A Contagious Virus Has Forced Heston Blumenthal To Shut His London Restaurant

Don’t forget to wash your hands… chef Heston Blumenthal meets the Queen in 2012. Meanwhile, London health authorities have told his restaurant staff to wash their hands more often to prevent the spread of norovirus. Photo: Lewis Whyld/Getty Images

Lightning has struck twice on one of the world’s greatest chefs, who has closed his landmark London restaurant, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal for a week as a precaution against the highly contagious illness norovirus.

Dinner is rated seventh in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. But after several customers and staff reported feeling ill, with typical norovirus symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, and despite initial tests that returned negative results, the bug was confirmed and Blumenthal shut the Knightsbridge restaurant immediately, saying he preferred to “always err on the side of extreme caution”.

The Guardian reports that London health authorities are investigating the matter and have told staff to wash their hands more often.

Five years ago, norovirus also hit Blumenthal’s acclaimed 3-star Berkshire restaurant, The Fat Duck, and it closed for three weeks while the illness was investigated.

That experience made Blumenthal hyper-vigilant against the illness, which has plagued the cruise industry in recent years, including nine outbreaks on ships, making around 1200 people ill.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the USA.

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