Food Editor Dean Mobbs ventures beyond Birmingham for some foodie delights, and recommends you do tooWritten by Dean Mobbs on 12th June 2018
News: Marco Pierre White’s Receives 1-star Hygiene Rating
Adele Franghiadi reports on the recent Food Standards Agency audit of Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, which was given only 1-star out of 5.
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill has been given a 1-star hygiene rating following an environmental health inspection conducted on March 12th2018, to assess the venue’s kitchen, bin store, food store, and bar area. During the audit, the Environmental Health Officer from Birmingham City Council found a litany of health and safety violations, some of which are particularly surprising.
Relating to food storage, the EHO found that the restaurant had been storing some chilled foods inappropriately. Trays of raw bacon had been stored above ready-to-eat breakfast items in the fridge, a tub of chopped onion was stored on top of a lettuce, liquid egg had been stored in a fridge with a broken seal, and large containers of sauce and jus had been stored without lids in the walk-in chiller.
“Large containers of sauce and jus had been stored without lids in the walk-in chiller
The audit further revealed that the use-by date on a container of pasteurised egg yolks, originally marked by their manufacturer as 13thMarch, had been extended in-house to the 14thMarch. Also, a broken air-conditioning unit had been dripping onto food stored underneath it, while the crushed ice used for drink preparation had also been used to store chilled bottles and cans, which poses the risk of cross-contamination.
Food preparation and handling practices also raised concern. There were several issues with chopping boards, which were found to have a build-up of dirt in the knife scores on the surface. The boards for ready-to-eat products had also been stored with the raw-product boards, again posing a risk of cross-contamination. It also appeared that the food safety management system regarding the handling of allergy notifications had not been completed.
“A pipe had been leaking brown liquid onto the supposedly clean glasses that had been put away
Among complaints of dirt and mould in the raw-food preparation area, the EHO also noted an extraction unit that had a build-up of grease, that had been dripping onto the equipment and utensils below it, as well as a pipe that had been leaking brown liquid onto the supposedly clean glasses that had been put away. Additionally, the can-opener blade was listed as another potential risk for contamination, as it appeared to have not been cleaned between uses.
In the potwash area, the EHO noted that the general area required a deep-clean, especially in the dishwashing machine, which had dirt and mould in the trays used for cleaning utensils and cutlery, and the floor-to-wall junctions. The tap handle on the extendable tap was also found to be covered in food debris, while the sponges were noted as dirty.
The EHO noted wall damage from staff dragging bins through doorways, and duct-tape on a damaged floor as a temporary fix. Relating to bins, waste in both the larder area and bin storage area were found to be overflowing. Furthermore, due to bins blocking access to hand-wash basins, the EHO noted that staff hand-washing procedures were more than likely not being met. A further concern was that the hot water did not come through the hand-wash tap, and that the basins were slow to drain. There were also concerns regarding how close the staff toilets are to food preparation areas, as the staff-toilet door opens directly into kitchen areas when the door to the adjoining corridor is left open, as it was during the inspection.
Response from Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill
However, despite this damning 1-star report, Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill is appealing the verdict. This is on the basis of a 4-star report conducted on the same day, by an unannounced, independent external auditor from Shield Safety Group. This company have since re-examined the restaurant, on the 11thApril, delivering another 4-star verdict. Shield Safety Group have claimed that the small number of issues in their original audit “were immediately rectified by the business and from [their] more recent audits [they] can confirm that good hygiene practices have remained in place”.
“'Over the past year we have invested more than £150,000 in the modernisation and upgrading of our kitchen'
As reported by BirminghamLive, a spokesperson for Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill has also pointed out that “over the past year we have invested more than £150,000 in the modernisation and upgrading of our kitchen”, and continue to their commitment to meeting health and safety standards. Therefore, the discrepancy between the independent auditor and the council’s EHO does seem incongruous, especially given the restaurant’s past 5-star ratings.
Unless the appeal is successful, Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill will remain among the 21 other Birmingham eateries to receive “major improvement necessary” ratings from the Food Standards Agency in March 2018.