Europe: We interrupt your regularly-scheduled local programming for a traipse over the Atlantic, where over the weekend, Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck—arguably the second-best restaurant in the world behind El Bulli—suddenly (and temporarily) closed last week. The reason for the shutter was a rash of food poisoning complaints from diners at the celebrity chef's molecular gastronomy temple:
Heston Blumenthal has shut the award-winning eatery - described in 2005 as the "the best place to eat on earth" - after up to 40 diners called in to say they were feeling unwell. Around 400 customers have had their bookings cancelled as council environmental health officers and the TV chef's own safety experts conduct tests. The source of the problem however remains a mystery.
The cause of the illness is still undetermined, which is frustrating Blumenthal, who is now thinking that, hey, maybe he could have used that $143,000 he lost over the weekend:
[Blumenthal] said the cost of the closure would be "in the region of Â£100,000" [ed. note: ~$143,000] in lost bookings, but that the full impact of worldwide bad publicity would not be known for six months ... Oliver Wheeler, a friend and public relations executive drafted in to help deal with the crisis, expressed pity for situation the chef found himself in. "This may have been a giant overreaction by Heston, but he is passionate about the restaurant," he said.Oh, and all 40 of the Fat Duck chefs—including Blumenthal—had to submit stool samples too. But on the bright side, Blumenthal is promising that customers with canceled bookings would be given "something special" when (if) they revisit. So, there's that.
· Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck shut over food poisoning scare [Guardian]
· The Fat Duck counts the cost. But was Blumenthal right to close? [Independent]
· UK's The Fat Duck Felled By Mysterious Illness, Chefs Made to Poop [~ENY~]