Fancy food ain’t safe food Denmark edition: Country’s only three-star restaurant fined £2,300 for hygiene breaches

Denmark’s only three-star Michelin restaurant on Thursday faced questions over hygiene after it was fined 20,000 kroner (£2,300) by the country’s food safety authority.

restaurant-geranium-iiGeranium, the first eatery in Denmark to receive top Michelin honours, had been storing fresh shellfish such as oysters, crayfish and scallops in temperatures that were too warm and over an extended period, the Danish Food Administration wrote after an inspection.

Two walk-in coolers also had “black, green and white splotches growing on the underside of shelves and on packaged pickled garlic”, according to a report dated 29 September but picked up by Danish media only on Thursday.

The regulator awarded the Copenhagen restaurant – which charges 2,000 kroner for a meal without drinks – a frowning “smiley,” the lowest grade of its four-tier system.

Geranium chef Rasmus Kofoed told Danish news agency Ritzau: “I do not agree with what is written. I believe that it is greatly exaggerated but I admit that there are some parts of the process where perhaps we have been a bit unattentive.”

geranium-denmarkLess talk, more action.

The restaurant had been using a computerized system to monitor food temperatures incorrectly, but fish and shellfish were always stored on ice regardless of the surrounding temperature, he added.

This year the Nordic edition of the Michelin Guide gave three stars to Geranium, but only two to Copenhagen’s celebrated Noma, which was named best restaurant in the world by Britain’s Restaurant magazine in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Noma too faced criticism from the Danish food safety regulator in 2013, when it was accused of not taking adequate action after a sick kitchen worker gave dozens of customers food poisoning.

The gift that keeps on giving.


Fancy food ain’t safe food: Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant shuts down after 14 diners suffer food poisoning

A Michelin-starred restaurant in Japan has been ordered to shut temporarily after 14 people got food-poisoning on a fancy Japanese-style meal.

Kita Kamakura Saryo GentoanThe Kanagawa Prefectural Government said officials were investigating after six men and eight women complained of diarrhea and stomach pains after eating at Kita Kamakura Saryo Gentoan on June 11.

Among items on their menu were squid, jelly with sea urchin, pumpkin cooked with fish, eel and sweets, according to the prefecture.

A picturesque restaurant among the trees of Kamakura, a coastal town south of Tokyo, it was known for serving meals in quiet Japanese-style rooms.

The restaurant closed on its own on June 14. The prefecture’s order was made June 20 and remains effective until the cause is determined. Usually, such closures last a few days.

Your foie gras has poop in it; fancy food ain’t safe food, expanded New York City edition

Kudos to Gawker for wading through the Michelin-starred filth found in New York City restaurant inspection reports. I’ve left the violations in for the first report but edited out the rest for brevity. The complete report is available at

For reference, "A" ratings have 0-13 sanitary violations; "B" ratings have 14-27; "C" ratings have 28 or more; and "Grade Pending" is code for "crappy grade, but they’re trying to shape up and/or are contesting it at a Health Tribunal."

Here are the filthiest Michelin-starred restaurants, compiled with assistance from intern Maeve Keirans.

• Danji: The Filthiest Fine-Dining in New York
Michelin Stars: 1
Violation Points: 48
Current Grade: GRADE PENDING
Specialty: Kimchi chorizo bacon paella, prepared with unwashed hands.
At this Midtown restaurant, Chef Hooni Kim applies French culinary techniques to Korean tapas while racking up an astonishing quantity of sanitary violations. New York Times critic Sam Sifton named it one of his Top 10 New Restaurants of 2011.
1) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. [CRITICAL]
2) Food from unapproved or unknown source or home canned. Reduced oxygen packaged (ROP) fish not frozen before processing; or ROP foods prepared on premises transported to another site. [CRITICAL]
3) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. [CRITICAL]
4) Hand washing facility not provided in or near food preparation area and toilet room. Hot and cold running water at adequate pressure to enable cleanliness of employees not provided at facility. Soap and an acceptable hand-drying device not provided. [CRITICAL]
5) Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred. [CRITICAL]
6) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.
7) Covered garbage receptacle not provided or inadequate, except that garbage receptacle may be uncovered during active use. Garbage storage area not properly constructed or maintained; grinder or compactor dirty.
8) Mechanical or natural ventilation system not provided, improperly installed, indisrepair and/or fails to prevent excessive build-up of grease, heat, steam condensation vapors, odors, smoke, and fumes.
9) Single service item reused, improperly stored, dispensed; not used when required.
"Allowing vermin to exist" continues to be an odd violation that even God would not be able to escape. No hand washing in the "toilet room" is downright disturbing, though.

• Gilt: ‘Eye-Opening’ Flavors and Filth
Michelin Stars: 2
Violation Points: 33
Current Grade: GRADE PENDING
Specialty: Lobster seasoned with vanilla and "prohibited chemicals."
Frank Bruni called the "esoteric" cuisine at this Madison Avenue powerhouse "eye-opening" and "eyebrow-raising." Just like its sanitary violations.

• Momofuku Ko: Close Quarters and Contaminates
163 1st Ave., at E 10th St.
Michelin Stars: 2
Violation Points: 26
Current Grade: GRADE PENDING
Specialty: Soft-boiled egg with hackleback caviar, drizzled with "toxic chemical."
The most rarefied of David Chang’s Momofuku empire, Ko is a tiny restaurant that seats 12, plus contaminates.

• Tori Shin: Chicken and ‘Filth Flies’
1193 1st Ave., at E 65th St.
Michelin Stars: 1
Violation Points: 25
Current Grade: B
Specialty: Tori sashimi (basically raw chicken sliced thinly) dotted with "filth flies."
As someone who is known to enjoy the occasional raw yakitori chicken dish, I admit that thought of an unsanitary yakitori kitchen is deeply unsettling.

• Laut: Intemperate Asian Fusion
15 E. 17th St., northeast of Union Square
Michelin Stars: 1
Violation Points: 21
Current Grade: GRADE PENDING
Specialty: Rendang curry with toasted coconut and questionable temperatures.

None of Manhattan’s 3-star restaurants fared worse than an "A" rating. The most unsanitary three-star restaurant was Le Bernadin, which had 13 violation points, including two critical violations for improper washing of food contact surfaces and equipment. The cleanest fine-dining restaurants were the Four Seasons Hotel (3 stars, 2 points); Marea (2 stars, 2 points); the Spotted Pig (1 star, 2 points); and Gramercy Tavern (1 star, 2 points).

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Chicago’s Alinea 3 Michelin stars, fails city inspection

Fox News reports Chicago’s Alinea was given the Michelin Guide’s coveted three-star rating last month, the only Chicago restaurant to earn that top honor, but later in the month it failed an inspection by the City of Chicago’s food protection division.

Violations included foods at improper temperatures, employees not able to wash their hands properly, black mold growth inside an ice machine, and the front door was cited as not being insect or rodent-proof.

More food safety, less food porn.

That failing inspection report was listed as taking place on Nov. 30th. One week later, on Dec. 8, the restaurant was re-inspected and received a passing grade.

The second report did still mention a few issues, such as ventilation equipment that was needed, but it was a passing grade.

UK: Restaurant receives Michelin stars, but no food safety stars

The Star Inn restaurant in North Yorkshire has been closed after more than 80 customers developed symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea, reports

The Star Inn has won a raft of prestigious awards since 1996, including a Michelin star, the Egon Ronay Gastropub of the Year title and, most recently, The Good Pub Guide County Dining Pub of the Year for 2010.

Jacquie Pern, who jointly runs the venue with her husband, leading chef Andrew Pern, said yesterday,
“We can confirm that The Star restaurant is temporarily closed as a precautionary measure. Early indications are consistent with a viral incident. We are taking the matter very seriously and are co-operating with the health authorities and look forward to returning to our normal food standard as soon as possible.”

A spokesman for Ryedale District Council said,

“More than 80 people are known to have developed symptoms after eating at the restaurant between October 18 and October 28. A number of restaurant staff are also known to be affected by symptoms.”

Upon reading the story I immediately went to Scores on the Doors website, which lists a restaurant’s food safety-star rating based on the most recent inspection. The Star Inn is located in an area of North Yorkshire which appears to not yet be registered with the Scores on the Doors programme. Although Michelin stars are nice, I’d rather know the restaurant’s food safety rating.