If I go to Coles I have to look at Curtis Stone; if I go to Woolworths, I have to look at Jamie Oliver; if I turn on Australian TV, I get Heston Blumenthal.
I’m not sure why Australians are so insecure they need celebrity endorsements for cooking — leave that to Americans.
But they endure, and cash cheques, even with questionable food safety.
In Jan. 2009, the beginnings of the world’s largest known restaurant-based Norovirus outbreak began to take hold in Heston Blumenthal’s fancy pants Fat Duck restaurant.
A report in Epidemiology and Infection concluded that 591 people were sickened, the restaurant failed to notify public health types as dozens of complaints poured in, hired its own food safety consultant, did a deep clean, and then temporarily closed.
Six of 63 staff members tested positive for norovirus (44 were tested).
Now, Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant Dinner, which has two Michelin stars, was closed last night after an outbreak of Norovirus.
The Daily Mail says the celebrity chef acted with decisive speed to shut the gourmet London restaurant’s doors for a week after a number of customers fell ill.
The establishment on Hyde Park – which specialises in historical English food – opened to universal acclaim in 2011, and was fully booked for months.
Mr Blumenthal, who was criticised for reacting too slowly when his flagship restaurant The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, was hit by a worse outbreak, said the temporary closure of Dinner might seem ‘rather extreme and over cautious’.
But he added: ‘My goal has always been to pursue perfection in the kitchen and to amaze our guests with taste sensations beyond their imagination, rather than expose them to the risk of a really nasty couple of days of heaving.’
The chef, famous for his experimental cooking, said the problem came to light two weeks ago when a guest reported feeling unwell with symptoms consistent with the norovirus winter vomiting bug.
The restaurant, in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge, immediately called in Westminster Council environmental health officers and nine further reports of illness were recorded.
Mr Blumenthal, whose restaurant caters for about 1,000 people a week and where a meal for two can cost £190, said the complaints peaked after a couple of days and tests made by Westminster officials came back negative.
But a new set of test results came in on Friday confirming norovirus in three staff members and two guests. Mr Blumenthal told The Mail on Sunday: “I therefore decided to close the restaurant.
“I personally have the experience and knowledge about this winter bug and how to contain it immediately.
“We are in a unique position of having an insight into the behavior of this bug and I will always err on the side of extreme caution. As The Who sang: “I won’t get fooled again”.’
You did, by having three staff working sick. And don’t denigrate The Who like that.