Morale takes a hit in our X Factor world

30 July 2010
Morale takes a hit in our X Factor world

After receiving a one-star Scores on the Doors rating at his Greyhound pub, chef Antony Worrall Thompson vows to keep up with the paperwork in future while calling for a more mature approach to enforcing standards.

I'm disappointed and a little embarrassed at achieving one star in the Scores on the Doors at my Greyhound pub and restaurant, but I'm not ashamed. I don't run a dirty kitchen - this score is mainly to do with my lack of paperwork and, I'll be honest, I'm not great at paperwork, especially when so much of it is unnecessary.

We were ticked off for not having dated labels on containers in fridges: I'm there most days, and when I'm not my chef/partner replaces me. We know exactly what's in our fridges and we certainly know when, if ever, something should not be served. We both have brains; we both have common sense.

We were ticked off for not having a cleaning schedule in place: I have a voice; I can tell my chefs what they need to do, and they do it day in day out, without fail.

We have to record fridge temperatures twice a day. Why? I have a perfectly good set of eyes. I can see the digital readout on every fridge. If it goes above 5°C for more than a few minutes, I first clean the filters and, if that fails, I call my fridge engineer. It's not rocket science.

And I'm not having a pop at environmental health officers. They have an important job to do. They are only following rules and guidelines laid down by Government. I want a return to the days when you worked with your EHO to improve standards in kitchens. I don't want to receive a star rating based on one visit where, quite frankly, you could be having a bad day.

It's symptomatic of the last 13 years of the Labour Government that everything has become about league tables; it's the X Factor world we live in. It's become fun to watch people squirm and be embarrassed. Unfortunately, it has the effect of bringing down morale, whether it be in a hospital, school, police force, ambulance service or just a humble restaurant.

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