Jay-Z drops lawsuit against Kiwi chef

NO ACTION: Jay-Z has dropped a lawsuit against New Zealand chef Mike Shand.
NO ACTION: Jay-Z has dropped a lawsuit against New Zealand chef Mike Shand.

American rapper Jay-Z has dropped a US$1.5 million lawsuit against his former personal chef, New Zealander Mike Shand.

According to nypost.com, the hip-hop superstar had a change of heart about taking the Christchurch-born chef to court over a dispute about chicken wings.

Earlier in the week, the website reported that Shand - who trained in New Zealand but now lives in California - was asked in June last year to be head chef at Jay-Z's 40/40 Club in Manhattan after cooking on tour for the rapper and his wife Beyoncé Knowles.

Part of his job was to overhaul the menu for the luxury sports bar's $10 million (NZ$12.3m) reopening earlier this year. But he left, taking his recipes with him.

Shand eventually handed all of them over, except his secret chicken wing spice mix, which prompted the club to take legal action to the tune of US$1.5 million (NZ$1.8m), the website said.

Court papers filed in Manhattan by Jay-Z and his partner Juan Perez accused Shand of failing to "perform on significant aspects" of a deal to make the menu better.

''The club has not been able to adequately replace the items and services the defendant was paid to provide,'' the papers said.

Shand's lawyer, Vik Pawar, told the website, "The spice-mix recipe that Mike developed is his own recipe. 40/40 terminated him, then had the audacity to sue him for the recipe."

Last night, Pawar told the website that the club had dropped their lawsuit, but that would not necessarily signal the end of the legal battle.

"We still may sue the club for defamation of character and for the return of his possessions, including his laptop, which the club still has."

Shand has not discussed the issue on his Twitter page, but he tweeted a link to his lawyer's comments last night.

The online menu for the 40/40 Club features foods such as "40/40 Nachos" for US$11, "Herb Crusted Mac 'n' Cheese" for US$12 and "Flame Grilled Tequila Chicken Breast" for US$24 .

Shand has also cooked for celebrities Alicia Keys, Rod Stewart and Prince.

Fairfax Media