Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Michelin Restaurant Closed By Virus

A Michelin-starred restaurant has temporarily shut its doors after 80 diners became ill. Several members of staff at The Star Inn, in Harome, North Yorkshire, have also been struck down with the vomiting bug norovirus.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said despite the presence of the virus, "a common cause of illness has not been confirmed".

Jacquie Pern, who runs the venue with her chef husband Andrew, said they had decided to close the kitchens and dining area for the time being as an investigation is carried out.

She told Chef Sandwich: “This is a precautionary measure and indications are consistent with a viral incident.

“We are taking the matter very seriously and are co-operating with the Health Authorities. We are positive that all issues will be resolved soon and we will be able to return to our usual service standards.”

The restaurant - which has a sign telling of its closure on the door - has clearly learned from the PR blunders made by the Fat Duck in the way it dealt with its outbreak earlier this year.

Asked whether the incident was similar to the virus infection which struck down hundreds of diners at the three-star restaurant, a spokeswoman for The Star Inn said: “No, no, it’s not – we are moving a lot faster!”

A spokesman for Ryedale District Council said: “The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has confirmed that it is working with Ryedale District Council to investigate an outbreak of vomiting and diarrhoea connected to a restaurant in the Ryedale area.

“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.”

Norovirus causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea and is also known as the winter vomiting virus.

It can easily be transferred from person to person either through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, or through consuming contaminated food or water.

The Star Inn has won a number of awards since it was taken over and refurbished by the Perns in 1996, including a Michelin star and most recently The Good Pub Guide County Dining Pub of the Year for 2010.

Andrew Pern’s first cook book, Black Pudding And Foie Gras, won the Gourmand World Cookbook Silver Award for Best Chef Book In The World last year.

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