Adam Bennett, chef patron of the Cross at Kenilworth near Coventry, has defended the hygiene practices at his Michelin-starred pub after it received a food hygiene rating score of one out of five.
Environmental health officers gave the rating to the pub in January this year after finding that a vacuum packer was being used to pack both raw and ready-to-eat foods, food was being kept in a Hold-O-Mat at 62C instead of the Food Standard Agency's minimum temperature of 63C, and there was no evidence that staff had been trained correctly to use the water bath.
Prior to the visit, the Cross held a four-star rating.
Commenting to The Caterer, Bennett said: "At the time of the inspection, one member of staff, a newly employed apprentice, was waiting to commence his training. Because of his age and inexperience, his duties were and still are limited to non-high-risk foods only (preparing vegetables etc) until he has gained the necessary training.
"The other chef had been fully trained in food hygiene during his full-time college course alongside his professional cookery training, but was unable to provide his certification on the day of the inspection. The EHO understandably required proof of training which on this occasion we were unable to provide for the two chefs. All other chefs have previously completed Level 2 training with Level 3 training now underway."
He added that there had been a misunderstanding with the sous vide training record, which arose because all members of the back of house team were listed on the training form. "We now know that we should have only put down the names of those who would undertake the procedure and had thus already received the training," he said.
Owner Andreas Antona said: "We are very disappointed with the score because the whole team takes health, safety and hygiene extremely seriously.
"The issues raised in the recent EHO visit resulted from a paperwork misunderstanding and a broken vacuum-packing machine."
The pub is now working with Warwick District Council to complete recommendations from the EHOs ahead of a revist from inspectors - due in May - which the pub hopes will rectify the score.
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