‘I've had far worse than this': Antony Worrall Thompson on his two-star food hygiene rating
Celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson has been hit with a two-star food hygiene rating for his restaurant the Greyhound near Henley-on-Thames.
The inspection was conducted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on 1 February and concluded that "some improvement is necessary" at the site.
Worrall Thompson told The Caterer: "We were disappointed in two stars, but actually, when you analyse the ratings, we would have got five stars for the hygiene side of things. What let us down was the structure of the building and lack of confidence in management, which I have to say is me."
The Greyhound received ‘good' for hygienic food handling; ‘improvement necessary' for cleanliness and condition of facilities and building; and ‘generally satisfactory' for management of food safety.
Since the inspection, Worrall Thompson has spent roughly £5,000 improving the premises. He closed up a hole in the floor and the wall and added sliding doors to prevent rodents from accessing the building.
The restaurant was also penalised for failing to provide relevant paperwork on protocols such as making steak tartare.
He said: "Some of the structural stuff undoubtedly did need improving, but I think they were being incredibly picky on some of the other things."
The Greyhound has asked for a remark, which means that the FSA will be returning unannounced anytime between seven days to three months upon receipt of the re-inspection request.
Worrall Thompson pointed out that he would like to see greater cooperation between restaurants and EHOs (environmental health officers) in future as kitchen staff are often "scared" of inspections, adding: "It's like a war at the moment".
"If EHOs would actually do a two week or even a week's stint in a kitchen, they would understand much more about the problems we're up against", he said.
Despite everything, business has been resuming as normal at the Greyhound, with "loads of customers last night".
He added: "I'm a big strong lad. I'm old but I've got very thick skin. My life has been a series of rollercoasters so I've had far worse than this in my life. Hopefully I won't have far worse in the future."
According to Scores on the Doors, out of the 289 premises listed under restaurant, café and canteen in South Oxfordshire District Council, 20 sites received a two star rating.