Several months ago, the initial reports of a norovirus being the root cause of mass illness at the Fat Duck some months ago were just a taste of the full thing, with a full report to follow. And, as you've no doubt seen this week, that report has now been published, and the results are not good for Heston.
The key finding that the press have taken out of the full report is that the virus was caused by sewage infected shellfish. The report also criticised the Fat Duck for supposedly allowing staff to work while ill with the virus, and for taking too long to report the outbreak. The Guardian even broke it all down for us in a handy timeline. The report put the oyster supplier in the frame as the key culprit behind the report, but they were quick to hit back, blaming water contamination from a local sewage plant. However, Anglian Water denies this.
Whatever, on the surface this has not been a good week for Heston as the story has been picked up by a huge number of press outlets. However, we doubt it will have an impact on bookings at the Fat Duck, which is actually likely to be safer than ever due to the investigation. Certainly Hot Dinners would rush back to the Bray restaurant, although we fear our bank balances wouldn't take kindly to a repeat visit...
Yet more awards, this time from Zagat as they launched their 2010 London Guide and also reported that the cost of London eating has dropped for the first time in over 10 years. Concentrating just on the top 10 "best for food" category - the results are as follows, with Gordon Ramsay improving on his ranking in the recent Good Food Guide, while the aforementioned Fat Duck can only make 9th (positions last year are in brackets):1. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (1)
2. Chez Bruce (2)
3. Pied a Terre (16)
4. Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons (9)
5. The Square (11)
6. Le Gavroche (13)
7. Dinings (-)
8. Waterside Inn (18)
9. Fat Duck (12)
10. Marcus Wareing (-).
But that's not all that happened this week. Apart from our own report from the press launch of the London Restaurant Festival, here's what else hit the headlines:
- Jay Rayner prepares for the return of Pierre Koffman (and while Hot Dinners is extremely excited that we've managed to book a table at La Tante Claire, you could win a place from the Guardian).
- Dom Joly bemoans the loss of one of his favourite restaurants.
- The Telegraph would have food from a British gastropub before over-rated French cuisine any day.
- Newsweek praises the rise of the supper club.
- Gordon Ramsay joins five other chefs cooking up a special meal in the London Eye as part of London Restaurant week. But you'll have to bid for a ticket, and you can only do that if you've been invited to a private charity event at the Saatchi gallery...
- And finally, The Galvin Brothers talk about their new restaurant.