Australian celebrity chef George Calombaris says a gastro outbreak among diners at one of his restaurants was the toughest week of his career.
Norovirus was identified as the cause of the gastro outbreak among nearly 100 diners at Hellenic Republic in Kew on Mother’s Day.
The MasterChef judge says the incident was not only difficult for him but for all 300 staff working in his restaurants.
He turned to British superstar chef Heston Blumenthal, who was in Australia at the time, for encouragement.
“I was very lucky that week. I had Heston in town and he was a big support for me because he has gone through it twice,” Calombaris says.
Blumenthal’s three Michelin star restaurant The Fat Duck will temporarily move to Crown in Melbourne and open in February next year.
God help Melbourne.
Mother’s Day is ripe for food poisoning in Australia.
Last year, over 140 dinners got sick with Salmonella from some raw egg dip in Canberra.
This year, a Melbourne restaurant co-owned by George Calombaris is under investigation over a food poisoning outbreak following a Mother’s Day luncheon.
And this dude is a judge on the Australian TV crap show, MasterChef.
The Greek restaurant reportedly welcomed 600 diners through its doors on Mother’s Day.
“It’s completely put us through the wringer,” an unnamed victim told Fairfax Media.
“My wife was vomiting all day yesterday and most of Sunday night. This stuff shouldn’t happen at a restaurant like this.”
But fancy food doesn’t mean safe food; and celebrity chefs can be food safety morons.
A spokeswoman for Calombaris’ company, Made Establishment, said there was “no evidence as to the cause of this,” but confirmed they had received a call on Tuesday from a customer who had felt unwell after dining at Hellenic Republic on Sunday.
The spokeswoman added: “We are working closely together with Boroondara Council and health authorities to discover the cause.
“The welfare and enjoyment of our guests is of utmost importance to us and we are committed to resolving this as our highest priority.”