Heston Blumenthal has once again been forced to close one of his restaurants after a norovirus outbreak occurred. Blumenthal’s restaurant, Dinner, which has two Michelin stars and is situated in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge, has been closed for a week by the chef himself after several people became ill. One American couple were violently ill on their flight home to Denver after eating at the restaurant.
This isn’t the first time one of Blumenthal’s restaurants has been closed due to sickness. In 2009 his restaurant The Fat Duck, in Berkshire, had to be closed after an outbreak of food poisoning – thought to involve raw sewage infecting uncooked oysters. The restaurant was closed for a total of ten days and an official investigation was conducted after the chef and other staff were accused of not moving fast enough to prevent the virus from spreading.
On this occasion, although the closing of the restaurant may not have been necessary, Blumenthal decided to “err on the side of extreme caution” and acted swiftly to close the restaurant, after news of the first illness broke, in order to prevent the bug from spreading further.
Food safety manager, from Westminster City Council, James Armitage said:
“Test results last week have shown that there has been an outbreak of norovirus at the Dinner restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge. The operators have now closed the restaurant and we believe this is the responsible thing to do.
“Westminster City Council food safety officers have carried out a thorough inspection of both the restaurant premises and working practices and will continue to work with Public Health England and the restaurant operators until the restaurant is given the all-clear.
“We have already asked the restaurant to improve some of its hygiene procedures – including telling staff to wash their hands more often. All the changes were made immediately.”
The restaurant was closed on 02/02/14 for one week and should reopen, subject to being free from the virus and being given the all-clear by the council.