Norovirus chef Heston Blumenthal defends $500 price tag for Fat Duck Australia pop-up

Like I’ve written before, all the hacks are headed to Australia to make a buck (I actually live here, because of my wife’s career).

heston_blumenthalAging rock stars, actors, and celebrity chefs, they’ve all done, or are doing, the tour of Australia.

Norovirus-isn’t-my-fault chef Heston Blumenthal — whose famed Bray, England restaurant Fat Duck is popping up in Australia next year — has come under fire for the hefty price point of its tasting menu. The pop-up, which will take place in Melbourne, will cost $525 AUD ($475 USD) per person, excluding beverages. Not only is it more expensive (about $75 more) than the original price in England, but Good Food AU notes that this makes it one of Australia’s “most expensive restaurants.” Blumenthal believes the price is justified: “We’re basically picking up the entire kitchen and staff from the Fat Duck and relocating across the world.” Blumenthal must also house his 50 or so British staff for six months.

Careful with those raw oysters, which sickened 550 a couple of years ago in the UK.

He also added that “the cost structure for the Duck is like no other restaurant in the world. It can take one chef days just to make one item for the menu. Dining at the Duck is four and a half hours of entertainment.” In theory that’s just over $100 an hour for a “multi-sensory gastronomic journey of history, nostalgia, emotion and memory.” The reservation line opens October 8 and will close October 26. Fat Duck Australia will pop-up from February 3, 2015 to August 15, 2015.

I won’t be going.

Illinois website now details restaurant inspections

Decades after other regions figured out how to do it and five years of trying to get restaurant inspection reports on their website, Illinois public health officials finally succeeded this month.

The site — — now delivers a wealth of information on the inspections, including the inspection history and scores for more than 1,000 food establishments. health department opened the site earlier this month but did not announce it until Thursday.

“They can see more information because we summarized it for them,” said Jim Roberts, director of environmental health for the district. “I think we’re telling a public health story. You know if we just put up an inspection report or a score, which may vary from one jurisdiction to another, it is information, but it is very limited. This, I think, can help you make a decision because you have more information.”

The reports can be found on the district’s environmental health section, under “Programs and Services.” A user can search for an establishment under a variety of categories, including its name, adjusted score range and risk categories.

New York dirty delis and markets exposed

Sean Perkins stopped by his favorite Washington Heights market the other day at lunchtime. But some nasty news came along with his sandwich.

deli26n-2-webPerkins learned that the market he frequents, Presbyterian Deli II has the dubious distinction of having the most failed food safety inspections of any market in New York City since 2011.

“Rat droppings. Ewwww,” said Perkins, reading one recent report. “I’m about to cancel my sandwich. That’s what I’m about to do.”

Although Presbyterian Deli II passed its most recent inspection May 22, the deli had failed 12 food safety inspections by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets since 2011. Among its violations: mouse droppings under the deli service display, old, dried pieces of meat on the cold cut slicer, and live cockroaches throughout the store.

The store owner did not respond to News 4 New York’s requests for comment. But a cashier there said workers there had made an effort to clean up after their last failed inspection.

Social media rules: owners of Chicken Cottage in UK fined after customer snaps rat in shop

A fast-food restaurant has been fined for a number of food hygiene failings after a customer took a picture of a rat on their premises.

chiken.cottagArun District Council has successfully prosecuted Bethel Catering UK Ltd, for food safety offences found at Chicken Cottage in East Street, Littlehampton.

Two Environmental Health Officers inspected the take-away last August following a call from a member of the public who had taken a photo of a rat she had seen inside the shop early that morning.

During this inspection the officers found clear evidence of a rat infestation both inside and outside the premises and the director of the company, Mr Somasundaram agreed to close the premises due to an imminent risk to public health.

Brisbane’s food hall of shame

Brisbane’s annual food hall of shame, released by City Hall on Wednesday, revealed the vast majority of the city’s worst food hygiene offenders had food preparation areas infested with rodents or pests last financial year.

339788-37021536-2368-11e4-b035-3276a1bc3645Just more than $710,000 in fines were dished up to 34 recalcitrant cafe, restaurant and food outlet owners in 2013/14 – 28 of which had evidence of animal or pest infestation, according to Brisbane City Council’s lifestyle chairman Krista Adams.

But the restaurant that claimed the dubious title of the year’s most heavily fined, Pho Ha Long, a Vietnamese restaurant in Mount Gravatt East, was not among them.

The restaurant was slapped a $60,000 fine in November for two counts of handling and selling unsafe food.

It has since closed.

As has Kelvin Grove’s Little Lily Thai Restaurant, which was fined $32,500 in February on 29 offences, including animal and pest infestation, food storage, cleanliness and failure to comply with an improvement notice.

The inner city was not without its offenders either.

Rats were discovered in the kitchen of Japanese Bento in the Myer Centre food hall, which formed part of a raft of charges that earned it a $25,000 fine in November.

Also in the Myer Centre, the Beach House Bar and Grill copped a $30,000 fine on eight charges stemming from failed standards of food storage, cleanliness and maintenance.

Moscow court fines Burger King restaurant for food safety violations

The Moscow Arbitration Court at the request of Russia’s public health agency Rospotrebnadzor has fined Burger Rus LLC, operator and manager of Burger King restaurants in Russia, 100,000 rubles ($2,583) for the storage of unauthorized items in refrigerators alongside food, a source in the court told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

193034122The court ruling states that on July 11 during an inspection of a Burger King restaurant, the health watchdog found violations of technical regulations of the Customs Union “On the safety of food products.”

Brushes from a milkshake machine as well as a slicer used to cut onions and tomatoes were stored beside food products. Inspectors also “found flies in the production and storage facilities,” according to the court investigation.

Rospotrebnadzor claims that the violations pose a health hazard to customers.

The court’s final decision was prepared on September 15, but has not yet come into force. The decision may be appealed within 10 days.

Burger King, founded in the United States in 1954, is currently the second largest hamburger chain in the world. The brand has been operating under franchise in Russia since 2010, when the first restaurant opened in Moscow. Currently Burger King operates about 200 restaurants in the country.

Filthy ‘Scooby Doo!’ ice cream van served UK kids

We have an ice cream truck that trolls around our Brisbane neighborhood as the kids are coming home from school. find that creepy.

UK environmental health officers say the state of an ice cream van serving children in Bransholme was the worst they had ever seen.

Ice cream seller Richard Lister has been fined £750 after he pleaded guilty to six food safety offences at the Hull Magistrates’ Court.

He was using an ice cream van called Scooby-Doo and traded around the Bransholme area serving ice creams, ice lollies and sweets.

Health risks found in eight Irish food outlets

Supervalu was issued with a prohibition order banning the sale of certain cooked meats and cheeses at one of its Dublin stores last month.

Inspection-Restaurants-Rats-Droppings-CockroachesIt was one of eight food businesses issued with an enforcement action in August, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland said.

The Supervalu store on Main St, Ballymun, Dublin 11 was issued with the prohibition order on August 26 banning the sale of all high risk foods such as cooked meats and cheeses stored in a fridge in its deli area.

Prohibition orders ban the sale of a certain batch of food, if it is believed it could pose a serious risk to public health.

Supervalu’s parent group Musgrave said the prohibition order specifically related to one fridge and was resolved on August 29 when the fridge in question was upgraded.

Seven restaurants and pubs were issued with closure orders during August.

These included Juno’s Café Deli, Parkgate St, Dublin 8; Tasty Bite, Main St, Bantry, Cork; Abbey Tavern, The Square, Tuam, Galway; Akash restaurant, George’s Ave, Blackrock, Co Dublin; Fuchsia House & Gables Bar, Ardee, Co Louth and the food preparation area of The Larches Bar, Claremorris, Co Mayo.

All of these had the orders lifted as soon as the problems were rectified.

Professor Alan Reilly, Chief Executive of the FSAI, stated that “vigilance is always required in relation to food safety and that standards must not be permitted to slip to such levels that consumer health is put at risk.”

Rodents rife in Wellington eateries

Wellington, NZ, is one of my favorite towns.

But they’ve got some sanitation problems. and droppings are among cleaning failures found in more than 30 Wellington restaurants, eight of which were forced to close in the past year.

The annual list of city cafes and restaurants issued with cleaning and closures notices in the 2013-14 year has been released to The Dominion Post by Wellington City Council.

It shows a slight improvement on last year, with 31 notices compared to 38.

But more premises were forced to shut: seven businesses received closure notices, compared with four the previous year.

Wellington has about 1300 eating premises. Each is given a rating of excellent, very good or ungraded, depending on how well they comply with health standards.

Saks Restaurant and Bar owners in Australia assure public the food is safe after cockroaches in kitchen fail

Saks Restaurant and Bar at Marina Mirage owners were forced to spend more than $55,000 on cleaning and structural changes after Gold Coast City Council food safety officers busted them for failing several inspections last year.

Saks-Restaurant-BarInspectors discovered dead and live cockroaches in the commercial kitchen, uncovered seafood and surfaces covered in grease, grime, dirt and mould on three separate inspections in September 2013.

Council solicitor Nick Hatcher yesterday told the Southport Magistrates Court 15 cockroaches had been found under the refrigerated pizza unit, near the pizza oven, at the washing up sink and in the dry storage area.

He said the restaurant had been given a clean bill of health in April this year but a single dead cockroach was found during a surprise inspection last week.

Saks pleaded guilty through lawyer Michael McMillan to one count of failing to comply with a requirement imposed by the Food Standards Code.

Mr McMillan said his clients took over the business a year ago but were “just accountants” who had little experience in the hospitality industry and were “not up to speed”.

The council asked for fines up to $25,000 while Mr McMillan said a lesser fine of up to $15,000 was more fitting as the business had no previous breaches and had already suffered adverse publicity this week.

“They take a lot of pride in what they do and they are very upset about how this negative publicity will affect them,” he said.

He said the owners wanted to reassure customers that the restaurant was now fully compliant.

“Saks is open for business and people can be assured that all the food stuff they eat there are safe and staff are doing all they can to make customers’ happy,” he said.

But Magistrate Ron Kilner expressed disgust at the owners slow compliance with council orders. “Members of the public were put at risk of salmonella poisoning … due to the poor hygiene at the restaurant,” he said.

“The fact of the matter is, they didn’t shut the doors — they kept the restaurant open for business, presumably making money while not complying.