The Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal’s three-Michelin star restaurant which was once named the best restaurant in the world (it is currently second), was closed temporarily because of reports of food poisoning. Nothing has been found in a thorough search, leading to speculation that there may have been some form of sabotage, or simply a non-specific virus passed along not by the food but by a contagious member of the staff.
In an interview in the Guardian, Blumenthal detailed all the efforts that had been made to isolate the problems, which appeared as stomach ailments in customers, which–unusually for food poisoning–appeared four to five days after diners ate at the restauarant. The closure was voluntary and he plans to reopen Wednesday and compensate not only those who were affected with free meals, but give those whose bookings were cancelled something special upon their return.
UPDATE: It appears now more and more that the cause of the customers’ illnesses was an unspecified airborne virus, and neither sabotage nor food poisoning. Restaurants are, after all, gathering places, and the lessons of winter viruses apply as much to a restaurant, for all the efforts a place like the Fat Duck may take to remain clean, as to any other indoor place.