Molecular Gastriconomy

Last Wednesday the esteemed three Michelin starred restaurant The Fat Duck closed its doors and sealed its reservations book. Heston’s decision came about due to customers complaining about dodgy stomachs and vomiting – the shits. Fair enough, happens all the time. I have been hit by the runs after a tuna steak at a restaurant and it’s pretty easy to do to yourself or someone else through the food we eat especially if you’re creating haute cuisine for hundreds of ingredients many of them raw.

The problems at the FD are potentially threefold. Loss of revenue after a weeks closure
(a minimum of approx. £150/cover x 80 covers/day x 11 services/week = £ 132,000). Loss of prestige and loss of future custom, all potentially ruinous for a gastro-hero in these tight times. Fortunately the Blumenthal breadwinner The Hind’s Head across the road is still open to paying customers but the financial dent must still be massive. Seemingly Heston has a big problem on this plate.

Maybe not so… how much press has the incident attracted, loads. The BBC, Independent etc. and these were the first two Google hits after the FD’s own site. The tone taken by most of the articles I have read are not particularly accusatory, some even sympathetic. Clearly immediate action was necessary to prevent further incidents of gastric irritation and nothing can change what has happened.

I fully believe the FD’s hygiene standards are of the very highest and negligence on this account probably wasn’t the cause. Hygiene tests will probably be returned unresolved and the case will never be solved. The eager, well rested thirty or so brigade will return to the kitchen itching to get the burners cranked. The public has been reminded what a good chap Blumenthal is, publicity has never been higher, the diners who spent a twenty four hours or so hugging the porcelain will hopefully still remember their dinner as being as magnificent as the bill and the kitchen will have never been cleaner.

See Heston explain


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Fat Les said...

Great posting. In C4's Heston's Feast I was rather rattled with the preparation of the edible garden; the layer under the olive soil looked gastronomically challenging! Then again I've been lucky enough to have had the Full Monty at the FD with no adverse effects save the wallet!

Petra Barran said...

Well put Nels and well written too!