Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal has admitted the decision to shut the Fat Duck will result in a “massive financial hit”, but insisted it was the right choice.
Blumenthal, chef-proprietor of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, closed the Fat Duck last Tuesday after up to 40 diners over a period of weeks were afflicted with a mystery illness resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea.
Environmental health inspectors were called in to scour the restaurant kitchens for signs of malpractice last Wednesday.
However, they are understood to have ruled out food poisoning, and given the green light for the Fat Duck to reopen on Wednesday (4 March).
Blumenthal said there was a suspicion that a “non-specific virus” could have been the cause of the problem.
In a video interview with the Guardian’s food editor Matthew Fort, the chef admitted that the decision to shut the restaurant had not been taken lightly, adding that the financial implications were huge.
“Financially the closure is a massive hit,” Blumenthal said.
“You put so much blood, sweat and tears into this just to produce the quality and give the dining experience you want to give that the last thing you want is for anybody to leave the restaurant with so much as a headache.”
However, Blumenthal added that while a tough call, closing the Fat Duck had been the right choice. “I don’t regret closing the restaurant,” he said.
“I have serious regrets about the whole situation and it’s been deeply upsetting. But closing the restaurant was morally and technically the only option.”
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By Kerstin Kühn
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