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Health Scare Closes Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck

Health Scare Closes Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck

Martin Hickman | The Independant

Tests fail to reveal the origins of the outbreak as restaurant loses business

Heston Blumenthal is awaiting test results from an environmental health investigation into the mystery illness that has struck dozens of diners at his Fat Duck restaurant.

Laboratory analyses of swabs from cookers and food samples, along with further tests on chefs and waiters, are due to be released in batches today and tomorrow. The chef could reopen The Fat Duck as soon as Wednesday but there is no date set yet amid the ongoing investigation and the 42-year-olds promise to exhaust every avenue before declaring it safe.

Blumenthal shut the restaurant in Berkshire last week, cancelling 450 reservations at a cost of 80,000, after more than 30 diners called in over a period of three weeks to report vomiting, diarrhoea and flu-like symptoms.

Theories for the outbreak include food poisoning and a staff member carrying a virus. Yesterday Blumenthals spokesman Oliver Wheeler called Windsor and Maidenhead councils microbiological tests very thorough.

Blumenthals own team, Food Alert, is also testing the menu at the three-Michelin-star restaurant, whose unusual recipes include nitro green tea and salmon poached in liquorice.

We are waiting to see what comes back, Mr Wheeler said. All the tests that are back proved negative in terms of hygiene. Although there have been hundreds of hours of testing, nothing has been connected to the restaurant.