‘A deadly mistake’ Chinese restaurant remains closed after fatal death cap mushroom meal

The killer mushroom story from Canberra, Australia is taking on new levels of weirdness.

Today, the ACT’s chief health officer confirmed the bistro where a deadly mushroom dish was cooked on New Year’s Eve would remain closed and would need to be inspected before it was allowed to reopen.

The Chinese restaurant, located in the Harmonie German Club in Narranbundah, had been due to reopen after the Christmas break on Wednesday night, just hours before management learnt of the tragic mistake, in which two people died and two others were taken to hospital after eating the dish laced with death cap mushrooms.

Canberra health authorities last night confirmed the meal was prepared in a restaurant kitchen.

Acting ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Pengilly said that, while the bistro had closed voluntarily, ACT Health had asked for it to remain shut until an inspection could be carried out.

Last night, a sign on the door of the restaurant, which is run by an independent operator within the club, said the chef "made a deadly mistake."

The sign said that it was informing the community with the "greatest regret" that chef Liu Jun and kitchen hand Tsou Hsiang "made a deadly mistake and ate some mushroom (death caps) that they mistook for Chinese straw mushrooms".
It was unclear who had posted the note, but Harmonie German Club secretary Susan Davidson confirmed it had not come from the club nor the independent operator of the restaurant.

Mr Liu, 38, who made the meal at the bistro, and Ms Tsou, 52, died from liver failure in Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital while waiting for transplants.
Mystery surrounds another man, 51, who remains in the hospital in a stable condition with death cap poisoning.

ACT Health initially said this man was part of the same group, but ACT police said this was not the case.

Friends of the chef, who had spent several years working in Australia, said he was obsessed with fresh food. He was also working to send money home to his Chinese wife and two children, a seven-year-old boy and a girl, 11.

"The mushrooms were brought into the club for a private meal, cooked after bistro hours, by the chef for him and his co-workers. It was not a meal on the bistro menu and was not a meal that was offered to, or available to, the public," it added.

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A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, barfblog.com retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 dpowell29@gmail.com 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time