The famous chef was arrested last week for being a suspected illegal immigrant and was remanded to a federal detention facility in Georgia.
Mr. Batali was hosting a celebrity-chef cook-off in a studio at the Food Network when he was forcibly removed from the set by four burly U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and led away in handcuffs. (A witness to the scene said that the federal warrant spelled Mr. Batali's name with an extra 'l'.)
The detention facility in Georgia is operated by a private company under contract to the federal government. Private companies run 230 of 250 centers in the U.S. where inmates are paid 13 cants per hour in the so-called 'Federal Voluntary Work Program' to do work that otherwise would have to be performed by employees subject to, at least, the standard minimum wage.
Presently, approximately 60,000 inmates work in detention centers, making that industry the largest employer in the United States. The two largest private detention companies, the Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group, are reportedly vying with each other for the right to hold Mr. Batali until his legal status can be determined. It will most likely take no more that two or three years to resolve that status.
It is expected that Mr. Batali will prepare food for the executive dining room of whichever corporation wins his services.