Celebrity chef busted for trying to poison neighbor's tree

Adam Harvey, a former 'Top Chef' contestant, told a neighbor the tree was blocking his solar panels, according to a court filing

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A celebrity chef with an apparently phony penchant for environmentalism was arrested for allegedly trying to poison a neighbor’s silver maple tree because, ironically, it was blocking his solar panels.

Adam Harvey, 33, a New York native, former contestant on Top Chef: Boston and chef/owner of the Gowanus eatery Bar Salumi was arrested back in May, the New York Daily News first reported. He was arraigned on misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and criminal trespass.

Adam Harvey, the chef and owner of a Gowanus restaurant and former Top Chef contestant | Photo courtesy Bravo TV

Harvey was allegedly spotted entering the neighbor’s enclosed backyard wearing a mask and gloves and holding a cup of unspecified liquid, according to the criminal complaint obtained by Inman. He is then accused of using a hand drill to drill holes into the tree in question, the complaint continues. The defendant later observed a wet substance on the tree and its leaves.

Since the April 30 incident described in the complaint, the defendant reported to the Daily News that the half of the leaves have wilted on the 60-year-old maple tree.

“Why would you have solar panels and try to take down a tree?” the unidentified owner of the tree told the Daily News. “That, to me, is the linchpin of everything. It says a lot.”

Prior to the incident, Harvey had allegedly complained about the tree to neighbors and even went as far as hiring a team of arborists to remove some limbs, according to the New York Daily News.

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office confirmed that Harvey is due back in court on Friday.

Meanwhile, Bar Salumi’s Facebook page — which has now been deleted — has seen a few recent commenters react to the controversy with trademark New York sarcasm:

“I had the maple aged 60 years,” one commenter said. “Was still alive, but tasted a little poisony to me. I can’t quite put my finger on it … it might have been the poison the entitled jerk of a chef used to kill a living maple tree so he can have more sunlight. Absolutely disgusting.”

Email Patrick Kearns