rdquo along with the logo of the show on which he is one of the final eight contestants, MasterChef Junior. His two front teeth are gapped, and his sandy blond hair is parted way over on one side. When he grows up, Logan wants to be an oceanographer, an astronaut, a chef, and a garbageman. The restaurant he plans to open someday will be called &ldquoO&rsquos Underwater Bistro&rdquo and it will have special bubbles, some &ldquoexecutive bubbles&rdquo and some &ldquoromantic bubbles,&rdquo where customers will dine floating around underwater separate from the main restaurant, like in submarines.

But today, Logan has overcooked and underseasoned the rice in what he says would be the signature dish at his underwater bistro. The 82-pound, 4-foot-11-inch boy from Memphis, who, unlike some of the other contestants, can actually see over the cooking counters on the MasterChef set, has had one hour to create this dish, presumably without any adult assistance. And though his perfectly seared steak has &ldquonice char and color,&rdquo the plate overall is too simple &mdash lackluster, Ramsay says. As the British celebrity chef tells Logan that &ldquothe judges have come to expect more from you, young man,&rdquo a tear so giant that even I can see it from behind the cameras 30 feet away drops off Logan&rsquos cheek and hits the floor. The boy&rsquos shoulders curve forward, his head drops, and he&rsquos sobbing.

Ramsay comforts Logan after critiquing his dish.

Producers backstage stop whispering into their mics. The cameramen are still and tense. No one likes to see a child cry. But then Ramsay, who has seven Michelin stars, 25 restaurants, and a reputation for calling the cooks on his TV shows things like &ldquomiserable wee bitch&rdquo and &ldquoyou fucking donkey&rdquo does something unexpected: He steps forward, hugs the child, and tells him it&rsquos going to be OK, that he did his best. When Logan returns to his station, no longer crying, the other children comfort him and tell him he&rsquos a great cook.

In spring 2013, when Fox announced it was going to air a kid-centric spin-off of its amateur cooking competition MasterChef with 8- to 13-year-olds, it sounded horribly annoying &mdash like a desperate attempt to revive a played-out format. The built-in precociousness of the concept was off-putting: 12-year-olds talking about Sriracha foam. And who wants to watch kids being mean to one another or judges hurting their feelings? &ldquoFox's Junior MasterChef to find newer, younger chefs to disappoint Gordon Ramsay,&rdquo wrote the AV Club.

But when the show debuted last fall, it was absolutely delightful. Now, three episodes into its second season, it&rsquos still so good. MasterChef Junior&rsquos first season was the highest-rated broadcast show in its Friday evening time slot among adults 18 to 49. It performed especially well in DVR and got good reviews. This season it is upgraded to a coveted Tuesday evening spot and averages a solid 5.3 million total viewers.

Seeing Ramsay&rsquos gentler, helpful side is reason alone to watch. But the kids are the real stars because they (and the producers in the control room) turn the reality cooking show on its head by making it more heartwarming than cutthroat &mdash they actually are here to make friends. They are more than happy to lend one another ingredients and help during the challenges. They often cry when anyone is sent home because they are sad for their friend. They release piercing screams of delight when a food for the next challenge is revealed (&ldquoYaaaay! Pancakes!&rdquo), and collapse on the floor with relief when they aren&rsquot sent home. And there is a visual spectacle: They have to jump to reach ingredients in the pantry and stand on boxes to cook at the counters the scale is off. Meanwhile, the dishes they make are very impressive and just messy enough to be believable. Basically, everything they do and say is ridiculous, and yet it makes so much more sense than what adults do on television.

While we may know better than to believe everything we see on reality TV, the question remains: Are these kids as good as they seem? And if not, would that make the show any less fun?

Like many of our reality shows, MasterChef is a European export. The adult version is based on a BBC show that initially ran from 1990 to 2001, and the brand was exported globally. More than 40 countries have adapted the show &mdash there&rsquos a MasterChef Italia, MasterChef Pakistan, MasterChef China, and more. The kid spin-off was first introduced in 1994 in the U.K. and has been produced in 15 different countries.

Even so, the American show&rsquos executive producers Robin Ashbrook and Adeline Ramage Rooney, who also produce on the adult version, say they had a hard time getting Fox to sign on for Junior.

The not-distant memory of CBS&rsquos failure with Kid Nation must have been a consideration. The 2007 show put 40 children ages 8 to 15 in a New Mexico ghost town and asked them to create a viable society without adult supervision, then was canceled amid allegations of child abuse, child labor law disputes, and a New York Times article about the insane contracts the parents signed. That same year, Bravo ordered eight episodes of Top Chef Junior with 13- to 16-year-olds, which never aired. (Bravo did not respond to a request for an explanation why.)

&ldquoYou could go to anybody in the world and go, &lsquoRight, so we&rsquove got Gordon Ramsay,&rsquo and they&rsquod go, &lsquoBut he shouts at people,&rsquo" Ashbrook says. "And you&rsquod say, &lsquoAnd we&rsquove got this show with ovens and knives and hot dishes &mdash and then we&rsquore going to do it with kids.&rsquo So on that pitch you&rsquod be like, &lsquoYou&rsquore fucking out of your mind.&rsquo"

In 2012, while taping the third season of adult MasterChef, Ashbrook and Rooney taped a mystery box challenge with a group of kids &mdash each got a box with the same surprise ingredients and had to create a dish. They sent the tape to Fox. It worked.

When the casting call went out, the press was especially critical that the kids would be as young as 8. But Rooney says having younger kids for MasterChef Junior was essential.

&ldquoOnce you get to 14 to 17, they might be more skilled, but they&rsquove also kind of shut down a lot more,&rdquo she says. "So they&rsquore not as good for TV, frankly."

The rest of the show is almost identical to the adult version of MasterChef, which just aired its fifth season. The other two judges are New York restaurateur and winemaker Joe Bastianich and Chicago chef Graham Elliot. The set&rsquos the same, the format&rsquos the same, and the production, editing, and culinary team are almost exactly the same.

&ldquoWe want it to be a show that is co-viewed with parents and that our Hell&rsquos Kitchen fans would watch, so we didn&rsquot want to neuter Gordon,&rdquo Rooney says, referring to one of Ramsay&rsquos other four shows currently on Fox in which he verbally abuses aspiring chefs cooking in competition for a job at one of his restaurants.

The Gordon Ramsay who appears on MasterChef Junior is a completely different judge &mdash helpful, goofy, and sweet &mdash so that you start to understand why some of the people who work for him show an irrational-seeming loyalty in the face of his insulting tirades and long list of scandals.

&ldquoFirm but fair. I liken it to a soccer coach,&rdquo Ramsay says of his attitude toward the kids on the show. &ldquoIf you want your child to succeed &mdash a ballerina, become the next basketball superstar, or play for the Dodgers &mdash then you will push them.&rdquo

The eight kids who remain in the competition on Episode 4 in Season 2 stand in a row in front of a stage where the three judges are also standing in a row. They&rsquore on a set on the Paramount lot in Los Angeles where they&rsquove been staying at a nearby hotel with their parents for the first two weeks of the three-and-a-half-week production. They&rsquore ready to find out what the first challenge of the episode will be.

Ramsay&rsquos voice has more bravado and is much louder than the other judges'. He wanders around set with an enormous, devious presence that makes even off-camera moments feel like reality TV.

A production guy coming from the behind-the-scenes kitchen rolls a cart near the set and tells me to be careful, please don&rsquot put your coffee on this. Covered by a cloche, this plate is handed to the judges a minute later when they announce the challenge.

&ldquoThere is one ingredient that every chef relies on,&rdquo Ramsay says. His voice rises with booming excitement to build the moment where he lifts the cloche: &ldquoIt&rsquos simple. It&rsquos glorious. And delicious! It is an&hellipegg.&rdquo

&ldquoDuuuuuuuh,&rdquo says Oona, an extremely bright 9-year-old with big eyes and dark hair pulled into messy pigtails. Oona&rsquos favorite TV show of all time is Alton Brown&rsquos Good Eats she&rsquos seen every single episode and most of them several times over. Oona&rsquos dad, a Yale Law School professor, says he wasn&rsquot inclined to let her watch MasterChef Junior when the show first came out: &ldquoMy picture of reality TV was snarky adults saying mean things to each other,&rdquo he says. &ldquoWe didn&rsquot want her to see that.&rdquo But the show wasn&rsquot that, so he and his wife agreed to let her watch it.

Bastianich, the third judge, begins to describe the sunny-side-up hero egg: &ldquoNotice there are no brown edges, there are no wobbly whites,&rdquo he says. &ldquoThey're not snotty or runny.&rdquo The words &ldquosnotty&rdquo and &ldquorunny&rdquo are too much for some of the kids, and they burst into giggles.

Then there is a confusing silence for a minute or two. The judges have earpieces to receive stage directions during taping from producers in the control room who tell them what to redo. By now, the kids are used to these awkward pauses, but they are kids: They have a hard time standing still. Actually, so does Gordon Ramsay. Similarities between the celeb chef and the children are shockingly clear in person: They love to make trouble, they have scary amounts of energy, they get bored easily, and they throw temper tantrums.

All of a sudden the judges are alert again and Elliot starts talking: &ldquoYou will have 10 minutes to make us as many perfect, sunny-side-up eggs as you can,&rdquo he says. &ldquoAt your stations you will find everything you need: oil, butter, and a whole lot of eggs. You'll have eight pans, which I highly recommend you use simultaneously. Every perfectly fried sunny-side-up egg that we decide is good enough will give you a huge advantage in the upcoming challenge.&rdquo

Then, it seems like it&rsquos go time: The cameras start moving and the kids begin to run to their stations. But the producers yell, &ldquoCan I have the kids back up at the front?&rdquo and the judges take a break. What the kids will do between finding out the details of their challenge and 20 minutes later when they start cooking eggs I don&rsquot know, because Ramsay wants to chat backstage in another room and ushers me away.

Gordon Ramsay is worth $47 million, according to Forbes. In addition to owning restaurants all over the world, he&rsquos produced and starred in 23 television shows since 1999. He&rsquos published 27 books, has a line of tableware with WWRD (Waterford, Wedgewood, Royal Doulton), and has so much energy that you feel rushed to keep up with the cadence of his speech and under pressure to keep his attention. His attention is actually impossible for anyone to keep most of the time. Even his own thoughts don&rsquot keep his attention long enough for him to properly finish them.

&ldquoI absolutely 100% categorically submerge myself in the, you know, I don't give a shit what's going on outside, there could be a crisis &mdash last week we got a stupid lawsuit issued over a total ridiculous, ridiculous place, there's a big conference call tonight where we are putting the defense together. It's just if there's one thing that always puts me off about working over here [in the U.S.] it's that the more popular and the more famous you become then the more litigious and the more small excuse people take as advantage to sue. &rdquo

The way Ramsay talks is part of his manic power. He has the same force to his speech as on television, but without an editor to cut it and make it coherent. He spits out raw quotes that apart might be worth something, but together become extremely confusing.

&ldquo. so that's one thing I've learned over the last decade. In terms of everyone says hey and of course the British press 'he's been sued again, that's 14 times in 7 different countries!' It's a joke. Whatever crap&rsquos going on there, when I walk in here and I'm with these guys, they've got me 100% because it is so important look at the sort of rip-offs already in terms of Food Network and Bravo now, and the amount of people that try to imitate, and you've got that sugarcoating ass-kissy, let's get all gooey and this is real &mdash this is seriously real.&rdquo

He says he is involved in every aspect of the show, including casting, to identify the kids coming from desperate stage moms who aren&rsquot really passionate about cooking. He was not fazed by initial skepticism about his working with children. &ldquoI&rsquom a father of four and there&rsquos no script for being a parent.&rdquo He talks about his own children a lot they are between the ages of 12 and 16 and they are all over his Instagram feed amid pictures of him getting in race cars, getting on helicopters, and training for the Ironman.

The kid contestants idolize Ramsay. Logan, for example, says Ramsay&rsquos opinion is the only one that matters during judging. Logan&rsquos mom tells him to try to not look so pitiful during taping that he gives her a heart attack every time he looks at the camera. Logan says he&rsquos probably just bored because judging takes so long.

&ldquoHe&rsquos the best chef out of all three of them,&rdquo says Sam, a blond 9-year-old contestant from Reseda, California, who has a Skrillex-like hairstyle. Sam says he knows Ramsay&rsquos the best chef because &ldquohe&rsquos done so many TV shows and so many things like that, and you can see he looks so good as a chef.&rdquo

&ldquoBless him," Ramsay says about Sam when tell I him this later on. "I mean, that&rsquos a bit of a wrong interpretation. There needs to be an actual passion there, and that&rsquos what we weed out very quickly."

After this quick break, 10 minutes are set on the MasterChef clock, which hangs high in the middle of the room. The kids run to their stations and begin furiously cracking eggs into pans.

Ramsay, Bastianich, and Elliot stand on the stage, still being filmed, talking about the best techniques for making eggs. Bastianich suggests frying two eggs in one pan Ramsay is horrified and pokes fun at him. Ramsay explains that the most important element here is actually the butter: You have to baste the eggs, spoon hot butter over the whites to cook the tops faster. Crack the egg low near the pan so the yolk doesn&rsquot break bring the plate close to the pan so you don&rsquot have to walk around with an egg on your spatula.

&ldquoFour minutes gone!&rdquo yells Ramsay toward the kids. &ldquoSix minutes remaining! Speed up, guys, multitask.&rdquo

I&rsquom standing near supervising culinary producer Sandee Birdsong, who is watching the kids closely and also has an earpiece and microphone to communicate with producers during taping. A former contestant on Top Chef, Birdsong is now also that show&rsquos supervising culinary producer, and her job is to oversee all the food on the show &mdash order equipment and ingredients, create and test challenges, and train the kids. After a minute or two she says quietly into the microphone, &ldquoTurn the heat down, all the kids are burning the eggs&rsquo edges.&rdquo

A minute later, Elliot says to the kids from the judges podium, &ldquoGuys, make sure you don't get your heat too high, we don't want any brown edges, control that pan.&rdquo

Birdsong and her culinary team of as many as 26 people teach the kids cooking classes in between episodes, walking them through the techniques they need to succeed and giving them safety training. The MasterChef classroom is identical to the set &mdash same ovens, same food processors &mdash so the contestants can get familiar with the equipment. The culinary team squeezes in as many classes for the kids as they can given the short amount of time children are legally allowed to be on the Paramount lot every day. "The kids are here to learn as much as they can the whole time,&rdquo she says.

Birdsong says she doesn&rsquot teach the kids exactly what to do for a challenge, but rather shows them a basic and (most importantly) the fastest way to accomplish things like make a sauce or filet a fish. There are lots of different ways to make a piecrust, for example, but one way is probably best when you&rsquore racing the clock. The kids have the option of writing down and memorizing anything from class.

&ldquoWe teach a very basic application that works in our environment and that&rsquos what they tend to stay with, and it&rsquos their choice if they go off that mark [during a challenge],&rdquo she says, adding that the adults who receive the same classes are more likely to revert to their personal cooking methods.

Halfway through the egg challenge, Ramsay takes an interest in Abby, the youngest contestant at 8, who&rsquos got her pan too hot and is still struggling to get a single egg fried and on a plate. Abby, who's from Winchester, Virginia, still has a sweet baby-talk quality to her voice and is impossibly adorable. In Episode 2, while watching the other kids race to cook pancakes, she screamed nearly every time a pancake was flipped over and at one point nearly collapsed from excitement. &ldquoTake the pan to the plate, young lady,&rdquo Ramsay tells her.

She yells back, clearly stressed: &ldquoIT&rsquoS NOT READY.&rdquo

When time&rsquos up, the judges all count down the last 10 seconds together.

The kids raise their hands in surrender and stop cooking.

&ldquoWho&rsquos feeling good, guys?&rdquo Ramsay asks, cheerfully. No one raises a hand. The kids&rsquo mood is total frustration. &ldquoAw, come on, no one?&rdquo

A producer hollers from the side, &ldquoLet&rsquos do the last five seconds again, guys,&rdquo and on cue the kids pretend to plate eggs and run around while someone counts, &ldquoFive, four, three, two, one.&rdquo

Then the kid chefs are shuffled out of the room for a break. Instead of the judges going to inspect the eggs, Rooney emerges from the greenroom and walks station to station to see who cooked the most eggs.

After the numbers are calculated, Birdsong, Elliot, Bastianich, and Rooney sit at a table offset discussing how to make the next challenge work. As it turns out, the number of eggs each kid cooked in this first challenge will determine the number of ingredients he or she will be allowed to use to cook a signature dish. Little Abby, sure to be an audience favorite, has successfully fried only two eggs in 10 minutes.

The lights on the set go dim the pans and eggs and dishes are being cleared away. Out of the blue, Gordon Ramsay makes an announcement:

&ldquoThe lady from BuzzFeed is going to do the egg challenge.&rdquo The cameramen, producers, and crew are as surprised as I am. &ldquoLights up, please, thank you,&rdquo he hollers at no one in particular.

The kids aren&rsquot present and the cameras aren&rsquot rolling. And though I&rsquove been hanging around the set of his show for two days, I don&rsquot think I&rsquove done anything to make him want to actively embarrass me. We had so far spoken innocuously about this show and his own children. I had not even asked him about the time he fat-shamed a contestant on Hell&rsquos Kitchen, nor the time he tricked vegetarians into eating meat, nor about his allegedly showing up with a camera crew without permission at the wedding of his now-estranged mentor Marco Pierre White. I did not ask if he actually hired someone to film his father-in-law (and former business partner) having an affair, or if any of those things make him feel any doubt that he should be a role model for children.

But Ramsay&rsquos probably just bored he doesn&rsquot want me or anyone getting too comfortable, and he knows this will be fun. And he does not know, thank god, that I attended culinary school. In theory I should be decent at this. But I'm not. I can&rsquot be relied on to do anything quickly &mdash not cooking, writing, thinking, or any kind of thing. I accidentally set my course book on fire more than once.

Ramsay abruptly starts singing &ldquoIf I Could Turn Back Time&rdquo and rushing the producers to bring over the pans, oil, eggs, and butter. "Get the clock ready. You have five minutes. Are you ready? Five minutes, I want to see how many you can do. Your time starts now.&rdquo

I start cracking eggs into the pans without remembering to turn on the heat under any of the pans.

&ldquoTurn the gas on first, young lady! Fifteen seconds gone! Let's go, let's go, let's go! Thirty seconds gone.&rdquo

&ldquoPlease no cursing, Emily. Forty seconds gone.&rdquo

&ldquoDarling, you gotta go faster, I am starving. Coming up to one minute gone. If an 8-year-old can do it, I'm sure a 22-year-old can do it.&rdquo

But there is a crowd of about 20 people from the crew watching, taking photos with their phones, and laughing.

&ldquoEmily, I'm begging you, turn the fucking gas on.&rdquo

&ldquoComing up to two minutes gone. EMILY, PLEASE,&rdquo he yells. I am still not even finished cracking all eight eggs into all eight pans because I have apparently forgotten how to crack eggs, what to do with the shells, how to pan, what are eggs.

&ldquoWhat if I just throw one of these raw eggs at you,&rdquo is for some reason my response.

&ldquoPlease, Emily, don't waste time. I've got your editor on the phone, he's live and he's not impressed.&rdquo

I consider telling him that my editor is a woman. I don&rsquot really want to embarrass him and make him yell even more. Or do I?

&ldquoMy editor is a woman,&rdquo I say, cringing.

&ldquoWell, she's not very happy. We're Skyping her straight after this. I BEG YOU, GET ONE FUCKING EGG ON THE PLATE, PLEASE.&rdquo

I remember I should throw some butter in there and baste.

&ldquoNice, that's lovely. Butter, butter, butter,&rdquo he says three times rhythmically. I&rsquom reminded of the way he also offhandedly said, &ldquoTo the bar. The bar, the bar, the bar,&rdquo three times earlier in the day.

&ldquoSeventy-five seconds to go!&rdquo he yells.

This is the part where, if you&rsquore a real cook, your brain turns off and your muscles remember and everything&rsquos familiar so you can work like a machine. You can rhythmically baste, tilt, scoop, and plate along a row over and over with movements so efficient that 75 seconds is the perfect amount of time to plate eight sunny-side-up eggs. But the kids don&rsquot have that muscle memory, how could they, and neither do I. No one is magically a master chef. It takes practice.

Ramsay, I&rsquove realized by now, needs to yell the whole time and doesn&rsquot like silence, so he says, &ldquoComing up to 60 seconds to go! EMILY, PLEASE.&rdquo

I get an egg on the plate.

&ldquoONE EGG, YAY. &rdquo he says sarcastically. &ldquoLast minute!&rdquo

The rest of the eggs just haven&rsquot finished cooking. I have spent most of my five minutes fumbling with the heat and running back and forth between my two ranges of four eggs each.

The entire production crew of MasterChef Junior counts down my last 10 seconds.


please add me thanks I think filed

How to submit the proofs. I had many receipts and I wasted so much time in collecting the receipts (past online orders and recent physical receipts) and then I started submitting the claim…but I didnt get the option to upload the receipts anywhere…how fool i m :(

Please add me. I don’t have receipts.

Just noticed this lawsuit and Honey bunches of oats and Granola respectively either the yellow or blue boxes for me as its one of my favorite cereals. Have some in my Tupperware cereal storage container. Problem is to look for older receipts. I may have recent ones but not that far back. I wished Bjs had a tracking system. It should definitely appear on my shopping list purchased. I know I can get a printed copy from Let the search begin.

Add Me Honey Bunches of Oats is our choice of cereal

Please add me, I have been purchasing this brand for years now.

I buy at 3 weekly I don’t have my receipt . Add me

I have bought may boxes through the years but of course no receipt But as we speak I have 4 boxes of different flavors in my pantry .


Omg I know right!! All the time it’s ridiculous!

You need a lawsuit cuz you posted my name.

I filed the claim paperwork on May 15 , 2021
Please ” add me ” . My very large family grew on on Post Cereals and I’m 52 now .
Thank You

Add me if its not too late please

I bought 2 boxes every 2 weeks

Add me to the list. I buy at least 2 boxes each month

They do not add you, why would they? You all have to sign up and add yourselves.

Please add me – I’ve bought at least 6-10 boxes of cereal each year..

everyone who has written ADD ME is now added! Keep an eye out for your checks to randomly show up in your mailbox!

lol that’s hilarious. They just don’t get it. ADD ME!)


I have bought many post raisins brand but I don’t have a record of my purchases

I have bought an average of 6 to 10 boxes of post cereals per month over the last 3 years

Please add me . I’ve bought at least 6 boxes of these cereals every year.

They finally sent me a code and told me to enter it in the verification pgee without telling me where the veification page is. I have to get this in by may 19, 5 days from now. can anyone tell me where the verification URL can be found? AGHHHH!

add me. never rcvd the verification email with the 6 digit code

Chris would you happen to know th e URL for the verification page?

Add me please. I have family member who diabetic and we buy the Post Bran Flakes for him. We buy 2 boxes a month and have been for at least7 years because that is when he was diagnosed as a diabetic. so that is at least 24 boxes a year of just that kind of Post. Not counting the Post Raisen bran we buy randomly.

Add ne I have 6 boxes in my cupboard at this point

Please add me I have 6 boxes in my cabinet now

Please include me. I have continually purchased Post Raisin Bran and Honey Bunches of Oats cereal.

So because u chose to continuously buy something over and over u think they owe u something? Wow some people are absolutely RIDICULOUS!

I’ve bought monthly at least 10 boxes


Please add me, our household purchases several boxes of this cereal, at least 3 boxes per month.

I purchase Raisin Bran, Honey Comb and Golden Crisp every 2 weeks Please add me Have been buying these cereals for years

Yes I bought so many boxes during the pandemic for my grands.

Add me please. We eat several of these cereals.

Post Raising Brandon is our go-to. Please add me.

Are there really this many oblivious and ignorant people in the world. You seriously think that you can just post a comment on a lawsuit page saying “Add Me”, and then just get a check. They don’t even have ANY of your information besides your name. No address, no contact information whatsoever, no details of why you think you’re eligible to be part of the suit…just post a comment and BOOM..get money. Unbelievable!! You have to actually fill out and submit a claim form geniuses!! That’s what’s wrong with the world…too many greedy, lazy, self-entitled scammers…trying to get anything they can for free…while doing nothing or as little as possible!! It’s scary and comical to see the pathetic ways of human beings.

I’m right there with you on that one. Who the hell fills out their name and gets paid. The most frustrating one of all is when I share with friends and family members of whatever settlement I was awarded, and it never fails with the assumption that I’m going to add all of them too. Who has the time for that? And why would anyone do that. Nobody deserves anything if they are going to sit on their ass and expect things to come to them. Yes, I agree. They are lazy, greedy individuals out there that never put in the work for anything and expect it done for them. It’s not going to be the last of the retarded comment, ” add me”, that we will see. Because no matter how many times you and I or anyone for that matter schools them and gives them a clue of how it works, there is countless morons following right behind. Save your valuable energy on filling out potential settlements instead of wasting your precious time on clueless nim rods.

Add me , these are the cereals I use

Please add me. Have bought several boxes of Great Grains.

Please add me I eat these brand of cereal Honey Bunches of oats, and Honey comb

Please add me to this suit.

You people do know YOU have to fill your OWN information. Think about it…..

frosted flakes and raisin bran

Post Raisin Bran
Please add me.

I ate a lot of those cereals for a long time I especially like Honey Bunches of Oats and the Shredded Wheat

Have used most of the products for a very long time please add me

I ate four of those types but honey bunches of oats faithfully.

I’ve been buying honey bunches of oats and golden crips since 2009 it’s my daughters favorite cereal

Everyone posting Add me..FILL OUT THE FORM. THEY DONT ADD YOU.

YES! People: Please pay attention.

Please add me I eat these cereals daily.

I have been buying the Strawberry shredded wheat cereal and Cheerios Honey oats Cheerios is healthy so I buy it maybe bought two boxes every month three boxes so how do I get the application

We have eaten some of these for yearsso have my kids and grandkids

We have eaten some of these for years

Please Add Me. I’ve been eating 5 of those different kinds of Post cereals for years.

Regularly eat Raisin Bran have for years

we ate alot of these please add me

My mother and I have been eating honey bunches of oats &honey bunches of oats granola..but when I went to file a claim it wouldn’t let me finish it not excepting my email address..why is that. …add me

My house hold has eaten 4 of these products for years. Please add us.

Add me please
Honey bunches of oats and Raisin Bran are the ones my household uses

Add me !! Been eating Raisin Bran for years

Please include me. I have tried a number of times to file a claim but it always rejects my confirmation number. 6 boxes every 3 months since 2015.

Add me, I have a box of Golden Crisps and Raisin Bran!

Add me. I have a box of Honey Combs in the kitchen now.

Do ppl not read the steps to take to file a claim? Do they think the check magically just pops up in their mailbox etc?

What do you mean by saying “add me”? I feel like ppl see others saying that & just follow suit.

Do ppl not realize that in order to file a claim, they must submit a claim with all of their info? That means, if your capable of clicking on this page, then surely you see the “CLICK HERE TO FILE A CLAIM” spot, & all you have to do is simply click on that, TYPE in your personal information etc & you will get money back IF you are due any.

I agree with you
People do not

Shari & others…..please, if I’m missing something, tell me. I’m open to learning!

What do you mean by “add me “? What happens with that? Does this site have all of your personal Info you need to file this claim or any other claim? Do they know how many boxes you need to claim, etc?

Can someone please reply somewhere and please tell me what “add me” does for people?

haha why bother Kelly? Clearly they aren’t getting it. Besides all that means is bigger potential payout for those of us who do qualify for a claim. (unless there is a cap-out of course.) Either way these knuckle heads are burnt so why bother trying to understand their methods of madness? Its quite comical though…cheers.

Add me. I have been eating some of these cereals for years.

Please add me. Golden Crisp and Raisin Bran have been the regulars in my home for years.

Add me. I’m a long time consumer of Raisin Bran and Honey Bunches of Oats.

I eat this cereal all the time

yes i did purchase at different times, add me in

Add me I have eaten Raisin Bran, Honey Comb, Alpha- Bits, and Golden Crisp on a regular basis.

please add me to post raising Bran

Add me. l’ve eaten Honey Combs, Honey Bunches and Oats, Raisin Bran, and other Post cereals for breakfast, lunch and or dinner for many many years.

Please add me to the list

I have been eating post Raisin Bran For years.also shredded wheat and honey bunches of oats. Since I can remember.
Add me please

It is asked a very specific date that I don’t know, I guess another way to make it difficult, but have always have this at home since my daughter likes it a lot, we buy anywhere from smiths to Costco and samsclub when needed and available

A normal staple in our home

Please add me I eat that cereal every day and I got diabetes and almost lost my legs

I been bying just about all of them

We have been purchasing this “trusted” brand for several years. Please add me.

Please add me to the suit. We buy honey bunches of oats and raisin bran in bulk at BJs and Sams.

i buy a variety of post cereals please include my name on list

We have purchased Bran Flakes, Post Raisin Bran, and Shredded Wheat since my grandparents came to this country. My parents, myself and my children have been introduced and raised on Alpha- Bits,Honeycomb, Waffle Crisp, Honey Bunches of Oats, Honey Bunches of Oats Granola, and Golden Crisp
It has been a trusted brand for as long as most of us have been alive.

definitely add us, we have (4) kids

I have bought all of these for a about 20 years at least 10 a month I have a family of 5 and my family loves all of them must be the sugars in it.

Please add me. I buy at least 4 boxes of honey bunches of oats for the past 5 years

I purchase most of these cereals weekly. Please add me.

Please add me to post cereal lawsuit.

Add me to the post cereal lawsuit please

Yes, please add my name to the list, thanks!

Add me please. Post Raisin bran

Please add me to this case .b

A regular consumer of post raisin bran, add me!

You think that is bad. I called AT&T about promotion with $700 trade in deal for my and my Dads phones both to transfer from Cricket to AT&T. Well 4 months later now and they claim next month they will be starting paying my Dads $23.00 installments for 30 payments for the total of $700. That was not the deal made I the phone either because he paid both phones in full they told me And him both on the phone at the same time on 3 way to complete the deal He was promised $700 for his and me $700 for mine right away in full. Month after month I call and they keep changing the deal that it’s divided into 30 installments. Well again they promise him to get credit next month but mine I’m being told something else now. but mine their not after I got receipt from them that it was accepted and called many times and always was told next month I’ll be getting my money. Never once did they give any money back. That is grand theft because the total cost for the 2 iPhones with tax is about $3000. And they have kept them and haven’t given any money and change the deal after the fact which I never would have changed to AT&T if I had known that they where this crooked. I am sure there is others going though the same thing. My friend to me he too was told one thing to change to AT&T am they screwed him too. I kept names of people we talked to from the beginning as has my Dad. I want all my money back for all the trouble I’ve gone through. How many people like me have been ripped off by AT&T.

I do not have any of the cards to receive the claim.
Will i get a check in the mail??

I do not have any of the cards listed to receive a refund. Will I get a check in the mail??