Outrage at eateries over star rating list

Nigel Smith, chef de patron at The Villa, Wrea Green
Nigel Smith, chef de patron at The Villa, Wrea Green
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IN need of major improvement – that was the damning verdict on some of the Fylde coast’s most popular restaurants.

Jack’s Bistro in St Annes, Salvatore’s near Kirkham and Poulton’s The Lemon Tree are among dozens of restaurants named and shamed by the new national food hygiene ratings scheme.

Fylde and Wyre Councils have produced star ratings for hundreds of establishments, with restaurants, take-aways and even schools and care homes ranked.

But restaurant bosses today hit back, claiming the ratings are misleading.

At the one-star Jack’s Bistro, on Wood Street, manager Gavin Matthams said: “The reason we’ve got one is down to purely cosmetic reasons like not having stainless steel and having Poritt tiles on the floor instead of the special flooring they’re advising now. We’ve never had a single complaint from environmental health.”

And Salvatore’s manager Francesca Vivace said: “We’re annoyed this rating has been published. It was based on an inspection about a year and a half ago.

“It’s different management, different kitchen staff, different everything since.”

The scheme looks at food preparation and storage, building condition and manager’s food records with a bad rating in one affecting the overall score.

But award-winning chef Nigel Smith, at The Villa in Wrea Green, blamed a one-star rating on a 15-year-old kitchen and said it sends the “wrong message”.

Fylde Council’s head of public protection, Mike Walker, said: “Inevitably we can’t inspect everywhere the day before the ratings are published and we acknowledge situations do change.”

Fourteen places in Wyre received zero stars compared to just two in Fylde.

And Wyre Council’s food hygiene boss Coun Roger Berry, added: “The scheme is not about identifying poor establishments, it’s about promoting food businesses which are operating hygienically.”